Posts Tagged ‘LoL’


PBE Update August 20 Banner


PBE 20/08 Contents:


Reminder: The PBE is a testing ground for changes. What you see here may not reflect what you see in Patch Notes. Remember that developers want your feedback so if you disagree with a change, you can always submit your thoughts on the PBE Community Forums.


Want to keep up with news on the Public Beta Environment?

Here’s a list of the updates for Patch 4.15:


PBE Content for Patch 4 15



Headhunter Caitlyn Updated Traps


Headhunter Caitlyn’s Yordle Snap Traps have been updated to match the theme of the skin.

Caitlyn W 1

Caitlyn W 2



Champion Changes


Sivir New Portrait


Boomerang Blade New IconBoomerang Blade [ Q ]

  •  Range increased from 1175 to 1250



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


Coming from Korea’s OGN league and jumping straight into competitive play in North America,  I had a chance to sit down with Lustboy after defeating Evil Geniuses in his LCS debut with Team SoloMid.



Lustboy, how was your trip from Korea?

Lustboy:  It was good. On the plane I thought about the game and about bot lane in general.


What is your favorite thing that’s happened so far while in the US?

Lustboy:  Wildturtle jumping forward into the enemy team!


How are you getting along with the team so far? Who do you think you are most alike?

Lustboy:  We are all getting along well. I think me and Amazing have the most in common.


Playing with Wildturtle, what is the biggest thing that stands out to you in his play?

Lustboy:  I like playing with Turtle because he has great mechanics and can out play the enemy adc reliably.


Do you think WildTurtle is the best AD Carry in NA?

Lustboy:  Yes.


How strong are you as a bot lane right now compared to how strong you could be?

Lustboy:  We are very strong right now and we have a lot of room to continue growing and be even stronger.


How was your first LCS match? Was there a lot of pressure to perform? How do you feel about your performance?

Lustboy:  It was good. We mostly played defensively because we knew we were playing for top lane. I felt like Krepo did not play as aggressively as he should have. There was no stress, but a lot of pressure coming into a team where you have high expectations to perform, especially when people already expect you to perform. I gave my best and feel like I did well, but I performed at about 30% of my potential.


Who do you want to face the most? Why?

Lustboy:  I like playing against CLG because they have a very strong bot lane.


Do you feel you are the best bot lane in NA?

Lustboy:  Yes.


TSM now has 3 players that came from another region. What are your thoughts on regions importing talent?

Lustboy:  I believe that except for EU, only top players are traded to other regions. I believe it is good for top talent to be able to move freely. That said, I think when an entire team transfers from one region to another, it makes cheering for them a little less genuine. Not to take away from any teams, all of them are just as hard working as the next and deserve to play and compete where they wish. I just don’t want it to become an issue of oversaturation of foreign talent to the point where a single region takes over the entire international scene.


Anything else you would like to say?

Lustboy:  When I first arrived I was anxious and felt a lot of pressure. Once I saw how motivated the rest of the team was I started to feel more relaxed, and after the most recent games I feel like the weight has been lifted.  I am ready to prove that I am a top player and will only get better.



About the author: Tim Kimbirk is an eSports Journalist and writer with Solomid. Stay up to date on the latest interviews and features by following on twitter: @CaymusNoL


Introduce yourself!

 Hello I am Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski, I am Polish and I play Jungle for Team ROCCAT in the European LCS.


You finished 3rd in the playoffs, but you’ve had a rough season so far? What’s going on?

 We are underperforming because we did not really adapt to the new meta, but we are playing a lot right now which hopefully will lead with us catching up and managing to fight for the top spots


What do you think are the biggest issues in the team? What influences your play the most?

 Our individual decision making is currently not on par with the other teams. Our team fights are lacking the microgame, so we are trying to improve it.


Do you think the team can recover? Is going to worlds still in your crosshairs?

 We are doing our best to recover, I think we are on the way on getting back competing for the best slots, and I definitely think that we will be fighting for a worlds spot at the playoffs!


How does the team operate in game? Who is responsible for primary shotcalling? What is your mindset like entering a game?

 I think main shotcallers are me and Overpow, but everyone has its calls and ideas in game. We do not limit ourselves to one or two persons, we all have our tasks during the game.

And about the mindset – #ROCCATFIGHTING


How do you deal with criticism on social media/from fans? Is it hard or demotivating, or do you take it and use it positively?

 Lately people are actually trying to help us rather than criticize and bash on us. Which i think its quite helpful for us. People are trying to cheer us up on our social media rather than flaming us for losing. And usually those things dont really affect me in a bad way.


The tables seemed to have shifted quite a bit. How big of a skill difference do you believe there is between the top half of teams and the bottom half?

 I think SK and Alliance are ahead of the rest right now, but most of the teams right now are able to catch up with them with the time if they continue adapting the way they are right now. I think we are one of those teams that can catch up to them.


How strong is Alliance? Do you think they are still only warming up? What’s it like playing against Shook, who shares a similar champion pool to you?


Alliance is currently the best team in Europe. Most of their players solo skills are the best in the region and not only that but right now they are even good with their team play and rotations. I don’t see anyone beating them for now in EU. Shook is the best jungle in European LCS and I really like to play against him because i learn new stuff, and it is always a challenge.


You seem to be relying on old favorites in the jungle. Is this personal or team preference?

 I think everyone right now is relying on the old champions like Elise, Lee and Eve. They are just the best options right now for the jungle, and those are anyways my personal favorites.


What do you feel are the most viable junglers right now in competitive play, and do you think we will be seeing anything new?

 If the 3 OP’s are not available, we might see Rengar, Jarvan, Vi, Skarner – but you need to build a team around them specifically for them to be as useful in game.



 I want to thank all the people that support us even when we are losing – that means a lot to us! Also i would like to thank ROCCAT and AMD for the continued trust and support, without them we wouldn’t be able to be where we are. Also a big thanks to my girlfriend for supporting me and being there for me!




Introduce yourself for those who may not know you.

Hi! I’m Makler, AD Carry of “Lublin Shore”. You might also know me as former player of mouz and MYM.


You’ve been around for quite a while. Do you think you are on the strongest team you’ve played on so far?

Since the begining of LoL I’ve played with almost the same people. For 3 years it was Me, my brother Mokatte, Czaru, Kubon and of course the big guy Libik, my support! I would say we are strongest at this moment, we have one of the best junglers in Poland which is Kikis from Departed, and TakeFun in midlane who replaced Czaru very well.


Going back to the promotion tournament, what exactly happened? Do you think it was possible for you to win, or were you simply weaker overall than SHC? Do you think if you played those matches now, you could win?

 To be honest we were really excited to play vs SHC for LCS because at that time we considered SHC as a mid-tier team. We were pretty confident and I think that lost us the series. We were suprised by how well they were playing at that day. SHC has a little bit different roster right now, Selfie instead of Moopz, Wewillfailer instead Migxa. I think those changes are good for SHC but I still feel our team is stronger. I would say 3-1 for us in a bo5.


What is the biggest obstacle in being relegated or attempting to promote into the LCS?

Financial pressure I believe. When you are in LCS you have some presure on you, many people watching your every move. but after all you are still getting money even when you lose. When you play in the Challenger Series, you’re only getting money from tournament wins.


What keeps you motivated to keep playing? What is your routine like?

I just love competition. Playing competetively is motivation for me. I just love being better at something than others. Every day looks the same, eat, workout at the gym or go running, play play play, sleep. Day after day.


How do you think your botlane stacks up compared to other EU teams right now?

We can perform well against any other bottom lane that we have a chance to play.
What are your thoughts on how sustainable it is to be in the Challenger scene for extended periods of time?

I’ve been part of both LCS and Challenger teams and I can say that they are totally different worlds. Being a Challenger team is hard, and Coke Zero format is bad. You play too few matches to attract sponsors and there’s too much randomness on the way to the top 8.


What do you think of the skill level of EU overall? Do you feel it is stagnant at the moment? What issues do you think are the most prevalent in trying to go pro?

I think the skill level in EU is ok, we have many really good teams but none of them really stand out from another. I think financial problems are the most critical in going pro. You have to spend ALOT of time playing and there is no guarantee to make a super high cash reward, and you need to live from something.
Who do you think are the strongest teams in the EU challenger series right now?

Beside us NIP and C9 seem to be best ones. I think they will cause the most trouble to LCS teams in relegation.
Thoughts on Alex Ich moving to NiP? Do you think NiP will qualify for the spring split?

Alex is really solid player, but I’m not sure if he can adapt to the top lane playstyle, time will tell. I’m pretty sure it will be hard for him to replace Zerozero. Hard to predict, last promotion I was sure they would make it so I won’t try to predict their matches anymore :p


After facing Gamers2 at the Solomid invitationals, how strong do you feel they are? Is Ocelote still as good as he was, if not, how far do you think he has fallen in terms of skill? Do you feel they have a chance to qualify to LCS?

They are ok, Ocelote is good, but right now is not up to par with other mid laners.

Everyone has a chance to qualify to LCS but I would say C9 and NIP are slighty ahead of them.


Will you continue playing if you do not qualify for the next LCS split? What will you do after pro gaming? Do you intend to stay in eSports?

We’ll find out in time. If I can make a living playing then I won’t give up easily, but if I can’t then it will be hard.

It’s hard to tell what i will do after pro gaming, but i don’t see myself in any other role in esports aside from player. I will just fade away probably, and see what opportunities I get from life.



Thank you to all of my fans and my team!

eula vs tos

(Disclaimer: While I am a law student, I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice.)


When in-game behavior carries consequences in the “real world,” many people start to wonder what limits, if any, companies like Riot have when policing user accounts. Ultimately this boils down to those pesky “Terms of Use/Service” (TOU/TOS) and “End-User License Agreement” (EULA) windows we have to click through every time a new patch is released.  

I see these terms being thrown around in-game and on the forums, and despite my efforts to correct player’s misconceptions on what the TOS and EULA actually do, the misinformation is rampant.  Hopefully this will help clear up some of the confusion!  The article centers on a question relevant to all League of Legends players:


What exactly are you agreeing to when you play League of Legends?


In this article I will quickly explain how the EULA and TOS are legally enforceable contracts, what the differences between the two are, and finally how they apply to the average player. I cannot stress enough that while I am doing a legal analysis, I cut through a lot of legal mumbo-jumbo and make conclusive statements for the purposes of entertainment. If you need legal advice, please speak with an attorney. 

I. Clickwrap Agreements
Just about every time you install a program, download a patch, or purchase from a website, you have to pass through a threshold of “agreements.” 


Many of these agreements are called “shrinkwrap,” “clickwrap,” or “adhesive” agreements - where you don’t see/understand what you’ve agreed to until after you’ve already agreed to it. For example, many online games only allow you to see the TOS after you’ve bought the game, but before you can play it online.  A better example is a website, where you’ve already “agreed” to their TOS just by being on their site. 

