Posts Tagged ‘balance’


News Update August 25 Banner



Meddler hosted a Q&A on the forums, talking about the process of designing new Champions, balancing current ones, wacky mechanics the team is considering, taking player suggestions into account, balancing numbers on new Champions and lots more. Over on Reddit and forums, Developer Relations Manager Sargonas issued Riot’s stance on “scraping”, or using spoofed LoL clients instead of Riot’s designated API service to mine data about Summoner accounts.

TL;DR in featured comments.


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Want to know what to expect in Patch 4.15? Here’s a list:





QA on Game Design Banner


Meddler Q&A Summary






How is Sion’s rework coming along

Meddler New PortraitI’ll leave sharing timelines/details up to the Sion team, don’t want to spoil any of their plans. Can say that it’s coming along really well though, overall a pretty different kit but with some familiar elements.

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Will Ezreal’s W be changed into something more interesting

Meddler New Portrait Agreed, Ezreal’s W is the least interesting and least satisfying part of his kit. We’re certainly open to improving it, though would want to do so in a way that didn’t remove an intended weakness or just straight out overpower his kit (hence the removal of the old attack speed slow for example – strong duelist against other marksmen’s not a core part of Ezreal’s intended identity.).

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balance banner



How do you feel about a Champion’s damage being tied to a single spell

Meddler New PortraitTying too much of a champion’s damage up in a single spell can lead to some power curve problems (Zilean for example bullies incredibly hard early while he’s maxing Q and then falls off unsatisfyingly hard). Having said that though having high damage on a basic ability isn’t necessarily problematic in my eyes – not every character needs to be three damaging abilities plus a high damage ult, even if they’re played in a damage role, and non damaging abilities can open up a lot of gameplay space (e.g. Anivia’s wall). Are there particular problems you see with such abilities?

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At what point do you say

Meddler New PortraitOur goal with signature abilities is to distinctive skills that are situationally extremely powerful (if used right) but not universally overwhelming. Something we’re working on at the moment is making our champion roster, both new and existing champions, more distinct where possible, and putting power into iconic abilities tends to be a great way to do that. Having said that there are still a lot of general design principles it’s important to follow despite that.

Counterplay’s one of the big ones, and somewhere Vi’s ult, cool skill though it is, is a bit narrow (counterplay’s too dependent on the skillset of the target, abilities are usually healthier where there are some accessible universal counterplay options).

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How do you calculate the base damage for new Champions

Meddler New PortraitA champion’s initial damage numbers in early testing are usually just a rough estimate based off somewhat similar abilities (e.g. if creating a single target click to hit ability a designer might look at Annie’s Q as a starting point). Early prototyping’s not focused on numbers much though, it’s the concepts of what the skills might do (is this fun, interesting a good thematic fit for the character, adding some new to the game etc) that we focus on. As a result numbers just need to be balanced enough to give useful testing on that stuff/not heavily distort the test for other test points.

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How do you decide the cutoff point between base vs scaling damage

Meddler New PortraitBase versus scaling damage depends on how item dependent a champion should be, how snowbally or not they should be, at which phase in the game they should get their damage, how strongly we feel certain builds should be incentivized etc.

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Are there any champions that you want to see being played more and less

Meddler New PortraitWe’d like to see a greater variety of champions played and a lot of our changes in patches 4.13 and 4.14 were focused on bringing down picks that were too dominant or adding some power to champions that were close but not quite there. Our goal’s not to have all champions played equally though. Some champs are always going to be more or less popular than others of equivalent power depending on how broad or niche their themes are and that’s not a problem.

We would like to see a greater variety of jungle picks, tanks in particular, our current thinking is that that’ll need some changes to the jungle itself, not just individual champions though – need to create more ways for different jungle strengths to matter.

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Game Design Banner



What was your intended vision for Gnar

Meddler New PortraitA transformation you had only limited control over was the core starting point for Gnar, with that then allowing each form to have really distinct strengths (since you couldn’t swap back and forth as needed). Goal was to offer a really distinct play experience, both for the Gnar player and for all other players in the game (whether working with Gnar or fighting against him). That sort of distinctness is something we’re focusing on a lot more with new champions now than we have in the past.

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Follow Up

Meddler New PortraitWhen coming up with a new champion we’ll start by looking at what our goals are. With Gnar for example we wanted to explore both a classic man/monster contrast (Jekyll/Hyde, Banner/Hulk etc), add a different take on a playful personality and investigate how a young child might be able to survive in a dangerous world.


We don’t have firm quotas, but do want to offer a range of champions to appeal to a variety of players (so variety in theme, role, gender, age, mindset, appearance, difficulty etc). Sometimes that’ll mean we make concepts with broad appeal (dual gun weilding fighter of the undead on a quest for vengeance), sometimes ideas that are more niche (highly intelligent tentacle monster researcher scout).

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Can role combinations like Urgot’s Marksman

Meddler New PortraitAt the end of the day the role tags are there as general indications of what you can expect from a champion, not as perfect descriptors of what they’ll be or limiters of what they should be allowed to be. For some champs, Urgot being a good example, they’re only going to be somewhat accurate as a result. Marksman/tank for example implies some pretty contradictory things – squishy to protect versus front line initiator or fight controller, builder of primarily offensive items versus primarily defensive items, high value squishy target to kill if you can versus hard to kill target to kill if you must etc.

It’s possible that that combination of tags may still be the best shorthand to describe a champion though, the overall message being more important than the details. Also as a side note Urgot should probably be a marksman/fighter rather than marksman/tank.

In terms of design space there there’s definitely a lot to explore. Support/assassin is one I feel’s got a lot of potential in particular – imagine a character with an assassin like play style (squishy, active defensives instead of toughness, flanks the enemy) who, after going in, grants various team utility effects, rather than trying to explode a single enemy. Lot of problems you’d need to solve, but lot of potential for a really different, fun, interesting experience too.

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What was the thought process behind designing Yasuo

Meddler New PortraitWe wanted to explore the samurai archtype with Yasuo, but didn’t just want to do the classic swordmaster thing by itself. Control over the wind was something the Yasuo pod (a group of developers working on a project) hit on pretty early, which resonated well both with the themes we were going for (wanderer, speed, power) and with the way the art was going.


Double crit chance was identified as a way to offer a melee champion a needed steroid while also changing up how the character thought about itemization a bit (Yasuo’s early item choices are very different than they’d be if he had a +AD steroid for example, which leads to a different set of choices and experiences than on other champions).

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Follow Up

Do you regret giving him double crit chance

Meddler New PortraitIt’s not a mechanic we regret. As above it does useful things for his playstyle, plus it also gives him a consistent, rather than random crit based, damage output late game, which has some advantages (and some disadvantages). I can understand it being a target for concerns about Yasuo being OP, if there’s an issue we should be fixing there though I feel there are better levers to use on Yasuo than removing that part of his passive.

