It's Okay That Some League of Legends Champions Aren't Used in Pro Play

by Matt Best

Garen 4
(Photo: League of Legends)

Let's be real. How epic would it be to see Garen spin to win in a professional League of Legends game? Forget about Garen, how about if Teemo was common on the Rift? Not your cup of tea? Imagine always seeing Urgot played.

Now that I've got your attention, let's chat about why it's perfectly fine that certain League of Legends champions aren't mainstays during professional play.

According to Ghostcrawler, League of Legends Design Director, it would take a lot of trade-offs in order to get more champions into pro play. "We use one set of tuning numbers for every League player, regardless of skill level. A game like basketball has different point lines, and a game like golf has different tee boxes, but League is virtually the same for everyone. A lot of the feedback we receive from players is about how a particular change won’t solve a balance issue at Challenger or Pro. But that’s not the focus."

Remember my Garen example from earlier? Ghostcrawler uses Garen as the perfect example as to why he's popular in lower ELO's but not in pro play. "If you take a popular lower ELO champion like Garen and vow that he needs to be picked at pro, you could end up with a monster with a 65%+ winrate in Silver. You could do a big rework on him so that his winrate in Silver was around 50% and close to that for pro, but he might end up so mechanically complex that he isn’t as popular as he is today (or more likely, probably wouldn’t stay at 50% in Silver for long)."

Ghostcrawler also chatted about other reasons as to why it's difficult to get these champions in the mix. "It’s challenging to tune any champion who has part of their power tied up in AI minions so that they are viable for pro without stomping non-pro. Channeled ults are something pros tend to always interrupt. Weaknesses aren’t necessarily weaknesses when you have teammates who can cover them up, versus a solo queue experience where you may be on your own. Skill shots, combos, and anything timing-related tends to be far more reliable in higher skill brackets."

Maybe one day we'll see Garen in pro play, just not anytime soon.

By Matt Best

Matt Best is the Lead On Air Host and Producer for WWG. He has spent his professional career submerged in both the traditional sports world as well as esports. As one of the only Canadians at WWG, if you want to tilt Matt, just bring up awful Canadian stereotypes.