Game Breaker / League of Legends

It's inevitable, given the competition-oriented gameplay. Who/What exactly is one constantly changes, due to rapid updates, and what exactly is a "Game-Breaker" is massively different depending on your level of play. League of Legends is actually designed around the "perfect imbalance" paradigm — the game is always slightly favors one particular strategy over another, but not too much to render any other strategy impossible, which prevents the game from getting old and repetitive as the balance shifts between different strategies.

  • Innervating Locket + Udyr was a combination so overpowered that it lead to Innervating Locket being removed from the game.
  • Twisted Fate, whose most notable abilities are an extra effect added to his next auto-attack (but is highly unique in that it swaps between 3 options continuously in a pattern, requiring one to be chosen by the player when it pops up. Or you can miss the one you wanted entirely), and a teleport that reveals every player on the map. Considered to be useless by many people, and there were large numbers of threads asking that he be buffed. Then he single-handedly won a match against one of the best teams on Earth, since that said teleport is very good for catching people out and applying map pressure, and that said auto-attack boost had an option that possessed very solid crowd control (a stun). While he was somewhat easy to catch out due to his lack of dashing mobility, a fed Twisted Fate doesn't need to last long in a fight if he can end it as quickly as he needs/wants to.
    • That said, current TF is considered a pretty balanced champion due to his very high skill cap. On the other side, beta Twisted Fate was the most broken champion to ever set its foot on Summoner's Rift. Why? Because his abilities, which are powerful enough to get him in this page on their current state, were ridiculously overloaded and made TF too threatening to the opposing team just for existing. His Gold Card used to have the same AoE that his Red Card currently has, his passive gave everyone on his team a small critical chance, Destiny and Gate were two separate skills, Destiny slowed the enemy team globally, and Gate was global and accessible at level 1. Twisted Fate wasn't just overpowered, he was also frustrating due to his potential of cheesing an easy first blood through a surprise critical or just Gating to any point in the map, placing a ward and have his allies teleport to the ward for an ambush before the clock strikes the first minute.
    • Then there's the Uncle Fate build, using Runaan's Hurricane, Bloodthirster, and Nashor's Tooth mixing with Attack Speed. Cue Twisted Fate being even MORE broken as his E links up with Runaan's Hurricane and Nashor's Tooth, leading to him outright nuking unwitting victims with AD and AP damage.
  • Kog'Maw was considered pretty weak when he came out, but when play shifted towards really tough characters, Kog turned out to be the best tank-killer in the game. He's even been reworked once and had that rework undone.
  • Vayne was disgustingly overpowered on release, easily on the same level as release Xin or beta Twisted Fate. A ranged carry with some assassin traits, her main claim to fame was being able to chase down single targets, immobilize them, and fill them full of bolts, and her ability to do percentage-based true damage was more than likely intended to make her the bane of everything tanky (she was released in May of 2011, when the Tanky DPS meta was still very much in effect). Unfortunately, she was the bane of everything. Impossible to escape thanks to her passive, annoyingly good at juking and unreasonably hard to lock down thanks to her Q, unreasonably dangerous to trade with in lane due to her burst and her E, which had situational hard CC that was very easy to pull off if the Vayne player was worth a damn, and possessed an ult that was essentially a "fuck you, your team dies now" button thanks to ridiculous stat buffs all around, Vayne was an unholy terror at all stages of the game that had players wondering whether Riot even looked at her power level before releasing her. It's no surprise that she's mostly seen nerfs for the entirety of her existence.
  • Graves, while not as bad as Vayne, was still far too strong on release. A ranged carry who incentivized getting up close and personal, he wound up being really good at that and way too good at everything else. His Q, the main thing that made getting in close desirable, wound up being ridiculously powerful from all ranges; up close, it was easily capable of blowing off close to half of another champ's life into midgame, while it also wound up being a surprisingly powerful and dependable poke from afar. He also had a dash that doubled as an attack speed boost with a cooldown that could be refreshed with auto-attacks, a passive that gave him free armor and magic resist if he was attacking or being attacked, and a utility move that acted as both a slow and a situational version of Nocturne's ultimate; his ultimate, while devastating in teamfights and early skirmishes, was honestly the most balanced thing about him. Everything else made him into a burst machine that was overly mobile and deceptively bulky, especially for a carry, and his tendency to not scale as well into late-game as other carries was more than made up for by how brutal he was early and midgame. Like Vayne, most of the changes that he's seen in his four years of existence have been nerfs.
    • Then came his rework with the preseason of season 6, where he was changed on his auto-attacks to make them function more like a faster and smaller ranged version his original Q, which was replaced. Of course, as soon as he got Infinity Edge, Graves' case with the item was unique in that it made him fire more shots in the spread. Couple that with the newly infamous Warlord's Bloodlust keystone mastery which allows a successful crit to heal a percentage of damage and grant a brief attack speed boost, Graves was considered broken enough for hotfixes to both him and the said mastery.
