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Quinn currently has a 73 winrate

Quinn Banner

Repertoir New PortraitShe’s too strong. We’ll nerf her early game through some base AD and some Q nerfs, and then she should be in a better spot. I had some stuff submitted on Wednesday to the build that goes to PBE, but it looks like we didn’t ship to PBE on Wednesday due to the holiday week. Expect to see some stuff show up there on the next PBE build.

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Have you thought about tweaking how her passive scales with crits

Repertoir New PortraitYes, but I’m not sure what the right call is on that yet.

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What do you think happened to Quinn between patches 5 22 and 5 23

Repertoir New PortraitQ is dealing too much damage for the utility it provides, or it is providing too much utility for the damage it deals (or both).

Harrier is a bit stronger around levels 3-6 before she’s backed and bought any AD (because it now has a base damage that is scaling with her level rather than being all AD dependent).

Some other stuff that may be contributing:

  • She’s really good against Illaoi
  • Not having the option to rush Homeguards (which was fun, and many people were doing) may actually have been a buff because players are buying more combat-effectiveness in their early items.

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Why did you give Quinn her blind back

Repertoir New PortraitSo that in a balanced state she does not need to be snowballing incessantly in order to be useful for her team. That isn’t to say she’s balanced on this patch; she most certainly isn’t.

In a balanced state, she’ll be able to hit a good Q on a mage or marksmen to help her team win a fight, rather than having to have all her value loaded into her R and raw damage.

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Do youve any plans for Ezreal

Repertoir New PortraitEzreal feels like he fell a bit short of what we expected to see from him in the 5.22 preseason patch. We should look over him along with some others like Ashe, Sivir, and Twitch before the preseason ends. For him specifically, we nerfed some stuff to make room for the improved Q cooldown reducing effect as a precautionary measure, but it may not have been necessary.

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Follow Up Banner

Repertoir New PortraitWe expected him to be fine, and he’s honestly not super far off. He tends to sit at a lower-than-average win rate when considered balanced by us and most players. has him at a 48.5% win rate over the last week in Korea, where he has always been and continues to be a very popular pick, so that seems like decent evidence that he’s not horribly far off. I don’t think he requires much more than a slight adjustment, really.

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Can we please get some utility on Ezreals W back

Repertoir New PortraitIt is sad, and we’re not happy with it either. If we had the right low-cost approach (resources seem to mostly be allocated things at the moment), there may be something we could do. Of course there are things we could do, but it’s more a matter of finding a good long-lasting approach.

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Why is Veterans Scars being nerfed so hard on the PBE  from to flat HP

Repertoir New PortraitI’m not in charge of these changes, but one thing to keep in mind here is that changes to the early game power of something have a far greater effect than changes at all other points in the game. It’s why reducing someone’s base HP by 40 or base AD by 3 can result in substantial performance hits to champions.

I imagine this change is intentionally aimed at keeping it powerful in the early game (45 base HP is significant power, as noted above) without it scaling well into the late game. I do believe most the rest of the Resolve tree tends to scale very well into the late game.

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This nerf will make the midgame for tanky champions worse

Repertoir New PortraitVeteran’s Scars’ placement in the Resolve tree does make it accessible to more than just tank-types that are going down to Resolve keystones.

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Could tanks then also get a better secondary option than Veterans Scars

Repertoir New PortraitThat seems like a good solution if there is currently nothing attractive in the other trees.

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Why nerf the effectiveness of the tank tree so other classes can dip into it

Repertoir New PortraitIf we wanted trees to belong to only one class/archetype of champion, they would be 30 points deep instead of 18 so that you had to invest all your points in that tree in order to get to the keystones.

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FOLLOWUP Mordekaiser Update

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Statikk New PortraitHey all,

We’re going to be trying out methods of making our internal design reviews player-facing. These reviews are mostly done on major champion releases, updates, and systems tuning that we roll out. We may dig into our archives for recently released champions as well.

These reviews will probably not be very ‘polished’ in their presentation, rather, they’re meant to be a way of showing how we examine our work. By looking back at our original goals and then examining what’s currently working (or not working) in the present day, we can be more transparent about followup changes while also being able to discuss what ‘good’ looks like.

This is very much an experimental process, but hopefully it proves valuable in the long run. Our first trial is going to be… Mordekaiser.


  • Solidify Mordekaiser in the Juggernaut space (low mobility, high close-range threat)
  • Offer a different non-Marksman duo lane experience
  • Add new strategic meaning to Dragon

What’s Working

  • Strengths / Weaknesses profile aligns with Juggernaut space
  • Provides a different bot lane experience and has unique ally synergies
  • Dragon creates unique and memorable moments


  • Extremely early / mid game dominant – lacks true, exponential late game scaling
    • Both Morde and Dragon follow this power curve
  • Too difficult to interact with in lane, due to sustain on top of sustain
  • High AP ratios (especially on R) still leading to Morde being potentially too bursty
  • Q damage ramping is extreme and readability is poor – leads to weird “what happened?” moments on Q3 hits
  • Tankiness is extremely inconsistent (unlike other Juggernauts) due to Passive’s scaling with direct damage output – increases snowball dependence
  • Dragon / pet controls are still clunky
  • Experience bonus passive may not be the optimal solution – it is effective and functional, but low in satisfaction and hard to understand

Next Steps

  • Lower sustain early, better damage scaling late
  • Dragon needs more late game relevance and potentially less early game power
  • Flatten Q damage out (more on 1, less on 3) while still preserving the 3rd hit as a big, high moment
  • Increase the importance of effectively utilizing Passive / E to survive in lane and fights

Hopefully this gives you guys a bit more insight into our current thinking on Morde and helps explain the direction we’re moving him in with the recent patch.

Feel free to chime in with any thoughts, questions, or concerns.

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Why havent you mentioned solo lane Mordekaiser in your post

Statikk New PortraitThis is a good point, definitely an oversight on our part.

I have personal opinions on this, but I don’t want to misrepresent the entire team’s analysis and design direction for Solo Morde.

I’ll try to get some analysis and thoughts back to you guys on this topic after the upcoming break.

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Its difficult to build Morde as a bruiser given the current AP itemization

Statikk New PortraitThis is an open question. In development, we didn’t think that Morde would continue to be so reliant on AP itemization. We envisioned him having access to the new Juggernaut items in addition to the hybrid AP / AD items.

What do you WANT to build when you play Mordekaiser? I think this would give us a better idea of where to push his itemization incentives.

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Follow Up Banner

Statikk New PortraitIf AP itemization is what Morde should be buying, I really like the idea of hybrid defensive / AP items being his mainstay (like you stated above – Rylai’s, Liandry’s, Abyssal, Zhonya’s make sense).

I think it’s a lot trickier when Morde’s optimal builds make him a glass cannon – so I’m pretty personally weary of pushing him into items like Nashor’s or Deathcap.

Would a build like Rylai’s + Gunblade + Tank items make sense for Morde?

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Why not nerf his AP ratios and give his

Statikk New PortraitI think more importantly than nerfing the AP build, we want to provide alternate build paths that allow Morde to truly live out the Juggernaut fantasy.

I can talk to the Live team / CertainlyT about the base stats situation.

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How about changing Mordekaisers shield so it decays slower

Statikk New PortraitWell if we made this change we would probably have to reduce how fast it generates as well, otherwise that would be a pretty significant buff especially in the lane phase.

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So your plan is to make the Ghost Dragons HP and damage scale with his ult ranks

Statikk New PortraitWell we’re not married to this exact solution, but overall we feel like an early / mid-game Dragon can be pretty overwhelming to deal with. As the game goes on though, the Dragon Ghost eventually just melts to the exponential late game damage scaling. We think this mostly has to do with survivability tuning.

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Why was Swain nerfed on the PBE

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Meddler Final Portrait We’ve felt Swain’s been borderline too strong for a long time, but his low play and ban rate have been a deciding factor in leaving him as is and keeping an eye on him. We’re now seeing him perform really well post preseason changes, so feel we need to take some power off him. Current thinking (still going through testing, so not a locked change yet), is that as a sustained damage, drain mage-tank, that CC’s the best strength to hit, hence the change to Nevermove so it’s got a lower duration at lower ranks.

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When was the ratio on Master Yi

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Meddler Final PortraitLooks like it got changed during the rework. I’d assume it was part of the balancing sweep that happened in the last month or so before the rework’s release and documentation was missed.

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Whats the context for the Ziggs changes on the PBE

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Meddler Final PortraitWe feel Ziggs is in a weak spot at the moment, and has been for a bit. We’re not looking to go back to the days of endless wave stalling though, so we’re adding power to places where it’s more anti champion/objective than anti lane minion (sweet spot on ult, tower damage from passive).

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Why not give Ziggs a different AA animation when attacking towers

Meddler Final PortraitSounds like a really good idea. Will bring that up if we’re doing some animation work on Ziggs at some point we could bundle that in with.

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Whats with the Skarner nerfs on the PBE

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Repertoir New PortraitFrom what I understand, the team just wanted to try out a few different avenues as to how we want to nerf Skarner. Though it won’t show up on the PBE over the holiday weekend, I believe the plan is to go with a pared down version of these nerfs for final changes.

It seems worth noting here that it can be difficult to really try more than one thing out at a time in an effort to land on the correct change when it comes to nerfs and buffs, because we tend to get large reactions from players when we do so. I’m not saying that reaction isn’t justified (since we don’t have the greatest history of being fully transparent on every change you see on the PBE), but I do think that’s what is going on in this case.

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Why is he being nerfed in the first place

Repertoir New PortraitWe think he’s too strong. Incredibly overpowered? No. But slightly too strong, hence going with a small set of nerfs. You’re free to disagree with that assessment; that was my first reaction too. That said, this is a character that is around a 54% win rate, with an experienced player win rate that appears to easily break 60%, so it’s not unreasonable to assess him as overtuned.

Skarner does have a low play rate, so yes, he can probably be balanced resting north of a 50% win rate. These changes aren’t intended to (nor do I believe they will) be an enormous power hit, just a small power trim.

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Skarner already has a low win rate the ult nerf will completely gut him

Repertoir New PortraitFirst of all, you could hardly call a nerf to his ultimate “taking a dump on him,” so please don’t blow things out of proportion.

As to trying to address a low play rate, there is an assumption here that we would like him to be a popular champion, or at least more popular than he is now. It’s unlikely that Skarner will ever be popular, given the theme, fantasy, and kit of the character.

His theme and fantasy aren’t bad, just niche. And his kit just doesn’t really have the best gameplay built into it, and it never really has. Keep in mind, when I mention good gameplay, I don’t mean that the kit has never been and will never be fun; it’s more that his moment-to-moment power has always been very stat checky. We’d have a lot of work to wholly fix that, and though we tried to chip at it with the Juggernauts update, it would be disingenuous of me to say that it was fixed. He’s now more strategically interesting insofar as he thinks about and tries to set up where he fights you, but it’s still not particularly interesting how he fights you when he does.

For what it’s worth, this isn’t an isolated Skarner case. It’s pretty consistent with many of the melee guys out there, especially the ones that we made 3-4 years ago.

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Will you end up nerfing Skarners spires or other areas of his kit

Repertoir New PortraitWe still think the spires should be important to his success, but there’s also an argument to be made for him having too many eggs in one basket, so to speak. For now, I believe we’re sticking with the ult AD ratio and leaving the spire strength intact.

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What are your thoughts on Yasuo at the moment

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Repertoir New PortraitYasuo is likely too strong, though it’s hard to say by how much. Honestly, and I don’t expect this to be a popular opinion, he’s probably just more frustrating than he is actually overpowered.

This could be me not remembering correctly, but I was under the impression both Brand and DFT were getting nerfs on the PBE.

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If Yasuos frustrating but not too strong shouldnt he be reworked

Repertoir New PortraitMaybe. It depends how frustrating a champion should be. I think there’s an argument to be made that if a champion isn’t frustrating in one way or another, it’s probably not very compelling/unique/interesting, though of course that isn’t to say we should intentionally make frustrating champions.

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Follow Up Banner

Repertoir New PortraitYeah, Yasuo feels great to play because he often has so much agency over how his lane goes. Unfortunately, that often seems to come at the expense of his opponents’ agency, so it may be fair to say that’s what’s so frustrating about him.

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By agency in lane do you mean his opportunities for outplays

Repertoir New PortraitBasically, yes. It’s about how much control someone has over their fate. If a character is 100% in control of how a lane goes if played well, then that implies it doesn’t even matter what their opponent does to defeat them, and it sucks to be that opponent and know that I can play as well as I want and it doesn’t even matter all that much.


It’s just a barrier based on how well the person can play their champion. These champions are commonly ones that people claim are overloaded. Yasuo, Lee Sin, Nidalee (to use a champion that I was responsible for) have all been guilty of this, and this is some of why we see them needing to be balanced around lower than 50% win rates; because when you actually play things perfectly on champions like these, you leave little room for your opponent to do much of anything.

Unfortunately, these champions are also commonly very popular because they have that feeling of being able to do anything with them, so it does someone beg the question of whether we should be trying to make more champions like that (that players feel like they are in full control of their destiny), or ones with clearer weaknesses for opponents to exploit (at the expense of some of that control).

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Why was Hecarims unit collision ignore moved from his passive to

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Repertoir New PortraitI don’t have any deep insight into the particular Hecarim changes on the PBE, but I imagine it has to do with Hecarim’s perma unit collision avoidance being somewhat fundamentally flawed given the kit he has. He just gets near you and then spams circles of damage onto you. If he is stronger and you don’t have a tool to get away, he will win.

On the one hand, yes, he’s always been this way, so the need for this particular change on this very patch is probably no greater than on any other patch. On the other hand, if he’s deemed too powerful at the moment by the balance team (which seems to be the case), it seems like a good place to trim power.

For what it’s worth, permanently ignoring unit collision is probably not something we should just put on champion kits, and I wouldn’t really be opposed to us taking this from Fizz and Kassadin as well, even if it meant we had to compensate them with power elsewhere. It’s just not that exciting for how powerful it is. I don’t think anyone selects any of these champions primarily because they are excited about ignoring unit collision. As any of these champions, I’d rather have just about any of my spells be a bit stronger rather than always avoiding unit collision.

Even if someone was picking these champions solely for these reasons, this to me is more an argument that pathing/collision should be more tolerable on average than having players choose champions that ignore the rule.

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Why not just remove unit collision in general

Repertoir New PortraitI’m not really the guy to make that call, but I will say I’d prefer that we do that over having champions that selectively ignore it on a case by case basis.

Unit collision between champions is actually something I do think is good, and I do think it’s nice that my minions may cause small reroutes for enemies that are ahead of me, so unit collision isn’t all bad. However, I do understand how frustrating and inconsistent it has felt on Live lately, and that’s not ideal either.

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Do you have any plans for Rengar

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Repertoir New PortraitI hope we have some plans for him, but I’d need to look into it next week.

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Meddler on various ingame mechanics

Why does…

Garen still have a silence

Fizzs ult increase damage taken

Veigar ult scale with other person ap

Udyr have Phoenix stance

Ahri charm not increase damage taken anymore

What’s the purpose of urgots ult

Enemies knocked back into bards magical journey not go through it

Meddler Final PortraitWe want to remove silences from highly mobile, high burst champions since those are the cases that leave very little counterplay if played correctly. Garen’s not very mobile, so we feel it’s appropriate he has a silence still.

Fizz ult has a damage amp on it so that more of Fizz’s burst combo is dependent on a long cooldown. That makes his choice of when he goes all in, and on who, more significant than if he can repeatedly use most of his full burst combo.

Veigar’s ult scales with the opponent’s AP so that Veigar has somewhat different target and match up preferences than other similar champions. It does add a bit more champion select counter feeling than we tend to prefer though, and can get drowned out by the sheer amount of AP he himself builds up, so there’s some debate over how appropriate a mechanic that is.

Phoenix is there to offer Udyr an AOE option should he wish it, and to add some nuance to his damage pattern, particularly while jungle clearing.

The damage amp was removed from Ahri’s E to shift her towards more of a mage pattern and less of a pick into kill model (contrast with Fizz being somewhat longer fight times, lack of untargetability, ranged versus melee etc).

Urgot’s a bit of a mess, and his ult doesn’t fit particularly well with the rest of his kit. It can lead to some cool plays, whenever we do an Urgot rework one of our goals will be to give him a kit with less conflicting notes to it.

While knocking enemies through Magical Journey would be cool it’s both quite a lot of power, in a really team dependent way, and likely to lead to a lot of unintended displacements. Bard’s already got a pretty hard to master playstyle and a fair bit of unreliability, so wouldn’t want to double down further on those elements.

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Fan Artist Feature Shilin

Hey Summoners! In today’s feature we’ll be hearing from Shilin, a talented community artist from Canada who enjoys telling stories and has her own original comic series! Continue reading to learn more about her awesome art and process.

You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Twitchto see even more of her work!

If you know someone that you’d like to recommend for a future Fan Artist Feature, please let us know here.


How did you get started creating League of Legends fan art?

My first league piece was actually the current Sona classic splash art that I had the honour of doing! I didn’t play league at the time because I was terrified of any PVP environment, but eventually my now girlfriend babysat me into the game through playing bots and learning about the champions’ stories, which inspired me to do a bunch of drawings as gifts for her of her favourites (Riven, Vayne). I also got a bunch of my own favourites after learning more about the champion lores, and out came all the fan art that I did!


What’s been your favorite piece to create, and why?

My favourite and most natural piece to create is the Nami/MF piece I did, Shipwreck. The composition came to me out of nowhere and the entire rest of the process was just putting what’s in my head onto the canvas, rather than battling the drawing to try to make things work out. I enjoyed thinking about the interaction between the two in the picture a lot, even more than the process of drawing itself. Did Nami strike at a time when MF is most vulnerable? Did Nami save MF from impending fiery doom and just savoring the moment before returning MF to the land? Thinking is the most fun part of drawing!


Do you have a dream project you’d like to work on?

I am extremely lucky because I am already working on my dream project–an original series called Carciphona (at I don’t know how, but the public has given me enough generous support for me to be able to do this work of my own full time, write/draw/publish the story at my own pace, without the confines of a publisher’s deadlines and writing/art direction restriction, or fear of the series being dropped because it’s not mainstream or successful enough. Even to this day I feel baffled just putting this down in words; being able to do what you love for a living to this extent is like heaven for every creative, and I am so privileged to be there already.

Who’s your inspiration? Do you have any favorite League content creators?

In most cases, my inspiration lies in “what” rather than “who”. I feel most frequently inspired by things I see–even mundane things down the streets, stories I hear–be it a masterwork of fiction or the rundown of a friend’s day, news, experiences… There is so much to think about in everything that happens and there is always something to express through art.


But that is not to say fellow artists are not inspiring as well! I look up to many professional and peer artists alike and find motivation in seeing the fruits of their hardwork and gems of their genius. Some of my favourite League fan artists are:

Suqling – bask in her masterful storytelling and gorgeous art right before she strikes your vitals with her savage puns.
2gold – for her charming characters and beautiful colours!
Kaisinel – from monsters to people, kaisinel makes everything look SO GOOD.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with the community?

Please allow me a moment to convince you how awesome it would be to have a League MMO. Wouldn’t it be amazing to be able to explore all of the breathtaking lore and world building work Riot has put in!? MAYBE IF WE SPAM ENOUGH RITO PLS, WE CAN CHANGE DESTINY??? :D


Last but not least, some awesome videos sharing Shilin’s painting process!

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If you have any questions, feel free to ask me at @NoL_Chefo or e-mail me at


QA 19 11 Banner

Riot’s Preseason Q&A on the forums has now concluded. Follow the links below for all the responses from the balance team:



Preseason QA

Meddler Final PortraitWe’re about wrapping up now, we’ll have a finalized rundown later this week, but thanks for participating! We’ll probably close up comments by end of tonight.

Preseason Q&A

Welcome to the preseason Q&A, where myself and the design team will be fielding major questions you might have about the current preseason. Before we get to that, I wanted to write up some early first impressions we’ve had so far. There are certainly some outliers we want to address before we can get a deeper understanding, but initial thoughts might quell some concerns. A few weeks from now we’ll have a more high-level overview.

In the meantime…

Preseason so far

It’ll take a while for things to shake down, but I’ll dig into some first thoughts. If, after reading this, there’s anything not mentioned you’d like to get our thoughts on, we’ll be answering questions between 1pm-3pm (with some less regular posting throughout the rest of the day too (where time permits) between other work).

General Game Elements

  • Masteries

Overall, we’re pretty happy with how the new masteries are going, with some exceptions. The first of those is that there are some that are definitely too strong. The most notable of those is Warlord’s Bloodlust, and we’ll be hotfixing that today to work on champions only, rather than against all targets. Might also need to make some changes so that this mastery’s just not just dramatically more effective on Trynd/Yasuo than other champs (or make changes to Trynd/Yasuo if needs be). Other likely outliers are Deathfire Touch (probably too strong on DoT champs, potentially too weak on others) and some of the Resolve tree on health stacking tanks.

On the other hand there are also some champions that aren’t sufficiently well served by the current masteries. Starting soon (potentially patch 5.24) we’ll start adding a few extra masteries in to flesh out the trees a bit more, probably beginning with the Tier 1 Cunning masteries, since that juncture currently doesn’t feel like it offers many champs a good choice.

  • Minion Blocking

We made some under the hood changes to make minion blocking more predictable and less random in 5.22, but it looks like we also made minions feel too large. We’ll be looking to adjust this to make it feel “right” again, starting with some tuning to how minion blocking’s calculated in 5.23.

  • The Jungle

We’re seeing certain champions struggle more than they should at present. We’ve got some buffs to Hunter’s Talisman and Refillable Potion coming as a result to help out some early clears. We’re also seeing some magic damage dealing junglers in particular have issues, so are lowering Magic Resistance on some monsters to help them specifically. If you’re currently struggling in the jungle, you may want to try Krugs (or Gromp) > double buffs, as that seems to be a fairly stable approach.

As far as Rift Herald goes, we’re seeing it do some cool stuff so far and it seems to be generating the sort of teamwork and reward for controlling the top part of the river we’d hoped. That said, the Herald is looking like it’s a bit too punishing, so we’re reducing its damage output somewhat while trying to keep it tanky. Hopefully this reduces the need to recall after taking it for many champions.

  • Turrets

We’re currently seeing turrets die too easily. Some of that’s assumedly due to the reduction in effective health tower health in 5.22, some of it’s also going to be due to a bug that’s removing their intended growth in Armor/MR over time. We’ll be fixing that bug in 5.23, and increasing outer tower health a bit, then looking at whether towers are still falling too fast or not.


  • Marksmen

Graves is significantly too strong, Kog’maw definitely too weak. We’ll be nerfing and buffing those two respectively in today’s hotfix, with Graves losing some burst and early harass power from Q (damage and mana cost nerfs) and a bit of base MS. Kog by contrast’s getting a little bit of early AD and a better base attack speed. In both cases we suspect we’ll need to make further adjustments as well. We’d rather chip at some of the problem quickly and then reassess than try and do everything at once without sufficient observation time.

Current thinking is that a few other marksmen probably also need adjustments, though just in the form of regular balance changes rather than a hotfix. For 5.23 we’re looking at cutting a bit of power from Lucian and MF, both of whom seem too dominant, and we’ll be fixing a couple of small bugs on Ashe’s Q that should help her out a bit. We’re also looking at Quinn to try and shift some of her power from raw damage back into utility, though aren’t sure yet whether we’ll have changes we’re happy with for 5.23 or not.

  • Assassins

Physical damage assassins seem to be in a rough spot after the removal of Brutalizer and changes to Last Whisper. In the short term, we’re looking to give some of them a bit of love through buffs to their kits (Kha’zix/Zed), longer term we’ll also want to find some other solutions as well (potentially assassin focused items, or item changes).

  • Other Champion Changes

It’s not preseason specific, but we’ve also got some significant follow up work on Mordekaiser coming soon. Statikk should be covering that in a separate thread in the Dev Corner within the next couple of days, with some context on what we felt worked and what didn’t from the Morde rework in 5.16, plus thoughts on what our next steps are and why when it comes to addressing issues Morde has.

The next patch will also include a general sizing pass on a large number of champions, with model sizes of around 40 champions changes by between -10% and +10%. The goal there’s to align champion size better with each champion’s role (tanks should look bigger and tougher, squishies like ADCs smaller and more…squishy) while at the same time removing some visual discrepancies (Lucian’s not intended be 7 foot plus tall for example).

Other Stuff

  • Items

Statikk Shiv’s looking too generically strong. We’ll be hitting its damage as a result, while increasing its damage against minions to try and focus it more as a waveclear item.

Rageblade is just all-around way too strong. As a first step we’ll be increasing its cost a few hundred gold, but I imagine we’ll need to look at further power cuts at some point as well.

  • Clean Up, Bug Fixes

We’ve got a number of start of game things to sync up (bunch of stuff that needs to be shifted forwards up to 15s to match the earlier game start, like Bard Chime spawns, Skarner Crystals, Smite charges etc), plus a number of bug fixes to things that changed in 5.22.

  • Game Duration

Game duration, and snowballiness, has been one of the things we’ve spent the most time looking at and talking about since the preseason launch. So far it’s looking like the average game is a couple of minutes faster. There are some changes coming in 5.23 that will likely impact that, in particular a change to Homeguard that gives a modified version to every player after 20 minutes, somewhat tougher turrets (see above), and changes to minion strength that cause them to push more if their team is winning (giving winning teams opportunities to siege/losing teams opportunities to farm and catch up).

In terms of direction, two of the big things we’re looking at are the concerns that games are ending too often before late game and that a single mistake mid game may be deciding things too much, too often. We’re also looking at whether games are too stompy in general. Some increase in stompiness is expected for the first patch of the preseason, as people experiment with new things, that’s something that should fall off fairly quickly though. If not, we’ll need to make some follow up changes.

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Have surrenders become more common this Preseason

Meddler Final PortraitYes, we’ve seen a noticeable increase in surrendering around the 20 minute mark post 5.22. That’s pretty standard after a major patch like this, given some champions tend to be out of line and people are experimenting with new stuff, so games can feel decided pretty early on. It’s something we’d expect to drop off noticeably over the next couple of patches though as we address major issues and people figure out what works and what doesn’t post changes. If that doesn’t happen we’ll need to dig into what else is going on.

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What other Champion groups are on your radar

Meddler Final PortraitWe’ve just started talking about which class (or sub class) to look at next. We’re currently trending towards immobile mages. Given the need for preseason followup though it’ll also be a little while before the team’s ready to start heavy work on whichever class we go with.

