League of Legends

A Quick Look Into Marksman Nerfs and Ineffectiveness of Balance Framework

Riot Games updated the patch highlights on patch 10.14 and since then they've been sharing targeted skillband information or whether if it's pro or regular play oriented nerfs. I noticed a pattern over marksman nerfs and I wanted to share and discuss it.

Marksman champions got nerfed:

20 Times9 Times (5 of them are Samira nerfs)

Furthermore some of the regular play nerfs are just reverting a buff, follow ups on Samira release or preseason balancing of champion's interactions with new systems.( Caitlyn nerfs on 10.17, Samira nerf on 10.24, Jhin and Samira nerfs on 10.25)

I added each explanations of nerfs in capitons and as you might notice as well most of the marksman nerfs are early game targeted. So because of all of these I thought balance framework is not suitable for balancing of marksman regular play.

My conclusion are:

  • There are only 3 or 4 meta marksman at the same time and thus these marksmen get played every other game. Also there are always 2 marksman in every game and play against each other. Since they can play bad and get carried by their teams this makes popular marksmen's win rate converged to 50%.
  • Balance framework is not a proper tool to determine whether a marksman champion is overpowered or underpowered in regular play
  • Power distrubition of a marksman throughout the game phases is very important factor for balance team and early game power makes marksmen overpowered in pro play.
  • Marksman champions almost never trigger regular play balance framework criteria. Probably an indication of lack of influence over a game.
  • Marksman champions almost have to be overpowered in early game in order to be playable in pro play. Balance team is just shuffling which one is overpowered and if they don't marksmen will fall out of the meta in pro play.

My question is what can be done for better balancing of marksman's regular play? What method is can be used in the future?


!(7zrrq8cycpb81 ""Ezreal is a bit too safe in lane and in mid and late game skirmishes for the amount of damage he puts out, so we’re reducing his ability to continuously evade attackers. We’re bringing up his cooldown but not drastically so— he still has the potential to get in a second E, but will have to be careful in playing around that vulnerability. Along with the Troll King, Varus is also stifling pro play as the go-to blind pick (or first red side ban). Targeting his early poke to make him less effective at bullying his peers out of lane. "")

EZREAL: Pro Play/Too much safe/Early, mid game, late game

VARUS: Pro Play/Poke is too much effective/Early game


"Lowering Crescendum turret's attack range so it provides less zone control, and slowing down its target acquisition speed so opponents can reactively play around it. The rest of the changes are aimed towards weakening Infernum’s synergy with Runaan’s Hurricane."

APHELIOS: Pro play/Too much zone control, too much synergy with item/No specific phase


" We’re pulling back on a scaling Ashe buff we gave her in 10.8 to make more space for other marksmen with less early game power and utility to shine late game against her. "

ASHE: Pro play/too much scaling/late game


"Caitlyn's 10.15 buffs put her in a bit too domineering of a place for both professional and regular play." Buffs were +2 Base Attack Damage and +5 Base Movement Speed

CAITLYN: Pro Play and all skillbands/Too much Domineering/-5 MS nerf so especially early game


"Ashe has remained one of the primary marksmen in Pro play, so we’re icing some of her power. This caustic caterpillar-creature is almost always toeing (and oozing around) the line, and he’s finally crossed it. In response, we’re lowering his defenses to highlight his identity as a glass cannon marksman: severely spitty, but slightly squishy."

ASHE: Pro Play/Too much Power/-2 Base AD so especially early game

KOG'MAW: Skilled band/Too much Durability/Mid-Late game


"Caitlyn has been dominating and we're not confident that even with our previous nerfs there'd be a level playing field. It feels bad to put extra cuffs on the sheriff, but it seems it's prudent in order to open up bottom lane diversity for our most important tournament. Similar to Akali, Lucian is trending towards becoming an overbearing flex pick at Worlds. Since a large reason for this is due to his solo lane prowess, we’re reining that in by lowering his experience scaling. Senna has been stepping into the limelight, both as a bot lane carry and as a utility-first marksman in the Pro meta. We’re reducing her scaling via Mist Wraiths to grant more leeway to other traditional hypercarries."

CAITLYN: Pro play/Too much dominating/Early-mid game

LUCIAN: Pro play/Too much flexy, too much scaling/Early game

SENNA: Pro play/Too much scaling/Late game


No Marksman Nerfs


"Samira is at a place where her early game safety and mobility is a touch too reliable, so we’re bumping up her cooldown in a way so that she has to play more conservatively in the first stages of the game. We’re also trimming some of her damage so that her all ins are a little less potent."

SAMIRA: Elite skillband/Too much safe and mobile, too much damage/Early game


"Samira has quickly made her mark as a powerhouse ADC who can effortlessly slash, bash, and dash into a snowbally lead. We’re pulling out some of her early brawling power to reduce her reliability."

