Red Post Collection: Juggernaut reworks & Item changes discussion, Gangplank returns, and more!

Posted on at 9:17 AM by Moobeat
This morning's red post collection includes a ton of discussion on the Darius, Garen, Mordekaiser, and Skarner reworks & itemization changes on the PBE, Meddler with context on the PBE Lissandra R changes, and the return of Gangplank in 5.15!
Continue reading for more information!

Table of Contents

5.16 Juggernaut Reworks & Item Changes Discussions 

The 5.16 PBE cycle has kicked off and with the announced reworks for Darius, Garen, Mordekaiser, and Skarner now on the PBE for testing, there is ton of discussion to be had on each one!

To start it off, here's Meddler with a collection of changelists and feedback threads for the reworks & item changes:
"Hi all, 
Wanted to link a bunch of discussions going on on the PBE boards at the moment regarding the various changes in the 5.16 patch, given threads on the PBE boards tend to have lower visibility than stuff here. Lot more change than the average patch going on, with some stuff that looks pretty weird, overpowered or over-nerfed at least at first read. 
Lot of details in the threads below that hopefully offer some context on what we're thinking and what we believe the impact of some of these changes will be.
These threads are on the PBE forums specifically to gather feedback from people that are testing/will test the changes in game. Very interested in feedback from other people as well though of course, and currently reading a lot of it both here and on various 3rd party sites. As usual these are PBE changes and therefore subject to change as we polish kits, balance numbers, fix bugs etc. There are also some changes that are much more, or less, impactful in game than they may appear at a glance on paper (e.g. Morde gaining a bit of extra attack range). 
New Items: 
Defensive Item Changes:"
He continued:
"Yes, I'd definitely like to hear the grievances people have with these changes, discussions like this one are one of the main reasons I spend time on the forums in the first place."
As for why all these changes are coming together in 5.16, Meddler explained:
"We're putting a lot of stuff in 5.16 for a few reasons:
  1. These are changes that have been developed together that tie in with each other. The state of Morde, Garen etc is going to be highly impacted by the items available to them. Releasing champ changes and items separately means having to wait longer to get a true read on how they interact with each other.
  2. After 5.16 we want to start focusing on balance and stability as we prepare for the patch Worlds will be played on (most likely 5.18). Putting all the disruption into one patch, and then taking a couple to balance it, gives us more time to catch issues than spreading it out over 3 patches and then not having any reaction time to issues that emerge in the third patch.
  3. We feel we've been a bit too conservative in the past in the run up to Worlds. Worlds should involve a stable patch, that teams can focus on, ideally with any massive balance outliers. That's not to say it should reflect a game state that's been unchanged for so long it's starting to feel stale though. It's about two months until Worlds right now, which we feel's a good time to introduce some change before, as above, shifting gears to balance/polish."

As for why there are some pretty large scale changes coming so close to the World Championship, Pwyff commented:
Hey Pwyff, curious why you guys insist on bringing all of these massive changes just before Worlds, the tournament you guys call the biggest and most important. If it really was that important wouldn't you want to go into it with some stability? 
- Concerned person that gives a shit about competitive 
Shocking, no response from Pwyff. Probably cause all the people that lose their shit over new skins are arguing for him. Good job."
"Sorry if I don't respond immediately. I occasionally comment and then go do work. I get that being deliberately inflammatory on the internet is how you get responses, and I hate rewarding that, but let's actually talk about this because I don't think we're 100% correct, but at least we have good reasons. 
First, I think it's worth discussing what constitutes 'too much change' for pro play vs. regular play. There's definitely a subjective concept (survey pros! survey players!), but I wonder what is objectively considered too much for a pro player to adapt on a patch to patch basis. That's a super philosophical question. 
Regardless, it's worth noting that 5.14 is the patch that all of the playoffs are being played on (per esports' commitment), and then a later patch (definitely post-5.16) will be the standardized patch that Worlds will be played on. Pros do get a period of time between playoffs and worlds to practice. 
So here's where we get to the concept of what makes a competitive player. Every game out there values specific things, from Counter-Strike's commitment to reflexes, snap aim, tactical map movement, or Quake's movement-based, tracking-aim, power-up placement memorization. League's always valued player adaptability to a high degree - probably higher than most competitive games. We know there are benefits (from a spectating perspective games are more varied, strategies are being changed up, different playstyles can shine and truly talented teams can demonstrate their mastery by staying ahead of the curve) and drawbacks (players feel they have to 're-learn' the game, optimization of singular strategies isn't possible, players with narrow champion pools are negatively impacted). 
In other words, I'd challenge stability as the ultimate indicator of a competitive player. Faker has long been heralded as the pinnacle of League talent, and we appreciate him because of his tireless commitment to mastering core game mechanics and systems, while also innovating with an evolving game. I'd also mention, I don't think these changes are so massive that they reinvent all that is League of Legends - they offer new strategic paths, but I have no way of objectively verifying just how much more powerful new, emergent strategies are vs. players believing they are. 
All that said, I'm not saying this is a fool-proof argument - if we hear a lot of discussion that this is just too much, that teams just can't accommodate, then this is definitely a lesson for the future. I just want to make sure we both realize we're coming from two very different perspectives on what makes a good, competitive game of League."

