In League of Legends, the overwhelming majority of all players want to win. There’s a subset of them, who rebel against the expectation placed on people in ranked matches to play what is OP or at least very good at that specific time. They call those who play what’s strongest “meta slaves”, placing on a pedestal the rebellious act of NOT playing what’s supposed to be the best, trying to win games with strategies they came up with themselves. While sometimes these strats can actually turn out to be the perfect counter to the actual meta, eventually becoming the meta themselves as the strongest thing to do at that time, most of the time, they are just failed attempts at finding something new.
To help you find out why you should follow the meta, we should first explain how things BECOME meta. With every patch, the game changes little by little. While some changes like hardline nerfs to OP champions, can have an immediate impact on that champion’s play rate and, consequently, his win rate, tweaking the metagame, others are much more well-hidden. Usually, the first people who figure out what works and what doesn’t are the pros. From there, their picks, bans, item builds and everything else trickles down the ranks to the average League player. When you get ahead of the curve in your ELO, you can expect a bump in win rate, provided you’re at least competent at the thing you’re trying to do in your ELO.
Another thing that happens when you follow the meta is that your teammates know what to reasonably expect from you. Let’s imagine that you are an AD Carry, who goes into a Solo Queue game, picks Twitch or Caitlyn, just as the meta implies, to face a meta AD Carry and Support combo of… Jhin Karma, for example. And then, your Support picks Jarvan IV, assuring you that he’s not trolling. While a Jarvan IV could possibly work as a Support in some games, the truth of the matter is that it probably won’t, at least for 1 simple reason. How many times have you played with Jarvan IV as your Support? How many times have you played with a Zyra Support? I’m willing to bet that you had more games with Zyra. As a result, you know what you can expect from it.
This is one of the biggest downsides to shirking the metagame. When you don’t play what’s accepted to be meta, you ARE surprising your opponents, however, you’re also fucking over your team in two ways—you are making them think that you’re trolling, causing them to flame and lowering the chances of a win considerably, and you’re making them dedicate the brainpower needed to perform to trying to figure out what you can do, how the game should work out and many other similar things.