Red Post Collection: AD/AS/Support Itemization changes coming to PBE, Ranked Duo Restrictions, Karthus Bundle

Posted on at 11:29 PM by Moobeat
The busy news week continues with another red post collection! This one features Xypherous and ricklessabandon digging in deep with details on upcoming tentative PBE changes to attack damage, attack speed, life steal, and support itemization ( including two brand new items - Ardent Censer and Essence Reaver ), Socrates with information on upcoming restrictions to ranked duo queuing, and a head up that a new Karthus bundle is available through June 13th!
Continue reading for more information!

[ Note on Summoner's Rift Update Discussion ]

As the news of the upcoming update to Summoner's Rift is pretty exciting, every Rioter from here to Bandle City has come out of the woodwork to chat about the snazzy new map. Be it the forums, reddit, or social media, everyone has a lot to share!

To avoid a red post collection of monstrous, Baron-like proportions, I'll be posting a dedicated Summoner's Rift Update discussion collection later this evening.

For now, enjoy this picture of Gromp, the updated jungle creep that will be replacing the Wight.

[Planned 4.10] Item Changes (Attack Damage / Attack Speed / Warden's Mail / Support Itemization)

Following up on the Systems Team Forecast for the 4.10 and 4.11, Xypherous has posted up a tentative BE changes list for AD, AS, Warden's Mail, Support itemization, and a few new items!
"Note: These are not on the PBE yet. Unsure when we're promoting these to the environment as there's still a lot of polish left on these items - however, it is a heads up to our plans as to what we intend to do in the near future in this space. 

BFS / Attack Damage Items 

B.F. Sword
  • Attack Damage: 45 --> 50
Infinity Edge
  • Attack Damage: 70 --> 80
Mercurial Scimitar
  • Total Cost: 3700 --> 3800
  • Attack Damage: 60 --> 80
  • Active: Now also gives the Movement Speed to ranged characters.
Notes: We've generally liked the fact that AP items have three distinct tiers of AP, 60 / 80 and 120 for major Ability Power items. We're taking some steps to get Attack Damage into similar tiers for the major Attack Damage items with 80 as our high-end point. 
Youmu's Ghostblade
  • Active: Now lasts 6 seconds on ranged characters.
Notes: We've tried to remove ranged/melee splits on most of the locations on which they didn't seem to make sense anymore in the modern game. 
...Yeah, we'll probably have to nerf Heal. Stop looking at me like that.  

Attack Speed 

  • Total Cost: 400 --> 450
  • Attack Speed: 12% --> 15%
  • Total Cost: 1175 --> 1100
  • Attack Speed: 18% --> 20% 
Notes: Attack Speed is a hard stat to commit to - mostly because it's very trivial to overcommit to the stat - as by the end-game, you have a healthy amount of Attack Speed. What we're doing here is making the build up to a complete Attack Speed grant more Attack Speed along the way and be smoother on the way there. 
Berzerker Greaves
  • Total Cost: 950 --> 1000
  • Attack Speed: 20% --> 25% 
Notes: This is more tier 2 boot consolidation into the 1000 gold range - while keeping the deviations from the 1000 gold range intentional and part of that specific boots' strength or weakness. 
Life Steal 

