Red Post Collection: Ask Riot: I Want More Bans, Race to the Top Interview, & More

Posted on at 1:31 PM by Aznbeat
Today's red post collection includes this week's Ask Riot covering bans, bot lane diversity and more, plus an interview with the first to TFT Challenger in Set 4, more LoR reveals, & more!
Continue reading for more information!

Table of Contents


Quick Gameplay Thoughts: February 26th

Here's Riot Scruffy's quick gameplay thoughts for February 26th:
"One of our goals with preseason's item changes was to increase the strategic options and choices available. The changes have settled a bit and we’ve followed up on the most pressing issues, so we're sharing a rundown on every class to see where we've achieved our goals and where we still need to improve. 
For mythic items, our goal is that “no champion chooses the same mythic in 75%+ of games.” The percent is a bit arbitrary, but we feel it represents a champion having viable options to think about each game. You might assume it'd be "each champion chooses each of their mythics 33% of the time", but we think that’s unrealistic and in some ways a worse experience. Having a most common pick is fine as long as other options are the right pick frequently enough. We don't think we'll see 100% of champions meet this goal, but we'll always try to move toward it as we iterate and improve the game. 
In patch 11.3, 88% of champions hit the goal, which we're very excited about. This is a dramatic increase from historical levels: In 10.22 (the patch before preseason), only ~20% of champions would have been successful. 
NOTE ON THE GRAPHS: Our data tool only uses about a dozen colors so we had to recolor double-ups. Only items with labeled pickrates (5%+) are guaranteed to be the right color, more than enough for a mythic diversity snapshot, but if you use the graphs as deep-dives the unlabeled bars may be misleading. 
Some champs have lower total mythic pickrates because they don't complete a mythic every game. This typically happens when they build a legendary or two first, and games end before they finish a mythic. 
Marksmen 
21 hits, 3 misses. This is one of the classes with richest choice options, with many champs seeing significant pickrate on 3 or more mythics. 
Don't sleep on: Kraken Slayer MF is very good into tankier “front to back” team comps.

AD Assassin 
9 hits, 1 miss. Duskblade is clearly the most appealing option even though it's not actually the most powerful in all cases. Even then, only Kha'Zix is hardbound to it, though Nocturne, Pyke, and Qiyana are close to the line as well. 
Don't sleep on: Both Prowler's Claw and Eclipse are strong options for most of these champs, especially in the right situations.
AP Assassin and Fighters 
15 hits, 3 misses. There’s a pretty good balance between Rocketbelt and Night Harvester for most AP Assassins, and the few that can dip into mage items have even more choices. 
Riftmaker fills a very strong niche for fighters and sustained damage dealers, but could potentially be widened a bit to provide an off-build for more champs. 
Don't sleep on: Night Harvester Ekko is comparable and often better than Rocketbelt. Also Rocketbelt is quite good on Diana Jungle.
Mages 
27 hits, 6 misses. This is the class we think is farthest off. Even though only six are hardbound, many are close to it. Primarily this comes from two causes:
  1. Everfrost is underdelivering on power or appeal and is almost never used. 11.4's buffs should help, and we'll reevaluate after if we need to do deeper work.
  2. Liandry's/Luden’s have some of the more “kit synergistic” effects among mythics, which leads to some champs favoring them a bit too strongly. They're both great items with strong appeal, so our solution space is likely more about creating competing options rather than removing what's currently working.
Don't sleep on: Other than the obvious “Everfrost just got buffed,” Liandry’s is legit on Ahri, Annie, Orianna, and Vel’koz.
Fighter 
31 hits, 5 misses. In terms of strategic choices, we’re pretty happy with how the fighter mythics turned out. Multiple items with clear reasons and situations to pick are exactly the “right choice in the right game” dynamic we wanted. 
A few Juggernauts like Garen and Darius are a bit too confined to Stridebreaker, so there may be some small work to do on this issue down the road. 
Don't sleep on: Stridebreaker Aatrox and Fiora. Makes sense considering how important positioning is for them.