When asked about other fighters such as Shyvana or Olaf and if there are any planks for them, Meddler noted:
"We haven't started work on Shyvana or Olaf yet besides some really rough brainstorming, in part because we want to see how these changes, and the associated item changes, go. Assess what works, what doesn't, where we should have taken things further or pulled back etc."
On Shyvana, he continued:
"Can't offer you any details on what changes to her kit might look like, we haven't started talking about that ourselves yet. Would definitely expect her to retain a strong damage focus."

With all the talk of making champion more unique, Meddler also replied to a thread inquiring on  champions such as AatroxMundoNunu, and Fizz:
"Aatrox definitely needs some work, agreed, he does some fun stuff, but it's too general overall. 
Mundo, with his massive regen, poke from a traditionally poke weak class and berserker playstyle (benefits for low health) is someone we feel's pretty close to distinct enough. Would be good to do some smaller stuff on him at some point, we feel other champs need the work a lot more though. 
Nunu we feel's extremely unique. Long duration MS/AS buff he can keep on multiple targets, extremely strong objective control off a base ability, repeated attack speed slows from a support like champion and an ult that controls space in a pretty distinct way with extreme punishment after a long telegraph. 
Current assessment is Fizz is in a reasonable spot, given the uniqueness his Shark and Troll Pole offer, both in terms of playstyle and relative to other assassins. Might need to reward him more for AP builds/less for tanky ones, not sure on that front. As with Mundo though some opportunity to differentiate him a bit more with small changes, but a champ we feel's got a strong need."

Moving on, we have a collection of posts from the PBE feedback threads, reddit, and twitter all discussing the tentative updates for the four champions, defensive itemization, and new items. In order to fully appreciate the context and discussion below, brush up on the 8/4 PBE changes or dive into the context & changelist threads for specifics.


First up, we have Meddler elaborating on Garen's new Villain effects:
"Villainy's global. It's certainly possible that an enemy might end up picking a lot of killing blows and so be the Villain despite not being a great target, as per your Thresh example, that's something we feels appropriate though. One of the goals with Villainy is to sometimes give Garen another choice to make in combat - do I go for the Villain or do I go for another target who's a higher priority for me, but who I might be less effective against? 
Villainy's also set up so it won't change mid combat, sudden change of Villain screwing you over shouldn't be a thing. It's definitely possible, and will likely be relatively common, that Villainy ends up on a champion Garen has trouble reaching. Something we want to do here is make it much more rewarding for Garen's team to help him get onto targets he can't easily reach himself. At present that's often not a good call, you're better off just leaving Garen to his own devices and saving CC to set up or peel for other allies. 
As far as other changes go this stuff should be hitting the PBE pretty soon. Biggest changes from memory are lower early game damage and higher late game damage."
On the new Villain effect, Repertoir added:
"It is intended that there is some sort of tension between going for an easier kill and getting your team a numbers advantage (if a tank is the Villain, for example) versus diving at their marksman and pressuring them as hard as possible."
He continued:
"The Villain will commonly be enemy carries in the late game. The purpose of this passive is that Garen provides a meaningful threat to whoever that target is if his manages to get in range to damage them, whether that guy is a tank, assassin, marksman, etc. We want to to be very important to enemy tanks and supports to peel Garen as he pressures the Villain.
Another thing I am curious about is why he would ever get an attack range increase. Seems very odd to me.
Big sword, big range"

Repertoir also replied to someone feeling Garen's W is now a little bland:
I know Garen is supposed to be an easy champion with with a pretty low skill ceiling but I think that gutting his current w and giving him something else wouldn't be too game breaking. His current w and this new w especially are pretty stale abilities with little game play.
His W is pretty darn boring, but individual abilities can be somewhat bland if there is added complexity to the kit elsewhere. In Garen's case, we wanted to keep him available as a beginner player option, and we took some complexity out of W active, put we put some back in the R passive, E activation, and W passive farming."

