Tryndamere’s return to the Rift and his impact on Worlds 2021
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If people think League can bring out the anger in people, they should meet the Barbarian King. Tryndamere is as angry as they get. In the fall of 2021, however, it’s more laughter than anger that Tryndamere is bringing out of players.
In early October, Galatasaray Esports (GS) faced off against Cloud 9 (C9) and jaws dropped when the North American team locked in Tryndamere. Perkz took the battle to Onur “Bolulu” Can Demirol’s Sylas who had stolen Tryndamere’s ultimate. The “Undying Rage” yells went out twice as strong. Though Bolulu got in some licks, it was Perkz who took home the win for C9.
Perkz brought out Tryndamere once more after that victory. In game three of a sweep against Australian team PEACE (PCE) the midlaner went 3/0/5 and dominated opponent James “Tally” Shute.
But Tryndamere's days on the Rift are far from over. He’s made a heroic spin back into professional play as of 2021’s Worlds. So far, it has been awe-inspiring to see the return of the king. Some have speculated as to why the pick is coming back into style, venturing to call it broken.
Whatever the reason, an understanding of Tryndamere’s pro pick history and a look at how he is faring on the international stage will give a picture as to how things are going for Tryndamere today.
Brief History of Tryndamere in Pro League of Legends
The adopted Avasoran has not made a reputation for himself as a pro pick. He’s been out since the beta, released alongside Evelyn and Twitch.
For Season 3 Worlds, Tryndamere had a 1.6% pick/ban rate, and won the only game he played. In the top lane, Lituanian player Laurynas “Nbs” Kisielius played Tryndamere to success once domestically and once at Worlds for Gaming Gear.Eu, a team that would disband after its loss at that same tournament.
In 2014, now 100 Thieves head coach Bok ‘Reapered’ Han-gyu shocked the world by bringing Tryndamere into the midlane – where we now see the champion at Worlds 2021. It was the Korean player's third lane swap in professional play, but he and the rest of Jin Air Falcons failed to bring home the nexus-destroying bacon. The swap heralded the end of Reapered’s time in the scene.
That said, Reapered is remembered still as a master in the Top Lane and as an individual player for bringing out unique picks. He saw something in the point-and-click adventurer that no one else did.
Tryndamere saw very little professional play from 2015 to 2019, showing up just one time in China. In 2017, Ceres lost as Tryndamere in the top lane. No surprise, Young Miracles’ mid lane Li "caipuxin" Guo lost as the then-underwhelming champ in 2019. But, 2019 was also the year more players were trying out this renegade pick. Bastián Nicolás “IceBox” Almonacid Oyarzo brought Tryndamere out for Azules eSports and scored a W in the top lane.
In 2020 Tryndamere came out a total of 27 times! A big upgrade, and by 2021 Tryndamere was a household pick – he was chosen 55 times. While more popular in Korea and China, it shouldn’t shock anyone that Tryndamere has come full circle to Western teams.
Tryndamere POWR in Worlds
Perkz, resident “all our hopes ride on you” player of NA, has done well with old spin-to-win. He’s won both of his Tryndamere games, netting a POWR of 55 in both games. The only other player to win with the king would be PCE’s Tally who set the POWR bar at 59.
As readers of Factor know at this point, a single game POWR rating in the 50s is not blowing anyone’s hair back. The barbarian king hasn’t dropped any jaws just yet – the win rate for the champion is just 37.5 percent.
Nisqy has been less impressive than his peers on the champ. He threw his hand to his head and rolled his eyes at his own performance a few times, and he earned a POWR of 39 while playing Tryndamere once. The average POWR for Tryndamere at Worlds so far is also at 45.8.
The strategies that teams have employed are just as key to understanding Tryndamere at Worlds. Combos with Sejuani in the jungle and an enchanter support like Karma abound, like HLE’s comp against LNG. Academy coach for IMT Jensen Goh broke down that approach here, giving it an overall A grade and calling it a “a solid, simple and effective strategy with higher burden of execution counterplay.”
What he means to say there is that the pick in itself requires the other team to counter pick just to stop old point-and-click. This was GS’ strategy against Perkz on that fateful day.
Is Tryndamere worth it?
When the C9 folks locked in Tryndamere as their fourth pick, GS were able to use their fifth pick to opt for Sylas. It should be telling that Sylas’ ultimate is “Kingslayer.” When it came to that aforementioned team fight, Bolulu was just able to hit R better than Perkz.
However, a jungle gap a mile wide emerged, affording C9 the win, and the counter pick fell flat. That said, as Goh pointed out, Tryndamere is a volatile champion that is only as good as his comp.
There are reasons the champion has resurfaced, though. Goredrinker’s synergy, amongst a bruiser-heavy meta, with the champions’ ultimate is a clear throughline to dominating a weak midlane meta. Forcing the opponent to alter their composition on the fly can be a strong curveball as the stakes get higher. The gamble is also enticing since Tryndamere can be so deadly, auto-attacking towers to rubble and spinning past a strong front line to nuke the enemy’s glass cannons.
As the tournament has gone on, however, teams have chosen to play safer comps. Sturdy mid laners like Syndra and Twisted Fate are much more common as they can fend for themselves with reliable CC and stronger team fight mechanics. Tryndamere can deal a ton of damage, and provides unique strengths, but it seems that players like Faker prefer consistent champs like Oriana when an international win is on the line.
If you see your favorite pro lock in Tryndamere, don’t lose hope! The pocket pick can devastate opponents with the right supporting comp.