Right now he is one of the worst champions in the game. Here's why.
In patch 4.9 he was nerfed, because he was too versatile and too good at being BOTH tanky and a burst assassin. However, all of his base stats and abilities were nerfed in one patch. The quite predictable result is that he immediately went from being very good at everything, to being mostly trash at everything.
This pushed him out of any competitive viability; his source of power, Isolation, is already very situational and easily countered by appropriate team compositions, builds, and gameplay. If you then don't even get a significant advantage even when you DO obtain it, the champion becomes unviable if you are trying to win seriously.
Fast forward a year and a half, and he's worse than ever. But why?
Well, because of three big factors:
- Power creep
- Changes in AD items
- Changes to the jungle
- Crit creep
Let's start with the power creep. With the passing of time and the introduction of new champions and reworks, the average strength of champions has been increasing. This is most evident with the Juggernaut update, where fighters were essentially made stronger overall, being very tanky but still dealing a lot of damage, as well as the more recent Marksmen update, which caused most AD carries to become a lot stronger than before.
This leads nicely into my next point, item changes. The AD item changes made it so that most AD items are now optimized for ADCs specifically. This means they revolve mostly around Critical Chance and Attack Speed, two stats that most assassins, and Kha'Zix in particular, don't really benefit from. The result is that most assassins don't have a clear set of item choices to go for, as most of the AD items are not gold efficient for them.
Another item related problem for Kha'Zix, is the fact that jungle items have had their cost increased twice since S4, Jungle monsters have become a lot tougher, and Kha'Zix still has the base stats of patch 4.9, in which they were massively nerfed; the low base stats and stronger jungle make him reliant on his first item to clear, but the first item is massively more expensive, so he gets it a lot later and he really struggles for almost half the game. This is a broader problem, as the entire jungle role has been greatly hurt in the last two seasons. Also the XP and gold snowballing from getting a kill in a gank have been reduced, both directly with numbers, and indirectly with the increase in costs of jungle and AD items. Finally, the removal of the old Last Whisper was devastating for Kha'Zix, who massively relied on it to do damage.
And finally, the higher average amount of Crit Chance that AD carries get made AD casters like Kha'Zix irrelevant. They can achieve the same, if not more, damage that Kha'Zix would do, just by right clicking from a distance. They became so much stronger that now, with same level and a comparable build, almost all ADCs can 1v1 Kha'Zix even when isolated. This is definitely a game design failure on Riot's side.
WHAT CAN BE DONE?
I have a few ideas, although I am not a game designer. I hope Riot can figure out a solution themselves based on the facts I just listed, if they even care about making this champion actually playable again.
His base stats could be improved.
His cooldowns could be decreased, as they are quite lengthy and make his clears quite slow.
His uninteresting passive could be reworked into something better.
His W mana cost and cooldown could be lowered to give him better sustain while clearing.
His ult could be buffed, allowing him to blink around or take less damage, or it could be reworked entirely into something more interesting.
His evolution system could get changed so that all upgrades have a compelling value.
His Q could receive buffs, like:
- The ability to crit or a mechanic that makes it so it crits isolated targets.
- Better base damage and/or multiplier for isolation.
- A % Max health damage or execute
- An armor ignore a bit like Gangplank's barrel, maybe only if the target is isolated.
These are just random ideas off the top of my head. I legitimately don't know if they would be any good.
I do believe however that my analysis and understanding of the problem is quite accurate and it could be used to solve this honestly quite big problem. I hope Riot is paying attention to this. Buffing his armor by 3 is not going to help. And he does NOT need a buff to his jump, that is the only thing in his kit that is working fine. And introducing an assassin item is also not going to solve this. It might help, but he will still be unviable. His kit was mediocre at the end of S4, but it is dreadful now, after all this time.
Please consider upvoting this so that Riot can at least be reminded of the existence and nature of this problem. They really have not been acknowledging this situation properly for far too long. Thank you.