Clickwrap agreements tend to have certain characteristics:

    • Clickwrap contracts are usually offered on a “take it or leave it” basis. In many contractual agreements, parties can negotiate over the terms of the contract, but in clickwrap contracts, the user has no bargaining power –they can either agree to all the terms or none.
    • As discussed above, click wrap agreements often apply post-transaction. For example, some companies (such as AutoDesk) typically don’t allow people to resell their software – but a customer might not know that until after they’ve purchased AutoCAD, and are going through the installation.

If your knee-jerk reaction is similar to what mine was, you might be thinking, “is that really a legal contract?”  Because let’s be honest, if you’re like most people, you simply don’t have the time to read every agreement you accept online.  Even if you read most, there will often be terms that won’t make sense until you start using the service/software (e.g., how many people could understand what “riot points” are prior to installing League of Legends?)   This part of why EULA/TOS are often considered to be adhesive contracts – most of us have no idea what it is we’re agreeing to.

So are these even legal?  The short answer is: Usually. There are, however, some limited exceptions:

    • Explicit Agreement: The rule of thumb is that a user must explicitly agree to an agreement before it becomes enforceable. If you don’t make an explicit act showing you are both aware of the terms and you agree to them, they are unlikely to be enforceable as a contract. While this isn’t exactly a problem for Riot (you have to click “I Agree” every time a new patch comes out), it is a notable exception to many software agreements.
    • Outrageous Terms. If there’s something absolutely ridiculous and unexpected hidden in the fine print (for example, the “immortal souls clause” that granted a British game company 7500 “soul-licenses”), that term or the whole agreement may be rendered invalid.
    • Application to minors.  In most situations, if you’re under the age of 18, you lack capacity to enter legally binding agreements.  This may provide an exception to click-wrap agreements in some situations, as the contract may be voidable

The takeaway is this: Clicking the “I agree” to Riot’s Terms of Use and End-User License Agreements probably creates a legally enforceable contract.

II. “EULA” vs. “TOS”

So since we already have no idea what we’re clicking, why are there so many boxes?  Why not just throw it all into one box and get it over with?  Although many portions of the EULA and TOS overlap, there is a fundamental distinction between each type of agreement:

EULA: EULAs govern the use of the software itself.  This is useful to stop unauthorized use of the game, as well as to disclaim liability for what it does to your system.

  • Example: Hosting your own “League of Legends” world championship, with dedicated servers to boot, would likely be a violation of the EULA if you used Riot’s software (and probably some intellectual property violations as well).
  • Example: Riot’s EULA would probably prevent them from being liable if League of Legends overheats your cardboard toaster. Which is really the best outcome for everyone.

EULAs are often extremely broad in what they cover.  Interestingly, Apple’s EULA for iTunes explicitly disallows use of their software for the development of weapons of mass destruction:

Apple v. Estate of Hussein is still pending.

TOS/TOU: The Terms of Service governs the use of a particular service offered. In Riot’s case, some of the services offered are the ability to create an account and a means to use that account via access to their servers. While you are using their service, you are expected to follow their rules – otherwise, they may terminate your access to the service, as per the  agreement. Most players will only be concerned with the TOS.

  • Example: Going idle or AFK in-game often enough can result in temporary or permanent suspension of your ability to access Riot’s servers, because you’ve agreed to allow LeaverBuster to monitor in-game activity.

The main difference between the TOS and the EULA for players is in the types of violations, and what Riot is able to do in terms of punishing players who breach these agreements. For the most part, the TOS will impact a user’s access to the service.  The EULA, on the other hand, will impact a user’s access to the software.

TOS Violations:

Say you’re having a bad game, and decide to spam “**** you all, **** ***-skilled *******s!!!” a few dozen times in all-chat. Assuming this violates the TOS, Riot’s punishments all involve your account’s use of the service (remember, the service is access to their servers) even to the extent of permanent bans. This is where I see a lot of confusion, especially when players argue for methods (such as uninstallation) to combat toxic behavior – they confuse the accounts for the players, and the service for the software.

Players are only able to access the service through an account, and thus, can only violate the TOS through the use of an account (the notable exception to this is browsing their website, but that is beyond the scope of this article).  The way Riot has their TOS set up, the account acts as a real-life shield for players – both for good and for evil. The account provides a layer of privacy protection and facilitates a pseudo-anonymous experience, a great benefit for online interactions. On the downside, it makes it very difficult to penetrate the account and punish players directly – especially when it’s difficult to prove that it was that player breaking the TOS (e.g., you’re in the middle of a match when you have to answer to door (it’s your turn to pay for the pizza), and when you get back to your computer, you find that your roommates have been soliciting some of the female characters in a manner rather inconsistent with that of a gentleman).

Under the TOS agreement, it is unlikely that Riot could force removal/uninstallation of the software. And the way Riot’s current TOS is set up, it would also be difficult  to enforce an IP ban (should Riot wish to implement such a penalty, it may be possible, but the TOS would likely need to be reworded).

EULA Violations:

A forced uninstallation (i.e., an injunction) could only occur through a EULA violation (although this doesn’t stop vigilante players from wishing it to upon less-than-desirable teammates). The terms of the EULA are much less relevant to most players.  However, they do clarify an interesting point: violations of the EULA would probably end up in court (or “mandatory arbitration”). This is where Riot would claim you’ve somehow overstepped the “fair use” of their product, perhaps by selling downloads to unsuspecting users, or attempting to “reverse engineer” their game to create your own, etc.  They’d be suing you for damages, injunctions, and possibly attorney’s fees, depending on the nature and extent of the violation.

To date, I have yet to see any pending complaints by Riot against any of their players.  Suing your customers is not the custom and practice of most business entities, and on top of that, Riot tends to be more forgiving to its player-base than most companies in the industry.  If they have had issues with EULA violations, it’s likely they have been taken care of using cease & desist letters – very common in the realm of IP violations.

TL; DR: The Terms of Service and EULA are legally enforceable contracts.  If a player violates the Terms of Service, their access to the service may be suspended but not necessarily their access to the software – that would require a violation of the EULA.


Like the article? Have any comments or suggestions? Post below and follow me on Twitter @VCDragoon

Special thanks to Chefo for working on images and formatting!


Recently some of the big names in American sports have been under fire for using performance enhancing drugs (PEDs).  From A-rod to Armstrong, PEDs are starting to look so common that many argue that to compete without them sets one at a disadvantage. Yet in eSports, the issue is almost never mentioned. And while the idea of taking steroids to enhance your video game playing performance seems pretty pointless (do you even lift?), I want to make the argument in this article that there are PEDs that ought to be discussed, if not regulated, in eSports.

I’ve divided this article into three parts: First, I want to look at PED policies and regulations in the Physical Pro Sports to provide some context. Second, I will argue that there are some PEDs that may impact the performance of Professional Gamers. Finally, I’ll tie it all up by applying the analysis of the physical Pro Sports PED policies to the context of eSports, and exploring what solutions might work better than others.

Before beginning I want to quickly point out that I’ve limited the scope of this article to performance enhancing drugs as opposed to recreational drugs. While there’s obviously a lot of overlap, the analysis tends to be pretty different and would warrant its own article.


PED’s in Physical Sports – Regulating ‘Roids.


Historically, of the four major American physical Pro Sports, Major League Baseball has had the most issues dealing with performance enhancing drugs. Just after the mid-90s MLB player strikes, there was a significant boost in anabolic steroid use (that strangely correlated with a number of record-breaking streaks).

But despite baseball having the most association with steroids historically, all of these sports have dealt and continue to deal with PEDs. In fact, the issue was gaining so much attention that Congress threatened to start regulating PED testing themselves, as well as reevaluate the antitrust exceptions sports franchises have so liberally enjoyed. Why are PEDs such a big deal, one might ask. Amongst many safety and image concerns, the driving motivation behind PED bans is: to preserve the spirit and integrity of the game.

In response to the threats from Congress, different leagues instated different policies. In the NFL (arguably the least-restricted league), all players are tested at least once a year, never during a game, and almost always in the off-season. In the NBA (arguably the most-restricted league), players are often tested frequently during the season, and sometimes even in the locker room right after a game.  The MLB and the NHL are somewhere in between.

Penalties for PEDs are very league-dependent, ranging from a slap on the wrist “name and shame” to years of unpaid suspension. The type of PED and the number of prior offenses all weigh into the penalties given. Unfortunately, these policies may not be as effective as the leagues would hope. MLB’s “Mitchell Report” indicated that most PED use is going undetected.  Most recently, sports leagues have been going after the producers and suppliers of PEDs for tortious interference with the player-contracts.

Steroids in particular are extremely difficult to combat. Teams and coaches have every incentive to “look the other way” because of the benefits the drugs bring. Anabolic steroid chemists are staying ahead of regulations, with a huge demand to change the drug enough to avoid detection, but not enough to lose its effects. Finally, the leniencies of league policies allow many drug tests to be duped or avoided completely.


From Physical Sports to Virtual Sports – Are PED’s an issue?


While steroids aren’t exactly an issue for eSports, they are not the only performance enhancing drug on the market. For example, in 2012, almost half of the NFL’s PED-related suspensions were due not to steroids, but to Adderall (that’s right, PED-related, not recreational related). Many prescription drugs such as Adderall and Ritalin are banned by most sports leagues (the notable exception being the NHL), although leagues do hand out exemptions on a case-by-case basis.

Adderall is considered a performance enhancing drug for many reasons – the effects combat fatigue, allowing players to train longer and harder. The mental stimulant allows for heightened awareness both during competition and during practice. The enhanced focus enables play-learning and other strategic aspects to be more easily retained. In fact, the amphetamine class was specifically tailored by the US military during World War II for these very reasons – fighter pilots in particular showed great benefits from amphetamines during combat. And ask 1 out of any 3 college students, and you’re sure to get a similar response.

But Adderall is not the only issue. Several over-the-counter energy drinks (albeit requiring an over-18 or over-21 ID, depending on the state) are prohibited by many major sports leagues. Dozens upon dozens of prescription medicine, from stimulants to painkillers, are heavily regulated in sports. Anything that gives a player an unfair advantage is an issue – and many of these drugs have serious potential for eSports, where mental acuity and stamina are some of the most important skills a Pro Gamer can have.

Here’s my point: as eSports progresses and professionalizes, as it has been doing in great leaps and bounds over the last decade alone, should league officials start to be concerned with performance enhancing drugs? I think they should. When players are able to gain significant advantageous over each other for non-medically related substances (or abuse of those substances), we start facing threats to the spirit and integrity not only of the game, but of the industry.


Crossing Over – What can eSports learn from its physical companions?


The first lesson is clear: don’t wait until it’s too late. By the late 90s, players associations had such control over drug testing and had so many privacy policies in place, it has been an uphill battle for leagues to get control over PED usage. While having enhanced performance certainly attracts more viewers, it does so at a very high cost – the integrity of the game.