    • Something else worth noting is that around the end of season 5 and the beginning of season 6, his effective burst with his auto-attacks, Q and relatively-short-cooldown ultimate, his utility blind with his W and tankiness and mobility with his E, were all found to be great tools to make Graves an incredibly effective jungle bully. Around patch 6.2, he had the highest win rate, around 57%, in bot, top, and jungle, simultaneously. He received a few nerfs as of 6.3, and his win rate has dropped down, but time will tell if he'll stay there.
  • After the order of effects upon death were patched, Maokai gained the unique ability to combine the Guardian Angel with his Vengeful Maelstrom to do this quite literally. This bug breaking the game is itself a Game Breaker, meaning Maokai could never lose.
  • Morgana's Black Shield, for its ability to make the target temporarily immune to all forms of crowd control (an incredibly powerful ability given how much of a major role these play in the game).
  • It's been notoriously hard to balance Mundo on Twisted Treeline... but he's unlikely to be fixed, as Riven, Shyvana, Poppy, Mordekaiser and especially Singed have begun to overshadow him at the time that was discovered.
  • Ryze is more likely to get hit with this charge than most champions. Extremely short cooldowns, high damage output over a long period of time, and tank-like durability make him extremely effective in almost any situation. He's also one of the least expensive champions in the game. And his rather simple play style (amounting to memorizing two completely targeted combos—you don't even have to click on targets if you use smartcasting) leads to the backlash you'd expect.
    • Season 5 had Riot reworking Ryze and trying to balance him around the concept of "windows of power", where Ryze had a specific moment to deal a lot of damage, but was weaker out of that window. His passive could be triggered to give him quickly-reseting cooldowns, and his ult had atrocious 30% of free passive cooldown reduction at max level. While this made Ryze a bit easier to deal with, he was still an insane spell-spamming machine that could solo carry games. And every time Riot tried to nerf the champion, he would die down a bit only for people to discover that he was still broken. This led to Riot throwing the entire concept of a champion that can reset all of his cooldowns to the window and rework him again in season 6, this time focusing him on his combos.
  • Xin Zhao, as released, was a Leeroy Jenkins... who won battles single-handedly. Then he got nerfed, started riding a very unsteady nerf/buff wave that constantly left his viability in question, and then eventually became a full-on Joke Character who was completely worthless against anyone even slightly decent until he got remade and became a decent, if not spectacular choice; though he still has his ups-and-downs for "not standing out".
  • They're still trying to figure out how to balance healing spells properly. Taric and Janna haven't got messed with much, but Alistar's was reworked entirely, Soraka (as of late August '11) has been re-specced as The Red Mage, and Sona's, well, Sona. It's interesting to note that the latter two have some of the highest win-loss ratios as champions.
  • Many of the champs with high learning curves have eventually become this once people get the hang of them. Lee Sin? Underpowered on release, buffed massively, then people began to realize that the sheer strength of his kit coupled with his new numbers was simply too much. Orianna? Took a bit for people to get the hang of her, but it soon became clear that she was staggeringly overpowered by way of being able to do the vast majority of tasks in the game far better than the champs dedicated to them. And Rumble? Initially thought to be worthless, then people noticed how he was the strongest pusher in the game and had some of the highest, most consistent damage in the game coupled with a terrifying ultimate that could annihilate entire teams when placed right. This is a common theme in League of Legends: champ with a heavy learning curve is released, people slowly learn what said champ can do, people realize that Riot underestimated just how much a master of said champ could pull off and realize that the champ is extremely overpowered, champ gets nerfed.
    • And that happened THRICE in a row with Gnar, Azir and Kalista. Gnar's rage control skills, once learned, turn him into a terrifying crowd control machine with a lot of damage, Azir's AoE long-ranged damage with hyperscaling makes him one of the most powerful champions ever when mastered, and a good Kalista is simply uncatchable and unkillable due to a kiting passive and building a lot of life steal.
  • Darius has split the community into the group that thinks he's just mediocre and the group that thinks he's a kill-stealing bastard that's just toxic to the game. To truly understand how bad this case is, one must understand that Darius's kit is built around his ultimate that instantly refreshes on a killing blow, and because it inflicts true damage, no amount of armor or magic resist can protect an enemy from him. At release Darius was far worse, with his passive stacks dealing absurd damage even at level 1, having mixed damage on his autoattacks making him hard to counter, and his ultimate originally had a half-second grace period after the dunk where if the victim died it would still refresh. This meant that the three or four sequential ults that were supposed to happen once in a blue moon if you were doing amazing were commonplace.
    • It's not as bad anymore since Darius no longer does so much damage in multiple shots on the get-go via his most recent rework, but he's still a bit difficult to face in lane for some champions or in the late game if he applies his passive stacks fast enough.
