Should the pros use nerfed champions in tournaments? Players at that level have to be careful with their decisions since every victory is extremely valuable. There are times where nerfed champions are played in tournaments, but that’s usually only if their use is justified - either by the player’s skill, or if the champion is still viable. There are a number of pro gamers who manage to surpass the new limits set on nerfed champions. CuVee, for example, picked Camille despite the series of nerfs she was hit with, and TusiN from Kingzone DragonX picks Rakan and Alistar, asserting that they are still usable in spite of their nerfs. Both Azir and Ryze were placed at the bottom of the win rate rankings for solo-ranked mid lane champs, yet they still appear every now and then in the pro scene.
▶ Even Chovy cannot revive Akali, while Aatrox may still be viable?
To Chovy, Akali was a flawless pick until patch 9.3. He has an astounding KDA record of 64.0 with 6 perfect wins on Akali; she was a pick that guaranteed Griffin’s victory if the other team failed to ban or pick her first. One individual within the pro LoL scene even said that “there are no other players that can handle Akali as well as Chovy can,” which shows how remarkable his Akali was.
However, not even Chovy could make up for the nerfs on Akali. He told us that “Most of the champions I use, including Akali, have been nerfed so I need to look for something else to play.”
On the other hand, it seems Aatrox still has a thin thread of hope tied to him. Chovy offered a different view on Aatrox, saying, “I think the change on Umbral Dash (E) can be a buff instead.” Much like Akali, Aatrox was one of Chovy’s greatest weapons, with which he secured 3 perfect wins from last year’s LCK Summer Split to the Korea Regional Finals, and then the LoL KeSPA Cup. Hopefully, we will get a chance to see how Chovy utilizes the post-nerf Aatrox. Tarzan, who had been winning a great deal on jungler Aatrox, also left room for the possibility of using Aatrox by saying “I will need to practice using him more in order to be able to decide if he’s still viable or not.” He also added that “there doesn’t seem to be many changes in the jungle from patch 9.3. However, the previous patch on the jungling experience points did have a bit of influence over the match.”
▶What will the overall picks & bans be like in the LCK after patch 9.3?
Putting those two champs aside, we were also curious about the overall impact that patch 9.3 will have on pro games. According to MadLife, the former pro gamer who is now a caster for the LCK, “the direction of the patch seemed to go towards nerfing champions that appeared all the time, as if they were greatly conscious of the tournaments.” In regards to Aatrox and Akali, he said that ‘Akali’s invisibility and both champions’ sustainability were great but now that they got nerfed, they will no longer be tier 1 like before.”
With Akali and Aatrox stepping down from the top of the tier list for picks & bans, it is quite likely that teams will take different approaches to the pick/ban phase. Madlife made a prediction on that front as well, asserting that “It’s not just Akali and Aatrox, but also Lissandra and Cassiopeia that have been getting several nerfs. This will lead to each pro team making intentional bans on the opponent team’s favorite picks. These champions will be replaced by buffed champions that are appearing in tournaments abroad.”
He also believed there would be a new change in the bot lane - “There still needs to be more research done due to the item build changes. But still, AD Carries like Caitlyn, Jinx, Xayah, etc. are making their appearances in the Rift again due to the crit item changes along with utility supports as well.”
League of Legends has been changing every day as of late. The Hungry Zilean/Kleptomancy approach to making gold, the newly-added Sylas, and the buffed Yorick and Kayne have been on the rise among players, and are now going over to the pro scene. Will the Summoner’s Rift get swept up in this new current or will the pro gamers overcome the stream of nerfs with their individual skills? This is the reason many LoL fans are anxious to see the LCK on February 13th with patch 9.3.