Over the course of the past few months, Teamfight Tactics has evolved into an increasingly complex game with each passing patch. Whether it was through the introduction of new items, the release of several new characters, or a restructuring of the experience system, it’s clear that the game is ever-changing. Perhaps in the near future, we could see even further changes – specifically through the expansion of the champion roster.
As for right now, however, on patch 9.20, Brawlers are in a really good spot. It’s definitely arguable that they’re the most prominent class in the game, as plenty of compositions will revolve around them and the massive health bonus that they bring to the table. The immense amount of synergies that they bring to the table each game is incomparable, as nearly no other origin is able to bring the sort of diversity that Brawlers do. Between the Glacial origin of Volibear, the Hextech origin of Vi, and the many others such as Void, Wild, and Blitzcrank’s unique “Robot” origin, it’s obvious that the flexibility that Brawlers bring to a game is unmatched.
However, if there’s one problem that Brawlers present, making them incredibly strong right now, it’s the fact that they’re way too easy to acquire. There’s only 6 Brawlers in TFT, and the most expensive one is only a 4-cost unit: Cho’Gath. Aside from him, every Brawler in the game costs 3 or less gold. And while this necessarily isn’t a bad thing – building comps around higher cost characters is quite risky – it makes Brawlers almost too reliable. Getting a full set bonus from all 6 Brawlers is leagues easier than collecting 6 Gunslingers, 6 Nobles, or even 6 Demons (without spatulas, of course).
So, how can this be counteracted? Well, for starters, you could increase the cost of existing Brawlers such as Volibear and Cho’Gath, or, you could add another Brawler at a similar price point, making it so that the characters’ stats aren’t affected, but rather the synergy bonuses are.
If you look back to the additions of Twisted Fate and Camille, they forced their respective classes to expand, as the cap on Sorcerers and Blademasters was increased to 9. Perhaps if Brawlers got a similar treatment, it would be much more difficult to complete the full synergy. Still, for that to happen, Riot would have to add or change a spatula item that turned a character into a Brawler. Simply adding a 7th Brawler and changing the requirements for a synergy bonus without making it possible to even acquire 9 Brawlers would be drastically unfair.
Still, adding another Brawler might be the best way to indirectly nerf the class, while still promoting playability and intrigue. Think back to when Kai’Sa was added to the game. Sure, her addition came in tandem with a pretty sizable nerf to Void compositions, but her presence alone was enough to give Void a chance last patch. Maybe, if a new Brawler was added to the game, and the class underwent some significant changes as well, there could be enough reason to at least give them a shot despite some probable nerfs in the near future.
And while there are many characters in League of Legends who fit into a “Brawler” archetype, if there’s one character that makes a ton of sense as the next addition, it’s Maoaki, the Twisted Treant. When you look at Maokai in his League of Legends form, he’s a relatively simple champion with not too many bells and whistles – a necessary feature when dealing with the simplicity of TFT. Another characteristic of a Brawler is that they would probably fight with their hands and do best unarmed. While champions like Illaoi and Dr. Mundo might fit the archetype to some degree, champions such as Maokai, Udyr, and Lee Sin make a bit more sense.
However, slotting Maokai into TFT could prove beneficial for both games, as the champion has been a staple in League for over 7 years, but recently, he’s started to fall off as he’s become one of the least picked characters in the game. As other options emerge as stronger choices, it’s becoming clear that Maokai is falling to the wayside. Perhaps if he were thrusted into TFT, some people who play both games could be inspired to pick him up and try him out in League.
Ideally, Maokai would be a 4-cost Brawler that utilizes his Twisted Advance ability. Traditionally, Brawlers like Vi, Rek’Sai, Blitzcrank, and Warwick have abilities that could get them across several hexes at a time. Giving Maokai a move like this would fit that theme nicely.
Making him cost 4 gold and having him use an ability that focuses on mobility would not only make him a solid alternative to Cho’Gath, but makes even more sense when you make him from the Wild origin. Bunching Maokai into the Wild origin just works considering, you know, the fact that he’s a giant tree.
The game already features two Void Brawlers that are usually spread out across two separate stages of the game in terms of accessibility. This works nicely for synergy and balance, and having that same kind of interaction work between Maokai and Warwick, who is already Wild, would work on the same plane, just with a different origin in mind.
Idealistically, Maokai makes sense as the next TFT character as the Brawler class has been given various touch-ups over the course of the past few months, but remain at the upper echelon of the game. His addition would not only change the landscape of the class, but the game as a whole.
Media Credit: Riot Games, League of Legends, Teamfight Tactics