Red Post Collection: Top Tier Ladder Reset Details, Quick Gameplay Thoughts 3/20, Tristana Skin Vote Winner, & More

Posted on at 1:14 PM by Aznbeat
Today's red post collection includes details on the top tier ladder reset in 9.6 from Riot SapMagic, Meddler's quick gameplay thoughts for March 20th, the winner of the Tristana skin vote, and more!
Continue reading for more information!

Table Of Contents

Ranked 2019 — Top Tier Ladder Reset with Patch 9.6 

Here's Riot SapMagic with details on the Top Tier ladder reset happening in Patch 9.6:
"TL;DR: We’re planning to perform the partial ladder reset we discussed in /dev: State of Ranked with Patch 9.6 on March 20, subject to successful testing this weekend on PBE. 
Hey everyone, Ed “SapMagic” Altorfer here on behalf of the Ranked team. Last week we shared our thoughtson Ranked and detailed several matchmaking and rank issues affecting players in Diamond and above. We're ready to share the timing of the partial Diamond+ reset and more details based on common questions. 
Who is affected by the reset? 
Diamond+ players from all ranked queues in Riot and Garena regions. 
When is the reset happening? 
We’re planning to do the reset alongside Patch 9.6 which will be early morning on March 20 for Riot regions and March 21 for Garena regions. We’re doing some final testing this weekend—if we encounter any major bugs, we’ll update this post accordingly. 
How will the reset work? 
Here are the full details of the reset:
  • Master, Grandmaster, and Challenger players become Master 0 LP
  • Diamond players demote by one division, floored at Diamond IV
  • You keep rewards, but they’ll match your new rank
  • Grandmaster and Challenger lock until March 27 and April 3, respectively 
How does the Diamond demotion work? 
If you’re a Diamond player, here’s what will happen: 
  • Diamond III, II, and I players are demoted by one division, preserving promotion series progress and LP
  • For Diamond I players in series, 2 wins or losses become 1 win or loss—for example, 2–2 becomes 1–1
  • Diamond IV players become Diamond IV 0 LP no matter what 
We expect the reset to help fix LP gains and losses for players in Diamond+. Having said that, since this partial reset does affect MMR, it won’t be an immediate fix in terms of matchmaking quality, but we expect that to improve over the next few weeks as the ladder stabilizes. 
As always, if you have questions that aren’t answered here or just have feedback on Ranked, let us know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter. Thanks again for all your help and patience, and we’ll see you on the Rift!"

Quick Gameplay Thoughts: March 20 

Here's Meddler's quick gameplay thoughts for March 20th:
"Hi folks, 
Usual Disclaimers 
These posts will often contain talk about future work we're doing, or planning to do, that isn't yet guaranteed to ship. The nature of the work could change or, depending on what we discover, projects mentioned may get delayed or even stopped. If you'd like to see a Tweet whenever a new one of these posts goes up: 
Position Preferences 
It's been a while since we last talked about some position select data. Had a couple of requests to revisit it recently too so figured it would be a good topic to cover today. Bunch of data and comments below, few overarching takeaways that come to mind for me being:
  • Preference for different roles reflects a mixture of both desire for playstyle and perceived power. We see that role preference change meaningfully for example when ranked turns on/off, when players feel a position has been buffed/nerfed, temporarily when new champs for a position come out etc.
  • Preferences vary a lot between different regions, reflecting different metas and different preferences for different groups of players.
  • Similarly they vary quite a bit by MMR, assumedly reflecting meta and interpretations of power, potentially reflecting desired playstyle IF that's correlated with player skill (the lesser factor from what we've seen)
So, first off, everything together. Most noticeable trends recently are bot preference increasing substantially post crit item changes and season start, support preference going up with season start and jungle/mid trending down somewhat since preseason. Noteworthy order swap there is bot climbing back to second for the first time in a while and jungle dropping from 2nd to 4th.
High MMR has similar, though not identical trends. Top's much less popular comparatively in this context and while jungle's down this year it's still middle of the pack.
Looking at Brazil we see a really strong preference for mid lane while top preference is close to all regions high MMR rates.
EUNE then has the same high preference for mid, but a much lower preference than most for support, with the other three positions currently in the same spot. That's historically representative with the exception of bot being low post midseason changes last year for a while.
Korea's not as big on mid at present as those other regions, though players there have been historically. Support interest's much closer to other positions too.
NA's then most notable for the degree jungle isn't favored there.
And Vietnam by contrast has a really high jungle preference, even after some recent drop, paired with a very long interest in queueing for support. Desire to queue as bot's also been more volatile than other regions, following the same inflection points but to greater degrees. 
A few likely balance targets in 9.7
  • A Lissandra nerf, aimed at pro power especially.
  • Morgana assessment, mid lane specifically. We didn't ship nerfs in 9.6 because we weren't certain enough they were needed. Planning on assessing again shortly, see if that was the right call.
  • A nerf to Dark Seal, which is currently filling both the safe early sustain niche and the supposedly risky snowball niche. Likely that nerf includes a much lower sellback value as a result so it's a more of a gamble to opt into it.
  • Wit's End experimentation, aimed at making it a more relevant item. We're 50/50 on whether we'll ship something still, expect changes to hit PBE at least however. 
We'll have some other work in 9.7 as well, those are the projects we're sufficiently confident will be getting some time to talk about right now though."