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Would you say Preseason buffed Armor stackers like Taric too much Taric Banner Single

Meddler Final PortraitYeah, we’re also seeing Malphite and Rammus, other champions who are rewarded for stacking armor, do well right now given the number of AD damage dealers being played. I don’t think we’ll make any changes to those champs individually until we’ve got the bigger picture balanced, it seems reasonable to believe that they’re just reflecting a temporary meta state rather than themselves generally overpowered.

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Which Riot employees are responsible for the Preseason patch

Asyrite Final PortraitThere were 4 teams responsible for the in game changes:
Game Systems – things like Masteries, Items, minions etc
Live Gameplay – Rift Herald, ongoing balance tuning
Champion Update – Marksman
Playtest – Sanity checks on content before it goes Live

It’s really a bigger team effort though, and the collaboration between teams is pretty huge.

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Follow Up Banner

Meddler Final PortraitAlso worth calling out that we had help from individuals on various other teams as well. Some of the champion team helped out with masteries, couple of folks from the team that worked on the Bilgewater event helped with Rift Herald’s model etc.

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What is the average game length that Riot aims for

Meddler Final PortraitOur goal with preseason was to keep games around the same average length as they currently were (around 33 minutes on average). Games in 5.22 look like they’re a couple of minutes shorter so far, at around 31 minutes, that’s likely to change though in 5.23 as we get in changes that either missed the cutoff for 5.22 or were bugged (minion changes, tower scaling defense respectively).

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How do you intend to fix the Champion kits and builds that Preseason broke

Asyrite Final PortraitHey man! We’re going to be watching, reading, listening, and playing a lot over the next few weeks to get a feel for where the new lay of the land is. Right now win rates are still being highly impacted by people learning new optimized item builds, masteries, abilities etc. Vayne as an example has an~8% delta in win rate between her most frequent build and her highest common win rate build (referencing in this case since that’s available to everyone). If you look at the why, it’s because a subset players are still rushing BORK, which looks like it’s proving to no longer be the optimal build path. Just pulling that as one example. Over the next few weeks, as players discover those optimal builds, I’m expecting we’ll see the standard deviation for individual champ win rates get smaller, time will definitely tell though!

I know you referenced Kha’zix in particular, and he’s definitely taken a hit this preseason (to me it feels like it’s actually more about the removal of Trailblazer as opposed to Tiamat passive, but that’s just my $0.02). We’re investigating how we can give him a bit of love, but want to wait for things to settle before getting more aggressive with changes. Also note I used to play Kha’zix a fair bit so I feel your pain :).

Hope this at least touches on some of your concerns

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How about putting a short CD on Quinns ult and removing the cast time Quinn Banner

Repertoir New PortraitYes! I’ve given quite a bit of thought to this actually. One of the things that I think is important to get right here is how to balance what feels good for Quinn versus what feels fair for the opponent. Though I don’t have specific changes for 5.23 to make on this front, I’m keeping an eye on Quinn (her ult especially) to see what kind of adjustments need to be made over the course of the next few patches.

What I’m currently feeling is that it’s too easy/annoying to get knocked out of R or the channel (I think minions cancelling the channel, for example, may be out of hand), and that a cooldown or different restriction on the R may be appropriate in the long term in mitigating some of those more earflicky interactions associated with her R at the moment.

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Why was Quinn heavily reworked in the first place

Repertoir New PortraitI think on the Quinn update generally, we actually didn’t see her as “heavily reworked.” What we intended for her was primarily the changes to her ultimate, and then supporting changes to make that work well. Admittedly, we missed the mark on the proper supporting changes, hence our reaction to re-institute a utility-focused Q in 5.23, but we do think that the changes to her ultimate open up a lot of doors for her both strategically and tactically. That said, I know there are old Quinn mains that won’t agree with that.

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Do you think Quinns current ult may make her a problem in pro play

Repertoir New PortraitIt’s certainly a possibility that we’ll be looking out for. If she ever becomes popular, players will be quick to pick it up and let us know.

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Quinns current Vault E makes it impossible to proc W and chase targets

Repertoir New PortraitFollowing that conversation, I made some adjustments to where E places you when you cast from max range in hopes to address this issue a bit. I don’t currently think her chase is too bad at the moment, but that isn’t to say I couldn’t be convinced otherwise.

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Why is Caitlyn allowed to stack her passive on towers again

Caitlyn Banner

CertainlyT New PortraitThis was done on purpose. Caitlyn is a (perhaps the) premiere siege marksman. She should feel good about attacking towers. We added this mechanic back in on Caitlyn because it made sense that she wouldn’t feel a tension between shooting towers and minions.

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Do you plan on buffing weaker ADCs to the level of the stronger ones

CertainlyT New PortraitI’ll go into some elements of our approach. As an individual contributor to the marksmen updates, it will only reflect my perspective, but hopefully it will be helpful:

1) Winrate data is heavily skewed at the moment due to three factors.
First, a couple of champions are way too strong (e.g., Graves). They will naturally lower the win rate of all other marksmen.
Second, champions with new mechanics ought to go down in win rate as people learn to use them. This includes itemization changes (e.g., we are confused as to why players aren’t trying Essence Reaver on Sivir).
Third, not every champion will have a 50% win rate at balance. For example, as we differentiate marksmen, you’ll have to pick them in the right circumstances – If you pick Vayne on a team that desperately needs wave clear, you’ll probably be worse off than if you’d picked Sivir. Champs that have well defined niches will tend to be more powerful than their win rate suggests.

2) We aren’t sure where every champion sits. Obviously we have our own internal assessments of champion power, but they actually differ markedly from a lot of players’ perspectives. Unless we take the time to carefully watch and play the champions on Live for a while, we risk just playing musical chairs, shifting a new set of marksmen from apparently weak to actually overpowered. Further, we can’t just balance champs. We need to listen to you, the player base, about how you want to use champs in order to get the _right _changes in place. Technically, we could just balance any champ just through changing their base HP and HP per level, but it wouldn’t lead to a satisfying experience.

3) That is all very nebulous. So here are some specific answers.
We’re hotfixing Graves and Kog’Maw today (nerf and buff respectively). I’d look some obvious changes in 5.23 and a substantial amount of fine tuning in 5.24.
Caitlyn’s Q is indeed too weak. Even if we had to nerf other elements of her, it would be worth buffing the ability to let her actually reach towers and make skillfully avoiding it matter when playing against. I believe duo bot Twitch is very powerful and that players who are routinely failing with him are probably not good at the champion or are fixated on a strategy that is now less effective (teamfight AoE) as opposed to opportunistic assassination. Even the data supports this. His win rate is almost 50% when played in his best role. He’s not doing well in the jungle, and we’ll have to assess how much we can support him there.
* I don’t have a good sense for Sivir and Ashe’s balance right now, so perhaps someone else can reply to that. Anecdotally, they feel effective given their utility.

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Do you ve plans for Kha Zix Khazix Single Banner

Asyrite Final PortraitHaving played a decent bit of Kha’zix both in normals and ranked over the years, he’s definitely someone that was hurt more than we’d like due to the preseason changes (looking at you Trailblazer). While we want to avoid any heavy handedness right now due to the number of things that have changed, there’s definitely room to give him a bit of love, especially in regards to his early game.

I played him last night in order to get a better feel on Live, and after Twitch accidentally took my large Krug early which kinda boned me (hit lvl 2 at 3:55), I still managed to do alright. Like I said though, definitely want to show him some love in the near future, as well as potentially look at something more long term.

Hope that helps!

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Whats the balance teams stance on the Grievous Wounds debuff

Meddler Final PortraitWe see GW as a useful safety valve on healing/high sustain champions, and one that’s probably best accessed in game in response to an enemy getting out of control (e.g. a really fed Swain), rather than accessed via champ select before you know how needed it’ll be. GW on individual kits has the potential to lead to hard counter situations, and while we do want to reward good choices in champ select we’d like to avoid games that feel predecided before the loading screen.

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Only Teemo has Blind now do you think Blind is a good mechanic

Teemo Single Banner

Meddler Final PortraitWe don’t have any plans to remove blind from Teemo and I’d imagine will at some point look to use it on at least one other champion. Would want to improve the visual/audio feedback for the blinded player to help them play around the effect before doing so though. The important thing would be putting it on a champion where it doesn’t leave the enemy without sufficient means to respond. Teemo’s really range limited, doesn’t burst people down generally and lacks other survivability tools when in the thick of the fight. Quinn by contrast had much longer range on her blind, has a powerful mid fight reposition and is adept at forcing fights with targets of her choice.

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Thoughts on Twitch

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Repertoir New Portrait I’m excited that the changes for 5.22 did not seem to make him too powerful, and given that, I’d like to keep pushing that direction in an upcoming patch if there’s an opportunity. An example of something we tested internally but didn’t end up shipping (for power concerns) was that the reset on Ambush had more Movement Speed and dropped into stealth instantly instead of with the 1.5 second fade time. This isn’t necessarily exactly what we’d do with him moving forward, but making that added mechanic feel right is probably the basic idea.

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Why do mages have such a hard time efficiently hitting 40

Pwyff Final PortraitI know Jag had a very specific reason as to why he kept Herald a one-person buff, so I’ll poke him to answer here.

For the CDR topic, I wonder if the ideal state of Mages is that they are guaranteed to hit CDR cap without much tradeoff or if they can be balanced in a way that investing into CDR is a meaningful decision (ie: giving up MR and maybe even Sorc Boots to double down on cooldowns for the additional utility). A world where a mage decides between high-damage, higher-cooldown abilities vs. lower-damage, utility-focused, lower-cooldown abilities seems like an interesting decision if done well.

In other words, right now there’s a large mentality shift of “I will always hit the CDR cap” to “I need to think try very hard to hit the CDR cap.” Additionally, since outside of the keystone masteries there hasn’t been anything more powerful injected into Mages, it might feel like a power decrease but we have a lot of noise and data we’ll need to parse through to see if this is actually true. Are mages weak? Are mages properly calibrated against their core stats (CDR, AP, mana regen)? Honestly speaking I want to see more before just saying “if you raise gold costs on AP and make it more difficult to hit the CDR cap, of course mages are going to be weak,” – it’s hard to assess that without seeing how the ecosystem of the game actually plays out, not to mention the strength of Deathfire Touch.


Additional note on other champions getting more ‘free’ access to CDR than mages. These kind of comparisons are really weird to me, because CDR is one of those stats that’s very closely tied to the balance of the kit using it. CDR on marksmen tends to be very singular in purpose – damage – and often dependent on proper positioning to use well. Most Mage abilities tend to be fight-starters or fight-stoppers, meaning they have the ability to dramatically change the landscape or flow of a fight on a single ability cast. CDR to them is far more valuable and, in their natural item builds, needs to be ‘priced’ accordingly.

If stats were just generically priced without accounting for the stat affinities of the classes purchasing them, I think we’d get some really, really weird scenarios.

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ADCs can deal AA damage yet they reach the CDR cap easier than mages

Pwyff Final PortraitI edited in an answer regarding that, but I do feel like we’re in a bit of a vacuum comparison. A mage using abilities on cooldown can often stop or outright deny a champion threat. A marksman can do the same via a steady stream of damage but we’re basically talking variance in power. Mages have high variance – high highs, low lows (no abilities to cast), while Marksmen have less highs but more consistent output. In a balanced world, these two types of damage output would be well balanced against each other, but Mages also get the addition of utility, which needs to be considered as well.

I suppose this is a long way of saying damage isn’t the only thing to compare and Mages vs. Marksmen can’t really be boiled down to individual stat comparisons and who gets access to what. A reverse example (not totally comparable) might be if Marksmen were demanding total AD scaling on Trinity Force procs, similar to Lich Bane.

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Follow Up Banner

Pwyff Final PortraitI think I’m saying that Mages have access to a lot more breadth of power than Marksmen and their itemization currently reflects that as well. If a Mage were to become a magic-focused Marksman I think it’d be easier to balance them, but then you’d be effectively choosing between the two. All a marksman has – all that they are identified by – is their pure damage with key positioning. A mage can be that, but they can also be the one who picks off fleeing champs, or controls the battlefield, or catches and blows up a stray squishy.

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Why can AD casters stack CDR so effectively and AP carries cant

Pwyff Final PortraitThe question is also what they do with those abilities. AD Casters get access to CDR very easy, but they can’t transform that CDR into an ability that starts and ends a teamfight on a single cast. An Ahri charm at late game can potentially mean a squishy target is dead without using any ability. An Ezreal Q cast on cooldown does not.

Really, really important distinction.

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Why did so many AP items get a cost increase in the Preseason patch

Meddler Final PortraitWe increased item costs generally in preseason while modifying gold income and item premiums. We have seen a lot of early feedback on AP mages feeling punished by that, from the looks of it so far though some are struggling and some aren’t however, so we’ll need to be more tactical about changes than just straight AP item buffs across the board (Heimer and jungle Nid look too weak for example, Brand and Swain too strong).

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Have you considered adding new items for AP carries

Meddler Final PortraitI expect we’ll look at AP items in the coming year. Immobile mages in particular are one of the classes we’re thinking of tackling next and some item adjustments would likely be part of that process as with Marksmen/Juggernauts.

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Are you considering nerfing Essence Reaver

Lucian Single Banner

Meddler Final PortraitWe are. In particular it’s getting champions to the CDR cap too early in the game. We’ll be looking at some changes, probably for 5.24, to make some of that CDR come later in the game.

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How would you make assassins  mages invest points in Cunning and not Ferocity

Meddler Final PortraitWe’ll be fleshing out the Tier 1 and Tier 2 keystones in Cunning, which should help somewhat there. For some champions though Ferocity’s probably always going to be more appealing (DoT mages especially will be really strongly drawn to DFT). Assassins by contrast are meant to be well served by the Cunning tree, so if they’re not getting decent performance from it we might need to make the Tier 3 keystones a bit stronger for them.

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Any thoughts on buffing Cull

Meddler Final PortraitIt’s looking like it’ll probably need some form of buff yeah.

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Why do Deathfire Touch and Thunderlords decree have such similar effects

Meddler Final PortraitWe’d like DFT to be the sustained damage option and Thunderlord’s the burst damage one. Both should have reasonable scaling though, hence the ratios – we’re not looking to make one of them a non item dependent option.

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Does Fervor of Battle work with Lifesteal

Meddler Final PortraitFervor of Battle’s proc damage, so doesn’t work with lifesteal, can’t crit etc.

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Can we get some Poppy teasers

Poppy Single Banner

Meddler Final PortraitQuite soon (almost certainly next rework of any size to go out).

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Will there be Champion Mastery levels added to ARAM or other modes

CertainlyT New PortraitI’m not sure our designers who work on that are in this Q and A, so I’ll answer for them! I would be somewhat opposed to this on the grounds that ARAM doesn’t test a wide variety of skills and because the random mode is about encouraging you to branch out, not go deep on a small number of champions. However, I think it would be cool if there were ways to express your mastery of ARAM as such — for example, ones more related to the map or champion classes.

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Is Thresh considered Melee or Range Thresh Single Banner

Meddler Final PortraitThresh is meant to be a ranged champion. When we updated how we tag champions as melee or ranged he got missed for some reason (not sure why myself sorry). That’ll be fixed in the next patch.

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If you have any questions, feel free to ask me at @NoL_Chefo or e-mail me at


QA New Champ Select banner

[ Note ] You can find a preview of the new Champion Select on the PBE HERE.



Lyte Final PortraitHey all,

Lyte here. Last week we shared the new champ select for the first time. For the next couple of hours, the design team behind the feature will be here to answer all your champ select questions.

Here’s who’s hanging out with me:

Daniel “ryedan” Balmert, Kam “boourns” Fung, and Eric “Socrates” Kenna. Come ask us anything you want about the design, the visuals, or experience of the new champ select!

EDIT ::: Team’s going to grab some lunch! May drop by here and there to answer some remaining questions. Thanks for stopping by!

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Do you think the visual changes will distract from functionality testing

Lyte Final PortraitWe’re planning some deep dives and behind the scenes looks at the building of the new Champ Select, and our initial testing was actually with these ugly (sorry boourns!) prototypes that just had grey boxes and words. This is called UX lab testing in the games industry, and allows design teams to focus feedback and testing on the actual functional experience of the system and not be distracted by the polish of fancy visuals or animations. It’s only until pretty far in the project until you start adding in the stuff that makes the system look like magic.

The Champ Select quotes being played was actually a spontaneous idea by RiotBahamut. He was tinkering with the Champ Select and thought it would be cool, and the team instantly loved how it felt. We’re aware there could be some trolling or spammy experiences, but we think the overall value would be worthwhile. In fact, we’d love to add some more easter eggs to the system…

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Wont showing what Champ you want to play before bans encourage trolling

Ryedan Final PortraitBans are important. In the live version of Draft, the captain has the opportunity to use 3 bans to troll his teammates. Each ban used to “troll” allies means that some dangerous, high value champ is left on the table. The distribution of bans makes it so when you DO have someone trolling, their power is contained to a single ban.

Also, you don’t have to declare a champion intent if you don’t want. Something I pitched to Lyte was having the 6 roles (Tank, Mage, Assassin, Fighter, Support, Marksman) available in the champion grid as an option instead of declaring a specific champion, so you could be like “We have a Fiddlesticks jungle and we have a Leona bot, I think I should play a fighter top to round out the comp, but I’m not sure which one.”

What do you guys think?

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Follow Up Banner

Lyte Final PortraitActually, we saw something pretty weird in our playtests with Distributed Bans and Pick Intent. Because every single player now has a powerful “choice” in Champ Select (whether it’s a ban, or the top 2 picks), it actually reduced trolling of Pick Intent. So basically, players were far less likely to ban a Pick Intent (unless they thought it was a S-tier champion or something) because they knew that if they pissed off their teammates, their teammates could reverse-troll them with their powerful choice.

If you’re super worried about trolling in Pick Intent either way, you can always let the timer run out and not choose any champs at all and display a blank helmet icon.

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It seems the new Champ Select will make it easier to distribute team roles

Socrates New PortraitOne of our goals with the new champ select was to formalize a lot of communication to make it easier to get on the same page with your team quickly. Ultimately we believe this will let players focus on strategy instead of just trying to figure out positions.

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When will the new Champ Select go live in EUW

Lyte Final PortraitWe’d like to do some pre-season testing on NA and TR first, and if things are going well, we’ll rapidly roll it out globally.

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Why do you do all your testing on NA

Lyte Final PortraitWe see this question a lot, so going to jump in even though it’s late in the thread. When we choose to test new systems and features, it has everything to do with timezone. Although some teams work in multiple offices around the world, 100% of our team works in the LA office which means we prefer to choose a test server that has a timezone that does NOTcompletely wreck our sleep schedules.

You generally want to turn on a new feature or system during off-peak hours, say 6 AM, and then monitor it for about 24 hours at a time. By choosing NA, we can basically wake up and sleep at an OK time which is far less exhausting for the team.

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Could you do a breakdown of how long every step of Champ Select will take

Socrates New PortraitI felt the same way with the old experience, Drafting can feel like it takes a long time and we definitely didn’t want to make it take longer. In our testing so far we’ve seen champ selects move slightly faster. The biggest change that impacts this is requiring champion selections to be locked in instead of it being possible to idle on a champ selection and have it auto lock at the end.

This is what it looks like from old to new:

Old Champ Select:

  • Ban Phase: 60s per ban (360s total)
  • Pick Phase: 60s per pick (360s total) *Remember, 2 players pick at once sometimes
  • Resolution/Trades Phase: 60s
  • Total: 780s potential cap

New Champ Select:

  • Position Assignment: ~4s
  • Planning Phase: ~35s
  • Ban Phase: 40s per ban (240s total)
  • Pick Phase: 40s per pick (400s total)
  • Resolution/Trades Phase: 40s
  • Total: 720s potential cap

The above is subject to changes based on testing.

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Will a lobby vote to kick players from Champ Select ever be implemented

Boourns New PortraitWe expect that the new champion select experience will greatly reduce these kinds of situations. We’re going to look at our metrics after release and see if there’s value in attacking the problem more.

That said, we don’t think vote kick is a great way to solve the problem. If we do work around negative champion select behavior it will be more around reporting that behavior after you dodge. Vote kick just has too many negative side effects (it may actually increase bullying of off-meta champion picks for example).

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Will we have the option of creating a custom pool of Champions

Ryedan Final PortraitIt’s always a cost vs benefit issue, but we’re willing to look at the benefit. Something we’ve kicked around is having your top X (5?) played champions stickied to the top of the champion grid (for easy access). We want to use something smart that doesn’t require management, otherwise it’s unlikely to get adopted (and therefore deliver any value) to many players. Item sets are great for power users, but we didn’t see as much use as we thought. It’s great for those couple of people that really use it, but we could have brought something much more useful to more players.

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Will we be able to show what Champion we want to play only to teammates

Boourns New PortraitThis is something we’re looking at adding, although I don’t know if it will be in the initial release. Personally I’d love to be able to bring the champion grid back up during picks and bans so I can convey up-to-date information to my team.

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So is it impossible now to wait the timer out without banning a Champion

Lyte Final PortraitNo, we’ve intentionally removed the ability to let the timer run out to lock in a Pick, or skip a Ban. When you’re in a team with strangers, skipping a ban is a confusing and frustrating experience for the rest of the team (and they often misunderstand it as the Captain being AFK). If you really want the challenge of skipping bans, grab 4 friends and join Dynamic Queue as a Premade of 5 and ban random champions.

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When will the new Champion Select go live

Lyte Final PortraitTo be honest, we’re not sure when we’re going to go live yet. We have some polish we’d like to do, maybe a new feature or two, and have one nasty bug we need to fix before the Ranked 2016 Season. The team would love to do another PBE test, and potentially a roll out to NA and TR before the Ranked 2016 Season begins to iron out any further kinks, but we’re working around the clock right now and it’s hard to predict when each of these pieces will finish.



Will people be able to see the Masteries of teammates in Champion Select

Lyte Final PortraitRight now, there are no plans to allow everyone to see your Champion Mastery in Champ Select. We may re-visit this in the future though, and would just have to balance out the negative behaviors that were created. For example, in a distant future when we have more than 5 levels of Champion Mastery, maybe we only show Champion Mastery only when you are Level 10 or higher–this is a significant investment, and something “cool” to show you’re a master with a champion.

However, Level 10 might be a lofty, challenging goal. If we decided to show, say Level 2 Champ Mastery or higher, it would create an immediate perception that if you WEREN’T showing Champ Mastery with a champ, that you shouldn’t play Ranked at all. We’re aware some players would love this type of “gate” on who you can play in Ranked, but it’s not something we’re going to consider today because there are more important issues to improve in Ranked Mode.

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Will we be able to choose and buy champion ward skins in the new Champ Select

Lyte Final PortraitYes! This is a feature we’re still working on, but didn’t finish by the first PBE release.

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Why did you choose the last three people to ban instead of the first three

Lyte Final Portraitboourns remembers the crazy testing we had to do with Distributed Bans. At the beginning, we actually had Players 1, 2, 3, get the bans, then Players 4 and 5 get 1st and 2nd pick. However, this was super confusing to players in the testing because they already had yearsof prior experience of picks “starting” from the top of the team. So, we swapped it the current format where Players 3, 4, 5 get the bans, then we “reset” into Pick Phase and start from the top. This was much clearer for current players of the game, so we stuck with it.

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Did you consider adding Summoner Icon Select to the new Champ Select

Lyte Final PortraitThis is a tricky situation. Your summoner icon isn’t really shown in champ select (unless you count the load screen). Let’s be honest – as your ally, I care more about what you’re playing than what your icon is in champ select.

Now, being able to choose icons, ward skins, skins, chromas, finishers etc. all together AFTER I’ve selected my champion is a feature set we’re considering.

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Will the new Champ Select replace Team Builder or will it be a separate queue

Lyte Final PortraitWhen we started this project, we always felt like this was the “end-game” of Team Builder. We’re actually considering closing down the old Team Builder queue, and slowly replacing many of the queues with this new Champ Select experience. So, the Ranked 2016 Season will just have this new Champ Select experience as its queue, and in the future, Normal Draft will just be this new Champ Select experience.

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Follow Up Banner

Lyte Final PortraitAll the testing so far has suggested that the new Champ Select is the best possible League experience, so we’re considering sunsetting the old Team Builder.

We’d also like to replace some of the other queue experiences (like Normal Draft and Ranked) with this new Champ Select experience.

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What steps are being taken against pre game negativity

Boourns New PortraitThe design of the new champion select experience is specifically aimed at reducing conflict in champion select, we think that setting the right environment up for cooperation and communication is the best safeguard against toxic champion select behavior. Your specific example is incredibly rare, even right now, and if it’s a pattern of behavior that player will already be punished by existing systems.

That said we have some designs in our backlog for reporting pre-game toxicity. We’re going to see how negative behavior in champion select looks after release and decide if it’s valuable to do something like pre-game reports (we’re hoping there will be so little it won’t be necessary).

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Why not let 5 people pick 5 bans instead of only giving 3 bans to 3 players

Ryedan Final PortraitOne other reason is because it would make it harder for fresh level 30s to transition into ranked. You need to own 10 (# players in game) + 6 (# of bans) champions. Newer players would be forced to unlock 20 total champions (instead of 16), which might deter more people from trying it.

That’s in addition to the other diversity reasons.

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Follow Up Banner

Isnt it a good thing to restrict Ranked to level 30players only

Ryedan Final PortraitThere’s no such thing as “not ready for ranked” as far as skill. The spectrum of Bronze to Challenger covers everyone. The reason we have the level 30 cap is to make sure you’re not playing against people who have access to raw stat advantages over you.

I don’t know what the plans are regarding increasing the ban count, but it’s a heavy issue. If you could ban 5 chess pieces, we’d have all pawns. On the flip side, zero bans means that the absolute best options will be picked 100% of the time, leading to stagnation in picks (first pick always gets queen).

You need to maintain a comfortable amount of bans that permits something powerful left on the board, while still allowing the player-base to deny commonly accepted “OP” picks. You need fewer bans than “must picks” in order for bans to mean anything, otherwise it’s just a false choice.

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So its possible that 5 strangers can be matched against 5 premades

Boourns New PortraitWe prioritize matching the same size groups against each other. It may happen that a premade 5 gets matched against solos, but it should be very rare based on our simulations using live data. We’ll know more when we look at real matches post release. If it’s happening too often we’ll take measures to make sure we’re getting fair matches.

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Is it possible to pass the ban to someone else or just skip a ban

Ryedan Final PortraitI like the idea in principal – both sides still get the same ban # and everyone is happy. However, I think this goes against one of our pillars when re-designing the champion select screen – Clarity on what’s happening now and who’s going next. If people can pass on bans, shuffle them down and move actions around, it gets hard for someone to understand what’s going on. For example, who gets your ban? how many seconds do you have to discard your ban? If a person thinks they aren’t banning then suddenly they are “granted” a ban, it might be weird.