As for some of his changes feeling a bit too much, Repertoir noted:
"If there's any part of the changelist that's too much, I'll be happy to reel it in. All data we have so far suggests that he's at least as powerful as Live with these changes, and likely quite a bit stronger."


Following his feedback thread, Statikk took an axe to some of the most prominent concerns in one go:
"Gonna address a couple of points I've seen brought up: 
E's Slow
Currently it's set to be a 90% slow for 0.75 seconds. It is designed to help ensure that E -> Q is a fairly guaranteed combo. 
Lack of an Execution Indicator
We purposely left this out of Darius's update for design reasons. Darius's design and balance actually revolves around his R's success and failures more than any other champion in the game. 
Because of this when we added an indicator, the Darius gameplay became too much about just reacting to a UI element changing rather than making interesting, risky, and snappy decisions in the heat of battle that might cascade into a pentakill. 
In a lot of cases we would prefer consistency across our champions, but in the Darius case we feel like the lack of the indicator allows us to retain power in certain areas and makes him more enjoyable in the long run. 
Removal of Passive Movement Speed
This is essential to the direction we are moving the Juggernauts. They are intended to be and feel slow, but hopefully have a ton of other strengths to bring to the table to compensate. 
This change became extremely important to make especially after we changed Hemorrhage to deal physical damage due to the insane synergy Darius now has with Black Cleaver. 
Q Delay
Along with Bloodrage, this is the most significant change we made to the kit and we feel it's 100% necessary for the long-term health of the champion. We've struggled in the past to make melee vs. melee combat interesting and skill-based, so this is us trying to address that. 
I know it can be pretty painful to get used to, but we've tested it pretty thoroughly and feel you guys will be able to get the hang of it. Adding the delay allows us to load more power into the Q (the heal and increased late game damage) without just making him unstoppable in lane and other dueling scenarios."
On this theme of slow juggernauts, Statikk continued:
"Well, I wouldn't say "arbitrarily." 
Juggernauts were always a class of champions that we attempted to design (slow, tanky, high damage). We are simply taking a hard look at what we were trying to initially design, finding out where we went wrong in the past, and getting them to work in the modern day of LoL without just turning them all into the same generic champion. 
Skarner and Garen are definitely on the fast side of Juggernaut while Darius is on the other side. We think it's possible to make sure Darius can be stronger than the other 2 in different areas instead."
He continued:
"Yeah Darius is one of the more pure, raw Juggernauts in the game. He truly has no movement bonuses and has fairly limited reach (though his reach is better than some of the other Juggernauts that do exist). 
Hopefully Darius feels powerful for being that clean-up monster that none of the other Juggernauts can bring to the table."

As for Darius' R now fearing minions around him, Statikk commented:
"Haha that might be my favorite change on the changelist. >.> Minions are so adorable."


When asked about the decision to shift Mordekaiser to more of a duo botlaner than a solo lane, Meddler commented:
"Supports with strong CC have been the most consistently successful so far in testing, since they let Morde get onto targets with his Q and set up well for the W damage field. Double Targon's has also proven at least moderately effective, again not sure if that's necessarily optimal or not though.
It's likely this direction will make it quite a bit harder for Morde to solo lane, given the amount of benefit he gets from duo laing. That's rough on people that enjoy solo Morde, we did feel this was the right approach to take though to get Morde into a spot where he could be made effective without having to massively change him overall. We believe Morde's strengths and weaknesses can be preserved, or even amplified, in a way that's a lot more functional/healthy when he's got an ally to fill in some of his gaps."

