What makes a champion "hard to play"?

That's a question I that I was thinking to make a thread on for quite a while, but today, a certain Zed main on the boards really pissed me off so I decided to actually make the thread. How do we define a champion as "hard to play"? Normally by quite the low win rates in the hands of bad players and most especially in lower elos seems to be the general consensus for "hard to play". Some are hard to play because they are macro dependent, others are micro, some are both (looking at you blind dude who doesn't see the balance list). Some may be hard to play at higher elos because their binary kit can be countered with smart play, so there's a lot of things that make champions hard to play, different elos, different metas (yolo que meta and high elo meta [d3+] are different). So let's evaluate some champs, both AD and AP and see how a hard to play champion should look in terms on win rate, pick rate and ban rate across different elos, and to make things easier, each will have the stats taken from their best role, so no "ADC Nidalee" interfering with the stats. Let's start with everyone's favorite edge lord: (Note 1: The stats will be in the following order for everyone: win rate, pick rate, ban rate, stats are taken from U.GG right now, no older stats, right now. Also, since some are played both Top and Mid, I'll just write for their most played in each rank, unless the win rate difference is higher by around 2% and pick rate is in a 2% margin, then I'll give both, why 2%? It's significant enough. If the win rate is higher by say 0.5% yet the pick rate is lower by 4%, then there's no point in showing that stat. If the difference is way too big, then the role will be written next to the name, as example Zed has a nearly 54% win rate top in Iron, but the pick rate is just 0.5%, so no point in putting it) Zed M: - Iron: 50.33%, 15.5%, 42.1% - Bronze: 50.08%, 16.3%, 47.7% - Silver: 50.5%, 14.5%, 51.9% - Gold: 51.15%, 13.1%, 51.6% - Platinum: 51.33%, 12.3%, 46.1% - Diamond: 52.28%, 11.4%, 34.3% - Master: 48.05%, 9.6%, 20.3% - Grandmaster: 52.76%, 9.7%, 18% - Challenger: 51.33%, 8.4%, 9.2% According to the boards, most especially the Zed mains, Zed is weak, easy to counter and very hard to play. So if those stats are for a champion who's very hard to play, who's so very weak and all the yada yada, then I wonder what would the stats for the following champions mean: Azir M: - Iron: 44.7%, 1.7%, 0.8% - Bronze: 46.82%, 1.4%, 0.6% - Silver: 47.13%, 1.7%, 0.4% - Gold: 47.7%, 2%, 0.3% - Platinum: 48.44%, 2.3%, 0.3% - Diamond: 48.75%, 2.7%, 0.4% - Master: 49.67%, 3.3%, 1.1% - Grandmaster: 43.11%, 3.3%, 1.1% - Challenger: 40.52%, 3.7%, 2.5% Riven T: - Iron: 48.19%, 5.1%, 1.9% - Bronze: 45.91%, 5.3%, 2.2% - Silver: 48.02%, 6.4%, 3.1% - Gold: 49.79%, 7.8%, 4.5% - Platinum: 51.2%, 9.6%, 7.1% - Diamond: 53.45%, 10.7%, 11.8% - Master: 52.77%, 10.5%, 15.8% - Grandmaster: 54.53%, 9.4%, 17% - Challenger: 53.07%, 9.8%, 17.5% (Note 2: I find it funny, even tho Riven is clearly better than Zed at the higher ranks [I'll talk about this a bit later], people still find Zed more worthy of a ban than her, because except for Challenger, he is banned more than her everywhere) Akali: - Iron M: 39.68%, 6%, 6.9% - Bronze M: 40.68%, 5.6%, 7% - Silver M: 42.26%, 4.6%, 8.3% - Gold: M - 42.57%, 4%, 9.9% / T - 44.73%, 2.1%, 9.9% - Platinum: M - 43.67%, 3.6%, 11% / T - 45.52%, 2.3%, 11% - Diamond: M - 45.94%, 3.7%, 12% / T - 46.87%, 2.6%, 12% - Master T: 56.35%, 2.8%, 13.4% (win rate is much lower mid, so I'll just give top from here, as the pick rate is almost identic) - Grandmaster T: 43.97%, 3.4%, 13.9% - Challenger T: 45.32%, 4.4%, 13.7% Irelia: (will do the same as with Akali if needed) - Iron T: 46.81%, 3.6%, 4.9% - Bronze M: 45.51%, 4.1%, 5.6% - Silver M: 46.1%, 4.3%, 8.5% - Gold M: 45.22%, 4.6%, 11.8% - Platinum T: 45.74%, 7.1%, 14.3% - Diamond T: 46.83%, 8.6%, 17.7% - Master T: 47.49%, 9.6%, 24.5% - Grandmaster T: 45.82%, 10.8%, 26.3% - Challenger T: 51.07%, 12.5%, 31% Nidalee JG: - Iron: 42.86%, 1.2%, 0.2% - Bronze: 43.1%, 1.5%, 0.2% - Silver: 45.49%, 1.8%, 0.2% - Gold: 46.97%, 2.2%, 0.3% - Platinum: 49.67%, 2.5%, 0.7% - Diamond: 51.6%, 3.8%, 1.4% - Master: 51.02%, 5.4%, 3.6% - Grandmaster: 47.19%, 4.4%, 3.9% - Challenger: 57.14%, 3.8%, 6.6% Lee Sin JG: - Iron: 45.54%, 10.4%, 10.7% - Bronze: 46.71%, 12.4%, 12% - Silver: 46.97%, 15.9%, 14% - Gold: 47.61%, 19.1%, 13.9% - Platinum: 47.77%, 20.3%, 11.9% - Diamond: 48.35%, 20.6%, 8.9% - Master: 47.01%, 20.2%, 5.7% - Grandmaster: 50.44%, 19.9%, 6% - Challenger: 50.07%, 21.8%, 5.3% (Note 3: 1 more and we're done, and trust me, I probably waited to finish this more than you) Yasuo M: (the 2nd edge lord) - Iron: 53.27%, 19.4%, 46.6% - Bronze: 51.58%, 19.4%, 48.1% - Silver: 50.02%, 16.8%, 49.2% - Gold: 48.81%, 14.2%, 48.3% - Platinum: 48.25%, 12.7%, 43.8% - Diamond: 48.26%, 11.4%, 34.7% - Master: 51.65%, 