Of course, how regulation should occur is difficult to say. What should or should not be regulated? Illegal drugs? Prescription drugs? Over-the-counter PEDs? And Should teams agree to urine tests periodically during worlds? Or is once a season enough? These are all questions that will need to be dealt with, and there are no easy answers.

The penalties are easy enough to cross over from the physical sporting world – suspensions are already the prime form of punishment in eSports, and would likely be the preferred sanction for PEDs as well.

Fortunately, the amount of control eSports leagues in general have over the players and teams is high enough that any problems with PEDs can be easily squashed – important, no doubt, to maintain a certain image for eSports. But as eSports grows, and as the money involved starts piling higher and higher, how much more incentive will players have to use PEDs to gain that competitive edge?  In physical sports, regulation is very difficult. It does not have to be that way with eSports – if eSports leagues can get policies in place and cooperate with sponsors, team owners and venues from the get-go, detection, punishment and prevention should never be an issue.


Like the article? Add me on Twitter @VCDragoon for updates!

Disclaimer: While I am a law student, I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice.

California has recently passed a law that will allow minors to effectively “take back” statements they say online. The bill, which will go into effect starting January 1, 2015, will require

the operator of an Internet Web site, online service, online application, or mobile application to permit a minor, who is a registered user of the operator’s Internet Web site, online service, online application, or mobile application, to remove, or to request and obtain removal of, content or information posted on the operator’s Internet Web site, service, or application by the minor

Reading further into the bill, it is important to note that “remove” doesn’t require deletion – it does, however, require the service provider to restrict public access to the statement. California State Senators have called this an “eraser button” for minors, who may not fully understand the damage they could do to themselves by making spur-of-the-moment, off-the-cuff posts that they don’t mean. Many speculate this is a response to the Justin Carter case, to help protect hot-headed children and increase online privacy.

What does this mean for League of Legends? The biggest glaring possibility is that the California bill could give California minors an “out” to tribunal action. Riot is an operator of an online service (self-admitted in their Terms of Service), and all users are, by Riot’s own terms, required to register in order to use Riot’s services. So, in theory, California minors should be able to request the removal of comments they write in-game – never to see the public eye.

This would probably include the removal of content on tribunal reports.

Even the purpose of the California bill seems to be to allow this type of removal – toxic comments are typically made in the heat of the moment – I don’t know anyone who hasn’t typed something they haven’t meant, without thinking, say when a teammate throws their silver-to-gold 5th promotion match. So does that mean California minors have a “get out of the tribunal free” card?

Possibly. The tribunal has a couple things backing it. First, Riot could argue that minors have waived that right by agreeing to the ToS. This is a weak argument, since it is unlikely a California court would allow a minor to waive this right at all. Second, Riot could argue that the fact that the chat is anonymous protects the privacy of the minor. This could work, depending on things like a.) the purpose of the tribunal action, b.) the impact and degree of the minor’s language, and c.) whether the courts view LoL as a social media outlet (unlikely).

What do you think? Should the California law give minors an out to tribunal action? Or should Riot still be allowed to post content by minors to be judged by the community?


Like the read? Follow me on Twitter @VCDragoon for more posts! (yup, I just gave in)

I always prefer duo-queue to solo. Feel free to add me in-game! 

Disclaimer: While I am a law student, I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice.


Part of my own legal education has been the study of Professional Sports law (in the United States), so I decided to do a quick comparison of regulations and punishments between some of the major US sports organizations to Riot’s eSports organization.

In this article, I’m talking about professional League players in the eSports setting; not your everyday bronze scrub.


The Original Setup – Rules and Regulations in Physical Pro Sports


In the four major US sports (NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB), the rules and regulations are set up sort of like a corporate hierarchy: you have the Commissioner at the very top, who controls most aspects of the game itself – the schedule, regulating officials, league-based discipline, etc. The Commissioner’s power over the league and its teams is set forth through a League Constitution  (similar to a corporation’s bylaws). However, these constitutions don’t directly dictate the relationship between teams and players – those are set up contractually.

In each of these sports league constitutions there is a clause called the “best interests of the game” clause. It basically gives the Commissioner the authority to do just about anything as long as the act is in the best interests of the game as a whole.


A New System? – Rules and Regulations in League of Legends


Unfortunately, Riot’s eSports regulation setup isn’t publicly available, and most professional player contracts have a non-disclosure clause. With the  lack of available information, the best we can do is apply current sports law concepts and see how they fit onto Riot’s eSports infrastructure.

In League of Legends, the setup is very different from the club/league “franchise” arrangement most other professional sports use, but the outcome is essentially the same. Riot effectively takes on the role of “league commissioner,” exerting direct control over both the game and the teams simultaneously.

The biggest difference is that instead of holding “commissioner” power through a league constitution, Riot seems to be given that power contractually – teams sign lengthy contracts that give unilateral control over League events to Riot – which seems pretty obvious. If you want to play their game in their tournaments, you have to agree to play by their rules.

Ok, so instead of becoming a commissioner through a “league constitution,” Riot becomes a commissioner through individual contracts. Is that really any different? The answer is yes.


The Differences – Advantages and Disadvantages of Riot’s eSports Setup


Setting up commissioner power as contractual agreements has advantages and disadvantages. It’s advantageous to Riot on several practical levels:

First, Riot maintains a direct relationship with the players – as opposed to professional sports law, where only teams and owners are parties to the bylaws, and players have no direct relationship with the Commissioner. Second, individual contracts allow a large degree of flexibility – great for different teams in differing circumstances (e.g. foreign teams). Finally, Riot could distance themselves from principal-agent situations with teams/players, which has  several benefits – not the least of which involves avoiding antitrust violations.

However, there are some legal disadvantages to having a contractual setup rather than a series of league bylaws. The first is that contractual damages are very limited. Harsh penalties designed to deter behavior don’t fly in contract law – if actual damages can’t be proven with certainty, Riot has no case. This poses a problem, for instance, with cheating – you want to punish cheaters even if cheating didn’t actually help them win, but a court will require you to prove that damage was done. This may explain why Riot caught several teams screenwatching last year, but only chose to penalize when they were certain it had an impact on the game.

A related disadvantage is the lack of a “best interests of the game” clause. In professional sports law, such clauses are kept extremely ambiguous on purpose, to meet whatever new situations can come up (e.g., dog fighting, gang-related signs… etc). It also allows for flexible discipline measures to be taken – commissioners can fine teams, revoke draft picks, or even force team ownership transfers outright.

But the ambiguity that makes the clause so valuable in a bylaw is also what makes the clause detrimental to contract law. Ambiguous words and phrases are difficult to enforce because it’s hard to tell if both parties really agreed to the same thing. (e.g., what exactly constitutes a “performance enhancing” drug? Is it limited to anabolic steroids? What about prescription medications such as Adderall? Energy drinks? Caffeine?). In some situations, courts can strike entire clauses from a contract for being too ambiguous – a pretty severe disadvantage.

Will we ever see any of these issues get raised in court? Probably not, as most teams and players are not in any position to negotiate or test any of the terms in their contracts. Their bargaining power is effectively nullified by the fact that Riot has a stranglehold on League of Legends – it is, after all, their game.

Follow me on Twitter @VCDragoon for updates!

Lucian decoration


Rioters answer all your questions about Lucian below! Additionally, Scarizard brings a massive update to Rengar’s state, including the return of stealth and the Armor/MR from Battle Roar! Last (and kinda least) – the new Champion/Skin Sale!

Apologies for the article drought this week. I’ll be back on schedule as early as Monday! Also, there may be formatting issues with this particular article on widescreen resolution, so if you see any, you’ll need to resize your aspect ratio through your browser’s tool options.


Lucian’s Double AMA

Stalking returns: Rengar’s new Build

Champion/Skin Sale – Expires August 2nd


 Lucian’s AMA



Rioters gather to answer all questions regarding the latest addition to the League’s roster!



Feel & Design



[Valaran] Why does he carry two different guns?


RunaanRiotlink Button RiotRunaan: The fact that they’re different is very important from a story perspective, though, and something we focused on quite heavily during art iteration. One of the weapons belonged to his wife, and one of them was his all along. It was a tough challenge to make sure the guns were similar enough to avoid the implication of a different power source or different gameplay between the two, but still preserve such an important aspect of his story.



[Agracho] How did you get the idea for the Ultimate ”The Culling”?


RunaanRiotlink Button RiotRunaan: Couple more details – thematically, we wanted a moment in which Lucian could “let loose.” All of his other abilities are very focused, precise, and deliberate. In his ultimate, raw emotion breaks through his normally cool and collected personality.





[Jocko6418] When designing a champion, does the idea originate from a character concept, or an in-game mechanic concept? Which was Lucian created from?


nickstravaganzaRiotlink Button nickstravaganza: It can come from either, depending on the champion. Lucian was inspired first by the concept art. His gameplay went through many iterations, but he’s always stayed quite close to the first image.





[Velediron] I’ve noticed that when Lucian’s passive is used, if he begins moving, he continues the animation by shooting to his side/over his shoulder and I absolutely adore it. How difficult was this to implement and can we expect such smooth animations for future abilities?


nickstravaganzaRiotlink Button nickstravaganza: Hey, as Lucian’s animator, I can answer #5. That passive animation uses something called parametric blending, which allows us to blend between different animations based on how he turns. We’ve used it in the past on Thresh (his long chain) and on Zac (Stretching Strike). We’re using it more going forward and even on Lucian, it’s used on his W and his Ult in addition to the passive.



[Arcviral] How much has “The Culling” ( R ) changed during development?


ScarizardRiotlink Button Scarizard: The Culling has basically been on the kit since Day 1 – but it was initially tuned as a ‘blow this guy up and do every bit of damage’ spell. The base Damage/Ratio are still very high, but we found that with that model Lucian’s Ult took up almost all of the power budget of the champion, such that his Q/W/E/P felt really useless, but then the Culling would just instagib people out of nowhere. We decided to make the Culling still a good portion of his kill/damage potential, but inject more agency into his other spells.



[Tnomad] What was it like working with Daniel ‘Zenon’ Klein on Lucian?


Scarizard Riotlink Button Scarizard: The day Daniel started, i thought to myself ‘I wonder if i’ll tear my hair out working with him.’ Many months later and after our first project – i can safely say i’m still asking myself the same question :P Truthfully though, Daniel’s personality i feel is what helped keep Lucian core through a lot of feedback and iteration. Champion Designers are usually the guardians of their Champion’s feel, and he was no exception in this regard. Quite sure i’m speaking for the team when i say it’s awesome working Daniel and would do so again.



[nothingxs] What was the focus of Lucian’s design?


morellovatar Riotlink Button Morello: Lucian was a weird process – it actually broke a couple backs on the way because of lack of direction on this front. In the end, we did something in-between; the thematics called for something that felt pretty “action-packed” (using references of material like the Matrix or Equilibrium), but we wanted to explore a space that was both more auto-attack focused to fit the role of a Marksman. Additionally, we wanted to try something a bit different than missile-based skillshots to get there, which leads to skills like Lucian’s Q and R being “aimed,” but not shooting normal skillshots.



