Malzahar has stood alongside Zyra as a great mage-support in League of Legends for a few months now, and Riot is aiming to bring his power in the bot lane down a few notches with a nerf on the PBE.
Malzahar players, however, see this nerf as the final sign that his integrity as a champion was destroyed by his voidling rework during Patch 6.23 of last year.
Normally, a small nerf wouldn’t be clear evidence that a champion’s rework was a failure, but to his fans, it’s the final straw. The nerf that went live on the PBE yesterday lowered his voidlings’ health from three hit-points to two. If this nerf went live in Patch 7.8, it would be Malzahar’s second round of nerfs since his update in Patch 6.23. It seems odd that two rounds of nerfs to bring an OP champion down to a healthy level would be enough to cause this much outrage, but players that are complaining are saying it’s about more than just the nerfs.
The true issue, according to these people, is that the Malz update of Patch 6.23 made him much stronger as a support, but much less useful in the mid lane. And now that he’s being targeted for nerfs to lower his power at support, the same players are arguing that it will make his mid lane performance even worse.
Now, the question is, “Is Malzahar really that bad of a mid lane option?” The answer, unfortunately for these people, is, “No.” He is not that bad of a mid laner. In fact, he’s a pretty strong option in mid. He is a good situational counter-pick for a good number of champions due to his harass, lockdown at level six, and his spell-shield passive, and he has a healthy number of counters himself.
Don’t take our word for it, though. Let’s look at the cold, hard facts.
Malzahar commands a commendable 51.5 percent win-rate in ranked games, according to Champion.GG, a League statistics website. That means he wins most of his games. Not only that, but he has a decent play-rate as well. He is played in about two percent of his ranked games in the mid lane. To put that on a scale, champions like Annie, Vel’koz, Xerath, Talon, and Anivia all range from a two to six percent play-rate in ranked. That’s definitely healthy. It isn’t too low, like Heimerdinger’s 0.25 percent, and it isn’t too high, like Ahri’s insane 22 percent.
Looking objectively at statistics, and even subjectively at how he plays as a champion, Malzahar is nowhere near bad, or “ruined” in the mid lane. The reduction in voidling health won’t affect Malzahar’s performance in either mid lane or support that much. It will simply make him a little less oppressive, giving the enemy team the opportunity to get rid of the horde of voidlings that are chasing them down when they move up to farm.