League of Legends

Aurelion Sol: The Forgotten Dragon


Introduction

There will be TL:DR sections at the bottom of each issue for people who can't read for very long such as myself, so keep an eye out for them, but TL:DR Aurelion Sol isn't in a good spot right now.

https://preview.redd.it/t8kpm5ppb4l61.png?width=972&format=png&auto=webp&s=e0eb5004c10e5d10d4f72532d21903e44e1b42e6

As of me starting the writing and research on this post, Aurelion Sol has the lowest pickrate of any champion in League of Legends with a 0.7% pick rate and a 49% winrate. Today I'd like to break down why these statistics matter, and the issues that correlate with them.

A champion having a 49% winrate generally speaking is not a bad thing in terms of balance. This means that out of every person playing this champion, newbie and master alike, they average almost a 50% winrate. The important part to point out of this is that it is including players who are not as familiar with the champions who won't perform to the same efficiency as someone who mains the champion and performs well on them.

When you encounter people who are really good at mechanically difficult champions like Riven, they should have a higher winrate than the average population without having a ridiculously high winrate that exceeds their skill as a player.

The portion of this that is wrong with Aurelion Sol is the fact that this is not a sampling of the general population. Aurelion Sol has currently the lowest pickrate of any champion, and almost every time someone plays him they play him very consistently or main him.

So for Aurelion Sol to be barely averaging a 49% winrate is a problem when you consider that most people who are factored into this winrate play him incredibly often and are at least decent with the champion is a major problem.

Even when you compare the top Aurelion Sol players to the top Riven or Kai'sa players, the winrates of those who are considered to be the best Aurelion Sol players averages between the 50-69% range but the Riven or Kai'sa top players have winrates from 60-90%. That's a gigantic margin.

Today I'd like to break down all of the reasons that Aurelion Sol as a champion doesn't feel right, and to express the concerns of many Aurelion Sol mains from the r/Aurelion_Sol_mains subreddit.

TL:DR; Space puppy isn't in a good spot. Here's why.


Grievances

1.) Lack of kit direction. Whenever you look at a champion, you can generally formulate an idea for how exactly the champion is meant to be played. For Kha'zix as an example, Kha'zix has a kit that relies on isolation damage and a leap that can be reset on kill, as well as invisibility. This generally tells you that he is meant to be an assassin, and should be targeting squishy vulnerable targets in teamfights before getting back out.

The issue with Aurelion Sol is that since his mini-rework he has lost a sense of identity unique to his playstyle. Before, Aurelion Sol was used as a champion who would be the center of a teamfight in the same way that he is the center of the universe in lore.

But even before his rework, his pick rate and winrates were abysmal. He didn't feel like a god of the universe meant to be feared; instead he felt like a glass cannon with too many counters that made him a niche pick at best. Riot attempted to counter this issue by forcing his stars onto cooldown after a set amount of time and attempting to make him more of a burst mage, but this ruined his core sense of identity and dropped his pick rate by more than 60%.

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All of Aurelion Sol's abilities are centered around enabling him to hit as many stars from his W as possible, which is not in theory a bad idea and part of the original appeal to him as a champion. When Riot forcibly put his W on cooldown after a set amount of time and attempted to transition him to a burst mage by gutting his kit, this unfortunately broke the idea of a cosmic dragon who uses stars to force his enemies to orbit away from him and left a lot to be desired in his playstyle. He lacks the damage for his full combo to one-shot like Annie or Veigar, and his full combo takes much longer than theirs as well which enables an enemy to turn his burst back onto him.

I'd like to take a quote from u/Magical-Hummus for this section, found on a thread in the Aurelion Sol Mains subreddit.

Usually burst mages i.e. Veigar, Annie have at least 2 damaging main abilities and a high damage ultimate but Asol only has his W. Everything about his kit is still a set up for his W. His Q does minimal damage, his ult does at max decent damage but is only meant as an disengage (Xerath Q is way more damaging) and yet alone his E does not give him any special effect to compensate i.e. a passive. Which gives this champion an identity crisis between being a dps mage and a burst mage. His burst is strong but lacking so that it is not performing well and his dps is there but inconsistent so it loses a lot of damage output. The game constantly and I really mean constantly tells you ''Keep the W up as if it would be a permanent loop'' while at the same time punishing us with making it at max only 3 seconds

There is a lack of direction within Aurelion Sol's kit that causes him to feel forgotten about in the current meta. With Kha'zix, Kai'sa, Annie, and Veigar you can read their kit and get a feel for how they are meant to be played, but with Aurelion Sol this is not exactly the case.

He's not quite a battle mage, not quite an AP assassin, just an odd underwhelming mix of both that leaves a lot to be desired. Rather than a champion like Kayn who chooses a path between being an assassin or a bruiser, he feels like an ambiguous mess that wasn't thought through enough during his mini-rework.