[slinkyvagabond] Why was Senna abandoned in the story?


RunaanRiotlink Button RiotRunaan: In writing Lucian’s story (and being a woman myself), I struggled with this quite a bit. I admit that it does feel like a bit of a cop-out in the way it’s been presented so far, but the conclusion I came to was that the story we’re focusing on, at least for Lucian’s champion release, is Lucian’s. We did our best to hint at Senna’s deeper character – for example, it’s lightly touched upon that when they were together, she was the more no-nonsense and “tougher” of the two (with Lucian being the more light-hearted and humored). It was important to communicate, at least in a small sense, that she was more than just a cardboard cutout “damsel,” even if we were going to present very limited information about her.

There’s also the mystery of how exactly Thresh managed to manipulate and trap her – this is something we left intentionally vague, as it’s something we eventually want to reveal as very deep to Senna’s character. The most I can say is that it was not at all a simple trap. We’ve left a lot open for further development on Senna’s character, too – for example, I hope people speculate as to what her interaction with Thresh is like from within the lantern. Senna’s a fighter; she’s not going to take his torment easily. tl;dr – I admit Senna’s presentation in current lore is very limited. That said, we have discussed her very heavily and there is more to her than what’s been presented thus far. I very much want to develop her further and use her in ways that aren’t typical to the “damsel in distress” trope in the future. : )



[Sour_Jam] Why was Thresh picked as Lucian’s rival over other established villains?


morellovatar Riotlink Button Morello: Originally, we wanted them to be released near each other, but some release complexities changed that. We thought the lantern hook was good too – it’s easier to understand the relationship when a character already has “this thing holds souls.” :)






RunaanRiotlink Button RiotRunaan: To add to Morello’s post, we also wanted a character who stood in contrast to the Shadow Isles specifically. As Thresh was in development, it was an ideal opportunity to bring the two together.





[TxtsMinez]Was the replay button for Lucian’s load screen theme hard to implement?


Riotlink Button Verdugren: We have some awesome tech/art wizards who weave the black magic that makes the login screen work… They definitely picked up their game for this one and are always looking to level up what we do with the login.



[vakabiel] How did you end up working with Crystal Method on the login music?


Riotlink Button Verdugren: A bunch of us on the music team with Praeco are big fans (myself included) too of Crystal Method. We reached out and had an awesome vibe with them, and they loved Lucian. The rest is history!



[godplusplus] Is Hired Gun Lucian based on The Twins from Matrix: Reloaded?


morellovatar Riotlink Button Morello: There’s some influence from that there, for sure.






[suchareq3] His autoattack and ultimate particles are really unique -where did you get the inspiration for them?


riotsilverRiotlink Button RiotSilver: Lucian is all about light. Originally his particles in development looked very prismatic with many more colors than their current state. At that point they were pretty noisy and treaded a little too close to Lux’s particle design space so we ended up limiting the palette to a blue/yellow sceme that we feel still communicated the same thing, in a more unique and readable way.




Mechanics (from Zenon’s solo AMA)



[Cxarol10] What was the previous ult that he had? I heard it was some kind of missile.


Riotlink Button DanielZKlein: Yup. It was called Seeking Shot or something like that. Here’s how it worked:

  1. You marked an enemy champion in ~1500 range. For the next 6s they received a Caitlyn ult icon over their head (placeholder art).
  2. Within the next 6s you could shoot a missile in any direction. The missile would travel in that direction for about 0.5s and then start turning toward the marked target.
  3. The missile would bank SLOWLY and overshoot and correct. I was madly proud of the fake physics I’d written for that simple spell. It gave the missile a feeling of heft and real world physics.
  4. Once the missile was locked onto the target for 0.2s in a row, it would go into dumbfire mode, accelerating and gaining most of its damage. The target line would change colour to communicate this changed state. This was when the enemy could sidestep the missile. It could be body blocked at all times.

There were a whole bunch of reasons why we canned that ultimate, not least of all that it’s an AP carry skill: it’s a skill for a character who relies on skill execution rather than positioning. It also required you to look in too many places and potentially stand still for too long while lining up the shot. Finally, the counterplay I imagined wasn’t there. Before I added the dumbfire mode people just shot the missile point blank at the enemy and all the banking was totally lost. After I added the dumbfire mode I never found the right set of values for missile speed/acceleration before/after dumb fire that made it challenging but possible to dodge.

I admit I still have the lua scripting shelved. Just in case I need it for another character at some point. It was my first complex skill ever, and I was really happy with it from a playing-as perspective.



[tzu3] What was the reason to not make Lucians Q a Skillshot since that would somehow make more sense?


Riotlink Button DanielZKlein: Morello answered this in great detail in the original AMA. Here’s my TL;DR:

  1. Our Q feels like a trick shot: lined up through a moving target, great range but dodgeable. If you hit it, you feel accomplished.
  2. Gating allows us to put greater power into the skill. It scales with bonus AD like mad once you get it to rank 5.



[DarkPercy] How does The Culling’s AS Ratio round up/down ?


Riotlink Button DanielZKlein: The actual formula, from memory, is (AS * 2.5/3/3.5) + 2.5, and it rounds down.



[Herpes_Vendor] Did you have an obvious lane combo in mind when making Lucian?


Riotlink Button DanielZKlein: I don’t think Lucian was specifically “made” to shake up the bot lane meta, but this is very much an intended side effect. Let’s see how it turns out! As for supports, we found that he generally works with most supports that are strong now (which is a good thing), but particularly supports that can hold the enemy in place for 3s.



[Magnissimus] Are you satisfied with Lucian’s current state?


Riotlink Button DanielZKlein: I personally am very satisfied with them, yes. Give it a few weeks, you’ll see.



[EonOmega] Is it intentional that multiple “Light” champions have Proc-based mechanics? (Leona-Passive, Lux-Passive/Ulti, Lucian Passive/W)


Riotlink Button DanielZKlein: This is a tough one to answer. I feel there’s an underlying trope here of light marking enemies, but I can’t quite put my finger on it. It feels right, you know?



[Zemnozz] What do you think is the priority for Lucian’s ult? Attack speed or AD?


Riotlink Button DanielZKlein: AD



[Vulkanus8] Do you expect to see Lucian on the competitive play? Why/why not?


Riotlink Button DanielZKlein: Too early to tell, but I’m hopeful!



Do you agree that Lucian’s reset mechanic is too hard to pull off?


Riotlink Button DanielZKlein: We’re okay with a useful E reset being a one in ten games thing. Thanks for your kind words!



[Zacheris] Isn’t there a disconnect between Lucian’s AS scaling on R and his natural AD scaling?


Riotlink Button DanielZKlein: Yeah, there’s a few things here. You correctly identified that AS “feels” good and we want to support that. At a very low / beginner level, you want to be able to build things that feel good and not completely screw yourself. Secondly, The Culling feels like an extension of Lucian’s auto attack. It just feels right to have it scale with AS also. Finally, at the top level it’s about build diversity. Once you have a bunch of AD and armor pen, building AS becomes very cost effective.



[NurokToukai] Is there any talk on the team to buff his ult?


Riotlink Button DanielZKlein: Early data suggests close to a 49% winrate. This is while we’re still in the steepest climb of his learning curve.



[grbee] Isn’t his W bad for his kit and why is it star-shaped?


Riotlink Button DanielZKlein: The star was there first. Casey made a badass looking star explosion and I made the skill to fit. And why would you say that? He’s all about mobility and the skill gives him more mobility.



[rafalemos] Have you seen the Q bug where it costs double the mana?


Riotlink Button DanielZKlein: Yup. Our QA vendors are on it.



[DemonDZ] Why doesn’t his ultimate scale with SotD’s AS active?


Riotlink Button DanielZKlein: It would have made the item too much of a must buy for Lucian.



[elguepo] Was the effectiveness of Lucian and Thresh laning together done on purpose?


Riotlink Button DanielZKlein: It’s partly an accident and partly me being a huge fan of CertainlyT.



[Bugslider] How does Lucian’s E fit his kit?


Riotlink Button DanielZKlein: So the thought toward kit synergy in his E is that all his other skills require precise positioning. E allows you to get that positioning, even when a Nasus withered you.





[juffery] Are Lucian and Vayne similar in their beliefs?


RunaanRiotlink Button RiotRunaan: You’re right, they are very similar on a base thematic level (“hunters of evil”), but they’re essentially two sides of the coin – think of it in terms of darkness and light. Lucian and Senna hunted evil with its natural opposite, righteous magic intended to destroy corruption. They were also protectors; their motivation hinged on saving innocents in need as much as it did purging corruption. They were beloved heroes.

Vayne, on the other hand, is more of the Batman of Runeterra – she’s hell-bent on destroying the supernatural, but she is not afraid of using underhanded methods and turning the darkness against itself. Her methods are not always smiled upon by greater society. Personally, the similarities between them alongside the subtle differences are a really interesting opportunity for future interaction. They wouldn’t get along, but they’d share incredibly similar goals – perhaps they’ll end up reluctantly fighting a common threat one day. Who knows?



[ringadu] Was the Lucian / Thresh relationship planned around when Thresh was being made?


RunaanRiotlink Button RiotRunaan: We definitely wanted to leave a lot open-ended between Lucian and Thresh. Usually, when we develop relationships between champions, we like to leave some elements of the story to be explored in the future. As I mentioned in another response, Lucian and Thresh were actually developed around the same time late last year – Lucian’s gameplay just required a lot of iteration that led to his much later release date.



[Glyceroll] Is Senna stuck forever or is there hope for her escape?


RunaanRiotlink Button RiotRunaan: Senna’s pretty dang trapped for the moment. There’s nothing to say that she couldn’t be set loose – Thresh’s goal in taking her to the Shadow Isles was essentially to set her free there, where her powerful soul would be transformed into some kind of monstrosity. However, he hasn’t let her go… is he keeping her trapped as a tool to torment Lucian, or is there a deeper motivation behind his keeping her locked away? Food for thought!




[vakabiel] What powers the guns that Lucian uses?


RunaanRiotlink Button RiotRunaan: His guns essentially fire purifying light magic. They also cannot be fired by just anyone – you have to have certain qualities to be able to fire them.





[Velediron] What gave the inspiration to Lucian’s and Senna’s backstory and lore?


RunaanRiotlink Button RiotRunaan: The inspiration for Lucian and Senna’s story was actually pretty spur of the moment. Lucian and Thresh were actually developed around the same time (late last year) during the time we were focusing heavily on The Shadow Isles. We came up with the connection between them pretty organically – someone threw out the idea in a meeting. “Wouldn’t it be crazy if Thresh had the soul of Lucian’s wife in his lantern?” Everything else sprung up from there.



