Top 10 Nerfed Characters in Video Games

If you’re a hardcore gamer, you know how annoying it is when your favorite character gets nerfed. It’s just something that most gamers will experience at least once in their lifetime. Nerfs are not inherently good, nor bad. Objectively speaking, they are just downgrades to a class or character in order to adjust traits, abilities, and statistics to a level deemed more suitable by either the game developers themselves or based on recommendations from the fandom. Even though nerfs are usually viewed in a somewhat negative light, it’s always important to remember that, at the very least, the developers are receptive to player feedback. In this Top 10 list, the character occupying the #1 spot will be the most nerfed, and the one occupying the #10 spot will be the least nerfed.

10. Kazumi Mishima from Tekken 7

  • System/Platform: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
  • Developer: Bandai Namco Studios
  • Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
  • Release Date: June 2, 2017 JPN: March 18, 2015

Tekken 7 is a popular fighting game in which players compete in head-to-head martial arts battles. Despite the number in the title, Tekken 7 is actually the ninth installment in the series, with the plot continuing the events which took place in the previous game. Kazumi Mishima is married to Heihachi Mishima, and is the mother of Kazuya Mishima (the protagonist from the original 1994 Tekken).

Kazumi Mishima from Tekken 7 has had some minor nerfing observed in the past. Without a doubt, her biggest strength lies in her attacks that involve the use of her pet tiger. In fact, her other fighting moves are all pretty standard to say the least. Her tiger attacks used to be OP until a patch balanced them out and prevented the spamming of that particular series of moves.

9. Charlie Nash from Street Fighter V

  • System/Platform: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Arcade
  • Developer: Capcom, Dimps
  • Publisher: Capcom
  • Release Date: February 16, 2016/ JPN: January 2018 (Arcade Version)

Similar to the Tekken game series, Street Fighter V is a side-scroller fighting game that pits players in hand-to-hand combat against either a player-controlled or computer-controlled opponent. Fans of the game were excited to see the return of Charlie Nash as one of the playable characters. The American has a long and complicated in-game history dating back to the second installment of the Street Fighter series.

Nash’s dash forward was nerfed to 19 frames of animation; however, this was rectified by buffing him down to 18 frames of animation which brought him a tiny step closer to the fastest dash speed in the game- 15 frames. Nash’s dashes (that’s fun to say) seem to have taken the brunt of nerfs, as opposed to something like his damage dealt. The fighter’s back-dash move has an increased amount of recovery frames and his back-dash distance has been shortened. His Moonsault Slash has incurred a slower start-up time and he has also taken increased frames on his V-Trigger. Even with all of those nerfs, he has still remained somewhere around the top five most popular characters in the game.

8. Demoman from Team Fortress 2

  • System/Platform: Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
  • Developer: Valve Corporation
  • Publisher: Valve Corporation
  • Release Date: October 10, 2007

Team Fortress 2 is a free, team-based, multiplayer, first person shooter from Valve. The player can choose their class from a line-up of unique and very distinctive individuals. There is no real plot to the game, but each character has an amusing introduction which can be found in the canonical and promotional videos published by Valve.

The Demoman in Team Fortress 2 is the perfect blend of two classics- bombs and booze. The drunken Scotsman comes equipped with an arsenal of explosives powerful enough to blow the entire opposing team to bits- which is good, since that’s the objective of the game.

If you’ve been a fan of Team Fortress 2 since it was released as part of the Orange Box in 2007, you’ll know how frustrating this particular character’s nerfing cycle is. One minute he gets nerfed, the next minute they give him a buff to compensate for overly nerfing him. Afterward, he gets another nerf to make up for the buff that was supposed to make up for the nerf that they gave him in the first place! Wash, rinse, repeat! Really, some of the only changes considered non-temporary were the nerfs to the Sticky Jumper quantity and the chamber size of the grenade launcher. Aside from that, the weapon damage for the Demoman fluctuated with each update, making consistent gameplay with this character near maddening.

