Today I would like to posit my argument that the new Conqueror changes coming to Patch 9.24 are a failure on many regards, that while I also think will not fix the issue of every champion in the game taking Conqueror, I'd like to more specifically focus on the heavy-handed and ineffective accidental nerf to Urgot with these changes that I feel are unfair and make no sense according to the Balance Framework Riot has published that they use to decide champion balance. All I ask is for you to consider my opinion and argument in good faith, even if you hate/dislike Urgot as a champion, and to be respectful. It's okay if you disagree with me, but we don't have to yell at each other about it. Riot, I beg you, even if you disagree with my argument, could we the Urgot players have some sort of response to why you think it is balanced, justified, and fair to apply this current nerf to Urgot at this time. The silence is deafening and very discouraging that it seems our voices as the Urgot player base are not even being heard, or even worse, outright ignored. Thank you for your time, and, thus, my thoughts:
Avoiding the more philosophical concept of balance in an online multiplayer game such as League of Legends, let's focus on what Riot has officially published and stated what framework they will be using to attempt objectively nerfing/buffing champions based upon divisions of skill throughout the game. As stated by Riot Repertoir in the article /Dev" Champion Balance Framework (June 2019);
"Conversations around balance can be rough. Over the past 9(!) years, we have found that players don’t necessarily always understand what we’re trying to accomplish (or can accomplish) in a patch cycle. But we want to change that.
Introducing the Champion Balance Framework, a source for all players to hold the “balance” team accountable for how we approach buffing/nerfing champions on a patch-to-patch basis. We’ve been making changes internally on the way we view champion balance for Summoner’s Rift. Now that we’ve had some time to see that change in action, we wanted to formalize this approach so if players dislike a change we make, they can at least understand why we decided to make that change."
Thus, I feel the need to hold the balance team accountable to the current nerf coming to Urgot. According to the article, the current framework for nerfing a champion involves examining a champion's performance on several metrics at several divisional combinations of ELOs to determine if a champion needs a change, and at which level of play that changed should be focused on. The current groups used to make these classifications are: Average Play (up to Gold ELO), Skilled Play (Plat through Diamond, excluding Masters+), Elite Play (Top 0.1% of Solo Que Players), and Professional Play. Let's look at the requirements at each of the categories that according to Riot, warrants a nerf:
Average Play: A champion might need a nerf if their win rate is 54.5% when combined with a ban rate that is less than the global ABR (~7%), or if their win rate is at about 52.5% with a BR of 5 times that of the global ABR.
Skilled Play: A champion might need a nerf if their win rate holds at 54% whilst having a ban rate less than that of the global ABR, or if their win rate sits around 52% at whilst having a ban rate around 5 times higher the global ABR.
Elite Play: Due to the low sample size of games, a champion is considered too strong at this level of play if their Banrate gets into the 45% size.
Pro-Play: A champion is considered nerf-worthy at the Professional Level if their presence on the current Patch is 90% or an 80% presence with consecutive patches.
So now that we have defined the objective measurements Riot has stated they will use to balance champions to, let's examine Urgot's performance in regard to each of these categories and their requirements to determine if Urgot really does require a major nerf. All stats are pulled from U.gg.
Urgot in Average Play: Global- 52.88% WR, 3.5% Pick Rate, and 2.9% Ban Rate.
Urgot in Skilled Play: Global- 52.50% WR, 2.6% Pick Rate, and 1.5% Ban Rate.
Urgot in Elite Play: Global- 0.1% Ban Rate (With a 49.76 Percent Winrate if you are curious, even though that doesn't apply to the metric Riot uses at this level of play)
Urgot in Professional Play: Data N/A due to Pre-Season. Was similar if not even less well-performing in Pro Play of Season 9 when compared to Elite Play of current.
