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. 

Teemo.

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. 

FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER @HASHINSHIN

117

Comments

  • #73 vitocapo2

    I think that champions should be balanced according the highest elo. You can't balance for all, thats already known. But if they balance according highest elo experience low elo  will eventually understand how to counter champions. And yes, you are here to play, but also to learn. Evelynn might stomp low elo players, but someday they'll learn to counter her. If high elo discovers a new way to build a champion and be OP, or to play him in another position that makes him stronger, then he should be nerfed.

  • #76 mellored

    Umm... no.  Being OP in the 1200's, and UP in the 1800's is still being OP.

    Better to be balanced in 1200's, and useless in 1800's.

  • #79 Apollinarius

    In a sense yes, champions are balanced around tournament play.

    But there is a caveat. They can't be overpowered in low level play. As a result, these are the balancing priorities:

    1. Champion doesn't stomp new players to the game, discouraging them from playing the game ever again.
    2. Champion isn't grossly overpowered in competitive play.

    That's why Olaf was able to exist for so long in S3. He was super strong in competitive, but he wasn't stomping new players. Riot is a lot more careful about what a champion will do to new players than what the champion will do in the pro scene. Remember, you don't get to ban champions when you're level 2 and you've never seen a champion before.

     

     

  • #68 Slayer1557

    Interesting article.  I hadn't really thought about it that way.

  • #66 D00meriksen

    Nice article. You may add Poppy, Rammus and Fiddlesticks to your list as well.

    Poppy has one of the most broken kits in the game. Imagine, if her laning was better. Oh boy, you wouldn't want that. That ult and passive have no counter play whatsoever.

    Fiddlesticks is not really fun to play against either. Either he is just way too strong or nothing more than a cc bot.

    Rammus: Just look at his patch history on lol wiki. This guy just never feels balanced.

  • #65 QUEXANA

    I play low ELO.  I think I'll be there permanently.  Evelynn can be a pain there, but she's manageable, even pre-nerf, she was manageable.  In Bronze league, Amumu, Malphite, Blitzcrank, and Shen are permabanned or in the rare cases when they are not banned, are instant 1st picks.  Darius is banned quite a lot too.  The current low ELO solo que stompers are Katarina, Akali, and Garen.

  • #67 pagansaint

    And the vast majority of people who first pick those "perma-ban" champions have zero idea how to play them, feeding or wasting potential. Why? Because they have multiple counter play options for anyone that is not too lazy to critically think. But. When they fall into the hands of someone who CAN play them and don't deserve to be low ELO, they prove beyond a shadow to the people who are appropriately ranked that they need to be banned in that range.

  • #78 QUEXANA

    My point wasn't that any of those champions should be nerfed or have anything done to them.  I believe the game should be balanced for high elo.  My point was that many of the champions people in high elo perceive as low elo pubstompers (Cassio, Eve, Shaco, etc.) are not in fact that at all.  I do see in low ELO many cases where someone picks one of those banned champs and has zero idea how to play them wasting potential just as you said.  People playing Shen badly is especially common when he gets through bans at my ELO.  I think it's more common though that the majority of low ELO players (myself included) don't know how to play against these champions at all, we don't know the counter plays that are available to us.  For example, if I'm playing top lane against a Darius, unless I'm able to play a strong counter like Kayle, I will instalose the lane.  Just instalose it.  Another example; I had a game recently (where I was 1st pick) and Malphite fall through the bans.  My team screamed at me in chat to take him, so I did.  I've never played Malphite before, but when I asked my team who wanted him, I had no takers.  So I played him as a Support.  Despite having a terrible ADC who fed, then left the lane completely after 5 mins, because he was "tired of dying and getting no ganks", I managed to win my lane 1v2 and ended the game with a 9/5/12 score.  Am I a good Malphite player? Hell No.  I just said I had never played him before, but because the enemy had no idea what to do against him, had no idea how to counter him, I was able to carry my team despite being a bad Malphite player.  The reason I think most of these champs are either banned or low elo stompers are that 1.) Low Elo players don't know the appropriate counter-plays to make, or 2.)  They are much easier to play than they are to play against.  Garen and Malphite and Darius don't have high skill caps when you compare them to popular high elo picks like Elise or Zed or Kha' Zix, yet the havoc they can produce even with low skill is massive compared to other champions played with low skill.

    Last edited by QUEXANA: 2/11/2013 12:14:51 PM
  • #64 Basinator

    idgaf = ?

     

    About Rengar: IIRC he is somewhat balanced atm. But I would put him into the same category as Evelynn (and maybe Cass) that they are unfun to play against. TBH I find them worse than Teemo, other than his Shrooms he isnt that annoying.

     

    Next...Pantheon. This is IMHO a fight of numbers, but true is, at least for me, that many champions will loose vs him hard vs ranged harassment AND when going all-in vs him. To a lesser extend this is true for Shen as well. Yorick. Whatever you do vs those guys, it just seems you are always making the wrong decision.

    I recall that I made a thread at the official forums about this, but I think you also missed one thing: Champs that are simply DESTROYING many matchups because of their mechanics. Assume draft. Pick melee ADC (this isnt about TF capatibilities here). Now you usually can't gank with them even half decently if played in jungle.

    Top lane? Sure, after Pantheon, maybe Shen, Malphite and Jax are all banned you might get a chance to not get super-duper-hard-countered. I main Fiora, hell, I would tend to say I am best with her as a champ, but I can't play her in draft at all. Why? Cause I can't even fucking lane with her properly if my enemy knows I picked her. This sucks as hell.

