Red Post Collection: State of the Season, [PBE/6.9] Mana, Mp5, AP, & MR Item Pass,and more!

Posted on at 5:20 AM by Moobeat
This morning's red post collection includes Meddler with a State of the Season post, Xypherous with a long post looking at the tentative Mana, MP/5, AP, and MR item changes headed to the PBE soon, SmashGizmo and ricklessabandon on upcoming Graves and MF PBE changes, and more!
Continue reading for more information!



Table of Contents


State of the Season: Coming up on mid-season

First up we have a new article from Meddler discussing the changes so far in the 2016 season and more things to expect as we move along including the Mid-year mage update, itemization changes, and more:
"Hey folks, 
It’s time for another check-in from the dev team on the ‘State of the Season’ - an experimental dev blog where we run through some of our thoughts on different parts of the game. In the sections below we’ll cover how we feel recent work (pre-season changes, new champs, reworks etc) has gone and current issues we see. 
We’ll also be talking about our plans for a mid-season patch. Mid-season’s going to be like a smaller version of a pre-season, with significant changes focused on both short term problems and longer term opportunities. 
Note that things outside of the core SR experience, like Hextech Crafting, Dynamic Queue, Rotating Game modes, etc, won’t be covered here. This will be focused on the part of LoL where you’re playing on Summoner’s Rift. 
Andrei “Meddler” van Roon, Lead Designer" 
Champion Updates: 
Right now:
Shen’s our most recent update and so far seems to be both fairly balanced and has improved game health compared to his previous kit. Overall, however, we don’t think he’s completely hit the mark thematically, with the floating sword feeling a bit disconnected from his fantasy. It’s not something we have plans to change - there are other champions that would benefit significantly more from having update time spent on them - but a lesson for when we take on future projects. 
Taric’s going to be our next significant update and is close to release. He’s a full update, with new abilities, models, spell effects, voiceover, etc. Our goals with Taric have been about adding more skill expression and distinctiveness to his kit, with an accompanying update to his aesthetics. We’ve worked to maintain Taric’s core gameplay contributions (he still stuns, protects, etc) and his fundamental personality. He should look and sound a lot better though, while feeling like a more cohesive part of Runeterra. 
As far as the Marksman update from preseason goes, we’re pretty happy with how distinct the different marksmen have remained. They’re doing different things in different ways. That said, some of them - Corki, Graves and Quinn, specifically - are a little too strong, and that strength’s leading them to be successful regardless of position. We like the idea of classes being able to occupy a range of positions, and are happy seeing those champs played outside of a duo lane, but we hoped to see them there for specific reasons. Right now these three are just good universal choices, with strong laning and team fight contributions. 
As a side note, we’d eventually like to get more non-Marksmen into the farming position in a duo lane. Doing it without the right systems and support in place (items, ways for other classes to take turrets, etc), however, is a lesson we learned with Mordekaiser and something we don’t want to feel so forced. 
Future: 
Updates to a number of mages will be the single biggest part of the mid-season patch. Those updates will be aimed at giving those mages more distinctive gameplay, better ‘playing against’ experiences and more cohesion with their themes. We’ll be making moderate sized changes to 6 mages (Vel’Koz, Zyra, Malzahar, Vladimir, Brand, Cassiopeia) and smaller changes to a number of others. Those smaller changes, by the way, will generally be about amplifying existing strengths and weaknesses using a champion’s current kit, rather than significantly changing abilities. We’re still locking down exactly which mages, but the likely candidates are: Veigar, Annie, Ziggs, Anivia, Xerath, Syndra, Fiddlesticks, with room for a few more.
New (ish) Champions:

Illaoi: 
Illaoi’s been quiet for a while - in part since she came out during the preseason, and so was harder to assess than most new releases. We’ll be making some modifications to her E in particular, aimed at reducing frustration and lack of options when playing against the Vessel state. That might potentially give us room to buff her late game, given she performs pretty well in lane but feels like she falls off a bit too much later on.

Jhin:
 
Jhin’s looking a bit strong at present, but he seems to be in a pretty good position in terms of overall style of play. We’ll be trimming a little power off, then assessing whether we need to do further work. At present, Jhin’s Q’s doing a bit too much work and the correct play is to sometimes not use E much - or even put a point into it early.

Aurelion Sol:
 
Is finally out! Initial reaction so far is that he’s difficult to play, and we’re seeing a lot of young dragons struggling on the Rift. That said, once he gets a number of games under his belt, Aurelion Sol’s success ramps up past almost any champion release thus far. We’re shaving some power early and then we’ll assess again thereafter. 
Items: 
Right now: 
We’re happy with how Marksmen item variety’s stayed significantly higher than it was before the pre-season. Overall balance seems reasonable too. It’s been good to see Zz’Rot Portal getting some use (finally), though it’s probably still too strong. If a niche item is being used all the time, its stats are almost certainly too high. 
We’ve also seen mixed defense/offense builds be too effective (Titanic, Maw, Sterak’s). There’s value in not requiring champions to be all offense or defense, like allowing for flexibility to game needs, less binary ways to shut down a fight (teams being able to choose between protecting a single glass cannon vs. fielding multiple offensive threats), and potentially more calculated risks in personal build paths (if I feel I’m tanky enough, can I build an offensive item? What if they pull ahead?). That said, having a ‘default’ offensive/defensive core build can lead to really flat experiences, pushing out the champions who don’t benefit from said items and nullifying those who rely on burst damage to take out high-priority targets. We’d like to see champions (like Graves) who opt into the mixed defense/offense build make some tradeoffs for the extra survivability. 
Future: 
We’ve got some changes to AP items coming in the mid-season, with a focus on better meeting CDR needs for mages and making mana components in items more functional by themselves. We’ll also be making changes to both Devourer and Rageblade, both of which have created some balance and game health issues with their current designs. 
Game Pacing & Objectives 
Objectives:
We’ll be making adjustments to a number of objectives in the mid-season patch. At present, a number of objectives aren’t offering sufficiently powerful, or appropriately focused rewards. That leads to teams focusing primarily, or purely, on turrets. Objectives like Dragon, Rift Herald, Red, and Blue Buff should be valued and contested significantly in most games, and we’ll be making adjustments to their rewards and encounters as a result.

