Red Post Collection: Let's Talk About The Black Cleaver, ARAM changes & improvements on PBE, and more!

Posted on at 1:57 PM by Moobeat
This afternoon's red post collection includes discussion on the tentative changes to The Black Cleaver that are currently testing on the PBE, upcoming improvements to Howling Abyss & the ARAM game mode, a look at the Morgana ability VFX updates in 5.7, and more!
Continue reading for more information!



Table of Contents


Context on PBE The Black Cleaver changes

Here's Riot Axes with context on The Black Cleaver changes currently up on the PBE for testing:
"Hi folks, Riot Axes here to talk about The Black Cleaver update coming to the PBE (soon!). The Black Cleaver is an item that’s been in a pretty rough spot for a while: when it’s cost effective, it makes you good at killing, well, anyone, since it gives strong burst tools through flat armor penetration, along with tank-busting power with armor shred (anyone remember League of Cleavers?). Because of these issues, we've had to tune the item accordingly, which has left is pretty mediocre at both jobs (bursting folks vs. shredding tanks). 
That brings us to today. Right now we're setting out to give the item a more cohesive identity. Specifically: tank busting. We're giving TBC more max shred and a new set of stats that are best used by champions longer combat patterns – with more CDR and health, plus a movement passive – at the cost of reduced attack damage and removed flat armor pen. This should allow The Black Cleaver to be a genuinely powerful option in certain scenarios without just dominating every situation. 
The item: 
The Black Cleaver
  • Phage + Kindlegem + 825 gold (3000 gold total)
  • +400 Health
  • +40 Attack Damage
  • +20% Cooldown Reduction 
UNIQUE Passive: Dealing physical damage to an enemy champion Cleaves them, reducing their Armor by 5% for 6 seconds (stacks up to 6 times, up to 30%). 
UNIQUE Passive - Rage: Dealing physical damage grants 20 movement speed for 2 seconds. Assists on Cleaved enemy champions or kills on any unit grant 80 movement speed for 4 seconds instead. This movement speed is halved for ranged champions. 
I'd love feedback on any part of this, but especially on item clarity - do you understand what's going on? Do you understand how to use it well?
Thanks!"

When asked about the "Unique Passive: Rage", Axes noted the values are subject to change:
"Yes, although the exact details of how much move speed it gives and for how long are still subject to tuning (there's a realistic possibility this ships at 60/2 seconds, though I'd like it to ship higher than that if we can get away with it)."

As for the state this change leaves The Brutalizer in as it now can only build into one item, Axes noted:
"I would agree that this doesn't leave The Brutalizer in a great place - but realistically it wasn't in a great place before. TBC on live is a pretty underwhelming purchase - even champions who sound like they'd be ideal cases for it don't buy it all that often or do all that well with it, with it really filling in as a luxury buy when you want your Brutalizer #3 and happen to be really ahead. 
There are likely to be a few cases (Wukong?) where this pinches a bit, but this item should land in a better place for more champions."

Axes continued, explaining why The Brutalizer was removed from The Black Cleaver's build path:
"The Brutalizer is out of the build path because an item with flat armor penetration and stacking percent shred (really, any percent shred or penetration) together just gives you the power to kill everyone - flat armor penetration is best at bursting squishy targets, while percent shred/pen make you better at dealing with the kinds of champions that you'll have to fight for a while to beat. 
This means that an item which does both has to be pretty crappy at both jobs, because if it's ever good at either job, its user is automatically good at fighting everyone. An item which only gives one of the two can actually be good at that one thing. 
For what it's worth, the first thing I tried was keeping the Brutalizer but having the finished item lose the flat pen (basically, the flat pen turns into the shred on the finished item), and that was simply too weird for people to understand or appreciate. There are a whole bunch of oddball optimization cases because finishing the item changes you from best at fighting one kind of opponent to best at fighting a different kind of opponent. It'd be somewhat the same as if we put in an MR item for defending against KAyle and Teemo that built out of Warden's Mail . 
All that said: we do want to get a better handle on assassin itemization at some point and The Brutalizer sits at the center of that picture for AD Assassins. Unfortunately, though, nothing imminent."
As of the 4/7 PBE update, these changes for The Black Cleaver are currently up for testing.