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How do you decide what part of a Champion’s kit is committed to one role

Meddler New PortraitFirst we do goal setting at the champion level. That means we’ll start by identifying what the intended role of the champion is – what do they bring to the game that’s new, what are their strengths and weakness etc. From there we’ll then break that down to figure out what tools they’ll need. If for example one of the goals is ‘this champion is consistently hard to kill, protective of others’ then we’ll look at skills that offer non item reliant tankiness and defensive team utility.

One thing that’s important to watch for though is that you’re giving a champion just the tools they need, not all the tools they want (which leads to kits with no clear weaknesses, an issue we’ve run into at times).

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Are you considering a Sand Mage concept for a Champion

Meddler New PortraitWe took a swing at a sand mage concept a couple of years ago but weren’t happy with the results and put him on hold as a result. That was with the intention of returning to him someday though to see if there was a different take on the idea that might work out better. Fingers crossed that’s something we’ll have success with at some point, it’s a cool space to work in.

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Have you considered adding player suggestions to Champions

Meddler New PortraitIdeas aren’t the hard part of champion creation, figuring out how to make those ideas work, testing, rejecting, replacing, polishing, aligning with other parts of the process (visual goals, intended storytelling opportunities) etc are. For the average champion only one, or rarely two things, from the initial kit created on paper, survive to the final released kit, and even then generally in heavily modified form. Just directly implementing someone’s idea isn’t a practical approach as a result unfortunately.

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Will you do a flight mechanic for a future Champion

Meddler New PortraitWe’ve explored what we were calling ‘true flight’ (to distinguish it from characters that appear to fly but are really just moving like any other) a bit. Personal feeling is that it’s an interesting ability provided it’s got sufficient downtime/chances for enemy counterplay, need to find the right concept and kit for it to go with though.

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How about a Champion with low damage but really high Attack Speed

Meddler New PortraitExtremely fast attack speeds with low damage scale incredibly well with on hit effects, meaning you have to balance with those effects in mind, whether that’s reducing on hit effects too or giving the character almost no damage otherwise. As a result you basically end up with an experience like normal auto attackers but harder to last hit with (low damage per hit) and kite with (more time spent auto attacking/less moving).

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Follow Up

Will you explore a

Meddler New PortraitIt’s not a direction I’d be very hopeful about. The ability to auto attack while moving’s incredibly powerful alone, add that to a character that would be an extreme hypercarry if that effective with items and you’re leaving the enemy with a very limited set of options. A dual shred passive like Kayle’s would then diminish those options further again.

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What reaction do you like to see when a champion comes out

Meddler New PortraitSome concepts are naturally going to have broad appeal, others niche, and that’s something we’re fine with. Generally though we’re looking to make characters that appeal deeply to some people, rather than characters that appeal a bit to almost everyone.

No strong preference between overtuned and undertuned release states, ideally we’d be hitting balanced, but some variation either way’s going to happen given it’s just not possible to balance beyond a certain degree using internal testing/PBE alone. Regardless a champion’s first couple of weeks especially are going to be more about people learning to play with/against a new champ, giving us some time to adjust their balance if needed.

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How early in the process does a champion have a role assigned

Meddler New PortraitRoles we’ll generally identify pretty early. It’s not uncommon for a champion to change roles during development though – if a concept works better as a support than a mage for example we’ll want to make the better version of course. Roles do serve as a useful starting point when looking at what sort of actions a champion could be expected to perform, tools they might need. what their visual appearance should communicate etc.

Position by contrast isn’t something we try to design for, though sometimes a champions goals will strongly guide them towards certain circumstances (e.g. ‘this champion does well in a lane against a single other opponent’ or ‘this champion is best utilized when playing with at least one ally’).

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What actually sparks the design of a Champion

Meddler New PortraitCharacters can start with a piece of concept art, an intended story or personality, a role we need to fill, an ability or kit etc, all of which have lead to successful champions in the past. Art’s been the most common starting point historically though.

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Do you browse through the forums for Champion suggestions

Meddler New PortraitI don’t browse the champion concepts section myself, can’t speak for other Rioters though. Have certainly seen some good suggestions for champions elsewhere though (such as the suggestion for a champion that controlled a mobile fireball that I believe influenced Orianna’s development back in the day).

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Is Ao Shin still in development
[ Context ] Ao Shin is an elemental dragon Champion who was teased by Riot awhile ago.

Meddler New PortraitAo Shin’s still a long way off, so nothing to report at the moment sorry.

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Others Banner



What courses do you feel are most important for a job at Riot

Meddler New PortraitDepends on the sort of design you’re interested in and the environment you’re working in. At Riot for example we’re usually after people with strong analytical and problem solving skills. Those can come from a range of backgrounds, though engineering and hard sciences are some of the most common. Some other companies by contrast place a much higher emphasis on designers also having a programming background or, depending on the genre of game, creative/writing experience. Is there a particular sort of game design you’re most interested in?

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Do you often run into technical limitations when designing Champions

Meddler New PortraitTech constraints are a regular part of the design process, though most of the time we’ll either find a way around them or get help from our software engineers to add the functionality we need. Yasuo’s windwall was indeed such a case, with an initial designer created version we used for testing that was sufficient to prove the concept (but incredibly server intensive and buggy) that got replaced with a properly coded alternative. A lot of the time though it’s smaller stuff as well. Kha’zix’s release was shifted around a bit for example because we needed to get some new tech for the Evolution UI.

More than happy to talk jungler diversity, though can’t guarantee I’ll be able to answer everything in detail.

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Riot on Scraping Banner



Riot’s stance on scraping

Sargonas New PortraitHey all, figured I would chime in here rather than make you have to dig around in our slightly more technical dev forums for some clarity! Forgive me if parts of this feel like a copy of some of the statements I’ve made there in part, but I’m trying to be consistent in what I say to avoid confusion.

First.. a little background for folks who are unfamiliar with some of the terminology in play:

Some third party League sites use a method called “scraping” to get data from our servers for use in their applications. Scraping uses spoofed LoL clients to grab data from things like Spectator Mode, account profiles, the store, and more. This results in tens of thousands (sometimes hundreds) of concurrent extraneous sessions on our platform.

Because of this, scraping can cause occasional stability issues, and it also increases the complexity and difficulty for Riot to detect and fix problems without first sorting through the “white noise” of these extraneous connections. 

Third party developers are aiming to provide League players with value and enhance the experience, which is awesome – and we’ve developed the Riot API (link) in order to help third parties do just that, without causing harm to the live service. Many sites that you know and love have already moved over to the API, but there are still some third parties that are actively scraping our live service today for a variety of reasons.

In the interest of protecting the League of Legends service for players, we’ve asked all third party developers to end the use of scraping by October 1st, 2014. In reality, this has always been our position (as stated in the API terms of use and other legal guidelines), but we’ve elected not to enforce them until we brought the API to where it’s at today.

We are not attempting to kill any sites with this.. It’s true that some technological shortcuts used by many sites can no longer be employed – You can’t put in a single player name and get a live dump of every player, champion and the associated team in one shot, for example. 