7. Luigi from Super Smash Bros 4

  • System/Platform: Nintendo 3DS, Wii U
  • Developer: Bandai Namco Games, Sora Ltd.
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Release Date: November 21, 2014 JPN: December 6, 2014

Super Smash Bros 4 takes characters from various Nintendo games, both old and new, and throws them together into the ring to duke it out. This crossover fighting game comes with single player modes, multiplayer modes, and mini-games. Over the years, the series has increasingly taken on more characters into their lineup of fighters. If you could take away one important tip to keep in mind while playing this game series, it should be the old adage about not judging a book by its cover. This is especially true when it comes to our choice for most nerfed character of SSB4, Luigi. Younger brother to world famous Italian plumber Mario, Luigi has been featured in many Nintendo games; he has even spawned a few spin-off games featuring him as the star.

The greener half of the Mario Bros has had several nerfs applied to his character because some of the attacks that he could perform were simply too strong. Bandai noticed these strengths and nerfed the effectiveness of some of his moves, causing him to drop slightly in rank. His fireball attack was nerfed not once, but twice! The attack no longer deals consistent damage to the enemy and has incurred an increased ending frame lag of three frames. Additionally, detrimental tweaks were implemented to the hitbox as well as his shield mechanics. However, it should be noted that even with these nerfs, Luigi can still be effective if in the hands of the right player.

6. Dark Knight from Black Desert Online

  • System/Platform: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
  • Developer: Pearl Abyss
  • Publisher: Kakao Games, RedFox Games (South America)
  • Release Date: March 3, 2016 JPN:2015

Black Desert Online is a Korean developed MMORPG known for its fantasy setting and impressive character creator. Despite having the main core of players originating from the Far East, the online game still has a decent following from a North American audience. Players are presented with different classes of warriors to choose from. One of these classes is known as Dark Knight.

It’s no secret that Dark Knight from Black Desert Online was overpowered back in the day. But after an update to the Korean version of the game, Dark Knight took a hard nerfing. This change wasn’t entirely unwanted by BDO players and there was also a small buff added to the class that helped alter a game mechanic. It’s not exactly a win-win scenario for Dark Knight fans, but the general consensus is that the nerf helped to balance out the class.

5. Warlord from For Honor

  • System/Platform: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
  • Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
  • Publisher: Ubisoft
  • Release Date: February 14, 2017

Imagine taking the deadliest warriors from distant lands and different cultures and having them fight in big team battles until only one side is left standing. This is the basic premise behind Ubisoft Montreal’s game, For Honor. If you are a history buff, you’ll like what this game has in store for you.

One of For Honor’s most despised classes, the Warlord, famous for his mountainous stature as well as his brutal attacks, was regularly referred to as over-powered. Many players had been critical of the power level that this large Viking possessed. On top of being quick to strike, he was also quick to recover, giving players little incentive to initiate an attack on him.

The Warlord had the annoying ability to counter guard breaks more frequently than most other characters, and that allowed him to really maximize his damage dealt to his opponents in the most efficient way possible- while defending himself. Side-dodge recovery time has been increased from 500ms to 700ms, and his Forward dodge recovery has been increased by 100ms. Overall, the changes seem rather small but it was these minor alterations that really caused the Warlord to reach a tipping point where he fell into the “Nerfed” category.

4. Boba Fett from Star Wars: Battlefront

  • System/Platform: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
  • Developer: EA DICE
  • Publisher: Electronic Arts
  • Release Date: November 17, 2015

A reboot of the Xbox Original Platinum Hit, Star Wars: Battlefront from 2004, the newer version of this game features a mix of new characters and old ones, as well as updated and redesigned maps and game modes. The FPS/TPS has many multiplayer campaigns that sort of reenact large scale battles from the Star Wars movie franchise. Fan favorite legendary bounty hunter and Jedi killer Boba Fett returned as a playable character in Battlefront. With his automatic lock-on missile and his wrist-launcher, Fett was nearly an unstoppable killing machine in the hands of the right gamer.

With a game update, Boba Fett’s effectiveness in battle was given a sizable nerf, with his weapon damage range falling from 30-25 points to 30-20 points. Additionally, these figures only apply within his weapon distance range, which dropped from 30-80 meters to 30-60 meters. Also, his automatic lock-on missile was changed to a manually targeted weapon- meaning that it now relies solely on player skill to aim and shoot.