ARAM Improvements & Changes on the PBE

Here's Riot JxE with details on all the numerous ARAM improvements that are being rolled out to the PBE, including a new Mark/Dash summoner spell like we saw in the Poro King game mode, several item changes, reskinned minions and updated structures, a new loading screen, and more!
"Hey all! 
As we continue to polish and update Summoner’s Rift, we found a cool opportunity to make some improvements to Howling Abyss and ARAM. Without any further ado, let’s break the ice and get things rolling – here is the list of changes coming to the PBE today: 
Gameplay Changes; My Mind is Telling Me No: 
New Summoner Spell on ARAM: Mark/Dash 
After analyzing the results of Legend of the Poro King, we realized that Poro Toss gave an across-the-board bump in viability to some historically unpopular picks and helped balance the playing field. After careful consideration and some tweaks we’re bringing this back to ARAM as an optional new summoner spell called Mark/Dash.
 
Mark allows you toss a projectile at an enemy unit, you can then follow up on a Marked unit with Dash to quickly travel to the Marked target. 
Go forth and tower dive, but remember, it’s only worth it if you say so in chat. 
Item Changes; Out With the New, In With the Old: 
Bloodthirster added 
With the recent rework of Bloodthirster, it made sense to re-introduce the SR favorite to ARAM to help out champions that rely on high AD to be more successful on the map. The passive doesn’t hurt either - shields up! 
Sanguine Blade removed 
10 out of 10 ADCs agree that Bloodthirster is bigger, better and bloodier than Sanguine Blade. We can't argue with that, so we’ll be retiring it from ARAM. 
Warmogs added 
Ever shed a tear after purchasing Giant’s Belt on ARAM only to remember you can’t build Warmogs? We’re bringing the HP behemoth to ARAM to give tanks a little love and to help them survive poke long enough to initiate at the right time. Note that we’ll be keeping a close eye on this one to make sure tanks don’t become too overpowering. 
Skin Boosts; Turning the Random Dial to 11:
After flicking some switches and fiddling with a couple of dials, we've successfully added Skin Boosts to our ARAM update! Throw down 95RP and you'll give everyone on your team a one-time random skin for the champ they're using that game. You'll also earn yourself 200IP while giving your teammates 100IP. 
Map & Art Changes; No More Nexus Gnomes:
We’ve skinned some of the art from Summoner’s Rift to match the Howling Abyss theme and bring some consistency between the maps. We also took this opportunity to do some general art polish, make some performance improvements and fix an issue that caused champion spells to sometimes be clipped when drawing on the ground. Check out these screenshots for more details. 
 Reskinned Nexuses (Nexi?)

Reskinned Minions
 
New Loading Screen
 
If you discover any bugs, please post them here!"
As for the new summoner spell "Mark/Dash" summoner spell and concerns it will be a bit hard to see like the equivlent from the Poro King featured game mode, L4T3NCY noted:
"We've changed the visuals since Poro King so are very interested to hear feedback from you guys regarding that. Are the snowballs obvious enough (trail, model, hitbox, etc)? Was it easy to understand when someone dashed to you? Etc. 
I've personally been looking forward to this change very much. We saw good trends in Legend of the Poro King making certain traditionally 'lame duck' Howling Abyss champions quite viable. It turns out all you need to smash a Sona is some extra hard engage. :)"

When asked about adding the color swapped minions to  Twisted Treeline, Riot JxE noted:
"Minions are an easy win and something we should be able to easily bring to the other maps. We're going to see what other improvements we can make if time permits :)"

Riot JxE also replied to a question on why they teams remained Blue vs Purple instead of Blue vs Red:
"We thought about doing this, but the ice theme and colors on Howling Abyss were designed around the purple/blue colors. Adding red to the map was too overpowering and really threw off the theme/design of it. It's not ideal for us to use the stag themed assets, but it looked better than what was there before and it leveled up the art on Howling Abyss overall in a way that allowed us to get a quick win."
He continued:
"The Howling Abyss theme and colors were designed around the blue/purple themes and the red became too overwhelming when we tried it out. Adding relative team colors to all maps is definitely still on the table, for now, we were just looking for quick wins to improve the other maps in our game :)"