Death Timers: 
We’ll be lowering death timers a little shortly, targeting the 30-45 minute period. In an ideal world, we’d like there to be some tension - losing a teamfight equating to real loss - but not losing an entire lane of objectives and potentially the game on one bad fight.

Turrets: 
Turret diving’s a bit too safe for the aggressors, so we’re experimenting with having turret damage to champions ramp up harder on subsequent shots (if you didn’t know, turrets hit harder the more they hit champions). Early game pushing, in pro play especially, also looks a too strong so we’re considering making turrets a little more resistant to damage early on.
Final Thoughts: 
Overall we’re happy with the diversity we’re seeing in team compositions and how players are adapting to the shifting landscape. Now that we’re getting comfortable with these ‘roster’ updates (juggernauts, marksmen, and mages), our hope is to continue on this path with larger, targeted updates aimed at making each champion more distinct and have a reason to be played. Where we’re hoping to improve is on the objective-level pacing of the game - providing more reasons to be fighting on the Rift and opportunities to counter your opponent's strategies. You should see more in the mid-season, so we’ll talk then."
Following the post, Meddler stuck around the boards to elaborate on a few of these topics and answer player questions:

When asked to elaborate more on potential tower changes and how they plan to address tower trading / lane swaping in higher tier play, Meddler commented:
"Quote:
So, in regards to lane swapping at a pro level. It feels to me like there's a lot more to it than just towers being too weak or other objectives not being worth enough. It seems that the team that initiates the swap has all the advantages, and the only option left for the other team is to do the exact same thing or fall too far behind. Do you think any of the changes mentioned will impact this or do you think more will have to be done later?
We do think some of the changes we've talked about here should have some impact on tower trading in pro play. Pro play does often favor taking the safe, equalizing play when available (you go for our outer tower, we go for yours). We have in the past seen Dragon be a major driver of early conflict when the reward's been sufficient though, with teams prioritizing taking it over towers. Smaller objectives also have some value there as a way to help create situations where 'just go for one of their towers' isn't so often the correct response. 
Risk defending towers is the other lever we're looking at. As player skill's got better, both in pro and regular play, towers have become increasingly dangerous to defend, with good agro juggling especially allowing much earlier safe ish dives. That means that defending a tower while outnumbered's the wrong choice more often than it should be. Our first step there's going to be making tower damage ramp harder, particularly when they're swapping targets, making dives riskier and defense therefore a bit more appealing. We're also looking into whether minion damage against towers early on's potentially too high, resulting in pushes that grind through a tower too quickly early game (as with agro juggling players have also gotten a lot better at wave manipulation over time).
If putting sufficient power into other objectives, stronger tower ramp and potentially better defense against minion damage isn't sufficient to create a more dynamic early game we'll then look into other options. Not certain as to details yet, that'll depend on how those changes go. I'd expect additional work to make it more practical and rewarding to defend towers early to be where we start though."
Meddler  continued on the tower discussion, commenting:
"Towers currently drop a lot of their ramped damage when they swap targets during a dive. We're considering having that ramp transfer over (tower's warmed up, and stays warmed up, versus more damage repeatedly hitting one target effectively) to make agro juggling riskier."

As for the current state of tanky builds, Meddler commented changes for Grasp of the Undying, Iceborn Gauntlet, and a few other things are coming up soon:
"Yeah, we've been talking a lot recently about the dominance of tanky builds even on some champions that should feel more rewarded for building offense. We're currently looking at changes to: 
Grasp of the Undying (potentially only starting in combat with champions)
Iceborn Gauntlet (100% damage instead of 125%, feeling being it's just too strong in general) 
Early lane sustain which is making it hard to justify early aggression/offensive play (higher CD on Feast, less health from Corrupting Potion, possibly more)" 

When asked about making red and blue buffs more desirable into later game, Meddler noted:
"Quote:
Are you thinking of making blue and red buff's power scale into late game? That'd be cool.
Yes. Feeling is that Red/Blue should be things you care about more, and contest sometimes, throughout the game. To accomplish that we'll almost certainly need to make those buffs more powerful than they currently are later in the game."
Meddler continued:
"Quote:
Will there be something there so that Red buff is relevant for more than just melee and ADC champs? Conversely, blue buff offers a tiny pittance of AP for mages, but its CDR and mana regen makes it useful for most champions. Will this be expanded so that both buffs are relevant for all champions?
We do want each buff to feel at least noticeably useful to anyone that happens to get it. Goal isn't to make each buff equally appealing to everyone though. There should be at least one champion on each team however for whom Red or Blue is really valuable."

When aksed if they will be doing dev blogs on the boards for the other mages getting smaller scope changes in the mid year mage update, Meddler explained:
"Quote:
Will the "other" mages be getting dev blogs soon? So far Annie is the only one that's had one so far, just wondering if there will be more.
We won't be doing dev blogs for all the other mages. For most of them there isn't sufficient change to justify that level of visibility/discussion, more an emphasis on existing elements of their kits. Tentative changes on Ziggs for example include buffs to his passive CD/AP ratio to give him more tower taking power, removing the ult double damage to minions to avoid him stalling games excessively, lowering the ult CD at higher ranks since it won't be as stalling and allowing his W to execute low health towers, giving him additional tower taking power but in a really risky way (puts his escape and only hard CC on CD). 
We'll certainly be talking about all the mages in detail both once they hit PBE and once they go live though of course. The directional posts we're doing where we think it's particular important to talk about intent, scope and type of change."

When asked the categories they are using to describe the mid year mage update, Meddler elaborated:
"Quote:
My favorite part of this dev blog is that it gave us more insight into the mage rework comming up, although im curious as to why ziggs is being listed in it.
The mage update seemed it was aimed more at the immobile mages that struggle against these super high mobility champs so when they hit they should hit hard and not lackluster.
Ziggs has his litle jump thing, does that not count him as a mage with mobility? or is it because his playstyle is very linear that changes will be made?
Immobile mages was a short hand we used to describe a few categories of mage we were looking at. The longer version is that the mages we're making changes all fall into categories we're describing as:
  • Battle Mage (short-medium range, sustained damage dealers with some sustain or defense - Vlad, Ryze, Cass etc)
  • Burst Mage (single target focused, with solid CC as a pick option and strong burst - Syndra, Veigar etc)
  • Artillery Mage (extremely long range, unreliable at short range, consistently squishy - Xerath, Ziggs, Vel'Koz etc)
Ziggs falls into the Artillery Mage category. Mobility's not generally a strength of any of the above categories of mage, the descriptions for those subclasses are very much guidelines rather than rules though, every champ breaks at least one of them (and needs to to be sufficiently distinct from their peers). 
We'll also be talking in more detail about how we view classes/subclasses overall shortly in another dev blog for anyone interested."
He continued:
"For the mage update we've focused on three types of mages as described here: 
[link] 
Karma's a support/mage mix by contrast, along with some other champs like Orianna and Lulu. We're with you should could do with some more distinct tools, for the mid-season we chose to focus on the linked subset of mages though. We would like to get to supports and utility heavy mages at some point, other classes also have really strong arguments going for them too though (e.g. assassins and diving fighters)."