If you don’t know who to ban or don’t care, ban Yorick. It will make Lyte mad because he likes to play him.

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Youre forcing one trick ponies in Ranked to climb using at least two roles

Lyte Final PortraitThis is a pretty common misunderstanding in Ranked play today. On average, players are only proficient at about 2.2 positions today. In fact, as you go higher in skill, you become more specialized in particular positions. However, we have some ideas to actually encourage players to master multiple positions beyond 2, and potentially reward players for truly being a master of all positions in League.

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How does the new system distribute players who picked the same roles

Boourns New PortraitIf you’re in a premade party the system prevents this. You must have party size + 1 unique positions selected. So if you’re duo you can’t go bot/supp, supp/bot. Instead you must have one more unique position.

If you’re soloing the system will prefer to give you your primary choice when possible.

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What if your pick order was based on the team role you picked

Boourns New PortraitWe wouldn’t do pick order based on your position because it would betray to the other team where each champion was going. This was something we looked at earlier, but didn’t do because part of the strategic fun of draft is being able to fake out the other team with a flex pick like lulu. By having assigned positions we already think it will be likely that you will get the champion you want even if you’re last pick. BTW last pick also has power because it allows you to counter-pick your lane matchup.

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Heres a suggestion can you let us communicate during Loading Screen

Boourns New PortraitRegarding loading screen chat: you’re not the only one who would love that feature! It’s difficult to do because, frankly, there’s not a lot loaded in the loading screen (including chat)! :D There are no shortage of people here who would love to see it happen, it just hasn’t so far.

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If you have any questions, feel free to ask me at @NoL_Chefo or e-mail me at


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Will skins in the future be delayed past their relevant event

KateyKhaos Final PortraitWe’ve stated that we’ve got some stuff planned for Snowdown. In a case like that, yes, skins would be held for that event. There will still be instances where you won’t see a champion skin for a bit due to them being a part of an event/group of skins that will be released.

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What’s the status of Shens rework

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Meddler Final PortraitIt’s high ish on our list of smaller reworks (smaller as in some gameplay changes, with visual/audio changes as needed to support those, rather than a full relaunch). Marksmen polish, bug fixing and followup, plus Poppy, are the champion update team’s big priorities at the moment though. Shen’s rework definitely won’t be this year, early next year’s looking like it could be feasible though.

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Do youve an ETA for when Akalis rework will be released

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Meddler Final PortraitWe don’t have a timeline for Akali at present. Could be a moderate time after Shen, could be a long time after.

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Why not tackle assassins after your Juggernaut Marksman updates

Meddler Final PortraitWe haven’t decided which class to tackle after marksmen. Assassins are definitely a possibility, but still just one of several options we’re talking about. If doing assassins we’d definitely want to sync an Akali rework with that of course.

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Do youve any plans for Talon

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Meddler Final PortraitIt’d be good to do some work on him someday, give him some more distinction from standard assassin tools, a more meaningful passive and better counterplay. No current plans for that though, that’ll likely wait until we tackle assassins at a group whenever that is.

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Whats happening with the Taric rework

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Meddler Final PortraitFor quite a long time we were blocked from working on Taric because we hadn’t found what we felt was the right way to update him without losing core parts of his character. A little while back we found a direction that we’re really happy with, so we’re now in a position where we can look at putting him into the pipeline.

Progress in terms of direction and goals basically, rather than progress in terms of producing the actual character for the game.

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Will the new Champion Select roll out to ARAM 3v3 and Dominion

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[ Note ] You can find an in-game preview of the new Champion Select HERE.

Lyte Final PortraitWe have to first finish the “Blind Pick” version of this experience, then we’ll figure out how we want to tackle unique maps.

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Four premades in SoloQ will have full control over the surrender vote

Lyte Final PortraitIt’s pretty easy to detect if 4:1 premades are surrendering too early, holding the 5th player hostage, so on and so forth. It’s also super easy to resolve, including things like forcing 4:1 premades to have unanimous votes to trigger a Surrender. At the end of the day, there’s way less toxicity to 4:1 situations than players are portraying right now.

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Will we ever get the chance to kick a player from Champion Select

Lyte Final PortraitThe new Champ Select should solve a lot of conflicts because of the system design and things like Pick Intent, Pick 2 Positions, and Distributed Bans. However, if there are still meaningful negative experiences in Champ Select, we’ve considered allowing players to queue dodge and “report” a player and supply a reason. If the reported player was being toxic, we could make sure there’s no queue dodge penalties. But, for us to do this feature there would need to be meaningful Champ Select toxicity, say greater than 5% of lobbies.

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Will you solve the issue of players trollbanning other peoples pick intents

Lyte Final PortraitIf a player wants to troll, they are going to find a way to do it whether Pick Intent exists or not.

We believe Pick Intent is still a net-positive feature, and provides more value than damage. What we did notice was that by introducing Distributed Bans, far less players trolled Pick Intent. Because nearly every player has a “powerful” choice in Champ Select (whether it’s a ban, or 1st/2nd pick), players are less likely to troll one another in the drafting process because that other player could counter you with something equally damaging.

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How do you plan to balance premade groups playing in high ELO queues

Lyte Final PortraitThere’s a weird misconception around high MMR queues.

We can’t predict exactly what will happen, but here’s a few scenarios:

1) High MMR players will group together with their high MMR friends, and we’ll get to watch some pretty crazy matches between players from different pro teams queuing together. This will be highly competitive and entertaining.

2) High MMR players will decide to all go solo, so it’ll be just like Solo/Duo Queue today except sometimes they’ll face off against premade teams from a lower skill tier.

High MMR players are already waiting in queues and being repeatedly matched with lower tier players, or placed with teams that have Duo Queues of lower skill. This already happens, and won’t be fixed with Dynamic Queues. It’s not really easy to fix the problem of “not enough high tier players” in a queue :P

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Why do the last three players in the new Champ Select get to ban

Lyte Final PortraitPlayer 1 and 2 get first and second pick, which we’ve seen are also “valuable” choices in Champ Select.

Whether we add more bans or not is a super complex topic that Ghostcrawler or Meddler have talked about before, so I don’t want to dig into it here again.

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What if a team with one Bronze Silver Gold Plat Diamond player queues

Lyte Final PortraitYou can’t even create that team because Tier Restrictions still exist in Dynamic Queues. Your team has to be within 2 tiers of each other.

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Will we be able to trade picks in the new Champ Select

Lyte Final PortraitYes, there’s still a Trade Phase in the new Champ Select.

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Can we just fill any team role

Lyte Final PortraitYou can do this! Just select “Fill” as your Primary position and queue up.

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What if I get countered or the Champions for the role I picked are banned

Lyte Final PortraitActually, just like in today’s Champ Select, if you really have to you can negotiate with your team to swap positions. Just like today, you could go, “Hey guys, I really can’t do well versus a Darius Top, anyone mind swapping positions with me?”

We’re not removing any functionality, you can still do this stuff today.

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Premade groups will ruin Solo Queue in Master Challenger ELOs

Lyte Final PortraitI’ll be honest, anyone that says they can predict how Dynamic Queues will shake out for high MMR players is just making a wild assumption at this time.

Even we can’t make a prediction about what will happen, but we can map out the scenarios. IF Dynamic Queues are dramatically destroying the experience for many players, we’ll know and we’ll figure out how to solve it. To say we should never try something because of a hypothetical scenario is being risk-averse. We have to be OK taking risks once in awhile if we want to keep pushing League’s potential.

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Will we be able to lock Champions to prevent them from being banned

Lyte Final PortraitWhen we introduced Pick Intent, it was critical that we also introduce Distributed Bans. Because every player has a “powerful” choice in Champ Select (either 1st/2nd pick, or a ban) we saw less trolling of Pick Intent because every player had some leverage over the other players. It’s a weird dynamic, but Distributed Bans were effective in reducing trolling. We do not intend on allowing players to “lock” something from being banned during Pick Intent because that could introduce far more damage than positive in the long run–imagine preventing a ban of an S-Tier champion that gets first picked by the opposing team. Chaos would ensue.

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Can we be allowed to report players during Champion Select

Lyte Final PortraitNot at this time. If there are still significant toxicity issues in Champ Select, we may introduce a feature to allow a player to dodge, and report a player and supply a reason for their dodge. With some machine learning magic, we could assess this report in real-time and remove any potential queue dodge penalties as well. But, this feature is pretty costly, so it’d have to be worth doing.

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Have you considered allowing players to queue for one role only

Lyte Final PortraitOne of the big criticisms of Team Builder Classic was queue times, so forcing everyone to choose at least 2 positions really, really improves queue times and ensures queue health. By allowing players to only select 1 position (even if they understand they are waiting longer to play that 1 position), it significantly influences the entire matchmaking ecosystem if only 20% of players choose 1 position only. To us, it’s not worth damaging the entire health of the queue to give players this amount of control.

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Why not group premades with premades rather than with solo players

Lyte Final PortraitThis pretty much already happens. We’ve made a few changes to the matchmaker so similar group comps are paired against each other. Premade 5s pair more with Premade 5s, before being paired with 4:1 or 3:2 for example. I’ll also note that really, the vast majority of players wanted Dynamic Queues, but of course Reddit is a pretty hardcore demographic and once a thread swings one direction, generally the opposition are not going to jump in to voice an opinion. Most players also don’t realize when they are in games with premades. Nearly 100% of Ranked Games has a Duo Queue today, but players only remember the games when Duo Queues were negative.

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Wont queues be just as long as with Team Builder if no one picks Support

Lyte Final PortraitActually, with the “Fill” position, we’re in a pretty good spot for position distributions. We’re also willing to incentivize the in-demand positions with some small bonuses from the future crafting system.

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Heroes of the Storm had groups in Solo Queue and the feature was removed

Lyte Final PortraitTo be clear, Blizzard’s reasons had to do with skill disparity and variance on teams.

We’ve added multiple matchmaking features that solve this problem including Tier Restrictions (you can’t queue with friends beyond a certain tier in skill). Also, CS:GO has a Dynamic Queue system that works pretty well, so you can’t just point to 1 game and say “it’s a bad idea because that game moved away from it.”

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Lyte Final PortraitWe’re also doing a lot of features like Clubs to help players find more friends to play with, and make more friends. We don’t have to do one or the other, we have to try many things!

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Why not split your feature into a Solo Queue and Small Group Queue

Lyte Final PortraitSplitting the queues into a Pure Solo and Group Queue would have all the queue health problems that we (and other studios) have faced before. When you have a smaller playerbase on a server like Turkey, both queues would be negative experiences. The more you segregate your playerbase, the worse the experience in each island.

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Why not add voice chat if youre trying to make League more teamoriented

Lyte Final PortraitWe’ve been doing a lot of research on voice chat and the impact it has on the game experience. We have some ideas for how we’d like to solve the negatives that voice chat has, but no teams are actively working on integrated voice chat for League. As you can tell with the 2016 Ranked changes, we are trying to make League more of a team sport, which does make voice comms more valuable.

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Skill ranking is irrelevant to how effective group matchmaking is

Lyte Final PortraitWhen players make statements like “Skill Ranking” means nothing, it might not actually reflect reality.

What does it mean for “Skill Ranking” to mean something? Technically, it means things like if I have Player A (1200 MMR) against Player B (1200 MMR) they will reliably win 50% of their matches against each other over 100s of games. It means things like if I have Player A (1240 MMR) against Player B (1200 MMR), Player A will win their matches 54% of the time if you’re using the basic Elo equation from Chess. Of course, this is a simplified model because most PvP games are team-based so there’s additional variables… but you get the point.

I don’t think players can concretely say that in CS:GO, the Dynamic Queue system is so bad that a significant number of matchups are erroneous and therefore Skill Rating means nothing. On average, a higher skill player will still beat a lower skill player. The question is, how consistently does this happen? If a higher skill player beats a lower skill player at a predictable % of the time, I think the system is working effectively. If a higher skill player should beat a lower skill player 60% of the time, but only beats them 40% of the time on average, something is broken.

I may have gotten a bit too into the math weeds here, but unless you can see the data like Valve (or like us), you can’t simply conclude that Skill Ratings mean nothing in Dynamic Queues. Could it become less accurate than before? Yes. However, if 30% more players enjoy Ranked, and Skill Rating means 2% less… is that a valuable tradeoff? Maybe. Until we try this out for a bit, we don’t know what those numbers will be and what the tradeoffs are, so it’s too early to make wild assumptions.

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Why do you think 41 queues will level out at 50 winrate for the solo player

Lyte Final PortraitWe’ve dug into examples like this many times before, and it’s generally because the Normal MMRs of the players don’t reflect their Ranked MMRs. This is a known problem that we have some fixes for called “Splashing.” Basically, as your Ranked MMR increases, we “splash” some points into the other queue MMRs to make sure they are all tied a bit closer. But, in practice this didn’t work too well because a lot of higher tier players mess around in Normals or only want to play casual in Normals with friends, so they DIDN’T want their Ranked MMR to affect other queues.

Long story short, it does look bad, but actually if you look at the matches holistically, you still have very close to a 50% win rate in those matches.

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Why not learn from Normal games how premade behavior affects queues

Lyte Final PortraitThis is exactly why we’d like to work in Normal Draft Queues first, because they are a close model of how a Dynamic Queue might work. We’re also testing “Ranked Queues” in NA and TR, to get an even closer model of how things might shake out.

We’ll know more soon, we just need players to give us a chance to try things before jumping up in arms and condemning it. We aren’t crazy, and we know this is risky–but, we want to try.

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How did you gather data that suggests most players want Dynamic Ranked

Lyte Final PortraitWe run random sample surveys across the entire global playerbase regularly, so we tend to get a nice representative response from all demographics–the hardcore, the average, the player that never visits forums, the player that visits Reddit 8x a day, etc.


The truth is, in every survey we’ve done, the majority of players were interested in Dynamic Queue. That doesn’t mean we just use that data point and force Dynamic Queue on everyone because we also saw that a non-trivial number of players were solo purists, and loved the idea of “true” Solo Queue and their experiences may get slightly worse because of Dynamic Queue. So, we assessed all the potential negatives that Dynamic Queue had, and implemented upgrades or new features that tried to address them. Did we succeed in making it overall a great experience for the vast majority of players? We don’t know yet. We need to try, collect data, learn, and iterate.

That’s how design is.

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I think the queue change will contribute to the communitys declining skill level

Lyte Final PortraitI don’t believe skill level required to be a top tier player has diminished over time. In fact, it’s increased over time.

1) When you look at Ranked data, most players are only proficient at 2 positions. 2.2, to be specific. There wasn’t really a time period in League history where players were proficient at all 5 positions. In the new Champ Select, you still have to master at least 2 positions to rank up effectively.

2) As the game has matured, the skill level required to compete has only steadily increased. There are more websites, guides, blogs, deep analysis on game mechanics than ever before which is improving education of players on game mastery. There is more infrastructure in eSports (for highschool, colleges, and pro) than ever before, and it’s greatly improving the ‘average’ skill level of top players. 4-5 years ago, there was no true understanding of ‘optimal’ ways to play the game, and you didn’t have to understand little nuances to be in the Top 500 players in the world. Today, by about Level 15, players already are beginning to get a feel for the meta, what champions are effective at what positions, etc. A top player today would absolutely crush a top player from a few years ago.

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What the majority of players want may not be whats good for the community

Lyte Final PortraitIt’s getting late–I need to get some rest so will skip some of your bigger discussions for now. At the risk of sounding offensive (which is NOT my intention with this reply), couldn’t we use the same arguments against solo purists? What if Dynamic Queue is something solo purists say they don’t want, but actually is better for them in the long run too?


My point is, I agree that players sometimes say one thing, but mean another. Or, sometimes players really don’t know what they actually want. But, I’d be wary assuming “the other population” is the one that doesn’t know what they want, and your population knows exactly what you want and that you must be right. It’s a game designer’s job to try to figure out the reality behind the fog, and try to understand what is actually the best experience–but I’ll be the first to say that it’s hard, and sometimes we’ll get it wrong. This might be one of those times, it might not be. But, we’re willing to give it a go and pivot as necessary–even if it’s mid-season.

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Marksman Update in the 2016 Season

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Ezreal Final PortraitChampion Update team here! While you’ve probably already seen the big changes due for marksmen (if you haven’t, check it all out here ), we wanted to set aside a moment for a deeper dive. The new marksmen update comes hot on the heels of the juggernauts update ( ) and, with so much changing so fast, we think it’s a good idea to pause for a more philosophical reflection.

But first, a quick look back.

When we set out to tackle the juggernauts, we were working with a whole lot of unknowns. This was a set of champions that didn’t have much in the way of strategic identity. By really highlighting their strengths, we gave them clear ways to succeed (and fail) in an unfamiliar environment. Making something from nothing is a really interesting space to work in and we think we’ve achieved our philosophical goal with many of them. The tricky bit, however, was calibrating the juggernaut’s appropriate weaknesses against their raw power.

With marksmen, we have a few advantages. First, because the class as a whole already has a clear function and they’re played in pretty much every game of League, we have a much stronger understanding of their capabilities and expectations. Additionally, because the core weakness of every marksman is “blow ‘em up,” they have some pretty clear checks in place when it comes to solo-carrying games.

Looking forward, our vision remains consistent: We want to give each updated champion a unique reason to be brought to a game, and we want each champion to feel different whether playing against, as, or with. For some, this means sharpening what they already do well, or should do well. For others, it means finding new elements that make them feel special. We want you to have a reason to pick Graves over Lucian, and vice-versa, outside of just dealing more damage.

Our additional goal is to ensure basic attacks between marksmen are as differentiated as possible. This is a new goal that’s very important for this group in particular, given how reliant they are on basic attacks.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the changes. We’ll be throwing out a high-level overview of the updates before we go a little deeper on the philosophy behind them, in case you haven’t checked out the site.


Graves Final Portrait

“This calls for the ol’ double-barreled ‘Hello.’”

Graves’ double-barreled shotgun is one of the most distinctive weapons in the marksman arsenal. However, this weapon was underutilized as a kind of mid-range, burst, poke, cone spell. So we doubled-down on the classic shotgun fantasy. Now Graves’ basic attacks fire four rounds (eight on a crit!) in a cone in front of him, dealing damage and knocking back minions. Graves has tradeoffs for this unique mechanic, as he has to reload after firing two rounds (but can quickly reload via Quickdraw), and his basic attacks can be body-blocked.

Because we basically pushed Graves’ Q onto his basic attack, we decided to give him a new Q in the form of End of the Line, where he fires out an explosive canister, leaving behind a trail of gunpowder. That canister then explodes after a few seconds (or immediately on colliding with a wall) and detonates the gunpowder for additional damage.

With the defensive buff from Quickdraw and his incredibly high threat on close-range targets, Graves is the kind of marksman you want to bring when enemies have a lot of backline access (see: diving assassins). The tradeoff here is that Graves loses out on a lot of long-range target selection that other marksmen have, since his basic attacks can’t go over enemies.

The changes focuses on pushing Graves’ identity as a close-range, brawling marksman, and we’re excited to see how he does once he gets into the fight.


Quinn Final Portrait

“Justice takes wing.”

Despite its innate coolness factor, Quinn’s old ultimate still had problems. It forced her into overwhelming danger, often leading to trades at the cost of her life (not a great deal!). We are re-imagining her ultimate to play up its tag-team, high-speed nature: Valor now swoops down to carry Quinn, giving her massive out-of-combat mobility. This sharpens Quinn’s identity as a rapid-response marksman. Quinn can aid skirmishes in the jungle, swap lanes to help ganks, respond to split-pushes (or split-push herself), and make it back in time to help with a team fight. Need eyes on Baron? Send Quinn to scout it out!


Corki Final Portrait

“Bombs away!”

Corki, the Daring Bombardier, hasn’t been very true to his title. Optimal play for Corki was to play it safe and poke from a distance; he lacked the tools to make big plays. We decided to fix this in an… explosive way. With the addition of Special Delivery – a single-time upgrade to Valkyrie that amps up the damage, range, and disruption of the ability – Corki needs to focus on what sort of decisive action he’ll take to capitalize on the skill. It won’t be easy, but the reward is huge.

Finally, to further push Corki’s identity as the magic damage marksman, his auto-attacks now deal split magic/physical damage and his gatling gun shreds both resists. This allows teams to build around Corki being the primary magic damage dealer, something rather unique in the strategic space of marksmen.


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“Fortune doesn’t favor fools.”

Miss Fortune has been synonymous with the famed WOMBO COMBO since she first strutted onto the Rift, though much less so after frequent nerfs to Bullet Time. We wanted the WOMBO back, so we increased her ult’s duration by 50% and increased the number of bullet waves as the game progresses by… a lot.

As for her new passive, we drew a lot of inspiration from Double Up. In lane, Miss Fortune draws tons of strength from her Q, especially in a 2v2 scenario where she can put a lot of pressure on both targets if they don’t position properly. These changes are our way of doubling… down on that thematic, with more rewards for precise target juggling and positioning (the precision is important as well, as there are champions like Varus or Twitch who excel at dumping out a lot of group AoE damage).


Caitlyn Final Portrait

“Meet the long gun of the law.”

For Caitlyn, we had to ask ourselves, “How much further can we push the sharpshooter fantasy?” The answer: Like, a lot further. By giving Caitlyn massive range on any enemy she can net or trap, we’re emphasizing her sharpshooting strengths. Giving Yordle Snap Trap an ammo system amplifies Cait’s natural ability to create choke points, while also improving her ability to dominate territory around objectives. The choice between spreading traps for surprise ambushes and setting up lines of defense gives you different ways to capitalize on Cait’s role as League’s #1 sniper elite.


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“Feeding time!”

Everyone’s favorite Void puppy just got even more adorabler. Kog’Maw already has a familiar identity in his “Protect the Kog” team comp, but we felt we could amplify it while also separating him from other tank busters. Now, Kog’s Bio-Arcane Barrage doubles his attack speed and attack speed cap, up to five attacks per second (!!!). This makes him the quintessential attack speed “proc” champion, a low-mobility machine-gun of death. It does wonders for creating a unique itemization path and, of course, it makes him look way cooler.

As a quick note for Living Artillery: Changing the damage from raw poke to execution allows Kog to differentiate himself from other long-range pokers. Kog by himself might not make for the perfect poke composition, but if you combine him with enough additional pressure, he can pick off fleeing enemies while also becoming a central damage turret for his team.

So those are our rough thoughts on the update. We’d love to hear yours as you test the changes in action (soon), but these, in tandem with the marksmen itemization update, should bring some interesting changes to the class as a whole.

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Whyd you gut Miss Fortunes dueling potential in her Preseason rework

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Ezreal Final PortraitI can understand that feeling, whenever we refocus a champion’s design we will have to take power away from one area in order to place it into another. In MF’s case, we certainly took down her dueling potential a notch. Though in doing so, we’ve given her a much more solidified role in the aoe carry. She has even more incentives to pass damage around to multiple targets.

Ps. You are a badass for running jungle MF, how the heck did you do it?

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Is her new Love Taps passive a gimmicky bonus or a necessity on her kit

Ezreal Final PortraitOne of the problems with ADCs was that they all had the exact same play pattern. Part of our update is focusing on changing it up a bit. For example, Graves reallllly wants to get in close, Kog’Maw needs to plan ahead of time for his damage window, etc. For MF, she can still certainly get off a ton of damage on a single target, it just isn’t as free as before. Her bonus attack speed is actually far larger than before, just for a far shorter window of time. So now she chooses between short duels and long form target swapping.

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Whyd you make the more minor ADC changes for example to Ashes Q

Ezreal Final PortraitUnsure as to which Q change you are talking about, though I’ll chat about the main two. We made it only castable at 5 stacks since the ability was didn’t propose a good choice. Either you cast it well at 5 stacks and got a fantastic benefit, or you cast it below 5 and went home sad. For the cooldown removal, we really wanted to let players push the limits of the spell. If they were able to keep it up all the time, then they deserved to be rewarded!

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Are there any plans to update Ezreals W

Ezreal Final PortraitThere are no current plans to update Ezreal’s W. I do have to admit, I would love to see us update that ability with something far more interesting, but that is a change for the future.

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DEV BLOG Vision in the 2016 Season

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Pwyff Final Portrait Posting for Xypherous!

We’ve generally been happy with some of the new vision mechanics in the game with the advent of Season 5. However, as the vision system has grown organically over time, the map has become increasingly brighter and brighter since Season 4.

Additionally, the amount of unused trinkets and profusion of various vision types made it hard to consider expansions onto an already bloated system so this Season will mostly focus around concentrating the vision game to fewer discrete points.


First off, we’ve removed Green Wards. This is a pretty big sledgehammer to vision overall and the map is significantly darker because of it. We heard a lot of feedback on this and I wanted to give more context:

When vision is in a “consumable” state, it does a few things to the game that we want to change. First, because map knowledge is so powerful, the ideal state of vision for two teams is basically “as much as you can.” That means that teams will be perpetually funneling their excess gold (or in the case of supports and some junglers, their core gold income) into as much vision upkeep as possible. The compelling decision of when to ward and where to ward gets flattened.

For supports, engaging so heavily with the vision system means they’ll often need to give up late-game purchases and slot efficiency to ensure the map is well lit. For others, it becomes a gold dump to push an advantage. By taking all ‘safe’ vision (invisible wards) out of the gold stream and placing them on meaningfully gated cooldowns, teams will have to think a lot more about where they want to set up on the map, rather than it being a given luxury for who can do it.

In addition to the removal of Green Wards, we’re also doing the following changes:

vision ward

Pink Wards will still remain buyable and represent an investment into permanent vision control over an area. They’re also slightly cheaper and fall into Sight Ward’s original cost range.

  • Trinkets

The Trinket System has been streamlined down to 2 basic options, plus 2 “alterations” that become available at Level 9. Trinkets also now continuously improve with level rather than at discrete levels in the game.


Warding Totem will now behave like the upgraded Warding Totem on live which slowly charges up to store additional wards. The duration and charges have been tweaked to increase continuously with character level.

We like the flexibility and general gameplay of the upgraded trinket as it allows you to maintain vision over a small area for a long time or tactically cover a wide area by yourself if you’ve built up charges over time – giving it a much wider range of potential uses.


Sweeping Lens has taken a hit in power now that there aren’t potentially green wards everywhere.

To compensate, red gains the ability to warn against things that you can’t see in the area letting you know the shape or silhouette of things in fog of war without revealing them directly. This includes things like jungler monsters (check if that camp is up!) and Pink Wards, in addition to providing the silhouette of stealthed threats like champions in brush, fog of war or stealth.

Sweeping Lens’ core functionality becomes alerting you as to whether or not anything in the swept area can detect you and allowing you to disable them.

