Red Post Collection: LCP Ep. 18 on Midseason, 6.9 Context Threads, URF live Friday, New URF Merch, and more!

Posted on at 8:56 AM by Moobeat
[UPDATE: URF is now live on all servers through Monday morning!]

This morning's red post collection includes a new episode of the League Community Podcast focused on the ample midseason changes, context threads on the tentative 6.9 changes to QSS/MS and Rageblade & Devourer replaced by the new Bloodrazor, the beloved URF mode headed to live Friday in the rotating game mode queue, VODs of the most recent community livestreams, and more!
Continue reading for more information!



Table of Contents


Inside Midseason Magic with the designers 

Looking to catch up on all the Midseason changes? Check out the latest League Community podcast to see what Pwyff, Scarizard, Statikk, and Fearless to have say on the upcoming changes!
"Welcome to the latest installment of the League Podcast, a series in which we take you behind-the-scenes with the people who help make League possible. Expect new guests and new stories every couple of weeks or so, and make sure to hit us with those sweet comments and ratings so we can keep striving toward a Challenger tier podcast. 
This week, Chris “Pwyff” Tom and Patrick “Scarizard” Scarborough chat with designers James “Statikk” Bach and Jo “Fearless” Graylock to get the scoop on Midseaon Magic."


URF Mode Returns Friday in RGM Queue!

The rotating game mode queue continues this Friday with the return of URF mode! Look for it to go live on your server around noon server time and last until Monday morning.

Here's a refresher on URF MODE, as well as changelist on the mode specific changes (which are on top of last year's changes!) and an updated rotating game mode schedule through the 15th!
"From the original clone-tastic One For All to the sand-strewn battlefield of Ascension, featured game modes provide unique spins on the classic League formula. It’s time to kick things off with the next game mode in the rotation: Ultra Rapid Fire is now live!
Ultra Rapid Fire is the first mode we’ve made some bigger changes to, so we want to review our philosophy on balance for modes in the Rotating Game Mode queue: 
Our goal for rotating game modes isn’t to replicate the hyper-competitive environment of Summoner’s Rift, so we generally don’t perform heavy balance passes. However, we draw the line in extreme cases: when a champ can permanently stun an enemy (literally, in the old, non-figurative sense), or when a mode’s fundamental nature makes a champ unplayable. As a couple of examples, Tahm Kench on U.R.F. and Brand in One For All could permastun without changes, and Bard on U.R.F. needs faster chime spawn rates to get to play the same mode as everyone else. 
Not all champions are expected to be equally viable in all rotating modes. Champions are designed and balanced around SR. In RGMs, there’ll usually be a few over- or under-performers, and we’re comfortable with that given the rotating nature of the queue. 
Now, let’s jump into exactly what’s changed with Ultra Rapid Fire this year:
As in any rotating queue game mode, we’ve specially tuned Champion Mastery so you can earn points in the mode. You’ll also be able to earn keys for your wins and loot chests for your (or your premade’s) S­-, S, and S+ games. 
Up next is Hexakill: Twisted Treeline next weekend, followed by One For All and the first return of Ascension. If you need to catch up on the rules for any game mode, check back at leagueoflegends.com each Friday, and we’ll give you the lowdown in a quick post like this one. 
We’ll be trying out different things with the rotating game mode queue over the next few months, such as potentially turning it on longer depending on how popular it is, changing the mode cadence or what modes are available. We’re looking for your feedback as we go, so let us know. GLHF, and we’ll button-mashing alongside you during this ultra rapid weekend!"

New Urf Merch Now Available

With URF MODE returning this Friday in the rotating game mode queue, two new Urf merch items are now available in the Riot merch shop - an Urf Figure and an Urf tshirt!

