Lucian is finally viable again—but is he too strong?
Lucian was in a very weak spot, up until the tornado known as patch 7.5 landed in League of Legends earlier this month. After the significant buffs to Lucian’s cast times and a big change to Blade of the Ruined King, he’s finally viable again. Unfortunately, however, the buffs may have pushed him too far.
There was a time when Lucian dominated the marksman meta. His dominance over the bot lane didn’t start right when he was released in late 2013, however. It took some time. When he first came out, most people thought he was actually weaker than other ADCs. It wasn’t until professional players in the LCK began running him in their games that he started to gain some traction.
Lucian hadn’t been buffed, though. It had just taken a while for players to figure him out. They had been trying to build him like the other ADCs at the time, and that just wasn’t how he was meant to be played. When the Korean professionals began building Essence Reaver on him and maxed out his cooldown reduction (CDR), we all saw just how powerful he could be.
The Essence Reaver and CDR route for marksman champions was not something that had been done before, except for maybe on Ezreal, but it worked very well with Lucian’s mage-marksman hybrid style. It gave him mana return for spending his spells and increased how often he could sling them between auto attacks. He rose into the meta fast after this trend began, and it would be a couple of years before he was nerfed hard enough to knock him out of the meta.
Then it happened. Patch 6.11 went live about ten months ago, and it took a necessity away from Lucian: His range. The range on his main damage-dealing spell was lowered by 200 units and its damage was also reduced. His W’s range was also lowered by 100 units. This had a very large impact on Lucian’s viability, and he immediately fell out of favor with marksman mains.
Well it took ten months, but we finally saw some Lucian buffs great enough to boost him back into the meta. The cast-time on his Q now speeds up as the game progresses, and the cast time of his W was just flat-out reduced across the board. Riot also tweaked the way he responds to commands like basic attacks, moving, and other abilities after he casts his Q and W to feel more fluent.
Since these buffs went live, Lucian has been annihilating the bot lane. To say that he’s viable now would be an understatement. He is played in almost half of all ranked games of Platinum rank and higher, according to Champion.gg, a League statistics website. Not only that, but despite being played so often, he still commands a 52 percent winrate. Most people on the official League forums have been calling for Ahri nerfs, due to similar problems, but recently, some players have also started to say, “But what about Lucian?”
It seems that Lucian needs more than just waves of nerfs and buffs. He’s never been a balanced champion. He’s only ever been ridiculously over-powered or utterly useless, with no middle ground. He may need one or more of his skills changed completely so that it’s finally possible to balance him.