    Last edited by Basinator: 2/11/2013 10:30:58 AM
  • #75 Alabugin

    Quote from Basinator »

    idgaf = ?

     

    About Rengar: IIRC he is somewhat balanced atm. But I would put him into the same category as Evelynn (and maybe Cass) that they are unfun to play against. TBH I find them worse than Teemo, other than his Shrooms he isnt that annoying.

     

    Next...Pantheon. This is IMHO a fight of numbers, but true is, at least for me, that many champions will loose vs him hard vs ranged harassment AND when going all-in vs him. To a lesser extend this is true for Shen as well. Yorick. Whatever you do vs those guys, it just seems you are always making the wrong decision.

    I recall that I made a thread at the official forums about this, but I think you also missed one thing: Champs that are simply DESTROYING many matchups because of their mechanics. Assume draft. Pick melee ADC (this isnt about TF capatibilities here). Now you usually can't gank with them even half decently if played in jungle.

    Top lane? Sure, after Pantheon, maybe Shen, Malphite and Jax are all banned you might get a chance to not get super-duper-hard-countered. I main Fiora, hell, I would tend to say I am best with her as a champ, but I can't play her in draft at all. Why? Cause I can't even fucking lane with her properly if my enemy knows I picked her. This sucks as hell.

    Good call on pantheon - I personally ban him at my ELO every chance I get (1400). He is just so strong and I feel no champion can snowball as hard as him...All he has to do to win in lane is start full pots and wards...Nothing you can really do - very few champions can deal with him. 

  • #63 Requizen

    So you say Galio and Morg aren't fun to play against because they push and farm all day and are more or less immune to counterattacks, but what about someone like Cho, Olaf, or Nid? They feel much the same, they'll push all day in lane and once they get levels and items, you literally cannot move them out (or in Nid's case, catch her). Yet they're expected to do this and accepted. Do you feel they should be nerfed because of the same situation that you describe in your article?

    Well, Olaf also has the problem of being probably the best bruiser in the game as well, but that's another issue. 

  • #69 pagansaint

    Cho'gath is very passive or becomes mana starved, the trick is to all in him and not let his sustain negate poke trades.
    Olaf is countered much the same early, dodging his axes at range is not hard, and he is weak to shields and all in harass early.
    Nidalee is again the same, passive early game with no real kill potential unless her opponent is a complete idiot. Except she has less damage output than either the previous early.

    You basically named three champions with easily dodged in lane skill shots with poke negating sustain and thought that that equated them to two champions that are both ungankable and can shove the lane.

    Last edited by pagansaint: 2/11/2013 10:37:37 AM
  • #62 Itachi

    idgaf about low elo. I'd love to see Evelynn and Cassiopeia buffed.

    Then again, LoL is a trip to the gym for me. I don't play to have fun; I play to practice and improve.

  • #60 MirrorBound

    Great post, Hashinshin. Well thought, with good reasoning, and explains properly. I think you're correct in most of your reasoning.

  • #58 ExamplePrime

    I would agree entirely and am always surprised to see all the hate coming up here

  • #56 Latzko

    Damn, you sound like a low elo guy bashing on some champs cause it requires you to be better to play against them. Bashing Cassio cause she can hurt you if she lands her spells? Really? That's bs mate. Then saying Monkey King and Volibear are not ment to be played competitivly, while GG just this weekend pulled out Volibear and did well. And Monkey King has been a part of competitive scene for quite a few weeks already. xPeke once said something alone the lines 'there are no bad champions, some only require a proper team comp and strategy to be played competitivly'. 

  • #70 pagansaint

    No, bashing on Cassi because she is a binary you auto win or you auto lose against her.

    Voli... didn't do well, a large part of why they lost those two games this weekend was their completely sub par jungle picks that were used to try and gimmick a win.

    And yes, there are bad champions, those champions just can sometimes be carried in a team comp by using their ability package for very high risk gimmick strategies.

    Last edited by pagansaint: 2/11/2013 10:41:23 AM
  • #71 Latzko

    Cassio is not the binary type of champ. That's such a poor way of labeling her... And mid is never 'binary' when you look at it. You can always roam or just play the farm game, doesnt matter on which side you are (playing with cassio or against it)...


  • #80 Onerios

    Quote from Latzko »

    Cassio is not the binary type of champ. That's such a poor way of labeling her... And mid is never 'binary' when you look at it. You can always roam or just play the farm game, doesnt matter on which side you are (playing with cassio or against it)...



    The problem with cass is that she actualy has very little counterplay. She has spamable, fairly low cost, fairly high range aoe with an insane ratio coupled with high single target damage with a good ratio and just enough cc to enable her to win chases or counterattack after a failed burst attempt. If you try to roam, she can just push down your tower in short order, she benifits more from a farm fest then most mages due to her scaleing, and if ganked poorly has a good chance of going even, with a decent possibility of turning it into a double kill. Sure, she is not a great roamer herself, but when she can punish roaming so heavily and punish the person if they stay in lane, that does not matter. Her only flaw was her supposed high skillcap (if you remember her release, everyone though she was underpowered), which like with lee sin and orianna, turned out to not be a barrier to her power after a while. She can even build insanely tanky and still do effective dps, mitigateing her other potential flaw in being soft.

    Last edited by Onerios: 2/11/2013 12:24:53 PM
  • #55 PalestineBeFree

    This is probably only the second article of hash's that I actually liked

    It wasnt raging, it was explaining his viewpoint aided by reasoning and examples, SO I salute you Hash for improving

    Nice ideas overall...

     

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