When asked about Swain, Meddler commented:
"Swain's a champ who's come up a little bit in discussion recently. We don't think he's far off, but might have room for a bit of power. Will be talking about him others in our 9.7 planning meeting shortly."

On Aatrox, Meddler replied:
"Some changes being tested internally that are still very work in progress so not on the PBE. Ongoing issues with his solo queue performance being weak while his pro performance remains too strong. Expectation is additional changes besides number adjustments are needed as a result."

On Spellthief/Ancient Coin changed, Meddler noted:
"Nothing's likely in the short term. We have been testing some alternative directions, including things like reduced gold from minion kills when you have a support item, though that comes with its own problems too. Still looking to make changes at some point, may not be for a while."

On the experimental Zephyr item from past PBE testing, Meddler commented:
"We've iceboxed that experimental take on an on hit item that stacked both Armor and MR on the attacker. Biggest concern was how strong and safe an item it was for something that also let you counter whichever lane you had given its components. We're looking at other Wit's End changes instead as above."

As for WukongMeddler noted:
"No specific date for PBE yet. Next step is running them past some Wukong players (non Rioters) in one of the testing sessions we do here at the office regularly. Random selection of players from a range of skill levels is happening at the moment, hoping we can therefore run that testing sometime in the next couple of weeks."

On Ohmwrecker, Meddler commented:
"We believe Wit's End is much closer to being a stable, useful item. Ohmwrecker by contrast arguably fills a niche that doesn't need to be filled and wouldn't be good for the game if it were strong. We'd have removed the item if the name wasn't a refer a friend promise, possible we instead move the name somewhere else to both better deliver on that and let us take out an unsuccessful item design."

The Next Tristana Skin Is... 

Here's Riot Stellari with details on the Tristana skin vote results - "You voted. And the winner is…"
"We asked you which Tristana skin you wanted most, and after over 4 million votes around the globe, the winner is…
Here’s the breakdown:
  • Sugar Rush: 30%
  • Galactic Gunner: 27%
  • Little Demon: 43%
We had to know: Did the hardcore Tristana mains who’ve mastered the art of Rocket Jumping into battle choose the same skin? The results were unanimous.
Behind the Concepts 
Hi there, I’m Janelle “Riot Stellari” Jimenez, the product lead for the Player Choice Tristana skin. Let’s talk a little more about Little Demon Tristana! 
When we were initially coming up with the concepts for the Player Choice Tristana skin, we worked with our concept artist Jesse Li to design three options based around beloved themes. We wanted a “fun” skin, a “sci-fi” skin, and then asked him to create the third choice based on what he felt Tristana needed. 
We usually kick off all new skins with a product brief. This super glamorous document has a logline (like a slogan), pillars, and creative goals. We make this so everyone on the team knows where we’re headed and so the artists can feel empowered to flex their creativity within that sandbox. We like to have this document before we enter pre-production—the concept and exploration phase—but for this skin, we had the art first and needed to wait for the results of the vote before we could start production. 
Once we knew the winner, we got started on production right away. 
Kicking off Skin Production! 
Our pillars for Little Demon Tristana (her code name) are the following:
  • Adorable and demonic, not “edgy”
  • Right-hand yordle of Little Devil Teemo
  • Fiery and mischievous 
Our next step is to have a “blue sky” meeting where we talk about all the good, bad, and insane ideas for a skin. We can’t possibly do all of them, but we like to let people go a little crazy since it might unlock a great idea. I personally call these meetings “grey sky meetings” because I’m the kind of producer that likes to be realistic, so I’m that rain cloud on your parade. ;) 
About half of the Little Demon Tristana team, getting ready to start our first meeting.
As you can see, there are some crazy ideas on the board. Some are awesome, some are questionable, and some conflict with each other. And that’s okay! 
White board from the blue sky meeting. It’s possible none of these things make it into the game—it’s just an early brainstorm!
Next we’ll test out some of the ideas that we love but aren’t sure how they’ll look in game. Sometimes there are amazing ideas that look great as 2D concepts but unfortunately don’t translate into the game very well. As a product manager, I’m accountable for the final skin, so that means part of my job is finalizing what features make it (and which don’t). I make this decision collaboratively with direct input from the team, art and craft leads, delivery leads, engineering teams, marketing, and any partner teams (such as the winning team in the case of World Championship Winner skins). 
From the blue sky, we usually start exploring ideas. Here’s a sneak peak from next week’s update: some exploration from Riot Sirhaian on possible VFX routes!

