Zeri has been chopped and changed seemingly every patch since her League of Legends release. Riot has put the Spark of Zaun up for major changes again in LoL patch 12.11, shifting power away from her utility and movement and bolstering her damage.
Since her release, Zeri has faced the brunt of Riot’s nerf hammer. The Spark of Zaun was initially an unkillable bruiser that dashed around teamfights at the speed of light — which, while it sounds cool, was far from healthy for the game.
Ever since, the developers have chipped away at her utility and damage to bring her in line with other AD carries, especially at the pro level. However, now Zeri is a bit lackluster in comparison to others.
She has sat at around a 44% win rate since LoL patch 12.7 which included major nerfs for the Spark of Zaun. Those changes gutted all of Zeri’s build paths, despite Riot’s initial plans of targeting her overpowered Bruiser build.
Come LoL patch 12.11 in the aftermath of the durability update Riot are giving her another pass, but don’t expect her to be as dominant as she once was.
Developer August ‘August’ Browning said on stream the developers intend on getting Zeri “to about a 48% win rate or so.” They are achieving this by buffing her damage, especially for crit-focused builds, but nerfing her utility and mobility.
“If you’re a God-tier Zeri player, you’re going to be dashing less and moving less fast at the end of a fight. But your baseline mobility if you’re not doing well or not getting your hits in is going to go up because the cooldown of spells is going to be lower,” he added.
The slow on Zeri’s right-click is being removed, and her W slow is being cut as part of the utility changes. As for movement, her ultimate will now grant less movement speed per stack, meaning she can’t scale to light-speed levels in a teamfight.
To compensate this, Riot are buffing her damage on her Q basic attack and her W — which will now crit when cast through a wall. Cooldowns are being cut on every ability as well.
These are the Zeri buffs we’re going with for next patch. Reducing utility and high-end mobility in exchange for more damage, lower CD’s, and W critting through walls! pic.twitter.com/vYo9mHEFWK
— August (@RiotAugust) June 1, 2022
However, Riot are wary of going too far. Much like many other pro-play-centric picks, Zeri has to be kept a bit underpowered so she doesn’t dominate the meta on the world stage. It’s a necessary evil, August admitted.
“We’re not trying to get her back to 50% — that’s probably too scary for a champion that used to be 100% [presence] in pro play. We’re hoping changes like this can make her more powerful, and sit at higher win rates, without her being 100% pick/ban in pro. We’ll see how it pans out.”
The Zeri changes will be shipped as part of LoL patch 12.11, which is due to launch on June 8, 2022.