The single most important thing for an online PvP game is to be balanced. And balance has been a hot topic for the League of Legends community ever since the game came out. Many players are conflicted on this point, and it’s tough to find the true answer.

So, is LoL really balanced?

Most of the time – no.

League is not balanced because all new champions are broken and impossible to balance. There is too much damage in the game, and every champion can one-shot you, even tanks. Stats like Lethality make it impossible to counter your enemy, so you can’t even use your skill.

Is it really that simple?

Unfortunately, yes. I’ve been a part of League of Legends’ growth and change ever since season 3. I’ve played through every meta and witnessed most champion releases. And when I say that the modern LoL is not balanced, I really mean it.

It’s sad to admit it, but LoL was way more balanced in the past. Seasons like season 4 are fondly remembered because everybody used to have fun in League of Legends. While now, everyone is frustrated, even when they win.

But let’s talk about the key reasons LoL is unbalanced now and see what we can do about it!

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Why is League of Legends so Unbalanced?

1. Champion Design

Champion design is often the first reason why people think LoL is unbalanced. It started a few years ago when characters like Aphelios and Samira were added to the game. And while everyone hoped Riot Games would eventually change their minds, they released even more broken champions instead!

The other two most notable names are Viego and Akshan. If you could see them from a perspective of a person who played LoL back in 2013 or 2014, you’d realize why their design is monstrous. While the first one can play with your champion, with all of the items you worked hard for included, the other can resurrect his allies, even if you’ve just slain them.

But the worst part about Riot’s new philosophy of champion design is that they give every new champion every possible tool. 

Let’s take a look at Samira, for example.

Samira can dash to an enemy with her passive, as well as her E ability which she can reset with a champion takedown. She can fight in either melee or ranged form. She can block all incoming attacks with her W. And her game-winning ultimate is on 8 seconds cooldown!

In summary, Samira has melee damage, ranged damage, burst, AoE, healing, block, two dashes, and a way to extend knock-up effects. 

Samira is not balanced in LoL
Samira deals over 2200 damage in 0.56 seconds

This wouldn’t be too much of a problem if Samira was the only such champion in League. But Akshan, Yone, Viego, Aphelios… they’re all the same!

Akshan has ranged damage, burst, shield, dash, permanent invisibility, and he can resurrect slain allies. Compare him to a pick like Lucian, and you’ll quickly realize why LoL is not balanced anymore!

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2. Items, Damage, and Stats

And the second thing that makes League so unbalanced is the itemization. Items are a core part of how we progress in League of Legends. And we used to buy items to either increase our damage, our health, our Armor, or our mana regeneration.

But in the modern LoL, you can purchase one item that has all vital stats for your character. Let’s take a look at Goredrinker for a moment.

Goredrinker grants you Attack Damage, Ability Haste, Health, Health Regeneration, 5 Ability Haste for every other item you complete, passive regeneration that scales based on your AD, and an active that deals damage to everyone around you and heals you too!

And do you know what items such as Goredrinker do?

They overflow the game with stats like damage and healing. They give you enough Ability Haste so you can practically spam your abilities every other second without the need to think about anything in the game.

Let me give you a few more examples.

At the beginning of season 11, players were very vocal about self-healing in League of Legends. Runes like Taste of Blood and Ravenous Hunter made champions like Yone literally unkillable, even if you’re fed yourself. Yes, Riot Games nerfed the healing, but the change was so tiny that no one even noticed it in actual games.

Thanks to the all-in-one power items, champions like Garen, which were previously tanks, now became assassins. Nowadays, it takes Garen less than 2 seconds to slay an enemy, which is precisely the duration of silence. So, you can’t do anything to stop it other than to not play the game.

Damage and healing aren’t the only problematic stats. Lethality can’t be countered, and Ability Haste allows you to reach a +50% cooldown reduction. 

Mythic Item Goredrinker
Mythic Item Goredrinker

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3. No Rewards for Doing Good

Because of the first two reasons, the broken champions and the state of itemization in League, you aren’t rewarded for playing better than everyone else. In fact, the game revolves around who reaches their mythic item first, not who’s better. And you never actually get to show your skill because everybody can one shot you in 0.50 seconds! 

For example, let’s say that you’re playing Syndra into Yasuo in the mid lane.

As Syndra, you can bully Yasuo early on and slay him a couple of times. This should give you a gold and level advantage so you can dominate him later on, right? Well, as soon as Yasuo buys Immortal Shieldbow, it’s game over for Syndra and any similar champions. He’ll get damage, healing, critical strike, attack speed, and a shield to block your ultimate. 

In other words, your skill and knowledge are way less important than your champion pick in League of Legends nowadays. This is an extremely unfair state of the game because we all like different characters. And we can’t win with them, even if we’re much better than our opponents. 