We know that Dragon Trainer Tristana has red fiery effects, and we want to make sure Little Devil Tristana is unique but also cohesive with Demon Vi, an older skin in this thematic. This is why we’re exploring magenta “demon fire” effects as well as blue “spirit fire” effects (and a few others)—let us know what you think of these explorations in the comments below! 
Join Us Next Time 
We’ll be back on Nexus every two weeks with updates on our progress, which will continue until the skin is scheduled to launch in patch 9.11. In our next update, Riot Sirhaian will go deeper into what we think about for skins VFX, and we’ll also take a look into the splash creation process. Thanks again to everyone who voted! We’re really excited to work on this together with you."

9.6: Lore Update 

Here's Riot Ashekandi with the latest Lore Notes for patch 9.6:
"Hey everyone! Carrying on our Demacia theme from the last update, this week we’re focusing our new stories on another Demacian favorite. 
In this update, we’ve got an updated bio and a new short story for Xin Zhao, recounting how he came into service for King Jarvin III. Also, with the upcoming release of the final issue of Ashe: Warmother, we wanted to take the chance to introduce the series into these Lore Updates for those who may not have had a chance to read it yet. 
As always, let us know what you think in the comments and let’s dive in! 
Short Story 
NEW Xin Zhao: What Once Sailed Free
by Michael Luo 
My father once said Noxus wasted its talent in those arenas. Now I see the truth in his words.
Xin Zhao, Demacia, Noxus 
Bio Updates 
Xin Zhao: Updated Bio
Death is inevitable. One can only avoid defeat.
Xin Zhao, Demacia, Bio 
Ashe: Warmother
by Odin Austin Shafer 
Raised in the savage wilds of the north, Ashe is an Iceborn, a warrior gifted with a magical connection to her frozen homeland--and burdened by her mother’s fanatical expectations. When they set out on a dangerous quest for the truth behind an ancient myth, bonds are broken, secrets come to light, and Runeterra is forever changed. Will young Ashe become the leader her people need? Or is destiny merely an empty dream? 
With the final issue coming on March 20, we thought it would be a good idea to remind you that each issue of Ashe: Warmother is available for free on Universe, and, with the release of the final issue, the entire Ashe: Warmother anthology will be prime for reading! You can find links to each issue on the series’ Universe page here
Ashe, Sejuani, Freljord, Comic"