When asked if Karthus will have any changes in the MYMU, Meddler noted:
"Quote:
You didn't mention Karthus in the mage update.
Does this mean you're confident the AP itemization changes will help him out?
The mage update's mainly focused on distinctiveness and game health. Karthus does well in those regards. As with all users of squishy AP items we'll take a look at him after the mid-season's out in terms of where he's landed power wise."

Meddler continued, answering the same question about Ryze:
"The initial 5 cast limit hit him pretty hard, we saw his performance improve a lot over the course of the patch though as people got used to playing with it. The buff to his Q damage also added a surprising amount of power to him, which does seem to have helped out at a range of skill levels. We don't have any current plans for him, besides the rework underway, if anything though at high level play he's looking on the strong side rather than the weaker side again."

When asked for more on Quinn and GravesMeddler added:
"Quote:
Wonder what will happen regarding Quinn (and Graves, but mainly Quinn).
Will they see nerfs in 6.7 already? Or will there be a period to assess the fallout from nerfing Maw and Warlord's Bloodlust?
And, more specifically, which mechanic/gameplay effect of hers do you deem out of line?
We're looking into changes to Graves, potentially reducing the value he gets from AD and upping reward for Crit, thereby pushing him towards squishier builds. No fixed changes or timeline yet though, for those and Quinn in general we want to see what the 6.7 changes do. 
On Quinn I'm personally cautious about how hard she can shut melee down, both generally and the nearsight on her Q."

Meddler  Group Responses:
"Quote: 
I have lots of questions so gonna bullet points them, feel free to just answer some if any:
  1. How are you planning to get more CDR in mage builds? Are you going to put CDR on some existing niche AP items (Liandry's?), new items or are you gonna do a weird thing like Reaver that rewards you for building something with CDR?
  2. The wording about the mages you're reworking is confusing. Are you saying that the absolute maximum of mages you'll rework (including small changes) is the 6 big ones + 7 small ones you're looking at? Will everyone not mentioned in the article be (likely) getting a free pass?
  3. Mana/MP5 + AP component items incoming?
  4. Is there any chance at all of new AP items in mid-season or will it just be components?
  5. Any chance of Haunting Guise being streamlined into a more functional item? AP + MPen really shouldn't be such a rarely bought combination but the HP on the item makes it very unattractive on the majority of the mage roster even before you get into the fact that it only builds into a DOT-enhancing item. Right now Guise is so poor that you never ever pick it up for the early power spike or the magic pen (unless you're Zyra) - you only buy it as a stepping stone to Liandry's.
More CDR on existing items mainly. 
We'll be making moderate sized changes to the six core mages listed (Vlad, Malz etc). 
We'll be making smaller mini rework/big balance patch level changes to around half a dozen others. For mages not listed we either won't be making adjustments to them mid-season or adjustments will be pretty small (standard balance patch style tuning of a number or two). 
Yeah, mana + AP especially's something we're looking at, with a potential shift of mana items more towards mages and MP5 items more towards supports. 
Likely one new end tier item, more focus on components and stat changes. 
No current plans for Haunting Guise from what I can recall, it's deliberately somewhat niche (flat MPEN + AP can end up as mandatory on a lot of champions)."

Last up, he answered a few questions about champions not mentioned specifically in the post:


Meddler also briefly commented on Aatrox:
"Quote:
Why does Aatrox still pay health costs on his Q and E? Furthermore, why are they % costs?
The intent with Aatrox's design was to reward aggressive play and itemization, hence the % costs over flat. Our biggest concern with Aatrox is that he doesn't do anything very distinctive. His abilities feel reasonable to use, but unless he's simply the best at what he's doing other champions will almost always be a better choice. As another example Talon's got the same sort of problem, only getting consistent play if he outperforms other assassins by a clear margin. 
At some point we'd like to rework Aatrox to make him more distinct, at present we believe other champions need the work more (ones that aren't functional, or at all healthy, or that fall into classes we're targeting first)."

When asked about potential plans for EvelynnMeddler noted:
"Her theme (stealthy assassin) and gameplay (tanky diver generally) don't match up well. That disconnect leaves her feeling somewhat unsatisfying. She's fairly difficult to play well, but performs really effectively in the right circumstances, so isn't weak. That means that even though she often won't feel great to play as we can't simply add power to her until she reaches the right level of satisfaction. Long term I'd love to see her get a full rework (maybe next year?). Shorter term we'll want to look at ways to get achievable improvements to her whenever we look at assassins." 

As for the Kayle passive nerf currently on the PBE, Meddler noted:
"We feel Kayle's sufficiently strong that, despite her low play rate, we need to nerf her. Removing the Armor Shred's one of the options we're tossing around for that. Changing her E to proc damage so it doesn't stack Fervor as quickly's also something we're talking about, that would have the additional effect though of removing her ability to apply spell effects via her auto attacks. That leads to some interesting itemization choices, so we're not convinced removing that's desirable as a result."

When asked about the current state of RumbleMeddler commented:
"We want to ensure Rumble can effectively lane, not just jungle. We're currently exploring some buffs to his Q to help him out in lane specifically, not sure yet if those will be ready for 6.8 or not though. With you he's in a somewhat sad spot at the moment though."

