Pop quiz time.
Who was the best top laner in League of Legends, was nerfed twice, and is still outperforming the competition?
No, not Cho’Gath. It isn’t Maokai either, or any other meta champion that controlled the game all throughout 2017. It’s Teemo. That’s right, Teemo is back, baby, and it really, really sucks.
At one point in time, Teemo was the poster child for League. He was featured in online ads for the game, banners for articles shared by Riot to announce changes and new features, and he was one of the most popular champions in the game. That was a long time ago, though. We’re talking 2011 or even earlier, when the game was still in infancy.
As time passed, though, he became more of a meme than anything else. He wasn’t a viable option as a top laner for years, and was only really used by low ranked players because they knew their opponents at that elo can’t handle being denied farm. Well, that’s all in the past, because he’s back on top—the very top.
In Platinum ranked games and higher, Teemo has held one of the highest combined playrates and winrates in North America since the preseason began last month, according to League stats site Champion.gg. This is mostly because defensive runes disappeared when the rest of the old rune system did, making his dual-damage harass much more potent in the early stages of the game.
His harass has always been irritating, though. It’s just much worse now. That, combined with the “HEHEHE” Ctrl+4 emote, has turned him into League’s symbol of hatred. Riot embraces this pure incarnation of evil, though, going so far as to add him into a recent Pentakill music video only to get punted into oblivion by Olaf’s leather boot, knowing the players would love it. And we did love it.
It was fantastic.
Now that he’s one of the most popular top laners in the game, we hate it. We really, really hate it.
Riot is aware of that, too, and that’s why it dished out a two-fold nerf to him in Patch 7.24b. First, his base AD and health were lowered to weaken his early game damage, which is possibly his strongest asset. Next, the Sorcery rune path was nerfed to grant less adaptive AD and AP. Since he always runs the Sorcery path, that stat nerf combined with his base AD nerf resulted in a hefty hunk of lesser damage.
But it wasn’t enough.
Despite those nerfs, he’s still outperforming all other top laners. The only champion beating his winrate is Kayle, but only by 0.26 percent, also according to Champion.gg—but her playrate is so low that it can’t be taken seriously. Teemo, though, is still going strong.
The next time you queue up for solo queue, go ahead and ban Teemo. We won’t judge you. And if you’re one of the sadists using him to climb the ladder, shame on you.