Today, it’s back to Champions for A Look Back. This next champion may be an angel to some, but for others she’s fallen out of favor. That’s right, today we’re looking at Morgana, the Fallen Angel.
These days, Morgana’s a somewhat bursty mage, whose Dark Bindings can make for some shrunken sphincter moments when trying to avoid getting caught out. What you may not know about Dark Binding, however, is that it was originally a damage over time ability. In many of her first iterations, Morgana’s core ability was a rather unappealing DoT.
Of course, in her early days, Morgana’s passive was also much different. She used to have some bonus HP Regen, because she “empathized with the pain of those around her” — rather than being the sinister dark angel that siphoned the souls of those she tormented.
Shortly before I joined beta, Morgana’s Black Shield received a remake to become a Magic absorbing shield (I’m unfortunately not sure of the specifics from before this point. Please forgive me!). This iteration of Black Shield was, for me, the most rage-inducing ability in the game.
Black Shield used to make the target immune to ALL magical effects (not just crowd control) until the shield was popped through magic damage. The shield would last up to 12 seconds at rank 5. Throughout Beta, when the Shield was cast on a target, it would dispel any debuff or crowd control effect already on a target. Not only was it a shield that made a target unable to be CCed, it was also able to be cast reactively onto a target that had already been stunned to save them from certain doom.
Black Shield’s unparalleled utility was a large part of what made Morgana a must pick/must ban for the Pre-Release tournament hosted by CouchAthletics. Former PMS team member and former Riot employee Rinoa helped We Carry Roku to the finals on the back of her Morgana play.
It wasn’t until after release that the ability got the nerf it so rightly deserved, removing its ability to dispel debuffs. A few weeks later, Morgana received another nerf through a sort of bug fix which made it so that cleansing the tether of Soul Shackles no longer forced an instant stun onto the cleanser. These nerfs forced Morgana to go MIA from games for quite some time. In the following April, she got some buffs to help bring her back into favor.
Her auto-attack range was brought up to 400 from 350 to make it safer to last-hit with her in lane (for comparison, today it is 425). She was given a slight attack speed buff, though she still remained at the absolute bottom of the barrel for base attack speed, and her mana costs were brought more in line. Her damages were nerfed slightly, but her Tormented Soil was given its current functionality of shredding magic resist for every second a target stood on the AoE.
In the following patches, Morgana’s passive was finally changed to its current state of granting Spell Vamp, and her Dark Binding gained all of its damage up front, rather than over the duration of the snare. Additionally, around this time, Riot introduced one of the first community Skins to make it into the game — Exiled Morgana.
As Morgana rose back to fairly powerful status, Riot hit her with the nerf bat once again. They attacked the hitbox size of Dark Binding, the AP ratios of her Shield and her ult, and then turned to attack Black Shield’s utility once more. This time around, they removed the ability for Black Shield to block any and all debuffs, which included armor/MR reduction, vision-granting abilities, and even Akali’s Marks of the Assassin. Black Shield became the much more tame beast it is today — a pre-emptive CC blocking shield.
Since then, Morgana has mostly only seen much smaller scale buffs and nerfs, with nudges up or down to her AP Ratios and mana costs. She isn’t unheard of in the professional scene; Curse Gaming’s Nyjacky made a name for himself on the back of his Morgana play, and still will bring her out from time to time.
It’s uncertain what the future holds for the Fallen Angel, but one thing is for certain, compared to her old self with the overwhelmingly powerful Black Shield, it’s safe to say her current form is more or less caught in Soul Shackles, hoping to have her true power released once more.
I hope you enjoyed this week’s A Look Back at Morgana, the Fallen Angel. Follow me on Twitter @TiberiusAudley for random puns during LCS or OGN matches.