Season 11 is looking to be a wild one in League of Legends with Riot doing everything in its power to shake up the meta during each patch. This includes some wonky picks in both solo queue and professional play, and Neeko is one of them.
The Curious Chameleon is a special champion because she can be played in several different ways. Neeko was originally designed as an ability power champion but has also been used as an on-hit attack damage champion to dominate lanes and split push. This makes the versatility of Neeko a major factor and gives players an opportunity to surprise their enemies when picking her.
The most optimal way of playing Neeko will always depend on the current meta. In season 11, Neeko has moved away from the attack-damage playstyle and is now used in other ways. Let’s take a look at the best way to counter Neeko and which champions she is good against.
Neeko is a champion that has been seen in most roles on the map at this point. Neeko is most commonly picked in the mid lane in season 11, with a current win rate of 51.11% on patch 11.7. Neeko isn’t at a point where she can be picked into everything, but is instead a champion that works in specific situations. In season 11, Neeko has also been picked up as a support in some cases. Her early-game damage is enough to bully most lanes while having plenty of crowd control when team fights erupt. As a support, Neeko has only won 47.17% of her games in Platinum rank and above, so it’s a pick that requires confidence and skill.
Prior to season 11, Neeko has also been seen in the top lane and even as a bot laner. In the top lane, the most common build path for Neeko includes on-hit damage. With items such as Blade of the Ruined King and Phantom Dancer, Neeko was used as a true lane bully with the potential to split push. Neeko acted as a perfect counter to tanks, as she could take advantage of her range and chunk tanks with her Inherent Glamour passive. This way of playing Neeko isn’t as viable anymore, but could potentially work out against such champions as Sion, Ornn, and Shen.
The best way to counter Neeko in League of Legends is picking champions with greater range than her. This can be achieved with champions like Xerath and Vel’Koz in the mid lane, who are currently performing the best against Neeko on patch 11.7. Xerath is so far the best counter to Neeko statistically, with a 57.93% win rate against Neeko. Vel’Koz is right behind along with Cassiopeia at around 56%.
Other ways to counter Neeko in the mid lane will be picking champions that can take her down before she gets to unleash her combo. Katarina and LeBlanc are both great assassins to do the job, with enough mobility to play around Neeko.
When facing Neeko as a support in the bot lane, there will be other ways to get around her. In most cases, Neeko will be bullying the lane in the early levels and force the enemy to play safe. As the laning phase continues, it will be possible to punish her with crowd control combos. Champions such as Alistar and Rell will likely struggle early on, but will be able to punish Neeko after getting a few levels. Neeko can also be heavily outscaled by enchanter supports such as Lulu and Seraphine as the game goes on.
As mentioned, Neeko isn’t a champion that can be picked into everything. This is clear from all the potential counters. With that said, there are champions that Neeko performs exceptionally well against.
When facing off against a Rumble or Lucian in the mid lane, Neeko will be a great pick. She is able to abuse her range against these two and dominate the laning phase. Against Rumble and Lucian, Neeko wins over 60% of her games and will likely continue to do so in the current meta. Neeko will also perform well against slow control mages like Azir or Ryze, simply because she is way stronger in the laning phase and can get a snowball rolling.
Neeko was released in December 2018, as the newest mage support to the game. Neeko may still feel like a new champion but she is actually over two years old. Since her release, Neeko has been played in many different ways and is a good example of a champion that ends up playing far differently than Riot may have originally intended.