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LoL devs already discussing Smolder changes after less-than-stellar launch win rate Dot Esports

Smolder’s entry into Summoner’s Rift this week is one of League of Legends’ most popular ever according to Riot Games devs, but despite a marked leap in win rate after day one, it’s possible we may be seeing changes for the Fiery Fledgling sooner than expected.

League lead gameplay designer Matt “Phroxzon” Leung-Harrison shared his and the team’s thoughts about Smolder’s release in a Feb. 3 post on X (formerly Twitter) which included a poll asking fans where they felt Smolder had landed in terms of power. Over 27,000 responses were recorded, with 35 percent of players feeling the baby dragon was “balanced”—but votes were spread somewhat evenly between “weak” and “strong.”

Smolder's base splash art in League of Legends.
The Fiery Fledgling has struggled to notch many wins early on. Image via Riot Games

Phroxon noted that, despite a very low win rate, the champion was one of the most popular released in recent history. “He’s sporting a massive 28 percent pick rate in regular play: it’s pretty fire to be more popular than Ezreal!” Phroxzon said. Smolder currently holds a 44.02 percent win rate according to stats site U.GG, which isn’t too uncommon for a new champion.

What is uncommon, according to Phroxzon, is how quickly players have improved with Smolder. “Smolder has one of the largest jumps in win rate from day one to day two in Masters+ play we’ve seen in quite a while,” he said. Nevertheless, the League team is already weighing up changes for the Fiery Fledgling.

Phroxzon wouldn’t confirm anything just yet, but options ranging from applying a partial reset of his spell kit to the ratio of Smolder’s R, MMOOOMMMM!, have been considered. Phroxzon was also looking into balancing between Smolder’s effectiveness in the mid lane versus the bot lane. He was intended to be played as marksman ADC, but many players have given the baby dragon a run in the mid lane, with little success so far.

Also in Phroxzon’s sights is the possibility Smolder’s Q, Super Scorcher Breath, should give stacks of Dragon Practice while the projectile is in the air when the target dies, as well as a more proactive use of his E, Flap, Flap, Flap, during the mid-game. One such way to do this may be to reduce its cooldown at later levels, although again this is purely speculation at this point.

We’ll have to see what Phroxzon and the League dev team plan as the week kicks off. With Patch 14.3 locked in and set to go live on Wednesday, Feb. 7, unless a micropatch is planned, it’s likely we won’t see Smolder changes hit the Rift for another fortnight.

Nicholas Taifalos

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