Doran's Blade
  • Health: 80 --> 70
  • Attack Damage: 8 --> 7
  • Removed: Life on Hit Passive
  • (NEW) Life Steal: 0% --> 3% 
Explanation: Yes, this is essentially a directional revert to S2 days of Doran's Blade. Basically, we tried to phase out Life Steal as an early game statistic in the transition from S2 to S3 - as Life Steal should feel compelling or expensive. 
However, in that environment, sustain or defensive supports were at an all time high. A carry character didn't need much in the way of life steal early because there was a reliable source of sustain in their lane (the support.) 
With the addition of offensive supports and the continuing rise of non-sustain supports, the limited amount of life steal options essentially forced all carries down a single path - Vampiric Scepter - as the sustain factor required in lane wasn't being provided from either the support or their Doran's Blade. 
With only a single large source of life steal - carry players only had two options for life steal - Either stay at 4.5% from quints or dramatically overshoot and get 14.5% from Vampiric Scepter - which kind of makes sustain supports redundant to begin with. 
I'm retuning life steal as a more expensive stat that is highly accessible in many different sources rather than it being more concentrated power because the reality of the situation is that there isn't a single life steal value that is correct if you cannot rely on a surplus of sustain from your support pick. 
Hence, AD carry players need a wider array of smaller more flexible options that can build up to their ideal amount of life steal - based on the needs of the lane, their opponents and who their support is. In a high sustain lane, you might be able to get away with a Doran's Blade into an infinity edge, for example - whereas in a low sustain lane, you might need a couple of blades and a vampiric scepter - but the lack of offense on your side is compensated by the fact that you hav an offensive support. 
TL;DR - A wider amount of smaller life steal options will make ADC builds more flexible because they'll be able to tailor the right amount of life steal for the situation - rather than be railroaded down one path if they need any amount of sustain. 
Vampiric Scepter
  • Life Steal: 10% --> 8% 
Bilgewater Cutlass
  • Life Steal: 12% --> 8% 
Blade of the Ruined King
  • Life Steal: 15% --> 10%
  • Proc Damage: 5% Current Health --> 8% Current Health
  • Active Nuke Damage: 15% Maximum Health --> 10% Maximum Health
  • Active Movement Speed Slow: 30% Movement Speed Steal --> 25% Movement Speed Steal 
Notes: Shifting this item to be a little more about the proc damage and less about the active nuke - which will shift it a bit more towards the sustained damage space rather than the burst space. This item looks nerfed - but only because so many things are changing around it - which you'll see in the followup posts - mostly Dagger becoming a better value in the build up to the item as well as Warden's Mail and Randuin's Omen which heavily impact this item more than any of the other items listed here. 
  • Combine Cost: 850 --> 1100
  • Total Cost: 3250 --> 3500
  • Base Attack Damage: 70 --> 80
  • Base Life Steal: 12% --> 15%
  • Removed: Attack Damage / Life Steal - Stacking Passive
  • New Passive: "Your life steal can now overheal you, granting a shield that can block from 50 to 410 damage, based on champion level. This shield decays rapidly if you have not taken or dealt damage in the last 15 seconds."
  • Note: Passive is heavily non-linear scaling. At level 6, the shield is around 100. At level 16, the shield is around 330 - to give you an idea of how far up it scales. 
Notes: Bloodthirster is kind of the ultimate snowball item design. If you rush it first, you get sustain and an AD advantage - that then keeps growing as you stay in lane for longer.
However - it was kept down by the fact that it was relative poor scaling compared to other options - an I.E. for example would dramatically outclass its damage mid game when combined with a multiplier item. 
However, with the rise of ratio driven carries being the default rather than the exception - coupled with the sustain issues that made Vampiric Scepter the default rather than the exception - Bloodthirster proves to be a fairly unhealthy item in its current stacking iteration.
We've retuned Bloodthirster to be a heavy life steal / defensive option. 
Notes: In the short term, we are aware that this leaves stacking Attack Damage builds in a bit of a pinch as there won't be an option for something like triple Bloodthirster heavy stack - it'll be something we'll be trying to figure out how to better support without running straight into Caster / Ratio driven carries dominating lane and suppressing traditional Attack Speed carries and then falling completely off the map - causing the entire carry role to feel somewhat anemic. 
(NEW) Essence Reaver
  • RECIPE: Vampiric Scepter + Pickaxe + 950 Gold = 2650 Total Gold Cost
  • Attack Damage: 50
  • Life Steal: 10%
  • Cooldown Reduction: 10%
  • UNIQUE Passive: You gain 2 to 8% of the damage dealt by basic attacks as Mana. Mana drain increases based on how much Mana you are missing. 
Notes: While iterating with life steal slots - we realized that caster based carries are split into two camps: One that needs mana - and one that wants ratios. While we were iterating, we stumbled across this item that seemed to allow for a really intensive mana spam/attack combat pattern that seemed fun especially on Ezreal (Q) /Graves (Q) / Corki / Draven (W) / Sivir (W).

