Naafiri is League of Legends’ newest overpowered mess
League of Legends publisher Riot Games just announced their newest champion for this season— Naafiri, the Darkin assassin dog pack. Yep, the newest champion is a pack of dogs. Naafiri is set to be a midlaner whose playstyle is that of a roaming high-damage assassin like Zed, Talon, or Qiyana. And just like the aforementioned champions, she’s a tad bit too OP.
Naafiri’s abilities rundown showcases her kit, ridden with two dashes, an empowering ultimate, and a passive that gives her additional fangs, literally. Riot seems to love champions with some sort of gap-closing ability, as most of their recently released carry champions. (sad Renata and Millio noises) This may or may speak directly to the current state of League of Legends rather than the champion development team’s champion design capabilities, but really, Riot? Another champion with a dash? Come on, man.
But enough about that. Let’s break down Naafiri’s abilities and explain why the newest Darkin is overpowered, power budget distribution, fangs bared and all.
Passive – We Are More
This is Naafiri’s main selling point. She summons Packmates, uncontrollable units that target enemies hit by Naafiri’s auto attacks and abilities. Honestly, this passive seems disappointing. Riot developers hyped up the fact that Naafiri would be a “pack” so much that I expected it to be some sort of Meepo situation from Dota 2. Instead, we get a Malzahar/Yorick mechanic placed into the passive slot instead.
But hey, League of Legends is a 14-year-old game buried under tons and tons of spaghetti code, so we really can’t expect them to introduce such a game-breaking feature without doing a complete overhaul of the code. It just seems so ironic that the supposed selling point of her character has such a small amount of allotment in the total power budget of her kit.
Naafiri’s main poke/damage ability. The bleeding and healing from this ability make it seem a little too powerful for a basic ability. However, given the squishiness and the nature of assassin champions to “dart and dash” on their targets, the healing grants Naafiri more survivability in the first three levels in the laning phase.
The first dash ability in Naafiri’s kit allows her and her packmates to focus on a single enemy and deal a large amount of single-target damage. The slow also helps secure the kill in the case that an enemy might not immediately die after the nuke.
Naafiri’s second dash ability. This one is instant and non-targeted, contrasting Hounds’ Pursuit, which could be used as an effective escape tool after a successful kill. And oh, this also fully heals her packmates, so yeah. There’s that.
Having two dashes in one champion is new to League, unless you count Ahri and her ultimate. This alone makes Naafiri overpowered, allowing her to pick up kills while allowing her to reposition into a safer spot while also dealing damage. Couple this with Darkin Daggers’ healing, and bleeding— you have a potentially unkillable champion in your hands.
It’s obvious that Naafiri’s power budget was spent mostly on her dashes, and this is what makes her overpowered. The ability to dart in and out after a kill is not new to assassins, but having both available in two separate abilities makes it easier for her.
The Call of the Pack
With all the overpowered dashes in her kit, a weaker ultimate would seem to balance Naafiri’s kit. Her ultimate is basically just Quinn’s Heightened Senses with an empower and a takedown refresh. It’s weak, but it works well with her kit.
League’s assassin champions are usually overpowered but are limited by their low survivability and often hard-to-hit damaging abilities. But, Naafiri’s targeted dash, healing, bleeding, shield not only makes her survive longer, but she’s also quite mechanically easy to play. Although the healing in Darkin Daggers is understandable in the laning phase, it makes her roaming much more powerful. Imagine coming back to lane healthy after a successful bot lane gank as an assassin.
To be fair, Naafiri’s still being tested in PBE, so these abilities are open for tweaks and changes. But still, with this level of relatively easy mechanics, Naafiri is an overpowered assassin. Unless Riot developers see the imbalance in her survivability and easy mechanics tied with her assassin prowess and changes that, then she will remain overpowered in my eyes.
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