However the second step of the process, looking up those players individually by the API, still works the same way it always did. Industrious developers should have little trouble coming up with a different method for looking up the players on the opposing team to glean the same data.

We understand this will require some user experience tweaks to these sites and may possibly make the process less streamlined in some cases, but we feel this is an acceptable trade-off in return for the value provided to players in the form of better platform reliability.

Thought maybe I’d also add in, we just earlier today also announced that some of this desirable data obtained from scraping is already on it’s way to the API! Details are over on the PBE forums:…history-builds

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Does this mean LoLNexus will disappear

Sargonas New PortraitNot necessarily… if you go back through my previous post, I’ve gone over how it will affect these kinds of sites. The TL;DR is that no, it wont cause them to go dark, but simply change how we interact with them and may affect portions of the data made available.

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Follow Up

Sargonas New PortraitIt should have little impact on the majority of sites. Some, like LOLKing, have moved almost entirely over to an API powered system long ago. Others are in the process and use a bit of both. We are simply delivering on something we told them long ago would be coming, a deadline to only use the API to relieve strain on our systems. The majority of functionality you expect should still be there, but perhaps with tweaks to the overall user experience on how it’s handled.

The end result should be primarily the same. One of the biggest examples of lost functionality I can think of is the loss of knowing who is in a pre-made group in a game, which to be honest, is not information we feel should be had in the first place.

EDIT As to the spectating issue, this does not apply to the spectating and generation of replay files by They are welcome to keep this functionality for the time being and we hope one day to maybe even add this to the API to make it easier for all, possibly.

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Lolking is pretty notorious for how long it takes to update games that have already finished while sites like OP.GG are instantaneous. Is that a result of the API?


Sargonas New PortraitIt’s symptomatic of older tech we had in the API, yes. However we rolled out new portions in the last two weeks to greatly improve this… this is part of the reason we’ve moved forward with the long standing plan to enforce this existing policy finally.

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Will we be able to control whether our account info is leaked on these sites

Sargonas New PortraitI can’t speak deeply on this subject with a lot of knowledge on some of the finer points of the thinking behind it, but I can say the following, having been part of this discussion…

Our philosophy around player and match data lately has broken down into two categories… normals/customs and ranked. With normals and customs, that is “protected” data that should only be made available between friends. Normal games are where people try new things, experiment with builds, and just have fun. The player data behind that then of course should be kept between friends only and not aggregated publicly for analysis and consumption… only by the player in question for self growth and learning.

>With Ranked games, it’s a bit different. Ranked is highly competitive, where you are putting yourself out there in a high visibility environment. Just like how with traditional sports player stats are publicly available and scrutinized by them, other players, fans and analysts, the same should apply to the Ranked queues as well. While I don’t think it is likely we would be allowing to electively hide profile data, I’m not in a position to say that is definitely the case forever with any concrete stance.

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


Lunar Goddess Diana Banner


PBE Update

Meddler / Xelnath AMA

RiotBrokenSword – AMA

Single Posts

Champion/Skin Sale: 10.01 – 13.01



PBE Update





Cannon_BarrageCannon Barrage ( R )

  • Tooltip changed: now lasts 6 seconds, down from 7 (this is just a tooltip fix, not a nerf – the duration has always been 6 seconds)





MonsoonMonsoon ( R )

  • Now heals for 100/150/200 +0.6 AP per second for 3 seconds, increased from 70/100/150 + 0.35 AP per second over 4 seconds






  • Base HP reduced from 420 to 380
  • HP per level increased from 80 to 82


Flame_Chompers!Flame Chompers! ( E )  

  • Damage reduced from 100/150/200/250/300 to 80/135/190/245/300






  • All previous changes have been reverted, he is now back to live status






Caustic_SpittleCaustic Spittle ( Q )

  • Damage increased from 60/110/160/210/260 to  80/130/180/230/280





SavagerySavagery ( Q )

  • Now empowers Rengar’s next basic attack 2 two seconds, reduced from 6 (no more stab-stabby triple Q from stealth)






CutthroatCutthroat (  E  )

  • Now teleports Talon to the far side of his target, rather than always behind it



Lunar Goddess Diana

Lunar Goddess Diana Splash



Meddler / Xelnath AMA



Preseason / Season 4



Will we see more changes in S4, other than the ones from Preseason?


MeddlerButton Rioter Meddler: We do have some adjustments to some of the details of Leagues coming. I don’t believe we’ve discussed the specifics yet, should be doing so just before the soft reset that kicks off the new ranked season.

Rune changes are something we’re still investigating, no guaranteed changes yet (though we may try out some experimental stuff on the PBE at some point).

Blue trinket wise we’re currently happy leaving the trinkets unchanged for the next patch after buffing both blue and red in the previous patch (reduced CD on red, increased range and a reveal effect added to blue). Blue’s not a common pick at present, and is being watched as a result. A perfectly even split of usage between the three trinkets isn’t one of our goals though – yellow’s a good general pick, blue by contrast’s a more situational/champion dependent choice.



Can you tell us when the soft ladder reset will occur?


MeddlerButton Rioter Meddler: Apologies. Would if I could in a useful way, but patch release timing’s not my area of expertise and has enough moving parts there’s always risk of change until pretty close to release.




Anything you can tell us about the next Champion?


MeddlerButton Rioter Meddler: Nothing I can share at present about champion 118 timing sorry, we generally prefer not to talk details about a champion at all until pretty close to their PBE release.

We are definitely still planning to release a support champion in the early part of 2014, that hasn’t changed.



General Balance



Do you plan on revisiting the Defense Mastery tree?


MeddlerButton Rioter Meddler: The defense tree’s probably still too strong at the moment, we’ll be looking at that. Nerfs to Sunfire Cape and Spirit Visage in the upcoming patch will reduce the power of many of the champions benefiting the most from those masteries though (Mundo and Shyvana for example) and how heavy an impact that has is something we want to take into account when assessing said mastery tree.



Follow-up: If you nerf the Defense tree, will this allow you revert the changes to Sunfire Cape and Spirit Visage?


MeddlerButton Rioter Meddler: We feel the changes to Sunfire Cape (damage scales by character level, lower compared to the current values pre level 15) and Spirit Visage (10% CDR instead of 20%) are appropriate changes regardless of whether the current defensive masteries are or aren’t too strong.




Why are buffs so scarce?


MeddlerButton Rioter Meddler: Our goal when balancing in LoL is to keep the average power level the same. Only buffing leads to a situation known as power creep, where you end up in a constant cycle of buffing to catch up to the buffs you just added, making stable, balanced elements impossible. This extends not just to champions, but other game elements too.

For example, if we only ever buffed eventually we’d end up with champions across the board who just ignored towers throughout the game, as we kept adding power to all of them to catch up to whoever was the strongest. So, we’d have to buff towers. That would then leave minions unable to do much against towers and, since minion damage is meant to chip away at lanes, we’d have to buff minions. That would leave jungler monsters too weak relative to lane minions.. etc etc. Very much a simplified example, you get the idea though.