SAMIRA: Elite and Skilled skillband/Too much snowball/Early game


"Preseason patch, no highlights"


"With more items that grant both lifesteal and crit at her disposal, Samira poses a menacing threat in lane, even when being actively zoned out. We’re nerfing her all-in potential so that she has to think twice before charging in, gun (and blade) blazing."

SAMIRA: Skilled skillband/Too much all-in/Early game


"Even with some of his lethality options catching some nerfs (see below), Jhin's still cashing out hard this preseason with pure crit builds. Giving him a direct trim. Samira's win rate isn't over the line, but her ban rate certainly is, which indicates an issue with game health. Cutting a frustrating knock up mechanic and the hard synergy she gained with new items."

JHIN: Average skillband/Too much cashing out hard/Early-mid game

SAMIRA: Elite skillband/Too much ban rate/Before even game starts

11.1, 11.2, 11.3:

No Marksman Nerfs


"No one adapts to new items like Kai'Sa, and this season proved no exception. We’re reducing some of her damage to lower burstiness and make her less daunting in quick trades early on. As it stands, our desert rose has consistently been warming the ban bench. Even when technically close to balanced, we believe she has several frustrating attributes that contribute to her high ban rate. We’re tackling this problem by giving her some balance tweaks so that both Samira players and her opponents feel more comfortable having her back in the ring. To do this, we’re reducing the power of her defensive tools and giving opponents more opportunities to play against her in lane. We’re also reducing her all-in potential early game. In exchange, we’re improving her kill potential mid to late game, so that when she does go in, she slays."

KAI'SA: Pro play/Too much burst/Early game

SAMIRA: Elite skillband/Too much banrate/Early game

11.5, 11.6:

No Marksman Nerfs


"Kai'Sa's strength lies in striking when the iron's hot: dashing to isolated enemies to burst them down, then sidestepping just as quickly. Her ult adds another level of safety, especially early game, so we're targeting its uptime to give opponents a chance to catch her in lane. Tristana has rocket jumped to the top of Pro levels of play. We're taking a shot at her early game damage."

KAI'SA: Pro play/Too much safe/Early game

TRISTANA: Pro play/Too much damage/Early game

11.8, 11.9:

No Marksman Nerfs


"Despite Jinx's bugfix-nerf in 11.9, she’s still at the top of the marksmen heap. In addition to her big ol' deadly rocket to snipe objectives, she’s a safe pick to handle most scenarios. We’re making her more vulnerable to enemies who want to shut her down early on, then pulling back on a super mega frustrating point of her ult."

JINX: Pro play and all skillbands/Too much safe/Early Game


No Marksman Nerfs


"This fearless predator has been making Pro play her prey. We’re looking to draw back some of her early game power by curbing her ability to control waves and giving her opponents more opportunities to punish her when her Q is down. Varus’ buff in patch 11.4 on his W made his Lethality builds especially powerful, so we’re pulling back accordingly."

VARUS: Pro Play/Too much power/Mid game

KAI'SA: Pro play/Too much controlling/Early game

11.13, 11.14, 11.15, 11.16, 11.17, 11.18:

No Marksman Nerfs

"Aphelios' early game is very consistent right now, which explains his elevated presence in Pro play recently. We're nerfing his laning phase to make it harder for him to get to his first item and scale. Uh, something something moonstones. Ashe's lane control early game goes a bit too far and wide. We're giving her opponents more space to play back without getting pierced by cones and cones of crystalline arrows. Kalista's ult with a melee support is almost guaranteed to kill with chain CC, especially in Pro-level high coordination gank setups. We’re giving her opponents a slightly bigger window to escape her wrath. Varus has been bullying his lanes pretty hard, especially in Pro play. These changes should weaken his early game a bit on all fronts."

APHELIOS: Pro play/Too much consistency/Early game

ASHE: Pro play/Too much controling/early game

KALISTA: Pro play/Too much guaranteed kill/Early game

VARUS: Pro play/Too much bully/early game


Varus' last nerf missed the mark, so we're going a bit harder with a pointed focus on his Lethality builds, which are more reliant on his Q. (As a reminder, his Q cooldown can get partial refunds with stacks from W – Blighted Quiver's passive.)

VARUS: Pro play/Still too much bully/early game


No Marksman Nerfs


"Miss Fortune has been popular at every level of play, including at Worlds. We want to preserve the flexibility between her lethality and crit builds, so we're nerfing her in a way that forces her to pick her early shots more wisely."

MISS FORTUNE: Average skillband/Too much ability spam/early game

11.22, 11.23, 11.24, 12.1:

No Marksman Nerfs or patch highlights


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