  • Zyra and Jayce were both considered overpowered on release, the former far more so than the latter. They were both considered to be the best champs for their lanes (mid and top, respectively) by a long shot. Zyra had ludicrous burst even with minimal AP, a LONG-ranged snare with an incredibly fast travel speed, untouchable poke and zoning, and tank-tier initiation, not to mention incredible scaling and further teamfight utility. She received the single largest nerf in League history but still remained one of the best mages in the game, something that attests to how ridiculous she was on release. As for Jayce, he was virtually unbeatable top thanks to being almost completely unapproachable and impossible to duel or even trade with due to his hammer form E, a low-cost knockback on a very low cooldown that also hurt like a bitch, while his cannon form sported incredible poking and burst that was even more effective in the melee-heavy top environment. He also snowballed fast and hard and became an utter terror when fed, essentially becoming a second carry. His nerfs, while certainly justified, were nowhere near as heavy as hers, but that was mostly because you could at least do okay and farm against him top, while the best that you could do against Zyra was survive.
    • Ironically however, Jayce's late game is nowadays in a bad spot in the current meta, while Zyra had a slight rework as of 6.9. However, the recent preseason with the new Lethality stat added plus a few minor changes has made Jayce a little more balanced.
  • Pre-nerf Rengar was this. One Savagery/Empowered Savagery combo was enough to bring a vast majority of champions, squishy or not, down to half health or lower. Getting away from him was nigh impossible due to his high mobility around brush and movement speed boost from his ultimate. He's since been toned down to a reasonable level.
    • Then the Rengar after said nerfs still ended up being this, in the sense that his "triple Q" exploit (involving ulting, readying Savagery, then using Empowered Savagery JUST as Savagery comes off cooldown then using Savagery again for massive damage and attack speed to follow up) is quite capable of outright eviscerating a squishy champion. Cue him being part of the recent preseason assassin reworks, and people are still complaining about Rengar's power, though at this point he may be much easier to balance.
  • The remade Black Cleaver at the start of the Season 3 preseason period was arguably the most overpowered item in the history of the game. Giving huge damage, HP, cooldown reduction, armor penetration AND armor shred, Riot made it worse by inexplicably not making any of its stats Unique, meaning they could be stacked. It was not uncommon to see physical damage dealers buying boots and 4 Black Cleavers and wiping the floor with everyone else.
    • Worse was that if combined with the % Armor Pen mastery and the Last Whisper, which also gives % Armor Pen, certain characters could buy a Black Cleaver and Last Whisper then run around dealing true damage to everything for most of the game. The irony was that not only was the Black Cleaver too good in terms of damage and armor pen, its intention of shredding armor became overshadowed by everything else (along with a subpar HP stat for bruisers) before it was remade in Season 5.
  • Blitzcrank is often banned at low ELOs because his trademark move, "Rocket Grab", is one of the most powerful initiators in the game, as a move that can near instantly grapple an enemy and draw them to you, which, when used in conjunction with teamfighting, will often lead to a quick death for (if the Blitz is competent) usually either the support or more often the AD carry. Higher ELOs tend to pass over him, as Blitzcrank is often cited as Difficult, but Awesome, and that really competent ones are rare enough that banning him constantly is usually worthless compared to someone like, say, Thresh.
  • Unlike every other support (or champion in general) in the game, Thresh does not gain Armor on level up. However, this is remedied by his passive: every time a small monster or minion dies, they have a chance of dropping a soul, whereas champions and large monsters always drop them. Thresh can move near a soul to obtain it, which permanently grants him Armor and Ability Power, and there is no limit to how many souls he can grab. Essentially, this means there is no limit to how much Armor and Ability Power he can have, and he is the only support in the game that gets stronger by allowing his friendly AD carry teammate to farm without farming himself. Thresh's Q is Death Sentence, which is basically Blitzcrank's grab, but with a slightly shorter range, a slower pull-in, a lower cooldown, and with the additional option for Thresh to immediately jump to his victim's current position. But wait, there's more! The most infamous (and hated) thing about Thresh is his W, Dark Passage, AKA "the lantern." Thresh throws his lantern towards a spot of his choosing, where it stays for up to 6 seconds. If an ally right-clicks it, the lantern disappears and the ally is pulled right to Thresh, essentially giving his ally a reset button to erase any mistake they make. While the lantern is active, all allies near it gain a shield for up to 4 seconds that absorbs all forms of damage, with the shield getting stronger the more Ability Power Thresh has. Thresh's E is Flay, which passively gives him bonus magic damage (again scaling off his AP) on each autoattack he lands - and keep in mind Thresh's autoattacks are long range. He can also activate Flay to either knock all enemies in a cone AWAY from him, or all enemies in a cone TOWARD him, as well as slowing them for about 2 seconds. Thresh's ultimate is simply "The Box," which places a pentagon made of green energy walls around him: when an enemy runs into a wall, it disappears, inflicting massive damage (scaling with his AP), and slowing them by 99% for 2 seconds, and while the damage and slow will be halved, enemies CAN be affected by more than one wall. Thresh is the single-most picked support champion in the game, but given his kit and passive, he can quite easily fill ANY role his team needs. Common complaints are that if not for his lantern, Thresh would be acceptable, but his entire kit as-is simply gives too much.
