Analyze This: Heimerdinger and Sivir’s reworks

The recent League of Legends patch did more than just nerf some overpowered assassins as we covered last week.

In fact, patch 3.13 actually managed to fit in buffs to several champions including Heimerdinger and Sivir. Criminally underplayed, these two both had the distinction of being some of the Fields of Justices’ least liked characters–spending the entirety of season 3 gathering dust. Over the past few weeks, however, both of them received significant kit changes. Sivir even got a visual rework along with the changes, finally putting an end to her ridiculous moonwalking.

The results so far have been a success on paper. Their win rates increased and their popularity skyrocketed. But are these changes permanent or are they going to be ignored once the dust settles–and will we ever see turrets raised in competitive play?

Let’s take a look and see how Sivir and Heimerdinger’s reworks have panned out and what this means for season 4.

Sivir

1086-1082-2497373934-SivirThe last time Riot buffed Sivir was in season 2. The last time they nerfed her was shortly after. To put it bluntly, Sivir hasn’t been in a good place for over a year now and a large part of patch’s goal was to sort that out.

Riot’s approach to Sivir’s changes were to impliment a few tweaks to bring her back into the realm of viable. They removed the attack speed portion of her teamwide ultimate and gave the misplaced attack speed to her Ricochet so she didn’t lose power. This allowed them to give her other quality of life buffs: Spell Shield no longer costs mana to use, On the Hunt no longer has a cast time, and Ricochet does even more AoE damage.

Sivir went from underwhelming to overwhelming almost overnight thanks to these changes. In spite of her low attack range for an ADC, she does too much. With significant burst and strong pushing power, she wins trades thanks to Spell Shield. It also doesn’t hurt that she can wave clear better than any other champion in her role due to Ricochet’s new damage.

Although there’s already a proposed nerf to her Boomerang Blade in the next patch, it probably won’t change that much. Sivir’s ultimate is simply too good for a carry; any nerfs and any buffs to it change her power level way too much. While Caitlyn can snipe out a low health enemy out from the fray and Jinx can throw a rocket across the map, Sivir and On The Hunt completely change how a team plays. It gives them a free–and extremely early–Shurelya’s Reverie to initiate and disengage with.

Even missing its old attack speed aura, the new On The Hunt still lets teams have incredible mobility. It makes ganks better, lets her split push even harder, and also completely changes the pace of a game by putting the team’s engage ability on steroids. It’s simply way too much utility for a carry to bring to a team.

Expect Sivir to find a role in both the solo queue and competitive scenes unless she’s nerfed further. Considering how long she’s been out of action, this may not be the worst possible result though.

After all, she’s not completely broken, she’s just very good now–and that’s a distinction worth making. The below chart from LolKing illustrates a 10% increase in ranked win rates since her buffs.

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Heimerdinger

Relegated to a Twitch.tv chat meme, very few turrets had been raised on Summoner’s Rift until lately. A troll pick in the best of situations, Heimerdinger was another champion much like Sivir–there was simply no reason to pick him in the current metagame besides for laughs.

1094-1092-1106835664-HeimeWith this rework, though, that’s been addressed. Heimerdinger’s damage was increased immensely by Riot’s overhaul of the champion and he’s kept true to the unique tower defense play style his turrets brought. His ultimate was also changed to add more strategy to how he’s played and each ability was tweaked to not only feel better to those playing him but to allow him to do more.

One thing that Heimerdinger likely won’t be seeing soon, however, is competitive play. While his rework did make his viability higher in solo queue, he still has a few shortcomings that limit him from being a top pick for esports yet.

The biggest issue besides his low mobility is that the yordle’s turrets are just too easy to shut down, especially in a 2v1. The reason why they work in lane is because one person has to deal with them; with two people, he can’t get them set up to do enough damage before they are taken out. This problem is illustrated best in solo queue games compared to competitive ones. While it’s unlikely people will save a smite for a turret or avoid funneling into wall of turrets during a solo queue game, organized play will always have a shotcaller or two who can make these judgments quick–shutting Heimerdinger down hard.

Still, his rework is ultimately a success. More turrets in Summoner’s Rift are always welcomed, even if they’re not going to be winning large prize pools any time soon. The below chart from LolKing shows a rise of 5-7% in winrates for Heimerdinger since his buffs, likely lower than Sivir’s because he requires more nuance to play properly.

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The Verdict

Both worked out to different degrees. Sivir having a place in competitive play is a welcome addition to bot lane. She has great synergy with newer supports like Nami and Thresh as well–seeing how Jinx, Lucian, and a reworked Sivir fit into the meta will make season 4 much more enjoyable.

Likewise, Heimerdinger is actually a solid pick now. With mid lane shifting around so much due to the recent nerfs, it’s interesting to have him be a favorable choice in lane. While it looks like he won’t have much of a competitive impact, there’s always the chance that one region will find a unique use for him.

With Sivir and Heimerdinger dealt with, there’s always a new set of champions to bring back from obscurity. Hopefully Riot takes a look at champions like Sion and Taric next. It’s all a balancing act and we have to stay on our toes to see what becomes viable next in this ever evolving meta.