League of Legends

League of Legends players frustrated by Aphelios' confusing abilities

by Joe O'Brien
Riot Games

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League of Legends players still aren’t happy about the state of Aphelios, with complaints that the champion’s abilities are too complicated, too powerful, and not clear enough for opponents.

Released in December 2019, Aphelios is the most unusual champion Riot Games have ever produced.

Unlike every other champion in the game, Aphelios doesn’t have the typical four-ability set players are used to. Instead, he only really has two abilities – Q and R – which have slightly different effects depending on which of the five weapons in his arsenal he is wielding.

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Of those weapons, Aphelios can have two in his hands at any given time, and is able to swap between his main hand and off-hand at will. New weapons are then cycled in as he uses up the ammo on the ones he’s holding.

Riot Games
Aphelios doesn't follow League of Legends' standard design model.

While there was some initial excitement about the novel design of the champion, after seeing the champion in action on the live servers, many players are increasingly frustrated by Aphelios.

The major complaint about Aphelios is how complex he is, which is a greater issue for those facing him than those using him. Not only do opponents need to understand Aphelios’ extensive kit, but they also need to be able to quickly identify what he can do at any given moment, something that isn’t hugely clear right now.

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Even Nick ‘LS’ De Cesare, commentator for the English broadcast of South Korea’s LCK, admitted that he struggles to identify exactly what Aphelios is capable of at any given time.

“I’m the LCK color caster and I will be casting LCK tomorrow, and I have no f**king idea what that champion does. I’ve probably played against him about a hundred times, I have no f**king clue what I’m looking at, I don’t know what’s coming next. You just approach him and you’re guessing.”

Clarity isn’t the only issue, however. Players have also complained that Aphelios is simply too powerful, with his extensive weapon set giving him an answer to almost any situation, and all of them being capable of dealing massive damage with limited downside for having the wrong one equipped in any given situation.

Former pro player turned streamer Lee ‘Rush’ Yoon-jae encountered this mix of confusion and sheer power, left in disbelief as he watched the enemy Aphelios dismantle his team seemingly without having to even put himself in danger.

Aphelios is due another nerf in the next update, patch 10.3, which is due to arrive on February 5. However, the only change will be to his Calibrum marks, which are being reduced from infinite range to a maximum of 2000 range. While this does address one of the more frustrating elements of playing against Aphelios, it may not be enough to put broader concerns about the champion’s design to rest.