  • On Dominion and Twisted Treeline there are several, but none have ever come close to Kassadin.
    • To clarify: Kassadin has high utility, high damage, and good mobility. His traditional weakness is that he's squishy. Players realized he could build defensive mana, magic penetration, and cooldown reduction items, abuse his ult's stacking damage and low cooldown, and abuse the wall-heavy configuration of the Dominion map for even stronger mobility, still-potent damage, and still-potent utility—with none of the tendency to blow up if focused. His mobility was by far the worst part of him—to the point that he can practically be everywhere on the map at once. He was so infamous that he was the first champion on Dominion to receive map-specific nerfing. The first nerfs he has received have simply made his power level comparable to that of other truly OP champions, but later nerfs have finally brought him down to within reason, or worse, made him much less viable than ever. However, he's receiving a few quality changes that make him see a bit more play again on the other maps. Up to seasons 5-to-6, he's in a balanced spot where he's still very item-dependent and has a rough time early game, especially against zoners.
    • Jayce, Nidalee, and Kha'Zix are the next three after Kassadin on Dominion. They are not at the same level as Kassadin, but are certainly headaches. Lulu, Talon, Wukong, Rengar, and Teemo have all had their times in the "spotlight." Zyra, Amumu, remade Evelynn, and remade Karma have been consistently high-tier.
    • Then there's LeBlanc. As a remarkably powerful assassin, she could burst you down in an instant once she got going, and there was no counterplay since you spent the entire time silenced. Fortunately, Riot has since removed her silence, so there's a possibility of actually fighting back before you get deleted.
    • In a bit of irony, the aforementioned Thresh was practically a Joke Character on Dominion. Not only did he have to go out of his way to utilize the aforementioned soul mechanic (leaving him squishy), his high cooldowns did not sit well on a map where turrets "die" in ten seconds, and his lantern was significantly less powerful when Thresh couldn't risk heading into initiation range. However, he's since gotten a map-specific buff (souls now give him two stacks of Damnation) which made him unremarkable top but fairly strong bot.
  • Post-Rework Master Yi. His E ability (Wuju Style) now makes his basic attacks hit for added true damage upon activation, and the amount scales with his attack damage. As a melee assassin, he'll be building a lot of attack damage. His ultimate (Highlander) adds 40% attack speed, gives the same amount in movement speed, and makes him immune to slowing effects. If he wants you dead, you're not going to do much to stop him. So long as he can make it to the late game, he'll become a walking blender that hits for high amounts of true damage every auto-attack that you can't escape from. On the other hand though, his paper-thin defense means all it takes to bring him down is stunning him and have your entire team nuke him with extreme prejudice.
    • Pre-Rework Yi, while being considered a competent but easily-countered AD assassin, had a second configuration based on AP due to his Q being AP rather than AD scaling (a very unusual early game holdover, and it was even 100% AP scaling). By building lots of AP, his Q could become incredibly powerful, and also scaled up his W, which not only healed him, but upped his Armor and Magic Resist considerably. This essentially meant AP Yi could Alpha Strike his opponent (a near instant untargetable close move) and then immediately use his W to essentially become immune to damage from his target (unless being interrupted by CC). Worse, when his Ultimate is active, any kills used to completely reset his cooldowns, so he could spam his Q over and over again. It was quite common to see Yi Penta kill entire teams easily if they were all grouped up close together (since his Q damages up to 4 enemies at once). The only weakness in this playstyle was that he ONLY relied on his Alpha Strike most of the time (especially late game where his AD starts getting obsolete if not built that way, so Lich Bane was a must to build) for his damage output, meaning he was very team comp-based for higher ELO-teams and Q'ing at the wrong time would lead to retaliation if he didn't get a kill from it for another shot, and he needed to make sure his ult was active to even get the reset. Plus, just spamming his Alpha Strike (like with his overall playstyles) would drain a ton of mana from him if not managed properly.
    • Riot eventually nerfed his ultimate just as Master Yi got reworked, since even when his Alpha Strike needs much more to achieve the AP Yi level damage from before, it still had a problem; thus due to the 70% cooldown refresh slapped onto him as opposed to the previous 100% refresh or the flat 18 second reset, this makes it so that Yi can no longer chain-spam his Alpha Strike to remain invincible at any given time just after a kill from an auto-attack or Alpha Strike alike, which would allow for more gaps for counterplay against Yi on a killing spree. Needless to say however, Yi's still a pubstomper, but prepared teams in higher elo can easily mess up his early game and prevent him from getting enough items.
