I've always wanted to visit Hong Kong, but now I don't want to go anywhere near it for fear that it is full of horrible people - like Lesion. Liu "Lesion" Tze Long is a defensive Rainbow Six Siege operator that is incredibly low risk, when played in the right way, but incredibly high reward for the defensive team.
In Pro League, lesion attracts a 53% pick rate, third only to Jager and Smoke. In Platinum/Diamond ELO ranked, its much higher. With Rainbow 6 designer notes recognising Lesion to be the second most "overpicked & too strong" operator, second only to Jager.
Unfortunately though, there hasn't been any communication - that I am aware of - that they believe Lesion needs or is getting a nerf.
Reasons why Lesion is super super strong;
Requires no real team work to play. He throws down his Gu Mine gadget every 30 seconds. No co-ordination is required at all if the player that is playing him is Solo Q. However his mines create value to the team in the form of information they provide.
2 armour, 2 speed with a great gun and impacts. Means he is so god damn flexible. He can anchor, play off site, roam. Whatever is needed, he can provide. Rotations? No problem. Deny all the default plant spots in prep phase? No problem. Roam and hold down a certain entry point the other side of the map? No problem.
There are so many points here that I'm going to split this up a little;
Gu Mines are really loud - To the point that nearly every defender can hear wherever the Gu Mine is stepped on and can therefore play accordingly. They are also very loud when the player is pulling them out, giving an audio cue for the defenders to push.
Damage - This was recently nerfed believe it or not, but they deal a lot of damage when a player steps on them. The reason this is a problem is because it continually deals damage until the attacker is forced to complete an action.
Lets say a 1v1 fight is occurring, both attacker and defender are 100hp. The attacker steps on a Gu but doesnt want to take it out for fear of being pounced - he holds the angle for 10 seconds before eventually being killed. In those 10 seconds he received 50 damage from the Gu Mine, putting him at a severe disadvantage when the engagement eventually does come.
Visualisation - A great Lesion player knows exactly where he puts his Gu Mines. Why? Because there is a visual cue when you play Lesion as to exactly where your mines are at. This means that not only does the team know the general area of the attacker (from the sound cue), but Lesion also knows the exact location from the visual cue. Each Gu Mine has a little symbol above it to indicate its position, as soon as that is gone, lesion knows where the attacker is.
You may challenge this as not overpowered - because a valk/echo/maestro might know where their enemies are. The overpowered bit comes from the fact that those operators, when they have to find out where people are rely on having a player (usually themselves in ranked) check cams. This means that whilst finding out the location of an attacker, they themselves are unable to use their weapons, however with lesion he has full control of his weapons.
Sprint Denial - Lesion mines stop the attacker sprinting, which only compounds the defenders advantage once the Gu is in the attackers foot.
Plant Denial - Lesion mines stop the attacker planting - which really is a pisstake. I understand why this is the case, most likely to do with the fact there is only one action button and whilst PC players have control over a keyboard and could have "F" for plant and "H" for taking out the Gu Mine to give them a choice, controllers don't necessarily have that. (Hot take for a fix - create a very simple action choice menu for this on console, they press whatever button is the action one and then they throw their analogue stick up for "Plant" or down for "Take out Gu")
He gets 8 of the damn things - 8? Really? Including two in spawn. Every time I play Lesion I use my two lesion mines in the default plant areas of site. They're not usually needed because this is ranked and everyone peeks and dies and the objective is rarely played... But I digress.. What this means is that I can play Lesion exactly how I want to play him AND I am capable of plant denying & giving useful info to my team, from the grave, should I lose my life early.
They're Invisible- Remember when Kapkan was really bad? Them horrid red lasers and he was basically useless? At a high elo he is still fairly useless but better because his mines are a lot harder to see. Lesion has bloody invisible mines! That means not only can he plant deny with his gadget that he set up in prep phase from the grave; that same gadget that stops you sprinting and deals you 10 damage on impact and 4 per second after; its also basically impossible to see unless you're IQ or a pro player named Joystick
Deterrent/Hesitation - This is a much more minor problem that is situational, but, having 1 lesion mine to cover a specific avenue of attack is absurd. Situationally think about a Clubhouse bottom floor hold, Lesion may be holding off on Blue, the attack is going for an armory take via kitchen hatch. They send a Maverick to open dirt tunnel and sneak down it to create a crossfire. The is one lesion mine at the top of the tunnel near the door which he spots before he steps on it. He now has a choice;
Take damage - and alert the enemy team of his presence
Shoot the Gu Mine - and alert the enemy team of his presence
Wait - and possibly miss out on the opportunity of a cross fire. Even when the plant/armory take is going down, he still has to take the damage or shoot it.
The issue is quite clearly the Gu Mines. Now I have two opinions on this and how the nerfs could go;
1) Nerf the flexibility
What I mean by this is that Lesion is super super flexible being a 2/2 with impacts and a great gun. If you either nerfed his gun into oblivion (think Ela's gun nerf) or you made him a 3 armor 1 speed, you would force him to be played in a much more specific situational way. The way I see that type of nerf playing out is that Lesion would stay much more anchor heavy and the Gu Mines would be on entry to the site, which is actually fine when you think about it because having a general idea of where they are makes them much more manageable.
2) Nerf the gadget
Fairly obvious this one, but I've highlighted 8 things that are overpowered with the gadget. Individually, they're manageable, collectively they're an absolute nightmare and distinctly overpowered/broken.
Here is how I would nerf the Gu Mine gadget
Reduce to 6 with 1 being available upon prep phase ending, then 1 mine every 30 seconds.
Make them more opaque (visible)
Reduce the sound of them being hit and completely eliminate the sound of the attacker removing them
I think that would leave Lesion in a balanced place to be honest. He would still be similarly fun to play and his playstyle would stay relatively the same, it would just reduce the annoyance on attackers. It would make Lesion himself a much more skill based operator relying on tracking and knowing his mines - it would nerf the potential for his teammates to use the Gu Mine info without lesion communicating that info to them. Overall it wouldn't increase his risk in my opinion, just reduce his reward which is currently way too high.