QSS / Mercurial change for 6.9 

Here's Riot Repertoir with context on the current 6.9 PBE cycle change that has Quicksilver Sash and Mercurial Scimitar only removing crowd control effects instead of all debuffs.
"Hi all, 
This change looks like it went unnoticed for the most part, so I'm putting up a thread to talk about it here. The change to these items is that they now only remove crowd control effects rather than all negative debuffs. Functionally, what this means is that it will continue to remove Enchanted Crystal Arrow (Ashe) and Nether Grasp (Malzahar), but it will not remove Death Mark (Zed) and Grand Challenge (Fiora). 
The reasoning for the change is pretty much that the cleanse offered by these items was able to functionally negate certain champions' ability to fight the owner of the item. As I'm sure many of you will be quick to point out, the game is balanced around the existence of this effect, and you're not wrong. That said, we think we can get the outliers here to a spot where they are healthy in the game where QSS/MS do not remove all debuffs, and instead only crowd control effects. 
By outliers, I do mean the Zeds, Fioras, Trundles, and other problem children there are in light of this change. However, what this change allows us to do is create debuff-focused champions that don't have their kits completely negated with an item purchase and press of a button. With this change, there likely WILL be outliers, and if so, they WILL need to be addressed. The idea here is that we'd like to get to a point where the damage Zed deals with Death Mark (or any other champion with their debuff spell) is fair in the absence of strictly a hard counter item. 
Since we're at the mid season point and the next few patches will be in flux, this feels like the best time to try out such a change unless we wanted to wait until the new season.
Currently, you don't see changes to champions on the PBE to offset this item change because we want to smart small and react with a million changes here and there without seeing the effect of the change. We could certainly try to preemptively make such changes, but our approach currently is to see how it tests before overreacting. This is, of course, subject to change, so we'll be monitoring the change as it's on PBE and once it's Live if we decide to keep it. 
Feel free to leave comments below, even if it's just to reiterate that Zed will be broken. 
Cheers,
Repertoir"

When asked if they would potentially lower the cooldown on QSS, Riot Repertoir noted:
"Quote:
Reduce the cooldown at least. Qss was able to remove summoners like ignite and damage over time effects, and was useful beyond cleanse for that reason too. 90 seconds was appropriate for a "full state reset" but if it only removes crowd control then I feel it needs to have more uptime.
This is on the table."
He continued:
"Quote:
I don't get why suppression still gets removed but Zed and Fiora are immune? Seems kind of unfair to Warwick and Malzahar players.
This is the reason. 
We are aiming for QSS to be good at countering enemies/teams with large lockdown that you need to be free of, not just universally against powerful debuffs. It's hard to have debuffs in the game that are both meaningful and fair when the opponent can just negate them with some gold and a button press."
Riot Repertoir continued, explaining the balance ideals behind the change:
"Quote:
I believe this is all about making it easier to balance certain champions....but I might be insane.
This is pretty much the point, and admittedly, it's a difficult sell. I'll talk a bit about the reasoning here so that people can at least have some context around the change. 
The issue here is about balancing what is best for the game in the long term versus what feels necessary for the game right now. In the long term, it's probably better to not have a bunch of items that serve specifically as hard counters to champions. In the short term, however, we have champions that feel like a hard counter is the only way of dealing with them, which is where I believe a large part of the concern over this change originates.
With this change to QSS, there are certainly champions that come out power positive. As many have been quick to point out, Zed, Fiora, and Trundle are some of those. The ideal long term state for champions like these (and others affected by the change) is that their abilities are powerful in their intended ways without opponents needing an item that strictly eliminates abilities that tend to define their caster's purpose within their team or any particular engagement. 
At the end of the day, it's probably more likely that players like knowing they have the option of purchasing QSS to deal with these one off abilities much more than they actually like having to dump large amounts of gold into such an item to feel like they can play. 
The assumption here is that the game is in a better, fairer state in the long term if it feels more like fighting Zed (or any other champion, really) is a fair engagement than an obligation to purchase a hard counter type item to deal with what otherwise feels like an unfair effect. 
I'll check back in here in a bit if I get a chance. Do let me know if anything seems off about this or was unclear."

