The ADC became a major issue in both solo queue and competitive play following his release in December 2019 and popularized the “200 years” meme, which originated from Riot Games champion designer Nathan “Lutzburg” Lutz’s response to a Wukong main.
Aphelios continues to have a high presence in both solo queue and professional play. He boasted a 93.6-percent presence during the LCS Spring Split with a 66-percent win rate, as well as a 95.6-percent presence during the LEC Spring Split with a 50-percent win rate.
Aphelios was teased with five weapons that could be switched and controlled by putting one of them in the off-hand slot. The only thing players needed to manage was the number of remaining bullets to be prepared for a teamfight with the most suitable weapon. While his trailer video showcased a situation with multiple weapons, everyone wondered what the differences between weapons were. Aphelios wiped out the enemy team with all weapon combinations in the trailer, showing how insanely strong he was regardless of weapon choice before a teamfight. His enemies were of equal level and items yet dropped like flies to Aphelios’ abilities.Usually, champions have some sort of weaknesses built into their kit to allow for counterplay. Aphelios has access to a multitude of effects, such as long range, a slow, a root, lifesteal, high melee-range damage, and much more. While it makes each of his guns feel unique, all of these effects made the champion too good at everything.
His power during the laning phase with his lifesteal and long-range weapon needed multiple nerfs before he landed in a counterable state. During the mid game, he kept regularly one-shotting clustered enemies with just his ultimate due to how strong the combination of Infernum with Moonlight Vigil was.
He clearly missed the checkpoint regarding a visible weakness. And even though he lacks a dash, it can’t be considered a weakness when he outdamages you if you get close to him. This power was exemplified by Schalke 04’s ADC Nihat “Innaxe” Aliev during the LEC Summer Split, when the bot laner picked up two kills in a one-vs-four situation and escaped with a full health bar despite being chunked down to near death.
The difference between a good Aphelios and a bad Aphelios is minuscule; it doesn’t matter what weapon he uses—he can delete entire teams with each setup. While players who main Aphelios might not be much different from those using the champ for the first time, it’s important to see the context of the impressive one-vs-five plays that some people are pulling off. Most of the time, enemies are grouped closely together and give Aphelios an easy way to access the entire team.
Going forward, Riot should tone down such unique aspects and allow for more counterplay. They could either buff the old-guard champions or undertune new champs so that they don’t influence the meta too heavily.