Being one of the most determining roles within any composition, the jungle has taken on enormous relevance within the game, where champions such as Udyr and Hecarim have been dominating both in regional leagues and in team compositions globally.
This has surprised veterans and pro players since before the start of the 2021 Season, Hecarim was not as widely used as it is now, although it was always a viable option as a jungler, while Udyr was infamously abandoned due to his low utility.
At one point in Leagues' meta, Udyr was a laughable pick. (Picture: Riot Games)
For this reason, it is not news that patch after patch, these champions have received changes buffs to their abilities, and even in essential items for their compositions such as the Turbo Chemtank, one of the Mythic items introduced this season as part of the Store update in an effort to make them more viable in the meta.
Despite this, the power of these champions thanks to their cleaning speed and scaling has kept them in the focus of many, with Hecarim specifically reaching incredible numbers, with pick rate of more than 50% in high ELOs, as well as a ban ratio of more than 70% in any server.
In the game's regional leagues it has reached monstrous levels being picked or banned in practically all games, and having a big relevance in the aftermath of events such as the Mid-Season Showdown.
Its a situation that is attracting growing criticism with with concerns that a champion with such a global presence, could adversely affected the upcoming MSI 2021.
Riot has recently introduced something known as Balance Framework, in which it specifies what circumstances must be covered to nerf or buff a specific champion, something that fits perfectly within the Shadow of War profile and its current state.
For this reason, Jeevun “Jag” Sidhu, LoL’s Lead Design developer recently stated that in the upcoming 11.9 patch a nerf to Hecarim is being prepared, which will change its build focus in the road to the international event: “We're currently testing Hecarim changes for this patch. Ideally, we will find a way to just push power away from tank build into fighter builds."
To this must be added part of the changes implemented within 11.8 that will try to diversify some champions to make them viable as jungler options, with Darius being the most dominant during the tests on the PBE in recent days, along with Diana and Zed.
In a worst-case scenario where this doesn't work, the balance team will also be preparing massive changes to the Turbo Chemtank, which Jag himself has already warned could have adverse effects on other champions outside of the jungle role.
"The problem is that Chemtank is a pretty reasonable option on a lot of champions and an extremely powerful one on a handful that are heavily driving the meta, so nerfs would have pretty major costs."
A possible solution to this has also been to increase item diversity, to give abandoned champions a bigger chance to shine in the Rift, and making the meta more fluid.
At the moment, we will have to wait until patch 11.9 to see if the Shadow of War receives those nerfs, after being described as an "out of control" champion by Riot something must change.