/Dev: More Experimental ARAM changes 

Here's Riot Mort with details on ARAM changes that are now testing on the PBE - "Bans, balance, and more are heading to the Howling Abyss for a limited time.":
"Over the past few months, the Modes team has been testing out some ideas in our experimental game modes like Nexus Blitz and ARURF+. While the modes themselves are experiments, we’ve also been testing specific things within the modes, like methods of adjusting and balancing runes and champions. Now that we’ve concluded these tests, we’re taking what we’ve learned and applying it to one of our permanent modes: ARAM. 
In patch 9.7 we’re going to run a mini-ARAM event with a bunch of changes to try out and a few small missions to complete. After 9.7, we will evaluate how those changes did and decide which ones to apply to the mode permanently. 
Let’s take a look at what’s coming to the Abyss. 
Butcher’s Bridge is Back
As promised, the Slaughter Docks are back! We figured this event would be the perfect time to revive the map for old fans and those who never got to try it. However, while we are testing a lot of changes that could be made permanent, the map will not be up for consideration at this time. 
Have fun with the pirate-y version of the game mode! Yaaaarrrrrr! 
Ban Your Troubles Away 
During this event, we’ll be testing the effects of bans: How does it feel to be able to remove that troublesome champ you just don’t like facing up against… in ARAM? Now you can find out! Banning works just like it does on Summoner’s Rift. Once each player locks in their ban, the random champions will be assigned. Banned champs won’t show up in rerolls for that game either. 
Fewer Decided Games & Fewer Drawn-Out Games 
While the average ARAM game time is sitting at a nice and healthy 19 minutes, games can often go longer which can feel really rough if you were expecting something shorter than a Summoner’s Rift game. Even just the risk of a game going 30+ minutes might make it so you don’t have time to play at all, so we’re removing that risk. 
We discussed having the two Nexuses get up and fight each other, but we’ve opted for a different solution:
  • From game start to 15:00, minion waves spawn every 25 seconds as normal. At 15:00, spawn rate begins increasing at a linear rate, capping at 25:00 when they’ll spawn every 15 seconds.
  • From game start to 15:00, minions have 325 movement speed as normal. At 15:00, they start gaining movement speed every minute until 20:00 when they’ll have 425 movement speed.
  • From game start to 15:00, champions deal 10% more damage to structures. At 15:00, that value increases linearly until 25:00 when they’ll deal 30% bonus damage to structures. 
Extra minions provide more gold and experience to help get to the end-game more quickly, and players will be able to push more aggressively after winning a teamfight with help from minions that now keep up. 
Built-In Poke Reduction 
Long-range poke on ARAM is extremely powerful and can be frustrating to face since there isn’t really a counter to it other than dodging. We’re looking to bring down the power of those long-range poke champions so that they’re still an option, but not one that feels so oppressive in an unlucky matchup.
  • Damage from champions further than 900 units away is reduced by 15% (this excludes ultimates and damage over time abilities)
  • There will be a small visual indicator when this triggers:
New Summoner Spell: Backtrack 
The summoner spell Barrier has been replaced by Backtrack. When activated, Backtrack gives you a small blue shield (less powerful than Barrier) and then 3 seconds later zooms you back towards your Fountain.
The distance you travel is pretty long if you’re a melee champion, but much shorter if you’re a ranged champion.
We’re hoping champs like LeBlanc, Talon, and Evelynn can use Backtrack to engage fights, do some big damage, and then get out safely. (And yes, Skarner can do fun things with it as well.) We’re excited to see all your big Backtrack plays! 
Item Updates 
This new item has the same build path and stats as Guardian Angel, but a very different unique passive. 
Instead of reviving after four seconds with 50% base health and 30% max mana when killed, you instead become invulnerable, cleanse all CC, and refresh your basic abilities cooldowns at the time of death. However, four seconds later, you still die. 
These melee-only, Kayn-imitation sneakers are back with some slight adjustments. You can no longer use them if you’ve taken damage in the last 3 seconds, but once you’re in the wall, you will gain an extra 250 movement speed. A really powerful flanking engage option, Ghostwalkers are no longer the “cowards’ boots!”