[Velediron] What’s the story behind the interactions with Hecarim and Mordekaiser?


RunaanRiotlink Button RiotRunaan: Lucian’s hatred of the Shadow Isles is centered on Thresh, but his mission to purge the undead definitely doesn’t stop there. He’s definitely encountered other denizens of the Shadow Isles along the way – thus the custom taunts. :)




[Velediron] Do you flesh out the stories more than just the lore that is revealed to the players? Is there a more intricate story about how Thresh actually tricked Senna and escaped from Lucian?


RunaanRiotlink Button RiotRunaan: Yes, there’s definitely more to the story than we’ve given away. We had a ton of discussion on how Thresh manipulated Senna and managed to capture her, but the things we talked about couldn’t be told in a way we thought would be satisfying or impactful to players. We chose to focus on the core of the characters involved and leave some revelations and story for the future.



[EinAardvark] From where in Runeterra is Lucian?


Runaan Riotlink Button RiotRunaan: He’s from Demacia!






[Epik-EUW] So, just to clarify because the Batman analogy made me slightly confused…. Vayne is more of an anti-hero sometimes adored, sometimes vilified (like Deadstroke), when Lucian is more of a traditional hero (like Superman)?


RunaanRiotlink Button RiotRunaan: Yes, that’s roughly it (though Lucian’s in a place where he’s “fallen” in a way after the death of his wife – he’s lost sight of the righteousness of his mission in favor of obsessive revenge against the undead of the Shadow Isles).






[Clavikus] How does Lucian’s ultimate interact with Lulu’s Help, Pix!, and how does his passive interact with the aforementioned ability?


ScarizardRiotlink Button Scarizard: As Lulu’s Pix buff is a modifier to your basic attack, it would not have any interaction with The Culling (As the Culling is a spell) – but would double-shoot pixbolts with Lightslinger, as it’s two basic attacks.





[zachy55] Why does Lucian’s ultimate feel so lackluster late-game?


ScarizardRiotlink Button Scarizard: I think it all comes down to your build – Varus and Miss Fortune are two champions with really powerful AD Ratios, but these will tend to fall-off if your build doesn’t support ability usage and instead favors sustained basic attack damage. Besides, doing damage while kiting or backing off as an AD carry isn’t something i would turn down!





ScarizardRiotlink Button Scarizard: I think a lot of the power of the Culling is tucked away in the simple fact that you can move + cast Relentless Pursuit while using it. You’re totally right that the Low Cooldown is to incentivize using it whenever you feel the need without having to feel like you’ve wasted it – I can see us (do not misinterpret – VERY SLIGHTLY) upping the AD ratio on it, but the situations you’re outlining are the situations the ability is designed to handle.

Doing DPS in a fight when a bruiser decides to jump you? Hit Ardent Blaze + The Culling on them and move backward and enjoy repositioning while dealing damage. Balance on this spell due to a number of factors has always been on a knife-edge – a simple ratio increase can take it into ‘Lucian just uses his short cooldown Culling and everything dies’ or ‘Lightshow tickle-fight’. If it’s more the latter, as always, we’ll make changes if he needs it. Just not convinced he needs it at the moment.



[sublimeo12] Any explanation for why BOTRK is listed as his “essential” item, when items like BT and Triforce seem to be stronger on him in general? Is AS really that strong on Lucian early game?


ScarizardRiotlink Button Scarizard: Lucian scales with so many different stats that it really allows you to customize your playstyle. Builds like IE/PD give you a ton of spike damage with your basic attacks, but leave The Culling taking a backseat in terms of your overall damage output – while BT/LW make your Culling a god-mode R,  your basic attacks will be weaker than a crit investment. BOTRK fits his dueling nature and allows him to outplay his opponent easily, as well a synergizing with Lightslinger. It’s not my preferred way to play him, but i think it comes down to there being so many ways to utilize him that none were ever really going to feel like they were the best pick.



[lcarlos5] What kind of team comps do you see Lucian fitting in?


ScarizardRiotlink Button Scarizard: We generally have seen him work really well in kite/disengage teams, or pick-based compositions. Things like Elise, Ahri, Thresh (funnily enough) – anyone that makes the opponent stop moving, Lucian can just turn on the Giga-Culling-Prismatic-Gatling-Death-Attack and blow through them with ease. Have to say I’m also hopeful of his viability in a double-AD composition that we’ve seen worldwide. Lucian Mid is quite good, due to wave clear, escapability and the aforementioned burst-damage. Played some tests internally with Lucian Mid and a Vayne Bot and between the two of us we cleaned house.



[DLEric] Why doesn’t Lucian’s Ultimate apply on-hit effects?


ScarizardRiotlink Button Scarizard: Pretty much echoing what people have said before, we didn’t want to apply on-hits unless there was a strong reason to do so. We’ve had periods of Lucian’s balance where his ult is 80% of the damage he deals to a person he kills and as such was kind of insane – Imagine getting hit with Frozen Fist or other types of onhits at the same time D: !


It just came down to a judgement call on our parts – the Culling is kind of a numbers-intensive ability when it comes to balance – adding On-hits into that equation lowers the amount of strength the ability itself is allowed to have due to needing to balance around the ‘best-cast (Ex. if Bork+Shiv+Iceborn Gauntlet+SOTEL Culling is insane, Culling without these items needs to be at 20% Capacity just because he -could- build them).



[alchemist87] Why isn’t his Q a skill shot? Any particular reason as to why it is the way it is right now?


ScarizardRiotlink Button Scarizard: There were really two reasons driving this – one was that Lucian earlier on was missing a reliable damage ability which playtests showed that he really needed. We also felt that he needed a ‘trickshot’ type ability, or something that had him lining up shots or feeling clever about using well situationally.


This led to the Double Up + Ricochet style ability we have – in lane and in skirmishes, it allows Lucian to line up some nice shots (I’ve personally gotten kills -through- an enemy champion to their allied support or jungler a few times), but in the latergame you can still just put your mouse on them and fire away for the damages. Once we really embraced it as ‘Lucian uses a target to aim the laser, then fires it no matter what’ we also found interesting interactions (for instance, Vayne can tumble away from it, quicker movement speeds can run away from it) that actually made it feel much cooler from a playing against perspective.



[Deathzwergi] Will you buff Lucian next patch?


ScarizardRiotlink Button Scarizard: Likely not. If we need to buff him we will, but waiting and not overreacting to first-impression feedback and letting people get accustomed to the champion/letting people explore different builds generally yields better results. Personally, none of us are convinced that he’s weak, and data is trending to suggest it either. Daniel Klein and i already prepared Buffs in the event that he’s weak, or nerfs in the event that he’s OP and can change him if he requires either.



Isn’t Lucian a weak AD carry because he’s dependent on skillshots?


morellovatar Riotlink Button Morello: To be fair, we got this feedback about Caitlyn when she launched. I’m not convinced people have solved Lucian yet (Draven was similar too). I’d rather make it so more counterplay exists than less. We haven’t always done a good job of this, but no excuse to not do better :)



Fun bits



[vakabiel] When Senna was taken from Lucian did he sit on a park bench and stare at a cupcake with tears in his eyes?


RunaanRiotlink Button RiotRunaan: “She was everything to me. But they took her. And with her, they took my pastries and my cookies. That was their mistake – because now, all I’ve got left is a cold cupcake.”





[dida55] How does Lucian feel laning with Thresh?


RunaanRiotlink Button RiotRunaan: Awkward.






[Thomasedv] Anything crazy happen during development?


ScarizardRiotlink Button Scarizard: Nothing too gamebreaking, except when we implemented Ardent Blaze’s MS proc, ‘Blucian’ was the build we were testing. While that build still lives (No longer truly blue, just an AD + CDR build) – Spirit of the Elder Lizard’s True Damage (That was applied by the W spell itself) was proccing the Mark, allowing him to just get insane MS at long range without having to follow-up which was pretty OP D:



[Runningman4107] So how many John Woo movies did you guys watch in the process of designing Lucian?


ScarizardRiotlink Button Scarizard: Mandatory John Woo viewings. Daily.






[ravedave] How many man hours went into building Lucien across art, design, and coding?


ScarizardRiotlink Button Scarizard: Probably like half a day.












Rengar bannerRengar’s new Build


Following the last, rather poorly received iteration of Rengar’s kit, Scarizard returns with promising changes!






ScarizardRiotlink Button Scarizard: Hey dudes, sorry for going mostly silent this week – had a lot to get done and i don’t like to post when i know i won’t have time to follow up with y’all (this is why last week’s post came on a Friday evening so i had all weekend to keep talking)

So i’m likely going to format this horrendously because i’m at home and don’t have a screencap of the tooltip, but here’s the new idea for Rengar’s ultimate:

Thrill of the Hunt

Hunt: Rengar activates his Predatory instincts, gaining % movement speed and vision of all nearby enemy champions. During this time, Rengar also generates up to 5 Ferocity and his first basic attack will cause him to leap. Lasts (Long Duration) or until Rengar uses an ability/leaps.

After a few seconds, Rengar may choose to reactivate Thrill of the Hunt to enter Stalk.

Stalk: Rengar loses all bonus movement speed from Thrill of the Hunt, but enters Stealth. Lasts (Shorter Duration) or until Rengar takes offensive action.

If i can clarify more, let me know. The basics are that Rengar players get to choose which is best for the situation – to Speedcat for a chase or cleanup? or Stealthcat for an ambush or otherwise awesome juke? I’m excited about this version because it has a lot of flexibility in what Rengar can do throughout the game (by retaining Higher % MS than is on live via Hunt, but retaining the Stealth Ambush in Stalk) but doesn’t let you just hit R and run without being smart about it.

Bonus Question!- Consuming Ferocity on cast is still something i want to do, but i’d want to find a better bonus you get for ‘Empowering’ your Ultimate rather than duration. Suggestions? I anticipate a lot of ‘+Damage and +Stealth’ time, but i’m open to hearing what you guys have to say.

Let me know what you guys think, and sorry for the delay!



Is the “few seconds” wait for stealth necessary?


ScarizardRiotlink Button Scarizard: This is something that can be toyed with, but the idea here is that the Stealth from Stalk activation has no delayed fade time like Live (where damage causes the fade time to increase). Basically if you catch a Rengar out and he ults, either A. He’s gonna book it the whole way, in which case you can see him the whole time or B. He has about seconds of running/juking he needs to do before he has access to his instant stealth.


Again, the intricacies of how/when he stealths is tunable, but i’d like very much for there to be a delay between the two.




Why didn’t you give him Eve-like stealth and can Rengar still Leap during Stalk?


ScarizardRiotlink Button Scarizard: I’ve posted in one of the main-page edits why it’s unlikely that we’d give him Evelynn Stealth – but yes, you can still Leap out of Stalk. From Rengar’s Passive: While in brush or in stealth, Rengar gains bonus attack range and his attacks cause him to leap at his target.