 When asked about Urgot and the recent addition of a terrify to his R,  Meddler commented:
"Quote:
Can we talk about our lord and savior, Urgot!!!!! 
Jokes aside. What was thinking process in adding fear in his ult? Seems a bit off to add it out of the blue.
Urgot's ult puts him in positions where he often doesn't want to be, even if he's using it correctly (to disrupt or get a pick). Adding a fear gives him a bit more survivability by either causing enemies to self scatter while he's winding up or force scatter on his arrival. The ult still feels rather out of place on his kit, but should be somewhat more useful.
Thematically a fear seemed a strong fit with his theme as an undead Zaun construct with horror vibes. Other CCs could also have done the job gameplay wise."
On Urgot, he continued:
"Urgot needs a full update, agreed. He's not the only champion though, Yorick especially's in strong need too and based off our investigations we felt we had a stronger direction for him than Urgot. As a result we scheduled a Yorick update as the next full one after Taric. We've also got another full rework underway for later in the year. Bit early to talk about that yet, though it's another champ that really needs a gameplay, art and lore overhaul. 
For what it's worth I do think it's pretty likely we'll get to Urgot next year. I realize that's sad news to hear since that's still a long delay, figure it's better to share that than just being silent about him until he's up next though."
Meddler also mentioned that Yorick, Ryze, and another larger champion update all for this year:
"Yorick will be the next full update after Taric. We'll also be doing another full update later in the year, though that's still in pretty early stages at the moment. Additionally there'll be a Ryze update at some point too, though that won't be on the same scale as Poppy, Yorick etc (new model, with significant kit changes, but not a completely new kit)."

When asked about the expected timing for the MYMU to hit the PBE, Meddler noted:
"I'd expect the mage update to hit the PBE later on in April."
He continued:
"One patch, probably 6.9. As with pre-seasons though there'll almost certainly be a need for follow up work in the subsequent couple of patches too of course, particularly on the changes to dragon that are fairly large. 
We'll probably add some new masteries sometime post mid season, right now other work's taking priority though (same teams)."

For more on the Mid Year Mage Update, check out these links:

[Planned - 6.9] Mana x MP/5 x AP x MR Item Pass

Withe the Mid-Year Mage Update coming up fast, Xypherous has jumped on the PBE boards to share a large list of tentative  Mana, Regen, AP, and MR itemization changes that will be hitting PBE soon!
"6.9 Core Mana, Regen, AP and MR Pass 
We're likely going to be pushing within 1 or 2 days onto PBE a set of major item changes intended to be part of the Midseason patch that is primarily focused around Mages. 
As always - I want to give you guys a full list of details with a bit of context before these items hit the PBE and get data mined. 
There are a couple of major points here that I want to hit upon - and we're being pretty aggressive about the item space we're exploring here. 
Note: None of the numbers are final here and functionality and specific details will change as we iterate and get closer to shipping the patch note. We're still in a change of heavy numbers iteration of most of these items. 
Mana, Mages, MP/5, Supports 
First off, I'm changing a vast majority of the Mana components in the game in purpose and function. Overall, our mana items that have been tailored towards mages have been mostly about providing Mana - rather than being a Mana item with some kind of useful statline. 
Sheen, for instance, is a Mana item which provides a useful passive. 
Our current Mana + Spellcaster mana components just provide Mana and don't really solve anything else - making any mage that needs to buy a Mana item simply lacking in some early functionality or stat pattern. 
We also want to do some work here to ensure that offensive mage items tend to have maximum Mana on them - while supportive items tend to have mana regeneration on them - this is both from a game health concern (Infinite Poke) as well as a push to have mages be comfortable burning through tons of mana on powerful spells rather than rely on a steady drip of attrition. 
Catalyst the Protector of Aeons 
  • Valor's Reward passive removed
  • New Passive - Eternity: 15% of damage taken from champion is gained as Mana. 15% of Mana spent is gained as Health.
  • (Healing limited to 25 per spell cast or 25 per second for toggled spells.)* 
Catalyst loses quite a bit of free early lane pressure here - however, it enables a very powerful engine - turning mana to health and health to mana while brawling with other champions. 
Tear of the Goddess  
  • Mana Regeneration: 25% --> 0%
  • Additional Passive - Awe: Refunds 25% of Mana spent 
Tear of the Goddess has always been the go to spot for a ludicrous mana pool. However, paradoxically - it also favors very low cost spells in order to stack it up. This iteration swaps out the minor regeneration for a very powerful effective mana cost reduction for truly painful spells. 
The Awe passive is kept on every Tear of the Goddess upgrade. Because the mana is refunded - Catalyst's passive will still act at full power. 
Chalice of Harmony  
  • Passive remade: Increases your Health Regeneration by 100% if your Health % is lower than your Mana %. Increases your Mana Regeneration by 100% if your Mana % is lower than your Health %. 
One of the relationships I want to break up with this pass is the attachment of Flat Mana to Mana Regeneration. Additionally, we're going to siphon some of the sustain out of bot lane in 6.9 and thus introducing a fairly powerful option to solve whatever sustain that you need early on. 
Lost Chapter (NEW) 
  • Recipe: Sapphire Crystal + Amplifying Tome + 115 Gold = 900 Total Gold
  • 25 Ability Power
  • 250 Mana
  • Unique Passive: Upon levelling up, restores 20% of your maximum mana over 3 seconds. 
Catalyst is a decent item to support brawlers but the old passive had its merits in sustaining an aggression pattern in lane. This additional item is intended to support very aggressive lane patterns by providing some of the old pressure patterns that Catalyst enabled while still fulfilling a mage's primary damage line. 
Morellonomnomnomnomicon? Or Athene's? The Cycle Continues

