The fine line between underpowered and unwanted.

So lately I've been thinking about who should be allowed to be viable, who should be nerfed, and who should just be left Evelyn'd. It all started when I had a conversation about Rengar and at the end I said "well he has had so much play time in high ELO and so much work put towards balancing him that maybe Riot should just leave him weak because he has so many bad mechanics that it would be really difficult to do anything with him." And isn't that true with a lot of heroes? Their mechanics are just so bad sometimes that you just have to agree that they'd never be balanced in a way that would be fun, or would make them good at both high and low ELO.


So lets start with Rengar

I think Rengar, despite how much I like him, really exemplifies what can go wrong with a champion design. Now Rengar is a non-mana champion so keep that in mind. He can free push, free heal, do fantastic base damage, and has a good gank/escape ultimate. So what holds him back? If he's against a mana champion he can free push in to their turret while free healing (on the SAME ability!) and run them dry on mana trying to both fight back and CS at turret. If he's against someone with no sustain he can free sustain. Back when he scaled off health he could just stack health and win the game that way. With his great base damage he's an excellent contender for sunfire abuse.

So what did Riot say? Well, basically, they said "Fuck this we've tried so hard to make him balanced but just fuck it." So much work has been put down on trying to make this champion balanced, and mechanically by his abilities he just has too much going for him to possibly be considered balanced. If he's balanced then he starts making low mana tops like Jarvan worthless due to his infinite push. If he's UP he still has some usefulness to the game as a gimmicky gib-machine with SotD. So really the better choice is to leave him weak. 


I think Teemo should be nerfed. Why Riot ever tried to make him viable is a mystery to me. #1 most annoying champion in MOBA history, lets try to make him viable in tournaments. YEAHNO.

Not every champion should be competitive.

Not every champion needs to be good. For various reasons mind you. They just don't really fit in to the game that well and frankly make the competitive scene look worse for being there. 

Some just aren't fun to fight.

Going of of the above, Teemo, some champions are just straight annoying. And some just aren't fun. Take Galio for example. Galio is an AP mid that when he works and is balanced beats all AP mids. So what do you do against Galio? Farm farm farm. Morgana and Galio have both been nerfed and Riot doesn't really want to bring them back because quite frankly it's not fun for the opposing AP mid to fight a champion who just pushes all day while being basically immune to counter attack (And if you do fight Galio or Morgana they can easily kill you, or at least use their ultimate to CC you for a gank.) 

Some just are bad balance.

Rengar is bad balance. I said it above so I won't repeat but to make Rengar viable will take a LOT of work and quite frankly his kit has "too muchery" all over it. It's much easier to balance someone like Kha'zix who has clear defined weaknesses. What does Kha'zix have that Rengar doesn't have? The ability to get a reset, and some ranged harass. Other than that his concept is pretty much "kha'zix, just tankier with no counterplay, with healing."

Some just have no clear weakness.

Going with Rengar from the above again but also including for example Taric. Taric keeps showing up as the dominant support and has gotten 2-3 revamps because he has no clear weakness other than a lack of ranged counterplay. Now while ranged counterplay HAS become a big thing in supports lately (Thresh for example will bite you from range all day) Taric is still tanky, with burst, and a heal. Compare this to blitz: Tanky with burst. Leona: Tanky with burst. Taric is probably tankier than both of them and has a heal and fantastic group buffs. So Taric is one of these champions where his kit just has no clear weakness, and other melee champions often find themselves with no option on how to fight Taric.

Some are just stupid.

Sorry Cass but you're just really dumb. You're not bad balance, you do have clear weaknesses, you do have counterplay, but damn you're stupid. An AP burst caster with massive burst damage, massive sustained damage, and the counterplay is just to never fight her. She's beatable, it just isn't very fun. She has counterplay, but it's not very fun to do. She has weaknesses, kill her first. It's just like... when you get killed by Cass it's just like man fuck this champion. It's one of those things where Cass falls in to so many unfun categories that she really just becomes stupid. Syndra, you're next BTW. 