Even after all of this, his "new" kit doesn't synergize well. Instead of being given his movement ability as a passive on his E when he moves in a straight line (which is still pretty weird) it was instead removed that and gave him passive movement speed upon cancellation of his W… What?

Aurelion received one buff and two nerfs since then despite his winrate and pickrates both plummeting sharply shortly after, with his winrate slowly coming up as his pickrates began to drop off further.

TL;DR: He doesn't have a particular established purpose to play during teamfights that is properly enabled by his kit. His abilities don't feel like they fluidly work together for a specific purpose in the same way that other champions do.

2.) Lack of compensation after item reworks. The core items used on Aurelion Sol such as Rod of Ages, Hextech GLP, and other important items have been removed or heavily altered/nerfed. Despite them being removed, no clear adjustments were made to help Aurelion Sol feel better as a champion. For the most part a lot of champions have a clear build path, or between two to three build paths that are viable for the champion.

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Rather than feeling like he has an option for a build path that is optimal for him as a champion, he instead feels like he's forced into build paths that are suboptimal for him as a champion. No items really feel like they benefit him properly after the removal of tanky AP items that allowed him to stay alive during teamfights long enough to put out damage, or gave him sustain in the laning phase.

After these tankier AP items were removed, his core identity in teamfights was also removed.

If he builds full AP, he can do burst damage but not nearly as much, as quickly, or as reliably as other control mage champions (i.e. Syndra, Orianna, Annie, etc) yet he still dies just as quickly if not faster than they do. He also lacks the ability to hide in brush the same way they do, which prevents him from fulfilling the AP assassin role Riot originally attempted to transition him to.

If he builds tankier, he doesn't do enough damage to make him feel like he's doing something worthwhile and he still dies too quickly. He lacks reliable, consistent CC that a tankier midlaner like Galio would have while still doing less damage and dying faster.

To put it simply, no matter what build path Aurelion Sol takes there is nothing that he can build that would make him better under any circumstance than another champion in the same role. He is no longer a niche pick, but instead a pick that is almost completely not viable in the current meta.

If he attempts to build AP Assassin he is countered by his inability to hide and does not burst quicker, more reliably, or for more damage than champions like Annie, Ahri, Diana, Leblanc, Fizz, etc.

If he attempts to build battle mage, he lacks raw DPS and low cooldowns when compared to a champions like Cassiopeia, Ryze, Anivia, etc and is countered much easier due to how easy it is to avoid his stars and to get close to him.

If he tries to go tank, he will die faster than any other tank champion because he lacks the base stats and passive abilities that make them tanky to compete with them.

There isn't a build path that particularly makes him shine as a champion, which is one of his core issues currently.

Even with an item like Imperial Mandate working with Rylais, he just doesn't feel right.. and why is a midlaner being forced to build an item intended for supports?

Why does he have one of the lowest base movements in the game for a champion centered around orbiting damage with no passive effects that give him movement speed?

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TL:DR He has no items or build paths that make him shine as a champion after the removal of his core AP Tank build AND the mediocre transition to a burst mage with no burst, which furthers the issue of him feeling as though he has no direction as a champion. All of his stats feel weird as well.

3.) Aurelion Sol has not been given any balance changes since early 2020, and even then that was a nerf.

Other than bugfixes, the last time Aurelion Sol was touched in patch notes was during patch 10.4 which went live on February 20th, 2020. For reference on just how long it has been, this was around the same time that COVID pandemic started. In the past almost three years, he has seen one buff and two nerfs.

Obviously, he has not been altered in any way, shape, or form to compensate him for the loss of the core items he built in previous seasons. For example: Rod of Ages, Spellbinder, Hextech GLP, and probably more that I haven't listed were all removed from the game. Liandry's Anguish was massively changed as well, which was another core item commonly built on Aurelion Sol.

Everfrost was the successor to Hextech GLP, but as an item that costs nearly 1,000g more than its predecessor while providing almost the exact same stats… Well… It leaves a lot to be desired for an underwhelming dragon on a budget.

Aurelion Sol has not seen a buff since September 2019 in patch 9.18. It isn't wrong to say that the beautiful starry dragon feels as though he has been forgotten by Riot as much as he has by the player base.

TL:DR; Aurelion Sol hasn't been touched by Riot's balance team more than 3 times in 3 years despite having an astronomically low pickrate, and a low win ratio by the top players of him when compared to the top players of other champions with higher pick rates.

If Aurelion Sol had the same playrate as other more popular champions, I can almost guarantee that his winrate would drop lower than any other champion. As you would learn in any statistics class, a smaller sample size is not a great foundation to base a claim off of which is why I feel his winrate is not indicative of his ability as a champion right now.

To those of you who read this all the way through, thank you for giving me your time. 🙂

Source: reddit.com

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