My ideas to fix the current 5v5 meta

The basis of this post, is my ideas on how to fix the broken 5v5 Meta. ‘Fixed’ is of course relative, but I’m going to go with SEMC’s design basis of solo side lanes, solo jungler, and duo mid with captain as the design basis. We’ve seen SEMC attempt to force this throughout the last couple of updates, we’ve not seen much progress.

3.8 Meta - Funnel Mid/Bot jungle, 2 captains for mid/bot. Top was 3rd captain, utility, or split pusher.

3.9 Meta - Duo bot lane, 1v2 top lane, side lanes with push comps, get two turrets first, snowball game with lane swaps or other rotations.

Of course every tier and ever game has different game play styles, but this is basically what is seen in top tier play and professional meta. We haven’t gotten close to the design meta, but I don’t think it would take massive changes for it to happen.

The problems as I see it are

1… Multiple Cheap/Captain builds are too effective.

  • This allows a two carry funnel gold composition to work so well and dis-incentivizes a carry jungler or top lane.

2… There is too much ambient gold in lanes.

  • This removes the requirement from someone actually jungling on an effective rotation to earn gold.

3… The map is so small that there is nothing preventing carries from rotating through the jungle and last hitting the camps.

  • Anyone actually trying to jungle will be left with half of their camps or more stolen by carries.
  • If we tune lanes to have super buff minions that take forever to kill so carries cannot leave, we create siege engines (3.9 + minion candy)

The solutions proposed

1… All AoE captain items should put a buff/de-buff on the targeted heroes which has the same cool-down as the item and prevents multiple instances of this item from being effective.

  • This would include Fountain, Crucible, Rook’s Decree, War Treads, and possibly Atlas.
  • The prices of all these items could be reduced, since they can no longer be abused by multiple purchases, and a captain can be more effective with lower total gold. See #2

2— The ambient gold in the lanes should be reduced, to a value much less than available jungle gold.

  • Currently there is more gold in mid-lane ambient than the whole primary jungle.
  • Side lane ambient is only 10% less than the whole primary jungle.
  • Lane ambient gold of 40% (75% currently) would approximately give 50% of primary jungle gold in side lanes, this would severely punish a duo carry push lane.
  • Captain gold will be much lower, but item prices can be adjusted accordingly for their income.

3— There needs to be a primary jungle item which incentivizes for the team to have the jungler to last hit jungle camps.

  • Since item development is long and difficult, I suggest modifications to Stormguard Banner and Stormcrown.
  • Last hits of jungle camps only can give the ironguard contract passive to the banner user, maybe with more healing.
  • Banner damage procs should put a timed de-buff on the target (including dragons) so multiple banners cannot do effective damage. Banner should be tuned so it is clearly the optimal jungle clear item, armor and shield can be increased significantly in the early game jungle camps so non-banner heroes will not be able to clear the camps without taking punishing amounts of damage.
  • Ultimately, banner needs to build into an item tree which allows for different tier 3 items for different types of junglers. Building into an effective warrior item, assassin item, etc. (This could come later)
  • The banner item should sell for 0 gold. This will help prevent carries from buying it early game to steal jungle camps for only 300 gold cost.
  • Some of the available jungle gold and XP could be put into bonuses awarded for jungle monster kills while carrying the item.

SEMC’s core design philosophy seems to be flexibility in hero roles, positions, build paths, but I don’t see the 5v5 meta being fixed without a jungle item. Excoundrel had a tweet suggesting they remove ambient gold entirely, and put an ambient gold earning item back on the captain, but this will not fix carries taking the jungle, and we’d end up with two captains again.

I know SEMC does not desire a role where you buy the same item every single game as your starting item, but I believe for jungle to be fixed this is what needs to happen. When jungle is fixed and duo captains are no longer viable, the 2v1 side lane meta is fixed as well. New tier 3 banner choices would allow for banners to become the core jungle item, regardless of which jungler you pick.

I do not know for sure if these ideas would fix the 5v5 meta, but they’re my best attempt. I’d love to hear feedback and for people to poke holes in proposed changes.


I like how you went out of your way to do ambient gold math to give everything perspective. I 100% agree banner needs it’s own item tree again like how we used to have Contraption and Warhorn, but SEMC could expand it to be more flexible than just those 2 items especially with War Treads being a thing. I like the idea of applying bugs and debuffs so aoe items cannot stack which can definitely help keep certain roles more defined rather than top being either another support or a bursty assassin like Reza…or a nuke like Joule. Maybe increase base gold and buffing lane minions while reducing ambient significantly so that junglers will actually have to jungle. I forgot how much the twin bears are worth, but their gold value could also increase with an ambient nerf to really make junglers want to roam in order to stack up against the laners which can make them a threat in every lane, so top lane won’t just get steam rolled by bot since the junglers will be far scarier. Ofc heroes will need to be balanced around this like Krul cause otherwise they’d run rampant.

I had no idea the ambient gold was that bountiful. That’s ridiculous. No wonder captains don’t want to rotate - they’re getting fed just squatting in the middle. Great post with some interesting points. I disagree that a jungler-item would be necessary if the they were to make a change to ambient gold as you suggest. I think a slight nerf to captain base damages, and a minor nerf to health of jungle monsteres would recreate true junglers and get back to 1 cap, 1 jungler, and 3 laners.

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