Support Items 

Mikael's Crucible
  • New Recipe: Chalice of Harmony + Forbidden Idol + 870 G = 2550 Gold Total
  • Mana Regeneration per 5 seconds: 10 --> 20
  • Cooldown Reduction: 0% --> 10% 
Notes: Mikael's Crucible is dominant in competitive play and shuts down the value of our utility focused carries (Varus/Ashe) while being fairly ineffective against the more spammy pick patterns of everyone else (Elise 'E' for example). While we like what Crucible brings to the table - we'd like to shift it towards our more mana hungry supports (who tend to be more defensive) rather than being a generically good pickup for everyone. 
(NEW) Ardent Censer
  • Recipe: Forbidden Idol + Aether Wisp + 400 G = 1950 Total Cost
  • 30 Ability Power
  • 10 Mana Regeneration per 5 seconds
  • 10% Cooldown Reduction
  • 8% Movement Speed
  • Unique Passive: Whenever you heal or shield another champion, they gain 25% Attack Speed for 6 seconds. 
Notes: We wanted to create a mid-tier support item for supports now that Mikael's sits at a higher price point. We also want to see how you guys respond to this particular trigger effect as it has interesting interactions across supports. Thresh, for example, has an AoE AS boost from this item - while Janna and Lulu both offer attack steroids that synergize well with the Attack Speed. 
And it's probably overkill on Nidalee. 
Note this is your heals and shields on other champions - so self-healing is right out. When we tested it, there was a lot of weird rules cases and edge cases that seemed to make very little sense - how would you expect Malphite's passive to interact with this, for example?  
Athene's Unholy Grail
  • Magic Resist: 40 --> 25
  • Mana Regeneration per 5 seconds: 15 --> 10
  • Mana Restoration on kill or assist: 12% --> 15%  
Notes: Now that we have two Chalice of Harmony upgrades in a very similar price range, we wanted to do a pass on Athene's Unholy Grail (currently a very cost-efficient purchase) to make sure this item wasn't crowding out other items in the 'Mp5 + CDR' family. With Mikael's Crucible decisively taking the 'the defensive path' from Chalice, we choose to preserve Athene's offensive power. This meant reducing the item's Magic Resist and taking this as an opportunity to increase strength of the kill/assist passive. Those changes combined with a small adjustment to Morellonomicon should shore up the stat lines of these items. 
  • Ability Power: 75 --> 80
  • Mana Regeneration per 5 seconds: 12 --> 10 
Notes: Small stat adjustment as mentioned above. Though minor, this should help make Morellonomicon feel a bit better in terms of item slot efficiency as the game goes on. 
Forbidden Idol
  • Cost: 750 Gold --> 700 Gold 
Notes: Small cost adjustment. All items that use Forbidden Idol as a component will have the same overall cost (e.g., Morellonomicon will still cost 2200 Gold).
Locket of the Iron Solari
  • Unique Active will now use a recipient's level to calculate shield strength if the recipient's level is higher than the item owner's level. 
Notes: This change should give a small boost to defensive support players that like to purchase Locket of the Iron Solari for their team.

Defensive Items 

Warden's Mail
  • Attack Speed Slow: 15% --> 10%
Randuin's Omen
  • Attack Speed Slow: 15% --> 10%
  • Movement Speed Slow (On Being Hit): 10% --> 0% 
Notes: This change will have heavy ramifications in the fighter space as Randuin's Omen effectively gave non gap-closing fighters a way into fights. However, this came at a significant expense to ADC kite patterns and general ADC power.
This also made carries with innate gap closing powers much more powerful in comparison to ADCs that didn't have gap closers as those abilities were unaffected by the slow of Omen.
We're aware that with the recent Heal changes, this move will probably tip the scales much in favor of the kite based ADC patterns - but we want to evaluate on live for a while before deciding just how much to scale back ADC kiting or scale up defensive itemization. 
Final Notes 
As usual, these numbers are aren't final and hence the forecast + these specific PBE notes. To the best of my knowledge, you'll be able to play with these tomorrow - (Although there will be still some temp assets in that build.) 
ricklessabandon / FeralPony and I will be around in the next couple of hours to field any initial set of questions - and I think rickless has some other support item changes (numerical tweaks) that he'll be updating this post with."