As for what a composition could do if Mordekaiser is in the bottom lane, Scarizard commented:
"There are a lot of marksmen options for other lanes (sivir mid is still a thing too), but you can always bring someone like Azir or Twisted Fate for really strong Tower-Killing potential as well. 
Besides - as long as /they/ have an ADC, /you/ have an ADC. Just gotta work for it a bit."
He continued:
"We've seen a number of teams work without a marksman (thanks to Mordekaiser's dragon / ghost stealing for tower pushing post-fights), but the number of viable marksmen mid (Corki, Ezreal, Varus, etc) have also allowed this to really open up teamcomps. 
It seems silly until Morde/Support/Jungler rip your soul out from your body and kill your tower with it."
CertainlyT also commented on the encouragement of Mordekaiser in a duo lane, noting:
"Hey Elijah, 
Your understanding of the changes is accurate. My goal is not to "use Morde to break the meta" but to find a healthy home for Mordekaiser where he can be successful while still being himself (slow, tough, CC-free overwhelmingly powerful damage dealer). My feeling was that for this sort of profile, the champion could not be both successful and healthy on their own. Morde needs someone to help cover his weaknesses and actualize his strengths. Supports stood out as natural complements. They too are incomplete champions, lacking damage but bringing a lot of CC and ally buffs/hastes. 
There is no unherent reason why playing Mordekaiser bottom lane will cause teams to lose. Structurally, he has the ability to forcefully push games to a conclusion by using his dragon to smash down the enemy base. In testing, we have had just as many games where he succeeds as fails."
 He continued:
I can't wait to try this out in bot lane. I think it's great you guys are pushing for a non-ADC non-support duo laner. Have you guys considered any future changes similar to Mordekaiser's (i.e., pushing for a non-ranged, non-support laner in bot lane) for any other champions?
Not at the champion design level. I think there are a few possibilities that Mordekaiser could demonstrate: 
1) Melee bot lanes generally are... are sufficiently enjoyable for all players and sufficientlystrategically interesting to warrant further proactive steps by us to dislodge players from their habits;
2) The existence of one occasional melee bot lane is interesting and enjoyable but does not warrant further steps by us;
3) Melee bot lanes generally are interesting and enjoyable, but Mordekaiser is a poor execution of one;
4) Melee bot lanes are antithetical to "good" LoL design, and so we should not seek to support them. 
Personally, I feel that #4 is unlikely. This means the central question is largely about whether a) there should be more melee bot lanes and b) at what level that "pushing" should come from us. Candidly, Mordekaiser is pretty "forced". 
I would love for players to feel that they can identify situations to run a wider number of existing champions successfully as the duo lane carry. In fact, Yasuo was an effort in this direction. Unfortunately, he is either ineffective in that capacity (though statistically bot lane duo is his highest win rate) or players are uncomfortable playing non-traditional styles. If the latter is true than I see my role as a designer not to "push" more champions into the lane but to create social and strategic space for players to innovate. 
This, then, is my hope for Mordekaiser: that his presence in the bottom lane spurs players to think more broadly about how they can build team composition that have a greater diversity of champion archetypes without the need for us to customize kits to that lane."

As for the thematic side of Mordekaiser in a duo lane, CertainlyT commented:
"Hey Euryk, 
The question of _thematics _is an interesting one. It came up a lot during Thresh's development as well. Then as now I hold firm that being evil does not mean a champion is a loner. The most dastardly of villains have frequently used those around them to help them achieve their objectives. Challenging players' notions of how their constructed world should work is an important counterpoint in games of fantasy to the more standard act of meeting their expectations. The latter invites them to imagine deeply; the former encourages them to imagine freshly. 
As to the particulars of Mordekaiser as a champion who enjoys an ally presence: He is the quintessential "heavy" unit, a devastating war machine whose only weakness is how lumbering his own massive weapon makes him. He would either seek to exploit those slower than him or find means of holding faster opponents in place. I think there is a lot of merit to the David and Goliath drama of pitting him against a a more slight but elusive opponent."