Last time we tested some ARAM changes, we tried removing Warmog’s completely, but it didn’t really have a positive effect on the game mode. So instead of trying to do that again, we’re toning down its power while still allowing it to serve a similar purpose: get back some health after a fight. The passive has been changed from restoring 5% of max HP per second to 5% of missing HP per second. This means it will get you your health back, but not quite top you off. 
Runes Adjustment 
As we did with Nexus Blitz and ARURF+, we’ve adjusted some of the numbers on various runes. Since ARAM is a shorter game mode, certain runes like Gathering Storm were just really bad choices, but now they should be viable options. In addition, there were a few runes that were really powerful in ARAM, so we’ve tuned them down. They should still be good options, but hopefully not always must-picks. 
  • Triumph: Restore 6% (from 12%) of your missing HP and grant 10 (from 20) gold
  • Presence of Mind: Restore 10% (from 20%) of your max mana and 6% (from 10%) of your ult cooldown
  • Electrocute: Cooldown 15-10 seconds (from 25-20 seconds)
  • Predator: Cooldown 100-80 seconds (from 150-100 seconds)
  • Taste of Blood: Cooldown 15 seconds (from 20 seconds)
  • Ghost Poro: Cooldown 25 seconds (from 60 seconds)
  • Nullifying Orb: Cooldown 30 seconds (from 60 seconds)
  • Nimbus Cloak: Cooldown 30 seconds (from 60 seconds)
  • Gathering Storm: Every 7 minutes (from 10 minutes)
  • Grasp of the Undying: Permanent health gained is 10 (from 5) for melee, 6 (from 3) for ranged
  • Conditioning: Activates at 8 minutes (from 10 minutes)
  • Overgrowth: Gain 5 health (from 3) for every 8 monsters absorbed; at 80 monsters (from 120) gain additional 2.5% HP
  • Magical Footwear: Gives at 8 minutes (from 10 minutes)
  • Perfect Timing: Activates at 4 minutes (from 10 minutes)
  • Minion Dematerializer: Initial cooldown of 2 minutes (from 4 minutes)
Champion Balance 
And finally, let’s talk champion balance. With very few exceptions (ex: Shyvana’s passive) we’ve never really committed the resources to balancing ARAM because we believe champions should behave similarly on both SR and ARAM, so players don’t have to re-learn their picks on different maps. But we tested some low-complexity approaches to balance in both Nexus Blitz and ARURF+ and found them to be quite successful in making the majority of champions viable in those modes. So we’re going to apply that learning to ARAM. 
Our goal is not to completely shuffle the tier list, but simply to narrow the gap between the top and the bottom. Ziggs and Sona should still be strong picks, just not “makes you want to surrender when you’re matched up against them” strong! Here’s the full list of nerfs and buffs: 
  • Ashe: -5% damage dealt
  • Illaoi: +5% damage taken
  • Janna: +5% damage taken
  • Jhin: -5% damage dealt
  • Jinx: -5% damage dealt
  • Kog’maw: -8% damage dealt
  • Lux: -8% damage dealt
  • Maokai: -8% damage dealt & +5% damage taken
  • Miss Fortune: -5% damage dealt
  • Nasus: -5% damage dealt
  • Sion: +5% damage taken
  • Sivir: -8% damage dealt
  • Sona: -10% damage dealt & -25% healing done
  • Teemo: -8% damage dealt
  • Veigar: +5% damage taken
  • Vel’Koz: -5% damage dealt
  • Yorick: +8% damage taken (doesn’t apply to Maiden of the Mist)
  • Ziggs: -15% damage dealt
  • Akali: +12% damage dealt & -8% damage taken
  • Bard: +8% damage dealt & -5% damage taken
  • Evelynn: +12% damage dealt & -5% damage taken
  • Hecarim: -10% damage taken
  • Kindred: +10% damage dealt
  • Khazix: -10% damage taken
  • LeBlanc: +12% damage dealt
  • Lee Sin: +8% damage dealt & -10% damage taken
  • Nidalee: +15% damage dealt
  • Nocturne: +5% damage dealt & -10% damage taken
  • Rek’sai: +10% damage dealt & -10% damage taken
  • Rengar: -10% damage taken
  • Ryze: +8% damage dealt & -5% damage taken
  • Sejuani: -10% damage taken
  • Tryndamere: +10% damage dealt & -10% damage taken
  • Warwick: -8% damage taken 
These balance changes are up for evaluation just like the other tests during this 9.7 mini-event, so these exact numbers might not last. Based on the results during 9.7 and feedback from you, we’ll be making adjustments as necessary. 
Next Steps 
As we mentioned at the top, at the end of Patch 9.7, we are going to take a look at all these changes (minus the Butcher’s Bridge map) and evaluate which ones will stay as permanent parts of the mode based on your feedback, so please share your thoughts with us! 
Players have been sharing a lot of ideas on how to improve ARAM, and we heard them. While we weren’t able to do all of them for this iteration, that doesn’t mean we’re done. We’ll keep working on even more improvements over time to bring you an exciting, shorter-length game mode that’s fun every time! Thanks and have fun on the Bridge!"
Riot Mort also posted a feedback thread over on the boards, and Riot Aotus posted a thread to post about any bugs you find!


"TL;DR - Missions has been updated for PBE with the capability to grant RP. The “PBE Blue Essence Bonus” mission will be replaced with “PBE RP Bonus” mission on March 19, 2019 around 1PM PDT. 
Three months ago, we posted an update on PBE RP and BE Granting. At that time, our wallet tech did not allow us to mass grant RP because of recent updated security. 
We have been working to find a way to grant RP in PBE that creates a very low burden on our teams to implement, and works within the security constraints of our wallet systems. Our current solution is a daily mission that grants 3000 RP for playing a game. 
To ensure that PBE testers have access to the content for testing, we’ll be permanently be replacing the “PBE Blue Essence Bonus” with a mission called “PBE RP Bonus” starting March 19, 2019 at 1PM PDT. The “PBE RP Bonus” mission will grant 3000 RP for playing a game, available daily. The First Win of the Day mission that grants BE will not be changed. 
As part of this effort, we are undoing the special BE pricing in PBE. All content in the store will be set to live prices over the course of the next weeks. Also, new content will not have special pricing. This includes: 
  • All champions
  • All upcoming and recently released skins
  • All skins for champions getting a champion update
  • All chroma"
  • The fourth and final issue of Ashe: Warmother is now available on the Universe!


To round out this red post collection, here are a few reminders on current promotions or limited time events!

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