Tank 
24 hits, 0 misses. At the start of preseason, farming and support Tanks were in the worst spots in terms of item diversity. In particular, Sunfire was the “generic damage” option while also having the most generically usable mythic passive (Ability Haste). This made it a dominant choice that worked in every situation. 
Now, Tanks are the only class with no hardbinding. We were able to move from only 50% to 100% of our goal with both balance changes and some light reworks of the tank mythics to give them more clear and viable niches. 
Don't sleep on: Chemtank and Frostfire are way better than people think on Sejuani, Nunu, Zac, Malphite, Amumu.
Enchanter 
10 hits, 1 miss. Enchanters show a strange trend where Moonstone Renewer, Imperial Mandate, Shurelya’s Battlesong, and Locket of the Iron Solari are all broadly viable in terms of power. Despite that, players gravitate heavily toward Moonstone and Mandate even when Locket and Battlesong are just as powerful for them. 
Don't sleep on: Locket across the board, this item is killer into bursty teams.
Legendaries 
Legendary items require a different approach, but the high level is still the same: Each legendary slot should offer strategy and choice depending on the game state. 
We look at factors like pick rate, win rate, pick order, and others to determine which Legendaries are over and underperforming. One particularly useful method is to see which items dominate the second item slot. 
Here are the most and least purchased legendaries. Many recent changes have targeted strong (Zhonya’s) and weak (Silvermere, Cosmic Drive, Serpent’s Fang) outliers to widen the range of options.

Hopefully this deep dive was interesting and helps you all understand our approach and future goals for the item system. Thanks again for playing League with us. Stay safe out there."

 

Ask Riot: I Want More Bans 

Here's this week's Ask Riot - "Bot lane diversity, bans in Champion Select, and the delicious flavor of health pots." 

"Welcome to Ask Riot 
This week, we’re talking bans, pots, and bots. 
Also, please send us all your questions! Every question submitted brings Nami one swim closer to Moonstones. (This isn’t canon. My words have no power. 
Can you add more bans to champ select please? 
Bans are a valuable way for every player to have a choice and some control over stopping a particularly bad matchup or champion that they believe is too strong. Players sometimes (like right now!) ask if we could increase the numbers of bans in each game. When we look at the tradeoffs of going from 10 bans to say 20 (2 bans per person), it seems like we’d get more overall drawbacks than gains. Here’s how we’re thinking about it: 
Plus sides to increasing bans:
  • More agency and control over frustrating or particularly bad matchups
  • Small strategy increases: Building a sharp team comp and considering the counters in ban choices adds some depth to the pregame
Downsides to increasing bans:
  • Increased complexity and duration of champion select: We already have a fairly long and complex pregame, and we would rather get players into the game quicker with less possibility for restarts.
  • Reduced ability to play who you want: One of the direct tradeoffs between banning difficult or frustrating matchups is that the champ you wanted to play may get banned. This can be especially devastating for newer players who only feel comfortable on a small number of champions or players who main champions or classes who tend to be banned out more (ex: assassins).
  • Disastrous edge cases: Many of our positions and champion classes could be completely banned out with more bans. We think overall it would be bad for the game if all marksmen, enchanters, assassins, or tanks were unable to be played.
Back when we increased the number of bans from 6 to 10, we felt there was clear positive net value. Complexity of Champ Select actually went down, and we moved up to a sweet spot of “every player gets 1 ban.” It didn’t put any classes at risk of being totally banned out while still increasing the overall level of player choice.