When asked about Mordekaiser's movement speed nerfs down to 325, CertainlyT commented:
"It might be. I certainly didn't start at 325. In fact, I was very hesitant and moved him down 5 MS at a time as opponents reported being completely unable to escape his onslaught. A major factor for this is that Mordekaiser has the base damage and base survivability to invest into a lot of movement speed items as the game progresses (Our playtesters often build him Targons-->Ninja Tabi->Phage->Trinity Force->Raptor Cloak->Rylai's). 
I think you might also be coming at this from the perspective of someone who has played "traditional" melee bot lanes, that must function as aggressive kill lanes in order to find any success. Mordekaiser has the scaling and defenses to whittle his opponents down and wait for a good opportunity (like a Thresh hook)."
Regarding Mordekaiser's W only being castable on ally champions which renders it less than useful in a solo lane, CertainlyT commented:
"Harvesters of Sorrow (W) is not castable without an ally champion present. If you are alone as Mordekaiser, you'll have to do without it unless an ally ganks/roams for you. 
As others mentioned, Morde is still able to solo lane/jungle in our testing, but doesn't shine as brightly as he does in a duo lane. I'm comfortable with that mainly because I do not think that Mordekaiser can ever be a marquee example of a healthy solo lane champion given how stark his strengths and weakness profile is -- An excessive number of his lane matchups are determined either at champion select or through jungler intervention, not through the relative skill of Mordekaiser and his lane opponent. As I began to work on his mechanics though, the thing that stood out was how defined Mordekaiser was by those stark strengths and weaknesses. To round out his kit would have been to compromise him as a champion."
As for the new AD scaling on Mordekaiser's E, CertainlyT noted:
"E in my mind is most healthy as a "parry" ability that provides a lot of instant shield. As a nuke, it lacks good play against most opponents, who can't help but get into its range. As such, the damage had to come down a bit in the early game. I didn't want the player to have to invest all their early skill points in a fundamentally passive skill, but rather in their preferred means of inflicting damage on their opponent. 
Total AD scaling allows the ability to ramp up gradually across game time so that it is hopefully always meeting the needs of providing a "twitchy" active defense against enemy poke."
When asked how long Mordekaiser can keep the dragon's ghost, Meddler noted:
"The dragon ghost currently lasts for the same duration as regular ghosts. That duration now scales with Morde's ult rank, with current values in testing of 45/60/75s."
As for if Mordekaiser needs to last hit the dragon or be there for the kill, Scarizard noted:
"Nope - your team has to slay the dragon. Mord can hit it once and go do whatever, but you can't get the Dragonforce if the enemy team takes it."
He continued, commenting on the power of dragon ghost:
"Dragonforce is a part of Mordekaiser's ultimate - so he wouldn't be able to do it until level 6. Dragon isn't so insanely powerful that its going to just eat towers for breakfast (especially that early), but later on it becomes a big factor."

While not exclusive to Mordekaiser, Meddler noted that Targon procs that go to clones/ghosts will give gold to units owner in 5.16:
"From 5.16 onwards Targon procs that go to clones/ghosts will give the gold to that units controller (so a Shaco clone that gets a Targon proc directed to it will give gold to Shaco, a Morde ghost to Morde etc)."

CertainlyT also commented on why Mordekaiser can't maintain a constant "monster ghost" instead of only taking the powerful dragon:
"We tried this! Controlling a pet for the entire game turns out to be taxing. Simplifying pet controls left many Morde players sad that they no longer had access to the old level of micro. 
More fundamentally, players felt that Mordekaiser's ghost was not about having a persistent pet, but sometimes having a tremendously powerful effect. Further they felt that getting such a powerful ghost was a reward for proper play. Being given pets all the time felt like a very different champion in a way that seemed to break from what I saw as the healthy and fun parts of Morde's identity/challenge."


As for the nerfs to his base movement speed, Repertoir noted:
"We don't just want him to afk farm the jungle forever, but we are okay with his jungle presence being higher than his lane presence overall in the early game. Also, his E is a substantially stronger ganking tool now with how easily it applies the old passive stun, so he does make up for some of the loss of entry speed there if he hits it. 
Also, the MS nerf may simply not be needed. We've tested various versions of this Skarner, and it seems to be quite strong still, but it's totally undertandable that players would be concerned over such a big base MS nerf. If it looks like he needs it, we can certainly give it it back. This changelist likely isn't final yet."
He continued:
"Definitely keeping an eye on this. 15 MS nerf may not be the right number. Could be 5, 20, or 0. I'll continue to monitor."
As for his speed clearing the camps near his crystals, Repertoir commented:
"He'll definitely have some camps that he clears faster than others now. With the crystals' placement, he clears Red, Blue, Krugs, Wolves, and Crab incredibly well now, and isn't quite as fast on Gromp and Razorbeaks. Also, the stun only takes 1 basic attack to trigger now following a hit E, so the loss of AS shouldn't affect that."
In response to concern on Skarner's ability to be useful outside of the zones, Repertoir noted:
"Skarner should still have a pretty reliable tank/lockdown threat (probably even greater than before in this regard, given how is E now works) outside of his passive zones. What the zones really provide to him is incredibly boosted DPS and stickiness"
as for why, he continued:
"We wanted to give something to Skarner to optimize around other than just run at a guy. Adding potent zones of threat was our take on that for him. 
Also, I think there's a misunderstanding about how much potential gold these things give out as well, but I'll look into that to make sure they're not giving out too much."

