By Jason Parker (Ragachak)
You Should Be Enjoying This Battle More, Nemesis!
League of Legends‘ new flavor of the month mode, Nemesis, is really something. It’s ARAM with a choice. Its core concept is built around a 5v5 match where the enemy team picks your champions for you, bans included. While you can trade and strategize, you have to live with what they picked. The goal is the same, but it is considerably harder given that you have no rerolls or second chances. My first thought was that it would be, unsurprisingly, an incredibly toxic mode. Almost every game I’ve played or heard about, at least one person has raged, quit, or simply fed because they weren’t happy with the pick they were given.
The argument can be made that the mode only fosters bad feelings, but I found a secondary purpose for this mode. It reminds me of DOTA2’s “Least Played” option, where you are forced to play champions/characters that you (personally) seldom pick. If the devs at Riot are smart, they’re paying careful attention to who is banned and picked for the other teams. Both picks and bans are generally champions that have low synergy, low win rates, and are as a whole regarded as not worth playing. Champs that aren’t picked tend to be fairly powerful. After all, why give your opponents an edge?
80% Luck, 20% Skill
So the enemy picks your characters. So what? For the player who is well-versed in a variety of characters it’s not a problem. The problem lies with players who only choose to play a small handful of characters, unwilling to learn something new. It forces players to play in a variety of situations. There won’t always be a jungler in Nemesis mode, and there are often lots of awkward or strange lane choices. TaricxGragas vs. ShenxPoppy was interesting to say the least. One major downside to this mode comes in the form of players refusing to take what they are given, or being upset at what their team gives to the other.
What each player considers a “bad” champ varies. For example, champions that I consider underpowered are Zac, Shen, Ashe, and Janna, which are champions lacking burst damage. But players that disagree might argue or fuss over the ban choices or the selections given to the opposing team. Another great disadvantage of this mode is when players go into this mode assuming they will get to play whatever champ they’re strong with or role they’re confident in. Sure, I’ve managed to support in every game so far, but that doesn’t mean it will happen every time! Players that cannot use this as a learning experience will not have fun here.
Come Together, Right Now, Over Drag
It’s not all bad, to be sure. Sure, lots of toxic and negative behavior shows up in this particular mode, but it can teach a great deal. Nemesis mode shows a team how to do creative and new things with whatever silly, absurd hand they’re dealt. So your team is Heimer, Sona, Taric, Hecarim, Urgot? That’s not impossible to win with by any stretch. It shows you (the player) that not all the champions are as bad as you might think them to be. You will also possibly see a great deal of champions more than others. If a powerful champ is picked, the odds are high that the other team doesn’t think anyone on your side can use them! Show ‘em wrong, and get in there and do your best!
This is not ranked play. It’s just a fun normal mode to improve your skills in. It’s a mode that promotes trial and error, learning what can possibly work and what probably will not. It does not promote a new meta, or require players to work within that meta. Sure, there are champions that are stronger than others, but the odds of them getting play here are unlikely. Unless the enemy team is coincidentally very talented with Aatrox, and you think nobody is good with him because you thinks he sucks.
Chance of Diagnostic Error
One final note to consider: there is the chance that Riot is using this as a diagnostic tool. If they collect data on the champs and matches, the developers can use this in a positive way to influence not only the game but the community at large. I hope players will not only use this mode as a way to grief other players, though it is a noticeable trend. With a bit more positive outlook in the community, this could be an awesome popular mode that I’d be delighted to see return again in the future. You never know when you’re going to find a new obscure favorite champion from it!
My thanks to Vulkary Sori for his contribution to the article in the form of his screenshots.