A Wild Knifecat Appears! (Rengar Discussion)

Posted on at 4:01 AM by Moobeat
As has been the popular trend lately, Scarizard has opened up a thread and is seeking feedback on his next project - fixin' up Rengar!
Continue reading for discussion on the Pridestalker, including Scarizard's current ideas improving the ole' cat.

 Here's Scarizard's intial post:
"Hey y'all - 
So i wanted to talk to you guys about our good ol' Stabtabby, Rengar. Classick handed off to me his initial refactor of Rengar that he had begun posting about a while back, but internally it was shown that while it certainly buffed him and fixed some issues with his design, more work needed to be done. 
What our playtests revealed is that preserving the predatory feel by making his ultimate stronger is all well and good, but proved pretty abusive when it came to his burst potential. In a way, Rengar is a champion that has always been defined by his abuse-cases, either in TripleQ assassinating someone in less than a second from stealth, or double tap W + DFG pentakilling teams from stealth with AP, or simply stacking health + spirit visage splitpushing waves, then escaping from nearly any sort of chase. We've come a long way from the latter of these, but if the Pridestalker is to see any sort of return to glory we'll need to iron out some of the abusive kinks and round him out as a whole. 
We're sticking with the direction that Classick originally outlined in his post here (http://na.leagueoflegends.com/board/...71487#37371487) - namely reducing the frustration/toxicity of Thrill of the Hunt (Ultimately allowing us to buff the spell in other ways) and driving clarity in his Ferocity choices by having the effects scale with champion level rather than rank of skill. Our other goal is to retain his dueling nature and strength in ambushes and skirmishes, but lower his instagib potential in favor of deferring his up-front damage into longer engagement windows. While he'll still be a threat, changing him to a sustained damage pattern allows us to pump more power into his other abilities/ferocity bonuses and make his ability set as a whole stronger instead of the current 'stabcat on AD carry and one or both of us will die' pattern that makes Rengar so frustrating and binary to play as and against on Live. 
So with that out of the way, here are some questions i'd like to get your thoughts on - 
-Do you identify Rengar's playstyle as one that would be a particularly good fit in the jungle? What improvements would you like to see be made to help him out? 
-What is appealing to you about the defensive boost Rengar receives from Battle Roar? I'd like to change this from just flat Armor and Magic Resistance to something that can be situationally more powerful and makes him less 'meatwall' when he leaps on a target 
-What types of improvements or changes would you like to see be made to Bonetooth Necklace? Ideally i'd like to see this moved away from a 'stat-stick' and embrace more unique enhancements like his 'Increases Leap Range by 150' 
These questions are really just to begin the discussion - i'm certainly looking for thoughts/feedback on a variety of topics, but these are a few that we've been talking about on a higher level that have less of a set direction currently. Wav3break, one of our Live Design Interns is working closely with me on this project and will be monitoring this thread alongside me and will help to soak feedback and answer questions y'all may have. 
Without further ado: Rengar! I choose you! 
Here are the changes (Without numbers, as they are subject to change/tuning as always) that we've been testing so far: 
- Health Regen, Health Regen/lvl, and Health/lvl all increased 
Unseen Predator
-Now becomes visible at the beginning of the leap, rather than midleap 
- Attack Speed removed (Temporary for now - planning on putting something else here) 
Ferocity Bonus: Savagery
- Damage lowered, Attack Speed lowered, Attack Speed Duration increased 
Battle Roar
- Damage increased
- Cooldown decreased
- No longer grants Armor/MR - instead grants damage reduction from Physical Damage/Basic Attacks 
Ferocity Bonus: Battle Roar
- Heal unchanged
- Now deals damage based on Rengar's level  
Bola Strike
- Damage increased
- Bonus AD Ratio increased 
Ferocity Bonus: Bola Strike
- Now deals damage based on Rengar's level
- Root duration increased 
Thrill of the Hunt
- Cooldown decreased
- Duration increased
- Movement speed increased
- Enemies will now receive a particle over their head when Rengar can see them; Additionally, Enemies will hear Voice Over on activation if they are in Rengar's sight range when he casts Thrill of the Hunt."
The above post was updated with changes short after posting, with this post preceding it:
"Just updated the OP with the changes that are currently testing. Numbers excluded as they're subject to change. 
Tried an iteration where Savagery, in lieu of Attack Speed instead awarded a bonus point of Ferocity to Rengar when he used it on targets below 50% health. I liked how it played out, but wasn't noticeable enough and in most cases it was just 'Rengar is getting more 5 points than usual for doing things he'd do anyways' - i'd like to see some form of this return somewhere on the Bonetooth if at all possible, and we're investigating cool ways to make that happen. 
All of his Ferocity Effects not minding what you were previously leveling has made some cool cases in lane where you'll max W/E but still choose Q - whereas on Live it's just 'what is the thing i am leveling? Doublecast that for crazy spike damage' - in response we've upped the damage on these abilities to make them singularly better for their regular use-cases. 
W's current iteration is trying something i heard from forumgoers the last time Classick was discussing his changes that also helps him jungle. My vision for Battle Roar if it needs to have a defensive component is to make it less good against every thing and give it a distinct use-case. Currently running with Doran's shield passive for all Physical Damage. This makes him much more susceptible to magic damage and mage CC + Burst combos, but keeps him strong vs those carries he loves to chew on, as well as keeping those jungle mobs honest. I'm not super attached to it, but it's definitely fulfilling my goals as of now.