Efficiency’s also a secondary reason – if one champion out of 117 is far too strong why go through the disruption of buffing 116 rather than just bringing the one down to an appropriate level?



Do you think “utility scaling” made true supports preferrable to picks like Annie/Zyra?


MeddlerButton Rioter Meddler: I’d agree some traditional supports are a bit weak and that the utility scaling ratios probably aren’t offering enough to make AP attractive versus utility items (Mikael’s, Talisman of Ascension etc). Will chat to the live balance team about their thoughts on that and get back to you.



Will you balance support items?


MeddlerButton Rioter Meddler: The Live Balance folks are looking into that at the moment. Definitely won’t be changed in the next patch, support item balance is something we’d like to try and tune in the early part of the year though.




Do you still plan on changing minion spawn timers?


MeddlerButton Rioter Meddler: Still planning to. The idea we had was to do a Dominion style enclosure at the shop as well, to put those slower loading into the game on even footing, and then give everyone a homeguard style buff to get out into the map around the time they previously would have. That tested well so now we’re looking at getting the art assets that would need.



Why did you nerf the CDR on Spirit Visage?


MeddlerButton Rioter Meddler: Two things. First off is that Spirit Visage offered such an attractive package of effects that it became a must buy on a lot of champions, while at the same time removing a lot of the play around CDR. Ideally cooldown reduction versus other stats should be a choice – do I want more casts or stronger casts/stronger auto attacks/defensive stats etc? How much that trade off exists/matters is also designed to vary between the different roles (e.g. mages are intended to get easier access to CDR generally than bruisers, in part because they’ve got much less to do while their abilities are down).

The second thing’s simply cost versus power. Lot of attractive stats, especially when bundled together, for that price. On those grounds we felt removing some power was needed. The regen/healing boost’s the distinctive part of the item, so we wanted to leave that untouched, and the health/MR support that since they help you live long enough to actually benefit from non instant healing/regen effects. Between that and the above point the CDR was the thing we felt should be changed.



Why do you want to rework Sion?


MeddlerButton Rioter Meddler: The AP build’s the biggest issue. It really only utilizes around a couple of skills, one of which removes most of the counterplay from the other and it fails to deliver on Sion’s thematics (giant hulking undead warrior with a brutal axe). Combine that with a passive that lacks gameplay, an ult that often doesn’t deliver a high moment and has readability issues (who’s getting the heal? How close would they need to be to get it? Was my ult really just an AS/LS steroid?) and is too binary r.e. its effectivness, without appropriate skilled play on the Sion player’s part, and there’s a lot of stuff we’d like to fix/potential to make Sion a more cohesive, distinct champion.



Will we see more changes to Summoner spells?


MeddlerButton Rioter Meddler: We’re testing a revised set of changes at the moment. Initial changes showed some promise, but also had some issues hence they weren’t part of the Preseason changes. Not yet clear if our newest revisions will hit the mark (so definitely no changes in the next patch at least).



Doesn’t nerfing what’s FotM just bring up new dominant picks?


MeddlerButton Rioter Meddler: Nerfing a currently dominant pick down to a more balanced spot may reveal other other powered cases, agreed. Identifying those and looking to address is definitely valuable, uncertainty as to the exact nature of the future top tier isn’t reason to leave problems unaddressed though. I’d argue instead it makes a good case for prioritizing monitoring the effects of a change and following up if needed (changes to other champions, reverting the prior changes, compensatory buffs/nerfs if the changes were good but offset balance too much etc).

Regarding unchanged champions becoming overpowered or perceived as overpowered there are some other factors to take into account. Champions are balanced given a set of assumptions about the rest of the game (e.g. available items, masteries, amount of gold they can feasibly earn in the roles they fill etc). If those factors change then a champion’s numbers/mechanics, that were balanced for a previous environment, may no longer be appropriate. If the changed factor is a good one for the game overall that means balancing to account for said factor. E.g. If, as a hypothetical example, we identified it was best to remove Grevious Wounds from the game then it would probably be necessary to nerf some champions with strong healing effects who are currently kept balanced by Grevious Wounds.



Why is healing problematic to solve?


MeddlerButton Rioter Meddler: Highly recommend reading through this thread:…7#post41405177 and, if you can find them, some of Morello’s previous posts on the issues with dedicated healers and competitive PVP games. Lot of good discussion with both a LoL and broader context. In LoL specifically healing’s most problematic generally in lane, where it can remove the incentive to engage with the enemy unless you can win outright. As a result a lot of the healing/sustain mechanics we use require some degree of combat or are more effective in combat (e.g. Nami’s heal if bounced off an enemy, lifesteal type effects etc).



Champion-specific Balance



Will you buff Soraka so she becomes competitive to other supports?


MeddlerButton Rioter Meddler: Nothing in the immediate future at least. She has some pretty negative effects on the laning experience when she’s really strong, so she’s not a champion we’d be happy seeing as a dominant, picked all the time support. Not impossible that she’ll get some small buffs at some point, we don’t feel she’s grossly underpowered though.

Soraka is a candidate for some bigger changes at some point (rework or mini rework). There are a number of other reworks, ranging from the small (upcoming Skarner changes) to the huge (Sion changes it’s still too early to talk in detail about and will be for a while) that we’ll be looking at first though.



Is Ashe outclassed by other AD carries?


MeddlerButton Rioter Meddler: First thing here: Is Ashe’s damage too low? Certainly, her damage output overall is low for an ADC. She does bring more utility than any other however so that’s appropriate. If, for argument’s sake, her damage output is too low bearing that in mind, is base stats the place to give her more damage or would spell rank ups or ratios be a better choice? Ratios give more effect from items purchased, spell rank ups offer power in a discrete moment that’s both easier to appreciate and generally offers more opportunities for gameplay/expression of skill. Overall we feel her power’s in a pretty good spot at the moment, so if we did want to add damage that would involve looking elsewhere on the kit to compensate for that added power.

“Why does Ashe, who’s the only ADC with no mobility at 325 MS and who’s being outclassed in range more and more, have 325 MS when more and more champs get released with gap closers?”

Here I’d have to disagree that Ashe is getting outclassed in range more and more. From beta onwards she’s been one of the highest auto attack range champions, but not the highest, with strong poke, with decent but not the longest range, with a light CC attached that’s easy to hit with plus a global hard CC ult. Her lack of mobility and movement speed reflects the amount of utility she brings and that she can contribute meaningfully from a fair distance, without being especially item dependent.

Certainly, Ashe does suffer, if not peeled for, against champions with strong engage (bruisers/assassins especially), so she’s not a pick all the time champion. She’s also not a good choice if you need a high damage ADC. She brings a distinct set of skills, is a favored pick by some competitive teams but not all, goes well with some team comps but not all, and moves in and out of favor somewhat based off which other champions are currently popular. On those grounds I’d argue she’s actually a fairly good example of how a champion should be to give an interesting and diverse champion pool. I can’t speak with any expertise as to her exact stats/power at present, the live balance guys are much more informed on that side of things than I am, I do feel her core design’s reasonably solid however (though permaslow does create a few fighter health issues).



