Riot explains how it balances new champions with pro teams vs. solo queue⁠

Yuumi was considered underpowered by many people upon release.

Image via Riot Games

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Balancing new champions will always be a struggle for Riot Games, especially when trying to appease both the professional scene and the average solo queue player.

Sometimes, champions drop and are incredibly weak, while others are too strong. League of Legends‘ newest champion, Yuumi, was a prime example of this conflict. Many players thought she was really underpowered on release. Riot then gave some explanations on how it has balanced the champion moving forward.

Yuumi had one of the lowest win rates of any new champion—she was floundering in her first week at 30 percent. As a result, Riot gave her huge buffs across her entire kit and now, she’s one of the most powerful supports in the game, especially at the pro level.

“We’ve always known that played well she was strong and after the hotfix buffs, we suspect that she was hilariously overpowered—but at the end of the day, game balance must reflect actual players,” Riot game designer Kevin “Captain Gameplay” Huang said. “Now that pro play is starting to kick in and people are starting to figure her out, we can start scaling back the hotfix buffs and refining her balance to be closer for the average player vs. the coordinated pro team.”

In many cases, most average players in solo queue simply didn’t know how to play Yuumi. Both regular players and pro teams needed to play the champion and gain experience with her in order to actually see how strong she is. Since people have finally adjusted to Yuumi’s playstyle, the pro scene has found the optimal compositions to run and the Curious Cat now looks really good.

Of course, if a champion is visibly underpowered, Riot has to do something about it, too. “We are okay with releasing champions a fair bit lower winrate than other champions currently are because players get better—but not [with a] 30 percent winrate,” Captain Gameplay said.

It’s clear that giving more time for the player base to learn a champion is important, but making a champion strong enough to make players want to play them is equally as vital. Riot might be planning to scale back some of the buffs it applied to Yuumi now that more players have learned how to play her.