Is Riot Buffing Champions For Skin Sales?

Players have been wondering for a while now whether some champions are on the receiving end of buffs just to increase sales. Is this real though?

Fiddlesticks Rework Art 1
Did Fiddle really need buffs in Patch 12.13? | © Riot Games

Not too long ago, Fiddlesticks sat at a respectable 50% win rate. He's the type of champion that isn't very popular in pro play, but will make an appearance in solo queue often enough to not be a forgotten champion. Then, just ahead of LoL Patch 12.13, Riot announced that he would be receiving a buff... the same time his first new skin after years was also finally being released – Star Nemesis Fiddlesticks.

Is it coincidence that Fiddlesticks is getting buffed right as a new skin is being released? This isn't the first time Riot has done this either. Just in Patch 12.12, Seraphine received some buffs, a patch after the release of her Ocean Song skin. Are these just coincidences or is there someone sitting at Riot demanding champions be buffed to boost sales for their skins?

Did Fiddlesticks' Buffs Influence His Win Rate?

As already mentioned, Fiddlesticks sat at an almost 50% win rate pre-Patch 12.13, which is the sweet spot most champions want to be at if they are to be considered 'balanced' – but this is League of Legends and as we know, no champion will ever be truly balanced. But Fiddlesticks was at a decent place with a pick rate of 2.5% according to lolalytics.

Then, in LoL Patch 12.13, Riot decided to buff the jungle champion, making him one of the champions with the highest win rates in Patch 12.13, shooting the 50% average up to almost 53.5%.

Well... getting a JoJo inspired skin wouldn't be so bad... right?

What Did Riot Buff on Fiddlesticks in Patch 12.13?

Fiddlesticks had two of his abilities buffed in LoL Patch 12.13. His Q and his R were both buffed to deal more damage, as well as to fear longer.

Fiddlesticks AbilityChange
Q - TerrifyFear Duration: 1/1.25/1.5/1.75/2 ⇒ 1.25/1.5/1.75/2/2.25 seconds
R - CrowstormDamage: 625/1125/1625 (+225% AP) ⇒ 750/1250/1750 (+250% AP)

Fiddlesticks is a champion that truly comes online thanks to his ultimate, so once he's got level 6 he is able to impact the map left, right and center. That's why the change to his ultimate seems to be the most significant of the two and has helped catapult him into one of the best solo queue junglers in the current meta.

Fiddlesticks Receives Star Guardian Skin

In 2021, Fiddlesticks was promised a new skin, but that hasn't happened, so fans have been waiting for quite some time for him to receive a new skin. He was in the same boat as Dr. Mundo who also hasn't gotten a new skin since 2019. So, in 2022, Fiddle would finally receive his new skin.

Star Nemesis Fiddlesticks is one of the more memorable skins from the multitude of Star Guardian skins being released with the big Star Guardian event this year. Did Riot really buff the jungler to boost his play-rate and thereby also maybe the sales of the Star Nemesis skin?

The balance team would say no, that they only buff and nerf champions according to win rate, but that makes us wonder why some champions like Syndra, Rumble and Lissandra, who all have worse win rates seem to not get any buffs from Riot.

Other Star Guardian Skins

The other Star Guardians of Patch 12.13 either already had pretty high win rates, like Sona, while Kai'Sa and Ekko are always popular in solo queue. Nilah is the newest League of Legends champion, so of course her skin would also sell well.

So, with a track record like this, is it possible that Riot does sometimes buff champions in hopes of boosting their play rate and win rate? Because, as we all know, you'll only buy skins for champions you actually play... right?