After the stealth ends will the movement speed turn back on or does triggering the stealth end the ultimate entirely?


ScarizardRiotlink Button Scarizard: Once you activate Stalk, that’s it. Any of the duration you had in Hunt is now gone – you can maximize this in a long-rage engagement (Use hunt to traverse great distance, Stalk at the end) but in cases where you’ll Hunt, run at them and have a good portion of Hunt left, your decision to Stalk must be weighed againt using the duration of that MS. You don’t lose Predator Vision though – it’s just the movement speed.



Suggestion: Empowered = Rengar gains extra range on his leap based on how many stacks of Ferocity he consumed


Scarizard Riotlink Button Scarizard: One of the reasons we don’t do things like different spell ranges that are non-ultimate (Zac’s E is a recent example of where we’ve intentionally broken this rule) is that your enemies have no idea how many Ferocity points, if at all you’ve burned. So if you’re in Hunt mode and just booking it, how do i know when to use my disengage spell? How will i know when you’re about to leap?

I’d like to make the bonus something that Rengar-only kind of cares about. Duration fit that bill and i’m happy to go back to it, i’m just opening it up to see if there’s anything we can do. Damage incentives make you feel like you never want to ult UNLESS you’re 5-stacked, so making it too much of the ult’s power makes the optimization point feel necessary. Ideally, this feels like a thematic/fun bonus but something you could live without.



Suggestion: Kills or assists during ult grant Rengar an additional necklace stack


Scarizard Riotlink Button Scarizard: Really cool that Rengar could ever double-up on Trophy Gain, but i wonder about the implications of when/how. I’m unsure if Rengar (A champ who on Live is already approaching mechanical overload) could stand the complexity, but in a perfect world where we could do whatever we wanted, i’d want to see a ‘revenge’ mechanic.


Basically you lose a stack when you die, but if you kill the person who last killed you, you’d take back the trophy that ‘dropped’ and a new one – this would reset each death you had and you’d probably only get it once – but it would definitely be interesting. Unlikely that it’d happen, but i’ll keep my eyes open for Big Game passive.



Will I get the same stealth duration if I activate Stalk later?


Scarizard Riotlink Button Scarizard: Currently, Yes.






Won’t split-pushing with Rengar still be too dominant?


Scarizard Riotlink Button Scarizard: Possible, but there are many ways to combat this. Q no longer damage towers – or, Q does hit towers but doesn’t gain the 3 Ferocity or Attack Speed from towers.

Also, Hunt’s MS can ramp. Stalk providing no MS and a shorter duration also means that if he stealths after you find him splitpushing, you can actually fan out and catch him when he reappears.

Not concerned about this. There are more levers than even these that can make things less terrible in a world of gigasplitpushrengar, and i’m willing to do any one of them since they don’t really hit his -actual- power.



Community Feedback: Why the ult change?


Scarizard Riotlink Button Scarizard: Brief post before i head out for the day – been reading a lot of your Ferocity bonuses for R and while i appreciate the creativity, unsure if i’m gonna take anything i see – everything so far is kind of above the powerbudget i’d like to give it – i’m heading towards ‘nice, small bonus’ – where things like Tenacity, a Fear, extra Damage are all things that just make me feel like an idiot for ever ulting without max ferocity.

As for Hunt -> Stalk, i’ve seen a lot of you mention you think it should be reverse. Aside from my poor naming (Maybe Sprint->Prowl would be more accurate?), the basic idea around this is

1. Adds a window of time where Rengar can get caught out and still be outplayed – stealthing, picking a direction you want to go, and then bursting into speed to run away is kind of @_@. Hunt->Stalk at least has a period of time where you know he cant’ stealth you, and if you don’t play it right may not even need to use it.

2. Taken as evidence from our tests where the ult had no stealth at all – in most cases, i think ‘Hunt’ is more universal. When ulting with Rengar, more often than not you want to run fast. Whether or not you’re getting into position for an Ambush or just running a guy down, if your ultimate button gave you nothing else, MS is more consistent and you can form an expectation around the button press. Seeing low-health dudes and pressing R, only to know your giant MS boost is ~5s away from activation feels like they’re escaping from you just because we let it happen – while giving it to you upfront and keeping the Stealth optional allows you to premeditate it for when it would be useful to you.

Maybe i didn’t explain it that well – only got like 4h or so of sleep (Damn you, gamescom !_!), but i hope it makes sense. I’m still considering all of these suggestions, this is just snapshot on where i’m feelin’.



Suggestion: Stalk costs Ferocity to enter


Scarizard Riotlink Button Scarizard: I’ve seen this a bunch in this thread so far, but i don’t see it as having the same problems due to

- Stalk having less Stealth Duration than on Live
- Stalk losing Thrill of the Hunt’s movement speed
- Rengar’s overall burst being lowered

In general, there’s a much lower window for Rengar to Sneak-Attack you. He can also just run and leap on you if his goal is to just get to you, but if taking your opponent by surprise is important (say, in a lane-gank) that option is still available and potent. Overall it takes a lot more planning and execution to pull off the stealth-attack, but you can forgo the planning and just bumrush them (at the cost of alerting them to your presence earlier)



Update: Rengar’s damage still stronk, rolling back on W’s DR changes


Scarizard Riotlink Button Scarizard: Xelnath played him in the jungle and got like 1 bajillion kills (I think the final end score was 15/7/8?) building BTN, BT, Trinity Force, Infinity Edge and Berserker’s Greaves. They ended up losing to a few misplays, but so far judging by his in-game performance (and the screams of ‘oh god’ from the other members of Live Design) it seems like he’s still 100% capable of dealing damage.

W Mechanic is back to Armor and MR from AD Reduction – this hurts his early clear, but we decided that it’s actually pretty necessary for him especially now that he takes slightly longer to kill.

Sprint/Stealth ult is working out pretty well, going to play him myself later today from a Toplane position and begin working on that since jungle seems like it’s working fine (insofar as a bruiser-utility guy with strong laneganks or as an assassin), so i want to make sure that Toplane Rengar is still pretty strong.




 Champion/Skin Sale – Expires August 2nd


Sale 2nd AugustEnjoy the following champions and skins at a discount until August 2nd!





  • Fizz – 487 RP
  • Maokai – 440 RP
  • Mordekaiser – 395 RP



Commander Galio – 260 RP


Commando Galio


Rugged Garen – 375 RP


Rugged Garen


Pentakill Yorick – 487 RP


Pentakill Yorick



Missed any recent updates? Check here!


Patch 3.10A – Riven jumps over walls, Nerfs to BotRK, Phage Reworked; PBE Update: Balance & New Turret UI; Dunkmaster Darius teased at Gamescom, New Skins & Lucian in Store, Scruffy explains Skarner changes & the latest Sale!

Pool Party Graves, Leona, Lee Sin and Renekton on the PBE, IronStylus tells the story of Leona’s skin, Lucian Spotlight & Making Video, No more stealth for Rengar, State of Taric and Massive changes to Skarner!

Massive PBE Update – Changes to Yi, Zac and Phage, New Teamfight and Dragon & Baron UI, Improvements to Champions Tab, Update on Skarner, Skins in development, More amazing Diana Art, Results from the Freljord Tribe Event and the latest Sale!

Patch 3.11 Teaser, Legendary Skin for Janna, Zileas on Game Design, New Bundles in the Store, Summoner shows unique Skin Splash Arts and the latest Sale!

Are Leagues better than S2′s Rating? Morello on LoL’s core design, Nerfs planned for Master Yi, Lucian still not live, Rioters object to Mercy Voting, No plans for Udyr VU and the new Sale!


twitter-icon-png-13 Follow me on Twitter!



Master Yi banner 1 

See Lucian and Master Yi‘s full kits in detail! SmashGizmo shares his plans to bring Olaf back in the spotlight, IronStylus talks about buffing Sivir’s visual appeal and Xelnath lays the plans for Xerath‘s new ultimate, the props and hitches.


PBE: Lucian – Full Ability details
PBE: Master Yi’s Reworked Kit
IronStylus: Sivir’s Visual Update
SmashGizmo: Olaf Changes coming
Xelnath: Xerath’s new Ultimate


Lucian – Full Ability details


lucian pbe decoration

Full information on Lucian’s abilities in their current state on PBE.



Lightslinger ( Passive )

After using one of his abilities, Lucian’s next auto attack within 6 seconds will strike twice. The second shot deals 50-75% of Lucian’s AD based on level, but fully applies on-hit effects. Minions and monsters take full damage from the second shot. The second shot can critically strike.


Piercing LightPiercing Light ( Q )

Cooldown: 9/8/7/6/5 || Cost: 50/55/60/65/70 || Range: 570 for casting; 1100 total range of laser

After a 0.4 second delay, Lucian fires a laser in the direction of the target enemy, dealing 80/120/160/200/240 (+0.6/0.75 /0.9/1.05/1.2 bonus AD) physical damage to all enemies in a line. Minions take 75% damage.


Ardent BlazeArdent Blaze ( W )

Cooldown: 14/13/12/11/10 || Cost: 60 mana || Range: 1100

Lucian fires a shot that explodes upon hitting an enemy or reaching the end of its path, dealing 60/100/140/180/220 ( + 0.9AP ) ( + 0.8 bonus AD ) magic damage in a cross pattern and marking enemies hit for 6 seconds.

If Lucian damages a marked target with his basic attacks or abilities, he gains bonus 40/45/50/55/60 movement speed for 2 seconds. This does not consume the mark.


Relentless Pursuit

Relentless Pursuit ( E )

Cooldown: 18/16/14/12/10 || Cost: 60/45/30/15/0 || Range: 425

Lucian dashes a short distance and removes all slowing effects. Relentless Pursuit’s cooldown resets if Lucian scores a kill or assist during The Culling ( R ).


The CullingThe Culling ( R )

Cooldown: 100/75/50 || Cost: 100 || Range: 1400

Lucian fires 7.5 ( + 7.5/9/10.5 × Attack Speed ) shots toward his target over 3 seconds (channeled). Each shot deals 35/50/65 ( +0.33 AD ) ( + 0.4 AP ) physical damage. Lucian can move and use Relentless Pursuit without interrupting the ability. Reactivating the Culling will cancel the ultimate early. Bullets can be interrupted mid-flight, but deal 300% damage to minions (not monsters).



Due to major issues with the latest patch, the PBE content containing Lucian and his new skin was removed. Will update promptly!


Master Yi’s Reworked kit


ionia master yi decoration

AD Master Yi is back in action! Ok, he never was to begin with.


Double StrikeDouble Strike ( Passive )

Every 4th consecutive basic attack, Master Yi strikes twice. The second strike deals half damage, but applies on-hits and can critically strike. Double Strike counter resets if Master Yi has not dealt or received damage in the last 4 seconds.