Guinsoo's Rageblade, Devourer, and Bloodrazor in 6.9

Here's Riot Axes with context on the tentative patch 6.9 Guinsoo's Rageblade changes as well as removing Enchantment: Devourer and replacing it with the new Enchantment: Bloodrazor!
"Hi folks, 
As part of the Midseason patch, we’re doing some work on a couple of items that have been problematic through the first half of the season: Guinsoo’s Rageblade and Enchantment: Devourer. 
Enchantment: Devourer 
As of the 6.9 patch, Devourer is being removed from the game. In order to provide support to attack speed-oriented junglers, we’re replacing it with a new item: 
Enchantment: Bloodrazor
  • Recipe: Jungle Item + Recurve Bow + 625 gold (2625 total gold)
  • +40% Attack Speed
  • UNIQUE Passive: Basic attacks deal 3% of the target’s maximum Health in bonus physical damage (max 75 vs. monsters and minions) on hit. 
Attack speed junglers break down into two different audiences, and this item is supposed to serve both. Tanky on-hit junglers like Shyvana and Warwick who want one or two non-scaling offensive items appreciate the % maximum health damage on Bloodrazor. Meanwhile, on-hit scaling offense champions like Master Yi and Kindred should be able to pair it with other attack speed items like Blade of the Ruined King plus physical damage modifiers like Youmuu’s Ghostblade or Lord Dominik’s Regards for scaling builds. 
We needed to make this change because, frankly, farm jungle items weren’t having good effects on the game. Devourer and Sated Devourer both represent incremental improvements in game health over previous farm jungle items – Devourer removed the sustain and warding that allowed a farm jungler guaranteed ‘do not disturb’ farming, while Sated Devourer kicks farm junglers out of the jungle with a clear call to action. This wasn’t enough, however. The biggest problem farm jungle items create for the game is the initial 10-15 minutes, not their effects on the mid-game. 
There will still be junglers who prioritize farming more than others, there will still be junglers who you rarely see ganking your lane, and there will still be junglers who defer power to later in the game, but that will be left to the kits now – the systems won’t be forcing it. 
Guinsoo’s Rageblade 
Guinsoo’s Rageblade has a few problems on Live. We’re pretty confident that it’s not actually overpowered – it’s sufficiently situational, providing the kind of power that a certain set of champions needs without heavily bleeding over onto other champions. When it does see play on other champions (looking at you, Tristana), it’s picked for specific reasons to fill a niche, not because it is generically powerful. 
That said, the item is balanced around a couple of different elements that can feel very bad – both to play as and play against. It has one of the worst build paths in the game, creating a low point in champion power immediately before you finish. This is counterbalanced by a very high power spike immediately after – it provides more power than an item usually gives for 2800 gold because it needs to offset that artificial weakness. 
There are a couple other, smaller issues – because it causes an AOE on hit, it has an inappropriate interaction with Runaan’s Hurricane, hard-binding ranged Rageblade users to that item. Additionally, melee users simply don’t need to double stack on hit. Hitting 8 stacks is prohibitively too difficult for a champion like Jax to rely on, but that doesn’t mean 4 stacks is the right number. 
We’re looking to smooth the item out with both a better build path and with a more appropriate gold cost for the power it gives. Without further ado: 
Guinsoo’s Rageblade 
  • Recipe: Blasting Wand + Recurve Bow + Pickaxe + 875 gold (3600 total gold)
  • +35 Attack Damage
  • +50 Ability Power
  • Passive: Basic attacks deal an additional 15 magic damage on hit.
  • UNIQUE Passive: Basic attacks grant +8% Attack Speed, +3 Attack Damage, and +4 Ability Power for 5 seconds (stacks up to 6 times). While you have 6 stacks, gain Guinsoo’s Rage.
  • Guinsoo’s Rage: Every other basic attack will trigger on hit effects an additional time.
A quick note on the Phantom Hit passive: we’re trying that passive here because it fits the item well and is very cool - it drives different styles of builds while presenting a cool visual and a cool fantasy. We’re comfortable putting it here because the additional gating of needing to stack Rageblade removes a lot of the problematic use cases Phantom Hit caused on Devourer. For example, where Devourer makes Xin Zhao’s knockup a 2-hit combo for the rest of the game, this Rageblade makes it a 2-hit combo only if Xin has been able to basic attack for a while."