  • In the Pre-Season 5 the jungle was overhauled, and most of the monsters, including dragon, have a new style to their attacks. Why is this important? Because Pantheon's passive, which blocks certain kinds of attacks, blocks ALL of Dragon's attacks. This means Pantheon can take Dragon at LEVEL 2. ALONE. Thats right, 2 minutes into the game a Pantheon can solo the Dragon and secure a big buff for his team.
    • To a lesser extent, this can also work with Fiora using her skill Riposte, which can deflect a Dragon's attack, but only when timed right. Apparently with her reworked version, it may do the job a bit better than expected, especially with her rising dominance in top lane.
  • Warwick emerged as THE strongest jungler after the overhaul, no competition. Not only does his sustain make him insanely safe, one of the newer jungle items, Skirmisher's Sabre, allows you to deal true damage for a few seconds and it counts as an on-hit effect. Couple this with the Devourer enchantment, which gives infinitely scaling on-hit magic damage. All Warwick has to do is walk up, smite a carry and use his ultimate, which applies on-hit effects, repeatedly. That carry is now dead. Period. This turned out to be so broken that within 2 weeks Warwick went from a champion people left games over because he was The Load, to a champion with a 92% ban rate. Riot started rolling out hefty nerfs on his ultimate VERY quickly.
  • Due to MR nerfs in season 5, ranged AP champions that go top lane and some in mid end up being this due to difficulty to engage.
  • The release of the Sated Devourer enchantment, which applies on-hit effects twice every other autoattack (later nerfed to every 4 autoattacks for ranged champions) made champions that had on-hit effects that dealt damage in a way (i.e. Vayne, Gnar, Corki, Ekko) has made those champions more viable for the jungle, or they're made more considerate of taking Smite as opposed to another summoner spell.
  • Skarner has had his ups and downs throughout his four-year history, but after the Juggernaut update, he became STUPID. A new passive that gives him absurdly fast and safe jungle clears and makes 1v1ing him absolutely suicidal (allowing him to invade with impunity and making his own jungle virtually impossible to safely invade without multiple teammates) mixed with great ratios and his already-high natural stats and growths and excellent scaling has turned him into the undisputed god of the jungle who starts off ridiculous (negating his historically unsafe early jungle) and quickly turns into an inexorable terror who spends the rest of the game running around and tearing everything that he can catch to bits. Riot made efforts to tone him down very quickly.
  • Preseason 6 can easily be called "The Game Breaker Showdown" due to a LOT of overpowered champions, masteries and items:
    • Remember what we said about Graves above? Riot reworked him along with other marksmen to give him a real unique identity as the short-ranged marksman. They managed to do that - but at the same time they brought back EVERY problem that Graves had in his first release: his new Q dealt way too much damage, his E allowed him to stack his resistance passive way more effectively (while giving more resists!), not to mention it resetting too easily, and his autoattacks, which were supposed to deal more damage at point-blank range in a spread like his old Q, could KO an opponent with two or three attacks, with every other skill helping him to catch the opponent if fleeing (remember when we brought up Infinity Edge powering it up to more shots fired, folks?). Riot had to issue a hotfix for this one week after the Preseason started.
    • Miss Fortune is right behind Graves as the most powerful marksman (or markswoman) after the reworks. She used to have a kit with weird scalings and one of the worst passives of the game, which gave her movement speed if she took no damage for a while. After the rework, she got an actually useful and powerful passive that deals extra damage on autoattacks, her W got her old passive added to its effects, and both her Q and ultimate got critical-related buffs which allow MF to deal a lot of damage to her opponents while farming AND insane wombo-comboing in teamfights. Guess how many patches after that she was nerfed.
    • However, the "most broken thing in Preseason 6" trophy goes to Warlord's Bloodlust, a new offensive mastery from the Ferocity tree that heals for 15% of the damage done by critical strikes. What does it mean? Literally, Warlord's made Life Steal completely obsolete for carries, because all they needed was to rush critical chance items (which were also reworked so that ADC's could have higher critical chance) and heal any damage dealt to them with huge ease. And let's not get started on what champions like Yasuo, Master Yi and Tryndamere looked with this... Let's just say that every player rejoiced as Riot hotfixed the mastery so it only works on champions.
      • Recently, Warlord's was changed to only heal for a percent of missing HP while no longer giving attack speed; it was pointed out that it was rather useless either way unless you had crit from items and runes, meaning you barely had anything to go by early game compared to the other keystone masteries.