Alpha Strike

Alpha Strike ( Q )

Cooldown: 18/17/16/15/14 || Mana Cost: 80/90/100/110/120

Master Yi leaps to strike up to 4 enemies, dealing 10/45/80/115/150 ( +1.1 AD ) physical damage to each and an additional 75/100/125/150/175 damage to minions and monsters.

Alpha Strike can critically strike, dealing an additional (?? ) physical damage. Basic attacks lower the cooldown of Alpha Strike by one second.



Meditate ( W )

Cooldown: 35 || Mana Cost: 50/65/80/95/110

Master Yi channels, restoring 20/45/70/95/120 ( +0.3 AP ) Health per second for 4 seconds (maximum heal: 80/180/280/280/480 ( +1.2 AP ). This healing is increased by 1% for every 1% of Master Yi’s missing health.

While channeling, Master Yi reduces incoming damage by 40/45/50/55/60%. This damage reduction is halved against turrets.

Wuju Style

 Wuju Style ( E )

Cooldown: 18/17/16/15/14 || Mana Cost: None

Passive: Grants 10/12.5/15/17.5/20% bonus Attack Damage.

Active: Basic attacks deal bonus (~1 AD) true damage for 5 seconds. The passive bonus is not active while Wuju Style is on cooldown.



Highlander ( R )

Cooldown: 75 || Mana Cost: 100

Passive: Champion kills reduce Master Yi’s basic cooldowns by 18 seconds. Assists reduce them by 9.

Active: Grants Master Yi bonus 25/35/45% Movement Speed and 20/40/80% Attack Speed and makes him immune to movement reduction effects for 10 seconds. While active, champion kills and assists extend the duration of Highlander by 4 seconds.



 Where is Sivir’s Visual Update?


Sivir Banner

A long time ago we received news that Sivir will be getting a visual rework. Let’s see how that’s going along!




Good progress has been made. Her base is currently modeled, textured and being animated. Particle work is also progressing. This does not mean there’s a timeline for release, but this is the stage we’re at. Once the base is mostly done, her skins will be implemented. Those hi-rez models however are complete and awaiting low-rez conversion and retopo. After that they’ll get rigged and go in for animation.

I will say this much: From what we’ve been seeing so far, I’m extremely impressed with what the team has made. She feels like the same character, but with massively updated aesthetics, though we’ve significantly added fidelity and new flavors into her. Animations especially. They go miles in terms of reinforcing the character and generally just making for a beautiful product. She feels like a single character where before she was open to a thousand interpretations.

(She’s also super sexy now in a warrior princess sorta way)



 Does she have less or more clothes on compared to before?


IronStylusButton Rioter IronStylus: Eh, I guess slightly more, but it’s more like she now has garment where boots and stuff just ended. Better material transitions is really a better way to describe it. The important fact is that she still has sexy, sexy midriff.




Follow-up: Does sexy midriff mean abs?


IronStylusButton Rioter IronStylus: Yes. Not hyper-chiseled, but sexy lady abs of strongness.





What kind of a color palette can we expect for her clothes?


IronStylusButton Rioter IronStylus: Similar, but not nearly as obnoxious. This is very subject to change though. We looked at her in game today and saw she was pretty warm, and might needed some complimentary colors in her texture. It’s about what works best for the game at this point, not preserving what was iconic for bad reasons.



Are her abilities being reworked as well?


IronStylusButton Rioter IronStylus: Small QoL changes I think, but nothing major. Mostly a VU.





Is her boomerang being worked on?


IronStylus Button Rioter IronStylusHer boomerang is properly epic and no longer feels it’s made of cardboard like she’s actually a lady in Sivir cosplay.




Does she still strut with pride?


IronStylus Button Rioter IronStylus: She no longer strides. She runs like a badass.





How does her Spell Shield look like?


IronStylus Button Rioter IronStylusIt looks great. Feels more tied into the weapon as being a possible source for the shield.





Are her feet still as big?


IronStylus Button Rioter IronStylusDeath to pizza feet.





Will we be getting new animations for Sivir’s skins?


IronStylus Button Rioter IronStylusAll skins are rebuilt from the ground up. Everything is new.






To Action! Olaf Changes coming


olaf decoration

SmashGizmo gives us an overview of what changes we can expect to Olaf’s kit.

SmashGizmo Button Rioter SmashGizmo: I’m not 100% sure about PBE deploy times, so I can’t say exactly, but suffice to say that the initial changes are in and starting to get some testing internally and they will go to PBE the next time PBE patches.


Sooooo that being said, let’s get into the nitty gritty… Keep in mind that all the changes you see here are subject to heavy iteration before you get to see them on live. Numbers may shift to varying degrees, mechanics may be added and/or dropped, etc etc etc.

Olaf Changes, V1.0

UndertowUndertow ( Q )

  • Slow no longer decays
  • Now has a minimum throw distance of 450 units
  • Axes now stick in walls and structures rather than going through them

Slow decay on this ability ultimately doesn’t make sense to me. The slow decaying accentuates the power of re-applying the slow repeatedly and lessers the impact of hitting the epic long range axes that seem like they should feel the best to hit. If I need to re-tune the slow numbers from here to be slightly less severity or duration, so be it, but I can’t conceptually get on board with this ability having a decay on its slow.

Minimum distance is being added to this ability to limit Olaf’s ability to abuse repeated minimum distance Axe throws on top of Melee range targets. Ultimately this pattern is counterintuitive, adds a lot of burst to Olaf and makes the gameplay confusing to opponents who can’t even see the axe in the ground since he immediately picks it up.

The wall sticking change for Undertow actually just started as a cool thematic idea from CertainlyT, but it also happens to solve a couple big issues I was running into with Undertow. The first is that it lets Jungle Olaf circumvent the minimum distance on Undertow to preserve his fast clear by standing near a wall and repeatedly throwing axes. The second is that it strips a bit of extraneous power off of Olaf in terms of scouting (i.e. checking baron over and over with it) and sniping, which ultimately aren’t very cool places for a Viking to have power, which frees him up some power budget to spend on cooler stuff.

Vicious_StrikesVicious Strikes ( W )

  • Mana cost reduced to 25 from 40/45/50/55/60
  • Now provides 1% enhanced healing from all sources for every 2% health Olaf is missing during the duration THIS IS IN ADDITION TO THE CURRENT MECHANICS ON W, NOT REPLACING THEM

At the end of the day, this ability feels like it should be cooldown gated, not mana gated, so I’ve reduced the mana cost to a fairly negligible number to reduce this ability’s strain on Undertow.

The scaling increased healing effect on this ability is meant to supplement Olaf’s fight-your-way-out pattern and better communicate to players when they want to use their W. It also opens up a tuning lever on his lane-sustain so that he feels less oppressive when ahead and more resilient when he’s behind. I also hope that this clarifies Olaf’s itemization options (in particular, opening up lifesteal items more for him), though that remains to be seen as I’m not really convinced that players plan around this interaction with Spirit Visage (same mechanic) at the moment.

Ragnarok  Ragnarok ( R )

  • Mana Cost removed
  • Cooldown changed to 120/100/80 from 100
  • Active duration changed to 5 from 6
  • New Passive Added: Olaf gains 10/25/40 Armor and Magic Resist passively
  • Active Changed: Olaf removes all disables from himself and becomes immune to them for the next 5 seconds. During this time, he gains double Attack Speed from Berserker Rage

As with Vicious Strikes, it feels crummy for Ragnarok to constrain your ability to cast Undertow and as this will only ever be used once per fight, I’ve just stripped the mana cost off completely.

The larger changes here are about clarifying Ragnarok’s purpose and counterplay. After looking through feedback on how players perceive the counterplay and discussing this with numerous designers, I’ve come to the conclusion that Ragnarok is a more interesting and healthy ability if it functions as a trade off rather than a god mode. With this direction in mind, I’ve added a passive Armor/MRes component to give Olaf the tankiness he needs to be a front liner with no mobility and made the Ragnarok button press decision more about becoming unstoppable in order to do damage, at the cost of the resilience from damage. Hopefully this opens up the option to the opposing team to focus fire down the un-CCable monster coming for their Carry, rather than leaving them feeling completely resigned to Olaf being able to get to and kill their Carry. With this being the new decision point surrounding Ragnarok, I’ve scaled the duration back 1 second, as I believe that Olafs should now be casting Ragnarok slightly later in teamfights once he’s closer and facing imminent CC rather than using it at the start of his approach to mitigate all the incoming damage. I also think these changes holistically add a nice side effect of giving CC-users a small satisfaction out of forcing Olaf’s ult by hitting his resists, thought this is admittedly pretty minor.

So this is where I’m starting with my changes. Feel free to let me know what you think and I’ll try to address any concerns you guys want to bring up. As I said before, this is an early iteration and I expect to be doing a whole bunch of iterations before getting to where we need to be with Olaf.



Why did you remove the slow decay from Undertow?


SmashGizmo Button Rioter SmashGizmo: Taking off the slow decay on Q is pretty huge in terms of adding power back onto Olaf’s Q, IMO. The difference in feel in the playtest today was pretty massive from the experience on live. I don’t want to derail forward progress by looking back too much, but I do just want to throw this out there that I do think Olaf’s peak power before we nerfed him was certainly too high in competitive play and the nerf aspects of the Q changes are all aimed at hitting it’s old power in the competitive arena while having fairly minimal impact across lower skill players.

In addition, the healing buff on W is a considerable buff to Olaf’s windowed sustain, which should let him better outlive fights through lifesteal. The whole idea is to shift this missing power towards his passive/W/R gameplay, as this gameplay extends Olaf’s engagement window, allowing his opponents more time to play against him rather than getting vaporized once he gets on top of you. Likewise, the shift from Armor Pen to Attack Speed is again aimed at extending Olaf’s engagement window. Armor Pen was allowing Olaf to burst harder vs. low armor targets (due to Q benefiting largely from it), which was one of the biggest pain points of playing against Olaf and I’m hoping that shifting the burst potential of that armor pen will 1. allow Olaf to brawl other frontliners better with sustained damage and lifestealing and 2. force him to stick to carries for longer to kill them rather than bursting them down super quickly.



Won’t making only Undertow mana reliant result in infinite axe spamming?


SmashGizmo Button Rioter SmashGizmo: I’ve discussed this quite a bit earlier in the thread, but the tl;dr on this is that mana constraining his Undertow is what allows the pattern of the ability to not be abusive, and I’d really like to preserve Undertow’s use pattern because I think it’s thematic and awesome.




Are the bonus resistances from Ragnarok lost when the ability is on cooldown?


SmashGizmo Button Rioter SmashGizmo:  They are only lost during the active duration of Ragnarok. It would be pretty awful if they were lost while it’s on CD IMO. Basically my feeling is that Olaf feels super clunky when Ragnarok is down and when he’s in this clunky state in teamfights, he needs the defense to make up for the fact that he’s very kiteable and pokeable.



What prompted you to change Ragnarok?


SmashGizmo Button Rioter SmashGizmo: This is how players currently use the ult.