10.4%, 20% - Grandmaster: 50.06%, 10.6%, 21.3% - Challenger: 51.8%, 9.9%, 13.9% Now, as you can see in the stats, there's 1 inconsistency, the one I left for last, weeblord himself, the "Bronze is like the wind, always by my side", and well, apparently, Bronze Yasuos are better in their own ranks than Diamond Yasuos. His inconsistency is easy to explain, he's doing so well in the lower ranks not because the players are so much better at the champ than their peers and higher elos, Mobalytics made a video about this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0N7Lq9Tzf8 So although lower elo Yasuo players are worse than the higher ones, his higher win rate comes from the fact that most low elo players don't know how to play against him, which allows those bad Yasuos to win more by simply being Yasuo, while it goes higher in the elos, have a heavy drop in win rate and pick rate. Almost 5% win and play rate drop, because in those elos, the mistakes those low elo players make are punished, and such they lose and drop Yasuo. Many may be super good at their mechanics, they have those sick laning stages, then they lose, as they don't know how to end the game. That doesn't matter in Iron, because the opponents will int into you, but in higher elos, that doesn't happen as often, while in the highest of elos, the mechanics on the good Yasuos coupled with knowing how to end the game will grant them a better win rate, but as you can see, it's still a way lower win rate at a way lower play rate, thus for Yasuo it's basically like this: - Low Elo: Bad Yasuo + Bad Enemies = Yasuo wins - Mid Elo: Bad Yasuo + Good Enemies = Yasuo feeds - High Elo: Good Yasuo + Good Enemies = Balanced games (Tho favoring Yasuo a tad more, but still, I mean, GM has it at a 50%) Now, about Riven, I said I'd talk about her. Riven is Riven, she's strong when mastered, but what do we see? Lower elos are chain feeding, there's no way around it, they don't win, but the better players get at her and the game, they will climb better. And as with Yasuo, even if lower elos can play Riven's lane perfectly, their lack of knowledge how to end the game will lose the game. Riven and Lee show based on win rate how it should be for actually harder to play champions, low win rates low elo no matter how you look at it (except Yasuo, but was already talked), while the higher you go, the better those champions are, same with Nidalee, she's the highest win rate in Challenge, I mean, wow, she's broken there. And there we have the edge lord #1, Zed. He breaks this pattern if we consider him as hard to play, because unlike Yasuo, he doesn't drop in win rate, he doesn't have that U curve, he actually (except that drop in Masters, no idea, last time I checked, the drop was in challenger and Masters had his highest, but hey....) increases in win rate the higher you go, and as I said, compared to Riven, who's someone we see as "REEEEEEEEEEE OMFGBBQBROKENOP" if we look at the boards, Zed is still considered more dangerous as his ban is higher. On the other hand, his stats would make sense if we look at him as not that hard to play. Now, I'm not saying you'll master Zed after 10 games, you still need a lot of games to master Zed, but, you don't need to master the champion to win, which unlike every other champion listed (bar Yasuo in low ranks, but that's not on the Yasuo player but his opponents), you don't need to master Zed in order to win. Zed's current skill requirement to pick up and play is not as high as it once was, there's no arguing against those stats. No U curve as Yasuo, no climb once mastered as Riven, he's a winner almost from the get go. Now, before someone goes "bah, just another Zed hate thread", it's true in a way, this is ment to show that certain champions like Zed have become much easier to play than they once where even if they kept their high skill cap to master. And such, we come back to the title question: What makes a champion hard to play? One thing I left out of the 1st set of question: can we consider a champion that's easy to pick up but hard to master as hard to play? Why or why not? We can consider things as in why do Zed mains see Zed as hard to play and weak but wins only because players don't know to play against him while he doesn't have Yasuo's U curve? What's the difference? What makes him much easier to play than the rest of his "hard to play" peers? Or the other way around, what makes those champions much harder to play than Zed? We have both laners and junglers, so it's not a case of "oh well, those are junglers so they rely on the team more, Zed doesn't". I mention Zed a lot because he seems a good benchmark currently, he's called hard to play, but his stats show otherwise, he's called weak, but he wins quite too much, so comparing him to other hard to play champions, it makes it easier to determine differences.
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