Sylas is starting to pop up in solo queue and professional games more frequently in season 11, both in the mid and the top lane. Sylas’ unique kit can make him intimidating to play against, but there are good ways to counter him and gain an advantage.
Since his release in January 2019, Sylas has moved in and out of the meta. The Unshackled has one of the most special mechanics in the game, as he can steal other champions’ ultimates. This makes Sylas a dangerous pick in many matchups and hard to control if he is wielded by a skilled player. To handle Sylas, it’s important to know his weaknesses and to start shutting him down right from champion select.
Here’s the best way to counter Sylas in League of Legends.
Sylas is a versatile mage and is therefore seen in different positions. As of season 11, Sylas is used in both mid and top lane which makes him hard to draft against in champion select. In most cases, Sylas will end up in the mid lane and will try to get a snowball going. Sylas in the top lane depends a lot on the matchup, as a lot of champions do well against him in lane. For the mid lane, Sylas has some better matchups but is by no means impossible to counter.
Sylas counters for the mid lane
The most common lane to face Sylas is in the mid lane and there are several great picks to consider when facing him in solo queue.
In Sylas’ prime, he was usually picked into Akali who was dominating Summoner’s Rift at the time. These days, Sylas is often picked into Seraphine in the hopes of shutting her down and stealing her impactful ultimate. When going up against Sylas, be careful with choosing these champions. Instead look at other champions who can either bully him in lane or straight up outscale him while playing safe.
Statistically, the best pick in the mid lane against Sylas is Rumble. At Platinum rank and higher, Rumble wins a whopping 57.5% of all games against Sylas. Rumble can punish Sylas in lane. Rumble is one of the biggest lane bullies in LoL, with his constant damage output and ability to shove minion waves. Sylas has a hard time last hitting under the turret, so perma pushing the lane can result in a great lead.
Other ways of handling Sylas will be with strong control mages. Once again, these champions are able to control the waves and force Sylas back against his turret. The best performing mages against Sylas are Malzahar, Cassiopeia, and even Kassadin because of his scaling potential.
For players wanting to go the direct damage route, ability-power assassins can also perform well against Sylas. Picks such as Katarina and LeBlanc have positive win rates against the Unshackled, but bear in mind that these are riskier choices. If played right, Katarina and LeBlanc can trade up against Sylas and shut him down before he gets to terrorize team fights.
Sylas counters for the top lane
In the top lane, many tanks and bruisers are good counters against Sylas. The best current pick is Singed, who wins over 60% of his matches against Sylas in top. Be aware that this matchup is rare, so the sample size isn’t great. With that said, it makes sense that Singed performs well against Sylas. A champion like Sylas wants to jump in and get quick burst combos on squishy targets. Singed is perfect at interrupting this, with his tankiness and high speed. In a late-game scenario, Sylas will likely never be able to kill a Singed or keep up with him if they are on even footing.
Other solid champions against Sylas are such bruisers as Urgot, Wukong, and Darius. All of these champions will ultimately outscale Sylas and will be able to duel him without much problem. Sylas won’t be able to chunk through the defenses and will at the same time be squishy enough for a champion like Urgot to eat him. In the lane, Sylas can get an advantage against these champions so have patience and play it outsmart.
Sylas is officially a mage champion, but he doesn’t work like most mages. Unlike most other mages, Sylas is a melee champion and is all about being up in the enemy’s face. Sylas relies on quick ability combos and almost feels more like a bruiser or assassin at some points in the game.
In season 11, Sylas has slowly started to climb back into the meta. As of patch 11.8, players are using Sylas for both the mid and top lane at Platinum rank and above. Sylas performs best in the mid lane with a fairly balanced win rate at 50.06%. In the top lane, Sylas is performing a bit worse and is seen less frequently with a win rate of 48.81%. There is no doubt that Sylas is still best suited for the mid lane, but he does have matchups up top through which he can thrive.