Returning to the question, increasing the number of bans in League today feels more heavily weighted towards the negatives. But like everything, we will continue to reevaluate and our opinion may change in the future. 
Riot Scruffy, Game Design Director

What does a health pot taste like? Is it even ingested? Champs seem to drink them instantly whether in battle or on their way to lane. 
From an in-world, Runeterran perspective, I suppose we actually know very little about what the League of Legends MOBA item might represent. I’m fairly sure there isn’t a factory somewhere churning out hundreds of identical potions and elixirs, and marketing them across the known world—and also, would a teenage human like Ekko respond in the same way to the same drink as an immortal god-warrior like Nasus, or a towering petricite statue like Galio? 
It would probably make sense that it’s more of a catch-all term for “anything that a person might consume, in order to heal themselves,” whether that’s magical or mundane. And as you pointed out, can we be sure that they drink it? Maybe they just rub it on their wounds or something… although that might take even longer… 
As you can probably tell, I’m trying to avoid saying that I don’t actually know! But whenever I’m getting my butt handed to me in a game of LoL (which is most of the time), I always imagine it tasting like a sweet fruit punch. 
The alternative would be that it tastes like the most revolting medicine you can think of—but that’s no fun for anyone. 
Riot Scathlocke, Narrative Editorial Director 
Why isn't botlane variety more of an issue, e.g., why do marksmen and only marksmen go bot? 
This is an interesting question where perception often has a tough time meeting reality. Some of the highest win rate champions in bot lane are not marksmen—like Swain, Karthus, and Heimderinger. Additionally, multiple mages’ highest win rates are in bot lane—like Veigar, Seraphine, and Ziggs. So the answer isn't just about systemic factors that influence who can go bot, but why it feels like only marksmen belong there. 
That of course begs the question, why do players feel that way? To a large extent, it’s social pressure. Marksmen in bot lane have been the overall dominating meta for years, so it can feel very daunting to go off-meta in Champion Select. On top of that, the duo lane requires both players to have a good understanding of each others’ moment-to-moment goals, and playing with unfamiliar champions adds to the difficulty. Finally, the statement itself is a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy—if people hear that only marksmen go bot, then they'll reinforce that social standard every time it’s challenged. 
Changes in Pro play definitely reshape this opinion, as the recent advent of Seraphine bot as a viable competitive strategy has increased her pick rate bot lane in solo queue as well. “Fasting Senna” has also proven that there are unorthodox bot lane picks that can succeed. I’m sure we’ll see more meta-breakers in the future. 
Jag, Lead Game Designer

Have a question? Head here, drop your question in the box, and ask away."

 

Race to the Top: What it Takes to Hit Challenger First

Check out this article from MinionsRPeople2 - "An interview with the first player to reach Challenger during the Festival of Beasts."

