Welcome to Quick Gameplay Thoughts! We wanted to let you know that QGT’s will be going on hiatus for a while as we focus on preparing for Worlds and the upcoming Preseason. We’ll be using this break as an opportunity to reboot this series to focus more on relevant gameplay topics that are important to players. Thanks for reading and we’ll be back better than ever!
Today we’d like to share our thoughts on 2 pretty controversial champions: Zeri and Yuumi. Both of these champions are difficult to balance because of 4 values that often contradict one another:
Perceptions of fairness and counterplay
Champion is exciting to play and has “high moments”
Performance in Elite/Pro play
Performance in Average play
Zeri has some amazing high moments. Whether you’re kiting out your opponents to secure a pentakill or surprising them by coming in over a wall with a massive W to secure a double kill, Zeri can be an incredibly fun champion. Every champion needs to have exciting high moments or else they risk feeling boring to players and don’t end up getting playtime. Having said that, high moments often conflict with an opponent’s perception of fairness, because flashy and cool moments for one player can often feel frustrating for their opponents.
Using Zeri as an example, she has 3 awesome moments: infinitely scaling mobility from R, W poke, and setup/large map mobility movements with E. However, when these are combined and optimized we do not believe they offer her opponent’s sufficient counterplay opportunities.
Of these, her W tends to be stronger for average players (albeit frustrating when too powerful), while hyper optimizing R and map mobility are stronger for Elite players. Long term, reducing her ability to “go infinite” in teamfights while maintaining her ability to make plays around the map is where we’re looking to optimize her. This will take time to explore and implement, so for now we’re taking her out of the limelight until we can land on a healthy and sustainable direction.
Looking at Yuumi, she has been very synergistic with Zeri, Twitch, and Sivir in the meta and we’ve had to nerf her as a result. We wanted to tap down some of her multiplicative, team focused outputs from her E and have her success be more dependent on taking aggressive action (like poking with her Q). Longer term, we think Yuumi’s laning phase performance should be more important to her success. Reducing her strength on fighters in favor of marksmen and reducing her coordination burden will put Yuumi in a better state long term while retaining the aspects of Yuumi that her players care about.
Hopefully this helps give some more context to the changes you saw in patch 12.16 for these 2 champions. While we’re busy getting ready for Worlds right now, we want to reassure you that we will be working on new ways to deliver the gameplay fantasy Zeri and Yuumi players have come to know and love. As always, thank you for playing and see you on the Rift!