Riot, Nerf Please!

It's time for the first installment of a new series: Riot, Nerf Please! I'm your host, Gentleman Gustaf, and today we're going to be talking about a few things that need nerfs! Some people seem to me missing the point of this article. I'm not complaining about these champions. In fact, my ranked 5s team plays these champions almost every game! I just think they're way too strong at the moment and should be nerfed soon.

Riot, Nerf Master Yi Please!

First, I want to talk about Master Yi. I never thought I'd say this, but his kit is just too damned synergistic. The champion he reminds me most of is Skarner in his heyday, but then again, at least Skarner has always been unwieldy enough to face significant problems against organized teams, not to mention having join offensive and defensive scaling. What exactly is the problem?

On the one hand, Master Yi just has TONS of sustained damage. What are his steroids?

  • An extra attack every 4/3 attacks that does half damage (isn't Tumble an extra 50% AD every 3-4 attacks?)
  • 20% AD True Damage on-hit (Corki gets 10% AD) and then another 30 true damage on-hit (Vayne gets 60 true damage every 3 hits)
    In fact, if you compare Vayne's passive to Yi's passive, assuming a target with 4k health, Vayne gets around 380 true damage every 3 hits. Master Yi needs 483 AD to beat that, but he also doesn't need to hit the same target 3 times to get his steroid.
  • 15% of his AD as bonus AD, or about 10 at level 1, about 30 by the time you have a Bloodthirster, and about 45-60 late game (Vayne gets 25 at 6, 40 mid-game, and 55 late-game)
  • 80% Attack Speed (only 10% less than Tristana gets)

So Master Yi has just under the best Attack Speed steroid in the game, the best AD buff for most of the game, a true damage steroid that doesn't quite measure up to Vayne's, but leaves Corki's in the dust, and a passive that is basically Vayne's Tumble. But on top of insane sustained damage, he has pretty sizable burst. Everybody knows that Graves' Buckshot can hurt:

  • Buckshot:
    • 1 hit: 200-.8 AD
    • 2 hits: 270 + 1.08 AD
    • 3 hits: 340+1.36 AD
  • Alpha Strike
    • 165 + AD (+ .6 AD on crit)

If Buckshot only with 1 of its 3 projectiles, Alpha Strike beats it at 175 AD (basically a Bloodthirster). Beyond that, Buckshot is strictly better. So there's something. Although we should watch out for crit. On a crit, Alpha Strike beats 1-hit buckshot at 43.75 AD (which everybody starts with), and beats 2-hit buckshot at 202 AD (again, basically a Bloodthirster). Does Alpha Strike ever really beat Buckshot? Thankfully, no. But the ease with which it hits 4 targets, not to mention the fact that it crits really adds a lot of strength to it.

But really, the strength of Alpha Strike is that it negates Master Yi's weakness: being melee. It allows him to close a gap to a target while not being CC'd. It can also be used reactively, to dodge a CC.

So he gets 10% less than the best AS steroid in the game, a true damage steroid that's almost 3 times as strong as Corki's, and bonus AD that beats Vayne's ultimate for most of the game.

So what are his weaknesses? Well, for one, he's melee. His ultimate is necessary because it gives him the Movement Speed he needs to engage. His Alpha Strike is also necessary, either to close the gap or to dodge CC headed his way. And if he DOES meditate, he isn't gated by cooldowns, unlike old AP Master Yi, so he's losing out on DPS.

But what's worse is the ridiculous synergy these skills have in making up for his mistakes. On the one hand, he does need both Meditate and Alpha Strike to make up for being melee. The former lets him avoid CC and close gaps, while the latter lets him take a little bit of focus. On the other hand they're just TOO available. Sure, the cooldowns on Alpha Strike and Wuju style are 14 seconds (and Meditate is 35 seconds!). But let's look at what that REALLY means.

First, Highlander gives 18 seconds off of your cooldowns for every kill you get. This means a kill is an instant reset on your CC avoidance, your nuke, and your steroid. It's easy to see how, once you get ahead, you can just cut through their team like, well, a samurai sword through butter. They might as well have renamed him "Master Yi: The WuJuggernaut", because if you feed Master Yi, once he gets going, he keeps going. But that's the extreme case. What about the regular cases?

Well, if you're worried about combat without Wuju Style, fear not. It lasts 5 seconds, and an assist takes 9 seconds off of its cooldown. So if you mistime your engage and have to meditate or backoff, and worry you've wasted your steroid, as long as anybody on the other team dies in the fight, you can jump back in, steroid at the ready!s

And Alpha Strike? Well, it should basically never be down (unless you're losing). Its cooldown is 14 seconds. With an AS of 1.5, its effective cooldown is 5.6 seconds. And as with Wuju Style above, any assist will bring it back up basically immediately.

Basically, Master Yi is one giant win-more champion. If he's behind, he may still be decently strong, but he won't be unstoppable. But if he gets ahead, he has so many tools at his disposal. For that alone, I think he should be nerfed; even if he doesn't end up being overpowered, he's overly binary.


Not much needs to said about Vayne (but for those of you new to the community, her issues are covered here: namely, she scales too well with auto-attack items and lifesteal, and doesn't need to build damage or penetration to GET damage). She is one of the hardest hypercarries, and I'm sure every LoL player has had a frustrating experience with an over-fed Vayne. But she had been kept in line throughout Season 2 by a number of strong lane bully ADCs and supports. Let's look at a list of the champions who 'counter' Vayne. We've of course got Corki and Ezreal and Caitlyn and Graves and Urgot, and supports like Sona and Sona and Sona.

We all know Sona's been nerfed more times than Irelia, so let's leave her aside for now. At the end of Season 2, Corki got nerfed into oblivion, Ezreal lost his AS slow (the tool that made him counter Vayne), and Graves got his burst and late game dps nerfed. On top of that, Urgot got his Q range dropped, and Caitlyn recently took a nerf to her early game dps. With all of these nerfs, Vayne was able to truly come out to play. I think the nerf to her ult most recently (hitting the cooldown) is only a bandaid. Vayne needs a change to the way tumble works (it's simply too spammable late game). A slight increase to tumble's cooldown might even allow for Vayne buffs, but as it is, her kit is so defined by that ability and its synergy with Silver Bolts that she has to remain weak at every other stage of the game.

But don't take my word for it. Just ask the Korean meta, where she's 17-5, for a 77% win percent!

Sword of the Divine

To clarify, do I think that Sword of the Divine is OP? No. But it essentially only has two values: useless, or abuse case. That is, it's either an overly expensive item that doesn't give you the stats you need, or it's an item that lets you bypass normal gating needs. Let me give some examples.

Jayce: Jayce already gets 3 attacks that do bonus damage at max attack speed. Making them all crits that do bonus damage? A bit silly.

Master Yi: Never stop Alpha Striking, between your passive and the resets on kills/assists and three super fast attacks.

Vayne: It's suddenly not very hard to proc silver bolts anymore!

It also allows for some crazy combos with AoE initiators, such as Malphite or Nautilus or Vi. Sure, you only get 3 crits, but if their whole team is knocked up for 2 seconds, that may be all you get.

Essentially, when Sword of the Divine works, it WORKS, but otherwise, it's pretty weak. It's not a snowball item, but it fills a similarly silly niche.


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