Xypherous also reiterated the intended result of the lifesteal changes:
"In general, ADCs will have access to less lifesteal in total as % LS on the items is going down in general - but they'll be able to choose from a wider array of lifesteal options and %'s. 
Currently, in bottom lane - you need some amount of lifesteal to stay in lane. However, you only have one choice - Vampiric Scepter - which gives you way more than enough lifesteal than you could possibly need - which makes the sustain support kind of a moot point at this moment. 
The other facet of this is - even if you run a sustain support - because of the power of BT on ratio driven carries - why bother? Your first item will be BT - you don't need a sustain support. I.E. doesn't give you enough of a reward to try going for it with a sustain support. 
The net changes are effectively the following:
  • Reduce the power of BT in lane
  • Lower the total amount of lifesteal carries can get easily
  • Add more total lifesteal options such that carries don't feel like they always get an excess of lifesteal early
  • increase the power of non-sustain attack damage items. 
This effectively means that if you lane with Soraka and you decide that two DBlades is enough sustain with Soraka - go grab an I.E. and starting building your power spike. The catch here is that I.E. has to be worth going for and that the sustain route can't simply outclass it in terms of 'worth it' and also be massive sustain."
He continued:
"My primary goal isn't to increase satisfaction - though the point of any goal should be to increase net satisfaction. 
The goal here is to identify points in LS itemization that favor a specific subclass of AD carry over another and ensure that the items favor a wider variety of classes equally. Currently, AD carry itemization favors ratio driven carries far more than the traditional basic attack patterns. 
As for Randuin's - that's an entire can of worms. It's not just BoRK's power - it's the balance of an entire subclass vs. each other (Udyr vs. Vi) - it'll have to require a lot of readjustment - not just on BoRK itself but the entire class with itself. I share your concerns on this part."

When asked why items are being changed if they are only problematic at a top tier instead of in every level of play, Xypherous explained:
"While this makes sense from a certain perspective - I'll use Mikael as an example: It's both unseen and overpowered. This implies that it's flawed in that it's both unattractive and way too powerful in competitive play. 
The unattractive part affects our normal players. The powerful part affects competitive play.
There's some common cases here (but by no means is the list exhaustive):
  1. It doesn't affect normal players and it's seen 100% in competitive.
This means that you have a niche item that dominates the game that no one thinks is cool unless they want pure power - that's an issue for our players as it just means there's uncool stuff.
  1. It affects both normal players and it's seen 100% in competitive.
This just means that people who don't follow competitive trends get to destroy lower level experiences because they're "in the know." Balance here helps both sets of players.
  1. It affects normal players but it doesn't get seen at all in competitive.
This is why we do fundamental rework or shifts a lot of the time. These are gameplay problems that are intrinsically hard to solve with either pure power or application of raw buffs/nerfs without destroying the game. 
You have to balance around a wide range of skill levels because players get better over time. You have to ensure that things don't degenerate immediately as players get better so that the whole experience doesn't fall apart. Would it be much of a game if - the instant you know anything about the game, you realize there's only one ADC choice?"
He continued, elaborating on the Mikael's Crucible: 
"Crucible will be used against Arrow in competitive play - that's no contest. However, the current problem with Mikael's is that literally every support type has access to it without a cost. 
We want to reposition crucible as being better for utility supports - we want to increase the total cost of the item as well as increase the base statistics of the item so it more serves the needs of a select portion of support while making it a tradeoff for others. 
While you can use Mikael's to cleanse a large portion of CC's in the game - the spamminess and relative low CD's of those CC types means that if you use Mikael's against them - they have still have the advantage most of the time. Your Mikael's will be down for 3 minutes, their CC will be up again in 10 seconds. 
We're not changing Mikael's solely for the sake of Ashe or Varus - I wanted to frame my discussions around ADC in particular since that's the theme of the post - but the item is out of line on a number of factors."

When asked about the new Ardent Censer item and the power packed into it's unique passive of " Whenever you heal or shield another champion, they gain 25% Attack Speed for 6 seconds", Xypherous noted:
"It's mitigated slightly by the fact that it's an item that has a gold cost - rather than an intrinsic facet of a character that we have to balance around. 
On champions, Sivir and WW's power are essentially free but then you're forced to optimize around it. However, with this item, we can reasonably assume that Ardent Censer will be bought by characters seeking to abuse that power directly and thus can better control the cost."
As for some things it doesn't proc from, he noted:
"Lulu's ult does not count as a heal - nor does Soraka's mana heal. 
The trigger is very specific in what events it's looking for. I suppose I could special case some of them but I'd rather not at the outset."

