We seem to be getting a lot of champion designs lately that just fail at incorporating themselves in League of Legends. Even though the ideas are good, it's almost as if the game is rejecting them as a foreign object.
Out of the last few champions released in League of Legends, most have either gone the route of being completely broken to the point of constant hotfixes, or getting forgotten a week or two after their release.
It all goes back to the core of champions' design, with Riot making a top laner with a high skill ceiling and an AD caster that have been breaking the game completely, to a melee ADC and a low skill floor assassin that are only useful in niche situations, and even those are becoming less frequent.
And now, we can see the same thing happening again, with Briar's design making her winrate abysmal.
Why Briar's Release is a Design Failure
Judging a champion's success or failure based on the win rates from the early days of their release is counterintuitive since they are expected to be low as players learn how to play them.
However, there is a deeper problem with Briar, aside from her win rates. it lies in the fact that Briar's place in the meta can only be secured via unhealthy buffs!
Much like her predecessors, Briar is a champion with a core mechanic that has never before been seen in League of Legends, her W which is a self-taunt. With it, Briar can't focus the champions she wants to, such as the enemy carries.
There is a simple reason why peeling champions in League of Legends exist, and Briar is designed in such a way that her own abilities don't allow her to skillfully wipe out the backline unless they are far away from their team.
And designing a champion by counting on enemy mistakes is not a good practice. So, the only way to make Briar a viable meta pick, is to buff her to such an extent, that she can tear through the entire enemy team, front-to-back.
Furthermore, her ultimate is a downgrade from Nocturne's ultimate in some ways, and an upgrade in some.
- Look back on the days when LoL champions had actual lore, and get yourself a League of Legends: Ashe - Warmother comic to read
And while this balances it out, mostly, it just means that, like Nocturne, we can expect Briar to only be useful in low elo, and non-existent in high elo, due to her abilities being extremely exploitable by the enemy team who know what they are doing.
The only way we can see Briar becoming a viable pick is if she gets a mid-scope update that can rival Rell's.
And speaking of Rell, Briar's lore is that of a Noxian-made weapon that is currently finding herself. Add to that an implement of imprisonment turned to a weapon that actually works in Briar's favor, just like Sylas's chains, and we have our reason why Riot gave up on releasing lore with their champions. it's because they are mixing and matching their old ones.