R's runspeed being upped right now really allows it to be used for strategic set ups, but is probably stronger than a character like this needs at rank 1. While revealing him earlier might sound like a super nerf, in practice it's shown that it's not actually enough to stop people from feeling totally jumped. The VO playing when he ults though has been testing -very- well both as/against and really strikes fear into enemies. What would you guys feel about Global VO when Rengar Ults, like Nocturne?

Anyways, i've gotten a lot of good ideas from you guys tonight that i want to think on. I'm not gonna pass out just yet so i'll be around for a bit longer, but my Safari Zone timer's runnin' out"

He followed this up by clarifying his intentions for Bonetooth Necklace:
"To clarify - i'm still interested in Bonetooth being a stack item that works on kills and assists. As a trophy hunter, it's pretty key to who he is as a character and the reason it was implemented in the first place. My big issue however, is that right now it's purely a snowball item with only one really interesting augment.

I'm interested in exploring a bonetooth with less AD/stats (the 5% cdr and 10 flat armor pen) and as a tool that is more aspirational for Rengar - an item that opens up and accentuates the part of Rengar's stalking/predatory gameplay instead of just letting him kill you harder. For instance, one idea Wav3 and i have been talking about is retuning his '+25 Movement Speed' all the time to '+X% Movement Speed in Brush' - would the combination of that passive alongside the Leap Range increase or others like it make you more effective at lane-ganking? Would you want to take care to fight in the jungle instead of in the lanes? The item would still have enough stats to be worth a slot imo, but the main interest i have is with the effects and if we have an opportunity to take something that is currently a 'win-more' item and turn it into something unique for his play experience overall."

Wav3Break, one of Riot's live balance interns assisting Scarizard, also chimed in on Bonetooth Necklace, saying:
"We are looking into the power of Bone Tooth Necklace and we will appropriately scale it back to reflect the cooler game play mechanics we intend to attach to it. 
Though there is concern that having this kind of stacking/snowball mechanic on Rengar creates a "feast or famine" play pattern, we intend to make Bone Tooth Necklace an item that really accentuates the predator play style of Rengar and not necessarily something that is core for him to function. That being said we want to make Bone Tooth a very attractive option that most Rengar players will feel good about buying despite being behind or ahead.

