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The Rift’s favorite Rogue Assassin, Akali, is going to see some major buffs in both Summoner’s Rift and in the ARAM game mode in Patch 11.6. The changes, while panned by the League of Legends community, make a lot of sense once you look at the numbers.

Prior to Patch 11.6, Akali had 15% multipliers to damage dealt and incoming damage reduced in ARAM. While most players would probably have liked to see those numbers nerfed and adjusted down, Riot Games instead chose to buff the champion, cranking both of Akali’s multipliers for damage taken and damage reduced up to 20%. Similar multiplier buffs are coming to many champions in this patch, including Camille, Kha’Zix, Syndra, Zoe and Katarina.

On Summoner’s Rift, Akali is receiving a base health reduction in exchange for more health later. She’s also trading off minion damage with her Q and energy regeneration on her passive for lower energy costs on her abilities and damage buffs across the board. For a more detailed breakdown on all of the above, check out Riot’s Patch 11.6 notes.

Community response

Not long after the patch notes appeared on the official League of Legends website, multiple threads popped up on the game’s Reddit community. As expected, these held complaints about the changes.

When champions like Akali pop off, they really pop off. Because of this, it’s easy for the character to develop a reputation as “broken” or overpowered. Every role in the game experiences a similar trend. Champions like Irelia (Top), Lee Sin (Jungle), Ezreal (ADC) and Pyke (Support) feel absolutely overbearing to deal with at times. All of these champions do share something in common with Akali, but it’s not that they are too strong. Rather, they all have abysmal win rates.

The few players that are truly good on these champions can sometimes feel infallible. This, in turn, results in many players forgetting about the majority of instances where these champions just aren’t that good.

Why it makes sense

To put it bluntly, Akali is one of the worst champions in the game. According to U.GG, Akali has the third lowest win rate in ranked queues at Platinum or higher, at 44.92%. In Silver, by far the game’s most populated ranked tier, she slots in at 213 out of 222 champion entries. On this list, where some champions appear multiple times as a result of role diversity, her win rate is 45.28%.

This futility translates directly over to ARAM as well. According to OP.GG, ARAM players select Flash and Mark (Snowball) for their summoner spells on Akali 89.97% of the time. In a sample of more than 76,000 such games observed by OP.GG’s system, players see a 43.87% win rate. The numbers look even worse for players who start Flash/Ignite. In these instances, Akali clocks in a 42.58% win rate over 3,513 games.

The prevalent narrative around a champion like Akali being overpowered seems to come with different caveats depending on the rank of the player controlling the character in question. At Silver and lower, for example, Akali is apparently overpowered but her win rate isn’t that good because most Silver players suck and can’t fully unlock her skill cap. At Platinum and higher, Akali is overpowered but her win rate isn’t that good because the overall skill level is higher and players are better at counter-playing her.

The reality is that when a champion’s win percentage is terrible at every tier, they probably need a tune up. Akali has one of the worst win rates in League of Legends, at every elo and in every game mode, and it’s very likely she was in need of some assistance. Time will tell if the latest adjustments did the trick.