As for the apeal of the new Essence Reaver item on Jayce, Xypherous commented:
"It does solve a lot of Jayce's issues - but it's also pretty swingy depending on lane matchup. Essence Reaver demands that you be able to autoattack a lot and in Jayce's case - this may or may not be possible depending on the lane. 
Essence Reaver also has less of a payoff than Manamune / Muramana - the reason AD Jayce is so strong is that he can get multiple procs off of Muramana's toggle in a very short amount of time. 
So, short answer: Maybe - depending on circumstance, although he won't have as big of a payoff at the end of the game."

Xypherous also commented on the removal of a passive slow from Randuin's Omen:
"I agree with your concern here - I wish I had a better answer for you but ultimately, that call was made by live balance and they're confident that they can manually adjust the melee champions in question into a better spot without Omen slowing everyone by 10%. 
I suspect I'll have to very quickly revise and tone down Heal as Heal is strong right now and Omen will push it over the top - I should probably just do that even without seeing the effects of Omen, to be fair.'

As for his thoughts on Morellonomicon and Executioner's Calling, Xypherous noted:
"Morello's is kind of in a tough spot as well after Kage's Pick was removed. :< 
Exec's calling most likely won't see changes until we decide to murder Grevious Wounds and Mundo. So not soonish."

As for how all these lifesteal changes will play out for top lane, Xypherous commented:
"I'm not too worried about sustain on top lane going up - mostly because 5 life on hit that doesn't care about the opponent's armor is kind of hard to compare to. 
You're right that we might have to look at Hydra's power level (cost vs. Attack Damage) but since we're essentially wiping the slate on fighters with the Randuin's changes - it seems like it'll mostly be a shot in the dark on getting Hydra right."
He continued:
"My team (Systems) will not be looking at them. Live Balance will be looking at individual champions as they were the ones pushing for Randuin's changes and will ultimately be tasked with looking at how it affects individual fighters."

As for the lack of changes to that attack speed based item Wit's End, Xypherous explained:
"We actually wanted to do this - but couldn't actually get this feeling right for this patch or any of the upcoming ones. 
I know FeralPony is still trying to figure this particular problem out though. He essentially wants to nuke Recurve Bow and figure out alternate recipes for anything that built out of it. 
(For example, for a while we were testing a 20% AS item that had 10 magic damage on it. It would build into Nashor's, BoRK, Wit's End and Hurricane. Little weird that the magic damage became physical in certain cases - but we could never get it to feel quite right.)"

To address the Athene's changes, ricklessabandon explained:
"it's not really a shift in direction or anything—we look at items on a case-by-case basis when it comes to what you get for paying the combine cost for items. in the case of athene's, we wanted to keep the 'aggro' flavor of the item so your 900g will still double the ability power and cdr you had from codex as well as give you a new mana regeneration passive based on killing champions. the item was never really supposed to read as an 'anti-mage' item, so a significant magic resist increase (while very, very useful) just makes athene's adoption a bit ubiquitous. it somewhat naturally follows that if athene's is crowding out other mp5+cdr items we should chip away at the stats that aren't core to the item's original identity. 
all that said, there will likely always be a mix of item combine costs that are purely functional (i.e., it just frees up an item slot) and some that are significant power spikes (i.e., zhonya's, youmuu's, etc)."

Upcoming Ranked Duo Queue Restrictions

In case you missed on the PBE post, here's Socrates with info on upcoming ranked duo queue restrictions
We’re continually working towards improving the quality of ranked play. Beginning with patch 4.10, we’re introducing a new restriction for ranked duo queues so players will only be able to duo queue with teammates ranked between one full tier above or below them. For example, if you are Silver, you’ll be able to duo with players ranked Bronze to Gold. 
We found that the vast majority of duos already invite players within these thresholds and games that had duos outside of these limits are perceived as lower quality. This also closes some loopholes that allow the potential for undermining the matchmaking system via smurf accounts. 
Unseeded players who played in the previous season will use their previous season solo queue rank to determine duo eligibility. Unseeded players who have never played ranked will be able to invite Gold, Silver or Bronze players. 
We strive to make ranked the pinnacle of competitive League play, and this restriction is meant to uphold the integrity of that competition while still allowing play between friends. 
As always, share your comments and feedback below. 
Happy hunting, 

Karthus' Oblivion Bundle Now Available

A new Karthus' Oblivion Bundle, featuring the recently VU'd Karthus and all four of his skins, is now available for 2621 RP if you need all the content and is available through June 13th!
Interested in a better look at these updated skins? Check out our dedicated Karthus VU post!

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