When talking about Mana items - this has been a long running cycle. Morellonomicon and Athene's Unholy Grail have had identity profiles way too close to each other for too long. 
We want to aggressively push Mana items to bind to offensive play patterns - and Mana Regeneration effects to bind to more team centric patterns. Athene's Unholy Grail has been remade to convert Mage / Support hybrid play patterns into specializing towards helping their team more. 
Morellonomicon 
  • Recipe Change: Lost Chapter + Fiendish Codex + 500 Gold = 2100 Total Gold
  • Mana Regeneration: 100% --> 0%
  • Flat Mana: 0 --> 400
  • Cooldown Reduction: 20% --> 20%. 
Morellonomicon has been changed to build out of Lost Chapter - heavy AP, flat mana, flat CDR. An interesting facet of this change is that Archangel's Staff and Morellonomicon form a very aggressive pairing of Mana, AP and CDR fueling each other. 
Athene's Unholy Grail  
  • Recipe Change: Chalice + Fiendish Codex + 300 Gold = 2100 Total Gold
  • Total Cost: 2700 --> 2100
  • Ability Power: 60 --> 40
  • Mana Regeneration: 100% --> 75%
  • Magic Resistance: 25 --> 25 (Unchanged)
  • Cooldown Reduction: 20% --> 20% (Unchanged)
  • Mana Passive: Mana Passives on Kill or Assist have been removed.
  • New Passive: Gain 15% of premitigation damage dealt to champions as Blood charges, up to 100 to 270 (based on level). Healing or shielding another ally consumes Blood Charges to heal that ally. 
Athene's Unholy Grail grants shield characters that can inflict damage the ability to heal their allies. Janna, Lulu, Orianna, Morgana, Karma and the like can now spec into an item that grants them additional permanent sustain that is supported by their offensive combat patterns. 
Heal based supports will still benefit from the additional healing but in practice - it's a bit of tension between stacking a bunch of flat AP or not. The CDR is a nice boost for them though. 
Spell Vamp -

We're killing Spell Vamp from the item system. We've been unable to get this statistic to be purchased on anyone but Vladimir and his tuning has always been lockstep with it. None of the Spell Vamp changes made throughout the years have been able to break this stranglehold. 
Hextech Gunblade will keep it's "Omnivamp" passive - as it is seeing good use as being an effective life steal and spell vamp item for hybrid centric playstyles. Runes and Keystone choices will also retain the ability to acquire Spell Vamp. 
Note: Vlad will have a major update in the same patch and has been tuned around the lack of Spell Vamp in the item system. 
Will of the Ancients
  • Removed from the game. 
"Hextech" 
We're introducing / shuffling around a new family of items called 'Hextech.' 
These are very powerful active spell effects on a very short cooldown that add a great deal of magic damage and are primarily magic damage aligned. 
Hextech Revolver 
  • Combine Cost: 340 --> 230
  • Total Cost: 1200 --> 1100
  • Ability Power unchanged
  • Spell Vamp removed
  • New Passive - Magic Bolt: Your basic attacks deal 75 - 150 magic damage on hit. (30 second cooldown, shared with other Hextech items). 
Revolver has always been a item that encourages favorable trading in lane. This keeps some of that aspect in a far more aggressive manner that's hopefully a bit more ubiquitously useful than checking to see if you can sustain off a resourceless single target spell. 
Hextech Gunblade 
  • Total Cost: Unchanged
  • "Omni-Vamp" passive: Unchanged
  • Active Damage: 150 --> 300
  • Active AP Damage Ratio: 0.4 --> 0.3
  • Active now instantaneously shoots a lightning bolt with zero travel time, immediately slowing the target for 2 seconds.
  • Active now shares a cooldown with other Hextech Items. 
Gunblade hasn't changed much with this update - simply strengthening the active while giving it a tie to a lightning thematic. Overall, adoption on the omni-vamp gunblade has been pretty successful - as it serves to be a useful drain item for a wide variety of mixed damage type champions. 
Hextech Rocket Belt (Temporary Name)
  • Recipe: Hextech Revolver + Kindlegem + 800 Gold = 2750 Total Gold
  • Health: 300
  • Ability Power: 80
  • Cooldown Reduction: 10%
  • Active - Fire Bolt: Dash 300 units in a direction (at 1200 speed) and then unleash a nova of fireballs that deal 100 - 250 (+25% of your Ability Power) magic damage to enemies hit. Enemies hit by more than one fireball take 15% damage from additional balls. (30 second cooldown, shared with other Hextech items).
  • This Dash cannot go over walls. 
One of the issues that we've struggled with in a lot of mid-range mages is that many of them essentially brute force their way to victory through raw numbers. They also don't have a ton of ways to opt into more flexible or flashy combat patterns with their core itemization. 
Hextech Rocket Belt is an extremely dangerous effect that acts as either a range increased for their spells - a burst of initiation power - or simply a quick reposition tool so that these mages can fight in a more clever manner. 
Hextech GLP-07A (Temporary Name) 
  • Recipe: Catalyst of Aeons + Hextech Revolver + 750 Gold = 3000 Total Gold
  • Ability Power: 80
  • Health: 300
  • Mana: 400
  • Passive - Shared with Catalyst of Aeons
  • Active - Ice Bolts: Throw an arc of five piercing icy bolts that explode to deal 100 - 200(+20% of your Ability Power) as magic damage. Enemies hit are slowed by 60% decaying over 0.5 seconds. (30 second cooldown, shared with other Hextech Items) 
Hextech Frost Cannon shares similar principles here - except targetting more brawler focused or CC focused mid-range mages. It adds light wave clear - can serve to hit confirm spells or aid in kiting opponents. An extremely flexible tool to enable mages to better plan out how they want an encounter to go. 
Rod of Ages vs. Hextech GLP-07A 
Rod of Ages has kind of lost it's identity ever since the 5.13 Core AP itemization pass. It's kind of a generic super stat-stick right now, providing large quantities of whatever you want. 
However, with the advent of Hextech GLP-07A and the powerful active effect - we noticed that Rod of Ages lost a lot of its purpose in this new world and thus needed a stronger push in its identity. 
Rod of Ages
  • Recipe Change: Catalyst of Aeons + Needlessly Large Rod + 50 Gold
  • Total Cost: 3000 --> 2500
  • Health / Health Scaling: Unchanged
  • Ability Power: 80 --> 60
  • Ability Power per Stack: 20 --> 20 (Unchanged)
  • Mana: 400 --> 300
  • Mana per Stack: 40 --> 10 
This incarnation of Rod of Ages has far less Mana total - and a bit less AP. However, the item itself is all about stacking the passive and how early you can get the ball rolling. It has almost zero combine cost - and thus is all about how quickly you can assemble it to benefit from a 500 Health, 100 AP item 10 minutes from now. 
Tick Tock 
Magic Cooldown Reduction

