Ahri popularity soars after successful League of Legends rework for iconic mage

The Nine-Tailed Fox has spirit rushed her way into the Season 12 meta.

Dynasty Ahri in League of Legends
Image via Riot Games.

Iconic League of Legends mage Ahri has hit new heights in Season 12 following an ambitious rework that turned the champion into a high-mobility, sustain-focused mid laner instead of a pseudo-assassin pick.

Riot Games released a relatively major “refresh” for Ahri in League Patch 12.3 with changes mainly focused around “leaning into her mobile mage identity.”

Two weeks later, the popular Nine-Tailed Fox is thriving. Ahri⁠—who was already a clear League favorite⁠—has climbed to a hefty 15.28 percent pick rate this update cycle. Before the 12.3 changes, the vastayan was barely scraping above five percent in her preferred mid lane role. According to League stats site Lolalytics, she’s also now banned in a further 16.84 percent of games.

On top of Ahri’s popularity spike, she’s enjoying more victories now too. The famous Nine-Tailed Fox wins 53.56 percent after her changes, up nearly four points.

The vastayan’s newfound strength has turned her into a viable pick for pro players too. Since 12.3 went live on Feb. 1, the ten-year-old champion has been played 45 times across Europe, North America, Korea’s second division, and minor regions like Japan and Oceania. Pro play stats site Gol.gg reports that, so far, Ahri has won 51.1 percent of those games and has been banned a further 33 times.

The highest-profile appearance by the vastayan this year came in the LEC when Rogue mid laner Emil “Larssen” Larssen played her in his team’s shock loss to Astralis.

Ahri’s rework hit a number of her abilities. Her Essence Theft passive was reworked to focus more “fragments,” which tied into her ultimate changes too. Her Q, W, and E were also tweaked in the rework, as were her health and armor base stats.

“Players she previously resonated with aren’t enjoying her anymore,” League designer Bryan “Axes” Salvatore said. “The goal [was to] make her feel fun [again].”

Related: Riot devs changing Dr. Mundo to make him even more ‘unkillable’

Image via Riot Games.

Riot Games is far from finished with the mage too. Ahri, who first joined the League roster in December 2011, will be getting a “Caitlyn-level” overhaul for her animations, visual design, and splash arts later this year.

“This year, we’ll be focusing on Ahri, one of our older yet most popular champs in League,” said Riot’s product lead for personalization and events, Jonathan Belliss. “She doesn’t have back animations, and the animations that she does have just feel extremely dated, not only for her base skin, but for all epic skins that use the same foundation. You can expect to see a Caitlyn-level update for Ahri later this year.”

Even before the visual update hits, Riot is already happy with Ahri’s new changes and how they’ve landed: “So far,” dev Riot RyaYonggi said, “she’s looking pretty strong.”

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