3. Craig “Blackbeard” Jenson from Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege

  • System/Platform: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
  • Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
  • Publisher: Ubisoft
  • Release Date: December 1, 2015

R6 Siege is a fast paced, tactical FPS focusing on team-based, attack-and-defend game modes. There are a few single player missions to enjoy if you are feeling antisocial, but it is primarily a multiplayer game. Players can choose to play as one of the operatives of Team Rainbow. Blackbeard, the most popular playable character in Rainbow Six Siege, had a serious leg up on the competition with his gun-mounted shield. This bullet-resistant item allowed him to basically become a tank, with a max shield durability of 800HP. Most people who played as Blackbeard used this feature to their advantage, equipping the Rifle-Shield early on in the game and keeping it up until they had won the round- or died trying.

The devs at Ubisoft observed this behavior though, and a couple months later, nerfed his shield tremendously, claiming that Blackbeard was not intended to be used as a tank. They ended up splitting the one shield into two, separate shields; and now each shield is only worth 60 HP. On top of that, his Aim Down Sights time increased from 0.25 seconds to 0.7 seconds, along with an increase to his ADS from sprinting time, which went from 0.35 seconds to 0.8 seconds. This was a major upset to Blackbeard fans, earning him the hilarious nickname, Nerfbeard. At least his new nickname is original this time.

2. Janna from League of Legends

  • System/Platform: Microsoft Windows, macOS
  • Developer: Riot Games
  • Publisher: Riot Games
  • Release Date: October 27, 2009

Next to World of Warcraft, League of Legends is one of the most popular online multiplayer video games available today. However, unlike WoW, LoL is free, which is a huge incentive for gamers who are tired of paying subscription fees (*cough cough* Warcraft *cough cough*). Like most traditional online fantasy games, it uses a class selection system to give players a variety of characters and tactics to choose from.

League of Legends has many characters that have been nerfed but the most prime example of this is Champion Janna. Sometimes, a large patch will come through and after it is finished installing, the character will have endured drastic changes. This, however, isn’t the case with Janna; her character nerfs were more like the death of a thousand cuts. There was a steady frequency of smaller, but noticeable nerfs which would occasionally be interrupted by larger, more visible nerfs. Over time, the nerfs added up and Janna became known as a nerfed character.

Honorable Mention: Irelia. Despite having meme status, Irelia (of “Better Nerf Irelia” fame) actually comes up short when compared to the nerfing of Janna.

1. Jesse McCree from Overwatch

  • System/Platform: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
  • Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
  • Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
  • Release Date: May 24, 2016

Blizzard’s first venture into the world of First Person Shooters, Overwatch has quickly become a bestseller in the gaming community. It is an online, team-based shooter that currently only offers a multiplayer mode. Many fans are pressuring Blizzard to create a single-player campaign that would give backstories to their cast of colorful characters. One such character goes by the name of Jesse McCree. Sporting a belt buckle that would make Samuel L. Jackson shed a proud tear and a getup that would earn Clint Eastwood’s squint of approval, McCree was the quintessential, go-to cyber cowboy in Overwatch. Adept at taking down big or small targets alike, McCree quickly became favored by a majority of players for his versatility and for his punch-packing Peacekeeper.

That all changed, however, with an update from Blizzard meant to balance the hero’s stats. McCree ended up getting nerfed right where it hurt- the bullet damage from his alternate fire mode. The damage amount went from 70 down to a mere 45, which greatly reduced his overall performance against different character classes. He hasn’t been rendered totally useless, but lacking the same stopping power as before has cost him a decent number of fans.

Honorable mention: Widowmaker. The same update described above also nerfed some of Widowmaker’s stats and fixed a particular exploit where players would use a technique called Animation Canceling to shave precious milliseconds off of the reload time while using her sniper rifle.

Final Thoughts

Some of the nerfed characters listed above may have, or will eventually, receive balance patches that attempt to buff them back up to an appropriate level. Other nerfed characters won’t be so lucky and players will just have to learn to work around it. Love the nerfs or hate them, it doesn’t seem like it’s a practice that is going away anytime soon. What do you think of nerfs? Did this list leave any major nerfs out? Tell us in the comments section below, and thank you for reading!

Street-Fighter-V-game-Wallpaper-500x281 Top 10 Nerfed Characters in Video Games


Author: KYLE

Mid-twenties Japanese-American guy. Gamer, geeky nerd, cinephile, music snob, isekai lover, and dystopian cyberpunk enthusiast. Pretty much born and raised in Southern California, I currently live near L.A. I guess you could say that I’m an artist. I make a lot of stuff: movie props, digital effects, sound effects, motion graphics, animation, music, concept art, etc. I plan on becoming a cinematic director/screenwriter someday soon.

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