Do you still plan on reworking Zilean?


MeddlerButton Rioter Meddler: Zilean wise, yes, we’ll likely do some work on him at some point. Biggest focus of that will actually be ‘Can we do more with time mage as a concept?’ For example, is there more opportunity for a skill that’s time mage specific, and really thematic, than just ‘speed up an ally/slow down an enemy’? It’s a decent feeling skill that allows some cool plays certainly, but we feel we may be missing out on some opportunities to do cool stuff that wouldn’t fit on other champion’s themes. No specific plans yet, we’ll certainly start chatting about direction once we’ve got something a bit more concrete, not just high level goals.

Some gameplay issues to consider as well too e.g. early bomb spam frustration given lack of counterplay, exacerbated by the fact he gets all or most of his rank up damage during the laning phase, itself something it might or might not be appropriate to change.



What’re your plans for Kog’Maw’s Q?


MeddlerButton Rioter Meddler: We’ve just started testing a change that makes Kog’s Q a skillshot, with much longer range than the current version, at the moment. The theory’s that synching up his spell ranges a bit more should help make the Q a more natural feeling part of his play consistently. It’s something I think has a lot of promise on paper, haven’t had a chance to play it yet/against it in lane myself though, so can’t offer any thoughts beyond the theoretical on it yet though.



Anything you want to change about Galio?


MeddlerButton Rioter Meddler: Nothing in the short term, another champion on the list for the moderate future (whether you’d call the changes balance or mini rework not sure yet).




Top lane



Progress on the fighter project CertainlyT was talking about?


MeddlerButton Rioter Meddler: All good, happy to chat!

The fighter project turned out to be a much bigger undertaking than we’d initially thought, particularly as we found additional opportunities as we investigated the problems we’d already identified. It’s still work we want to do, not necessarily trying to solve so many things in one go though (top lane game health changes will likely be somewhat decoupled from mid/late game fighter niche changes for example).



Will the top lane changes come in a single patch?


MeddlerButton Rioter Meddler: The fighter project, which we’d originally talked about as a single set of changes that came out at the start of the year before the season started, will most likely instead be a series of changes over the course of the season.




What’s problematic about top lane – systems you have in place or specific Champion picks?


MeddlerButton Rioter Meddler: That’s a topic we’ve been discussing a lot and, I’d imagine, have a lot more analysis still to do on. Gut reaction is it’ll probably be a mixture of a few reworks, some shifting of power on specific champs from early game to late/vice versa, possibly some item changes, a summoner spell tweak or two etc.



Future concepts / development



Any concepts you wish to explore?


MeddlerButton Rioter Meddler: Concepts to explore – yeah, zone control’s got a bunch of untapped potential, I’m pretty convinced casting from offset locations (Lulu’s Pix/Zed’s Shadows) also has a bunch more that could be done with it, some of which overlaps with zone control. Clickable objects like Thresh lantern offer some interesting opportunities too, though wouldn’t want to overuse them.

Would also love the chance to play around with some more global/semi global effects at some point, see if we can solve some of the issues things like Shen’s ult create, while still offering that sort of experience and the reward for global map awareness like that.



RiotBrokenSword AMA


RiotBrokenSword Button Rioter RiotBrokenSword: Hello, my dear friends of EUW,

I wish you a late happy holidays, and new year. I hope you all partied responsibly hard.

In an effort to plead your forgiveness of my recent absence, I wanted to hold a 1 Hour long Q&A session. I did a 20 questions thing before that was fun, but it forced me to leave a lot of people out.

It’s 10:16am for me in Los Angeles right now, and I’ll answer as much as I can until 11:30, as I have a quick 15 minutes meeting at 11.

I now open the floodgates to your thoughts.






When are you going to release Ao Shin?


RiotBrokenSwordButton Rioter RiotBrokenSword: Ao Shin is very, very far down the road. Probably not even this year. There was a lot we learned about him after we introduced his concept art. His concept at a character has changed dramatically, but much for the better. It will take a while to develop an excellent kit that matches his lore.



When does Season 4 start?


RiotBrokenSwordButton Rioter RiotBrokenSword: I think a little over a month from now. I don’t have an exact date. It depends half on our strategic timing, and ability to have the Season 2014* (that’s what we’re calling it now) code ready and stable.




What plans do you have for improving the forum interface?


RiotBrokenSwordButton Rioter RiotBrokenSword: Yeah, we’re in the process of rolling out something new. You can see the beta version here:

It looks like it’s only built for NA, while it’s still in its infancy. Make an account and try out some of the new features, then send us your feedback. We always love hearing it.



How far along are you with the development of the teambuilder feature?


RiotBrokenSwordButton Rioter RiotBrokenSword: My friends are building that, but it’s very far. So close! I’m so excited for it to hit PBE full-time, which isn’t far off at all. Game changer…





Will we ever get the original Magma Chamber?


RiotBrokenSwordButton Rioter RiotBrokenSword: We’re still figuring that one out… There’s a lot of internal debate. I think we’ll analyze the success, or lack thereof, of Showdown to help lead us to determine whether or not it’s something we want to support. Many of us do, but the arguments against it are very strong.






If I were interested in a job at Riot as a UK resident, would I have to move to Dublin?


RiotBrokenSwordButton Rioter RiotBrokenSword: Yes, or Germany. We just opened an office in Cologne.…-games-cologne

Or you could move anywhere else in the world that we have an office and open positions.



Is Riot dropping support in South Africa or are the mobile payment issues there simply a bug?


RiotBrokenSwordButton Rioter RiotBrokenSword: I’m not sure. I haven’t been involved with Payments for months. Can you give me more background of the situation? Maybe add me on League so we don’t have to involve others in the conversation.




What does your team do for Riot?


RiotBrokenSwordButton Rioter RiotBrokenSword: I’m in Production, AKA Product Management. What I’m doing at Riot is leading that’s building toward a better PvP.Net client experience. Our work is most invisible, as my team’s domain is in the Platform, which controls most of the global information sent between your client and another.

Our contributions are in a rebuilt Champ Trades system (for Ranked, Normal Draft, and ARAMs), and a various Champ Select improvements.

We’re currently rebuilding the Game Invitations system. That should come out in two patches from now. I’ll announce it to get your feedback on it. You’ll now be able to transfer ownership of a game to someone, similar to giving them an invite privilege. That will be make them “Captain” of that game, putting them in the position to make the picks and bans.

That’s one of many new additions. I’ll explain the rest in the announcement.






Why is Kassadin still not nerfed?


RiotBrokenSwordButton Rioter RiotBrokenSword: I would guess that it’s because he lives on a very fine balance, where if you nerf him a little, he’s awful, and if you buff him at all, he’s godlike. I don’t know for certain, but if I were a designer, I wouldn’t know how best to nerf him yet.