ManWolfAxeBoss also stepped in to comment on the itemization changes, noting:
"Alt map version of Twin shadows is being added. 
As for an AD version of Morellonicon, not this patch. If we see a need for it develop in the future then we'll definitely explore creating one."
He continued, responding to concerns on Elixirs and if minion stats will be tweaked to be more like Summoner's Rift (less armor / MR, more HP):
"We haven't had any concerns about the elixir up to this point, but that may change with this patch. We'll keep an eye on it and address it if needed. 
Minion stats will be updated. Should be on PBE today or tomorrow."
When asked about adding Nexus tower lasers or the building shield buff that is seen on Summoner's Rift towers, ManWolfAxeBoss noted:
"Can't speak for the art stuff, but: 
2/3. Not at this time. These are both mechanics that serve a specific function for SR. It's possible we could tweak them to for HA, but it isn't something we've explored yet."

Got feedback on these changes? Drop them off in the PBE feedback thread here!

Meddler on Garen


With the recent 5.7 buffs to Garen's R stirring the pot, Medder popped into a board thread to comment that in the future the team would like to take another swing a Garen's kit:
"At some point we'd like to do some more work on Garen, in particular give him some more options so he's not so dependent on 'run at a dude and use everything' in a teamfight. Just to keep expectations appropriate odds are that will involve some mixture of functionality adjustments, buffs and nerfs to different parts of his kit.

Timing on that's uncertain, though not for a while at least, hence these changes to put him in a better spot in the meantime."
When asked if that would include changes to Garen's Q silence, Meddler noted:
"Not 100% sure, given we haven't done the work yet, but gut reaction is it's probably ok. Garen doesn't have much mobility or range, so enemies have plenty of ways to play around him, unlike other champions we've had to remove silences from. He also doesn't regularly burst targets down within a second, again unlike those that have lost their silences, so being unable to cast for a while's much less of a problem."

Chroma Initial Pricing Decision

In a reddit thread inquiring how Riot came about the price point of 590 RP for a pack of 3 Chroma and why they upcoming color variations aren't provided for free, Hippalus commented:
"Yes the chroma survey (then called recolors) was sent to a statistically significant sample of players across North America and Europe. Most players responded that they liked the idea of having the option to buy recolor packs at this price. Based on that we decided to move forward with developing the tech to globally support the feature. 
90+% of Rioters work on features and content that most players acquire for free (including server improvements, game modes, champions, music/video, etc.). New cosmetic options like this help ensure we can keep investing in delivering awesome experiences to players even though the majority of players choose not to spend in any given month. Like all cosmetic content, those who are excited or want to support Riot can buy chromas, and even those don't buy them can enjoy a little more variety on their teammates and opponents."
For those interested and the sake of reference, here is an email survey sent out about 8 months ago that mentions the recolors ( and the debut of "Blucian"), another from a few months after that referencing packs of recolors, and one last one from about 6 months ago where recolors and a few other options are also highlighted. These surveys are periodically emailed to players and typically feel out for content but are certainly not promises the ideas will make it into the game.

As of the 4/7 PBE update, the first two sets of chroma packs are up for testing.

Champion Update: Morgana

As mentioned in the 5.7 patch notes, Morgana is receiving updates to her ability visuals and sound effects in the upcoming patch!
Here's Fizznchips with more information:
"We’ve just about finished our latest update on Morgana, who’s now dressed for success and ready to torment live!


Unlike most of our recent work, Morgana’s update was predominantly aimed at brushing up the Fallen Angel’s readability, meaning we focused on adjusting the gameplay clarity of her abilities. We’ve widened the visual width of her Dark Binding particle to better represent the actual size of the missile. Now Morg players can judge more accurately whether their Q’s going to land, while her enemies can more accurately see where they need to get to to avoid getting snared. We also fiddled with Tormented Soil so that it’s a little more visible in brush, and tweaked Black Shield so you can better understand if Morg’s E has been taken out or just faded away. Finally, we made some changes to Soul Shackles, giving visual and audio cues as the tether ramps up to stun, and adding a new unique sound whenever enemies successfully duck outside the tether’s range. Have a look at the videos above for Morg’s new ability effects!
That’s about it for Morgana! Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!"
Updated video previews for each of Morgana's skins can be found here:

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