Talon, as much as I love him, falls in here too. What's the counterplay to Talon? The same as the counterplay to Annie. Survive their burst, kill them first. Both Annie and Talon are direct nuking no real counterplay champions. 
They just don't give the game anything to progress on. How do you learn to beat Annie? You learn to build tanky. That's it. 

Some would destroy solo queue as we know it if they were competitive.

Remember when Tryndamere at high ELO was a thing? Remember what happened to low ELO? Yeah. Sometimes high ELO is just so good at counterplaying a champion that it needs to be made SO GOOD to be good at high ELO that low ELO is just flailing it's arms around going IT'S DESTROYING ME AND I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO. Sometimes this is somewhat fine, but if it gets too excessive then they need to be taken care of. You can't have Evelyn running around destroying every low ELO game, it makes getting in to LoL simply too painful. LoL is meant to be a fun game, not a trip to the Gym. We're here to have fun, not to practice and work out.

So I hope this helps people who always wonder why X champion isn't better.

Because I see that a lot. "Why isn't Master Yi good!" Because when Master Yi WAS good him and Tryndamere pretty much ran around destroying every game. Sometimes champions simply just aren't going to be good because if they were good it would not be good for the game as a whole. The game as a whole is the thing we're all here to play and must be preserved. This isn't Teemo Warriors Online, and that game would probably be in some circle of hell if it did exist. 




  • #94 D00meriksen

    I think, that by now pretty much everyone at least has heard of Muramana Syndra. It's not a good build and certainly not overpowered.

    Were Tiamat Fiora/Shyvana overpowered in season 2? Creating builds that focus on your ultimate is not a new idea.

    If you want to contribute to a kill once a minute and be useless the rest of the time, you are playing Syndra wrong. Syndra is not a pure burst champion, she just happens to have a burst ultimate. All her other abilities have rather short cooldowns and neither of them benefit from Muramana at all.

    Also Muramana drains mana like crazy and its damage is mana inefficient as well. On a caster that is already mana hungry by herself, that's pretty much a no-no.

    Last edited by D00meriksen: 2/12/2013 9:12:44 AM
  • #95 B3hr7

    I don't think you really understand exactly how muramana syndra works. First off, if you're actually using muramana active the entire time in a battle then you're pointlessly wasting mana, you toggle it on before you ult to maximize the damage. Also, muramana has two key strengths to it: the ease of how fast you can stack manamune, and the extreme damage increased that it gives the ult. Emeraldw (I think that was the person who wrote the article on it) calculated that a full stacked muramana (built initially from a fully stacked tear), combined with at least 3 dark cores on the field, dealt raw magic damage by itself equivilant to somewhere above 550+ AP. This is on muramana alone, an item that is formed from a manamune, which only costs a total of 2100 gold. In others words, for 2100 gold, you have an item that equals a 5-6 item core from your average ap caster, and you're not even including the rest of your items yet (typically involves a void staff with an ap item granting CD reduction, DFG is a popular choice). Recall also that around the times you can do the muramana blast that ADC's usually take over in terms of carrying, meaning Syndra usually acts as artillery fire considering her long range, so it's really not that difficult to execute someone with ult while dealing respectable yet constant damage. Also, while sitting on the manamune, you would normally have another ap item up by then, and void staff is cheap, meaning you don't deny yourself damage around the midgame scheme (and tbh, Syndra is a late game champ to begin with). And, if you're still really worried about the mana problem, a good item to build early alonside the tear is a ROA, which is now even more cost efficient than it was in the past.

    So, to recap, muramana syndra has extreme gold efficiency and a passive that turns your already bursty ult into a nuke. Seraph's staff is nice too, but mana shield is still a pretty controversial passive (drains mana very quickly and doesn't guarentee that your squishy mage will survive), yet it's also a very viable item too. In effect, both muramana and seraph's staff builds work equally well on Syndra, just that you adopt different play styles on these respective items.

