GB Spartan Thoughts #1: 12.23 and 13.1 Supers

Written By GB Spartan

Part 1: Why the concept of Supers is great

I’m going to preface this by saying this write-up is not going to be unbiased. Supers conceptually is my favourite trait that the game has introduced, which is related to the fact that I am a reroll enthusiast. The reason for that is because Supers are actually an answer for one of reroll’s biggest weaknesses in a well-balanced meta: reroll does not scale well into the late game. It also addresses another issue in that reroll comps are IN GENERAL not very flexible in terms of their units.

Supers does 2 things to address these weaknesses: The first is that the trait introduces the ability to scale your comp into the late game by trading gold for 3 star units. It is important to realize that Supers is a LATE GAME trait, at least how I see it. You do not hit 3 stars until mid/late game for the most part, and it takes a deep level of mental commitment to actual make the decision to play a reroll comp. Because of that, when you go into a game PLANNING to play supers, you are essentially committing with the assumption that because you are fielding this trait, you will have a late game payoff where IF you hit the units that you are planning to hit, your damage can scale to keep up with the rest of the lobby.

The second thing it does is introduce another level of decision making: whether to play Supers in a reroll comp or not. Do you make the decision to include 3 units that may or may not fit well with your comp and commit to trying to 3 star them along with your other units? If the trait is properly balanced, this becomes an incredibly nuanced decision that has the potential to add a lot of skill expression to the game. In that way, Supers opens a lot of doors for the potential to play Flexible Reroll Comps. I might try to find room to fit Supers units into a comp that doesn’t typically use them (E.G. Lux carry, Wukong carry) if I am coming across a lot of GPs in my roll down. I might decide to forego rolling further and dropping Supers if I happen to 3 star my 1 unit early and don’t see myself rolling to hit the remaining units. If unbalanced, it can lead to situations where regardless of what reroll comp you play, you just slap Supers onto your comp and call it a day. If properly balanced, it leads to an additional layer of playing reroll that was never there in previous sets.

If this idea of Supers being a late-game strength trait for reroll comps is NOT how Supers are intended to function, then they need to be reworked. If it is, then the power level of the comp needs to reflect that. In general, Supers comps should NOT be strong early and taper off in the late game (in my opinion), because the trait does not function that way as it is now. The trait in theory should allow your 3 stars to contend with late game units that have the advantage of AOE, CC, and overall better utility.

Part 2: Why supers are not “in a good spot”

Currently, Lee Sin and Malphite are sitting at the 5th and 7th worst performing units respectively. To add insult to injury, Gangplank is performing far better and his ideal item build is 3 Lockets, which is obviously a result of him being a trait bot for the duelist comp. It is never a good sign when the 1 cost is the best performing unit of a comp, and because it’s being played in a completely different comp. Supers augments are some of the worst performing augments in the game according to stats sites. It is so obvious that the supers trait and comps that revolve around it are bad IN GENERAL post patch, and anyone telling you otherwise is huffing some nice copium.

If you see Supers Draven doing well, it is not because supers “are in a good spot”. If you see Supers Wukong doing well, it is not because supers “are in a good spot”. I am so sick of hearing this. These comps are good because the MECH trait was buffed when it shouldn’t have been and because everything else was nerfed. I was already having success with Wukong reroll prior to the buff. I was already having success playing mech, especially with the emblem, prior to the patch. If you currently see a supers comp doing well, it is because the OTHER components of the comp, the components that are not tied to supers, are broken, i.e. hero augments or units or traits. Go ahead and try playing a few games of Supers Ashe or Supers Sivir or Supers Duelists. If you won’t, it’s because you already know supers are bad and you’re a coward. If you do, I guarantee you’ll come back wanting to never play Supers again because those comps are dogshit.

Part 3: Balance Nuance

It’s no surprise that when the Supers trait gets stronger numerically, it also gets WEAKER in that they become more contested. When supers are strong in general, more people will want to play supers comps. When more people are playing supers, the less easy it is to hit your 3 stars specific, which brings down the late game power level of the comp at a general level. This is not a very nuanced take – the same exact thing happens for every single trait in the game.

Perhaps the less clear interaction is that the power level of Supers has ecosystem-wide effects on reroll comps as a whole. When more people are deciding to play Supers and 3 star their units, the easier it is to hit any low-cost 3 star. In other words, a Supers nerf is not just a nerf to Supers comps but also an indirect nerf to any comp that relies on low-cost 3 stars, Supers or not. What that means is that a large numerical adjustment to the trait has the potential to flip an entire meta on its head and render entire playstyles completely sub-par. This has never been more apparent than the transition from 12.23 to 13.1.

I think we are FAR TOO EARLY to be thinking about applying heavy-handed changes to Supers like the ones we saw this patch in the current set cycle. Overall comp power levels in the first patch had way too much disparity to attribute the strength of reroll comps to supers at all. The main culprit was Yuumi reroll. I guarantee you that anyone that is familiar with playing that comp will tell you that the STRENGTH of the comp was rooted in the power level of the units – Yuumi and Galio. The comp might be called “Supers Yuumi”, but if you want to nerf the comp, that doesn’t mean you have to gut Supers just because it’s in the name. There are so many other reroll comps in the game that also rely on the trait to be competitive. Other OP examples from last patch are Yasuo reroll and Ezreal reroll. The strength of those two comps were tied directly to the fact that the carry hero augments were incredibly strong. As I mentioned before, even though Supers are tied to reroll, I believe the Supers trait is an incredibly flexible trait. You can use so many different units and try to slot them together in a Supers comp. Just look at Ezreal – the unit shares no synergies with the Supers units themselves but with enough creativity, you can find a comp that utilizes it incredibly well. When you nerf the trait, you are not just nerfing 1 comp. You are nerfing an entire class of comps, so to do it just because of a few outliers is ridiculous. If all 1-2 cost reroll comps were performing too well across the board, then it is worth looking at a Supers adjustment. Let’s not forget that the other OP “reroll” comp last patch was Jax, which has nothing to do with Supers in the slightest. I was always in the camp last patch that before we nerf Supers, we first have to nerf Yuumi and Galio FIRST, because those were the primary drivers of what was making the comp OP.

I really hope the TFT team understands the nuance of this. When you nerf SUPERS, you are indirectly also nerfing REROLL. So if you decide to nerf ONE comp by nerfing supers, you’re not just nerfing that one comp. You’re gutting an entire playstyle and an entire set of comps and ways to play the game. This past set of nerfs has really made me doubt that many people understand this. The idea that people can say that the changes were good because Yuumi is no longer dominating and that some “fringe” supers comps are playable is simply nauseating to me. The supers comps that are playable are not “fringe”. The only ones that are playable now are incredibly rigid reroll comps that have a set list of champions that do not change from game to game. Any “fringe” supers comps are no longer fringe. They’re downright unplayable.

These are just my thoughts. Feel free to agree or disagree. Next essay, I’ll probably write something about the Mech trait.

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