"For the first time in TFT history, Challenger unlocked with the release of the mid-set, Festival of Beasts. So when the mid-set patch dropped on January 21st, players raced to be the first to Challenger in their region. During the weeks leading up to the Festival of Beasts, players entered competitions such as Common.gg’s “Race to Challenger” to claim their spot as the first to the top. 
And because the first only happens once (a set), we took the time to ask the Festival of Beasts' first to Challenger in North America, Coralie, about her success in the race. 
MINIONSRPEOPLE2: Coralie, thanks for taking the time to chat with me, mind giving yourself an introduction and maybe telling us who your favorite Little Legend is? 
CORALIE: Sure! Hiya! I'm Coralie (she/her) and am the first player to hit Challenger in set 4.5! I've had a history of adapting to patches really quickly and finding the strongest comps. I decided to play to that advantage and put that to the test with the start of a new set. Right now, my favorite Little Legend is Umbra, probably because I used it the entire race and love the guitar riff.
A NUMBRA OF UMBRA CONCEPTS WE THUMBRA’D THROUGH BEFORE LANDING ON OUR FINAL VARIANTS. 
MINIONSRPEOPLE2: That guitar riff is pretty great. I know you’ve been playing TFT since the very beginning. What got you into TFT? 
CORALIE: When TFT came out I was immediately interested. I've been playing League of Legends since season three, so I was already invested in the champions. I've always liked theory crafting in League and playing off meta builds. I felt like TFT gave me that avenue to use my theory crafting skills in a universe that I enjoyed. TFT is also much more strategic and less mechanic intensive, which I prefer. 
MINIONSRPEOPLE2: So have you always played ranked on TFT? 
CORALIE: Yes, I played a decent amount of Normals at the start, and then I started playing Ranked just to see how I would do, and I did fairly well. And then I'd go back and play Normals with friends, and Normals wouldn't do it for me 'cause the game was too easy, in my opinion. I was winning with stuff I know should be losing, 'cause I think in Normals for somebody that's high skill, you can just win with any comp in the game, just straight up through econ. So I stopped playing Normals all together 'cause I didn't have fun with it and just decided to play Ranked. 
MINIONSRPEOPLE2: Have you always been a high rank? 
CORALIE: So in set 1... I think I finished D1, I didn't play a whole lot, and then every set after that, I finished or hit Masters, but I've increased my LP each set. 
MINIONSRPEOPLE2: And so set 4.5, was the first set that you hit Challenger,? 
CORALIE: It’s the first set I hit Grandmasters as well. 
MINIONSRPEOPLE2: Wow. So then set 4.5 rolls around and how many hours go by until you reach Challenger? 
CORALIE: 29 hours. 
MINIONSRPEOPLE2: Holy moly. How’d you do it? 
CORALIE: Well, I took off the day of work before, so I could actually get some sleep this time, 'cause I did race in set 4... It was a race from Iron to Masters, and at the end of the first day I think everyone finished around Plat or something, and I finished at the end of the day of rank 3. I never quite got to rank 1, I think I was 50 LP behind. But I was doing very well and I figured out the meta very quickly, but then I went to sleep that day because I came straight from work to playing, which ended up being like 36 hours without sleep. But for this set, I knew if I got some sleep, maybe I could do it. 
I put in a lot of work beforehand, theory crafting what comps I thought would be good, so I had several strategies ready. But I didn't actually play PBE until three days before it went live, when I knew there wouldn't be any more changes 'cause I didn't wanna get the wrong impression, or build bad habits. I did play in a bunch of in-houses that Robinsongz invited me to, and so I got some good practice in there and found what was good that way. 
MINIONSRPEOPLE2: So three days of playing on PBE, early theorycrafting, and sleep — and it’s those three things that helped you do the Challenger run in 29 hours? 
CORALIE: Pretty much. 
MINIONSRPEOPLE2: Can we dive deeper into the theorycrafting and strategy that you did right before the 29 hours? 
CORALIE: Yeah, so it was mostly during the first five games I was playing on live too, that I actually figured out what the strengths were of the comps I wanted to run. The two comps I noted that I thought were underrated, that could be strong, were Sivir and Rakan. But Rakan was hard to tell how strong he was, and I think Rakan was overlooked because most people just look at damage dealers—they're looking for who their carry will be. 
So while other people are looking for their big four-cost carries, all I wanted to do is play a strong level seven board, and consistently top four off of that.
A TWO COST WITH THE ABILITY TO DISARM, TAUNT, AND SHIELD HIMSELF AGAINST INCOMING DAMAGE. AND THAT’S NOT EVEN MENTIONING HIS CAPE!
MINIONSRPEOPLE2: Why’s that? 
CORALIE: Well, I noted in the Chosen changes at level six that you can no longer get a one-cost Chosen. So my thought was, every game at 3-2, I just roll it down, find a strong Chosen 'cause I'm basically guaranteed one, and I am loss streaking prior, so that I had 50, 60 gold to roll on 3-2 and guarantee a strong board that I could just coast a top four off of. 
And that's where my favorite comp comes from, because there were so many 2- and 3-cost Chosens that can work into that strategy. And you’re guaranteed a win streak once you make the transition because other players are still waiting to roll down at level eight. 
MINIONSRPEOPLE2: So you’re focused on having a strong mid-game board, is that what you work your theorycrafting around? 
CORALIE: Yeah, ‘cause I knew that's where people would probably be the weakest. Every game you're going to play mid game, but if you play your early game or mid game bad, your late game transition doesn't matter 'cause you've probably already lost. And I think late game transitions are a bit harder because as we see now, carries need pretty specific items and units around them to be successful. So while people are still trying to figure that out, you can just win with a mid-game board. 
And with that in mind, Elderwood is a perfect fit because at stage 3, rolling down, I could get a Chosen that I would keep to the end of the game in over 90% of my games, just because any Elderwood would work, or any Mage as well. You're not getting the one cost Chosens—you're getting just the two- and three-cost carries that you can just build the comp around, and you could afford to be greedy when you had a bunch of gold. 