Taric Nerfs Likely in 6.9

With his champion update out to live in 6.8, Meddler noted on the boards that it is "likely" that Taric will be receiving some form of nerfs in 6.9:
"It's likely we'll be nerfing Taric in 6.9. Not sure what yet, still assessing exactly where/when he's too strong. So far though he's performing significantly stronger than he should however so we'll need to do something."
When asked if it was a too fast of a reaction given 6.8 only being on live for a few days, he noted:
"That's why it's not a committed thing yet. Figured people might still be interested in hearing what we're thinking is most likely though."

In the same thread, Meddler also briefly spoke to the PBE Soraka nerfs and Grievous Wounds changes:
"We feel Soraka's too strong at present. The GW change should help reduce that somewhat, estimation is not enough though. Under other circumstances we'd potentially wait and see what's needed post 6.9 like we're doing with champs the QSS changes may affect. Belief is though that the Athene's changes will be a noticeable buff to her however so we're looking at some nerfs as a result. 
Reintroducing some form of GW interaction with Wish is an option if GW starts shutting her down too hard in 6.9."

Spectate Featured Games Missing

In a reddit thread asking where the in-client spectate featured games mode window has gone, SapMagic commented:
"Hey MariboroMundo! 
We decided to remove the featured games card because it hasn't really been a compelling watch experience and wasn't compatible with some of the recent changes we made to the landing page. 
We think a watch experience should empower you to find games you care about (e.g., games where a Challenger player is playing a champion you're learning). There are probably other features beyond choosing one of a random set of games to spectate that would be valuable as well. This might be a problem we tackle at some point, but probably not any time soon. 
I'd love to hear from you guys - what did you think was valuable about the previous featured games card? What would you want to see from a watch experience in general?"
SapMagic continued:
"Quote:
Have you thought about making a spectator part of the client where there might just be a way to filter active games by ranking, champions in the game, etc? Just give a big list of results and let players start spectating from there? 
I think that this would solve your landing page real estate issues while giving players (no matter how few) the option to watch any kind of game they would like.
That's an interesting idea. There might be even more frictionless ways of getting you to the stuff you care about - for example, by surfacing games with champs you play, or champs you're learning. 
It's not necessarily about real estate - in general with the landing page our aspirational goal is to connect you to experiences you care about. If a watch experience is one of those, it makes sense for it to be on the landing page. 
Thanks for the feedback. I've had many a shower thought about what a good watch experience might look like and the ways players might find games they care about, and it's awesome to get ideas from other players as well."

Ryze Update likely before Yorick

In a boards thread inquiring on the new champion update and if it will be the Yorick update, Reav3 noted that as it is a smaller scope rework Ryze is more likely to be released before Yorick :
"Quote:
And they have 1 team working on Ryze while another one working on Yorick. Neither of them are effecting the release date of the other.
This is correct. Yorick is a much larger rework then Ryze and also is a minionmancer, which is generally a heavy resource type of champion. This means that although the team working on Ryze started later, Ryze will most likely come before Yorick. This is subject to change of course."
Reav3 continued, reminding Ryze's update will include new visuals and splash art:
"Quote:
is Ryze getting a new base splash?
as for skins, is Pirate Ryze getting a new splash art?
Yes, and new models. The only splash we won't be updating is whitebeard."

Reav3 also again mentioned Ryze will have new voiceovers:
"New VO for sure. As for his voice we will do auditions for his voice, not sure if that will mean a new voice or not."
As for why Ryze is getting another set of gameplay changes following his 2015 update, Reav3 commented:
"The problem is that when he is balanced for ranked, he is unbalanced for competitive and vice versa. Ryze's competitive ban rate is once again insanely high, he was 100% ban during NA finals for example."