    • Also from the Ferocity tree, the Deathfire Touch mastery seemed underwhelming at first. It gave damage per second on champions after they took damage from skills, but it was halved for area of effect skills, which basically every caster in the game has. Then people noticed how insane it was on DPS mages like Malzahar and ESPECIALLY Brand, since those skills will keep refreshing Deathfire Touch. Malzahar has three DPS skills that deal good damage and can sustain his mana without items thanks to one of them, Malefic Visions. Brand has his DPS damage coming from his passive, which not only deals max life % damage, but lasts 4 seconds and can be used to trigger a 2-second stun at LEVEL 2. Add Rylai's Crystal Scepter's slow and Liandry's Torment extra DPS (which Rylai amplifies) and it became very common to see those guys dealing two-thirds of anyone's life with a single skill.
    • Guinsoo's Rageblade also got a rework...instantly making Jax batshit insane and any autoattack-reliant champion very powerful. The catch of the new rework is that melee autoattacks (on anything - the item would be balanced was this only valid against champions) give 2 of 8 stacks to the item. Coupled with Sated Devourer and its attack speed, it took just three attacks to reach max stacks. But Wait, There's More!. As the new Guinsoo reaches 8 stacks, it starts to deal AoE damage scaling with both AD and AP, a thing that most of the champions that benefit of the item lacked (making it akin to Ravenous Hydra's passive). But Wait, There's More! Also slightly reworked, Hextech Gunblade heals for 15% of ALL damage dealt, allowing for insane healing in teamfights while dealing tons of AoE damage. But Wait, There's Even More! The last mastery of the Ferocity tree is Fervor of Battle, which, just like Warlord's Bloodlust and Guinsoo's Rageblade, stacks when autoattacking anything, ramping even more damage over the already huge benefits. This combination allowed for some unbelievable things that made most of the involved items and masteries get hit by the nerf hammer (most recent 5.24 patch tweaked its AoE range to be lower). On a smaller note, it also made AP Master Yi a thing again.
      • ... except it turned out to NOT be a smaller note. Due to his passive which allows double-procs, his jungle proficiency and his ridiculous late-game, people ended up realizing they could build Master Yi with Devourer-Guinsoo, stack everything in a blink of an eye and build tank for the rest of the game, effectively doing anything that a normal Master Yi does without the glass cannon downside AND with hybrid damage to boot. Xin Zhao also got a buff on the same meantime that allowed him to do the same thing while ALSO negating his biggest weakness (the late game, in this case). The madness only ended once Riot fused Devourer and Guinsoo in one item, giving Guinsoo the Phantom Hit passive and replacing Devourer with a generic version of Blade of the Ruined King for junglers (the return of the Bloodrazor AKA Madred's).
      • Regarding Fervor of Battle, a keystone mastery that grants stacks for every attack landed on an enemy champion that increases auto-attack damage per stack, the mastery is quite abuse-able by nearly ANY on-hit AD caster; any AD champion with auto-attack-based abilities could gain a ton of stacks to deal so much extra damage, especially when combined with certain items (such as Blade of the Ruined King or any Spellblade item, along with Black Cleaver). While it was rare for them to use such items to such effects (they mainly relied on more raw damage and cooldown reduction items), could easily lead to a lot of monstrous damage built-up from a very quick combo of a normal auto, one damaging spell, then followed up with their main on-hit/auto-attack ability. Examples included Rengar's Q, Wukong's Q, Renekton's W, Yasuo's Q and so forth. Basically, any on-hit AD caster champion that could attack with a rapid-ton of both autos and spells could heavily abuse this with late game burst damage comparable to both the DPS-type champs it was meant for along with Thunderlord's Decree, which was ironically the one thing that prevented Fervor from getting as much exposure on those said AD casters during that timespan. Even then, Riot rolled nerfs to Fervor just to prevent it from being abused like so overall, but it was still very strong since each hit landed granted anything but a single stack (abilities used to grant 3 stacks on-hit instead of 2 before getting nerfed, and the passive prior to that went up to 10 stacks total instead of 8 as of today, and could even be stacked on non-champion targets when it first debuted). Recently however, it was reworked in the 7th preseason to grant AD per stack instead of auto-attack damage, making it easier to manage while still being beneficial to such champions, though recently having abilities no longer proc it allows for less opportunities for those said AD casters to abuse it unless they stay in a fight for a quite a while (ADC's on the other hand, still only apply 1 stack per hit meaning it's no longer as effective for them....at first).
    • Illaoi got released on the meantime of the Preseason, and struck top lane like a meteor. Her supposed weakness was that she had to stay still in an area to deal damage, but she dealt too much freakin' damage in said area. Her E, Test of Spirit, works just like Blitzcrank's Rocket Grab, but instead of grabbing the champion itself, it grabs its soul for her team to beat up, not only removing the no-safety factor of dragging, say, Amumu to the middle of everyone, but also forcing the grabbed champion to fight if he doesn't want to spawn tentacles from out of nowhere. And her tentacles not only deal a lot of damage, but also heal Illaoi for missing health when hitting champions. If that doesn't convince you of her brokeness, what about a video of Illaoi getting a Pentakill 1vs5 while her team is 18 kills behind? Ever since the new Dynamic Queue, she's been almost banned non-stop.