And the other thing is because people have those weak mid-game boards, ever since they increased the damage in stage 3, you can really punish people, 'cause all of my wins were like five, six unit wins, so nobody else could afford to greed to eight, 'cause everyone was just losing too much health. 
MINIONSRPEOPLE2: Wow, so aside from looking at how strong Rakan was during the PBE days and the days before the 29-hour run, were there any other flags that popped up for you when one-tricking this Elderwood comp? 
CORALIE: I don't think so, because I didn't plan on one-tricking—I just found out quickly how overtuned Rakan was, along with how guaranteed it was to get a Chosen that fit my comp. And I kind of realized as I was hitting the 12-hour mark and still climbing that if I'm gonna go all the way, I could do it in 30-ish hours. But, at some point, I'm just not gonna be able to make the transitions late game because I’m going to be too tired in the roll downs and miss units. So instead of focusing on learning, all transitions and all pivots, I could master this one comp and variations of it
A CAPTURE OF THE TEAM COMP IN THE SECOND TO LAST GAME BEFORE CORALIE REACHED CHALLENGER.
MINIONSRPEOPLE2: So not just with your climb to Challenger, but also right now, what tips do you have for players who are adapting to a game that is continuously changing? 
CORALIE: I think there's two different thoughts on how you can be better at this game. For people like me, I know my biggest advantage is always on patch day. I normally climb on patch day, and then the second week of a patch, I normally don't climb anymore. If anything, I'll drop a bit or I'll just stay stagnant depending on how much I play. Cause I know I'm quick, I can read patch notes and I can pick stuff out that's strong or whatnot. I don't play on PBE, but I just follow what the notes are. I'm pretty good at that. 
And then, there's other people that are better once a comp is figured out. They're a lot better at copy pasting and they have good skills, they just play the comp better, and they climb that way as well, but I think the biggest advantage is definitely when you can find what's strong first. 
MINIONSRPEOPLE2: Okay, so we're in the future. The new set is upon us. What are you doing right before it? Are you changing any of your game plans and your meta strategies or are you gonna keep it the same? 
CORALIE: I think it depends on how the meta of this set ends, 'cause that was part of the reason why I was happy to play the aggressive early mid game and rolled down a lot at 3-2. ‘Cause a lot of people are just gonna default to their tendencies of what worked for them before, and I knew that I could punish that with a 3-2 power spike.A lot of my strategy will come into play based upon the end of this set, but also what set five looks like. So what will set 5 look like? 
MINIONSRPEOPLE2: Well... 
MINIONSRPEOPLE2: So TFT is a game that's always being solved as the devs are changing the rules. How would you change the rules for TFT right now? 
CORALIE: There's a lot of different ways to change the game, but at the same time, it's hard to... Because I don't have the ability to test what these changes would do, I can theorize what a lot would be... but at the end of the day they could just fail. And I think right now, the game’s in a spot where it's kind of hard to determine what the best path is. I like some of the testing that they're doing on PBE right now with Chosens... then the problem becomes finding the correct percentages of what costs show up. 
MINIONSRPEOPLE2: Switching gears a bit, but do you have any plans to enter the competitive scene or go pro? 
CORALIE: Not currently, I don't think I'm quite there yet. I'd have to play more consistently to stay up in Challenger, and for the most part, that’s a full-time job. Cause most at the top are streamers and play full-time and I don't have that time to put in... Since I hit Challenger my LP has been pretty stagnant, 'cause I went back to working... I haven't had the time to play. I've also had a few internet issues lately, so it's like I can't commit to keep up the climb, and I one-tricked to make it to Challenger as fast as possible. 
Now I have to find the time to learn the game in other ways, as it’s constantly changing. But that’s also how I enjoy playing it, being flexible and whatnot, 'cause I don't enjoy one-tricking all the time. So right now, no aspirations to actually go pro, but I will start looking at more stuff like the Giant Slayer fight nights, signing up for stuff like that, just small tournaments that are in the scene. 
But I did play in the set 3.5 TFT Guardian Angels League, which is an all-women’s group that I competed in. They had weekly tournaments, and I had a lot of fun competing there, but the bracket was smaller. The league is not currently active right now, but now that I'm confident in my skill, that I can compete with the best players and whatnot, I feel comfortable signing up for other tournaments and am not worried about just going 8th every game and not enjoying myself. 
MINIONSRPEOPLE2: Hey sometimes, 8th happens. 
CORALIE: Yeah, especially when you're playing a four-game tournament. There were tournaments in Guardian Angel that I played in where... I didn't make it out of qualifiers 'cause there was a two-game qualifier, most points advanced, and back then, when the openers were a lot more varied, you could just lose off your first few rounds. The openers now are more consistent, but some of those openers back then are like, alright, well, I'm probably playing for a fourth at best. 
MINIONSRPEOPLE2: Well let’s hope for more top fours in the future. For now, I would like to thank you for your great insights throughout our conversations. And finally, where can folks follow you, watch your stream, and get more TFT insights? 
CORALIE: Right now, I can be found at twitch.tv/colrux. I streamed the entire 29-hour climb there, which was the second time I've ever streamed. But I am looking to stream more now that I've had a lot of people reach out. My hours are limited ‘cause I am working a full-time job, but I’m tentatively looking at Thursday/Saturday nights. I always enjoy sharing my thought process during the climb and answering questions for all those that came out to support the stream! So feel free to stop on by!
UMBRAS GATHER TOGETHER TO UMBRACE THEIR INNER ROCK STAR AND CELEBRATE CORALIE’S ACHIEVEMENT."

