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As the title suggests, I don’t think Talon should have his silence removed. In this article, I’ll answer why I think this change isn’t solving the issue with Talon and will only kill him on the competitive scene.
What I’ll be discussing (PBE change, will hit Patch 4.17 this Tuesday):
Cutthroat [ E ]
- Now slows the target by 99% for 0.25 seconds
- No longer silences
I don’t agree with this systemic removal of silence from the game. Silence is the most lenient form of CC in League – it won’t kill you on its own like a long stun or slow, but it’s there to help a Champion who can’t function without denying mobility and counter-attacking.
Putting silence on a kit can end up either way. If the silence isn’t necessary, it’s bad design, because then it’s just badly telegraphed CC. But sometimes a Champion needs a silence on their kit to perform. One example would be Blitzcrank, whose ult allows him to chain his CC; given how buggy mobility works with Rocket Grab, your grabs would sometimes be pointless if you didn’t silence the target while charging the knock-up auto attack animation. A few other Champions, like Fiddlesticks and Malzahar, use silence to enhance the strengths of their kit rather than be a nuisance.
Where silence fails to be an engaging mechanic is when it’s tacked on and isn’t a defining part of a Champion’s kit. Great example is LeBlanc. LeBlanc is defined by two strengths: single target burst and mobility. That mobility expands into great harass in lane and roaming potential, safety in teamfights and creating picks. The silence was overkill on her kit and just made her needlessly frustrating to play against. All she needs to return on the scene is number buffs, some of which are coming in Patch 4.17. Even without the silence, LeBlanc’s mobility and pick potential gives players a reason to pick her over other assassins.
That likely won’t be the case with Talon, however.
Let’s face it: Talon’s getting nerfed because he got exposure. He’s had a silence and a plethora of bad match-ups since release and now he’ll only have the latter. Talon’s kit is problematic, but the removal of silence doesn’t fix that and makes him obsolete.
What Riot is trying to solve is Talon deleting players with no chance for them to fight back. What they’re really doing is scrapping the main reason Talon is picked while making the issue they have with him even worse. A fed Talon will 100-0 a Champion with no counterplay either way, only now his burst will be even higher due to Cutthroat applying the 10% bonus damage from his passive to his Q. The silence plays no part in that: it’s Talon’s binary kit which consists of point-and-clicks and wide AoEs.
If Talon is indeed becoming a problem, he needs a rework, not a nerf. His combo is too reliable and becomes a blob of numbers rather than an interactive burst players can learn to avoid, like Zed’s Shurikens or Fizz’s Chum the Waters.
Let’s say the new Talon decides to go mid. What match-up can he hope for? Ahri can now Charm him as he blinks to her, Xerath can stun and slow, Ziggs can immediately disengage with Satchel Charge, Syndra can stun and combo him with no damage in return… list goes on. Pretty much any mage can disengage from a Talon who can’t silence them for as long as his combo takes. And if he can’t do that, then he can’t do anything at all. He has huge mana issues, no poke versus any mid safe for Yasuo, very little resists and no escape prior to 6. Why would you take a crippled Talon over a Zed or a Syndra then? What purpose would he fill that they can’t? They can afford to sit back and play it safe; Talon can’t. Even Akali, who is as binary as Talon, offers lane safety on top of a reliable burst.
It doesn’t matter how amazing the slow on Cutthroat is – it’s changing the CC Talon needs to perform against his lane match-ups.
I’ll prefix this by saying I don’t think Talon needs nerfs. I’m just exploring Riot’s assumptions about him.
The meta has consistently favored champions who have one purpose less and less. A long time ago you could argue that assassins had a weak early game to compensate for their strong late game. That’s no longer the case. If you’re picking an assassin, he needs to have poke, huge utility or safety… or all of those. Talon fills a niche and that’s a dedicated all-in anti-mage assassin. He can’t do anything else with his current kit. He needs interactivity somewhere on his burst to become a viable pick without the silence.
In my opinion, his W and R work perfectly. Q is questionable, but it’s a simple spell and lets Talon build for more auto-attack damage, which diversifies assassin builds. The “rework” should be focused on his E: that’s the spell that allows his can-of-worms kit to function. If Talon needs to have his silence removed, his E should be a skillshot that can help him lane.
When we talk about assassins, we tend to grossly exaggerate their balance. We bring a handful of examples where X assassin got really fed and killed someone before they could Flash. What about the other times, when an assassin was denied in lane and was literally a dead weight for the team? That’s why assassins are so much more dynamic than, say, long-range mages or bruisers: it’s because they bring a risk-reward level to the game. Assassins are supposed to benefit more than any other role from snowballing and should, respectively, suffer more than any other role for falling behind. If you take away the reward stage of playing a risky assassin, then it becomes a pointless team role.
The Talon games at this year’s OGN Regionals, when SKT T1 K squared off against Samsung White, are a perfect example of how wildly Talon’s success in a match can swing. Faker picks him and gets soloed in lane repeatedly by PawN’s Jayce, leaving the best player in the world without any team impact. Then PawN picks him against Faker’s Kassadin, feeds off the great match-up and proceeds to steamroll SKT. You have, in a single Best-of-5, an example of Talon’s extreme highs and lows.
When Riot refer to Talon’s silence as “lacking counterplay”, they point to an imaginary scenario where Talon is getting uncontested picks left-and-right. But how did Talon get to that point? He risked going against a bad match-up or was a counter-pick, therefore he deserved the outcome of that match. You can’t solve one extreme by exacerbating another, meaning you can’t fix Talon’s certain burst by killing his laning.
Nothing to see here, just Faker on Talon being 1v1d.
We’re seeing the return of assassins, safe assassins, like Ahri, Syndra and Zed. They have many more tools than Talon, both in lane and teamfights. They’re still riskier picks compared to teamfight mages, but they’re nowhere near as limited in their options as Talon. They circumvent a lot of the issues that define Talon, like his lack of mobility and mana problems.
Talon either needs to be defined by his point-and-click reliable burst or, preferably, by a more flexible kit. With Cutthroat slowing targets, he will always remain in the shadow of Zed.
With just the silence removal and nothing to compensate for it, Talon will effectively become obsolete. He’ll never exit the lane with enough gold to assassinate players who can now fight back. Since he’s going all-in every time, he’ll need to be building like a bruiser, only he has no bruiser stats and his base damage is horrible. Naturally, he’ll be forgotten, because he brings nothing to the table that teams would want.
The easiest archetype in LoL to nerf is the assassin. Assassins are always in the spotlight in Solo Queue where communication is lacking. They’re designed to kill targets fast, which creates a very vocal response when they’re doing it well. But they also make the game dynamic and when they’re gone you see hypercarries dominate in dragged out matches that no one can end on his own. Late-game mages can already stall most games and removing one of their counters from the meta is trading one problem for another. Don’t kill off Talon, Riot.