Patch Chat 6.8 - Playtesting The Outrageous 

With patch 6.8 going to live earlier this week, the playtest team is back on the boards to discuss the latest changes:
"Hey all, 
Welcome back to Patch Chat! We’re Riot’s Playtest Team, a group of high ranking League players whose job it is to play the hell out of things (lane tests, competitive testing, etc) and give actionable, objective feedback to designers. 
Every two weeks (concurrent with the release of patch notes), we’re going to be hosting a discussion here on the state of balance on the current patch. Take this opportunity to ask us any questions about the state of the game
Taric drops soon, so feel free to ask us any questions about the process of playtesting a rework. 
As well, we’ve given our thoughts on sustain, given the Patch 6.8 sustain changes. 
If you looked deep in the patch notes, you saw a series of related changes to lane sustain, aimed at allowing mistakes in lane to be punished, and forcing hard-scaling champions to actually work to make it into the late game. As players, how did we feel about those changes?
I don’t really mind high sustain. It pushes a different subset of champions to the forefront of top lane and gives me a new play experience.
-- Ben “Cezium” Burkhardt 
Sustain in lane makes me feel like I can have a second chance, and makes lane more interesting by allowing for more fights. However, the current level of sustain - especially combined with Teleport - makes your accomplishments in lane feel useless/nullifies lane phase.
-- Shawn “I Am The IRS” Currie 
I already play high sustain champions in lane, like Cho’Gath or Nasus. I like the ways those champions can consistently weather the storm and come out on top. High sustain metas frustrate me, because if everybody can do that, so why am I playing those champions?
-- Mattias “_Gentleman Gustaf” Lehman 
High lane sustain allows bad players to make it through the early laning phase. The laning phase is what I find the most fun to play around because it is where you can show your individual skill.
-- Trevor “ThEntropist” Thernes 
I don’t mind playing with high sustain. I like to stay in lane to cs or fight the enemy laner. If passive sustain gets too high, then top lane only feels OK if you’re both champions that benefits from it. With Corrupting Flask, if your enemy laner takes it, you probably should too. I’ll be happy if I end up being able to start Doran’s Blade on more champions through top lane.
-- Nicholas “Nickwu” Smith
Taric - From Gem Knight to Shield of Valoran
As playtesters, our job is to represent players at Riot; to make sure the in-game experience is protected from patch to patch. Nowhere is that more clear than in champion reworks, where we have to make sure that the new and improved kits feel improved and yet still the same. 
With Taric, that struggle was pretty strong, as we all remembered playing Taric in the past. When we think of Taric, the key ideas that came to mind were his simplicity, and the bucket of stats he gave his team. Once we got over the more complicated kit of Taric, we grew pretty attached to the protective nature of his kit. 
We especially learned to enjoy playing around his passive. If you’re ahead, and get to stagger your abilities and make optimal use of your passive, Taric can be quite aggressive and know that he will always have an ability up to bail out a teammate -- or himself. On the other hand, If you’re behind, and don’t get to use your passive consistently, Taric has to choose his actions more carefully, and rely on high-impact reactive casts. 
Moreover, thanks to the use unusual targeting (your Bastion conduit), we got to really feel growing mastery of this champion over time, hitting a clutch stun or ultimate based on the positioning of an ally. There are certainly some frustration points (sometimes your allies just don’t move the way you’d expect them to, but playing Taric teaches you to be pretty good at reading your allies’ movements, not just your enemies. 
Of course, Taric did have to give some things up, including his explosive burst combo and his simplicity, but getting to explore the deep mastery curve of new Taric more than made up for it in our opinion. 
What do you think of the Taric rework or sustain changes? Have any questions about what it’s like to work as a Riot playtester? Maybe some questions about 6.8 as a whole? As usual, feel free to ask any questions about balance or what exactly our job is! We will be around for the next few hours and will try to answer as many questions as possible. 
Adam "Afic" Cohen
Ben “Cezium” Burkhardt
Shawn “I Am The IRS” Currie
Miles “Daydreamin” Hoard
Mattias “Gentleman Gustaf” Lehman
Nicholas “Nickwu” Smith
Blake “Ex Shepherd” Soberanis
Trevor “ThEntropist” Thernes"

League Community Stream VODs

Last up we have VODs for two of the recent League Community Twitch livestreams!

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