It’s no secret that when it comes to an involuntary round of rebalancing, Akali nerfs are practically always on the table. Ever since her release, Riot has seemingly fought an uphill battle with their own big brains to try and balance her. Why? Because Akali is an absolute menace, whether you are ahead or behind, one correct play can turn Akali into a kill-machine and win out games.
In the recently released patch 10.3 Akali mains and casual players alike were baffled by a disastrous reduction in Akali’s stats. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Akali nerfs, but it’s possibly one of the worst swings taken by Riot to date.
Let’s break down the core of these nerfs to see exactly what went on!
Akali Nerf #1: Twilight Shroud
First off, Akali’s shroud has always been a fan favorite. Being able to creep away from any dangerous situation or using her cover to harass other players adds a fun and refreshing mechanic to the game. Upon the arrival of 10.3, Twilight Shroud saw a change for the worse. If Akali is immobilized when entering the shroud (think of practically any CC that most midlaners boast), she will actually be revealed. When you consider that a VERY good chunk of the champions that pose some degree of threat to Akali during the early game (top laners, junglers, enemy midlaners) have hard CC in their kit, it actually means that Akali’s early game is going to be A LOT tougher to play out due to the loss of your “safe space.”
Oh, and what about the movement speed boost you’d see from Twilight Shroud? They’ve now changed that boost to a 30/35/40/45/50% decaying movement speed for 2 seconds upon casting. Don’t get me wrong, that’s still plenty powerful, but it’s very different from the consistent MS increase while located inside of the shroud which allowed for so much outplay and mechanical-skill-play potential in the past.
Akali Nerf #2: Perfect Execution
Perfect execution is losing one of the features that made it great, to begin with. For as long as players have enjoyed Akali, they’ve used her R, Perfect Execution as an escape, especially when playing Akali ARAM. Following the 10.3 patch, this skill only allows you to dash towards a targeted enemy rather than in your desired direction.
Perfect execution also saw drastic changes change in its target distance and dash distance. The target range will be 675, and the dash distance will range between 675 and 825.
And while the above may already sound bad, the most disappointing nerf to the skill is the reduction of travel-speed in Akali’s second R, dropping from 3000 all the way down to 1900.
Thankfully, due to user backlash, Riot made a mid-patch change to the cooldown time of the skill, reducing it by an entire 40 seconds. The R1 cast also received a +40 increase in physical damage. While it’s a nice gesture, it still doesn’t quite make up for the changes that were made as they effectively changed how Akali works as a champion and how she should and should not be played (as evidenced by a staggering 10% drop in her win-rate after the path was released).
Akali Nerf #3: Five Point Strike
You’d have to posses a formidable strategy to work around the Five Point Strike nerf. One of the most challenging aspects of playing Akali is that during her early-game to mid-game, she often runs out of energy if you’re not playing smart. She used to have a wealth of options for how you could play out specific scenarios, and thanks to the versatility of her kit and the affordable energy cost of her Q – she was able to get away with practically any decision being made.
However, those days are over! Five Point Strike received an increase in energy cost. Its usual downward scaling has moved from 100/95/90/85/80 up to 120/115/110/105/100, adding an extra 20 energy over-top of the current cost.
However, with a larger energy cost to one of her main damaging abilities, Akali’s average damage falls off significantly, especially during the early game.
Feedback From The Pros On Recent Akali Nerfs
While most players stayed silent about the changes and just “took the L” per se, the professional community definitely had a thing or two to say about the Akali nerfs. In particular, Perkz noted during one of his regular livestreams that the changes were entirely crippling to Akali as a champion and limited her playability immensely.
Akali’s damage, mobility and even her ultimate were nerfed into the ground – and those are the exact components that enabled the champion’s unique assassin playstyle and the elements that made her as fun as she was to play. And with those elements removed from the equation, Akali was simply a troll pick.
If Akali is your go-to champion, you’re likely aware that she’s no stranger to receiving nerfs. She once even received a spree of 14 nerfs in a row! We can only be hopeful that this is the biggest round of Akali nerfs that we’ll be seeing for a long time, and it’s definitely a nice change of pace to see Riot make a mid-patch update to try and undo their mistakes on this one.
How would you rebalance Akali? Did she deserve to be cut down as much as she was? Let us know in the comment section below!