Friday, February 6, 2015

League Analysis: The Singed Nerfs of Patch 3.04

League of Legends often needs rebalancing from time to time as an online MOBA game. While Riot Games generally does a reasonable job, they sometimes make mistakes and, given previous analysis articles, fail to acknowledge issues they create for quite some time. While I could go over some of the times when Riot really messed up on champion balance, many have been covered already in extensive detail. In addition, much like with the previous analysis article, this analysis is going to be a bit on the personal side (in the future I will probably cover cases that I take less personally). In this case, when I saw these changes I changed my main in top lane to Nasus (though there were other influencing factors as to why). In this article, I will analyze the nerfs to Singed in early Season 3 and what happened after.

Analysis of Changes

These nerfs consisted of a few seemingly innocuous changes, each of which I will review in detail starting with the change to Insanity Potion:
Insanity Potion: No longer reduces the duration of disables.
This is an understandable change considering there were future changes that removed some other champion-exclusive tenacity effects. In fact, the bonus tenacity component of Insanity Potion felt like a bit of extra hidden power that made Singed very slippery when he already has other ways to do so through Fling and Mega Adhesive. On the other hand, it arguably makes Singed stronger in the mid and late game since teamfights often happen during those phases of the game, allowing Singed to shrug off the many crowd control abilities an enemy team may be throwing around while slowly killing them all with Poison Trail. Thus, this change is a mid to late-game nerf for Singed, where he's already reasonably strong thanks to the tankiness he'll get from items and a high rank Insanity Potion's stat bonuses.
Fling: AP scaling reduced to 0.75 from 1.0 and damage reduced to 80/125/170/215/260 from 100/150/200/250/300.
Based on the statements in the patch notes preceding these chances, Riot clearly wanted to reduce Singed's burst damage by a little bit through nerfing Fling. The problem with these changes is that the first change alone probably would've been sufficient. A 25% reduction in Ability Power scaling is certainly no joke and the burst damage would generally be applied to squishier targets such as the enemy carries, who Singed is more likely to encounter when he hits his mid-game power spike and is sitting on a couple items that provide Ability Power, thus causing Fling to deal a sizable amount of their health, especially if Fling is maxed second after Poison Trail (which is somewhat uncommon).

However, by also nerfing the base damage of Fling, Singed is left with an ability that deals 80 damage for 100 mana or 125 damage for 110 mana, which is incredibly inefficient even considering that Fling is also a displacement skill. This hits his generally weaker early game, which would've probably been fine on its own since one playing against Singed can take advantage of the lesser trading capabilities and keep Singed from reaching his mid-game power levels earlier on when it would be deadly, making Singed more of a mid and late-game focused champion than he already was.

However, when coupled with the previous two changes, all three nerfs reduce the power level of Singed across the board, which is a bit overkill considering this happened over a single patch, especially since while Singed was strong, he had counterplay in the form of taking advantage of his weak, low sustain early game, using crowd control not affected by tenacity (or surprisingly, slows), and building a bit of Magic Resist for when he ultimately builds Haunting Guise and Liandry's Torment.

What Happened After?

Ultimately the Singed nerfs coupled with the Nasus buffs made me switch to a Nasus main, allowing me to climb to high Platinum ELO on the ladder. I still played Singed sometimes but felt the two champions were similar in terms of playstyle and champion matchups (for instance, they're both weak against champions that harass from range such as Teemo). Singed also saw play in both the Season 3 and 4 World Championships at some point, meaning his utility and general power was still high enough to see usage. Other more recent changes have brought Singed back to the point he's probably doing okay (chart is from Lolking), though I would happily crush any enemy Singed I ran into nowadays (though that may be because I've played him so much I know his strengths and weaknesses reasonably well).

On another note, I'll try to write any more articles on Singed for a while.

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