  • “Alterations”

Instead of upgrades, which are strictly better than the original trinket that you have, we’ve instead chosen to move in the direction of side-grading and altering existing functionality of trinkets.

These swap the functionality of your existing trinket by improving the power of some aspects and decreasing the power in other aspects.


Yellow Trinket’s alteration – the Farsight Totem is unlocked at level 9 and functions similarly to the Farsight Orb on live with some improvements. You gain vastly increased range and a shorter cooldown… at the expense of having visible wards and losing the ability to build charges.

In a departure from live, these “blue” wards now last forever and don’t count towards your ward count. Since these wards are easily destructible by opponents, we don’t foresee this as contributing significantly to the overall vision of the map unless a team decides to use multiple blue trinkets in parallel to light up disparate regions of the map over time.

So you can light up the map as long as you do it as part of an ongoing campaign to hold territory for extended periods of time.


The Sweeping Lens’ alteration – the Oracle Lens (also unlocked at 9) – is more tame in comparison and very similar to the Oracle upgrade on live. In lieu of gaining true sight, the red trinket simply has a much wider sweep range and follows you around for 10 seconds.

However, combined with the fact that red trinket can warn you against enemy units that you can’t see – this means it will also provide a proximity check so you don’t walk headlong into an enemy ward or brush.

  • Closing

Vision remains an important key strategic strength in League of Legends. The current vision system has a ton of small moving parts, as well as a few mechanics that just make the system kind of obtuse to interact with.

We want to streamline the existing vision items to a smaller core set of vision items while also allowing that core to branch out in interesting directions and overlapping functions. Overall, the power in vision should be more condensed in the options that remain.

We’re taking advantage of the overall reduction in small vision buys to offer more interesting total item build options in the form of the Sightstone upgrades or the Jungle enchantments. Our goal was not to make the overall vision experience more complicated, but allow vision options to form the basis for more interesting total builds. From the support who forgoes his actives in favor of a powerful AP build, to the support who doubles down on active items, to the Jungler who forgoes combat in favor of map wide vision and utility.

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Isnt the removal of Oracles Lens another indirect buff to stealth champions

Xypherous Final PortraitKind of? Other systematic changes such as Marksmen getting better kite / soak options / the removal of Brutalizer / the removal of Trailblazer and the like would probably be indirect nerfs to those characters.

The only stealth champions that haven’t been indirect nerf/buffed in a lot of ways is Akali / Evelyn / Twitch at this point. Eve has never been affected by the true sight from Oracles as her stealth shuts itself off and Akali’s stealth is rather situational.

Twitch, I agree might be a problem – but I’m not sure he was ever at a range to be detected by Oracles when he was murdering you in Stealth. Still – he’s probably the biggest beneficiary of the changes.

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Vaynes impossible to fight without an Oracles Lens

Xypherous Final PortraitTrue – but so much of her itemization has changed that it’s hard to tell whether she’s better or worse from a total power perspective.

BoRK is noticeably worse early now, for example – so her assassination playstyle kind of takes a hit.

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What about Shaco Rengar KhaZix and Vayne

Xypherous Final PortraitLoss of an early brutalizer and trailblazer hurts Rengar and Kha’zix pretty substantially I find. Similarly, Vayne and BoRK is no longer as powerful as an early power spike.

Shaco, on the other hand, builds whatever he wants – but Shaco is also likely affected by the loss of the early Brut as well.

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Do the Trinket changes mean people dont have to be reminded to upgrade them

Xypherous Final PortraitIt scales on a per level basis – so not for most roles. The goal is that people should only feel compelled to exchange their trinket when they want fundamentally different functionality – rather than just a more powerful version of their existing one.

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If upgrades are supposed to be sidegrades why are they still levelgated

Xypherous Final PortraitExcellent question. They’re level-gated because they’re meant to serve mid-game or late-game vision functions that would be overpowered in early game.

Because players don’t move around a lot in lane – things that can affect others at a long range or a wider area are significantly more powerful – hence the level-gate.

If you want to be really specific – the best trigger would probably be something like ‘Buyable after laning phase’ – unfortunately, there’s no real way to tell when it ends that organically in an understandable way – hence the level restriction.

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Why cant we have some way of recharging Sightstone outside the base

Xypherous Final PortraitThere’s are a couple of reasons why you want players returning to base on a regular cadence – doubly so for a class that doesn’t have much other reason to return as their item upgrades are relatively less important.

More practically, this favors the team that is pushed in rather than the team that is pushing in most respects – as the winning team is the one best suited to ‘waiting out in the field.’ We’d never really be able to put a recharge timer on it that seemed useful without causing some really weird side effects in this case.

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Why was ward duration decreased from 180 seconds to 150

Xypherous Final PortraitThe goal was to make the map overall darker and chip as much unnecessary vision power away as possible – hence the reduction. It also helps separate the two use cases out for vision a bit better – shorter term stealth vision vs. longer term control over an area.

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So Sightstone was nerfed even further and isnt worth a supports item slot

Xypherous Final PortraitThat’d be a perfectly reasonable response if the item isn’t worth the slot. If that was the right call to make, I’d expect most of our players to do the same and then we’d simply adjust.

Not entirely convinced the item is weaker given that it’s one of the few sources of invisible wards – so the relative strength should be incredibly high – but if that’s actually the case – yeah, you’d be wise to avoid buying the item entirely.

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There needs to be a Sightstoneesque item that works like a Sweeper trinket

Xypherous Final PortraitI could see that – but the conflicting data point for me here is that the reason why Sweeper’s have such a high hit rate on live is that there’s always wards up due to the prevalence of buyable green wards – at least at higher level play.

I’m uncertain as to how much value is lost as we’re moving from a mostly-lit world in which Sweeper has a fairly high hit rate – to a somewhat-dark world where the hit rate will be much lower.

Vision removal in the item system should be somewhat better covered by cheaper pink wards as well. It may still very well be the case that red trinket has no comparable option and thus Sightstones need to exist so that you can have a red trinket in your inventory – but I’m not inclined to say that this is actually a bad state.

Basically, what I’ve found is that more choices in how you spend gold in vision has mostly led to either negative or kind of poor game-play in general. Complex gold decisions around vision hasn’t yielded good returns in either skillful play (as you should sink as much as you can) or have been particularly satisfying without being brutally overpowered.

The approach we’re trying this season focuses more around complex choices in how youuse vision – rather than how you acquire it – by both severe rate limitations – as well as allowing some more complex functionality to exist without a gold investment.

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Vision is integral to winning Why are so many players not warding

Xypherous Final PortraitIt’s likely that warding just isn’t viewed as an activity that makes a ton of sense from an abstract perspective. Put down sticks that grant vision? What?

Eventually, we’ll want to revisit the concept of static wards to begin with and see if there’s a better analogy that still plays a part in the vision game. This is super speculative – but imagine if, instead of a pink ward – you placed a tiny speed shrine that also provided vision.

I suspect that eventually, we’ll have to shift the analogy to like ‘mini-buildings’ or ‘mini-structures’ rather than ‘sticks that see’ in the long long run.

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Why not have tutorials that teach players the importance of vision

Xypherous Final PortraitTutorials and teaching players are definitely worth pursuing – However, with warding and such, it feels very much like a state of like ‘Well, we could teach them how to do Assembly… but.. maybe we should look at what we want them to do and confirm that’s actually a deep and engaging activity first.’

The other portion of this is that I believe Tutorials that teach you how to ward are going to have a major gap in that you cannot learn from your current enemy if the enemy has found some new clever way to use them. Hence – any tutorials are going to have a continual lag time – so whatever you’re teaching should also have some kind of learnable component from observing your enemy and allies in game.

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What led to the pink ward trinket option being removed

Xypherous Final PortraitA lot of the trinket options were removed to streamline the system down. There are some interesting expansion opportunities for the trinket space that I want to look into – and so we removed it to condense the space down to the bare minimum to replicate what most of the players on live regularly use.

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DEV BLOG Starting Items in the 2016 Season

Pwyff Final PortraitPosting for Xypherous!

Our original intent with starting items before this season was to give players the ability to reflexively counter their opponents with generalist options running alongside more pronounced counter-items for specific circumstances (Flask, Doran’s Shield).

However, after a couple of seasons of attempting to balance this world, we’ve grown unhappy with how confining this approach is and the general problems that resulted from this approach. We’re decided to take a different tactic and adopt a pattern closer to the support line of items: Starter items that clearly express some kind of goal or intent in lane alongside a more generalist item for each of the positions in the game.

Magic – Doran’s Ring vs. The Dark Seal

Doran’s Ring is a powerful farming generalist item while The Dark Seal signifies an intent to roam and pick up champion kills along the the way.

While this doesn’t support the full spectrum of mages in mid, it does represent two of the largest factions – push mages vs. assassin roamers.

Attack – Cull vs. Doran’s Blade

Cull is an early skirmish option designed to be focused primarily around farming and light aggression.

Doran’s Blade on the other hand, is a generalist option that scales much better into mid-game and is better in skirmish situations.

Jungle – Hunter’s Talisman vs. Hunter’s Machete

Machete has long favored a certain class of attack speed centric characters and this represents a quandary of how to actually support mage or tank style junglers from the get-go.

Machete now doubles down on its auto-attack centric nature while Talisman focuses on area burn and mana regeneration. Talisman is primarily designed for spell focused junglers – especially those that have repeated area of effect attacks on moderate cooldowns (like Brand or Zyra).

Both of these initial items are required to upgrade into the Tier 2 Jungle item, so your choice of initial item will eventually become moot. However, this flexibility of starting options combined with the patience system should open up stronger opening jungle patterns to a wider variety of junglers.

Lane Sustain – Health Potion vs. Refillable Potion

One of the major issues with Crystalline Flask right now is that we are unable to push its power to the point where it feels non-abusive in lane. This is due to the fact that it stacks with potions and thus any power add-on in Crystalline Flask gets doubled down on because you stack potions with it.

Hence, the new inventory rule: you can only ever have one type of potion in your inventory at any time.

Refillable Potions are 3 times more expensive than a potion but benefit from the fact that they will recharge once you return to the fountain. Normal Healing Potions represent more healing up-front for less gold but is obviously temporary in nature.

Refillable Upgrades – Jungle vs. Lane

This, by itself, would probably still be on the weak side. However, Refillable Potions can upgrade into two versions: Hunter’s Potion and Corrupting Potion.

Hunter’s Potion is a roam-centric potion that can regain charges out in the field while you are killing large jungle monsters. It’s designed primarily to support a Jungle playstyle that focuses on maximal uptime or bolstering characters with low innate sustain.

Corrupting Potion is similar to Crystalline Flask on live – with the added benefit of combat power. During its effect, damaging enemy champions will burn them for magic damage over time. Corrupting Potion represents an intent to harass your lane opponent until they give up.

Mana Potions – Removed

Mana Potions have been removed from the game. We’ve generally found that the decision to opt into Mana Potions was one that was either forced upon some champions (aka “I need this mana to function”) or one that was generally only available to a handful of circumstances.

The best use cases of Mana Potions were typically to circumvent Mana restrictions for boom/bust play patterns (ie: save up to X amount of mana before dumping it all in a large burst of damage, repeat) vs. attrition-based approaches that are more in favor of straight mana regeneration. A champion being able to access their big “all-in” combo more frequently also makes it challenging for us to balance appropriately, and we’ve seen some more frustrating champions have their power reduced as a result.

With the removal of mana potions, we can also retune some champion mana values back to a middle ground. We’ve looked at the data for champions that frequently bought 2 or more mana potions in the game and we’ve either increased their maximum mana or the mana regeneration values based on their class.

  • Closing

For the start of the season, we’ve focused on granting at least two options to a particular need in the starting item space to support a wider variety of playstyles and intents from the start of the game.

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Why are you both buffing earlygame harass and nerfing Dorans Shield

Xypherous Final PortraitBased on usage – the maximum sustain starts were most frequently used by characters that thrived on early harass. Pantheon, Kassadin and the like were the most effective users of maximal sustain starts – and they frequently used that high sustain to capitalize on early bullying pressure.

While I agree with you that there’s a dearth of solo lane tank starts – most of the solo tank starting item patterns that seem to make senseat first glance – we’ve found that when those options are strong – they tend to be better on pretty much anyone but solo tanks – like bot lane support/adc pairs.

You’ve gone and added a ton of new items for every other class

If we’re not talking about starting items – this item pass has mostly focused on AD Marksmen and some light AD work – rather than ‘every other class.’

The other facet of this is that in the Juggernaut update – there have been a ton of items – while their primary users aren’t tanks – have added to the tank pool of items (DMP and Sterak’s.)

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Why are you buffing Dorans Blade

Xypherous Final PortraitFree lifesteal in the ferocity tree makes the relative advantage of picking up a Doran’s Blade weaker in the early item selection phase – as it means it now has to compete with some of the older component based starts (Long Sword + 3) at a much large disadvantage.

Long Sword + 3 is especially problematic if it becomes the default option again – as that’s more early in-lane sustain, hence why we try to keep DBlade competitive with it.

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Its power creep to buff one item start for ADCs so it competes with another

Xypherous Final PortraitIn order to run this argument – you need to run through this by several means:

  1. The mastery AD tree gives you as much power in terms of raw offense as before / The beneficiaries of Doran’s Blade have more total raw power than before in pre-game.
  2. Similar argument to #1 – but from a relative perspective – AKA – everyone lost more than they gained.
  3. That this power advantage hasn’t been taken into account elsewhere – like their most powerful first item buy.
  4. That other starting item paths haven’t been buffed as well or heavily adjusted.

While I’m not convinced any of these are true or false as there’s a lot of mechanics going on – I know that a lot of the AD efficiency, early potential spike in AD power, the conversion from total pen to bonus pen in the AD system and the decoupling of flat pen from % pen in the mastery system make the AD curve less steep than it previously was.

While I can’t go out to say that ‘No, power creep isn’t happening’ – What I can say is that I can see other factors that work in the opposite direction of power creep – so adjustment based off initial reads is likely the best solution.

You can strongly make the claim ‘I think a Solo tanks early game is weaker than it was’ – which is probably true. I’m less certain about the statement that ‘Solo tanks are weaker’ as a whole – as most of the efficiency passes, especially in terms of MR – are more favorable to them.

All that said, I totally get why you feel the way that you do. It’s not your job to read every change and put them all together and evaluate whether or not it comes out in one way or another.

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If we arent meant to bring the new pots to lategame why do they cost so much

Xypherous Final PortraitYou can claim this about most non-upgradeable starting items.

However, the catch-22 part comes in only if you assume that games cannot be won before slots start to become a problem or that the item’s power curve doesn’t translate well into the mid-game at all.

Sellback values mitigate some of the initial cost for the mid and late game – and the trade-off between a more powerful early start vs. a guaranteed late game is always whether or not you got enough interim value out of the item to make up the deficit in this regard in terms of either uptime or personal performance.

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Why do the Dark Seal and Mejai lose a flat amount of stacks per death

Xypherous Final PortraitThe most common points of feedback when losing a % of stacks is that it’s never worth it to trade kills and die with the item – since the better you did – the more stacks you lose. Experimenting with a flat amount of stacks so that players can evaluate their plays much better. Did you get 2+ kills? Then it was worth it, even if you died.

The other part of this is that a % loss on death lead to some awkward double-kill or post-death / post-assist death scenarios. While flat suffers from similar problems at the low end – it won’t be as ubiquitous.

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I feel like Mejai got even more snowbally than before

Xypherous Final PortraitThe item is likely more snowbally than before. The idea behind the Dark Seal is that you have a point in the game where you:

  1. Broadcast that you want to do a snowball route (since.. the Dark Seal doesn’t really build into anything else.)
  2. Have a chance to back out if things don’t go your way.

So there’s much less initial risk to the item – and thus the item can be snowbally but will be less feast or famine because a good player can cut his losses early, so to speak.

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Are there plans to make a third flask that simply heals faster than the others

Xypherous Final PortraitNot at the moment.

Maximum sustain in lane is something that players would always like more of (as the best way to beat your opponent is to simply have more health at any given time – go go 13 potion starts).

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Was it intentional to make the biscuits effect NOT apply to flasks

Xypherous Final PortraitFor now, yes. Although, I could certainly see us deciding the other way in the future easily based on item usage. Eternal Biscuit of Replenishment?

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What are the expected starting items for someone who needs sustain

Xypherous Final PortraitIf you need a huge chunk of sustain – the expected stat is that you get Corrupting Potion. The other facet of this is that there are a lot more individual sustain options in other pre-game systems (Lifesteal naturally in ferocity tree, for example) – so there should be enough customization bits out of game to bolster this as well.

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Do you think some Champions will become weak due to the Mana pot removal

Xypherous Final PortraitCurrently the stance is that we’d prefer if Mana purchases reflected more permanent decision making. This is why Frostfang’s line of MP/5 has been greatly increased for example.

Mana potions to support off uses is a niche benefit but the niche benefit doesn’t really outweigh tremendous initial costs in tuning. :x

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It feels like Cull and The Dark Seal are trap items that make laning too weak

Xypherous Final PortraitAgree that these two items have a higher risk potential than the standard starting items. Dark Seal and Cull don’t necessarily have to be purchased as your first buy – if you want to take a safer route and see how the lane goals.

Doran’s Ring into Dark Seal instead of a second Doran’s Ring after you’ve gauaged the lane can be an effective way at mitigating that risk. Similarly with Doran’s Blade into first back Cull.

The other idea that we’re stressing here is that, in the absence of greedy items – there’s no real way to punish a safe lane that’s doubled down on being as not dead as possible. Cull / Dark Seal both support the notion that – if you try that approach – then I can respond by getting more out of the laning phase than you will via farm or more powerful rewards for roam.

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How do you think the jungle changes will affect AD assassins

Xypherous Final PortraitWe turn over the jungle pool every year pretty consistently – so the ability for an individual jungler to have the same clear speed as before isn’t as important. AD Casters will specifically generally have a harder time of it in this year than previous years.

It’s definitely something we’ll have to keep tuning as we get better data on how players are adapting.

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If you have any questions, feel free to ask me at @NoL_Chefo or e-mail me at


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Here are the most recent news in each category:

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Answering concerns of allowing groups in Ranked Solo Queue

[ Note ] You can find the official post that lists all the Preseason Ranked improvements HERE.

Socrates New PortraitI’ve seen a few concerns popping up around opening ranked queues to larger premades over the last 24 hours. I want to walk you through why we’re making the change in a little more detail. First, I want to say this is the subject of debate internally and it’s something we’re going to be watching closely to see how it plays out over the preseason. That in mind, the argument really comes down to the following:

First, when we looked at your feedback around the issues with ranked queues, we saw a pattern:

“I had a leaver in my game, resulting in me getting demoted”
“I ran into a rager who ruined my promotions”
“I’m bronze V because these noobs I’m getting matched with”

What’s the pattern? As a player, I didn’t have control of who I was playing with in a highly competitive environment resulting in misaligned competitive intentions. We’ve built systems to address many of these issues, but ultimately we realized we had hit diminishing returns without implementing more fundamental changes.

Next, ranked standing currently is a reflection of your ability as an individual to carry in a team game. We of course believe great play should be recognized and rewarded and it should be the foundation of ranked standing, along with team work. Right now ranked standing is far more representative of personal mastery than teamwork. This is why when you look at solo queue the games are so different from high level team games. When we looked at this pattern, we asked ourselves why it should be this way. Why should the most authoritative standing of your abilities in a team game be a rating that requires you explicitly not play as a team?

Finally, we just straight up asked players if they wanted the change via a large scale feedback tool. A small number of players were strongly opposed, the vast majority of players were in favor or strongly in favor. This doesn’t make it the right decision, but it was a data point we considered an important part of the picture.

We believe this change will reshape behavior around the ranked experience and we’re excited to see what happens during the preseason. Change is scary, and we realize this is a big change. As the stewards of ranked we are going to be analyzing the hell out of the data we get during the preseason to make sure this is a step forward for the game.

For the open minded and the skeptics alike: we look forward to seeing what happens in the preseason and to hearing your feedback.

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Follow Up Banner

Lyte Final Portrait Sorry I haven’t been able to hop on this thread until now–busy trying to bughunt with the team and it’s been a long few days.

We knew that Dynamic Ranked would be a highly controversial topic, and it even was widely debated internally. It came down to a few key points:

1) The vast majority of players preferred to play League with friends, but there was currently no end-game progression in League other than Ranked (we’re not going to count Ranked Teams because we agree there are many issues such as a high barrier of entry). Most players do want to try Ranked, so players were forced to enter a queue that artificially capped your party at 1 or 2 and made the game less social. This was bad.

2) We added a few matchmaking features to bias the system so that it would pair similar group combinations against each other. So, premade 5s would most likely play other premade 5s, and so on and so forth. In our testing, and when we modeled data from Normal Draft Queue to emulate what it would be like if we did Dynamic Ranked, over 95% of the time groups were paired with similar size groups. We’ll have to monitor the behavior of Dynamic Ranked to see if the pattern is the same, but we’re hopeful.

3) There’s actually a pretty big perception issue with premades in League. When I talk to players, they always remember the premade that bullied them or made the game more toxic; however, when I point out behind the scenes and show them the data that almost every single Ranked game has a Duo Queue in it… they are shocked. The perception problem is that you only remember the games where a premade did have an issue, but you never remember the games where they were quiet and just didn’t give away they were a premade. We’ve been measuring toxicity in premade combinations for awhile now and believe that most most combinations of premade 2s and 3s are fine, and premade 4s have a little bit more toxicity than we’d like. Premade 5s are obviously awesome experiences. So what are we doing about premade 4s?

4) As you may have noticed, we’ve beefed up the Report System, and added new features to the Instant Feedback System. More than ever before, Premade 4s won’t be able to “affect” your account if they simply gang up and try to bully you with reports. In fact, if they do this often and they file false reports, they can be banned for this behavior. Secondly, in a Premade 4 situation, your reports are just as powerful as the group, so if they are showing toxic behaviors at all, your single report can have a meaningful impact and trigger a punishment. We believe measures like this will help balance out this specific scenario to be less negative.

5) With the new Champ Select experience, we’re giving players more benefits than ever before to play with friends because we believe playing with friends is the right way to enjoy League–we don’t want the game to become an anti-social experience. For example, there will be a promo bonus for playing in parties during the launch of the Ranked 2016 Season, and playing in parties is the best way to guarantee exactly what positions you want to play in the new Dynamic Ranked Queue. We understand that we’re going to frustrate the purists that enjoy playing solo and seeing what they can do alone among a group of 4 strangers but, we want you to give this a try before slamming it. More players playing Ranked means more competition for you, and it means quicker queue times at low and high MMRs. We also have ideas to expand the Ranked system even more in the future to give multiple ways for you to challenge yourself and your friends.

6) Like any big change, we’re going to have to monitor this one carefully. We ask you guys to be patient and give it a chance. We’ll ultimately make the right decision, but a LOT of players have voiced their opinions that they do want a more social Ranked experience and want to play in a Dynamic Ranked queue. Give it a chance, and we’re listening if it doesn’t work.

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Why are you allowing 5man premades in Solo Queue when theres Team Queue

Lyte Final PortraitRanked Teams had too high of a barrier–a forced roster, a roster cap, and playing X games together before your MMR stabilized. Solo/Duo Queue was a pretty anti-social experience, and players kept saying over and over again in research they want something in-between Ranked Teams and Solo/Duo. Hop on, grab a few friends (no matter how many) and play for stakes. I think this is going to be far more competitive than players think, they just have to give it a shot.

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Dont you think a solo player matching against 4 premades is at a disadvantage

Lyte Final PortraitNo, a 4:1 team is not at a disadvantage compared to the other 4:1 team. These cases all output a 50/50 win rate over time.

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Wont inferior communication make solo players unable to compete with groups

Lyte Final PortraitThis is why groups will match against other groups more often before being matched against teams of solos.

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TL DR Will I get Ranked Rewards

Victorious Sivir Minibanner

DARTAGNAN Final PortraitHey everyone,

Ranked Rewards are the culmination of everyone’s hard work throughout the season (or grinding those 10 ranked games at the last minute XD). We want to make sure everyone knows the exact requirements in order to unlock those rewards:


Ranked Season

  • Ranked Queues will be disabled on November 11th, 00:01 in each region. For NA, this is PST – Click here for EUW, EUNE, and OCE
    • You can queue at any time before this, and the game will still count. You can even queue at exactly 00:00 PST on November 11th, and the ranked game willstill count.
    • The Ranked Season will officially end once the final ranked game is completed in that region
    • Challenger/Master tiers will update one final time after the final games are completed (after the Ranked queue is disabled) which determine the end of season standings
  • To earn rewards, you must have played ALL 10 games
  • If you decay at exactly 00:00 PST on November 11th, you will get rewards based on where you land after the decay. Decay is turned is disabled on November 11th, 00:01 PST — the same time Ranked Queues are disabled
  • You can find a full list of rewards for each Tier in this Article
  • Rewards are displayed for specific queues. A full explanation can be found here

Ranked Solo-queue

  • Can be completed solo or with a duo-queue partner
  • Rewards are awarded depending on your ending rank at November 11th, 00:01 PST,NOT your highest achieved
  • You must be Silver Tier and above to receive a Loading Screen border
  • You must be Gold Tier and above to receive the Victorious Sivir Skin (If you don’t own Sivir, she will be added to your account.)
    • NOTE: If you purchased Sivir right before receiving Victorious Rewards, she willnot be refunded.

Ranked Teams

  • A ranked team must have completed 5 ranked games by November 11th, 00:01 PST
  • You must have WON 10 games in a single ranked team to qualify for team rewards
    • You must have 10 wins on the same team, not on multiple teams
    • If you won 10 ranked games on a team, and then are kicked from that team, you will not earn rewards. Player Support cannot override or change this.
    • If you were kicked from a team for whatever reason, you will need to win 10 NEWgames on that team (if re-invited) or on a different team.
      • For example, if you won 5 games, and then were kicked from the team (then re-invited), you would need to win 10 more games, not just 5
    • If your team goes into an in-active state before November 11th, 00:01 PST, your team will not earn rewards
  • The Ranked Team Ward Skin is unlocked for each individual (not team) based on how many points you individually earned during the Ranked Season:
    • You must WIN Ranked Team games to earn points — Points are individually earned, not tied to specific teams
      • Victory in Ranked Team 3v3 – 1 point
      • Victory in Ranked Team 5v5 – 3 points
      • Points are earned from ALL Ranked Teams combined. Points do not have to be earned within a single Ranked Team. Even if you leave the team, are kicked, or if the team disbands, your points remain.
    • Ward Skin tiers are unlocked at 20, 45 and 75 points respectively
      • You must earn 20 points to earn the base Ward Skin

Things that will get your ass disqualified from Ranked Rewards

  • Being banned or having active chat/ranked restrictions at November 11th, 00:01 PST
  • If you had any 7 day or more bans, they must have expired/ended at or before August 9th, 23:59 PST
    • For example, if you received a 7 day ban on August 2nd and it ended on or sometime before August 9th, 23:59 PDT, you are eligible for rewards
    • On the other hand, if you received a 7 day ban on August 3rd and it ended on or after August 10th, 00:00 PST, you are ineligible for rewards
  • Players banned for boosting during the 2015 season remain ineligible for rewards
    • Both those who boosted and those who did the boosting are ineligible
  • Players who received fraud-related (including Chargeback bans) and accidental/false bans will still be eligible
  • Players who had LeaverBuster suspensions are still eligible
  • Being ineligible for 2015 Ranked Rewards does not automatically disqualify you from getting other rewards in future seasons

Reward Distribution

  • All rewards (Borders, banners, icons, Skin Wards, Victorious Sivir/Champion) should be distributed by November 18th, 23:59 PST
    • Rewards are distributed in waves. If you see others with rewards, but you haven’t been rewarded yet, don’t panic! You will get your rewards in a subsequent wave
  • If you earned rewards, but did not receive them by November 18th, 23:59 PST, feel free to submit a ticket to Player Support so we can investigate further!

