You have probably heard the phrase “One Trick” in League of Legends, but do you really know what a One Trick is in League? There is more nuance to this than one would think at first.
In this article, we’re going to break down all there is to know about One Tricking, We’ll talk about which champions are better to One Trick, which are not, we’ll also touch on if we think one tricking is bad or good.
What does it mean to be a One Trick Pony
A One Trick Pony or OTP is a player who exclusively plays a single champion no matter what, some are so dedicated to their one champion that it doesn’t matter which lane they get they will lock in their one champion they can play and nothing else.
Most of the time, OTPs play difficult high skill cap champions like Zed, Riven, Yasuo, Jayce, etc.
The majority of these champions can be classified as slayers or assassins, but an OTP can play any champion, for example Thresh and Pyke are popular support OTPs thanks to their mechanics.
One Trick Pony vs Mains
You might be confused about this, what’s the difference between someone who mains a champion and a OTP?
Well, while there are no hard rules there is a clear difference between the two. While a Main is a champion you feel the most comfortable playing in ranked thanks to countless game invested in him, for a normal LoL player their main is not their only champion they play, so even if they are not as good as that one “main” they can comfortably play a bunch of other champions and even other lanes.
Meanwhile an OTP in this case is almost useless if they’re not playing their one specific champion.
Is it bad to be an OTP?
OTPs can be controversial, because some people believe that playing only a single champion “is not playing the game correctly” and there is some logic to that line of thinking.
In a game with more than 150 champions limiting yourself to a single one can seem crippling, as an OTP you won’t really understand how the other champions work, how long their cooldowns are and so on.
But on the other hand being a OTP can be beneficial, in fact if you were to ask a high level player what the easiest way to raise your rank is they would probably tell you to only play a single champion for some time.
Indeed, playing a single champion has some benefits, it completely removes all distractions from the game, so in a way you are practicing the game of League of Legends more by repeatedly playing a single champion. You don’t need to learn anything after a while and can concentrate in performing better in the game.
In my opinion, being a hardcore OTP is not ideal, but it can be beneficial to limit yourself to playing one champion for some time. The biggest problem many will face is that it can be boring playing the same champion a lot, this is why most of the time popular OTP champions are quite difficult.
What Makes a Champion a Good One Trick
You might have seen that most of the time the popular One Trick champions have a few things in common, well yes, they do and there’s a reason for that.
They Have a Dynamic Play-style or a High Skill Cap
If you’re going to be playing the same champion for a long time, you better enjoy it. Contrary to being a “meta-slave” OTPs do not care for things like tier lists and such. They generally love the entire kit of their champion and sometimes even the lore and voice lines as well.
These champions generally have unique mechanics that distinguish them from your average run of the mill champion in their role/lane. For example, Nunu is a tanky jungler that has a massive AoE Nuke and a very interesting mechanic in his snowball and he also comes with a second smite, super different from your average jungler.
High Carry Potential
While every champion can potentially carry a match, these champions generally excel at doing just that. It doesn’t mean that only ADC’s can be OTPs in fact there are One Tricks for every role. But it means they must have a solid way of influencing the course of a match.
These champions have either a direct or an indirect way of influencing most matches, they empower their players to feel like they actually have an influence no matter what.
For our Nunu example, let’s be honest Nunu is not really a “carry” he doesn’t really do as much sustained damage and most people aren’t super scared of him 1v1 them in a side lane, yet he is a popular one trick champion because his ganks and objective control can take over the entire map!
They Are Meta-Proof
Being the complete opposite of” flavor of the month “champions, these guys will always have a place in most matches thanks to their unique design and flexibility.
Take for example, Lee Sin. This guy has been nerfed since he was released pretty much, yet he is still played in the professional scene. This speaks volumes about Lee Sin’s unique design and strength.
His mobility and damage in the early parts of the game always enable a skilled Lee Sin OTP to take over games and “carry” games even if he doesn’t even end up dealing the most damage at the end of the match.
These champions can also be overpowered or underpowered but their place in the game is undeniable, so they are prime candidates for One Tricking.
Positives of Becoming a One Trick Pony
Becoming an One Trick Pony can be beneficial, think about the famous Bruce Lee quote: “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times”.
One tricks have an innate understanding of their champions limits, or at least in theory they do so for them using their champion’s abilities is second nature to them, this enables these players to focus on other things besides champions mechanics.
By exclusively One Tricking your macro will improve much quicker by playing a single champion for a long period of time, and macro is a fundamental way to improve at the game, and it carries over for when you hopefully start playing other champions.
This means that in some ways, One Tricking is the optimal way to climb faster, learn macro faster and so on!
Negatives of Becoming a One Trick Pony
While there are a bunch of positives to becoming a One Trick Pony in the short term, one could argue that there are a lot of negatives to just playing a single champion for years.
Most of the time, serious One Tricks (we’re talking about years here) will struggle to break out from their one champion. Some players can climb has high as diamond playing a single champion and then they can’t play anything else at this level.
You can quickly develop a myopic and warped play-style that is only viable with your unique champion. The biggest example is probably Singed. They’re unique mechanics and play styles can totally gimp a player’s development long term.
Another big problem I see a lot with One Tricks and that contributes to their bad name in Diamond and up is the fact that a lot of the time, these players can attain a rank that is multitudes higher than their “real” rank.
For example some players can reach Diamond 5 by spamming Riven for a year, then when it comes down to it, they’re only a diamond player if they are playing top lane and Riven, so when they inevitably play another champion they will probably look like they’re inting.
These players can sometimes develop a bit of an ego thanks to their strong performances in their main, but in a competitive setting these players are terrible to play with, as they can get their main banned and now their team is stuck with a crippled player.
After reading this article you should have a pretty great idea on what One Tricking a champion means. It’s not really a complicated subject but it can really illustrate some of the more important concepts in the game.
In a way One Tricking is something most players will dabble in at least once in their League career, it generally happens because we really like a champion but they’re pretty hard, so we spend a lot of time playing this one champion and eventually we become quite good at it.
But some people really take it one step further and completely dedicate to playing only a single champion. In a way I find that admirable, those hardcore players either really love the game or maybe they’re autistic I don’t really know but their dedication is amazing to see.
I’d recommend to almost everyone to try one tricking for some time if you want to improve your macro and boost your rank quickly, but do not stay a One Trick forever if you want to continue improving long term.