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Comparing Champions

Kikanolo March 28, 2014 User blog:Kikanolo

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Something I hear a lot, both on the rift and on the forums, is that some champion is “better” than another. After examining the situation, I always find that this view is inaccurate, because it is a generalization. When conventionally comparing two champions, people will compare their ability to perform a certain action. This action may vary greatly, it could be their ability to initiate, disengage, assassinate, peel, etc.

However the significant idea that is missed when champions are compared this way is that champions are different. Not so different that each and every champion has a different purpose, but different enough that even those with the same purpose do not achieve it in the same way.

When people compare the competence of a champion in fulfilling one role or duty, they ignore all other roles and duties of the champions. I too am guilty of this crime. If people see that a champion is more efficient at a type of assassination for example, they might say that this champ is by default better than another assassin, ignoring the method of assassination and all other factors and parameters. The ability of a champion to fulfill a role should not be compared with other champions, as the method and other factors vary.

I believe that what should be compared is how well a champion fills their role in a team composition, rather than individual champions. If a champion fits well into a team composition they are good. There is not just one team composition that all champions must be fit into in some way or another. A team is like a cake (forgive the cliché), because it can be made with different ingredients, but the end result is the same, a working team that can win a game. Even in this scenario, no champ is better than another, it is just more or les suited to a role.

Pertaining to the conventional comparison of champions, this type of comparison also works. We should not say that, as a result of the way that two champ fulfills the same role, that one is better, we should acknowledge that one champ is more suited to performing that role, and look at the differences between the champions.

Let me now provide some examples. Firstly, there are a number of assassins built for attack damage that can go in mid lane. These are Khazix, Talon, Zed, Pantheon, Riven, and Fiora. I will be focusing on Zed, Khazix, and Talon. If I asked someone to rate these champions, they would probably tell me “Kha’zix is OP as hell, Zed was OP but he got nerfed, he’s still strong though, and Talon is weak”. Before you start immediately writing a comment on how this is wrong, I know that a lot of it is wrong. That is why I am using it. Someone looking at their respective abilities to assassinate might say that, (in general, please don't start raging because these are just the general highlights of the assassination) Kha’zix can jump in, Q, Stealth, Q, and jump out with his reset, Zed death marks, Bork Q E AA in some order, and R out, and Talon blinks in, AA Q W R, and either escapes in stealth or ends at the location of the dead target. Based on this narrow-minded view, someone might think Talon has the weakest burst because of the lack of a concrete escape, ignoring the advantage that his burst is the only 100% uncounterable one. I will not go into the advantages and disadvantages of each of these champions, as I am sure everyone knows them. But what I wanted to convey is that each of these champions achieves their goal in a different way, and has strengths in certain other areas. This mans that they thrive in slightly different, though largely similar situations, and have different preferences in terms of opponents and teammates. As a result, they cannot be directly compared to each other, the only thing that can be compared is how well they thrive in a certain scenario.

As I am sure that someone will quote champions that are currently considered “weak” to me, I will try to respond to this. Currently “weak” champions may simply not be are suited to performing roles and duties that are at the moment considered most important. Also possible is that their way of performing their role is not as preferable as way a “strong” champ performs it. An example of this is Lissandra, who is a very strong champion. She is a mage initiator, and most conventional initiators are bruisers or tanks. In this situation, nothing is wrong with the champion, but her popularity is low as she is not the currently preferred type of initiator. Looking at the situation in this way, I can see the redeeming aspects of many champs that have fallen out of favor.

Champs should not be individually compared, because to compare two champs with different designs focuses on only one of the many areas and factors that make a champ. To say that a champ is better than another is to say that Dr. Mundo is a better champion than Lucian because he is tankier, that Leona is a better champion that Sivir because she has more crowd control, and that Brand is a better champion than Jax because he has higher burst.

Overall, I just wanted to point out some faults in the current way people compare champions and provide an alternative.

Thanks for reading.

PS. This is my first post, I hope you enjoyed it.


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