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Ive reached Gold only in Team Queue will I still get Victorious Sivir

DARTAGNAN Final PortraitIf your team is Gold AND you have won 10 games on that team, you get the Victorious Sivir Skin.

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If my last ban was on August 9th will I get the endseason rewards

DARTAGNAN Final PortraitIf the ban ends after August 10th, 00:00 PST, you will not be getting rewards.

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If I qualify for a Tier 3 Ward Skin do I still get the Tier 1 and 2 skins

DARTAGNAN Final PortraitYou get the skin at your tier. Think of it as a single ward skin that “evolves” depending on your tier.

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How is the Ranked decay time calculated

DARTAGNAN Final PortraitKeep in mind that decay is only for those in Plat and above. Other than that though, decay should start ticking the moment your game ended. So if you ended at 10am, it would decay exactly 28 days at 10am.

Just to be careful though, you may want to consider playing a game to make sure you don’t decay!

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DEV BLOG Marksman Itemization

Quinn Banner

Reinboom Final PortraitHello all! Riot Reinboom here to bring you a look into the thoughts behind the Marksman itemization changes this preseason. :D

To jump straight to the point, Marksmen have a number of pain points in the game right now. There’s a distinct lack of individuality between Marksmen. For most, their items are incredibly prescriptive and there’s not a lot of deviation. Generally, as a class, they suffer from high team demands without a lot of self expression to work within those demands.

The major thread woven between most of these issues is a distinct lack of meaningful choice.

  • Meaningful Choice

We’ve mentioned Meaningful Choice before.

What’s most important here however is the method to achieving meaningful choice (rather than just choice). For Marksman items, we tackled this with three different strategies: “Autonomy”, “Reaction”, and “Prediction”.

Autonomy. Autonomy as a choice is represented by the tradeoff of multiple fantasies (whether they be gameplay fantasies, thematics, or anything you can form a personal attachment to). Feeling attached to Statikk Shiv because you personally value wave clear and are willing to sacrifice your other options for it, is an aspect of autonomy shown in item form.

Reaction. Reaction as a choice is represented by your capability to solve a problem presented to you. There are multiple types of reaction. For these changes, we’ll be focusing on responses to your opponents in the items they build, the champions they pick, and the needs of your team.

Planning. Planning as a choice is represented by the tactical and strategic goals you create for individual games. This can be seen by decisions on how you or your team should address each fight (and then building to work within that understanding), or the order for which you build your components, such as getting a Pick Axe to prep for your Last Whisper as you wait for your opponent to inevitably build armor.

  • Supporting Variety

When it comes to supporting more options for Marksman, we often run into a difficult problem we call “The Marksman Damage Optimization Problem.” Marksmans item choices have classically been guided by a very simple and direct point of output: “How can I do the most damage with the options presented to me?”

We’re operating under the assumption that this problem is fundamental to Marksman and their role within League. There are a number of reasons for this.

In games (not just League) single points of optimization, when that point can empower itself, tend to be notably strong. In Marksman’s case, their single point of optimization is damage. This is primarily caused by their damage being reliable via ranged auto-attacks, meaning they can leverage positioning (which is free) as a primary defense.

However, we feel like this identity is clear for Marksman. This type of distinct identity allows League to work as a team game, where each individual has their contribution. So in order to support keeping what makes a Marksman a Marksman while still offering choice, we’ll be exploring a different route: While picking up the stats that give Marksman their damage, we should offer choices among those items along the way.

You can see this already in the game with the choice posed by Phantom Dancer and Statikk Shiv. Unfortunately, the nuance of this choice can be hard to appreciate (am I behind, or could be behind in gold?), and even then there’s not a lot of these types of selections.

  • The Changing Landscape

To wrap it altogether, choices that end up just being damage optimization tests aren’t great. But that’s the expectation of a Marksman. And they have core needs on top of core needs built out of natural consumption of “a lot of different stats.”

The direction we went with to introduce meaningful choice to these restrictions is the idea of “horizontal expansion.” Take the model presented by the current system, and diversify within those bounds. Your options for lifesteal need to be greater than a single item. The items that define a Marksman’s play pattern should expand beyond just “awesome auto attacks.” Your options available for who you can target should be greater than “always buy Last Whisper.”


Who am I? Do I autoattack quite a bit? Okay, Infinity Edge. Maybe I autoattack a lot? Infinity Edge. No, seriously, autoattacks are my jam and I will hear nothing less. Fine, Blade of the Ruined King.

Not a lot there.

There’s a few valid ways of addressing this: we could push more differences between the auto attacks (insert roster devblog link here), or we could push some Marksman to be empowered by their abilities.

Identity items highlight and specialize the choices you made at champion select. Once again, “Who am I?” We don’t feel like in the current landscape the more caster-like Marksman are well served by this idea. Enter: Essence Reaver.

Essence Reaver is being changed to offer caster marksman access to a stat they’ve desired, but could never really (or rarely) fully utilize: Cooldown Reduction.

Essence Reaver now has the capability to generate you up to 30% Cooldown Reduction by leveraging the Critical Strike Chance available from other Marksman items. We you to feel comfortable making the same damage offers, choices, and expectations from the rest of the Marksman items while being able to uniquely leverage what your champion pick offered.


Statikk Shiv or Phantom Dancer. Am I behind or am I ahead?

There’s a lot of possible room with these items, except that Phantom Dancer is the poster child for TMDOP (“The Marksman Damage Optimization Problem,” remember?).

So we’re changing that. And we’re widening what it means to be a multiplier item.

In addition to be the damage curve definers, the pointed tip at the end of your two item spike, multipliers are getting an additional identity: “How should I fight?” This is a choice grounded primarily within autonomy (“What works best for me?”) as well as reaction (“What works best for my team?”).

We divided this choice into four large branches:

Phantom Dancer: I should skirmish and duel.
Hurricane: I want to team fight and wombo.
Statikk Shiv: I must push.
Rapid Firecannon: I need to siege.

Situational Offense

Last Whisper highlights an interesting problem. The usage of total penetration meant that even against champions not buying armor, Last Whisper was actually at least a +10% physical damage amp. This was actually a “generally useful” item masquerading under the guise of a tank killer.

We want to break the above expectations to make selective offense a little less automatic while, at the same time, making it easier to pick up a response when it’s necessary. Selective offensive items are now guided by their components and what you’re giving up, while being significantly more targeted than the current Last Whisper.

The components:

Last Whisper: I need to get through their bonus armor.
Executioner’s Calling: I need to stuff their life steal or health gain.
Giant Slayer: I need to climb over their mountain of health.

These items can be combined up, with a final selection of which type of selection are you leaving out:

Lord Dominik’s Regards: A combination of Last Whisper and Giant Slayer
Mortal Reminder: A combination of Last Whisper and Executioner’s Calling

Do note the change from total to bonus armor penetration, as all of these are still armor pen items at heart. It bears repeating: we do not want these items to be generalist damage purchases. This is also why we split the use case of Mortal Reminder (taking out high sustain targets like enemy marksmen, Swain, Mundo, etc) and Lord Dominik’s Regards (tank busting). If you find you don’t need the situational offense these items bring (or nobody’s building any armor!), maybe you can look into picking up another multiplier, or some…

Situational Defense

The key defense favored by Marksman is lifesteal, but there’s not a lot available here so all Marksman default to the same purchase: The Bloodthirster. This stat is so core that it actively pushes aside all other defensive choices until it’s covered.

We’re running with that idea. For Marksman, lifesteal means defense. The result is all the items in this category provide enough lifesteal before letting you branch into the types of defenses you should otherwise situationally take.

The Bloodthirster: I need to sustain through everything
Death’s Dance: I need to get burst off me long enough to hit
Mercurial Scimitar: I need to be free (of CC)

Going Forward

  • There’s a lot of new abilities and interactions presented by the changed items, and we don’t believe we have every one of these ironed out.

League of Legends hasn’t been tuned to the idea that some Marksman will get 40% Cooldown Reduction, for example, and it’s impossible to know the full effects of this.

We’ll be watching diligently to identify what’s problematic and what’s not!

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Why do ADCs need to dedicate only a single item slot to deal with tanks

Reinboom Final PortraitMarksman are the damage class that’s in charge with killing tanks (eventually).
We don’t want that to be increased (or increased to a notable degree) above what’s on live however.

One of the more difficult balancing points for a carry class is these expectations. If, as a class, we need Marksman to deal less damage to squishier targets, that’s difficult to do because it will break their expectations on needing to kill tankier targets. If we need Marksman to deal more damage to tankier targets, that’s difficult to do because that will make them delete squishier targets.

Lord Dominik’s Regards compared to old Last Whisper is this redirected in a vacuum. Moving from total penetration to bonus penetration is actually a rather significant nerf in damage against all targets, squishy and tanky. Everyone has base armor and there’s a lot of it. Depending on who the target is, just that conversion is a loss from anywhere around 10% to upwards of around 20% damage.

Giant Slayer is doing two things in that Regards.
1: It’s covering up the damage nerf on the item to some of the classes. If it’s still too high, it can be individually adjusted without much pain either.
2: It retains and confirms Marksman’s weakness of not favoring health (so things like Trinity Force and The Black Cleaver are less favorable if you’re also getting this)

(note: The damage it gives is based on the difference between the Marksman’s health and its target, so it gets weaker the more health the Marksman has)

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What if ADCs start killing mages with an early Rod of Ages or Rylais too fast

Reinboom Final PortraitPlanned initial reaction if that showcases itself is to push it out to maxing at 800 health difference.

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Why do AD casters reach their CDR cap much easier than AP casters

Pwyff Final PortraitI think it’s incredibly dangerous to compare AD casters – most of whom rely on their spells for sustained, low-burst damage (maybe not Graves) with little to no CC, vs. AP Casters, many of whom have game-winning abilities should they get the right catch.

CDR is, like any stat – mana, health, armor, whatever – something that interacts with the kit in its own way. Trying to extrapolate some grand truth seems weird. Additionally, this is me calling you out for posing an opinion as a question. A real question might be “why do you think making CDR an easily accessible stat is valuable for marksmen? Especially when compared to mages?”

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Do you worry that ADCs will deal too much damage and receive too little

Reinboom Final PortraitMany worries.

There is always that tipping point in sight. Marksmen optimize for damage so directly which means creating a desirable enough defensive item is difficult without pushing on this risk.

We’ve intentionally starved the high end damage points because of this. Infinity Edge and Phantom Dancer had a ways it could go while still being “high end damage items”. Their damage is going down specifically to make room for more interesting abilities.

I don’t believe we’ve hit the balance needed for this perfectly yet. It’s difficult to get a degree of imbalance with this many changes (and there will likely be something that slips out obscene, oh preseason). But it can be adjusted once out.

More importantly, there are actually a notable number of more tools that let us reach those adjustments now. e.g. If a tank becomes unseen due to these changes, raising their base armor per level is much more meaningful now.

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You said that Grievous Wounds is bad for the game Howd that change

Reinboom Final PortraitWe didn’t change our mind. Personally, I believe that GW as it exists on live can’t be supported systemically and is very oppressive.

However, with these changes GW was changed to 40% reduction (down from 50%) as well as only blocking self only healing. So as an example, it will stop Soraka’s self sustain, but not her support sustain. 40% may very well still be too high, but we’ll be able to respond to it if so (lowering it further perhaps).

Having an response for “there’s a LOT of X quality on the enemy team, our team should have answers” is important.

It’s also important to note that this change is global, and it will affect other sources of Grievous Wounds. If this impacts other sources of GW too negatively (like what may happen with Morellonomicon) then we can adjust it after we get a better handle of GW through the preseason.

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Follow Up Banner

If the heal debuff ends up too strong why not restrict it rather than nerf it

Reinboom Final PortraitThere is a low point (in testing, I found that to be around 30%) for which GW just doesn’t feel attractive anymore, even when it is.

If it drops too much further, then we will seek out other forms of gating on the items. Duration is a clear hit (from the 3 and 5 now to 2 and 4, or 1.5 and 3). If that still not enough, then we’ll seek more complex options.

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Follow Up Banner

Why is there no prerequisite for GW to proc on Executioners Calling

Riot Axes New PortraitWe think this model is correct for Executioner’s Calling, particularly given the changes to Grievous Wounds (e.g. it no longer applies to healing from allies, so Soraka’s W isn’t reduced). It’s possible that we need to re-evaluate Morellonomicon, though I’m much less sure about that one.

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Can you design a different component than Zeal or Dagger for items like PD

Riot Axes New PortraitWe could, but adding more components carries its own costs and the value just isn’t there. By having them share so much of their build path, we allow you to choose which one you really need later, which means more adaptation to the game state. For this particular set of items, we value that pretty highly.

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Why are the item recipes for Statikk Shiv and Rapid Firecannon identical

Riot Axes New PortraitThis reinforces the shared properties of those two items. It’s not ideal, but I wouldn’t consider it a big problem either.

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Why does The Bloodthirster have a 1500 gold combine cost on the PBE

Riot Axes New PortraitI’m gonna fix this one.

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Do you think The Bloodthirster will be able to compete with Mercurial Scimitar

Riot Axes New PortraitYes, I do. You’re glossing over the value of 10% lifesteal and effectively 300+ health later in the game – that’s a huge amount of power. That said, I do think we’re going to see a lot of double lifesteal builds, so I suspect it’s more a question of “Pick 2 of Death’s Dance, Mercurial Scimitar, Bloodthirster, Blade of the Ruined King, or Maw of Malmortius” rather than a direct comparison between these two items, and I think Bloodthirster fits in as one of those 2 in many situations.

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Why do both Last Whisper upgrades provide identical stats

Riot Axes New PortraitWhen we do that, it’s because we want to force a spotlight onto the one real point of difference – do you want to deal with tanky champs better or do you need grievous wounds? Stat differences tend to force you to optimize around your champion’s stat usage – you get a situation where Jinx always buys X, Lucian always buys Y, which means that neither gets much of a choice and Jinx just ends up with the property “Does more damage to health stackers” and Lucian just ends up with the property “Puts Grievous Wounds on targets”. There are situations where that’s a good thing, but that’s not what we’re going for here.

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Whyd you take 100 HP off Black Cleaver and made it cost 500 Gold more

Riot Axes New PortraitI answered this in more detail elsewhere in the thread, but Tl;dr: shifting power from defense to offense is intended to help Juggernaut build diversity a little bit by making it an even better choice in some situations but a wrong choice in others.

As for its efficiency going down specifically, it was one of our outlier overly efficient items.

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Why were FIGHTER items like Maw Triforce and Cleaver changed for ADCs

Riot Axes New PortraitI can explain the changes – tl;dr all of those changes were motivated by their Fighter use cases, NOT Marksmen.

Maw of Marmoltius is being changed with AD Assassins and light Fighters in mind, as a potential go-to MR item. The addition of flat armor penetration coupled with a pair of unique passives that reward you for taking risks helps Talon or Wukong a lot more than it helps any Marksman.

I do think there will be some Marksman usage of this item and that’s perfectly acceptable, but they aren’t intended core users and I don’t think they actually like this iteration better than the previous one, except that the previous one was weak.

The Black Cleaver is being changed with Juggernaut build diversity in mind. I realize that’s going to look strange since they’d prefer the previous iteration of the item – because it gave them everything they might want in a single package. On Live, if you’re a core Black Cleaver user, you’re going to rush it pretty much no matter what – it isn’t contextual at all. With the changes, if you really need defenses first, you won’t be able to rely on that item to solve it for you – but if you’re doing well and want more kill power so you can snowball, it’s even better.

I do anticipate more use by non-Juggernauts – it’s a better item for Wukong, for example, and that’s fine. I will be very surprised if Marksmen adopt it – maybe one (Graves?), but certainly not on any widespread basis. There’s no reason to build it with Essence Reaver and Essence Reaver is simply better for those champions.

This is the riskiest change of the three, and if it does break The Black Cleaver for Juggernauts, we will certainly be following up.

Trinity Force was actually changed in 3 different ways for different reasons:

(1) Power reduced across the board – it was one of the highest outliers for gold efficiency in the entire game, so our efficiency normalization pass hit it especially hard. Basically we want you purchasing items because the cool things they do fit your champion and goals in a game, not because it just gives more power than the rest.

(2) Sheen traded AP for CDR. This was a net buff for most (but not quite all) Sheen users – the item no longer forces you to spend gold on a stat you probably don’t care about. Even among the characters who do care about AP and bought Sheen, CDR should be approximately neutral in most cases. I’m sure there’s a champ or two who end up being sad about it, but they’re a small minority. Trinity Force inherits this change, which does make it better for Marksmen – but also better for most Fighters.

The main reason we’re excited about this change, however, is that it gives us a much better ability to make the items that build out of Sheen exciting in targeted ways. The immediate payoff there is the new Iceborn Gauntlet – Tanks can have a Sheen upgrade of their own now.

(3) Critical Strike increased, Attack Speed decreased. This is inherited from the Zeal changes – both values are exactly the same as Zeal. This one’s happening because of Marksmen but I wouldn’t say that it’s for Marksmen – it means that Marksmen can’t really use Tri Force as their single Attack Speed item anymore (for the few that did use it that way), but it does mean they can use it for their single crit item much more effectively.

I agree that this feels bad for Fighters, but we’ve been over our other options here and short of making Trinity Force a much different item (e.g. increasing its bonus AD by 40 or something) there’s not a better alternative available, unfortunately. Options like Recurve Bow tend to feel just as bad for Fighters (at least Zeal has % move speed!), so they aren’t actually improvements.

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I think we should get another ADC option for Armor Penetration

Reinboom Final PortraitWould you be willing to divulge your thoughts on this? :)

We actually had three in testing at one point (with a slightly different profile). The number of new items and item changes was overwhelming for quite a few people.

It’s much easier to add more when there’s a clear trade already established, so it’s open design space in the future. Before we decide to explore that space once more I would like to wait some time first for people to get used to all the current item changes.

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How do you plan on nerfing Essence Reaver if it becomes problematic

Reinboom Final PortraitWe’re not beholden to how ER is currently worded. One of the responses we’ve considered is dropping its bonus CDR from crit to cap when you have 30% crit from other items instead of just 20%. I feel like ER is strong but in the same way that IE is strong. If those two balance comparatively, then nerfing (or buffing) it will most likely entail changing both.

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Wont Thresh suffer too much with Last Whisper affecting Bonus Armor only

Reinboom Final PortraitIt potentially hurts him more than most other champions. There tends to be those types of hits with any type of systemic change. We can adjust after (such as tweaking Thresh) if it’s a problem.

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Doesnt Bloodthirsters shield conflict with the passive on Deaths Dance

Reinboom Final PortraitYes, they do compete. They’re also a bit antisynergistic in that way. Prevented damage (such as from shields) isn’t “caught” by Death’s Dance. Death’s Dance exists to favor fighters and caster marksmen over others (where natural lifesteal is less favorable).

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New Masteries Build Tips and Theory Crafting

Stashu Final PortraitHey all!

First, if you haven’t already, go check out this player-made mastery calculator! I’ll be using this tool to link pages. Special thanks to Hudzen, DPatti, and Pyro for their work on it over the seasons – you guys are all awesome.


Anyway, let’s get into it. I understand that the new mastery system can be hard to get a feel for, so I wanted to get a few template-esque pages out there to help get everyone started. So, check out the links and associated champions below, and let me know what you think about these recommendations! And of course, please share some pages of your own :D

Note: These are only intended as guidelines and should be just enough to get you started — I’ll leave the real theory-crafting / optimizing to you guys! I DO NOT want to prescribe your build, and rarely will there be a single optimal build, but if you’re feeling particularly overwhelmed, feel free to lean on what’s here until you figure out your own way!

12-18-0 Aggressive Jungler

Elise, Kha’Zix and Lee Sin

  • These assassin types will love the pen and burst damage offered by the Cunning Tree [hello, Thunderlord’s Decree!], paired with the more general damage amps offered by the Ferocity Tree. Savagery and Runic Affinity from the Cunning tree also really help out in the jungle.
  • If the early clear proves to be too challenging (Evelynn), opting into a safer 0-18-12setup might be the way to go.

12-0-18 Brawler

Darius, Nasus and Olaf

  • These juggernauts really benefit from the Grasp of the Undying mastery in the Resolve Tree. It turns their already high-health builds into more damage and sustain, allowing them to slog through the fight, dishing out and soaking up tons of damage.

0-12-18 Peel Tank

Braum, Maokai and Nautilus

  • If soaking up damage for your allies is more your thing, check out Bond of Stone in the Resolve Tree, and pick up some self healing and mana regeneration so you can keep yourself topped off while you protect your carries!

0-18-12 Utility Support

Sona, Soraka and Janna

  • Windspeaker’s blessing in the Cunning Tree multiplies the power of these more buff/heal-centric supports. In addition, picking up Secret Stash and Meditation will give their lane some serious staying power.
  • That said, swapping those 12 points into Ferocity, and selecting Thunderlord’s Decree as your keystone will give you some potent trading potential in lane. I encourage you to choose based on your own playstyle and preference!

18-12-0 Sustained Damage Caster

Ziggs, Cassiopeia and Azir

  • When you’re not just trying to one-shot someone, Deathfire Touch and co. from the Feroicty Tree will really amp up your damage over long periods of time, and the mana regeneration from the Cunning Tree will give you the resources to make it work.
  • When you ARE looking to one-shot someone (I’m looking at you guys: Veigar, Zed and Lux) , I’d recommend 12-18-0 instead!

18-0-12 Marksman

  • Ferocity suits the playstyle of most marksmen — Lifesteal and %armor pen? Sign ‘em up!
  • Certain champions will inevitably make better use of certain keystones, but Marksmen should be able to viably run any of these keystones, depending on their preferred playstyles.
    • Do you like to poke with spells? Check out Deathfire Touch on Varus.
    • Is harassing with basic attacks more your thing? You’ll enjoy Fervor of Battle on Caitlyn.
    • More into heavy Crit/AD builds? Warlord’s Bloodlust can shore up your lifesteal and attack speed so you can focus on your core stats on Draven.
    • Some marksmen might opt into something like 18-12-0 for maximum damage, but I find passing up the laning defenses in the Resolve Tree too costly, personally ;)

Alright! That’s all from me. I left out a number of archtypes, like the light-fighting skirmishers (Fiora and Vi) , bulky divers (Vi and Xin Zhao) , and many more. Plus, many champions will have particularly unique set-ups, based on their kit, so I encourage you to break out of the molds I outlined above!


Today’s fan art collection is a tad longer, enjoy!


Captain Fortune by Mariana Ennes:




Pool Party Leona by TiNyThanhTruc:




Sona by Knarf97:



Ahri by j-witless:




Riven by Tu Tu:



If you have any questions, feel free to ask me at @NoL_Chefo or e-mail me at


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Here are the most recent news in each category:

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Also, check out Soulless Fire’s player cards for this year’s Worlds!




About the Harrowing
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Calisker Final PortraitHey everyone!

Some of you have questions around the Harrowing this year, and we wanted to give you a quick update:

In October, we shared that the Harrowing (and other seasonal events) are changing. You can check out the PBE Boards post here (sorry we didn’t post it to the main Boards as well, our bad).

In short: We’re releasing Legacy skins from past Harrowing events later this week. Zombie / Slayer skins are also rolling out soon, so get those chainsaws ready. We wanted to get you in the mood with a dark and terrifying tale of the unliving, “Shadow and Fortune: A Harrowing Story,” as well as updated biographies for some of our Shadow Isles champions.

And if you’re wondering about Snowdown, we have some great stuff in our bag of goodies that’ll look a little different from what you’ve previously seen. So hold on for info on that, we’ll share more once we have all the details sorted out.

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How will melee Champions be able to lane against Ranged during Preseason

Reinboom Final PortraitFirst up, Base AD:

The base AD changes are a slight power curve shift (note: there’s an eventual base AD loss).
These were mostly done because last hitting felt bad due to the change in masteries (loss of flat AD). This was felt most by ranged AD characters.
5 AD is potentially too much but it’s a starting point. Marksman AD can be dropped further from there.

Second up, and much more applicable:

Isolating some changes without calling out the other systemic changes on big patches such as these is very misleading.
For example, this topic does not mention that we changed “call for help” at all in favor of melee in lanes. There’s now a second response ring wrapped centered on the attacker that causes your minions to actually respond (notably to ranged attackers) when they’ve shoved you off minions hard.

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Can you elaborate on what Call for Help means

Reinboom Final PortraitSure.

What is Call for Help:

If a champion auto attacks another champion, then find all allied minions and turrets in a “large” ring centered on the champion being attacked. Those minions and turrets found in that ring then check if the attacking champion is within their auto attack range (+ a rather significant search area increase of 400 units if the responder is a minion).

Here’s an example of the ring:

That part isn’t changing.

What’s changing is that there is now a second ring.

In addition to searching for allied minions and turrets around the champion being attacked, there’s a second search around the champions that’s attacking. This search is the same size, but only affects minions (not turrets). Minions responding to the second ring don’t search beyond their attack radius though. They respond only if they could naturally attack the attacker.

This looks like:

(red is the current ring, blue is the new secondary ring)

Also in the prior image, you’ll notice the ranged minions have aggro’d on Caitlyn. This would not have happened in the current game because those minions are outside the red ring.

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Why is Vayne getting compensatory buffs for the BotRK nerfs on the PBE

Vayne Banner

Repertoir New PortraitVayne’s changes on the PBE are not compensation for BotRK nerfs. They’re a push in the direction of making the character a bit more about using Silver Bolts effectively to win and less about out statting her opponents through raw Base AD.