So where does that leave us? Urgot struggles to even get close to the required metrics Riot uses at each division of play to warrant a heavy nerf, such as what is being done to him. Whilst his win rate is slightly higher than average below Elite play, his pick and ban rate are quite and characteristically low, which is usually found with a champion that is balanced and mainly played by a mains player base and not the average audience of League( I.e why champions like Yasuo who are quite strong can often have a lower win rate due to so many inexperienced players picking up the champion and learning them). Thus, Urgot objectively does not meet the nerf framework Riot has stated they should be held accountable to when performing a change on the champion. Thus, my question becomes, why is Urgot being nerfed? How is this fair to the champion? Why is it that champions like Mordekaiser, Nocturne, Jax and Cassiopeia in the top lane all have win rates, pick rates, and ban rates that clearly straddle or overpass the metrics Riot use for balance decisions using the current Conqueror, but a champion that clearly does not meet these metrics get so hit by a large nerf, especially when the change doesn't affect how they will continue to be using the rune? Urgot, Darius and Mordekaiser all share the Juggernaut classification and meet similar styles of play and strategy. Why is Mordekaiser so allowed to have such a higher win rate than Urgot (As of writing 55% at Plat+ and in Average Play), which spiked exactly after the new Conqueror changes of Pre-Season were implemented, but Urgot receives one of the largest nerfs he has received recently by halving his healing? Setting aside the fact that it appears Urgot does not meet Riot's metrics for receiving, and thus probably should not be receiving a major one, let's talk about what the nerf is and why it might accidentally be hitting Urgot. As some of you might know, the change coming to the Conqueror rune is that for Ranged Champions, the Rune only heals 8% of Post-Mitigation Damage instead of the 15% of PMD healing that is done for Melee champions and that stacks only last for 6 seconds. I believe the idea here is intended to stop ranged characters from keeping Conqueror permanently stacked, and to not allow ranged champions to quickly kite and heal any damage done to them in trades. But let's look at Urgot. Currently, he is classified as a ranged Juggernaut. Yet, Urgot the second-lowest range of any ranged character in the entire game, of 350 (Only coming ahead of Rakan, with 300) whilst the next lowest ranged champions have ranges on average of 100+ more than Urgot. Additionally, Urgot has some of the slowest movement speeds in the game, essentially does not have any escapes/mobility, and his main way of damage, his W, applies a speed reduction while active. It appears the changes to Conqueror are aimed at preventing permanently stacking the rune during lane phase and then permanently kiting/poking melee champions whilst healing out any trades. The issue is Urgot has no way of doing this. His range is not enough for him to consistently auto-attack or W to keep Conqueror stacked without getting in the engage range of quite literally every melee champion in the game. When Urgot goes to trade or skirmish, he has no way of getting out or kiting. Much like the other Juggernauts, he has to sit in the middle of the fight and commit, usually either killing the enemy or dying himself, especially in team fights. This is what all Juggernauts are balanced around doing. Additionally, Urgot cannot build AS in any way, and thus further has fewer tools than quite literally any other ranged champion in the game at keeping Conqueror permanently stacked in lane phase. Because of this lack of mobility, only light CC, and generally lower base stats than many other Juggernauts, Urgot relies on the healing of Conqueror to drain tank through fights and commit to them, much like every Bruiser and Juggernaut in the game. Since thus, Urgot has not ways of abusing the current Conqueror in the ways that other ranged champions are doing (The reason for the change to the rune), plays nearly exactly in range and play-style to most other Juggernauts, and has an average to below-average metric of stats compared to other Juggernauts and currently high tier top-laners, and does not meet the objective Champion Balance Framework requirements for a nerf, I kindly ask anyone at Riot responsible for balance, why is Urgot being nerfed so hard? Why aren't similar champions with better stats that are melee but often have an equal range to Urgot, such as Mordekaiser or Jax, not being impacted by the conqueror nerf when their stats have skyrocketed with the new Conqueror? This change has been incredibly distressing to us Urgot players and has already shown a correlation with Urgot's win rate rapidly being lesser on the PBE than that of the current patch before the Conqueror nerfs. We as players feel like our only Keystone is being taken away from us, that our only way of surviving team-fights and CC is being removed, while champions that have the same interests and challenges as we do in trades and team fights don't get this change whatsoever, whilst the change barely impacts the Marksmen and Mages that will still continue to abuse conqueror for the AD/AP at range. Please, may we get a response of why this change has to happen to Urgot and why nothing can be done about it? I would love to understand your decision making Riot, and if you could respond with a well reasoned and posited argument for this nerf, I would respect it. But as of currently, I nor any of the other Urgot players can comprehend the reason for this nerf to Urgot. We would like to request something along the lines of changing Urgot to a melee champion or making the Ranged Conqueror effect not apply to Urgot as compensation to avoid nerfing him, or if somehow none of this is possible, some sort of compensation buff.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you disagree, please feel free to tell me why below. All I ask is to not be flamed for voicing my opinion. I mean no disrespect to any Riot team member or player with these comments. I would just like League of Legends to be the best and fairest version of itself. Have fun!
Edit: For clarification to the many people in which nuance is lost upon them or do not read my post, I would like to specifically state that I believe that Conqueror needs a general nerf and that I think this current one does not DO ENOUGH to fix the rune. This post is to simply show and explain why the current change is negatively going to impact Urgot more than any other "ranged" champion, whilst other conqueror abusers that are melee will not be impacted by this nerf in any way, and how to compensate Urgot.