Hello there! Welcome to my first installment of a weekly article about the top champions for ranked play based on the current meta. This is going to be a sub-piece to my usual ranked breakdown posts since I don't talk specifically on champions for those guides as they are about the general meta. Since adding all of this information to my normal ranked post would make it far too long this will be my way of providing more information without bogging down one post with too much text. It will be a bit shorter comparatively but will serve as a companion piece to my meta guides that will come out Wednesday. I won't be ranking from strongest to weakest so keep in mind all of these champions are strong, just for different reasons! That said let's get into it starting with Yasuo!
Yasuo has finally broken free of the supporting role in Blademaster builds and become the star in 10.3. After getting a small buff to his mana in 10.3 and several nerfs to a lot of other champions he has proven to be an adept carry killer in the current meta. Look to give him items like Hand of Justice, Guardian's Angel, Titanic Hydra, Bloodthirster or Infinity Edge and watch him burst down carries. Grab him around the beginning of the mid-game (level 6) and try to two-star him quickly as his one-star variation is... really bad. He's strongest in the mid-game and his win condition is getting him three-starred in the late game. He is weak to counter-play such as someone having a tank with three items and has issues into Crystal/Taric, Poison and CC.
Next up let's move on to one of the best mid-game carries, Azir! Azir has been a staple champion in the meta for awhile and that remains true in 10.3. His strength is being incredibly strong all game as a stand alone carry and plays well in a few compositions. Summoner/Assassin is the most likely place you will play him though if you do find a Spatula you can turn him into a Light unit. Outside of those builds he is just a solid carry for any build. The best item to give him is Rageblade and after that any magic damage or defensive items do well on him. Karma is a great pairing for him as she not only boosts his attack-speed but gives him survivability with her shield. He's weak to CC so keep that in mind later in the game and look to give him Quicksilver if there's too much CC.
Speaking of three-cost carries, Kindred is still a great champion to look for in 10.3. They are possibly the most contested champion in the game right now due to the strength of both Ranger and Shadow/Inferno compositions. It can be quite hard to two-star them so make sure to scout the lobby and see if it's worth investing into them. Kindred is also unique in that so many items can work well for them such as Rageblade, Seraphs, RFC, Deathcap & Jeweled Gauntlet just to name a few. They are on the squishy side so watch out for games with Assassins and try not to place them in a position that their ultimate is countered by a Crystal champion or a front-line unit with a Trap Claw.
Moving away from carry specific champions let's touch on a few strong front-liners that can work in a lot of situations. Malphite provides some of the best CC in the game while also being fairly hard to kill. He can be put into almost any composition just because of his ultimate but keep in mind he's another heavily contested champion so getting him two-starred can be difficult. He works best in Ocean/Mage builds if given a Mage cap (though those are hard to get in 10.3) but since Mountain is only a two piece trait it's easy to fit him into any build that's using Qiyana on Mountain map. Defensive items work well on him like Guardian's Angel and offensive items such as Morellnomicon really boost his damage.
Taric is likely the best five cost solo champion in the game when two-starred as his ultimate is insanely powerful. Mixed with Crystal and giving him Guardian's Angel he can almost solo win late game fights. He is another heavily contest champion though he works best in Ranger builds with Crystal. Like Malphite he can also be played on his own in other builds as your 8th or 9th champion. Watch out for Poison and CC as counters to him and make sure you scout for Zephyrs.
Keeping with the five cost theme let's mention Singed. Singed has always been seen as one of the strongest champions in the game and in 10.3 he's mostly played because of how strong Poison is late game. Often played in Rangers he is still an important piece to Predators and any build wanting to use Poison late game. Morellonomicon is a must on him so make sure you get that when you can. Other good items to place on him include Deathcap and Jeweled Gauntlet or defensive items such as Bramble Vest, Dragon's Claw and Warmogs. Positioning important back-line units in the corner is the best way to play against Singed as he sometimes won't run that far which leaves cornered champions untouched.
Let's touch on a four cost carry with Ashe. Ashe has been the secondary carry in Rangers for sometime but with the Statikk Shiv buff she has become the primary carry for that build. Twitch is still quite strong and will be your secondary carry but Ashe with Rageblade & Statikk Shiv is a must. Putting her damage and attack-speed aside what makes her incredibly important in Rangers is Crystal. Crystal, with Taric, is just insanely strong late game. As with any carry she is weak to CC so be careful on positioning her but unlike other carries she is actually decent into Assassins due to Crystal.
Since Rangers are a top meta build right now let's mention a champion you may not consider, Braum! After his recent buffs in 10.3 he has turned into a viable front-line champion for your mid-game. You will likely replace him later in the game (though you don't have to) but as an early and mid-game front-line he will do super, super well. Bramble Vest, Guardian's Angel and Redemption are great on him though you don't have to prioritize giving him items. One of the best ways you can work him into your composition if your plan is Rangers is to grab Ezreal as an early item carry and play these two for mid-game stabilization.
I'm sure it's no surprise but Qiyana is still one of the best and most versatile champions of the game and that's still true in 10.3 Because of her adaptive trait she can enable a few builds like 6 Inferno much easier or get you a super early Mountain buff. What's really made her shine in 10.3 is the return of a previous meta build, Summoner/Assassin, of which she is a staple champion in. On Cloud map she can also be played with Yasuo and Janna for an easy 3 Cloud buff. You can give her items like Shojins with Runaans but the best item to play on her is Zephyr. Place her in the corner and it will often lift the enemy players Assassin bait which lets her jump to their back-line carry for free.
Last to talk about is Karma! Karma and Leona fit really well into the game since they've been added but after the nerfs to Leona she hasn't been as staple of a champion the whole game the way that Karma has. Karma just pairs so, so well to any carry champion whether it's Azir, Ashe or even Yasuo because attack-speed in this game directly translates to more mana gained (and damage, of course). Plus her shield is strong enough to prevent a carry from getting super one shot on top of the fact she has two easily splashed in traits with Mystic & Lunar. Another strength of hers is her lack of dependence on any items though Tears definitely help (or Ocean hexes). One aspect of her ultimate that changed in 10.3 is she will shield a different champion for the first cast if the initial champion is Zephyr'd so always scout to make sure that doesn't happen!