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Ask Riot: Delete Yuumi

Let’s talk about Yuumi.

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Welcome to Ask Riot!

This week, we’re talking about everyone’s favorite cat and upcoming featured game modes.

What are your thoughts on Yuumi?

There are so many ways to answer this, so let’s break it down into a couple of more specific questions based on what we’ve seen players talk about:

  1. Why is Yuumi a braindead champion that even a real cat could play?
  2. Why should she even exist?
  3. Do we think Yuumi is balanced?
  4. Why did we nerf her healing mana costs so hard this patch?

Why is Yuumi a braindead champion that even a real cat could play?

So actually… We think this is a misconception, and the most clear way to show you why we believe so is to share her champion mastery curve in comparison to other champs.

A champion’s mastery curve is a way of looking at how much more effective a player becomes on a champion as they play them more, as represented by how much their win rate increases over games played. Here’s what Yuumi’s look like, along with a couple other champions:

02_Ask_Riot_Mastery_Curves.jpg

Yuumi’s mastery curve is more in line with champions like Akali and Qiyana, who continue to see win rate growth well beyond the first ~20 games, than it is to champions like Neeko and Mordekaiser.

Many “easier to learn” champions are picked up more quickly because they test a lot of the same things other champions tested already. For example, every new ADC in some way tests your ability to last-hit with a ranged auto attack and stand in the right place to deal maximum damage.

Yuumi tests things that no other champion in League does. This is both why she continues to see win rate growth for so many games, and also why we believe some players don’t see her as being “hard to play.” The things many players have associated with playing League well aren’t being tested on her—like positioning and moment-to-moment dodging—but new things are.

If you’d like to get into the nitty-gritty details of some of those tests, here are a few of them:

  • Identifying when it’s safe to hop out and use her passive in chaotic teamfights, which means tracking enemies’ cooldowns to know when to do so. Failure to use Yuumi’s passive at all means leaving a lot of value on the table in the form of shields and mana. Using her passive at the wrong time means getting CC’d and killed.
  • Identifying who you should attach to because you can’t support more than one person at a time. Your heal has no range, and your exact positioning is beyond your control, so you need to be able to predict how your allies and the enemies will move. Otherwise, you might end up in a really bad place or forced to help the wrong ally.
  • Weaving Q around targets that aren’t who you’re trying to hit, which is a more simple but still unique skill test.
  • Managing vision control while being the slowest and squishiest champion in the game, which is a particularly challenging version of a skill test all supports have.

All of this combines to make Yuumi a difficult champion to master, albeit in ways that look different from the rest of the champion roster. (You might compare this to someone like Singed, whose proxy playstyle is totally different from any other champion and takes ~100 games to master.)

Why should Yuumi even exist?

To be direct, we believe Yuumi fills a unique role in the champion roster—both in playstyle and thematic—and there is clear data showing that a lot of people enjoy playing Yuumi.

When we look at champion popularity, we break it down into depth and breadth. Depth is a measure of the average number of games a player puts into a champion. Breadth is a measure of how many different players play a champion. Breadth and depth can be used as two axes of a graph to give us a more complete understanding of how popular a champion is.

Here’s the graph showing Yuumi’s popularity since her launch. The thinnest part of the line indicates when she was released, and the thickest is from patch 10.12.

03_Ask_Riot_Final_Yuumi_Popularity.jpg

Note: This is a log graph that shows champion popularity relative to each other. If this were a linear scale, Yasuo would actually be outrageously far off the page. Head over to this article for more details on how we use graphs like this.

If you look at Yuumi’s depth of play, you can see there’s consistently a large group of players who engage deeply, even when she’s objectively quite weak. When she has a reasonable win rate for most players, Yuumi is also one of our most broadly played supports. One of the goals of the Champions team is to fill out our roster in a way that gives everyone the perfect champion for them, and Yuumi’s depth and breadth of play indicates we’re delivering on this.

We believe Yuumi players are generally more interested in the cooperative elements of League—the teamplay, coordination, and relationships you form with your allies. We’re pretty confident Yuumi delivers on that in a unique way with a resonant theme.

Do we think Yuumi is balanced?

Excluding the most recent set of changes (we’ll talk about that next), I think it’s safe to say that no, we don’t think Yuumi has been in a state that’s balanced or that she’s been in a good place in regards to game health.

The biggest game health issue we’ve consistently faced with Yuumi is ensuring she has sufficient counterplay, which is probably why 1) she’s so frustrating to play against, and 2) she’s perceived as being “easy mode” or not deserving of her wins.

We agree that Yuumi hasn’t been fair to play against. But this doesn't mean Yuumi shouldn't exist—it just means we have to get more creative to ensure she does have adequate avenues for counterplay. In practice, this means making sure that Yuumi has to exit the safety of an ally and interact with opponents regularly.

Why did we nerf her healing mana costs so hard this patch?

These changes are intended to force Yuumi to utilize her passive in order to be effective, which means she has to regularly detach from her ally and interact with opponents.

When we last made large changes to Yuumi in patch 9.24, we tried making it easier and more rewarding for opponents to capitalize on her squishiness when she detached from an ally by adding a cast time to her W and putting it on cooldown if it was interrupted by CC. However, she’s been able to take items and runes that have kept her mana topped off without her needing to consistently use her passive, which obviously made the changes less effective than we wanted. The result was a Yuumi who could (basically) healbot an ally with no gating.

In order for Yuumi to be a healthy champion in League, she has to give opponents opportunities to interact with her. Changing her heal cost to be a percent of max mana will give us a tuning lever that bypasses items and runes and allows us to force her to utilize her passive regularly—which is always what we intended, but she’s thus far found ways to avoid. We hope that by forcing Yuumi to open that counterplay window throughout the game in order to be effective, it’ll make her more fair (and less frustrating) to play against.

So if we take all of this into consideration and answer the question:

What do you think of Yuumi?

Our answer is that we believe Yuumi is a successful champion because she offers a unique and resonant playstyle, but we need to ensure she has sufficient counterplay moments in order to say she’s a healthy addition to League.

The Summoner’s Rift Team

What’s the next featured game mode going to be?

Up next is Nexus Blitz as part of the summer event. It’s on PBE for testing now and includes some new in-game events and rewards, plus a complete map reskin—Nexus Blitz is now set in an Ionian forest.

The next featured game mode will be One-For-All during the following event.

More broadly, we’ve been seeing a lot of questions about game modes in general, so we plan on talking more in-depth about our plans and approach in a blog later this year.

HBBONG, Modes Product Lead

Where’s the third question?

Right here.

bananaband1t, Managing Editor

Have a question? Head here, drop your question in the box, and ask away



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