Teemo was once near the top of Riot’s rework list for League of Legends. Now, the infamous Yordle looks to be staying the same, with developers pushing back community calls for the Swift Scout’s rework.
Love him or hate him, Teemo is the face of League of Legends. The shroom-throwing, dart-blowing yordle is a menace in the top lane — and definitely don’t let his cute and cuddly nature fool you.
Riot did once test a rework for Teemo in Season 9. The changes were set to revolutionize the yordle, “giving Teemo players more Teemo” in the words of now-lead gameplay designer Jeevun Sidhu.
They moved his Toxic Shot poison onto his passive, shifting his stealth onto an active ability. They even reworked the blinded auto attack animation to make the attacks physically miss.
However, the changes were never shipped on patch 9.5, and ultimately faded away into the history books. That’s where they’ll likely stay, with champion designer August ‘August’ Browning telling players in a recent stream that Teemo is unlikely to ever receive a rework.
The reasoning? Teemo is one of League’s most popular champions, with a high pick rate and an above average level of dedication from ‘mains’. Reworking him would likely push some of those dedicated players away.
“The reason I bring this up is Teemo is in a great spot. What I mean by that is that there’s a lot of people who like Teemo, and play Teemo, and have fun on Teemo, and think Teemo is awesome,” he said in a now-deleted August 3 Q&A stream.
“Whenever we think about reworking a character like that, what we should do for a Teemo rework, the first thing we need to ask ourselves is ‘should we even try to do the rework?’ People already like it, and it’s very possible that we take something players love and turn it into something they don’t like.
“A lot of times, when we’ve tried to do work on Teemo, all our work just ends up making him worse.”
While August admitted a Teemo rework could fix some of his problems and make him a “healthier” champion, it’s not worth the risk.
After all, there is an example of this exact kind of rework in Xin Zhao. The Season 7 rework gave the simple duelist champion a much higher skill cap, but it came at the cost of alienating his passionate player base.
“Xin Zhao went from being one of the most popular champions in League of Legends to thoroughly below average from his rework that we did,” he said.
“One of the things we wanted to do was give him better gameplay and better MMR scaling. Old Xin Zhao was very straight forward. We achieved that, his gameplay became better and he became better with more skill, but all his players left.
“That’s always worth thinking about, that there’s always a risk. Is it really valuable doing big changes to a champion like Teemo to make him better in high MMR at the possible cost of all his average players disappearing?”
While adjustments here and there to make the Swift Scout a strong pick in all elos are on the table, a fully-fledged rework is off the cards for now.
However, some of his contemporaries aren’t suffering from the same fate.