Unfortunately, this is a very sad reason why LoL is not balanced anymore.

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4. The Roles Don’t Have Defined Purpose

It’s weird to think about our roles in this way, but it’s true. 

Since the early days of League, we’ve had our 5 traditional roles – top, jungle, mid, bot lane carry, and a support. And back then, it was clear what each role’s job was. 

The top laners were tanks that didn’t do much damage, but they could absorb damage and use crowd control abilities.

Junglers were basically supports who roamed around the map and helped everyone by giving them kills.

Mid laners were AP carries, usually mages who dealt magic damage only and had more AoE abilities.

Bot laners were AD carries who focused on dealing single-target damage through their auto-attacks.

Supports were there only to shield their teammates, heal them when needed, or use an AoE crowd control ability.

And if you take a look at the modern state of LoL, you’ll realize that none of these statements are true anymore! Currently, tanks are assassins, junglers are the greatest carries, mid laners are fighters, ADCs have tons of AoE abilities, and supports deal the most damage of all!

Now, we can totally accept that LoL keeps on evolving and changing from year to year. But it’s hard to balance the game when there is no rule for anything in that game! 

If a Zyra support with a 2/6/2 score can deal the same amount of damage as 5/0/3 Syndra, we might have a problem. And if a tank Mundo with 0/3/2 can deal more damage than a 9/0/5 Zoe, we can agree that LoL is completely unbalanced!

Brand support has unbalanced damage in LoL
I dealt 80 000 damage as Brand support

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5. Unfair Matchmaking

This reason applies to ranked solo queue only. But it’s true nonetheless!

League of Legends doesn’t have fair matchmaking. Many players have allegedly stated that Riot Games use algorithms to keep us around a 50% win rate in solo queue. And the majority of people can agree that that’s been their experience too.

Now, I can’t say whether that’s 100% true. And frankly, I don’t have any proof. However, I don’t believe that the matchmaking’s purpose in LoL is to match you with good players only. In fact, we rarely see two teams with equally skilled players!

The average game of League of Legends goes something like this.

Two players are excellent in team A. And one player is excellent in team B. Team A will eventually win the game because it has two great players. And team B will lose because the only good player can’t replace his four teammates.

Having four reliable teammates in League of Legends is wishful thinking nowadays.

How Do You Balance in LoL?

In LoL, you balance by buffing the weak champions and nerfing the strong ones. Ideally, you want all of your champions to be around a 50% win rate. You don’t want champions that no one likes playing because they can’t win. But you don’t want champions that everyone can win on them too.

Not too long ago, Riot Game released a video explaining how they balance champions in League of Legends. It’s called “League Balance for Bronzies” it talks about Riot’s own approach and goal when balancing champions.

However, the video oversimplifies certain concepts and doesn’t match with the general perspective of the players. And even though the developer’s goals are acceptable, they’re very far from achieving them.

Read Also: How Do Matchmaking & MMR Work in League of Legends?

What Exactly is a Champion Balance Buff?

A champion balance buff is when Riot empowers a certain champion that’s doing poorly in LoL. For example, if Ashe has a win rate of 45% overall, Riot will look for ways to increase that to 50%. Depending on what’s needed, they will tweak the numbers so Ashe will have more damage or more attack speed.

Champion buffs are essential and often determine whether LoL is balanced or not.

What Does the Term “Balance” Mean in League of Legends?

When someone says that a champion is “balanced” in LoL, they often mean it sarcastically. In reality, they want to say “unbalanced” because, in their opinion, the champion has more damage or healing than he should have.

A champion in League is usually considered balanced when he deals a good amount of damage, but not too much. The same goes for healing or mobility. Also, the difficulty of the champion plays a part. And if a champion is stupidly easy to play but deals an overwhelming amount of damage, like Master Yi, people might say he is not balanced!

Who is the Most Balanced Champion in League of Legends?

Even though I can’t say for sure, Orianna is one of the most balanced champions in League of Legends. You never see players cry over their power, and she doesn’t have any broken mechanics.

Orianna is a pick that does poorly in the early game but fantastically in the late game. She deals a low amount of damage early on but scales incredibly well as the match progresses. She can’t “outheal” most champions, and she can be easily defeated. Orianna is also not an easy champion to play, but very rewarding if you play her well.

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Everyone has ideas of how League of Legends should be balanced. And by no means should Riot Games take everything that the players say and put it in their game. However, they really need to listen more closely to what the players want from the game. 

From a Master player’s perspective – LoL is not really balanced. I definitely think that changes should be applied to the itemization and the champion design first. And the rest could be solved later.

So, there you have it! I hope I helped you figure out whether League is a fair game or not!

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Guides, League of Legends,

Last Update: March 2, 2024