League dev labels Zeri a “failure” and confirms she’s been purposely overnerfed
Riot August, a League of Legends champion designer, admitted on stream that Zeri is one of his greatest failures as a designer and that she’s been nerfed into the ground to keep her out of pro play on purpose.
Zeri was a balance nightmare for a long time. The champion was a pentakill machine in pro play, racking up more pentakills in a a few months than most had seen over the course of years worth of competitive matches. She was an outright win condition for those who knew how to play her properly.
And, even after several nerfs and a small-scale rework that removed entire mechanics from her kit, she’s still been impossible to balance. There doesn’t appear to be a good way to make her strong in the hands of the average player without her overtaking pro play.
August, a League of Legends champion designer, lamented his decisions with designing her. On stream, he admitted that she’s been, for all intents and purposes, a failure in his eyes.
League champion designer apologizes for creating Zeri
Riot August is an active streamer and often talks about his thought process with designing new champions on-stream, a glimpse behind the veil of development that many League fans appreciate.
He’s honest about his feelings toward his work, to the point where he isn’t afraid to talk about his biggest regrets as well as his greatest triumphs as a designer working on one of the world’s biggest multiplayer games.
When asked about Zeri, he didn’t mince words regarding his feelings toward his own creation. And he didn’t have a lot to say that was positive.
“Unfortunately, we do not like seeing her in pro play. We are deliberately keeping her very weak so she does not show up in pro play. That’s my bad, I screwed up on that character. If I had been a better designer, maybe Zeri would be more playable.” August explained.
Keeping pro play relevant champions weak is nothing new (looking at you Ryze and Azir), but it’s rare that a dev comes right out and says it. League players in the Reddit thread valued August’s honesty about Zeri as a champion, empathizing with his plight and pointing out that he’s had some real hits too. For instance, Jhin, Senna, and Jinx were all designed by August as well.
August continued, “Sometimes, we take a risk and it doesn’t pan out. […] Does Zeri make me depressed? Yes, she’s my biggest failing as a champion. Actually, second biggest. My biggest failing is Gnar.”
Gnar was a must-pick pro play staple for years, so this makes sense if you’re looking at things from the pro play perspective. Either way, it remains to be seen if there’s a Zeri rework in the pipeline to put her in a place that’s easier to balance. Considering how new she is and that older champions like Skarner have focus being put into their reworks, it may be a while until she gets any big adjustments.
For now though, Zeri mains probably won’t be seeing any buffs for a long time.