My take on the LeBlanc nerf


The LeBlanc nerf is already live, which is really disconcerting to me. It points, as many things have over the past couple months, to an overly aggressive development cycle. As a result, we’ve been exposed to both over- and underpowered champions, though mostly the latter. Personally, I’ve been disappointed by a lot of the recent champion releases, and I think their absence (or overwhelming presence) in ranked play speaks to the flaws in the current pace of development.

Let’s take a look at the five most recent champions starting with the least recent.

Miss Fortune: I know a lot of people disagree with me on her strength, but I still think she is extremely broken. It’s not her late game, it’s not that she has high survivability, it’s that she is nearly impossible to shut down in the laning phase. She can outfarm and out-harass virtually every character in the game, guaranteeing late game success. Also, consider the strength of her Impure Shots – it has a healing debuff, attack speed increase, and passive damage increase, all on one skill. Why does a ranged carry with a powerful slow and a powerful harassment skill need that kind of utility from one spell?

I see experienced carry players wreck more games with her than any other physical carry.

Sona: I know the LoL community was crying loudly for a new support champion, but whoever designed Sona just wanted a champion that could dominate games. It’s clear she wasn’t playtested thoroughly, because a champion that easy to play should not be able to deal that kind of damage, be that survivable, and give her team some of the best buffs around.

Swain: Swain had a really underwhelming release and has one major design flaw – he has to be on top of the enemy team to maximize his damage output. He does have a pretty nice skillset, although it doesn’t fit very well with the current metagame. Still, his pre-buff damage was pretty pathetic and then there’s the Maledict issue. Granted, that wasn’t changed because of a rush job, rather some design issues, but the current version of Torment is nowhere near as interesting as it could have been. The idea of building a champion around Deathfire Grasp is cool and kinda different but we lost that flavor because of some ‘burden of knowledge’ crap that definitely exists elsewhere in the game.

Lux: Lux is maybe the best example of a design rush in the game right now. She was originally supposed to grant her entire team invisibility with a skillshot boomerang, just like the shield she has now. A cool mechanic, but it was buggy right up to release and so was quickly scrapped and a shield thrown into the mix. Lux is woefully underpowered – her spells have weak AP ratios, even weaker base damage, and some of the longest cooldowns around. Her only reasonable spell is her ult.

The only argument I’ve heard in favor of Lux is that she has the longest range snare in the game. She doesn’t need a long range snare – it doesn’t do any good if she can’t deal damage. Why not buff the damage and nerf the range? Then she can actually hurt people while still retaining a decent skill ceiling because she has four skillshots.

LeBlanc: I don’t know how much I need to say here. The champion has one of the most diverse set of skills in the game, allowing her to deal big damage, silence a target, shackle a target, all with enough mobility to keep her out of harm’s way. Granted, it doesn’t do much good against the stacking/teamfighting metagame, but it breaks that metagame by giving her an insane ganking phase. With the gold and experience she earns she can easily streak out ahead of teams and never look back.

At what point will Riot be able to admit that they’re giving too many tools to too many toons and shortchanging so many others along the way. I’d be hard pressed to think of a situation in which I would take Kassadin over LeBlanc, and that doesn’t account for the scads of other champions that just don’t get played because of how underpowered they are.

My biggest concern is that every patch will add yet another new champion and every second or third a new item and new players will be left in the dust while veterans try to hash out the changes. My brother’s roommate is just now trying to learn the game and I actually feel bad for him. I’ve been playing for nearly a year now and I still don’t have every rune unlocked/tested or every champion down to a science. How can a new player hope to learn 60 new champions in an ever-changing metagame?


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