      • On the other hand, Illaoi has maintained a win ratio below 50% since her release. She's rarely picked for her substantial weakness of having very little crowd control and no way to force enemies to stay within her zone of damage, and unlike Heimerdinger she can't manually put down turrets to compensate for this weakness. This makes for an easily-ignored wall of health points that contributes little to her team post laning phase. These days, from low elo to high, Illaoi is considered a weak pick.
      • It turns out that Illaoi ended averting Game-Breaker on high elos due to her "Up to Eleven Mighty Glacier" style, which does not fit at all with high level playing. However, in low elos, she's absolutely insane, as newbie players probably will not realize how much good ignoring Illaoi or killing her tentacles does, not to mention that they get WAY more frustrated with Test of Spirit. This means that Riot cannot buff her without being extremely careful, otherwise she'll just be permabanned anywhere above Gold V only for her to be playable on Diamond elo.
  • Before it was changed heavily, the AP jungler item, Runeglaive, was insane on Ezreal. What the item did at the time was it gave you a Sheen style proc (an item that was already amazing on Ezreal) with a slightly lower AP ratio but with a small AoE slapped on. What resulted from this? Ezreal's running smite, granting their team a bunch of extra control on dragon and baron, an earlier power-spike due to it being cheaper than Lich Bane, and unprecedented wave clear, the major weakness AP Ezreal had over AD Ezreal. Oh, and it also restored missing mana.
  • Tank Ekko was running rampant until a large number of changes to his ability scalings. Before these changes, Ekko's base damage was so high, along with having passive execute damage, Ekko could build full tank and go toe-to-toe with anyone while being nigh-unkillable since his ultimate healed him for a percentage of damage he'd taken in the past 4 seconds. Tack onto this incredible mobility and respectable CC, Ekko terrorized the top and middle lanes until his bases were gutted and his ratios buffed in an attempt to shoehorn him into a slightly less frustrating assassin role, rather than an invincible super soldier that required four people to kill.
    • Release Ekko was completely broken as an AP carry, able to kill basically everything after proc'ing his passive. Thus, Riot nerfed his numbers and AP ratios so that he was still a good pick, but not broken. Then people discovered tank Ekko and they were forced to nerf Ekko into a lower state. A while after, they tried to give him some power back, but tank Ekko instantly returned and took over the scene, forcing Riot to buff THE VERY SAME RATIOS that they nerfed on release Ekko in exchange for base damage. The TL;DR of this is that Riot has a huge problem with balancing Ekko, because one misstep will give players a lot of problems with 2 second stuns and close-to-death tanks escaping fights pressing one button.
      • The aforementioned Fervor of Battle before it got reworked in the 7th preseason was even abused on Ekko for his recent Trinity Force build even, despite Fervor tailoring to AD-based auto-attack damage and Ekko's on-hit default passive, W passive and E proc all being on-hit magic damage. That's saying something.
  • Speaking about tank assassins, they're a problem by itself. Assassins should do their job of deleting one of the opposing carries fast and cleanly, having tools for getting in and out of the fight to do so and being instantly blown up if they fail due to squishyness. Obviously, if they're not squishy, this means that they can simply do anything they want without caring for the downsides, and often they become even more of a threat than his usual builds, since their tools for getting out can be used to assassinate more targets. Nidalee, Fizz, Yasuo and the aforementioned Ekko have each of them found sucess with such builds, and thus they've been nerfed on their durability and base damages.
  • The Juggernaut patch had Skarner getting hotfixed. The Marksman patch had Graves. You would think that Riot would avert Rule of Three and not make the same mistake during the Mage patch, rig- oh, is that a Malzahar hotfix nerf? His rework wasn't even that bad, since it kept his most iconic abilities and his "infect and attack" playstyle, however his new W allows him to summon swarms of Voidlings with ease, which means that jungle Malzahar became Elise (worth of note that she was almost a Game-Breaker on her own) with lesser ganks and a lot of extra damage, not to mention one of the best ultimates on the game. And his passive gives him a free Banshee's Veil every few seconds.
  • Swain deserves a more detailed explanation. Before the mage rework, he used to have huge question marks on his skill order: his Q was supposed to be his main damage tool, however most of the players maxed either W for being his only non-ultimate waveclear or E for amplifying his other skills' damage and scaling way better with level points. After the rework, Riot adjusted this so that it was more attractive to max Q, but no one realized this, and together with bad numbers, his win rate plummeted. Thus, Riot buffed his numbers, reworked the heal on his ultimate and basically implored to players to max Q. It worked out a bit too well, making Swain an unkillable damage machine.