Repertoir also responded to feedback regarding enemies capturing his shrines for gold and his Q damage changes:
"Thanks for the feedback. I'll try to address the 'The Bad' stuff:
Unless you intend to spend a lot of time in the enemy teams jungle, that's just free 30g and vision they get at the beginning at the game. Say goodbye to invades, and now the enemy teams jungler will have a 30g lead on Skarner, which though it may not be much, is basically a free potion when paired with Scuttle Crab.
The vision on these things only lasts 10 seconds at the time they are captured, so they don't really give much vision outside of the initial cap. And the gold they give out is basically symmetrical. In order for the enemy team to capture it and gain 15g, Skarner's team has to own it (and they will hold it until the enemy team turns it over). Likewise, Skarner and his teammates will get 15g for recapturing it later. I do need to put in a better solution for level 1 gold provided by them right now, though.
-His Q is now garbage. This change was fairly major, so it will take a bit of explaining.
His Q definitely still grants him bonus damage. Sorry if that wasn't clear. The damage it deals is (TotalAD ratio) and an additional (TotalAD ratio + AP ratio) when charged. His clear speed is actually faster now. 
You are right about him doing less dps in ganks now, but the ease at which he stuns enemies via E is increased pretty substantially, and the duration of the stun early game is a bit longer. 
Feedback from playtesters has been that his E offers a higher total utility package than before, but I'll keep an eye out for it."
He continued on Q, "TL;DRing" the changes:
"It's basically just "deal a total AD ratio around you as physical damage. If you are charged, also deal that same amount as magic damage, plus an AP ratio. Also your attacks lower the cooldown of this spell.""

When asked if Skarner's new passive will work in non-SR maps, Meddler noted:
"Skarner will get crystals in TT, ARAM and Dominion as well."
Repertoir also added:
"His passive has unique positions on all maps."
As for how much gold enemies get for capturing the points, he shared:
"15g per Crystal taken. There's a little bit of power there, but it's not going to decide anything significant."

Defensive itemization

When asked why they are doing these itemization changes so close to worlds, Xypherous noted:
"We have roughly 2 1/2 months of lead up to worlds and so at least 2 full patches to respond to any massive directional imbalances. 
As for how massive this is - while there are a lot of items on the changelist itself - it's mostly small tuning steps with one or two exceptions. Similar to how AP itemization goes - while there is a lot of holistic polish across the board - the net overall change should be moderate - at least for these core passes. 
While I understand that's not a super satisfying answer - I believe this is the last major update of the year in which a lot of things are happening and thus these item changes are meant to be a polish and tuning step to support a somewhat better ecosystem for those changes to live in."

Xypherous also commented on the overall effect of these changes for MR items:
"MR itemization, especially end-game is not particularly stronger overall than it was before. (AKA - total end-game values of MR are relatively static compared to live. While Banshee's and Visage have +5 MR - Aura MR is down by 5, for example.) 
However, the build path for MR is a lot smoother to access - so reacting to an enemy AP should be easier. This nicely lines up with the changes made in AP to make building into a lot of AP items more streamlined."