- Fight Starts
- Olaf Ults
- Olaf runs through the fight (takes minimal damage cause he gets over 2K in defensive stats for free in addition to CC-immunity)
- Olaf Q, Auto, E, Qs your carry (bursting him super hard due to flat penetration obliterating low armor targets)

I contest that this pattern is inherently flawed because it offers up no clear forms of counterplay. This pattern of Olaf, when strong, frequently leaves a fairly large subset of characters feeling totally helpless and hopeless vs. Olaf and thinking to themselves, “there is nothing I could have done there to not die to him.”

I am saying instead that Olaf is healthier if we open up a distinct vulnerability during his ult and try to patch up his weaknesses outside of it. This version isn’t intended to be used exactly the same way as the current ult, again, because I think the way the current ult is used leads us to a core design flaw in Olaf.



Some iteration on Undertow’s minimal throw range


SmashGizmo Button Rioter SmashGizmo:  Probably shouldn’t have put a number to the minimum range…

Olaf’s pick up detection on Axes is fairly generous and I played with that number quite a bit before arriving at 450. With no boots, throwing at minimum range, it’ll take you about half a second of walking towards the axe before you pick it up. The intent here is solely to prevent repeated axes at your feet and if people disagree with my tuning of this number, I’ll tweak it until it feels right.



Will wall sticking apply to all walls or will he be able to throw axes over low ledges?


SmashGizmo Button Rioter SmashGizmo:  Unfortunately, all these boundaries in our game are functionally the same so I don’t even think it’s possible to make it not awkwardly stick in these ledges. It does look a bit goofy in a few places, but so does Nautilus Hook and I think the gameplay goals are worth the aesthetic tradeoff for the time being.



Have you thought about putting a CD Floor on Undertow?


SmashGizmo Button Rioter SmashGizmo:  I’ve thought of a floor and it feels like an inelegant solution because it creates weird optimization regarding when you’re supposed to pick up the axe.

The other option I’ve considered is having the pickup’s cooldown decrease scale multiplicatively with CDR as opposed to additively with CDR (think Hecarim’s Rampage mechanics), but with the variable times when you can pick up the axe, this starts to make optimizing really messy again.

Basically, I just want Olaf to feel good about picking up the axe when he wants to throw it again without needing to consider further optimization and I think the flat reduction feels good for this and that the minimum range both feels appropriate and solves the 0 range abuse cases. I will continue to monitor how up close and personal axes feel on Olaf and explore other options if this proves problematic, but based on the initial testing with minimum range, I think it’s promising. I can understand the concerns about the feel of low range axes with a minimum range, but I do want to urge you to not be too hasty in your judgement of the mechanic based on the range number (subject to tuning as appropriate), as ultimately what matters here is that low range axes feel appropriate to Olaf players and fair to opponents.



How does his reworked kit come together in a game?


SmashGizmo Button Rioter SmashGizmo:  I envision Olaf brawling with frontliners by default and then seizing opportunities when carries get too close by going all-or-nothing mode with Ragnarok. Whether this proves to be his actual teamfight pattern or not remains to be shown, but in my minds-eye, that’s where I see him.


As for what testing has shown so far, you guys are getting eyes on the first set of changes that have been ready for testing. In the only game he’s been in thus far, he drew his lane vs. Elise and then went bananas on the opposing ranged AD lategame with Q -> E -> Q -> E chasing, typically using Ragnarok to break free from the frontline CC mess or Elise cocoons in order to chase the opposing ranged AD out of the fight (and ultimately killed him pretty much every time). Axes into walls had a bit of a learning curve for the Olaf player, but after getting used to them he said he wasn’t really bothered by it, as any time he felt like he got robbed of his Axe by a wall, he would almost instantly get the Axe back on his natural chase path which let him take another shot. Ult attack speed changes had very little opportunity to shine due to teamfights scattering on both sides due to teams trying to not get boned by the junglers AoE lockdowns (Nautlius vs. Amumu), which left Olaf running around using skills rather than sitting and brawling. W numbers looked like they’re probably overtuned for sustain in lane at the moment and the Olaf player claimed that he wished he had bought a vamp scepter earlier to abuse this sustain pattern. Note that this is just feedback from one game, you can only draw so much from it, but in general, I didn’t see any warning signs that the direction on these changes is inherently wrong. I’m interested to see how patterns establish with the feedback over more games.



Xelnath on Xerath: Ultimate patterns


scorched xerath banner

This is a continuation of the on-going topic of Xerath‘s rework, as discussed by Xelnath. Learn how his ultimate ties in with his new kit!



XelnathButton Rioter Xelnath: Hey guys,

We’ve been undergoing a large number of iterations on Xerath’s kit. Primarily his “R” slot. Giving an update on every single change would probably just lead to more confusion trying to stay current than just giving a bigger update after we’ve done a bunch of different tests.

When I can find the time to sit down and focus more, I’ll walk through a few of the iterations and explain the problems with each incarnation.

All of these iterations involved immobilization during Locus. The most recent cycle has been:

A) Xerath R increases all spells and grants auto-attack barrages, duration limited by mana.
B) Xerath R grants 50% base cooldown reduction, duration limited by mana. No auto-attack replacer.
C) Xerath R grants super short cooldown on “W” (aoe orbital strike) for the duration.
D) Xerath R grants global range on W for a short time. Duration flat and limited by mana.
E) Xerath R grants super-massive range on auto-attack replacer. Duration flat. Mana Cost flat.

Issues with Patterns:


Having a spell that grants sustained damage over a long period of time is cool.
Having a spell that grants super range is cool.
Having a spell that has its duration unlimited, except by mana is cool.

Combing two or more of these mechanic together has proven infinitely frustrating to the enemy team if it is large. Having the opponent constantly raining down damage that you cannot retaliate against proved frustrating and game warping.

Our early experiments reveals that Xerath performing at a “growing missile silo” was a very cool in terms of creating a map objective. However, it fell apart once you required either the Xerath to stand there for 10-15 sec before acting (xerath player got bored) since that’s how long it took for a player to reach Xerath.

Furthermore, many of the champions that *could* reach Xerath would either die being bombarded along the way or would get ripped apart cutting through the enemy team to get to Xerath. Ultimately, this left our live designers feeling like this strategy wasn’t fun in League of Legends.

I could see it revived in terms of a “nuke silo building” champion who sets up a time-delayed bomb or item in the future, but forcing a player to remain there just doesn’t play nice.


Once we removed the constant barrage of damage, we expected to alleviate the perceptions of constant danger. Once that happened, the “right” way to play Xerath (intuitively) was to siege up, blow your load, then leave the siege mode immediately.

Movement in league of legends is a moment-to-moment filler of activity that feels very good in terms of allowing mages to feel useful and smart. Removing that ability and not providing a moment-to-moment replacement meant we had to reduce the cooldowns of your spells in Locus of Power so that you were constantly casting.

This meant that we were back to square one in terms of “constant zone of power” on Xerath which meant enemy players just constantly fled his radius and he never could captialize on his ultimate. 3000 was either too easy or impossible to flee.


Being bored while rooted isn’t fun. So next we tried other ways, aside from the constant missile storm to make you feel good during the root.

Next we tried just allowing you to spam “W” (orbital strikes) as the primary damage source. This just lead to Xerath being insanely bursty *and* being unable to escape him.


Next we tried granting Xerath global range Orbital Strikes, paced 4-5 sec apart. This was a very cool idea, but it turned out that we had just re-created Karthas that was harder to play, kill-stole constantly *and* didn’t feel like an artillery-barrage feel.

It was about this time that we realized that all of these ultimates having severe influence on other lanes resulted in Xerath’s laning phase needing to be weaker than most midlane champions. So we cut the ultimate’s power down and boosted his laning phase.


Now we’re on iteration E. We found that allowing super-massive CC + slows + full access to your damage was overwhelming. There was too much to do as well. Even our challenger level testers were like, “there’s more here than I could possibly ever do, so I never felt good about what I chose to do.”

So we asked ourselves, “What’s the most fun part of the new locus of power and barrage attacks?”

The answer was resoundingly “Let’s focus on his role as a mage sniper / long range damager. Let’s move all of the range we want Xerath to have on his base kit into his base spell ranges, then give him an ultimate that is about predicting and finishing off escaping targets”

So now we’re trying this ultimate:

Ascended Wrath (R) – Xerath immobilizes himself and disables his basic spells, but granting him the ability to fire super-long range aoe barrages at the target location every 0.5 sec. During this effect, Xerath gains 25-30% damage reduction and is immune to displacement effects Lasts for 6-8 sec or until cancelled.

Currently roughly the same range as Zigg’s ultimate.

Xerath’s Q, W and E are all now around ~1000 range, except Q which can be charged-up to 1550 range.

By focusing what Xerath can do to a concentrated point in time, it gives both Xerath and opponents a clear indication of how good a job Xerath is doing and gives them the opportunity to blow cooldowns to escape it.



What about his damage reduction? Is that still there?


XelnathButton Rioter Xelnath: We removed it previously. What we discovered is that “stray” skillshots would constantly penalize Xerath’s immobilization to the point where he could no longer participate in team fights. This lead to some amount of survivability to be justified. It may not last, but we’ve yet to see a situation where an assassin who closes on Xerath doesn’t finish him off.

This just lets Xerath finish more of his payload before exploding.



How much damage will his new ultimate deal?


XelnathButton Rioter Xelnath: Numbers are the last thing you should fret over at this point, but in the last playtest, a champion who was locked down and couldn’t move for the entire duration took ~1000 damage from the ultimate at max rank.




How about making his spells supercharged during his ultimate, like Ryze?


XelnathButton Rioter Xelnath: We tried that, iteration C. The result was that either you need to be able to constantly cast spells (making him the area control mage from hell) or you get bored being immobilized for the duration. The result was that Xerath protecting a point made the game stagnate for too long and denied too many opportunities for his opponents.



Does the new ultimate provide bonus range only for auto attacks?


XelnathButton Rioter Xelnath: You are still immobilized and gain a large amount of range, but only on one type of specific mortar-style attack.




How long does it take to charge the new Arcanopulse ( Q ) for maximum range?


XelnathButton Rioter Xelnath: I think its 1.5 sec to total charge-up.





Follow-up: How big is the AoE?


XelnathButton Rioter Xelnath: 200 unit radius seems to feel right. That’s about the same size as a Karthas Q.





Why should he become immobilized?


XelnathButton Rioter Xelnath: In many ways, this play pattern is actually *more* like traditional Xerath. Except instead of dropping 3 undodgeable boulders, you fire a stream of precision rockets.

This in general has felt healthier and let Xerath be more powerful and focused.



How does the new Xerath feel in terms of damage? Sustained DPS, nuker, long-ranged poker?


XelnathButton Rioter Xelnath: He’s a blend of all three. Less bursty than on live, but still quite powerful.





Yes, abs were referenced as “sexy” to avoid the question.