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Follow Up Banner

Repertoir New PortraitVayne’s AD/lvl is getting reduced by more than other marksmen in the upcoming preseason changes, alongside the changes to Silver Bolts. Maybe this was less clear, but when I said Base AD, I meant AD at level 1 plus AD/lvl.

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What if Vaynes ult buffed her Silver Bolts instead of giving her bonus AD

Repertoir New PortraitWe thought about a few things that Final Hour could do rather than just give AD, but we decided to take it slow and not force a big change when we didn’t feel like we had a great idea as to what to do.

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Why not take risks and rework Vayne in some way so shes balanced

Repertoir New PortraitPersonally, I’m pretty willing to take what players would perceive as risks on most champions if I think the changes make sense. In Vayne’s case for the preseason, her change wasn’t really intended to be a major highlight of the preseason, but more that every marksman got at least a nudge in the right direction. If I thought I had a good direction for a cool, new ultimate (or a positive change to Final Hour) for Vayne, I’d probably try to make it happen. That kind of focus was not put into Vayne specifically for the preseason, however.

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Why didnt Trundle Talon Aatrox or Pantheon receive compensatory buffs

Repertoir New PortraitI’m not necessarily saying the other 4 mentioned here won’t need some love in the new season, but Vayne’s changes were made to her not because we wanted to give compensation buffs of some sort. They, along with the numerous other changes made for marksmen in the preseason (all marksmen currently have changes planned for 5.22) were made to push her more toward a particular playstyle. I do understand that Silver Bolts isn’t the most loved ability out there by non-Vaynes, but it is what Vayne is all about, and there’s much more gameplay in making her get those Silver Bolts hits off than there is in her AD/lvl.

Anyway, I’ll try to make sure we keep an eye out for the other AD users that maybe aren’t feeling so loved in this preseason. Thanks for the post.

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2015 Worlds skins icons and wards hit the road



As the 2015 World Championship wraps up, we’re getting ready to send off the skins icons, and wards that helped celebrate the big event. Championship Kalista and the rest of the legacy esports skins won’t be back until next year, so pick them up before they sail away on a flowing river of tears cried by those who ran out of time. Icons, wards, and bundles will also be joining Champ Kalista and crew when they depart at 23:59 PT on November 5!

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If you have any questions, feel free to ask me at @NoL_Chefo or e-mail me at


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[ Note ] You can find all the PBE changes discussed below HERE.


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Can you give us some context on Vaynes preseason Silver Bolts change

Vayne Banner

[ Note ] On the PBE, Vayne’s [ W ] currently has no base damage, but the % damage is increased to 6/7.5/9/10.5/12%.


Meddler Final PortraitVayne’s current damage against a 1000 HP target:

  • Rank 1 Silver Bolts – 60 (20 flat + 40 as 4% of 1000)
  • Rank 5 Silver Bolts – 140 (60 flat + 80 as 8% of 1000)


Vayne’s damage after the 5.22 change:

  • Rank 1 Silver Bolts – 60 (6% of 1000)
  • Rank 5 Silver Bolts – 120 (12% of 1000, also the minimum value for rank 5 Silver Bolts)

So, against a 1000 health target these changes are a slight nerf to the rank up value of Silver Bolts. At 2000 health rank 1 damage goes from 100 to 120, rank 5 damage goes from 220 to 240, so in both cases slight buffs. At present however Vayne’s also got a reduction of 1 AD per level, so at level 9 (assuming she maxed W first for sake of discussion) she’ll have missed out on 27 physical damage from those three attacks. Any attacks that don’t contribute to a Silver Bolts proc will also be weaker of course too, without the benefit of the extra Silver Bolts damage against a target that’s itemized at least some health.

Finally, to look at a later game scenario, let’s look at a level 15 Vayne with rank 5 W against a target with 3000 health. Previously she’d have dealt 300 damage per Silver Bolts Proc. With these changes she’d deal 360, though with at least 45 less physical damage as a partial offset.

TLDR: This change is neutral or a nerf against low health targets and a small buff, though one partially offset by lower AD/level, against health stacking targets.



That seems like a lot of work for whats essentially the same Vayne

Meddler Final PortraitYeah it’s a fairly small balance adjustment basically, aimed at focusing Vayne more on killing health stackers while weakening her damage against squishies.

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Was the Graves range nerf intended to force him off the bot lane

Graves Single Banner

[ Note ] On the PBE, Graves’ auto-attack range has been decreased from 525 to 425.

Scruffy Final PortraitWe still intended him for bot lane, though if he has alternate styles in top or jungle it’s not a bad outcome.

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With the Rift Herald added do you think duo lanes will move to mid lane Rift Herald Mini Banner

Scruffy Final PortraitI doubt they would a majority of the time because a lot of mages need that short lane to be safe in the early levels.

That said, I think it opens the possibility to switch up a strat and go for a duo mid, which could be a really exciting and viable move.

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How powerful is the Rift Herald stat wise

Riot Jag Final PortraitRH is pretty durable, but getting the Eye Backstab proc off is a huge amount of damage, so taking it solo is considerably harder than duoing. It should be questionable in terms of trading for Dragon, depending on your team comp and win style (if you’re an early game push team then RH will obviously be better). More details on the reward here:

I don’t think the top laner solo jungle start will work anymore since camps only give you level 2 if you have a jungle item. That’ll push Ignite/Exhaust viability up a lot, along with the TP CD nerfs we have in.

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How is Rapid Firecannon going to work on melee Champions

[ Note ] Rapid Firecannon is a new AD item that passively builds stacks like Statikk Shiv and extends auto-attack range when it’s charged.

Reinboom Final PortraitIt’s a 35% increase that’s capped so it works pretty smoothly for most melee champions.

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How does the Energized stacking mechanic on Firecannon work

Reinboom Final PortraitIt’s Shiv fast, but slightly slower than what shiv is now.

It’s a single shot.

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Can you give us some context on the changes to Trinity Force

[ Note ] Due to the Preseason changes to Zeal & Sheen, Trinity Force now grants CDR instead of AP and most of its stats are lowered in favor of higher Crit Chance.

Riot Axes New PortraitWe’re standardizing item efficiencies across the board, and Trinity Force was one of a number of outliers – much too high.

For the crit specifically, the more closely your crit chance approaches 50%, the fewer attacks it takes for crits to average out (this is helped along considerably by some under-the-hood magic we do – crit isn’t quite true RNG). Basically, increasing the crit chance to 20% actually makes combat less RNG-driven for fighters. We’re aiming to have at least 20% crit on anything bigger than a Brawler’s Glove that has crit on it in the first place.

As for specific champions being impacted – most champions in the game are going to be impacted by at least some of these changes (even if they’re not strongly impacted by items, Keystone Masteries and general game tuning will have large effects on champion power levels). We will certainly be following up on champion balance as preseason progresses.

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Why didnt you replace Zeal in the recipe with Recurve Bow for onhit damage

Riot Axes New PortraitWe explored this – it felt really bad. Few Trinity Force users expect to be able to basic attack repeatedly enough to use that much AS + an on hit effectively, and it costs you the % movement speed (or requires us to drive the price up).

Zeal went back into it because that version felt so bad to play.



Certain melee Champions really benefitted from the AP on Trinity Force

Sotere New Portrait

Historically most of the melee fighter champions didn’t want AP. Jax and Irelia didn’t feel TERRIBLE about it. Trinity Force was their go-to item because it was SUPER efficient despite stats that weren’t ideal (AP and Crit, which were also incredibly anti-synergistic with each other). Over time certain champions were balanced around that super efficient Trinity Force (Corki, Irelia, Jax, Hecarim). In tuning the efficiency down and shifting the stats, we might reveal that said champions need changes. We’re keeping a close eye on them in case we have to adjust.

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Where is Riots stance on having a jungler build Sighstone as a core item

Fearless New PortraitWe gave junglers the Tracker’s Knife jungle item (essentially a jungler’s sightstone) because we believe that allowing them to easily opt into the vision game should be easier and a more recognized option for junglers.

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Why did you remove Green Wards from the store

Fearless New PortraitThe vision changes are about making the vision portion of the game more of an effort for the entire team, and a more learnable game for all. Green wards as a stand alone purchase ensured that many players never fully engaged in the game. By putting many of the baseline vision tools in the hands of every player, in every game, and then augmenting the ways the game tells players about how the vision game is being played around them, players have much more access to understanding a vital part of the game.

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Is it true that Trinkets will have two charges in the early game

Sotere New PortraitStarting trinkets will have multiple charges. It feels pretty good for coverage in lane, especially bottom where you get both people to draw from.

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What will the removal of Mana Pots do to manahungry AP support

Fearless New PortraitWe’ve increased the mana regen on Frostqueen’s Claim, and we are actively tuning around the support mana usage. We’ll be watching these champs and some of the mana starved junglers to make sure they changes we’ve made for them are doing enough to keep them reasonable. Maybe not 3 mana pot start full, but able to cast their spells and have a strong impact.

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Won’t the gold increase to Health Pots make sustain junglers better picks

Keeper Arcanus Final PortraitHealth Pots are 50g now, but remember the entire flow of gold has been changed. The price increase isn’t as disruptive as you’d think.

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Sotere New PortraitDefinitely something for us to watch. There’s a LOT of systems in play, however. Our playtests haven’t shown sustain champions really thriving due to there being a lot of other sources of health regen and new flasks to keep people topped off.

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How long will the Preseason changes be on the PBE before theyre patched on live

Sotere New PortraitPreseason will only be on PBE for one cycle. The content will be shipping with 5.22 on a normal patch cadence. Of course, we have a lot of follow-up planned once we see how the changes impact Live.

We’re trying to shoehorn supports into one mastery tree less. In fact, there’s no ‘Utility’ Tree anymore. It’s got a new name, and generally new purpose. While supports may still go down it for some of the tried and true gold generation masteries like Bandit, we expect them to explore other trees as well. 0/9/21 shouldn’t be the path that all supports need go down (as some could argue it is on Live).

Supports are generally going to be compensated through base mana buffs, itemization, and they also should be getting a bit more gold at the end of the day due to how ambient gold is going to scale (specifically towards the support team members).

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Happy Halloween to all readers! Here’s a Halloween-themed fan art collection with Battle Bunny Riven for good measure:


Happy Halloween! by ikebanakatsu:



Happy Halloween! Trick or Treat by Sanphy:

53232569_p0_master1200 53232569_p1_master1200 53232569_p2_master1200 53232569_p3_master1200 53232569_p4_master1200


Gankbuster Vi by suqling:



Halloween Sona by MonoriRogue:



Battle Bunny Riven by Unsomnus:



If you have any questions, feel free to ask me at @NoL_Chefo or e-mail me at


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[ Note ] You can find the Preseason info condensed as PBE notes HERE.


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Smaller 5 22 Marksmen Changes PBE Feedback Thread

Repertoir New PortraitHi all,

By now, you probably know we’re giving small gameplay updates to Quinn, Kog’Maw, Miss Fortune, Corki, Graves, and Caitlyn. That said, we’re also doing small changes to quite a few other marksmen that aim to establish/sharpen their identities. For these characters, please do leave your PBE feedback here. There’s a lot of marksmen change going on here, and we’re interested in your thoughts, so if you have an opinion, don’t hesitate to voice it!



  • Change Goals
    • Allow Ashe to interact with chance-based crit events in a way that doesn’t compromise her recently-new passive’s steady damage output.
    • Follow up the changes made to Ranger’s Focus (Q) earlier this year to make the spell a more interesting, engaging part of her pattern.
  • P – Frost Shot
    • Base slow reduced 5/11/17/23/29/35% >>> 5/9/13/17/21/25%
    • Dealing bonus damage via Frost Shot no longer counts as a Critical Strike (bonus damage unchanged)
    • Ashe’s Critical Strikes (which once again happen only by chance per all other characters) deal only 1.0 Total AD (as opposed to 2.0 standard), but they apply Frost Shot’s slow at double effectiveness (10/18/26/34/42/50%), decaying to the base amount over the duration of the slow
  • Q – Ranger’s Focus
    • Slow amplification removed
    • Can no longer be cast at less than 5 stacks, and passive Focus no longer stacks while the active component is running
    • Passive no longer stacks with Volley and Enchanted Crystal Arrow
    • Cooldown removed


  • Change Goals
    • Make axe-catching gameplay flow smoother, especially later in the game.
  • Base Stats
    • Attack frame improved by 30%
    • Attack Speed per level reduced to 1.5 from 2.7
    • Basic attack missile speed reduced to 1600 from 1700


  • Change Goals
    • Build upon Ezreal’s affinity for CDR-centric spellcasting item builds.
  • Q – Mystic Shot
    • Cooldown reducing effect increased 1.0 >>> 1.5 seconds
    • Cooldown increased 6.0/5.5/5.0/4.5/4.0 >>> 6.5/6.0/5.5/5.0/4.5
  • E – Arcane Shift
    • Cooldown increased at later ranks 19/17/15/13/11 >>> 19.0/17.5/16.0/14.5/13.0


  • Change Goals
    • Playing up what it means to Get Excited! as a path to success through a teamfight.
    • Slowing down Rockets’ Attack Speed so there’s some tradeoff she incurs more of a tradeoff with that weapon.
  • P – Get Excited!
    • Can now chain together and stack, increasing Total Attack Speed by 15% per stack (Movement Speed portion does not stack)
    • Duration increased 4 >>> 6
  • Q – Switcheroo!
    • Jinx now has -15% Total Attack Speed while using Fishbones, the Rocket Launcher


  • Change Goals
    • Increasing Kalista’s affinity for Attack Speed.
    • Experimental dash scaling changes that help attack flow and reduce overall power from jumping.
  • Base Stats
    • Base AS increased 0.658 -> 0.694
    • AS per level reduced 3.3% -> 2.8%
  • P – Martial Poise
    • Jump distance scales with boot tier (as live), jump speed now only scales with AS/Slows (is slower early game but scales up).


  • Change Goals
    • Open up non Attack Speed based item builds, and make The Culling’s damage output feel more consistently meaningful throughout the game.
  • R – The Culling
    • No longer scales with Attack Speed
    • Now fires 20/25/30 bullets based on rank


  • Change Goals
    • Increasing Sivir’s affinity for CDR, bringing us back closer to the late game dream of “Ricochet all the time”.
  • Base Stats
    • Base Attack Speed reduced 0.66 >>> 0.625
  • W – Ricochet
    • Cooldown now begins on spell cast rather than when the attack buff expires
    • Cooldown increased 9/8/7/6/5 seconds >>> 12/10.5/9/7.5/6
    • Attack buff duration reduced 6 >>> 4


  • Change Goals
    • Begin to shift Trist away from late game clean-up hyper carry to more of an all-in AD caster.
    • Empower mid game all-in strength while stripping some power from late game sustained dps.
    • Clean up of minor cooldown returning mechanics in favor of more impactful Rocket Jump resets.
  • Q – Rapid Fire
    • No longer reduces [E] CD on hit while active
    • Attacking [E] Target no longer reduces [Q] CD on hit.
    • CD 20s -> 20 / 19 / 18 / 17 / 16s
  • W – Rocket Jump
    • Dmg Rescaled 80 / 105 / 130 / 155 / 180 -> 60 / 110 / 160 / 210 / 260
    • No longer deals increased damage per [E] stack
    • Now also resets on Max stack [E] Detonation on Champions
  • E – Explosive Charge
    • Now detonates instantly on 4th stack (max stacks). Bomb Animation shifted to represent this.
    • Tristana’s abilities also add [E] stacks.
    • Missile Speed 1800 -> 2400


  • Change Goals
    • Pushing Twitch a bit farther in the direction of the “marksman assassin” by adding an out to his assassination attempts via Ambush reset.
  • Q – Ambush
    • Added: Cooldown resets when an enemy champion affected by Deadly Venom dies
    • Quality of Life Buff: Entering stealth now cancels Twitch’s current auto attack order
  • R – Rat-Ta-Tat-Tat
    • Buff Duration reduced 7 >>> 5
    • Quality of Life Buff: casting Rat-Ta-Tat-Tat during Q’s stealth no longer cancels stealth
    • Cost 100/125/150 >>> 100 all ranks


  • Change Goals
    • Restore Urgot R’s defensive steroid function later in the game so that he doesn’t get wrecked so hard by all the percent penetration floating around out there.
  • R – Hyper-Kinetic Position Reverser
    • No longer adds 60/90/120 Armor/MR
    • Now adds 30/40/50% Damage Reduction


  • Change Goals
    • Make R zoning more obvious and powerful.
    • Shift R damage from initial hit to Blight procs.
  • R – Chain of Corruption
    • Now displays max Spread Range to Varus and Enemies if it is spreading to at least one enemy champion.
    • Rooted targets gain 3 stacks of [W] Blight over the duration of the root.
    • Damage 150 / 250 / 350 -> 100 / 175 / 250


  • Change Goals
    • Silver Bolts is about expected time to kill on all targets (not squishy bursting), and Vayne’s path to success needs to come through Silver Bolts.
  • Base Stats
    • AD/lvl reduced 2.66 >>> 1.66
  • W – Silver Bolts
    • Flat Damage removed
    • Percent Health Damage increased 4/5/6/7/8% >>> 6/7.5/9/10.5/12%
    • Minimum damage introduced at 40/60/80/100/120 flat damage

This is probably a lot to process. Feel free to give feedback on as much or as little as you like. Focusing specifically on “Is this a good direction?” would be great. We’re pretty open to change on the above stuff.


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Can you give us a short description of each major Marksman update

Scruffy Final PortraitYea this is a great question. Here’s the high level points for each:


  • The zone control marksmen (traps are on a charge system now)
  • New play feel with headshot combos (trap and E trigger a guaranteed headshot on the target)

Miss Fortune

  • The wombo combo marksmen (ult scaling way better, can crit)
  • New play feel with impure shots replaced with “love tap” new passive that gives bonus damage when swapping targets (this works well with Q)


  • The true glass cannon hyper carry (tons of dmg needs protection)
  • W now doubles ALL attack speed and allows him to break the attack speed cap (but ad is lowered to 60%)


  • Magic damage marksmen -> passive now does big magic damage instead of true and all spells now do magic damage
  • New mechanic: Special Delivery -> every ~5m in the game corki gets a special set of bombs in his base that allow him to cast a super mega W with much bigger range and impact


  • The map mobility/roaming marksmen
  • R reworked as a utility focused spell -> 0 cooldown and gives quinn crazy out of combat speed to quickly move around the map, not used for assassination anymore


  • We finally made his shotgun a shotgun -> up close burst damage marksmen
  • Basic attacks fire multiple buckshots in a cone -> more damage up close
  • Q reworked to synergize better with the new basic attacks

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Caitlyn Gameplay Update Feedback Megathread

Caitlyn Banner

CertainlyT New PortraitHey guys,

This thread is to discuss Caitlyn’s changes with the upcoming season. They should be on PBE tomorrow (Oct. 29). As a preview, I’ll summarize the changes and why we are doing them.

Major Changes:

Base stats

All marksmen have received some base stat adjustments; Caitlyn is no exception.
Caitlyn’s auto-attacks scale 10% less well with bonus attack speed.


1. Caitlyn’s Headshot now scales in damage with her Crit Chance (so at 50% crit chance, it deals +100% damage).
2. Caitlyn can fire a double-range Headshot at targets she has trapped or netted by auto-attacking them. This is independent from her normal Headshot.


Piltover Peacemaker’s missile is now narrow, but blooms into its old wide self on first target hit. Damage up by about 20% on the first hit, but falls off harder on the follow up hits.


1. Traps are now on an ammo system with a very short cooldown but longer recharge time, allowing Caitlyn to quickly set up a fortress of traps but then leaving her without traps for a much longer time if pushed away from them.
2. Traps no longer deal damage — instead, they interact with your passive.


Cooldown unchanged, but we drained some power and reliability from this spell to make room for power elsewhere. The net missile is a bit narrow, shorter, slower, and deals less damage. Now interacts with your passive.

R is unchanged

Why are we trying these changes? We think Caitlyn is in a good spot balance and play pattern-wise, but she isn’t perfect.

  1. Caitlyn’s play pattern is enjoyable, but indistinct. Let’s give the Caitlyn player more things they can master that someone familiar with marksmen generally won’t immediately pick up. Let’s do that while still making her about her auto-attack.
  2. Caitlyn tends to feel either endlessly oppressive or inconsequential. Let’s enhance her laning phase strengths (dominance and fast pushing), but create some meaningful win conditions for the opponent that involve not just outlasting but actively disrupting that plan.
  3. Caitlyn has at times been the safe sieger and at times been the blood boil hypercarry. Let’s give her a clearer late-game identity from peer marksmen, focused on zone control to make her the premiere sieger.
  4. As always, let’s enhance our champion’s thematic identity, in this case Caitlyn as sharpshooter.

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What do you mean she scales 10 less with bonus Attack Speed

CertainlyT New PortraitYes, technically her Base AS is 10% lower and she has an extra 11% attack speed at level 1 to exactly offset this.

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Will Caitlyn still be limited to 3 traps

CertainlyT New PortraitMax traps are 3/3/4/4/5 by rank. Trap recharge time goes down substantially with rank (probably by too much!). Traps only last 90 seconds now.





How will Headshot scale after the rework

CertainlyT New PortraitThe same as Live — +50%. Minion damage is completely unchanged from Live (always 250%)

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Can you explain what the changes to Corkis Valkyrie W are
Corki Single Banner

When he picks up “The package” he gets a homeguard like buff to help him find a fight/gank.

The “special delivery” (the mega W cast) is basically this:

  • 3x range of normal Valkyrie
  • Has a knockaside when it hits enemies
  • Damage zone is way more dangerous + it has a slow
  • Normal W is put on 0 cooldown after he casts it (to let him reposition)

So this ability is best used to separate a team fight or trap enemies in bad positions.

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How does Graves new buckshot autoattack function exactly

Graves Single Banner

Scruffy Final PortraitIt works in the same way that is Q does on live. The closer you are to the target, the more projectiles will hit them = more dmg.

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Kog'Maw PBE Feedback Thread

Kogmaw Single Banner

Repertoir New PortraitHi all,

With marksmen changes hitting PBE soon, I wanted to get a thread up to discuss changes to Kog’Maw that are coming in the big preseason patch. Kog’Maw’s changes are pretty simple and straightforward, and they aim to further emphasize some of the main things we’ve always known and love about him. Namely, we want him to really shine in support-heavy team comps, and we want him to feel like a really juicy target for opponents. This won’t be line-by-line changes like you’d see in the patch notes, but rather summaries of the bigger changes going on here.


  • Bio-Arcane Barrage (W) has been changed to make Kog’Maw some kind of vomit-spewing machine gun while it is active.
    • While W is active, Kog’Maw attacks twice as fast, and his Attack Speed cap is doubled to 5 attacks per second.
    • While W is active, basic attacks deal reduced physical damage, but apply on-hit effects at full effect.
    • During this time, Kog’Maw attacks so fast that attack-moving efficiently becomes incredibly difficult, so choose a time when you don’t need to move much, and go to town.
  • Living Artillery (R) has been repurposed to be less powerful in the average poke case, but very threatening as an execution tool.
    • Living Artillery’s base damage and ratios have been adjusted, and it no longer deals increased base damage to champions.
    • Living Artillery now deals double damage to enemies at 25%-50% current Health, and triple damage to enemies below 25% Health
  • Various other changes/thoughts:
    • Base Attack Speed stats and Q’s passive Attack Speed have been adjusted so he is more dependent upon maxing both his Q and W to really approach his full damage potential.
    • For those wondering, AP Kog’Maw will play a bit differently than before, but we believe it to be of about equal power to before.

Those are the main changes. If you get a chance to play Kog’Maw, please do let me know how it goes by replying to this thread. I’ll be popping in pretty regularly while Kog is on PBE to monitor his progress and see how players are feeling about him.


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Are there any changes to the bonus range from Bio Arcane Barrage W

Repertoir New PortraitThe range increase is slightly smaller at rank 1 (90, I believe?), but it scales back up to the same 210 at rank 5.

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Do you think Kog’Maws build path will change after his rework

Repertoir New PortraitWe believe that BotRK is his likely first item rush, and that Trinity Force is less optimal now due to his W being less optimal with spell-weaving patterns.

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Have you tried attack moving with double the maximum Attack Speed

Repertoir New PortraitYes, it’s basically impossible, and it’s actually an intended weakness of the character.

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Do you have any plans to look at KogMaws passive

Repertoir New PortraitWe’re not currently planning any changes to his passive.

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Will KogMaw still be playable as a spell based poke Marksman

Repertoir New PortraitHe scales quite well with Attack Damage on his W and R, so you should still be able to play him this way.

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Will the Max HP damage on Bio Arcane Barrage remain on his kit

Repertoir New PortraitYes, but it is modified to have an AD ratio (and be dependent upon that AD ratio).

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Is KogMaws rework gameplay only Or are we getting visual updates
Repertoir New PortraitMostly gameplay. There are some small visual changes to his W particles and animations, as well as his icons.

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Will Lucian get any changes

Lucian Single Banner

Riot Axes New PortraitHe has some light changes to his kit. The bigger thing he’s getting is a couple of items that are very nearly perfect on him – I think he’s going to be in a good spot come preseason. If he’s not, we’ll adjust, of course.

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Scruffy Final PortraitWe have some smaller changes in for lucian focused around his ult. The amount of bullets fired will scale up with ult rank now instead of attack speed. It gives him a lot more dps reliability from the spell if he wants to focus on AD or triforce builds.

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Miss Fortune PBE Feedback Thread

Miss Fortune Single Banner

Statikk New PortraitSalutations,

Miss Fortune is receiving a fairly significant update with the next preseason. It may not be as dramatic as some of the other Marksmen, but it should better solidify her place in the Marksman lineup and the League roster as a whole.


  • Miss Fortune is making her return as the queen of the Wombo Combo
    • Bullet Time now channels for a higher max duration and thus higher max damage output (DPS is similar if not better in most cases)
    • Bullet Time now scales much better into the later parts of the game – Miss Fortune now fires waves more rapidly at higher ranks and Bullet Time waves can now critically strike (but at a reduced amount)
  • Impure Shots is gone and has been replaced by Love Tap
    • Love Tap is now MF’s character passive – it’s a new basic attack mechanic that deals bonus damage whenever Miss Fortune attacks a new target
    • MF now gets a lot more value if she can manage to bounce her attacks between 2 or several targets
    • Strut has been moved to W’s Passive now that Love Tap is her character passive

This isn’t all of the nitty gritty details, but gives you guys an overview of the larger changes we made to the kit.

Feel free to leave feedback once you guys get a chance to test her out. Hope you guys enjoy!