  • Since his release, Azir has had a number of notable bugs that frequently had to be fixed. But as soon as people got past the said bugs and realized his potential, he THEN got nerfed so many times that one can't count in both hands. His kit revolves around summoning Sand Soldiers, untargetable units that may auto-attack for Azir, dealing magic damage per attack. Since it scales with attack speed, a fed Azir can and will deal lots of damage per second on late game from far away. His ultimate also gives him a second chance if he fails to keep someone away, pushing enemies back and creating a wall on the location. With everything, Azir has a lot of play potential, either closing the door whenever his team is being chased, either Insec'ing the entire opposing team, either just dealing slow and damage thanks to Rylai's Crystal Scepter being ridiculously good on him. It's no hyperbole to say that every single skill of him has already been nerfed and this fails to stop Azir from being an amazing champion in the hands of any good player.
    • Keep in mind something: Riot usually nerfs champions that sit on winrates around 55% or higher. Before Azir's latest nerfs, his winrate was so low as 42%. And he was still broken enough for him to deserve the nerfs. That's to say something.
  • Kled. The Redneck Noxian Yordle has some pretty unique mechanics: he has a mount called Skaarl that leaves him when her health bar is depleted, and that leaves Kled as a sitting duck until his resource, Courage, reaches 100, when Skaarl returns. He also has a powerful W skill that buffs his autoattacks with more damage and speed. Thus, Kled stops being a threat when he loses Skaarl... until you give him life steal items. All of a sudden, Kled instantly becomes insane, healing Skaarl with every single one of Kled's autos and giving him a stronger "shield" than his own ult (which is also HUGE, as it grants an engage or the opposing team fleeing under the threat of a massive-shielded Kled and his allies following him). And the more the game progresses, Kled becomes harder and harder to get off of Skaarl, let alone being killed. Should we also mention that Kled's damage on his W was on-hit HP-based with extra attack speed? Meaning he could make use of items like Blade of the Ruined King and/or Black Cleaver to DPS-shred-burst his target to death?
  • Rylai's Crystal Scepter from patch 5.13. The item was formely a niche pick and core only in certain champions such as Rumble. Then the slow values on the item and the slow mechanics of the game were reworked, and Rylai became the best item on AP champions, bar none. Not only the stats the item provides are godly for the squishy AP carries, its slow helps them to kite or catch threats easily. Champions that can abuse the item such as Azir, Viktor and Brand became way more powerful than before the patch just because Rylai was that ridiculous, and nowadays even champions with solid crowd control options on their kit, such as Syndra and Vel'Koz, are buying the item. It finally got nerfed on patch 6.23, bringing down many champions that relied on the item, and changing build paths for the ones who didn't.
  • Camille, whose kit is so overloaded and overpowered, it's almost as if Riot created her intending for her to be Irelia 2.0 and the new goddess of the top lane. To start, her passive is a shield that activates when she attacks an enemy (Unlike Yasuo's whose shield activates when he takes damage, giving her the ability to trade on her terms), and hers scales with her maximum health, and the shield's type changes to the type of damage her attacker deals mostly (So, if she's attacked by a physical damage champion, the shield becomes physical), with the cooldown on this shield a mere 20 seconds on rank 1, getting lower as she levels up. Her Q is an auto-attack boost, can be used twice for no cost, and, in the second hit, transforms 40 to 100% of the bonus physical damage to TRUE DAMAGE on rank 5, and, like all auto-attack boosters, resets her AA time and procs on-hit effects such as Spellblade and lifesteal, ON BOTH HITS. Her W is an area-of-effect damage that, when hitting enemies in the outer-half, slows them and deals max health percent physical damage AND restores HP for the same amount for each enemy hit (And, let's remember, we're on the tank meta, where people usually have large HP pools). Her E is a gap closer that, like her Q, can be used twice, and the second half gets a boost to the maximum range if you travel towards a champion, while also stunning and dealing damage to everyone on arrival, AND giving Camille an auto-attack speed bonus for a few seconds after she lands. Lastly, her ultimate is literally "1v1 ME, BITCH" that creates a small hexagon around her target, knocking back every other enemy, and, while in that area, Camille's auto-attacks deal bonus max health percent magical damage to the target, and, unlike every other "terrain" ability, the targeted enemy cannot get out of it, PERIOD (The only way to end her ultimate is having Camille leaving the area, either by her will or by a knockback ability). With few weaknesses (Champions that deal mixed damage, champions that can block/dodge auto attacks, and heavy CC/knockback) and too many tools on her kit, she's literally on the path to become the new Irelia, being a perfect bruiser who can easily gapclose, explode squishies and melt tanks while dealing all types of damage, and doing all this building Trinity Force, BotRK, and then tanky to become literally unkillable. To further illustrate her "overpoweredness": No more than a few days after her release, and she's already received minor nerfs, because even in the early game, which was supposed to be a weakness, she was still pressuring people too much, and even now she's still a monster to face. It's no wonder she's an absolute pick-ban champion on all elos, and that's saying something.
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