Playing with newly introduced players has taught me technical skill on certain champs is just downright silly. Singed, for example, is a lot of fun and while he's got a very fragile early, you just gotta know who will counter him and how to deal, and he's as simple as it gets. Farm lots, stay away from champions, hopefully flip into tower. Meanwhile, two-kit champions like Nidalee or Jayce are a little more complex, because there's management of two entirely different modes. And the degree of technical difficulty (meaning not just micro, but how to play the character) just gets higher and higher, until you land at these seven I have listed here.
#7 - Master Yi
AP Yi, naturally, couldn't be more brainless and simple. Q someone a few times, chip them down, meditate a bit, go for kill when it feels fitting. But AD Yi is actually, genuinely, tricky to get right. His early game has quite a bit of damage, especially if he lands a double strike, and most of his midgame is about getting up to the right items to be beneficial. Given his main slot is jungle, this is harder than it sounds, especially since he kind of has to gank to help the team, and his ult is almost required to do that.
But his vulnerability all over the board is his main disadvantage. At any point, a single nuke or stun will keep him in place enough to just have him burst like a balloon. And that's not even to mention Thornmail, which consistently kills Yi before he realizes he's dying.
Yi is technically complex because even though he lacks in a lot of the fine tuning that makes others on this list hot, he still has the resets he gains from his ult, if they are kills. Timing an Alpha Strike, knowing when to Meditate and when it will heal you vs when they will just blow you up. Fiora at least has her ult and Parry to counteract with some of the focus, and Tryndamere can always go invincible or spin over a wall. Yi, however, only can run, or maybe do a fancy Alpha Strike. Knowing when to go in and who to chop down is always what makes him tricky.
#6 - Ashe
Ashe is a carry with CC, which means that she has the highest ability to play keepaway and kite out of anyone. If she doesn't want you to get close, you don't, and when she has the damage to make it happen, you die. But it's a long, slow road, full of no escapes.
There's a billion tiny things that add up that make Ashe complex – attack moving, correct targeting, and the always-important positioning and spacing. Her ult is one of her best abilities to making sure that champ stays off you, but what happens when you fight a hard-dive team, or assassins, and your team doesn't have that front line? When do you use ult, defensively or offensively? When do you cone? When do you get involved?
#5 - Twitch
Continuing the Ashe train of thought - for any ADC, positioning is critical. This is pretty much standard. Some like Trist, have the small repositioning tools and keepaways, whereas Ezreal's main tool is his rad-as-hell escape. Twitch has none of those; he has an attackspeed steroid that's also an invisibility escape...thing?
He's a roaming carry, and everything that is his carry potential is added into his roaming power. So he's got a slow that adds stacks for his nuke, his ult that gives him range, and his stealth that gives him attack speed. And when he comes out of stealth, he has commited – the decision is made for him. He is Ashe without her CC but twice her damage, and everything he could do to play unsafe can either come out fantastically ahead for him, or put him prime position to getting killed.
I know that so far it's just squishy carries with heavy commit, but that's the bottom of the top of the ceiling. And now we get to...
#4 - Drayyyven
I would be remiss to not mention one of the more technical champs Riot's released in forever. I almost went Varus for this, because both are restrained to specific positioning and movement just like Ashe and Twitch, and both celebrate a surplus of damage with their tricks – Varus's stacks, and Draven's spinning axes.
Draven, of course, can just outright kill you at level 2 or 3, but even when you get to lategame his juggling axes is tricky to get right without walking right into a pissed off Xin Zhao, and that's not even getting the three-axe juggle. And that's really what stuck him at the top - even if Varus requires precise positioning, there's no kiting game like Ashe and the amount of tech and repositioning of Draven is downright crazy...and all the more dangerous if you can get it right.
#3 - Katarina
All assassins are technically complex in a way, I mean, there's the waiting-to-engage, as well as who to do it on. This is why, when I play someone like Kassadin or the like, I usually just pick a target and jump them when the weapons start flying. Talon and he are pretty tricky in that way. But, unlike most others, Kat's got two differences – a channeled ult, and resets.
A friend who plays her a lot said once that the main trick to doing your job as Kat is knowing when to stop ulting. It's pretty true. If you have done the damage you need to do with her ult, it means you might have gotten the reset, which will allow more Shunpo/Steel/Dagger attacks, and repeat. And adding to all of that, she's still got the assassin problem of just blowing up the second you throw any CC at her.
Compare to say, Kass or Talon, who just jumps onto someone and slashes them until they die. You just do more with Kat than most assassins. She's fragile, but she's also very intensive and it's not just burning all your abilities and hoping you do enough to kill them.
And speaking of which...
#2 - Vayne
Vayne is someone I got a lot of flak for hating on because I got sick of people at my rating thinking they were friggin Neo and autolocking her and maxing Silver Bolts because she was so strong on release in all the official Riot tournaments, only to get shotgunned in the face by a Graves or just poked down by Cait because you have to have those silly things called 'reaction times' and 'understanding of the champion', not just 'they are OP.' It was maddening to watch and drove me to just hate Vayne, as a champion. I've felt better since I begun duoqueuing with my friend who is actually quite good with her a lot, especially since she syncs so well with Alistar.
But, on the flipside, if you're Doublelift or somewhat intelligent in the slightest, Vayne really does have the full kit that you need. She can do basically everything – she can dodge most skillshots, has momentary CC, and in her ult she just wins, almost regardless of items. The sheer numbers she gets on everything can turn most fights around, and if she doesn't get hit? She's fine.
This is why Cleanse or Barrier is starting to become a big thing for her in matchmaking ever since S3 instead of Ignite – you gain bonus HP or cleaning CC in tricky spots, which tends to keep her alive. So let's recap; dodge in ult that grants an on-hit strike, repositioning, and invisibility, a knockback that can also stun, as well as one of the lowest HP stats in the game, and no escape skill that isn't her small-distance dodge.
Champs don't come more technical than that. Well, there is one. Drumroll for...
#1 - Riven
It's pretty noteworthy that it's not just her passive that makes her technical, though it is one of her bigger features. It's basically everything in her kit. It's her three-beat Q that does area damage and shoves the lane. It's her stun that is both AOE and 1:1 scaling with AD. It's her shield that is 1:1 AD scaling (!!) and also a gap closer. It is also her ult that gives her insane stats and increased range on everything, plus a % of life nuke.
She's just unlike most champions. She doesn't need survivability for most of the game unless it's something like Hex to bash her way through AP champs, because she can just stack Doran's and Longswords and Vamp Scepter and build items into them to use the raw scaling on it, her autos, her passive, and her ult.
There's a reason there was a pro-requesting tournament that invited pros to decide who was the best Riven. Management of her passive, her summoner spells, and whatever you do with the elixir in the meta (she could get momentum and just destroy back when red elixir starts was still a thing), made her unbearably strong, and very little could force her out of lane. I, for instance, loved to take Gangplank against her and harass her into using it or just farming under her turret, but even then any jungler ganks could come out and completely undo all of my work by pinning me in place enough to let her just chip me down and execute with Wind Slash.
There's just a lot you can do with her. If you think they will fall for it, you can throw a few Broken Wings to charge up her passive then rely on autos and Exhaust/Ignite to surprise them. This is why you frequently see them stack longswords when they fall a bit behind – sometimes it's cheaper and more efficient to buy one and more potions than finish the Bruta/Vamp Scepter/Hex/etc and go for another kill.