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Will Strut only be active for the duration of Impure Shots W now

Statikk New PortraitStrut will work similarly to how it did before. It’s still a passive but it only activates once you get at least 1 rank in W and the amount of Movement Speed it gives is based on W rank.

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Does Love Tap New W have any cooldown between targets

Statikk New PortraitThere is no internal cooldown.

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Statikk New PortraitWe’ve done base stat adjustments to ensure her laning is still reasonable. If anything she’s probably less of a lane bully than she used to be especially when being played by a non-expert MF.

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Is it fair to say Miss Fortune will be weaker in 1v1s after these changes

Statikk New PortraitYes, I think MF did lose some of her brute force dueling potential, but she gained a lot more power in multi-target fights.

Have yet to test Jungle MF, so unsure if she’s actually stronger or weaker if played optimally here.

Love Tap only applies to basic attacks and Q – I initially had it hooked up to Hurricane, but it just made Love Tap really confusing and impossible to make balanced and satisfying.

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Isnt the new passive a bit counterintuitive It lowers singletarget DPS

Statikk New PortraitSometimes it will be best to focus fire a target and ignore Love Tap altogether, I think that’s okay that it depends on the situation.

I would think of Love Tap as a “bonus” rather than something MF has to do in order to just function.

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Will there be any changes to Make it Rain E

Statikk New PortraitUnfortunately we did no fundamental changes to her E. It does have an increased cast range though to better synergize with setting up Bullet Time.

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Quinn PBE Feedback Thread

Quinn Banner

Repertoir New PortraitHi guys,

With preseason hitting the PBE shortly and Quinn being one of the six main marksmen getting an update, I wanted to put up a post to gather feedback on her changes for her time on the PBE before release. Rather than a long line-by-line changelist on the PBE, you’ll instead find the main changes going on in Quinn’s update in the body of the thread, not necessarily in P,Q,W,E,R order.


  • Tag Team (R) has been heavily repurposed into a strategic map mobility tool:
    • Tag Team’s visuals have been changed from Quinn leaving the game space to Valor flying Quinn around beneath her.
    • Tag Team now has a 2-second channel at its start, and no longer has combat spells or basic attacks.
    • Tag Team now has no cooldown, and its Movement Speed bonus is now very dramatic.
    • Skystrike has been retained, but deals less damage and does not deal increased damage based on targets’ missing Health.
  • Blinding Assault (Q) has been repurposed (and renamed) into more of a waveclearing tool and less of a dueling tool:
    • Q’s name has been changed to Aerial Assault, because… the spell no longer blinds.
    • Aerial Assault now marks its primary target as Vulnerable (passive mark).
    • Aerial Assault now does up to double damage based on targets’ missing Health.
    • Half of Aerial Assault’s cooldown is refunded if it kills at least one enemy.
  • Various other changes:
    • Harrier (P) attacks now deal a percentage of Quinn’s total AD rather than a base and bonus AD ratio.
    • Vault (E) has had its dash speed increased, and it should now more reliably return you along the vector you dashed in on.

The above changes are the main ones that should most dramatically change the way Quinn plays following her update. Please feel free to give feedback on any of the above stuff, and do let me know if anything feels off about the character in ways you wouldn’t expect given the above information. I did quite a bit of script cleanup on her, so I want to make sure I didn’t change the feel of things in ways I didn’t intend.

Thanks all,

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Can you fight while in Tag Team

Repertoir New PortraitNope. If you basic attack from Tag Team, it will fire the basic attack, fire a Skystrike, and cancel Tag Team.

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What do the Movement Speed numbers look like on the ult

Repertoir New PortraitCurrently 70/100/130% Total Movement Speed.

Total Movement Speed differs from other standard MS bonuses in that it multiplies off all your other MS bonuses. Essentially, Total Movement Speed is more powerful than Bonus Movement Speed because it multiplies off your other buffs and items. A Quinn with Homeguard and Tag Team, for example, can reach the middle of the map from her fountain before Homeguard falls off.

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Did you change Harriers Passive cooldown or target selection

Repertoir New PortraitHarrier has an 8-second cooldown that goes down with Quinn’s Crit Chance. There have been some updates to Harrier’s target selection (please let me know if anything feels off about it). Valor will now also immediately mark a nearby target when the passive comes off cooldown (unless there is already another mark in the world).

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Why didnt you just remove Skystrike from Quinns ult

Repertoir New PortraitI was actually in favor of this approach for quite some time, but we thought it was something that players would be attached to, and that keeping it around at low power budget would be best.

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Does Quinns W still work while using Tag Team

Repertoir New PortraitYeah, W still works during Tag Team without cancelling Tag Team. You can also cast Q and E from Tag Team, but they will remove you from Tag Team.

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Will her ult cost mana

Repertoir New PortraitYes, but the cost goes down to 0 by rank 3.

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Have there been any changes to Quinns AD ratios

Repertoir New PortraitProbably somewhat comparable to Live, with Harrier potentially doing a bit less per proc in the early game and a bit more in the late game.

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What does Quinns new Q look like and how does it work

Repertoir New PortraitIt is still a line skill shot that does area damage around the first target hit. When I said primary target, I meant (and should have been more specific about) first target hit.

Currently Skystrike does 1.0 total AD, but I’d say it’s still pending tuning.

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Can you use Teleport without it taking you out of Tag Team

Repertoir New PortraitI believe you can. I’ll have to verify, but it’s intended that you can.

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How do you feel about these changes to Quinn

Repertoir New PortraitAs with all changes, I’m nervous about them but excited for them. One of the most difficult things about these reveals is gauging what is an emotional response as opposed to constructed feedback. It’s not fun to take away things from characters that players may have really enjoyed, but it means we really have to capitalize on the things we’re adding/changing for it to be worth it.

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Why is Twitch not part of the Marksman update

Twitch Single Banner

Meddler Final PortraitThere’ll be a bunch of smaller changes to marksmen other than the 6 listed in preseason as well. In Twitch’s case we’re looking at a CD reset on his Q when a champion affected by his passive dies plus some clean up around stealth (entering stealth now cancels current attack orders to avoid immediate screwage, R breaks stealth on attack launch instead of when the spell’s first pressed, giving a bit less response time).

On top of that there are also some significant item changes to marksmen items coming too, some of which should be pretty appealing on Twitch (Ghostblade changes for example that include it gaining increased AD).

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Rift Herald PBE Feedback Thread

Rift Herald Mini Banner

Riot Jag Final PortraitHey guys, Rift Herald is coming out and I wanted to fill in some of the details of what’s going on here.

  • Location/timing:
    • Spawns at the Baron Pit
    • First appears at 4:00
    • Respawns every 5 minutes
    • Despawns at 19:45 unless in combat; hard despawns at 19:55 no matter what
  • Encounter details:
    • Melee-only attacker – but hits pretty hard. Need to be able to take a punch to tank RH.
    • The Eye will occasionally open, exposing RH to bonus damage on attacks from behind equal to 12% of RH’s Max HP as True Damage.
    • Takes 35% less damage from ranged Autoattacks.
  • Reward details:
    • 50 global gold to everyone on the killing team
    • Drops “Doom’s Eve” buff to the killer:
      • 10% increase to all Damage (except True Damage) and 40 bonus MS
      • Enhanced Baron Recall
      • Enhances nearby minions offensive power, same as Baron buff, with an additional attack speed increase. Does NOT increase their defensive power (don’t worry, you won’t have to deal with last-hitting Baron buffed minions in lane)

We’ll be dropping a Dev Blog explaining some more of the intent behind putting RH in the game, but any and all types of feedback are fair game here. Thanks everyone!

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Does the buff transfer to another player when killed or will it disappear

Riot Jag Final PortraitDisappears like Baron’s.

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How long does the buff last

Riot Jag Final Portrait2 minutes. TP cooldown is also going up in preseason.

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How many stacks does it give for Devourer

Riot Jag Final PortraitYou get 2. It’s a mutated Scuttle Crab!

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Will we be able to solo the Rift Herald

Riot Jag Final PortraitIt’s going to be very hard to solo. You’d have to be way ahead. The Eye Backstab makes it really easy to duo though.

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Riot Jag Final PortraitIt’s hard to solo, and much easier to duo, since you need one person to proc the Eye Backstab every 3 seconds. Bringing more than 2 doesn’t add a ton since the backstab does so much work, so you can optimize taking it around just bringing a tanky dude and one friend (jungle + top laner is a good combo). No Kindred passives here.

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Why does the Herald take less damage from Ranged attacks

Riot Jag Final PortraitIt’s mostly about making sure this objective we give to top laners isn’t optimized for ADCs. Certain ranged top laners may be worse at taking RH and that’s okay; some champs have different strengths and weaknesses. Ranged spells still do full damage though (so Vlad is still pretty decent here, for example).

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Whats the story behind the Rift Herald Why is he on Summoners Rift

Riot Jag Final PortraitThe story behind it is that a Scuttle Crab wandered into Baron’s Pit and was warped by the Void. It looks totally badass and I’m blown away by what the artists did here. :)

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Can you guys give us a brief rundown of the ADC item changes

Item Changes Single Banner

Reinboom Final PortraitSure.

Infinity Edge is slightly weaker now (little less AD), we shifted power elsewhere so it’s less automatic and so that we could add cooler things to the Marksman space.

Essence Reaver scales its CDR off of your critical strike chance so that it works as a big core item (think IE space). It can now give upwards of +30% CDR.

Phantom Dancer does stuff other than just be straight up damage. Bonus movement speed while near your opponents and you take less damage from the last champion you hit. Isolate and kill people, basically.

Rapid Firecannon charges up like Shiv, but when charged instead of prepping you for the thunder, increases your attack range and gives you a fiery hit at the end.

Shiv does even more damage versus minions. It’s specialized further into being the bursty clearing tool.

Hurricane now crits and the bolts crit. Also movement speed. It’s in the PD / Shiv space now, so it should be an option for more Marksman.

Executioner’s Calling is back, but it’s a bit different and cheaper. Also it’s a component item. It builds into something new.

Last Whisper is now a component item. It builds into new things.

There’s something called Giant Slayer. It hurts health dudes.

Merc scimitar has Lifesteal, you should feel comfortable taking it over BT.

Death’s Dance exist. It has something like Lifesteal but better. Also it “delays” damage.

And tons of changes all over the place. This is just some of the marks targeted ones.

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How viable is Runaans Hurrican now on ADCs

Reinboom Final PortraitShould be much more valid.

Hurricane now gives MS + Crit and the bolts can crit. It’s not damaging your normal damage scaling by taking it anymore.

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Do you think any of the new items will help AD casters like KhaZix

Reinboom Final PortraitYes, there will be a lot of cross talk. Death’s Dance is pretty awesome on Kha’zix as a physical damage vamp item.

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Could you give some more insight on the new Sightstone build paths

Meddler Final PortraitTier 2 support item + Sightstone = an upgraded Sightstone with upgraded stats from both component items.

E.g. Frost Fang + Sightstone combine into ‘Eye of the Watchers’ which has the Sightstone ward active, the Tribute passive and gives Health/AP/GP10/Mana Regen.

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Follow Up Banner

Does this mean we wont have T3 support items like Talisman and FoTM

Meddler Final PortraitYou’ll have the choice of either merging your T2 support item with Sightstone or going for the T3 support version. If going for the T3 support approach Ruby Sightstone should now be more attractive too (gives reduced CD on active items, so pairs well with Talisman/Face/Frost Queen’s).

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Have you accounted for past mana cost increases with the removal of Mana Pots

Pwyff Final PortraitShort answer: yes. Long answer…

There’s a lot of concern on specific champions that we won’t get them perfect out the gate with preseason and, while I think that’s a super valid concern, it’s one we can’t be shackled to for the time being. I suspect most champs will get proper compensation before they ship, but what a change like this does is allows us to see what champions were using mana pot spamming to cover up massive weaknesses versus those who were using them to snowball forward. If we don’t get it right the first time, you can be sure we are aware of the space we’re creating and can solve for it.

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Pwyff Final PortraitXypherous is running point on this change, but he’s also gone through all champions who rely on mana pots to be functional and has buffed either their base mana regen or their base mana pool. In the future we can also keep a firmer grasp on mana gating and/or champions whose costs are just too damn high.

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Any pre preseason insight you can give us about Essence Reaver

Reinboom Final PortraitSure. It’s being adapted specifically for characters that want to weave auto attacks and spells. It’s also no longer being compared to bloodthirster, and being compared to IE more.

Still gives mana. Still gives CDR. How and how much are both different. And now takes the crit chance you get from other items and turns it into CDR (upwards of +30% CDR).

This is VERY good on Lucian.

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 Follow Up Banner

Reinboom Final PortraitIf ER isn’t bought over IE on who we made it for, then we’ll adjust ER up.

Currently it’s actually been very scary in testing. Essence Reaver now scales up its cooldown reduction with other items.

For example…
Essence Reaver + Zeal = +30% Cooldown

We want Essence Reaver to be your definitive Marksman caster item.

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What changes will you be making to Last Whisper

Meddler Final PortraitLast Whisper’s now cheaper, can upgrade into a couple of different options, and works against bonus Armor instead of total Armor.

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Will ADCs be able to apply Grievous Wounds 50 reduced heal again

Reinboom Final PortraitExecutioner’s Calling will exist again. Slightly different form. Ideally more viable and more clear what you’re trading for it.

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Do the item changes mean Crystalline Flask will no longer restore Mana

Xypherous Final PortraitFlask will still replenish Mana.

Since Flask is a permanent item that is fairly high cost – it’s closer to buying a sapphire crystal than a cheap consumable potion.

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Follow Up Banner

Xypherous Final PortraitThe Flask will remain – though it’s been heavily heavily altered. Provides Health and Mana… and may or may not set your opponents on fire when you hit them.

On the downside, you can’t stack regular health potions with it anymore – as that combination was a nightmare to balance and really prevented us from having Flask starts be tolerable.

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Will starting items be cheaper or will we get more gold for a HP potion

Xypherous Final PortraitBoth.

Starting gold is now 500. Starting items have had their costs readjusted.

I… may need to figure out some better tank starting options. It’s just hard to make them good without them becoming automatically default. :x

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What changes will support the removal of Stealth Wards from the store

Vision Changes Single Banner

Pwyff Final PortraitYou’ll see a few changes to support this rather than a raw “strip wards out.” Pink wards, for example, are getting cheaper, trinkets automatically upgrade, and sweeper has some new functionality. We’ll have more details next week!

[edit] Big one: Yellow trinket starts with 2 wards automatically.

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Can we still place Stealth Wards via other means

Riot Axes New PortraitCorrect. Sightstone still exists (and has more upgrade paths), yellow trinket still exists, but you can’t just spend 75 gold for a one-shot stealth ward anymore.

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How do you expect vision changes to impact junglers

Fearless New PortraitWe have a lot more changes to the vision game that we haven’t revealed yet. Short story is that we’re giving the jungle a few more ways to opt into the vision game, which allows junglers a greater ability to actively augment and control vision. That being said, the prevalence of pink wards, along with their cost reduction, will have an impact on stealth junglers especially. We’ll be watching our sneaky friends closely.

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How will the Blue Trinket work in Preseason

Pwyff Final PortraitTL;DR in this current iteration it drops a permanent 1hp visible vision ward (like a Pink but no stealth reveal) with a massive range. I believe the wards are off the cap, so technically if you drop them on cooldown in random places…

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Can you give us an example of a Keystone Mastery

Gypsylord New PortraitSure I’ll give you my favorite >:)

Thunderlord’s Decree

Your 3rd attack or spell on an enemy champion shocks the area around them, dealing 10 damage per level plus 20% of your Bonus Attack Damage and 10% of your Ability Power as Magic damage to enemies in the area (30 second cooldown).

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Meddler Final PortraitWe’ve got some stuff in there that should be pretty appealing on champions looking for defensive options as well. An example of an end tier mastery from the more defensively focused tree:

“Strength of Ages

Killing a Siege Minion or large monsters increases maximum health by 20 and 8 respectively, up to 250 health. After reaching 250 bonus health, heal for 100 health when a nearby siege minion dies.”

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Keystone masteries will make the new player experience even worse

Meddler Final PortraitOur goal with the mastery changes has been to keep the total amount of power in the new mastery system roughly equivalent to the old system. The big change though is that a lot of that power will be concentrated into just a couple of masteries per player. That means that instead of 30 mastery points, each with generally equal power, you’ll have a few masteries that contribute a lot of power in noticeable ways and a lot of masteries that are smaller stat effects. Thunderlord’s Decree’s a Tier 3 mastery for example, which means that each player will only ever have one of them (new trees go up to 18 points, with 3 options of Tier 3 mastery per tree, of which you can only take one).

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Follow Up Banner

Meddler Final PortraitIf you’re level 17 say and playing against someone who’s level 18, then yes, that’ll be a much more noticeable power difference under this system. That’s not ideal, and something we’d like to fix long term, we don’t feel it’s a significant enough cost to dictate mastery system design however. The difference between an account level 1 player and an account level 18 player by contrast should be pretty similar under the new masteries to the old, just in a more obvious way.

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Is the Master level up system even necessary

Meddler Final PortraitWe do think our account progression could be improved significantly. For the timeline of this preseason though that wasn’t an option. We did however feel there was room to significantly improve masteries while working within some existing constraints (30 points, earned 1 per level).

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If you have any questions, feel free to ask me at @NoL_Chefo or e-mail me at


Reds 24 10 Banner


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Here are the most recent news in each category:

Red Post Collection Thumbnail Official Site Post Thumbnail PBE Update Post Thumbnail

Current Sale Thumbnail Current Rotation Thumbnail



Some gameplay work in progress general gameplay thoughts

Meddler Final PortraitHi all!

Wanted to share a few of our thoughts on where we’re up to on some currently topical gameplay stuff. Trying out a different approach here with just quick updates on a number of topics rather than a focus on a couple of things (feedback on that much appreciated!).

The Preseason:

  • We’ve been putting a lot of work into updates for the upcoming preseason patch over the last couple of months, with changes to champions, items, vision etc. We’re getting very close to putting that stuff on PBE (all going according to plan).


Kindred Final Portrait

  • Kindred have been out for about a week now and we’re starting to see players get to grips with their kit. So far we’ve been really happy with the state of their release balance, so 5.21 won’t contain any buffs or nerfs, just some bug fixes. Really interested to see where they end up over the next couple of patches, there’s some definite learning curve there and we’re also seeing people experiment with them in a range of positions with a mix of success and failure.


Mordekaiser Final Portrait

  • Morde’s a pretty topical dude at the moment. Our belief is that he’s too strong in a duo lane, despite previous nerfs, so we’re going to be reducing the amount of bonus XP he gets from his W in 5.21. Our hope is that that will then give us some room to buff his base stats, bringing his solo laning closer to his duo lane performance. That’s something we’ll likely do as a follow up change though (potentially in 5.22), once we’ve got a read on what the impact of the XP reduction was.

  • Thematic side note for anyone that’s interested and hadn’t already heard – we’ll also be changing his title to ‘The Iron Revenant’ rather than the previous ‘Lord of Death’ (Iron Revenant being a player suggested title update that we felt did a great job of merging different thematic elements from Morde).


Poppy Final Portrait

  • Works heavily underway on Poppy. She’ll be the next really big champion update that goes out (Sion/GP sort of scale, so full overhaul of abilities, visuals, voice etc). Her E’s the only ability effectively ported over from her old kit, feel we’re going for’s still very much small, noble, determined warrior who smacks others around with a large hammer.


World Champs

  • Worlds has been getting a lot of attention for the Gameplay teams of course. We’ve been really enjoying the diversity of picks in some positions (mid lane especially), though are seeing that some others could do with more help (jungle for example). Some outlier champions that definitely seem too strong (Morde, GP, Darius etc), some of whom we’ve already nerfed post 5.18, some of which we’ve got stuff underway for. A number of champions too that we don’t yet have plans for, but are keeping a really close eye on and talking about quite a bit (Tahm Kench for example).


Upcoming Champs

  • We’ve had a couple of trends with new champions recently that have helped opened up new gameplay space (non damage utility ults) and thematic space (creatures of myth). We’ve been pretty happy with how those explorations have gone, we don’t have to overdo them though. Next set of champs we’ve got underway are going for a bit of contrast with that as a result, with a few more damage/combat focused ults and characters who are somewhat more a part of the regular world of Runeterra.


General Balance Changes

  • Since a lot’s going to change in the upcoming preseason patch we’re generally holding off on smaller balance changes for a little bit, given which characters are a bit too weak or a bit too strong could change significantly in the near future due to systemic changes.

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I think we should get a developer post like this every 3 or 4 patches

Meddler Final PortraitI’m also interested in finding something along those sort of lines. Still trying to figure out exact format, frequency, style etc, with this post as one test of what works for people versus what doesn’t.

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Meddler Final PortraitI’ll be trying to do these every so often. Buffs/nerfs/updates are one of the things I’ll be best able to cover, new champ ideas by contrast we generally prefer not to talk about until the champion’s ready. Game modes and skins by contrast are outside of my own area of expertise, so I’ll leave discussion on those to the folks who work on them who are much more able to talk about them usefully.

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Has Ao Shin been scrapped delayed due to animation issues with his body

Ao Shin Single Banner

Meddler Final PortraitAo Shin got put on hold quite a while back, in large part due to technical issues with making a serpentine creature look like we wanted in game. Plan’s always been to look at Ao Shin again once we’ve got the tech to do those body animations properly.

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Will we get another champion this year

Meddler Final PortraitCurrent expectation is that Kindred will not be the last new champ of the year.

We will continue to look for opportunities to get classes into less common positions, that’s not going to be a good fit for some champion concepts though.

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Why are you scrapping Poppys Q in her rework

Poppy Single Banner

Meddler Final PortraitPoppy’s Q is a very functional spell, but we felt there was opportunity to shift to something with more play and interest to it.

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Meddler Final PortraitShe’ll be more focused at controlling a fight and fighting people over longer periods over time than exploding a dude really quickly.

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Will there be any changes to Sightstone in the Preseason

Meddler Final PortraitSightstone upgrades will be part of the changes. Intent is to still keep those in a position where they’re generally more appealing on supports than other classes though.

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Do you think Cassiopeias in a good state

Cassiopeia Single Banner

Meddler Final PortraitSpeaking frankly about Cass:

  • We don’t believe Cass is in a good state post rework.
  • We also don’t believe pre-rework Cass was in a good state either.
  • We would like to do some work (scale unknown, though extremely unlikely to be a full scale rework) on Cass next year.

  • How that work will be prioritized hasn’t been determined yet. There are a number of other projects it’d have to be traded off against on either the Live Gameplay (balance) team or the Champion Update (reworks) team (projects like Ryze, Azir, Taric, Yorick etc).
  • Even if we do do work on Cass next year I can’t offer any promises as to when that might be. Could be some small stuff early in the year and some medium work later, just balance/QoL changes at some indeterminate point, a moderate sized piece of gameplay work late in the year etc.

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Why is Azir on your Gameplay update list

Azir Single Banner

Meddler Final PortraitAzir’s kit is sufficiently difficult to learn that it doesn’t seem to currently be possible to put him in a spot where he’s sufficiently balanced for experienced players without being extremely inaccessible to people unfamiliar with him. Learning curve and skill ceiling are great of course, in this case Azir’s skill floor’s too punishing though. Current intent is to look at ways to make him somewhat more accessible, with if needs be, some nerfs to his top end if those changes buff him there too.

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Do you have any plans now or in the future to rework or remove crit

Meddler Final PortraitCrit’s definitely got some issues (feeling screwed by RNG when you did everything right especially), so at some point we do want to do some work on it. It does add some variance and risk to otherwise extremely reliable, consistent actions (right clicking/getting right clicked) though, and LoL’s arguably a little too predictable at times at present. We don’t want to simply replace it with a guaranteed damage multiplier as a result and, whenever we do work on it, would want to bundle that with some other systemic changes.

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Do you think that mana conservationmanagement are good mechanics

Meddler Final PortraitI feel mana management’s a useful lever to have, both in terms of the control it offers over champion power at various points in the game and as an expression of player skill. Having said that I don’t feel that all characters should be mana gated equally. Some melee should arguably be gated in lane, but free to use spells generally on CD later in the game, given the challenges they have getting onto targets. Other long range characters, or healers, by contrast should generally have significant costs throughout the game.

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Whatre your thoughts on energybased resourceless Champions

Meddler Final PortraitResourceless characters and energy users are both types of champion I feel have a good place in the game in terms of the different playstyles, pacings (in lane and after) and abilities designs they allow. I do believe it’s healthy to have mana as the default resource however, with occasional exceptions and we’ll be going through a period of new champions who consistently use mana for a while (last non mana user was Rek’Sai, next 4 upcoming champions at least will probably all use mana).

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Do you think highmobility Champions are crowding out lowmobility ones

Meddler Final PortraitI believe it’s very possible for high and low mobility champions to coexist in lanes, I don’t think we’ve always given lower mobility champions sufficient compensation for the low mobility price they pay however. Being a low mobility champ should allow you to get access to some pretty powerful stuff that wouldn’t be appropriate on champs with dashes/blinks etc. Kog’Maw and Anivia are good examples to me of where that’s been done right, with both of them being options that more mobile marksmen/mages respectively don’t offer.

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Are there any buffs planned for Syndra

Syndra Banner

Meddler Final PortraitWe’d still like to make some improvements to Syndra’s passive, probably in a way that added a bit of power to her to. No short term plans for that though, that’ll be a sometime post preseason project (timing uncertain, since our current road map for balance type changes primarily reads ‘Get preseason ready and then follow up on preseason’).

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What happened to Rivens Edge resource on the PBE Why was it reverted

Riven Single Banner

Meddler Final PortraitThose are currently on hold while the Live Gameplay team’s focused on preseason work. We’ll probably look at Riven against once that stuff’s out, unclear whether those specific changes are what we’d want to go with yet or not though. In the meantime we’re shipping a small nerf to Riven’s ult CD to take a bit of power off her.

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If you were to nerf Tahm Kench could you just revert some of the buffs he got

Tahm Kench Single banner

Meddler Final PortraitIf we were to nerf Tahm where we did so would depend on where he’s too strong. If that’s something we’ve recently buffed, then certainly, reverting a recent buff would make sense (e.g. if enemy Devour’s now too strong reducing the regurgitate range back down could be a good fit). On the other hand if the issue’s elsewhere reverting a recent buff might not hit the right issue (e.g. if his healing’s too strong nerfing devour range isn’t an appropriately targeted fix).

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Will the Marksman update be part of the Preseason changes

Meddler Final PortraitYes, Marksmen changes will be in the preseason. We haven’t decided yet which class we might tackle after that (enchanters also isn’t a name or clearly defined subclass we’ve got a consensus on, though it is a term some people have been using internally to describe caster supports like Janna or Nami).