    Last edited by B3hr7: 2/12/2013 9:50:15 AM
  • #100 D00meriksen

    Of course I know how it works. Of course I know to turn it off, when I don't need it. With less ap you need more mana to clear waves, which you need to do before fights. This in turn decreases your current mana obviously and leads to a way weaker ultimate than you estimate.

    The next problem is, that this item slot is useless once your ultimate is on cooldown. If you are getting RoA as well, you have spent 3 item slots already (Boots+RoA+Muramana) and gained 80 ap in total. One Exhaust in a team fight (the ult animation is long enough) or a silence once you have some orbs out and you are a useless meat bag with no damage.

    Did I already mention that you completely sacrifice your mid game if you go catalyst+tear?

    You are being a liability to your team if you always wait for 3 orbs before you ult. I tested this item multiple times and I wanted to like it, but it sucks on Syndra. Syndra != her ult.

  • #105 Yaamahri

    You obviously don't understand this game if you think getting a tear+catalyst wrecks your midgame. You can buy both of those by your 2nd back.

  • #89 Basinator

     IMHO a good article.

    In case some people missed the point, this guy isnt complaining that some champs are OP or UP or whatever. He is complaining what is either simple annoying as hell, has no counter-play (every decision you do is the wrong one) and that some champs got simple "too much" in their kit (examples: Irelia; bruiser/tanky DPS with sustain, spammable gap closers, and no counter-play once she dived into your team unless you counter-picked her with Janna or Alistar, Taric/Sona: They can do same/similiar things like Leona/Soraka but are soooo alrounded. Taric has burst, heal, CC AND team buffs. Soraka: sustain. Even Akali doesnt have much counter play - stay out of range and drop a pinkie and hope that seeing her is enough because you are a tank/bruiser and not one of the three squishies in your team + her healing AND low CDs/sustained damage).


    For Taric and Sona, in short; if you don't know which supp champ to take, take one of those two, you arent totally screwed anyways.

    Last edited by Basinator: 2/11/2013 10:15:20 PM
  • #91 Skrylius

    If you don't know which support to take, never take Sona. You'll end up dying way too much.

  • #96 GentlemanGustaf

    I disagree; early in S3, I was playing with and against a lot of not-quite-high-Elo players (Elementz, Lapakaa, etc), and ended up learning support. With almost no experience supporting, I picked up Sona and Taric and felt VERY strong playing them, winning over 75% of my games with both. I don't think this was through champion knowledge, either, but just through laning skill. At some point, Elementz came to gank my lane (as Shaco), and said 'why no slow chord?'. I DIDN'T KNOW THERE WAS A SLOW CHORD, and in fact, hadn't known the power chords had had different effects. To me, this suggests that if you're a good laner, and understand harass/poke dynamics, and when/how to zone/engage, you can play Sona very well without knowing much about her. You just can't play stupid and get caught.

  • #88 gimped420

    Good read. Watched the video later too, thanks for that also. And umm yeah, fk poppy

  • #120 JocularThePeasant

    Poppy... I wonder why I don't see her mentioned very much. She is definitely in a bad spot from a design perspective.

  • #87 Cerbereth

    Riot pretty much keeps 40-60 champions tournament viable at a time, and I am pretty sure they do it on purpose.  The fall of Rammus was followed very closely by the rise of Shen for example, because teams pro teams needed a viable tank to use when one got taken out of viability. (I am aware that rammus got some recent tournament play it just isn't on the level he used to)

    I think that number is fine, but Riot needs to make sure that there is a turnover rate, and that champions do come in and out of tournament play, so it's not the same 40 champions at a tournament for 2 seasons in a row. New champions coming out is good, but they need to rework older champions as well and get them back to the tournament scene where they haven't been for a long time. I like that Nasus is starting to make a comeback I mean how long has it been since anyone has seen that guy do anything in high elo. Xin Xhao is really good right now as well, but if he is still good next year well that is gonna start to get a little boring.


  • #90 GentlemanGustaf

    You don't really need intent for that: if a champion who dominates a role gets nerfed, teams who want that role will just pick up the next strongest champion of that role.


  • #98 Cerbereth

    Hmm I guess that would all happen on it's own. Does this mean everything isn't morello's fault?