Wait a second, neither of those items have cooldown reduction...? 
One of the most prevalent concerns we've had in the Mage space is that they are having a great deal of trouble finding sufficient itemization to push them to maximum CDR. This has a wide range of negative effects on the Mage space - from either restricting their pre-game rune setup - to barring sustained damage and kite patterns from working. 
Zhonya's Hourglass 
  • Recipe Change: Seeker's Armguard + Fiendish Codex + 900 Gold = 3000 Total Gold
  • Total Cost: 3500 --> 3000
  • Ability Power: 100 --> 70
  • Armor: Unchanged
  • Cooldown Reduction: 0 --> 10%
  • Active Stasis Cooldown: 90 --> 120 
We're moving Zhonya's Hourglass out of the major AP item slot. The combine cost and total cost to which Zhonya's Hourglass would have been balanced at while keeping both the roles of 'Heavy AP' and 'Utility Active' were kind of untenable for most mages. We're shifting Zhonya's to a more utility centric item which is more in line with the spirit of the item. 
This should help with a couple of things: Zhonya's Dominance as the most popular AP item, enabling characters who truly need Zhonya's to have access to it quicker as well as rounding our your defenses and cooldown reduction. 
Abyssal Scepter 
  • Recipe Change: Fiendish Codex + Negatron Cloak + Amplifying Tome + 695 Gold = 2750 Total Gold
  • Ability Power: 70 >>> 60
  • Magic Resist: 50 >>> 60
  • Cooldown Reduction: 0 >>> 10%
  • Aura: No longer affects minions
  • Aura: Now scales with level. Reduces Magic Resistance of nearby enemy champions from 10 to 25. 
We've been unhappy with Abyssal Scepter's place as rush item to effectively win lane. The item simultaneously helped with wave clear, helped bully out your opponent while also providing a generous chunk of AP. 
Re-positioning Abyssal Scepter to be far more about defending yourself against opposing magical threats while pushing its relevance onto the late-game. We're intending for Abyssal to be very attractive to mages that need an additional layer of defense who are going to scrap in team fight range. 
AP/Defense/CDR Cycle  
Hextech Rocket Belt, Zhonya's Hourglass and Abyssal Scepter are intended to form a cycle of items that grant magic damage, defense, cooldown reduction and a powerful effect that encourages mages to make dangerous plays in the middle of a team fight. 
These also very pointedly don't have Mana on them - so they can fill out your remaining item slots - or support resourceless mages like some sort of crazed suicidal Kennen rush... or likely probably a more thoughtful Amumu. 
Magic Resist Alterations

With the addition of Maw - the bolstering of MR on Abyssal Scepter - it's also time to look at the two 'heavy' MR items that are intended to form the core of serious magic resistance setups. 
We want to further push the identities of these items apart from each other. 
Spectre's Cowl 
  • Total Cost: 1100 >> 1200
  • Health: 200 >> 250
  • MR: 35 >> 30 
Some slight stat adjustments to support further changes later on down the line. 
Banshee's Veil 
  • Recipe Changed: Spectre's Cowl + Negatron Cloak + 530 Gold
  • Total Cost: 2900 >> 2450
  • Health: 500 >> 300
  • MR: 70 >> 70 (Unchanged) 
This pushes Veil to be the definitive reactionary purchase against Magic damage teams. A build path that includes both a Negatron Cloak and a Spectre's Cowl is a powerful response to facing a magic damage team. 
However, the final item isn't incredibly slot efficient and so while the option is there in case you need it - it makes for a relatively poor 'capstone' item to make you immune from magic damage after stacking a bunch of Health. 
Spirit Visage 
  • Combine Cost: 900 >> 800
  • Total Cost unchanged
  • MR: 70 >> 55
  • HP Regen: 150% >> 200%
  • Passive Healing: 20% >> 25% 
Spirit Visage is always going to be core on some of our drain tanks. Since we're interesting in enhancing many of these characters drain personalities - the presence of a ton of Magic Resistance has proven to be a little unwieldy on Spirit Visage. 
This pushes Spirit Visage's identity of healing a bit more and also buffs its interactions with Warmog's Armor - in the case that you need to spec into extreme out of combat regeneration. 
Note: There will be a scattering of over item tuning changes in the 6.9 patch. The changes here reflect either major directional changes or just the detail work for this pass. There are a scattering of changes that are intended to generally tone down the level of sustain in the early game that is mostly unrelated to this work. 
Disclaimer: I will only be responding to this thread regarding gameplay feedback on this change. Please keep the discussion centralized to this topic if possible.
Following the initial post, Xypherous hung around the PBE thread to answer questions and reply to player comments.

When asked for a TL;DR, Xypherous noted:
"Apologies for the headache.

TL;DR -
Mana items are different.
Spell Vamp is gone.
There are some new active items - one is a slow, one is a dash. 
Poke is best supported by Tear.
Burst/Trade patterns are best supported by Chapter.
All out Brawl/Fight is best supported by Catalyst.
Mana Regen is mainly for supportive mages now.
Flat mana is more for selfish mages."

Xypherous also commented on how long these changes will be on the PBE for testing:
"For midseason, we're going to push some content out and it's going to sit for slightly longer. In this case, we're doing hopefully at least 1-month of these on PBE as there's a lot of stuff going on! :D"

When asked if there are any plans to change items like Void Staff or Liandry's Torment, Xypherous noted:
"This isn't a comprehensive AP pass - This is mostly about your primary resource item (Mana / MP/5) as well as associated hot button topics (CDR / MR) that comre with it."
As for if Rabadon's Deathcap will get any changes, he continued:
"Not at the moment. I wasn't really looking at Core AP breakpoints this time around - I really wanted to focus on the components in lane and figuring out the upgrade pattern for those trees. This was more of a focus on realigning mana and mp/5 and the ramifications of that work."

Xypherous also elaborated on the removal of spell vamp on items:
Right - instead of healing with Revolver, instead you'll get an additional ~70 to 80 damage on your combo. While this isn't a terribly great trade, all things considered - it's definitely more assassin like than Akali healing to burst you.

Furthermore, I do agree that her laning phase is miserable but consider the following: We've had to make every champion who could conceivably buy Revolver's laning phase miserable or toned down considerably.

I'm killing Spell Vamp mostly because I'm actually kind of sick of what item availability on this stat has done to these champions. Every single one of these champions have become more binary based on whether or not they can acquire the gold to get Revolver - and every single one of these champion's laning phases has gotten worse and more miserable because of it as we further accept the world in which they rush Revolver.

