Lee Sin is due for nerfs

There's no bad meta for the Blind Monk.

Image via Riot Games

Lee Sin is one of the most skillful champions that League of Legends has to offer. He’s always been the most popular pick regardless of the meta—and it might be time for him to receive some nerfs.

The Blind Monk is one of the most versatile champions in the game who can adapt his runes, build path, and gameplay based on what composition he’s facing. This adaptive aspect is important in a meta with a lot of flex picks where team compositions could warp to be completely different from what you expect.

Right now, Lee Sin sits at a 49-percent win rate and 31-percent pick rate, according to op.gg data. The second-most-popular jungler is Jarvan with a 16-percent pick rate, less than twice the pick rate of Lee Sin. The only champion that’s more popular than Lee Sin is Ezreal, who boasts a 36-percent pick rate, according to op.gg.

League players are known for loving skillful champions like Katarina, Riven, Yasuo, Vayne, and Lee Sin. These champions allow you to train your mechanics, which is one of the core reasons why they appeal to such a big part of the community. Everyone wants to be Faker and carry a game by themselves, even though the ability for one player to carry their games was reduced. Some players enjoy making flashy plays over winning a game and Lee Sin is one of the best champions for that—you can always make a flashy play, even at the cost of the game.

While Lee Sin’s damage could be reduced, the strongest part of this champ that allows him to be such a menace doesn’t lie in his damage at all. Here’s what Riot could do to target those strong aspects of the champ and make Lee Sin healthier for the game. 

Why is Lee Sin so popular?

You’ve most likely heard of the inSec already. It’s a combination where a Lee Sin player dives into the enemy team and uses a ward hop and flash to kick a champion into his own team for quick annihilation. This type of combination keeps players intrigued and makes for flashy plays in teamfights where one kick could decide the outcome.

Most League fans have heard of inSec by now. He was one of the first Lee Sin players who invented the Q-ward hop-flash-R combo. Lee Sin was one of the first champions to coin a combo name. It’s still known to this day, even since season three of League.

On top of this, Lee Sin has one of the highest damage combos in the early game, which easily allows a skilled player to take over a match. His early access to six abilities at level three makes him one of the strongest champions early on.

Since season seven, Lee Sin has received multiple buffs to his kit, allowing him to stay on par with the newest champions released on the Rift. As streaming becomes more popular, seeing your favorite player pull off these shiny combos motivates you to pick up the champion as well. 

Is it fair to other junglers?

While most junglers are quickly addressed if they’re out of hand, Lee Sin has been ignored for the last few patches, even though he’s the most popular jungler in both pro play and solo queue. He defines the jungle meta and keeps certain champions at bay due to his movement capabilities, punishing immobile champions who attempt to enter the meta.

The jungle lovechild of Riot seems to have taken an evergreen spot in the meta and will most likely never leave it. He’s been the most popular jungler since his release and was only briefly overtaken by Master Yi during one season. 

Lee Sin’s skill floor vs. skill cap

Lee Sin’s skill floor is actually much lower than some people make it seem to be. He used to be considered one of the highest skill floor champions, but with a little bit of practice, League players seem to easily pick him up and perform well on him. Lee Sin’s skill cap is quite high as well, but even someone who hasn’t reached it can significantly impact games without much issue.

Lee Sin was once a champion who was only used by those who practiced him hard enough. But now, he’s a common pick by every jungler. His skill expression disappeared once more people picked up the inSec combo. It’s now an extremely common occurrence in games at all ranks.

Fair nerfs

One strong part of Lee Sin’s early game that goes unnoticed is the lifesteal and spell vamp granted from the second part of his W. While an ability damage or attack damage nerf could slow him down, make him deal less damage early on, and make his clear more difficult, removing the lifesteal from W would make him fairer since he wouldn’t be able to do a full leashless clear and then gank with full health. 

Without so much lifesteal early on, Lee Sin would have to go back to base after farming the jungle or after an improper gank instead of just going back into the jungle, popping W, and healing to full health in no time.

Another direction for a potential nerf could be aimed at reducing the energy gained from his passive and removing the cooldown reduction when shielding an ally, the compensation buff given once Sightstone was removed from the game.

Closing thoughts

Lee Sin is one of the only remaining champions that rewards players who invest time into mastering him. The difference between a godlike Lee Sin and a good Lee Sin can be easily seen.

Taking this into consideration, Lee Sin’s popular pick rate combined with his high win rate should put him on close watch for nerfs. He’s zoning immobile champions out of the meta before they enter it due to his ability to reach level six relatively unscathed and come out with an inSec from behind your jungle.

Riot needs to pay attention to the power of its beloved jungler and tone him down to even out the playing field for other champs.