Zeri, the spark of Zaun, has become one of League of Legends’ most notorious balance nightmares. The hyper-mobile ADC was intended to electrify solo queue with her high-octane playstyle. Instead, she’s shocked and awed the professional scene, effortlessly pentakilling her way to nerf after nerf.
According to champion designer Riot August, Zeri represents one of his biggest failures. On stream, August expressed regret over Zeri’s problematic existence – both in pro play and regular matchmaking. Despite repeated nerfs, she remains frustratingly omnipresent in competitive while feeling weak in casual play.
Why is Zeri Such a Balance Headache?
In pro play, Zeri’s potent mix of range, mobility, and AoE damage makes her an S-tier terror. Her ability to cleanly ace entire teams is unrivaled.
Conversely, solo queue Zeri struggles, with a sub-50% win rate in Platinum+ games. She relies on coordination that’s absent in uncoordinated teams.
This dramatic disparity between pro and casual strength makes balancing Zeri extraordinarily difficult. She’s simply too slippery, charging through teamfights with impunity when mastered.
Zeri’s Persistent Pro Presence
Riot has slowly stripped away Zeri’s mechanics in an attempt to control her. Her shield, ult dash, and W damage have all faced the knife.
But nerfs alone can’t seem to oust Zeri from the pro spotlight. She still claims a dominant presence across major regions like the LCS and LEC.
August admits Riot purposefully keeps Zeri weak to dissuade pros from playing her. But her thrilling playstyle remains too appealing to ignore.
Owning Up to Design Failures
While upsetting, August’s ownership of Zeri’s failures is commendable. Other champions like Gnar have proven similarly impossible to balance before.
Riot will likely need to rework Zeri’s fundamentals to address her pro dominance. With no changes imminent, though, Zeri mains must wait patiently for their spark to re-ignite.