The stat isn't what solved their poor lane - The stat is what caused their poor lane after balance.

I want to see what the world is like after this - because the existence of early lane requirements of this magnitude is actually what has lead to these kind of lane curves for these characters - we have to destroy their early games because we know that their first 1200 gold goes towards a fountain of sustain that can be applied safely.

It was basically hard enough trying to get a resourceless character to work - but Spell Vamp basically said 'Well, every resourceless character can also turn resources into Health if they can get 1200 GP' - That demands a character whose early laning phase is about as unsuccessful as we can possibly make it.
When asked about just adding more spell vamp items, he continued:
"Adding more spell vamp items doesn't actually solve the issue - as the issue is that we can't seem to get any particular incarnation of spell vamp to be bought on more than one champion at a time. 
It's not how many spell vamp items are bought - it's, given a spell vamp item, how many champions can it serve. If an item can only serve a single champion. 
Basically, a core issue with Spell Vamp in the item system is that because mages are so different and the properties of their sustain is so different - that you basically just have to individually design spell vamp items that suit a specific pattern. Lifesteal is fairly constrained in terms of what can apply it and the rules are somewhat consistent. 
However, that's just hand tailoring items for champions after a certain point - which isn't really desirable for the item system."

He continued, replying to specific concern about Akali:
"You've actually hit upon one of the pain points of just generally anything affecting Akali. 
There's a bunch of stuff on the backend that means that work on Akali has been hard to justify because someone is always like 'I'll totally update Akali - I swear' and then nothing happens and then... 
I sympathize with you on wondering where fixes or interim fixes for your favorite champion has been. After all this time, I honestly still don't have a great answer for that given that I don't work on specific patch to patch tuning. Apologies - it's not much of an answer. I can poke around about it - but given that the last couple of times of 'no - there's totally going to be an update' kind of thing going - it's just kind of a frustrating situation and I imagine it's even worse for you."
Xypherous  also reminder this is just a removal from items:
"Quote:
Um..... Morgan Passive? Spellvamp taken away, any rework for her passive?
Just removing Spell Vamp from items - not champions. 
We can balance a champion's innate spell vamp."

In response to a comment about the new hextech rocket belt and Annie, Xypherous noted:
"Yeah - it's highly likely that if anything causes the item to fail - it will be Annie interactions. It's a fairly dangerous and pretty experimental change overall."
He continued, repeating that these itemization changes are experimental:
"Maybe - again, I'd stress that the Hextech line is pretty experimental. Rocket Belt is a dangerous dangerous ability to add. We shall see whether or not it works. 
I'm betting that Annie breaks the game in half with it. That's not even a bet - the bet is more like - is there an iteration that allows this and Annie to coexist?"
"I actually partially agree with you - It's why I describe it as a fairly dangerous ability to add.

However, experimental content is designed to push the boundaries of what we're familiar or comfortable with. And so - if it doesn't work out, it doesn't work out."
In response to concern the rocket belt item would only used as a pseudo flash, Xypherous commented:
"If the only use of this item is to increase spell ranges - I think the most likely thing is to just delete the item. 
Increased Spell Ranges is probably the most non-interactive part of the item that I'd want to item to support. It's a powerful use of the item - to be sure - but it's actually the part that I probably like the least out of all possible use cases. 
My initial hope was that a dash would allow for a lot more outplay potential of either dodges, escapes or burst moments - but if all the item becomes is 'initiate on a dude from way farther than he thinks' - that item has very very little value overall in terms of net effects as it's not really enabling anything interesting - it's just a way for Annie to cheat her spell ranges and nothing of value for pretty much anyone else."

When asked if the new rocket belt can go over walls, he commented:
"Quote:
The Rocket Belt sounds disgusting, I love it. So the way I understand it, is it's Lucian E, mixed with Kennen's E+W active? Probably a bit too strong in terms of numbers in conjuction with it's effect. Which is so good I'd just justify building it on near anyone, just for the health and active, then consider everything else a bonus. Would this active trigger Rylai's/Ludens? Can it go through walls?
It cannot go through walls. 
I'm still tuning dash specifics - it's likely that the speed and distance of the dash will undergo heavy iteration. 
All Hextech items proc all spell effects - they're meant to be '5th' spells in many respects.
This means that Revolver's on-hit proc can trigger Rylai's - for instance - similarly for all the fireballs."
Xypherous  continued:

"Quote:
Imagine LeBlanc with Rocketbelt, having a 3rd dash on an Assassin basically means that AP Assassins will rule over all. Akali can use it to get close for her ult, Diana the same. Hell, even Malphite could make use of it if a surefire engage is needed.
The goal of Rocket Belt is to enable more plays rather than accomplish the same feat by having more raw statistical power. Rocket Belt isn't trying to solve the mobility problem of immobile mages. 
It's to solve the fact that a certain class of mages, in general, resort to basically brute forcing their way to success by simply having more raw damage or more tankiness and succeeding through sheer raw power level rather than any kind of clever play.
If Malphite is using Rocket Belt to perform a successful engage - that may be okay - so long as he pays for it in terms of either being squishier or giving up damage. The tuning and the build path of this item is important. 
For example, let's take your Leblanc example - There is a 1300 gold gap where Leblanc isn't gaining any AP. She's sitting on a Kindlegem instead. The additional health is great on a mage who expects to be brawling in the mid-range - this isn't necessarily what Leblanc needs to succeed - she needs to keep up in the damage race rather than dip into survivability."


As for more on the Hextech items and the Gunblade change, Xypherous noted:
"Well, it's always bugged me that upgrading Cutlasses passive (an instant-slow) gave you a slow delayed projectile slow. 
I also really wanted strong elemental theming on the Hextech Items - with Gunblade being Lightning, Rocket Belt being fire and Frost Cannon being ice. 
As far as the damage spike that Gunblade gets - that's more of a problem with how the components stack up. Cutlass has 125 base magic damage on it. Revolver has 75 to 125 base magic damage on it. I don't really want you to lose damage when you upgrade it - and so just decided to be super generous with it and take it off the ratio."

When asked about the "sharing their CD with other bolt items" line, Xypherous explained:
"Yes - that's what this means. It means that all Hextech items will put all other Hextech items on cooldown when used. 
This is partially so that I can actually put AP ratios on these items without worrying of some crazy 1.5 AP ratio item build - but also partially due to theming and clarity of choice. Pick the Hextech Item that you like the best or that you need the most. 
It's honestly what allows the actives themselves to be OP - it's a really important control lever."

