While a number of champions such as Graves and Orianna having thus far looked great in the Worlds 2020 Play-In stage, top laner Ornn has arguably been the most dominant in shaping the tournament meta. So important is the champion that Legacy Esports top laner Kim “Topoon” Ji-hoon advised that “whoever picks Ornn first is going to win” when asked for his thoughts ahead of his side’s tiebreaker game with Team Liquid.
Since his release in 2017, Ornn has slowly joined a key group of champions whose kit makes them ideal for the competitive landscape. Examples include jungler Lee Sin, mid laner Orianna, and bot laner Ashe, all of whom can provide great utility and pick potential both when ahead and when behind.
While not always seen in the meta, this group of champions will be consistently picked whenever viable as their value in the game is not dependant on raw stats and damage. Looking at Ornn’s kit, it should come as no surprise to see him in this category.
Ornn’s ultimate, Call of the Forge God, can knockup all enemies when pulled off effectively and deals percent maximum health damage in the process. Such an ability can single-handedly decide team fights when used at its best or can be employed to reliably engage or disengage depending on the team’s need. Even his basic abilities such as Volcanic Rupture (Q) and Searing Charge (E) add to his versatility as they can both be used set up a pick or to help with an escape.
Not only do Ornn’s abilities place him in the group of competitively dependable champions, his item upgrade passive can also make him a top-tier top laner when combined with champion picks that use those upgrades effectively. With the other champions in the meta so far at Worlds, it’s easy to see how effective Ornn’s upgrades can be.
Jungler Graves, who has been the most-picked in his role, includes Black Cleaver in his usual build. Lillia and Nidalee trail just behind Graves and can both make use of Zhonya’s Hourglass. In the mid lane, the two most-picked champions, Orianna and Syndra, can utilize any of Ornn’s upgradeable AP items. These include, Luden’s Echo, Rabadon’s Deathcap, and again, Zhonya’s Hourglass. Favored bot laners Jhin and Ashe will often both build an Infinity Edge, though the latter may also opt for Blade of the Ruined King, while support Rakan will frequently build Redemption. This ability to synergise with all of these champions has gone a long way towards Ornn’s current strength at the 2020 World Championship.
With much more of the tournament still to come it will be interesting to follow the way in which the Worlds meta continues to take shape. Each year the tournament sees new picks come and go as teams become more familiar with the current patch, and this ongoing evolution may yet change Ornn’s place in the meta heirarchy.