Personal / Funny



If you were stuck on a desert island with Ymir and Draggles, which one would you eat first?


Riot DragglesButton Rioter Riot Draggles: MUTINY!




RiotBrokenSwordButton Rioter RiotBrokenSword: I would eventually eat them both, but I’d start with Draggles. Because I haven’t met them yet, I wouldn’t have as much guilt, if any.




How cold is it there?


RiotBrokenSwordButton Rioter RiotBrokenSword: Where I am, in Santa Monica, it’s a pleasant 65 degrees, Fahrenheit. Beach weather, essentially. Where my engineers are, in the midwest, it’s about -40F.

People have been warned that if they go outside, their skin and eyes will freeze. Horrific (but kind of cool to imagine).



Can you guys make a Ketchup Fiddlesticks skin?


RiotBrokenSwordButton Rioter RiotBrokenSword: Like French Fries covered in Ketchup? Or just strings of tomato paste?





Do you enjoy French cuisine ?


RiotBrokenSwordButton Rioter RiotBrokenSword: I have very limited knowledge of French cuisine, but I really love French Fries, and French Toast. The french rock with potatoes and bread.

( More seriously, I have an addiction to Cheese Boards – Brie and prosciutto till the day I day.)



Why is your avatar Maokai, when your name says Riven?


RiotBrokenSwordButton Rioter RiotBrokenSword: I almost regret giving myself this name, in this game lol. My name comes from the Jet Li movie, Hero, which has a character I admired, named BrokenSword. He was the lover of Sky, and master calligrapher.




Do you have an evil cousin named Blizzard RepairedAxe?


RiotBrokenSwordButton Rioter RiotBrokenSword: Yes. They’re a much older, more experienced, very talented cousin, whom I really admire.






Single Posts



Email Verification  – Protect your account, get 4-win IP Boost


Button Rioter veruco:  We just released email verification onto North America today. Oceania, Brasil, and Turkey have had it enabled as well. We’re planning to release this onto EUW, EUNE, and Russia over the next few days. Latin America South and North should have it enabled by mid next week. 🙂

Verifying your email will help you have better control of your account as we continue to release new features (like SMS protection on PBE). Currently, if you verify your email, you’ll be able to authorize any account credential changes from your verified email. This should help prevent account theft as the thief would need to know your verified email address’ credentials in order to make changes to your account.

We wanted to give everyone who does this a 4-win IP boost as a thank you for taking the extra step to secure their account 🙂



Clarifying LCS rules – why Lemondogs didn’t make it


Button Rioter RiotNickAllen: Summoners,

We wanted to update you on two situations that have created confusion and speculation in the community: the Lemondogs roster for the 2014 EU LCS Spring Split and our rules regarding acquiring LCS team spots and bringing on new players.

With respect to Lemondogs’ participation in the 2014 Spring Split, we have attempted to work with Lemondogs management over the last few weeks to get the documents and information – such as a verified roster – required by every team that participates in the LCS. Unlike the other teams, Lemondogs failed to identify a valid roster to us, and as a result, have been given a final deadline of 11:59pm CET on January 8th, or they will face removal from the LCS. If they fail to meet this deadline, we will hold a qualifier for the open 8th LCS spot with the three teams that lost in the Promotion matches (Ninjas in Pyjamas, Meet Your Makers, and Supa Hot Crew), pending those teams’ ability to submit a valid roster that contains 3/5s of the lineup that played during Promotions.

Additionally, many of you have been discussing the rumors surrounding Lemondogs’ potential roster and rumored sale, so we’d like to clarify our philosophy on how teams enter the league. We created the Promotion mechanism to ensure that the best teams are represented in the LCS. While we want to preserve a lot of the rights of those teams (such as the freedom to change their roster in order to field the best team possible, or selling to a new, passionate owner), we don’t want to let those rights marginalize the competitive integrity inherent in the Promotion mechanism.

As we’ve examined our rules, we realized that they do not completely match our intent. Below are a set of rules that we’re adding to the LCS rulebook in order to prevent teams who failed to qualify for the LCS from buying their way in; a situation we saw as quite likely and one that we believe is contrary to your interests as fans of the LCS.

Here are the rules that we are adding to the LCS rulebook, and why we think they are necessary:

    • In section 3.1: No Team Member on a team who played in either LCS region and/or any aspect of the Challenger Series (including play-in) may purchase or otherwise attempt to own/control an LCS team without a complete Split having taken place since their last point of participation in the LCS or Challenger Series.

Rationale: Per the philosophy above, we do not want to marginalize a team’s efforts and successes in the Promotion matches simply because another owner has deep pockets and wants to buy back into the LCS.

    • In section 3.1: Changes in Ownership may only occur between Splits, meaning after the most recent Playoffs and Promotion Matches but before the start of the following Split.

Rationale: We think that mid-Split ownership changes are confusing to fans and not beneficial to the Players, so we want to limit those changes to the All Star break or the offseason.

    • In section 3.2: No team may have on their roster more than two players at a time from any single starting lineup of a different team that played in either region of the LCS and/or any aspect of the Challenger Series (including play-in) in the last two completed Splits.

Rationale: While we want to preserve the ability of teams to pick up new players and change their roster, we do not want them to pick up entire existent lineups and essentially drop in a new team (and we consider a team to be 3/5 or more of the starters). This will prevent teams who lose in the Promotion matches from being picked up in their majority or entirety. Taken in conjunction with the restriction on owners’ ability to purchase a team, this rule should prevent immediate buybacks in their entirety.

    • In section 4.2.1: Per Section 3.2, no team may trade for more than 2 players of another LCS team.

Rationale: Just a clarification based on the updated rule in Section 3.2.



Champion/Skin Sale: 10.01 – 13.01


sale january 13




  • Blitzcrank – 395 RP
  • Galio – 440 RP
  • Rengar – 487 RP






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In the first part of this article, I talked about how there is a Three-Talon Strike on balancing champions: kit, thematics and numbers. While reading about the reasoning and explanation behind the trio, it is often a lot more useful to pull in some examples to help flesh out these phenomena. Let’s get out of the kiddie pool and jump right into some examples.


A character’s theme and overall “feel” play a lot into their power levels. It might seem that deviating from the theme wouldn’t really matter as long as you learned the character, but the most successful champions are an avatar of their theme. When the character nails theme, the player feels empowered and the perceived strength and viability increases. So who has nailed their theme and who has missed the mark?


Thresh smashed theme out of the park. He is a recent character, so the thematics will of course be a lot more in line. But his theme is a heavy control jailer/tormentor and he does it extremely well. His passive collects the souls of the dead in order to strengthen himself. He has a hook ability that drags people into the depths and can also bring ‘death’ himself to you. His lantern acts as a ferry and guiding light to souls, whether it be collecting those fallen or aiding those about to fall. He can either push you back or pull you in with his chains, again controlling whatever you do. His ultimate, the box, is the icing on the cake. Not only does it reference jail or solitary confinement, but it traps your enemies and punishes them severely (damage and MS slow) for leaving the box. Because of his thematics, Thresh has an amazing feel to him that a player can really get into. You may not be doing amazingly, but at least it feels totally awesome.