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Wont Voice Chat solve ingame toxicity People dont say the things they type

Lyte Final PortraitIronically, I just answered a question about voice chat on, which is here:

QUESTION: Are you trying to make the game full PG? (Like even below PG-13) Couse it looks like you are trying to completely remove toxicity when there will always be people that act ughh… silly.Couse for example, voice chat would help immensly but your toxicity “excuse” ruins that idea…

League is a hardcore game, and it’s played by many adults so no, we’re not trying to make it a PG-13 game. In fact, we’re not against offensive language per se. For example, saying “Fuck I missed that skillshot” or “Fuck, that was a bad engage, sorry” is completely fine and is not punished. You’re only punished when you start focusing your language against someone else, for example, “Fuck you asshole, wtf was that play. Uninstll plz.” Of course, hate speech, death threats and more severe language is not OK in any context, and that stuff will be punished with pretty much zero tolerance.

With regards to voice chat, we’re not opposed to voice chat. A lot of research suggests that voice chat between friends is an awesome experience, but voice chat with strangers is more hit and miss. These are known problems with voice chat and these issues exist in every game. If we do voice chat, we’d like to try some new features to tackle these problems but right now, all our development teams are focused on other priorities.

To the OP though, there’s a huge difference between 3rd party voice chat and integrated voice chat. Players that already have a voice chat solution installed, and are willing to add a stranger to their personal voice chat friends list and voice chat in a game are a very different, self-selected population compared to the general playerbase. In many cases, you could say these players are more likely to want to voice chat with others and very few people would do this purposely to yell at someone or be toxic to someone. If we had integrated voice chat, it would be available for everyone in the game, which has very different player behaviors.

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The Risks of MMR Boosting

Rhojin New PortraitHey Everyone,

A couple months back I made a post regarding MMR Boosting punishments and the updated investigation and identification methods we created for the 2015 Season. Today I wanted to talk about something else in regard to MMR Boosting, the security of your account. By now I’m sure you are all aware of the announcement of the 2015 Ranked Season Rewards; and after seeing what waits for those who reached Gold or higher we have seen a large increase in the number of players receiving MMR Boosts. While it may be tempting to pay for a boost or getting your friend/family member to play a couple games to boost your rank up, there are some serious risks involved in receiving a MMR Boost.

First and foremost, you will receive a MMR Boosting punishment. Your account will be suspended for two weeks, any ranked rewards you may have earned in the past will be stripped from your account and you will be ineligible to receive the 2015 rewards. Now this isn’t an “IF” your account is caught this is a when your account is caught. No matter how elite a booster may claim their methods are, there is no hiding from us.

On top of the punishment looming over a boosted account, the security of the account could also be at risk. Far too many times have we seen players share their information with people offering to boost their account, only to have that person then run off with the account and either sell it to another party or use it for other nefarious means. There are boosters who will boost an account and then report it directly to us for whatever reason they may have. And then there are those who set up sting operations, offer to boost someone and report every player to us who says yes, and they aren’t even contracted through us to do something like this. This is something they do out of their own free will to ensure boosters are removed from the community they love.

But even after being boosted there is no guarantee that an account will remain in the ranking it was boosted to. Throughout the 2015 Season we have seen 35% of boosted accounts drop back down to the ranking they were at before being boosted or lower. So not only is there the MMR Boosting punishment being issued to an account, the numbers show you may drop back down in rank and expose your account information to unnecessary risk.

I will be checking this post throughout the day to answer any questions or concerns you may have.

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Will the system punish me if Ive played from different locations

Rhojin New PortraitYou shouldn’t have anything to worry about. We know players travel all the time and play from location other than home. When we investigate accounts we make sure to take this into consideration. The last thing we want to do is punish someone because they wanted to enjoy a couple League games while they were on vacation or visiting friends.

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Does this include friends carrying others through Ranked

Rhojin New PortraitNah, you’re cool. Duoing with a friend is something we allow, even if they were the one doing the carrying. As long as you played on your own account you have nothing to worry about.

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Rhojin New PortraitAs long as both players are on their own accounts it is not considered to be boosting. Though chances are a challenger player is not going to have a legitimate smurf account that can duo with a bronze player but by some chance they have a legitimate smurf able to duo with a bronze friend it is not punishable in regard to boosting.

Now if the challenger player intentionally lost games to have a lower ranked account in order to stomp lower ranked players or to duo with friends, then the account would be open to another form of punishment.

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Are you guys sure youre able to catch every booster

Rhojin New PortraitWe are working around the clock on MMR Boosting investigations and we still have a large list of people who are set to be punished for their boosting participation this season. While nothing anywhere is perfect there is a very slim chance someone may get lucky now to avoid detection, but sooner or later their time will come. Also if you feel you have information pertaining to someone who had their account boosted you are more than welcome to send a report to us through the support site. We appreciate these types or reports as it does help us ensure we can identify those who have received MMR Boosts.

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Can a player be punished as a result of a false report

Rhojin New PortraitWe never punish anyone based simply because a report was sent in. When any reports are sent in to us we begin an investigation into the reports player, gathering our own information and comparing it to what the reporting player may have sent to us. Only when we are 100% sure that the reported player is guilty will we ever issue a punishment. There are times when players have been reported to me for being boosted and it turned out that the account wasn’t boosted, rather they just had a bad losing streak in their Diamond ranking.

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You made it to the end! Here’s some fan-art to wrap up the red posts for Saturday:


Lux by Raikoart



Haunted Zyra by dotswap




Female Thresh by Gumae


If you have any questions, feel free to ask me at @NoL_Chefo or e-mail me at


Balance Team AMA Part 2 Banner

The balance team made another pass of community questions, which you can find answered below:

[ Note ] Part 1 of the AMA can be found HERE.




Balance Team QA 2 Ask Us Anything Again

Scarizard Final PortraitEDIT: AMA’S DONE FOR TODAY! Thanks for coming out and asking questions – If you’re reading this and missed this one (or if we missed yours D:), we’ll be doing two more this month at the same time! We’ll see y’all at 12:30pm pacific, on Friday 10/030!

If you have follow-up questions or want to stalk us on the internet, you can follow almost all of us on ze twitters at (@RiotJag) (@RiotFeralPony) (@RiotTimeWizard) (@G_mang) (@ManWolfAxeBoss) (@SmashGizmo) (@ricklessabandon) and (@RiotScarizard)

Hey folks,

We’re back again for our 2nd AMA this month – another week of worlds has gone by and a new patch is on the horizon, and we still have tons of your questions to get to! Got something to say about balance, your favorite champions, or how free SmashGizmo’s sheik is? We’ve got you covered.

If you want to check out our Q+A last week, here’s a link to that one too! M O R E C O N T E X T

On deck, we’ve got:

RiotTimeWizard (thousand-year-dragon in training)

ricklessabandon (all lowercase, all the time)

SmashGizmo (plays 5 colors in EDH like a scumbag)

ManWolfAxeBoss (fire and blood)

RiotGmang (keeps talking so nobody explodes)

RiotJag (has a cool motorcycle)

FeralPony (photoshop artiste)

and yours truly! Got a burning question or top-of-mind curiosity? Fire away and we’ll start answering in an hour! (1:30 PDT)!

If you want some more behind-the-scenes insights on how League’s balance goes, check out these devblogs by RiotJules and King Jag The King, RiotJag himself!

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Which Champions do players ask you guys to nerf the most

Riot Jag Final PortraitEarlier this year: Akali, Fizz, Kassadin, Leblanc

Lately: Vayne, Fiora, Darius, Morde, GP, Garen, Skarner

Always: Lee Sin, Riven

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How do you guys deal with the stress involved with the game

Scarizard Final PortraitYou get thick skin doing this kind of work, but it’d be unfair to say that it doesn’t get to you.

I think the key thing to understand is that even the most angry, vile and vitriolic statements come out of passion for the game we all love and work on. Those people telling us we should be fired, and that we don’t know what we’re doing? They just want to have fun playing a balanced game, same as we do. In many ways, these can be viewed as motivators – when people are upset, we have a job to do.

It’s often thankless, but I think the nature of the constant, ever-evolving puzzle of a Live environment is a big draw for some. I’d also say we have a big emphasis on communication and teamwork within our group, and I’ve never felt like I’ve worked somewhere where I was both valued as an individual contributor and as a friend. It’s that ‘band-of-brothers’ (and sisters) feeling that means no matter how deep in the trenches we are, there’s always someone else with you ready to help out and make that next change the best it can be.

In the end, everyone’s got their own ways (many folks play other games in their off-time, many of us keep up with the gym, pursue art or personal projects, rick plays ffxiv, etc) but having a team of homies to back you up makes it all easier.

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Current CDR AP items are underwhelming for mid laners Will you add new ones

SmashGizmo Final PortraitI mostly just disagree with this statement. Morellonomnomnomicon and Athene’s are both reasonably powerful in my estimation and we still usually see mages rush one of these two. I do think there’s a small gap here in terms of AP/CDR itemization for non-mana mages, but I also think this is a very niche market that we’re hesitant to provide easy CDR for due to how overbearing a, let’s say, Vlad can be when he can easily rush both AP and CDR in lane.

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Have you had balance ideas that sounded good on paper but were broken ingame

SmashGizmo Final PortraitLiterally tons. A lot of our early iterations on Rengar’s Q in the rework come to mind, where we did stuff like using ferocity on Q would give you 3 stacks to make it the sustain damage option on him, but really basically just made him murder you even faster.

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Why are Azir Ryze and Kassidan so hard to balance

SmashGizmo Final PortraitDifferent reasons on all of these. Kassadin’s the most straightforward, where it’s just about how his mobility profile gives him perfect control over when fights are happening, so the second he crosses a certain power threshold, he just consistently runs away with games. Ryze is currently mostly about the mechanical needs of the character and just how much power a player gains from properly executing his passive combos, which means that he looks very weak for our average player, but is secretly one of the highest winrate characters for experienced players. I could probably write a book on why Azir is a balance nightmare at this point, but in the interest of being able to respond to more posts today, I’ll just say that it’s very difficult to balance a hypercarry who has reliable means of ensuring their own safety and that Azir pushes the limits of both being a hypercarry and reliably ensuring his own safety.

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How closely does the balance team work with the design and reworking teams

SmashGizmo Final PortraitVery closely. We try our best to give them good counsel on how to balance their characters pre-release and they try to give us advice on how to balance their characters while retaining their intended identities.

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Any chance of Ranked ever getting more bans

SmashGizmo Final PortraitThere’s a chance, but I think we’re really hesitant about taking this route, as it does really limit players ability to pick the character they want to play in any given game. I know there are some folks looking at pick/ban structure and I wouldn’t be surprised if over the next few years the pick/ban system changed significantly, but it’s not something we’re directly looking at in the short term.

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People like to bring up crit removal is it a thing that might happen

SmashGizmo Final PortraitNot in the short term. There will be some crit shifting around in the pre-season, but we’re not going to do anything so drastic as fully removing it in the near future. I think long term, trying to shift random crits to conditional crits (like, say, every 3rd attack crits, or all your attacks from brushes crit, etc), might have some promise, but we’ve never really gotten a good enough model of this working to ship.

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Are there plans to tone down Tahm Kench without taking him out of the meta

Tahm Kench Single banner

Riot Time Wizard Final PortraitTahm Kench has definitely got some strength packed in that big ‘ol belly. If we do try to tone him down, we definitely won’t be trying to push him out of the meta or out of viability. After all, he’s only started picking up steam over the last couple of patches, so we wanna give him some more soak time before we just bop him!

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Will Janna be receiving buffs in the future

Janna Single Banner

Riot Time Wizard Final PortraitJanna is still in a pretty good place right now. Her disengage ultimate is one of the most reliable ways to counteract the menace of run-at-you tanky guys. She doesn’t seem to be in need of any boosts at the moment, but we won’t forget about her. We’ll need to re-evaluate a lot of champs when pre-season hits. :)

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How do you feel about Kindreds current state

Kindred Small Banner 2

Riot Time Wizard Final PortraitKindred is experiencing what almost every new champion does. Extremely high ban rate in games, and players are still picking them up and figuring them out. They’ve proven to be powerful (not ABSURDLY so, mind you) in the hands of players with many Kindred games under their belt. We tend to follow-up within a couple patches on new champions, and we will likely do something to adjust Kindred’s power. Again though, pre-season will be throwing everyone for a loop!

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ManWolf New PortraitThey’re still pretty new to the Rift and have a fairly steep learning curve, so a slightly lower than average win rate right now is appropriate.

I personally feel that they’ll be strong once people figure out all their tricks. Just give it some time.

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How will the Marksman update impact Supports

Riot Time Wizard Final PortraitRegarding the ADC rework: since it won’t be much longer, I think I’ll have to go with a “wait and see” here. We don’t expect that supports are going to be adversely affected by the Marskman changes, though.

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Are there plans to updated boring outdated Champion passives

Riot Gmang Final PortraitGood question, and I agree that there are plenty of passives that leave something to be desired.

Regarding your examples:

Some of the champs you mentioned have also been singled out internally and gotten some experimentation (like Heimer, Shyv, and Syndra), though I can’t speak to how they are prioritized among other projects in terms of urgency and which ones are planning to move forward (within our team specifically, the only one that springs to mind is Syndra, though no promises on exact ship date atm hah).

Regarding passive quantity:

This is a controversial topic, but I wanna just share a bit of context here. It’s important to keep in mind that we don’t design passives in a vacuum and then decide how many each champion gets. Passives are designed to serve the needs of a particular champion.

Say I’m a champion designer making a new kit, and I start with a particular gameplay loop that fits nicely on Q W and E slots. The kit is somewhat functional and unique, but there are still things to figure out (let’s say the W and E have some usability issues, certain lane matchups are very one-sided, my abilities late-game are confusing team mates, my spell rotation feels too unreliable, wave clearing is too easy, and my build paths don’t scale right). What I do with the Passive and R slots–indeed, what I do with all slots–are going to be about problems like these or addressing other higher levels goals (like delivering the fantasy better or more unique or something).

The answer to those problems might involve any number of changes, possibly demanding 0, 1, or 2+ passives. If I do add 2+ passives, it’s not because I just want the champ to be cooler or have more stuff than others. And it is going to come at the cost of power budget and complexity budget, not just added on top of an otherwise finished, balanced champion. A solution might even involve removing/nerfing passives so that we have more complexity and power budget to put on actives!

In the end, individual slots are not supposed to be balanced between each other, nor are “my champ passive(s)” vs “your champ passive(s).” Entire kits are supposed to be balanced between each other. “2 passives > 1 passive” doesn’t always follow. It’s very possible to design a kit with high agency, complexity, and fun with just actives, and it’s also very possible to design a super lame kit that has several passives! And it’s those kinds of properties (agency, fun, complexity, clarity, etc.) that we care most about: if a champion’s multiple passives leaves them with too much control over the game, or too much complexity, or something like that, that is a big concern for us (and we definitely aren’t perfect about these things!). But the actual quantity is usually not inherently good or bad.

Regarding passive quality:

Lemme give a different example: say we have a high-complexity champion who has everything BUT the passive slot locked down (you might have even had an awesome passive during development but it ended up being extraneous as other slots developed further). As in, “if our game hadn’t already set the precedent, I might actually give this champ 0 passives.” This can be a tricky spot: players expect each of their slots to feel fun and distinct, including the passive slot, but you don’t want to disrupt the balance and fun of your existing pattern/slots.

A lot of these passives end up being lower-budget passives: we could have made Jayce get multiple intricate passives, but he’s already so complicated and multi-faceted that it would probably detract from the kit to do so. Sometimes you make the call, “this champ is about these cool actives, and we should avoid detracting from that here.”

This isn’t to say that “lame passives” are a good thing, but sometimes the cost-benefit of trying to discover a perfect passive is outweighed by the value of delivering the champion to players with a not-stellar passive. The opposite is also true: sometimes we have a champion that’s bloated in complexity/abilities by the time we’re reading to ship, but we’re willing to make the trade-off for the sake of delivering what we feel is a good product to players.

All that said, improving lame slots is definitely on our radar; I just wanted to give context. I hope that provides a little clarity for why passives compare/contrast in the way they do!

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Did you plan on doing balancing when training to work in the industry

SmashGizmo Final Portrait100% yes for me. I came from a background of clinging onto competitive games for the long haul (been playing MtG for almost 20 years now, Smash Melee for 10, League for 6), so balancing and preserving the fairness of a game was always something super important and interesting to me.

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Whats an average day like for you guys

SmashGizmo Final PortraitWe work in 2 week sprints on each patch. Once during each sprint we plan out our work on what we want to ship in the upcoming patch, which is a combination of the things we see as off as players and the outliers in terms of metrics like pick rate/ban rate/win rate. Once we take on projects, we rapidly iterate and test changes until we get to changelists we’re happy with. We’re also constantly re-evaluating our work so that if something super broken emerges we can hop on it ASAP (for instance, runeglaive Ezreal).

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How do you feel about the current meta

SmashGizmo Final PortraitThis question is waaaaaaay too big to adequately answer. I guess the tl;dr for me is that I’m happy we’ve hit the sort of diversity numbers in Professional play that we’re seeing in Worlds this year, but that I still feel like some things are really off in terms of feeling like a fair and enjoyable experience for most players. I won’t dive too deep into this, but basically, Professional diversity is great and certainly one valid measure of how the game’s balance is doing, but I don’t think it captures the full picture by any stretch of the imagination.

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What are balance teams looking for on an applicants portfolio

SmashGizmo Final PortraitMake yourself visible as an expert on the game you’re trying to work on. This is pretty broad, but encompasses both getting to a relatively high rank and demonstrating your knowledge on the state of the game. Stuff like blogging, writing articles, and streaming can all be good means of getting exposure and demonstrating that you get the game on a very deep level. Also, perpetually seek the feedback of people who are already working on balance, as they can give great feedback about how you might be limiting your thoughts.

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Any plans to make upgrading the warding trinkets less awkward

Scarizard Final PortraitI’d be looking for something along these lines with the upcoming preseason. I agree that it’s a major frustration to have people put off trinket upgrades for so long, and the entire trinket system has been a hot topic for the Systems team for 2016.

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Is there a particular direction you want to push Elise in eg mage or tank

Ricklessabandon New Portraithi, hi~

a lot of what you’ve been picking up on has been intentional—elise should have a path open to her that allows for gold to be spent on increasing her kill potential, and for less of that threat to be available ‘for free’ in the form of base stats/damages. since elise is a six-ability form swapper it’s more important for her overall fairness to ask elise players to use their early-game power spike to earn a gold advantage and then invest it wisely in order to keep that strength going later into the game. i personally think it helps her feel more like a mage/assassin pairing (which seems more aligned with who she wants to be), whereas the elise of old felt more like a support/tank pairing.

if i had to guess as to what areas we’d look at next, it would be ones that would let us stay on course with the last few changes—base damage past level 7 should be monitored closely, and scaling with gold should feel appropriately rewarding (and tied to success). if we ever needed to go harder on her, i’d imagine it would be thinking of cool ways to replace her w spells that would give us more ‘balance levers’ while keeping her feeling great to play.

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Will you make Mordekaiser less reliant on duo laning to be viable

Mordekaiser Single Banner

FeralPony Final PortraitPower-wise we feel Mordekaiser’s too strong currently in the duo lane and too weak in the solo lane case. We’re generally okay if duo is his main role, but the disparity between those roles is currently too high. His solo lane is too weak and his duo lane is too strong.

Mordekaiser W is totally worth revisiting in regards to the solo vs duo cast, it can feel pretty lackluster and is a good spot to target to help bridge the gap between the Solo lane/ Duo Lane case. Not sure on specific changes we’d make, but we’ll be looking into Morde specifically more after the first big preseason patch (PBE Soon(tm)!)

I’m unsure specifically on % of shield conversion values. He’s pretty damn durable atm, and I feel the minimum shield threshhold helped him a lot more in lane than is getting generally credited, but adjusting the W sustain could grant us the option of increasing his shield growth since that skill in particular is currently double dipping in generating shield and restoring health.

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Are you considering any changes to Lissandra

Lissandra Single Banner

ManWolf New PortraitWe very recently put in the change to her ult where she heals on self cast. Spell costs were something we looked at, but didn’t feel like she really needed anything there. The passive definitely has the biggest room for improvement. I messed around with some changes where she would spawn black ice around her and gain bonuses if she cast on top of them, but ultimately didn’t have time for that patch. Definitely something I’d like to continue work on later though.

That being said, we’ve seen her in a few games at worlds so far and think she’s in a decent place in terms of power.

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Any plans for Katarina

Katarina Single Banner

Ricklessabandon New Portraithello!

so, we’ll probably need to take a look at her sometime after the new season starts up (if nothing else, just as part of a follow-up pass on the different roles) but we don’t have any kat-specific changes already in mind. part of the issue with katarina is that, at present, she is intended to be more about ‘chasing a high moment’ and as such will rarely feel as fair as a lot of the roster (the players playing as, with, or against are kind of playing a zero-sum game over happiness/fairness).

we came around to that intention pretty explicitly around the time i put some very experimental changes out on the pbe, which i believe was about a year ago. essentially, we took a stab at what a more ‘healthy and sustainable’ katarina would look like. what came of that is that while we might have ended up with a katarina that more people could have been more happy with if she was commonly in their games, league of legends as a whole would have lost a type of character/playstyle that was one of the more unique offerings in the game. we likened it to the experience that draven provides—to make the ‘draven experience’ feel as fair as someone like lucian would almost certainly make our adc pool feel less diverse/rich, if not the game as a whole.

that’s kind of the long and short of it. for the time being, katarina represents a play experience larger than herself. if we ever reevaluate and decide that that experience doesn’t align with katarina, then we’ll certainly give her the time needed to give her the appropriate changes. outside of that though, she’ll likely remain in the ‘chasing a high moment’ camp. that said, i think more than a couple assassins could use some love right now, so she might be suffering from compounding issues—we’ll be sure to look into that once the next season gets rolling.

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Thoughts on Nami

Nami Single Banner

Riot Time Wizard Final PortraitShe definitely wasn’t weak prior to her buffs, but she does get harder and harder to succeed with as the game goes on. While people start to move faster with boots and items, her Bubble becomes trickier and trickier to hit. Would definitely be interested in doing even more cool things for her :)

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If Nasus were made today what would he be like

ManWolf New PortraitIf he were made today, I assume he’d be classified as a juggernaut and not have an infinite scaling mechanic. If he does ever get reworked, the late game raid boss fantasy is a must and I’d be sad if stacks got removed, but could live with that I suppose.

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How about locking Flash for everyone and adding a third Summoner spell slot

ManWolf New PortraitCurrently, we have no plans to implement a third summoner spell slot, nor do we have plans to lock Flash in for everyone.

We are looking into ways to diversify Summoner Spell choices, and that includes considering how Flash relates to other Summoner Spell.

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Will you guys revisit options for Syndra after Preseason

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Ricklessabandon New Portraitthat is the current plan, i believe. we had some work in progress we really wanted to wrap up before starting on our preseason work, but we ran out of time. nothing is set in stone though, so that work is just ‘on hold’ until we have an opportunity to pick it back up which could technically be a while (or forever), but with luck it’s just around the corner.

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Do you guys feel you know what’s healthy for the game before you release it

FeralPony Final PortraitNot an easy question to answer. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Generally, we go with the approach that we can be wrong but we tend to have a higher than average hit rate, and we can iterate and update when we make mistakes and get additional eyes and player feedback.

Scuttlecrab was an example of a design that got a ton of initial pushback both internally and externally and we got a lot of pressure to remove but was probably the best single addition we made in the previous preseason. It offered a lot of additional jungle routes, caused tons of tension and skirmishes – something the early game desperately needed, provided additional control and objective control gameplay, and was freaking cute as hell.

On the flip side we aired way too high on the power level of Juggernauts in combination of PBE feedback and with the our expectation that the additional playstyle changes would take a lot longer for players to pick up and adapt to.

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You shouldnt have to use bans for Champions with high winrate

FeralPony Final PortraitI pretty strongly disagree with this statement. The banning phase is exactly used for champions people feel are stronger than average. No champion currently has anything resembling a 64% winrate.

The top 10 bans currently in the game are Darius, Garen, Yasuo, Fiora, Kindred, Mordekaiser, Zed, Riven, Katarina, and Blitzcrank who have ~50%,52%,51%,51%,47%,50%,48%,51%,49%,52% win rates respectively. These numbers are not the end-all-be all statistic or the only thing we care about but the reality of the data is crazy far off from 64% you mention. These will of course fluctuate a little based off ELO, role/lane, and experience rate etc, but not substantially.

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Will Teemo be a part of your Marksman update

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Riot Time Wizard Final PortraitTeemo isn’t currently a part of any marksman updates, so I think someone was trolling you. There’s discussion about doing some changes of VARYING scopes on the others that you’ve mentioned. Distinguishing play patterns is part of the aim for updating marksmen, so there’s definitely some work being done to enhance that. You’ll have to wait for more exact details, but not very long!


Yes, we have tempered our approach to the marksman update with our learnings from the juggernauts. As you say, pre-season will definitely shake things up, but that doesn’t mean we want to repeat any of the frustrations that we introduced with the juggernauts. We’re still being ambitious and creative while trying not to aim for raw power as a means of attaining viability. The marksman update in conjunction with all of the pre-season changes will likely cause a significant shift in a way that we’re working hard to make fun and refreshing.

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How often do you request a rework when balancing is too hard to do

Riot Time Wizard Final PortraitHmm. Lucian is a good example for me. That dude was just in every pro game for the better part of a year, so we actually sat down and did a mini-rework of him (Attack Range, E changes being pretty major here). There’s definitely some kits that you’ve seen us struggle with balancing in the past year or so that may be solved with some small tweaks, or may need some broader updates (Ryze, Azir, Kalista being decent examples).

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Do you playtest minor stat changes or do you just rely on spreadsheets

Riot Jag Final PortraitFor something like that we rely more on past experience, since we’ve seen what kind of power change a nerf like that has had on ADCs before (for example, Twitch got -3 AD last year and we could use that as a reference point for the Vayne nerf).

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Do you recall making small changes that ended up breaking Champions

Riot Jag Final PortraitI definitely didn’t see mid Ezreal coming when I was doing Runeglaive. :P

I did the Nautilus changes at the beginning of this year, and I knew that he would feel more versatile as a champion, but I didn’t anticipate him being so powerful in the support role.

Most of these surprises were pretty cool though.

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Do youve any plans for Aatrox

Riot Time Wizard Final PortraitA-atrox is a pretty cool guy. We were actually just talking about him this morning. We don’t have any specific plans, though he will definitely be affected along with everyone else with the pre-season. What sort of things do you like about him? Also, have you considered his synergy with Kindred?? ;0

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