Getting kills and assists is inevitable in every game and I hope to make Bone Tooth more attractive by giving it more utility on lesser amounts of stacks that help Rengar execute his play pattern of stalker and predator."
As for the current problems with Rengar, Wav3Break explained:
"Let me clarify: 
Currently Rengar functions/"performs greatest" as an Assasin/Split pusher. This leads to an incredibly disjointed play pattern as an average game progresses because his kit only offers him one avenue of getting into a late game team fight away from the jungle, his ultimate.

Adding on the fact that he is currently a long duration true stealth character with burst(a play pattern that is not really healthy for the game, eg pre-rework Evelynn...), we feel that Rengar exacerbates this problem with his incredible target selection through his ultimate. Thus an already toxic play pattern becomes even more toxic and further fuels the "feast or famine" scenario that live Rengar currently faces. If Rengar is ahead, he becomes a god who can insta-gib and knife-cat any enemy of his choosing. If Rengar is behind he feels incredibly useless in team fights because even though he can choose his target to go on, his only purpose as an all in melee "assassin" cannot be fulfilled.

The other problem that exists is in the fact that Rengar always has the backup option of split pushing with a true stealth escape tool and attack speed steroid to crush buildings. This pattern is NOT something we want to promote but inevitably exists due to the nature of his kit. Split pushing is a viable strategy and IT IS OK for Rengar to split push, but he should not be able to abuse his ultimate so easily to escape the stickiest of situations WHILST having his amazing structure killing potential.

With that out of the way, we don't necessarily want to make Rengar into a champion like Renekton(who still has pretty decent burst damage at level 2 mind you) but we do feel his current burst potential, especially at earlier levels is simply too high. It does not take a lot of number crunching to notice that Rengar's mindless level 2 burst combo can deal ~60-70% of the average level 2 champions health pool.

The fact is, on a kit with reset mechanics like Rengar, burst will always exist early on and the challenge for us is to tune it into something healthy/balanced/counter-playable. You should rest easy, Rengar will always be able to knife-cat surprise stab people at stages of the game, we just want to make sure your knife-catting experience isn't unfair or too limiting in later stages of the game.

TL'DR: Assassin/burst character with long duration true stealth = bad. Rengar will always have burst due to the nature of his ability mechanics, but we need to tune it to be healthier in early stages of the game and give him some extra stuff to make him flow into late game scenarios where he should be able to select his target of choice, possibly be in the middle of the enemy team and not necessarily only fulfill the role of "I kill your AD-Carry and die right after/I can only kill your AD-Carry and am useless to my team if I fail.""

In response to feedback on Rengar's updated ultimate only reducing physical damage and how mages will just blow CC him before he can get a kill, Scarizard commented:
"You might be right - that's why i'm just testing it for now. It could be Magical Damage Reduction, or not any flat DR at all. Armor/Mr is not only very invisibly powerful, but is universally good against everyone which is why in Rengar's case it's been nerfed pretty heavily. If there's a defensive steroid that functions far better in some situations than others, then it starts to create a set of tradeoffs that offer more tuning points down the line. 
Mages cc'ing him and easily killing him in this current iteration is a tradeoff to him soaking up the damage from AD's. Might need to be the other way around - might not need to be defensive at all - but for as long as it's going to be a 'one-use fits all' flat mitigation stat buff, it can't be very powerful. I'd like to continue to explore options to try and give Rengar players a sense of 'that was the perfect time to Battle Roar and i feel appropriately rewarded for using it' instead of 'use this on CD because it doesn't matter what situation i'm in, Armor/MR has it covered'

EDIT: Because i've seen some people mention it - nowhere have i said Rengar is losing his heal. Just that the damage Battle Roar's Ferocity Bonus is dealing (Along with Bola Strike and Savagery's Ferocity Bonus) are going to be based off of Rengar's Champion Level, and not by skill rank. I didn't include the heal because we already made that change for it to scale with Champ Level months ago."

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