When asked about his thoughts on tanks picking up the Hextech items, he noted:
"I'm okay with tanks end up picking up some of these items. They have a good chunk of AP - so someone like Nautilus won't be as efficient with it as someone like Gragas - but I think I'm okay with them feeling like they can use these items effectively."

When asked about the new Athene's Unholy Grail being too niche of an item, Xypherous commented:
"Quote:
That Athenes is practically designed to fail honestly. It's too niche, you have maybe 5 champions that can build it.
It's likely that the pool of champions will be small. It's honestly small already because no champion really has a need for Chalice at the moment because there's so many good support options other than those lines.

However - there are two primary goals here:
  1. Get infinite mana off of being a mage expectation. If I changed Morello to Flat Mana and I didn't touch Athene's - everyone would just swap to Athene's.
  2. Try to create some way of still providing regeneration based mana at a huge identity trade-off - which is what the item does. I hope to never go into an Orianna or Morgana game expecting to build it because I want to be a primary damage threat - but if it turns out that's impossible due to circumstances - having a path to opt into a supportive pattern appeals to me from the choice front.

However, what I will say is that making the Ardent Censer space work would be a win on its own. I had another item that I was working on (A Sheen upgrade for supportive mages) - all under the general umbrella that the item space for supportive mages is a bit thin and none of it works and it needs further exploration and experimentation in this area.

Basically, support itemization for castery types is pretty uninteresting at the moment and despite the high chance of failure (See also: Rocket Belt) - would still like to deep dive and explore the items for a while. Spooky Ghosts straight up didn't work until the stat-line was made smooth."
He continued:
"We want Athene's to be incredibly attractive on a subset of hybrid mage / supports - rather than core mid-laners like Ziggs or something. It is very much intended to murder the item for them. 
Basically, there's this entire subclass of support/mages that are a combination of peel / mez / buffing allies that I'm trying to build itemization for - and Athene's is meant to be the push towards opening up that pool of supportive mages to have more options."

As for the new Athene's Unholy Grail and Ardent Censer occupying similar spaces, Xypherous noted:
"Athene's Unholy Grail has a moderate chance of being pretty unsuccessful - notably due to the shield / heal trigger being incredibly isolated and niche compared to just more AP. 
I'm hoping that Unholy Grail might be a transformative pickup - but there's a good chance that they'll just kind of both be bad. 
If Athene's does work - hopefully what we learn from the champions picking it up will allow us to retune Censer to fit some of those champions as well - like if we see Athene's being primarily used on say... Karma to bolster her support nature - that will likely provide some light into how Censer should be adjusted."


As for the Rod of Ages changes, Xypherous noted:
"Quote:
Does The new rod of ages have the new catalyst passive? 
Also why change the recipe rather than just reducing the combine cost on the current recipe? 
Also does rod of ages give 20 ability power per stack or does it give 20 ability power at full stacks?
Rod of Ages does have Catalyst's new passive. 
Rod of Ages gives 40 ability power at full stacks, 4 AP per minute. 
I changed Rod of Age's initially because I wanted to have every 120 AP item require the commitment of Needlessly Large Rod. I may end up reverting this recipe change as I dropped the total AP on it to 100 sometime during iteration. Several people have brought this up and it sounds like a fairly good catch."

When asked about potentially needing to do another pass at base mana and mana regen values following these changes, Xypherous replied:
"Quote: 
However, such a big effect on how the Mana flows via items is going to be affecting the laning phase again, especially for the first few backs for items. Are we going to be considering these Base Mana/ Mana regen values again, and potentially be looking at possibly another set of fine-tuning some champions?
It is highly likely that we'll have to deal with some fallout from this. 
The mitigating factor from this is that Flat Mana is actually much much stronger in the early game than MP/5 given the relative size of your pool and so the actual play of it has been this weird kind of spikey mana pattern. You go back, you buy your mana item - suddenly you feel flush with spells for a little while.. until your costs start to increase again and you're like 'Man.. hm.. okay, maybe I'll upgrade it. Maybe I'll get another one.' kind of deal. 
My goal is to end up in a world where people feel comfortable buying 1.5 to 2 mana items because those mana items have both Mana, something cool that they want, be it Lich Bane or Hextech Frost Cannon's active - while also having the items synergize better with themselves like Archangel's + Morellonomicon in this world."
Even more discussion can be found over on the PBE boards thread.

Upcoming Graves and Miss Fortune PBE Changes

Speaking of the PBE, SmashGizmo and ricklessabandon  and have both  tweeted out a few upcoming changes for Graves and Miss Fortune that we can expect to hit the PBE soon!

On the topic of Graves changes, SmashGizmo tweeted out:
[1] "ok, graves changes are going to be really hard to scrape, so I will dump the changelist here for @moobeat"
[2] "tl;dr on what this does: Graves w/o crit does 7-10% less damage w/ autos, Graves w/ crit does sameish damage point blank and more at 425"
[3] "here's a graph of what his damage change looks like at point blank and 425 across his levels"
He also tweeted a bit more in replies:
[4] "somewhat. I think I'm OK with him building bruisery, I just want him to pay a higher damage tax to do so than now."
[5] "ideal outcome in my mind is that top graves is less abusive but still OK and bruisery and bot graves can build crit."

As for Miss Fortune, ricklessabandon tweeted out:
[1] "( miss fortune buffs soon )"

[2] "ah, since it'll probably be hard to mine them off of the pbe (when it updates), here's a preview of the mf changes:"

[3] "hasn't gone through a tuning pass or anything, but that's the direction i want to test out~"
Keep an eye out for these changes to hit the PBE soon!

2016 Mid-Season Invitational Schedule


With the Mid-Seasonal Invitational under a month away, Riot has put up a schedule of the matches in CST (PT and CEST schedules coming closer to event time!). Check out this post for more information.

2016 MSI  starts up on May 4th and runs through May 15th with teams from the NA LCS, EU LCS, LPL, LCK, LMS and IWC will be competing. The event will be held in Shanghai, China. Ticket information available soon!

The IWC slots for MSI 2016 will be decided at the International Wild Card Invitational on April 16-23.

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