Sejuani’s recent rework addressed these issues, but let’s take the ones she used to have. Sejuani was an ambitious character that lacked focus and didn’t really feel great because of it. They tried to make a mounted character, a female barbarian and a vicious Freljord leader. Her lines and voice made her come off like a very serious leader… wearing a metal bikini. I get a certain immunity to frost, but metal bikini discredits taking her seriously as a commander. For the barbarian portion, there’s the flail. It was another source of confusion, somewhat like Mordekaiser, in that she had this giant ice flail that can freeze/stun several enemies when thrown but her auto attacks did next to nothing. Last but not least was her mount. She’s riding an animal larger than half the cast of the league and he had somehow less impact than Willump (Nunu’s Yeti), who at least gets to attack. At that point, why have a mounted character? The rework made her boar smash into things and knock them up. The flail now smashes down on enemies and is swung around her head menacingly. She’s clad in heavy leathers and armor, really driving home the “I’m a fearless leader ready to wreck some face.” Sejuani now feels strong and makes sense.


Sometimes a champion can be very thematically correct but their kit is too problematic to balance. The switch over to Season 3 has brought out a lot of champions with strong kits that weren’t an issue before, such as Xin Zhao. Kit changes are necessary when simply shifting numbers up and down doesn’t work out. The last article had some comments that brought up a few kit changes, let’s take a look at some examples.


Draven’s axes have an indicator of where you’ll end up. A lot of his DPS involves catching and using these axes, which is nearly impossible in a real teamfight. So with this skill cap, why does the indicator show where he’s going to end up? It might seem minor, but perhaps this is one of the things that kept him out of the highest levels of play for a long time. Does this add mind games in a “will I catch it or not” style? Or does it just create another obstacle in an already difficult course? If you were to change this part of his kit without number changes, would he be overpowered?


Jarvan’s main form of CC, the flag/spear (EQ) combo, is also his main form of damage, harassment and his escape mechanism. Lowering the cooldown on this creates the problem of infinite CC and being too safe, while raising it creates an issue of being near useless when it is not available. His mana costs and cooldowns were raised, making his combo too sparse and he dropped from play. The mana costs were changed and he popped up again. Resistances were nerfed and his popularity sky-rocketed, which was recently addressed with the removal of armor on his Demacian Standard. Even though he has a strong foothold in the game right now, raising the cooldown and/or mana on his combo would ruin him. Does the fact that his viability hinges on mana and cooldown costs on his combo indicate a flaw in the kit?


These are the easiest to see and change and only really require some balance testing. The examples for a number change are seen in every patch note, so I won’t go over them in detail. The important take-away from number tweaks is whether the kit and theme are working properly. A small number-change should not make someone flip the switch from bad to good, but should instead smooth out their power level.


Diana was a problem child and was then lobotomized with some number changes. Her kit is very unique and has proven not to be the issue when they slashed her numbers. While the tag team of range, damage and cooldown nerfs were not entirely necessary, the numbers removed a lot of her strength. Her kit isn’t inherently flawed because she has to make sacrifices to make herself strongest, in this case meaning she has to be in melee range to do her damage and CC. The shield and ultimate reset then become necessary for engaging and fighting enemies. When some of those values were restored, she smoothed out her power level and now fits nicely into the spot that was created for her.


Elise was released with a whimper and then became a power house. The season 3 changes to health stacking and having resistances increase in cost treated her well, so she had to be toned down. Her kit overall is absurd, and is borderline unable to be number balanced. She is a bruiser, mage, %health-dealing carry, support, top laner, with a humongous ranged stun, an escape mechanism, sustain and an execute. There are simply too many things she can do that make balancing her with only numbers incredibly hard. Do you reduce the rappel range? How about her base stats so she can’t jump in? Mana costs? %health scaling? And to top that off, a drop in any of those numbers to a bad state brings her from OP to support/unplayable.

Tuning a Champion

As you can see, there are many variables to play with when balancing a champion, not just the numbers. You have to take a look at their theme to make sure your frost archer isn’t hitting people with a flaming sword. Then you have to take a look at their kit to make sure that what they offer isn’t too amazing. Once you have those two ironed out, take a look at the numbers and tune them up and down accordingly. I provided a bunch of examples, but who do you think they got spot on and who did they really mess up with?

Categories: Original Content Tags: , ,

Latin America announcement


North and South Latin America servers announced, Morello discusses balance, design and his work in a massive thread and new Champion and Skin sale has begun – from April 26th to 29th!



Server split for Latin America soon!



loldecorationThe League of Legends Facebook page for Latin America has been updated with some exciting news – alpha testing for the North and South Latin America servers has begun! Aside from separate servers, the client will feature a Spanish translation and full voice-overs, which have already been featured on LoL’s soundcloud.

For those anxious to get on the servers, fear not! According to the infographic below, closed alpha testing will be followed by an open beta test! (“inscripciones abiertas” meaning “open enrollment”)


beta testing


Also, if you’ve ever wished to see Nika talk in Spanish, here’s a small teaser.



Reworks, balance and more!


Behold the Red Post legion, led by Morello. For easier readability I’ve split all of his posts into several sections – Champion Balance, General Balance Discussion, Game Design, Skins and Non-Related + Personal.



Champion Balance



Is Heimerdinger being reworked?


morellovatarRiotlink Button Morello: He is!





Are you planning on reworking Poppy?


morellovatarRiotlink Button Morello: Eventually. After Heimer, my prediction is Poppy is the “new Eve.”





Where do Ziggs and Skarner stand in Season 3, in your opinion?


morellovatarRiotlink Button Morello: Ziggs, I think, has fantastic laning and little reason to be on a team late-game. I’d like to look at the second half of that.

Skarner represents a fighter with a lack of good counter-play. I want to fix that comprehensively before buffing.



Any plans on buffing Talon?


Seems Khaz and Zed have placed the bar for AD Assassins WAY higher than where Talon stands now.


morellovatarRiotlink Button Morello: We’re taking a look. Not sure on the diagnosis the guys have on this yet though.





Warwick is struggling in Season 3


This guy has been needing help since the beginning of Season 2. Yes, you technically did help his speed but 30 seconds at the cost of half his total sustain wasn’t exactly a fair trade. He has the same problem as Shyvana where a lack of pre-6 CC making them a weak jungler and and bullied in lane.


morellovatarRiotlink Button Morello: WW does need help – we’re investigating what direction to go.





Wukong is weak pls buff!


morellovatarRiotlink Button Morello: I disagree – Wukong is really strong. His success rate is really high overall.





General Balance Discussion



How do you decide which champion to nerf?


How is that possible that champions after being barely touched (either nerfed/buffed) for years get nerfed quite hard and considered OP? How can you determine that it’s either just an outcry from people getting owned hard or it’s actually a considerable opinion?

The latest example for this is Lux.