As for Cinderhulk's base HP increase and % HP decrease, Xypherous commented:
"Cinderhulk should be more powerful mid-game to compensate. It won't actually be a nerf until you surpass 1k bonus health (AKA 3 complete health items). 
The issue with Cinderhulk is that after this point, it became rapidly hard to control the impact of any health item in the game - as the effects of said item were wildly variant - hence the adjustment."
He continued:
"Whenever Cinderhulk was problematic - we generally saw it was the case of late game - super unkillable tank of 'oh god why.' 
Thus the changes are designed to pull back on that case in particular - by shifting power from the multiplier to the base."
He continued on Cinderhulk on the boards, noting:
"It's true that Cinderhulk is nerfed in the late game after your 3rd major Health purchase. However, until you hit 1000 bonus health - you are strong that you were previously. 
With the jungle items in their current state - if you wanted someone to be strong in the extreme late game - your first option probably wouldn't be tanks to begin with given that there are multiple routes for end-game success in the jungle that it's running directly into. 
The other facet of this is that if Cinderhulk has to compete in the end-game against these other two - what it effectively would have to do is create unstoppable characters that cannot be killed - and so even if it does work - it wouldn't be a state we'd be particularly happy with. 
Therefore, by shifting Cinderhulk's impact to be more impactful mid game and less impactful late game - the item actually has a window to shine - rather than be overshadowed end-game by a devourer or completely dominant when it is good."

Xypherous also commented on  R. Omen's stat changes and reduction to critical damage taken:
"It's meant to be an overall nerf - so this effect is intended. 
However, it reduces the total damage taken from a critical strike by 10% - so a 250% attack goes to 225% not 240%."

When asked about the changes for Thornmail to make it scale off the owner's armor and less off of the damage taken, Xypherous noted:
"You need to hard commit to armor in order to screw ADCs in the new Thornmail model - and ADCs that build crit can ignore Thornmail more than more AS centric ones. 
If you're trying to deal the same damage to a critical carry as before - you'll need like 200 to 350 bonus armor (depending on the damage of the carry.) 
It's a net nerf overall - until you get into champion specifics. Rammus / Malphite in particular can hit much higher levels of Armor much earlier - and so their own synergies with the item increase, for example."

New Items

When asked if Sterak's Gage amplifies Sheen's proc damage, Axes noted:
"Sterak's Gage does amplify Sheen procs. 
The passive cone on Titanic Hydra is shaped to be pretty forgiving when just CSing - but definitely give it a shot and let me know how it goes."

When asked if Titanic Hydra's active resets auto attacks, Axes noted:
"For now, yes."
He continued, answering more questions on Titanic Hydra:
Also: Titanic Hydra's Cleave/Crescent is a cone as opposed to a circle, any specific reason why?
When you're tied up on the front line, you can project a cone through the tanky dude to hit more valuable back line targets behind them. It's not a lot of threat, but it can help.
Does the cone lifesteal and not apply on hit effects like Ravenous Hydra's Cleave/Crescent?
It does not. This is a primary point of differentiation between them."

Context on Lissandra PBE Buffs

In the 8/4 PBE update, Lissandra's R was changed to include a heal on self cast.

Here's Meddler with a few comments on this tentative change:
The heal is to buy her even more time when setting things up and baiting for her team I believe. 
It also gives her another reason to use it on herself, which honestly she wouldn't do much in teamfights. 
That's basically the thinking here. The balance team's been exploring a heal as a way to incentivize the self cast a bit more, in a way that sometimes allows Lissandra to get off another cast or two she otherwise wouldn't live long enough for. Plays up the 'ongoing CC+damage' role as an alternative to the 'stun a dude and quickly murder him' play the enemy cast tends to offer."

Champion Update: Gangplank returns

With 5.15 out on live, Gangplank has returned to live servers and has been re-enabled for play with a new look following the events from Bilgewater: Burning Tides! Check out his updated Champion Update page for more!
"During the Bilgewater: Burning Tides event, Gangplank was brought down by the machinations of the bounty hunter Miss Fortune. His ship was destroyed with all of Bilgewater watching, killing his crew and shattering his aura of invincibility. Now the gangs of Bilgewater have risen up, fighting amongst themselves to claim dominion over the port city."
[Left: new base Gangplank in 5.15 (Post Event) // RightCaptain Gangplank skin (Pre Event)]

Don't forget that you can earn the CAPTAIN GANGPLANK skin for FREE if you own Gangplank and has play a matchmade game as Gangplank between the start of Bilgewater event in 5.14 and the end of the event on August 10th. More information available here.

Be aware the Captain Gangplank skin will be handed out at the end of the event! From dArtagnan:
"The Captain Gangplank skin will be given out at the end of the event! Although, it may take a couple of weeks for us to reward all of the skins out!"

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