  • #86 Gilaeth

    Excellent article. Trying to explain this to people is so often very, very difficult.

  • #85 Calis8

    I feel like there is another category to this though which I would call unknown, comparable to FOTM champs.

    Volibear is a great example to start off with. He isn't really a "weak" champion but the rarity with which he was played shows the general opinion of him. In stonewall's article people are talking in the comments about how they believe that Volibear will never make it to the high level games because his kit just isn't good enough. He has good mechanics from different champions, but doesn't do the jobs those champions do as well as they do them i.e. Singed fling. He can fling champions, but singed also has the slow and poison to run through champs to be more annoying when a champion actually gets flung. However just this past weekend, Diamonprox pulled out volibear in 2 LCS matches going 4/0/19 in the game vs Fnatic.

    If you think about Elise when she first came out. People were trying to play her mid while maxing her w. A few people knew to max her q but overall she was a champion who was thought to not be that effective unless laning vs someone with arachnophobia, but it wasn't until much later that she really became such a mainstream top laner. There are champions that people just assume aren't good mostly because the champion isn't being played in the niche that fits the season or it might be more of a situational vs a certain team comp or in a certain team comp. A great example of this is Nasus. I remember reading in multiple places and I can't remember which pro said it, (it might have been scarra), but a well known pro player said they couldn't see any team comp in which Nasus was viable. Yet I'm sure many people remember when Voyboy played top Nasus for a few weeks in Tournaments and wrecked shop for a few games. I will agree that they had to use quite a few resources in making sure he got fed making him less viable due to taking away resources that could otherwise have been used to ensure the other lanes also were snowballing, but those games proved that even Nasus was still a viable champion in the right situation. He may or may not be viable now, but the fact remains that while he was argued as one of the worst champions and one that had no place in any team comp, he found a successful place in semi recent tournament games.

    I am not arguing against there being champions in the Unwanted or Underpowered categories, but I feel that some champions in the underpowered category are actually waiting in the unknown category for someone to come along and discover a team comp in which they excel, or how to build the champion such that they bring out the champions full potential. With the way the meta is constantly being evolved, this category is always changing but I think that due to the number of champions, there are sleeping op champs who have yet to be discovered that would excel if they were discovered.

  • #77 guy420

    Explain why in DotA every champion is viable.

    And i mean EVERY FUCKING ONE.

  • #81 Apollinarius

    You are not playing the same DotA everyone else is playing. Their champions are not all viable. They are also not balanced. DotA is played by less than 1/10th of the people who play LoL and the DotA competitive scene is nothing compared to the LoL competitive scene. DotA is like LoL in beta. Were all champions viable? Sort of, because so many were grossly overpowered that you just needed a couple of overpowered champions per team and you'd be ok, provided you didn't want to win because of skill.

    Nobody can measure viability in DotA. Not until it gets released and becomes popular. (That being a pretty big IF at this point.) If all champions were viable, they wouldn't be making balance changes every patch.


  • #82 QUEXANA

    Maybe because they've had about a decade to get it right.  Lol's been out for about what 3 years?  Well, 3 years into DotA's life span is about the time when IceFrog took over development and started turning it into the game you now know.  DotA didn't start out great, it became great over a very long period of time.  Compare LoL 3 years in to where DotA was 3 years in and you'd pick LoL every time.  I guarantee it.


  • #103 guy420

    While that's true, its well known that guinsoo was involucrated in DotA and LoL has copied some things from the game, but it has eliminated some features that seemed "too complicated" and in the end those features were key in balance imo.

    They could have learnt a bit of those 10 years of experience DotA has, right?

  • #74 Bystekhilcar

    What the hell is this? A Hashinshin article that isn't making mindless exaggerations, whining or repeating itself every ten seconds? A Hashinshin article that actually raises valid points and encourages a balanced view?


    ...A Hashinshin article I can actually read and respect. My world is falling apart.

  • #83 gekkos

    .A Hashinshin article I can actually read

    <captainobvious> ITS A VIDEO </captainobvious

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