So I think the big question everyone asked when Udyr was being buffed (or at least got the proposed buffs) was "when did Udyr become so bad?" Udyr was basically an auto-pick and auto-ban in every tournament, then he got his shield reduced to 200 from 220 and all of the sudden he went in to the bottom rung of obsolete champions. Well various things contributed to this. Udyr was beating up on all the popular top picks at the time so it was basically pick Udyr or get wrecked by Udyr (and with everyone trying to use Irelia it was a no brainer ban/pick choice.) However, he gets his laning phase nerfed a bit then all of the sudden no more Udyr, ever. Why is that?
Now this post isn't really about Udyr, but rather showing change THROUGH Udyr. I'm not saying "world is over for Udyr!" but rather, through Udyr, trying to show how things have changed. Don't think this is about Udyr.
Top lane changed: No longer a passive farm fest.
Udyr exists in lane to whack you with a tiger nuke, then put up his shield and sustain all the health/mana damage he took while also denying you counter attacks via his shield. So in an environment where nobody is really going for a kill and damage is mediocre with everyone trying to farm then Udyr reigns supreme. However, with Darius, Jayce, Olaf, etc. all coming out with either being released or buffed top lane became far more of a kill fest. It's hard to be Udyr when you're struggling just to maintain your health pool with turtle stances and you never even get a chance to go offensive.
The addition of hardcore heavy jungler camp didn't help Udyr either. He's slow, a lumbering brute really. He can't escape ganks very well, and he can't assist them very well either. You might say "HEY BUT YORICK AND DARIUS GOT USED AND THEY CAN'T ESCAPE EITHER!" Well Darius can REALLY assist ganks with his pull, yorick always keeps his opponent at low health and dominates the lane. Udyr wins slow and steady, and really works hard at denying CS via nobody wanting to get close to him. None of those things really help the jungler out to get kills, and none of them help him escape ganks since his tiny bear move won't be much use against red buff.
So basically Udyr got worse in lane.
Damage is a lot higher in lane, and killing potential is much higher. Turtle shield + tiger trades are no longer the end be all because people actually try to kill you now, not just trade. What's more is a lot of the more recent trading is HARD trading, things like Jayce comboes or Darius murder fests. Things you can't just turtle shield. And with damage higher tiger shots don't just immediately win everything. WHAT'S MORE is that with flask and mana pools getting much better. You can't just turtle shield spam and make people go OOM on your face anymore. Darius with flask isn't going to just OOM because you used turtle shield 4-5 times on his damage. Likewise, Jayce isn't going to run out of damage anytime soon.
Mobility powercreeped pretty hard.
Play Udyr against Syndra. Or against Orianna. Or against Caitlyn with a Nunu support. Get the idea here? Udyr can't get anyone anymore. He has to basically catch them off guard, which is to say that in a properly warded fair fight situation Udyr can only go after melee targets, people in front. Is that a bad thing? Does it make him bad? Well not entirely, he basically goes after tanks anyway. HOWEVER, he is just USELESS against other targets now which is a fairly big change.
I guess what I'm saying is that Udyr's field of available targets shrunk. He can't gank mid most of the time anymore, and he struggles to gank bot. So that leaves top which is increasingly warded and cautious as they respond to the powercreep in jungler gank strength. The days of playing Jungle Udyr and getting ghost for free kills are done. The days of roaming from top for kills are pretty much over. You can still tower dive, but with towers being far more damaging due to armor nerfs/tower buffs no longer is a rank 5 turtle shield enough to dive for 30 seconds.
The game has gotten more complex.
I think a big part of what played against Udyr is the game has simply gotten more complex. Champions that execute complex comboes are rewarded more. Pulling off a full darius pull and damage rotation in to ult rewards more than bear stancing in to somebody then auto attacking in tiger. And Udyr is very open to these comboes. As a hard melee champion with no real mobility or counterplay options (as in Udyr himself can't really do much to counterplay his opponents via things like Fizz poll or vlad pool or a jump away or etc.) Udyr is a prime target for comboes. Ever want to set up the perfect Syndra combo? Hit Udyr! Champions like Darius or Jax or etc. tend to move around a lot, stun easier, and pull/gap close to mess up comboes. Udyr? He runs quick.
What this also means is that Udyr can't be as good because he doesn't have anything to work with. Every udyr is going to bear in, then they're going to tiger, then they're going to turtle, then bear... every one, every time. Maybe not in that precise order, but they're just going to swap between the 3. Udyr can only improve on what other champions do, which is to move and attack and then move and attack rather than let the game do it for you.
Plus Ultimates have gotten a lot better.
Gone are the days of massive CD ultimates. Even Amumu went down 20 seconds in CD. As such, ultimates are up pretty much for every fight and NOT having an ultimate and instead having stronger abilities isn't so much of a positive any more. Darius with 100/90/80 seconds CD isn't gonna find his ult on CD when it's time to kill. And the champions without ultimates have incredible abilities, like Elise with her Q alone driving people out of lane.
So what has happened to our poor Udyr?
Well, he's easier to kite, he's not the only lane brute anymore, and he's gotten a form of complexity creep. So what's the end result? Udyr is no longer the monster he used to be. So Udyr is getting those buffs that he's needed to be seen back in the competitive scene. Will they work? Well he'll be a bit tankier, but he's going to be seriously lacking in a lot of regards. However, Udyr does suffer from a lack of something that Riot wants more of: Counterplay. And that's a big reason as to why Riot really doesn't care that much if Udyr is competitive. Even Darius has more counterplay than Udyr. Udyr's entire playstyle is "run quick in to enemy, hit them with unmissable damage, continue to hit them with unmissable damage, shield and sustain any damage taken" which lacks a certain... ability to be stopped by anything than lots of damage.
Consider that now the game is a lot more complicated than simply out bruisering your opponent. It's more than just running at people and doing a damage test to see who does more damage to see who wins. Because of that Udyr has to be worse because... well that's what he does. When he out damages you and can catch you he wins. When he doesn't he loses. A lot of Udyr's power isn't even in the player's hands because it's in his items instead.
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