In my non-professional opinion, dueling is one of the most exhilarating things about League of Legends. The adrenaline you get when you’re duking it out with an opponent, juking each other and zipping through minion waves is unmatched.
For those who aren’t familiar with duels, it basically refers to the process in which 2 champions fight each other in a one-on-one scenario, often to the death. Some champions are excellent in team fights, some are better solo.
Dueling often involves either mobility, CC, or small windows of opportunity to dodge, be invulnerable, or counter attacks, and these are the reasons the whole process is so exciting. Today, let’s look at some of the best champions who excel at dueling, regardless of their lane.
For the purpose of this article, we’re going to consider both the realistic use of these champions as well as their potential in very skilled hands.
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As one of the best duelists in the game, if not the actual best, it really comes as no surprise that Fiora’s kit revolves around dueling – in fact, it’s in her name! Her skills and passive synergize well with basic attacks, which work well for short exchanges.
She strikes quick and her passive incentivizes moving in different directions which could make it hard for opponents to land skillshots naturally.
What really sets apart a good Fiora and a great Fiora, however, is their use of her skill Riposte. Essentially, it’s a counterattack skill, but the window to counter is quite short, so timing is key here.
Countering an attack with this skill slows the enemy, negates the damage, and stabs at them in a target direction, leaving you with a trade win. Another interesting thing about Riposte is that it actually stuns the enemy if she manages to counter an immobilizing effect.
This is particularly useful when you’re dealing with enemies with predictable stuns that give you time to react such as Jax’s Counter Strike and Taric’s Dazzle, leaving them at a severe disadvantage.
Riven has one of the highest skill ceilings in the whole game, and that’s a fact. She has a mixture of power moves, finishing ranged attacks, a knock up, and several ways to dash.
A lot of her skills are sequential, but a skilled player with a high APM (actions per minute) score will be able to pull off some truly amazing plays, especially when coupled with Flash.
The sheer number of combinations Riven could potentially pull off in successive executions are among the highest in Summoner’s Rift.
Chaining a string of combos that involve shields, stun, and dashes can be confusing for opponents, and the best Riven players are able to juggle these combos to suit their needs on the fly, truly making her one of the most difficult but rewarding champions to use in 1v1 situations.
Jax is amazing at 1v1 situations, and it shows in his kit. While not as complicated to use as a champion like Riven, Jax is excellent at 1v1 situations, particularly because of his ability to render attacks useless for a short amount of time in the form of Counter Strike.
The window to counter is a lot more forgiving than Fiora’s Riposte, and has the added benefit of letting you move while it’s still active. The downside is that it gives an opponent a longer chance to react to it and get away.
However, the sheer mobility of Jax coupled with how hard and quick he hits, as well as the type of hybrid damage he dishes out, can be very difficult for opponents to counter and build against when Jax decides to go all in.
His ultimate basically pumps him with steroids perfectly designed for him to go head-to-head with opponents 1v1, though Jax is also known to take on multiple opponents at once and come out on top.
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Before we talk about Yasuo, we’d also like to say that a lot of the points here also apply to his brother Yone, as they play very similarly to each other despite having different skill sets.
In the hands of a skilled player, Yasuo can be a handful to deal with. His ability to zip around when minions are nearby, coupled with his built-in free shield, movement speed boost, critical strike chance, the no-mana dependency, and having low cooldowns, make him an excellent duelist. Yasuo is also a lot easier to use than other champions on this list and he scales very, very well into the late game with sheer stats.
During trades, Yasuo is often in a better position because of his ability to spam and escape as well as the shield he gains when the opponent retaliates.
This shield passively triggering with little requirements besides building stacks through movements help a lot, especially because dashes with Sweeping Blade build them up faster, letting him really abuse it when the next minion waves come.
All things considered, this is one of the reasons he’s one of the most popular champions in League of Legends, besides his cool Samurai theme.
It would be tough not to include the champion who’s ultimate literally forces an opponent in a 1v1 situation into this list. Like a lot of the champions on this list, his kit is designed for a champion who likes to trade blows.
For newer players, having no mana really is an advantage, because you have less to manage during the laning phase. Mordekaiser has great poke potential because of Obliterate. He stores damage too, and gains a shield or an alternative heal through Indestructible (it’s in the name) for built in sustain in case his opponents outtrade him.
A problem he faces is that he’s easily kited, and it can be tough for him to deal with ranged or other poke heavy champions.
Because of that, he is able to pull them in with Death’s Grasp to pummel within range or use his ultimate skill Realm of Death to make sure no one gets in their way and prevent escape for both parties. Truly one of the kings of 1v1.
The Eye of Twilight is the only one different on this list in the sense that he doesn’t do absurd amounts of burst damage. Instead, he opts for a more sustained form of dueling and benefits from skirmishes that go on and off for longer periods of time.
Basically he can sustain better than most opponents before going in for the final kill. He is especially effective against auto attack champions (and let’s face it, a lot of the best duelists are) due to his ability to be invulnerable to them for a brief period of time in an area through Spirit’s Refuge.
Not relying on mana and having a built-in shield when Shen uses a skill every so often makes him excellent for quick bursts of damage, too. Shen himself naturally builds health items, so it benefits him during duels.
The same can’t be said about his opponent, however, as Twilight Assault deals damage based on the target’s max health. Overall, Shen’s utility, dueling potential, and the ability to mitigate damage towards him make him an excellent duelist, and that isn’t even counting what he brings to the table with his ultimate.
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Pantheon is excellent at trading, but doesn’t scale well into the late game. To make up for that, he really shines in the early game. Comet Spear is excellent for poking, and can be used as a ranged skill to catch fleeing enemies, with versatility rivaling Pyke’s Boneskewer.
Pantheon often comes out on top of trades because of his excellent stun, gap closer Shield Vault, and ability to burst down opponents.
When they do retaliate, he can negate damage in a given direction with Aegis Assault. And let’s face it, in a duel situation, damage does tend to come in one direction, with only a few exceptions.
By the time his full combo is finished, he would’ve taken little to no damage, the opponent’s best chance of survival is just to retreat because of his Q’s low cooldown. However, as we mentioned, he doesn’t scale as well late game, and transitions into more of a utility support with map presence due to Grand Starfall after he peaks in the mid game.
Special Mention: Lee Sin
Lee Sin doesn’t officially make it to this list because of his dependency and strict positioning requirements. I’m sure we’ve all seen the amazing plays the very best Lee Sin players are capable of, even going for 1v5 scenarios and coming out on top.
However, as he is dependent on other people and minions to truly maximize the potential of Dragon’s Rage and Safeguard, he does not make the cut. Still, using an energy system, being extremely mobile, the ability to dash to wards and zip around the map, gives him the potential to be very effective in 1v1 situations in the right hands.