 

Miscellaneous

"Patch 11.5 Preview ⬇"
  • CestDommage shared an item shop change coming soon:
[1] Coming this patch to the Item Shop: Starter Bundles! 
We've used the power of Data Science™️ to determine which item combinations are most commonly purchased first and built that into the recommendation system. 
Y'all are boring though, and mostly buy potions. (At least on WW) 
[2] And yes, it also works on ARAM, where folks continue to be boring, but mostly purchase boots instead of potions!
  • Here's a thread from Riot King Cobra on changes he wants to make to Aurelion Sol:
Hi, Aurelion Sol mains! For those of you that don't know me, I'm Riot King Cobra, a quality engineer on the Summoners Rift Team (the balance team), and an Aurelion Sol main myself. 
I want to better understand where Aurelion Sol players want his power to be distributed on his kit. I have my own thoughts on the topic and have had conversations with some of you on Discord about it as well, but I wanted to expand the reach of those conversations to everyone on this subreddit too! To that end, I'd like to ask a couple of questions. 
Aurelion Sol, in my opinion, has two primary gameplay identities: 
  • He's a roaming mage that excels at pressuring side lanes and generating a lead through macro pressure.
  • He's a battlemage mage that deals consistent AoE damage in teamfights.
Which of these identities do you feel should be Aurelion Sol's primary gameplay identity? 
How would you feel if we redistributed power from A Sol's E, his roaming tool, into sustained DPS - i.e., nerfing his E in some way to buff damage? 
To be 100% transparent and set expectations, this post does not guarantee that we will make balance changes to Aurelion Sol - it is explicitly intended to give me a better understanding of what Aurelion Sol players want out of the champion IF we were to make simple shifts in how the power is distributed in the kit. I am not really here to discuss mechanic changes, reworks, reverts, etc. so I'd like to keep discussion around those kinds of things to a minimum. 
Looking forward to hearing from ya! :)"

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