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I am playing League of Legends and I have seen some videos saying that skins can actually buff (make them better) or nerf (make them worse) the champion you're playing.
Is this true? And if so, can I see a list of the skins that buff or nerf your champion?

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  • I mean, have you watched the videos?
    – Exal
    Feb 15 at 16:26
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    Videos can be innacurate. =) Youtubers dont always know what they're talking about.
    – Millard
    Feb 15 at 16:49
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    Note that this is not specific to LoL. See for example the Toon Mania Cthullu skin in SMITE, which is super visible due to the drastically different art style compared to the rest of the game. That high visibility not only makes it easier for your foes to spot you, but also makes it easier for your allies to go unnoticed because you’re drawing more attention than you normally would. Feb 15 at 23:20
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    I once read somewhere that red is the color that the human eye react the quickest to. So, with that, we could say all red based skins are a nerf. But we are talking milliseconds here. Except if you are challenger, this wont change much.
    – Fredy31
    Feb 15 at 23:49
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    Do I remember correctly, that the Urf Skin for Warwick gave him +1 hp or something like that? back in 2010... Feb 16 at 13:19

2 Answers 2

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Skins are cosmetic. They do not buff or nerf your champion stats. However, cosmetic changes can still affect your own gameplay.

Ease of use

The most common competitive argument for a skin is that it has an auto attack animation that is easier to last hit creeps with for CS. When last hitting minions, often a player starts auto attacking and realizes a moment later that the attack was too early to get the last hit. Then, they cancel the auto attack and restart it. An auto attack animation that provides more consistent feedback to the player about when the attack will land on a creep can be an advantage when timing last hits.

Opinions on this benefit are subjective, but an example of a common opinion is that Blood Lord Vladimir is easier to last hit with than the default skin.

Difficulty of use (for your opponents)

Some skins have ability animations that are more difficult to see, or more difficult to interpret for your enemies. This means that choosing a particular skin can make it harder for you opponents to dodge skill shots.

A common example of this type of skin is Steel Legion Lux. In this skin, Lux's abilities all appear very similar to each other, and it is much harder to identify which ability she is using when playing against her.

This category is the most common reasons why some skins get banned in competitive play.

Bugs

This is rare, but occasionally a skin will be bugged and actually provide a true advantage or disadvantage. One example is Zombie Brand, which has a special ability to change walking animations depending on whether the player is walking towards or away from an enemy champion. Originally, this animation could be used to detect if enemy players were hidden in bushes, before the bug was fixed.

Another less serious example is Pulsefire Ezreal. When last hitting creeps, this skin would sometimes not properly display the gold you received (you would still get the gold, but there was no animation).

Overall though, skins are a subjective preference, and some players like certain ones more than others. Most likely, the person in the video you watched was just making a joke that their preferred skin was actually better for competitive reasons.

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    There is one possible addition to this that doesn't quite count: according to leagueoflegends.fandom.com/wiki/Leona/Trivia champions with sunglasses, either via skins or not, take 1 less damage from Leona's passive. So it can sort of be considered a nerf to Leona or a buff to those skins with sunglasses... if you consider a 1 point damage difference a buff/nerf. Feb 15 at 20:16
  • Excellent answer. An example of this getting fixed was Arclight Vel'koz; before the recent visual update, this was the only skin where the rectangular borders of the W ability were clearly visible to all; the default skin would just show a crack on the ground. This visual clarity is now part of the core visual package of the champion
    – badp
    Feb 16 at 11:20
  • I also read that some skins show excally the hitbox with ablitys? Feb 16 at 11:25
  • @FinAndTonic That seems to be an unsourced line in the fandom wiki, I wouldn't put much value into that.
    – Mast
    Feb 17 at 17:52
  • @Mast Fair enough. I do remember hearing about it years ago, though, and a brief google search shows forum/reddit posts saying the same thing from years ago as well, so it sounds like no one has disproved it. Feb 17 at 20:03
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Yes and no.

In stats, no.

But in visuals, maybe.

Some are easy to say that skin has an advantage, because effects make it harder to read the skill coming out or the AOE circles are harder to see.

You could also say some are advantageous against particular opponents that have visual impairments like color-blindness.

But all of that is very relative and very opinion based.

Reminds me of an EVO (fighting game tournament) where there was a rumor going around that the skins using white suits were harder to read. And poof, everybody was using their characters white suit skin.

Its a very subjective subject.

But in terms of cold hard stats, no.

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    color blindness it a good thing to take into concrideration for example i watch a stremer who is colorblind and he can't play Twisted Fate due to this Feb 16 at 11:28
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    There has been pros (Hai from C9 if i remember well) that are known colorblinds. I would guess some of their opponents probably took skins that willingly were harder for him to see lol
    – Fredy31
    Feb 16 at 12:33
  • ya I feel bad for people with it Feb 16 at 12:36

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