Other can be the state of Morgana. I think she is not in a good spot at the moment. Can you tell us a little about your opinion on this?


morellovatarRiotlink Button Morello: I answered this in sole of the original threads;

Champion balance is relative. As such, it fluctuates based on factors that are not directly the champion themselves. If we nerf X, it’s possible that previously balanced character Y becomes too strong as a result.

The other answer is that one for of power creep people often don’t notice is player skill. As players become better, they learn and expose new power ceilings on champions. This may mean the champion was always OP, though no one knew how to get that potential out.



Do you believe in perfect balance?


Do you believe that there is actually a point of true balance in the game (or somewhere close to it), where you think “yes, I am satisfied with how all the champions are, and relate to each other”? Or is it a never-ending void that continuously complicates itself as the game evolves.

And in determining which champion needs balancing, is it solely based on numbers, win-rates and other data you have access to? Or does the community’s view play a huge part in it? (because my opinion is that, player’s biases can further push the balance process into trouble)

I am not criticising your methods, I really applaud your work as each tweak you do to the game must have a reason behind it even if a lot of people complain.


morellovatarRiotlink Button Morello: I don’t – I think that “perfect balance” doesn’t really exist in teamgames with the number of options in League, but I also think that’s OK. I prefer variety and how that fights against “staleness” as opposed to a perfect balanced state.


Community perception is an information point, but it rarely tells the whole story. It can cause us to question something under our radar, or approach the problems we fix with more information, but a million people asking for a nerf on a champion that’s balanced would not cause us to nerf it. Data trends and gameplay health analysis are bigger factors.



Will a new 6v6/10v10 map be released?


morellovatarRiotlink Button Morello: If I have my way, it won’t. I have some massive threads discussing this very topic in-depth!




And here are some of the threads I’ve found on this matter:

@Xypherous/Morello – Response to New Maps Post

Morello: ‘no 10v10 map on my watch’

Morello is against the idea of a new map  (probably the biggest and most expansive)

Check ’em out, both Morello and Xypherous present some clever arguments against creating a new map.



Late Game Magic Resist items are terrible!


It feels awful to buy Negatron Cloak upgrades at the moment. Sometimes I prefer to just sit on 2 Negatrons because Veil wastes stats on mana, and Catalyst is an awkward build path, the passive on SV feels wasted, QSS is pretty weak (MR-wise)for its slot if you can’t make use of the Scimitar, and Abyssal, well, it’s Abyssal. I dunno, maybe I’m not thinking about it right, but when I already get so much health out of buying armor items, and what I really need is MR, it feels like I’m being screwed by unnecessary stats. 

Randuin’s gives me 70 armor and 500 health as well as a very useful passive and active AND the build path feels great. Spirit Visage has a passive that can feel wasted, its build path is meh, and I get 50 MR and 200 in the slot from it. That feels really weak late game, when even as a tank I’m being torn apart like wet tissue due to what feels like low MR.

And Bulwark feels lackluster for personal MR because you also have to buy armor and health regen. And the jungler and support usually get it, so it doesn’t feel like an option for a top laner. 


morellovatarRiotlink Button Morello: I think MR is pretty “good,” but agree we’re not making it feel very cool or good, especially compared to armor. I think this is a good thing to look at, agreed!





What do you think of the Double Golem advantage?


Do you think the game would be better if double golems spawned at 1:45 or 1:50 to remedy purple side bot lane disadvantage/ Super crazy level 2 cheeses from powerful purple side earlygame top laners?
Or, alternatively, why don’t we lower the power differential between levels 1 and 2? it seems like so much of gameplay revolves around hitting level 2 first and snowballing the advantage, which might be more of a problem than the double golems advantage


morellovatarRiotlink Button Morello: I do. We’re experimenting on what that would mean if we did that.





Game Design



How do you feel towards linking champion sets with their lore?


morellovatarRiotlink Button Morello: We’re very concerned, though this is a non-objective look, and instead a statement that you dislike the direction of the new Trundle (and especially is driven by attachment of the original concept). That’s fine, but don’t turn “a cop pulled me over for speeding” into “cops are abusive tyrants who hate people.” 

Just look to Vi, Thresh or the Sejuani rework with a more objective eye, and I think our commitment is clear.



What’s your opinion on skillshot indicators? Are they easy to read?


I know that old Karma thread has been beaten to death but user Daeron07 had a nice idea including skill shot indicator changes (…86685&page=574)

This would add a lot of readability to users playing Karma, any thoughts?

Any thoughts on indicators in general; their usefulness, how to clean them up etc?

I am curious, from a design perspective what kept you from adding something like Urgots lock-on indicator much longer ago, or auto attack range indicators?

Is there ever a time when too much readability becomes a problem?


morellovatarRiotlink Button Morello: I love this stuff – skillshot indicators are an idea we want to get our hooks into more. The problem is the people who can do this kind of thing are really busy with other important things.
Readability is massively important, and is not as good as I want it to be in LoL.







New Skin Prices and Champion Priority when releasing Skins


morellovatarRiotlink Button Morello: I -think- it will allow for more skins as we don’t have to throw the kitchen sink at every skin now, but I’d have to check with the skins dudes specifically to be sure.

It’s a bit of black magic how we prioritize. We try to balance it out, but with things like events and differing difficulties/timelines on skins, this is really complex.



Non-related + Personal



Will future patches follow the Freljord example, i.e big on content, slow to release?


morellovatarRiotlink Button Morello: No, most patches will not, but we like these types of events!





Why do I lose 10 LP for dodging a promotion match?


morellovatarRiotlink Button Morello: Because we don’t want people dodging to prevent themselves from fighting powerful comps. Yegg and the team can speak more to this.





New Players are neglected on the forums!


Well I understand this isn’t exactly your department, I’m not sure Riot has anyone that’s responsible for my concern. Something thats been bugging me ever since I joined in July is the near total disregard of new players. While you guys have a excellent repertoire with the lvl 30 community, pre 30 Riot doesn’t acknowledge except once in a blue moon. Seriously I’m sure you can see how many Riots have posted in the New Player forums in the last year. Take a look.

This comes across almost as a hazing. On top of learning the basic game mechanics new players have to deal with toxic individuals who simply make new accounts and abuse actual newbies over and over. The new players have few options to voice concerns and there is no concrete proof that they are being heard.

Perhaps I’m seeing this as a larger issue then it is but how many accounts are abandoned pre 30? These are potential customers and I think having even 1 person spend a couple hours a week on the new player forums would prove to not only make new players feel they are being heard, but it could very easily translate to more paying customers and it would certainly be in line with Riots statement of being the “most customer orientated company in the industry” (I cant remember the exact phrase but you know what I mean.)


morellovatarRiotlink Button Morello: Agreed. This is not my area of expertise, but I think it’s something we really could use to improve. Smurfs, especially, make this really painful. I wish I had more information for you 





Are you working on a champion who wields a whip?


morellovatarRiotlink Button Morello: Not right now, but I do think we will visit this at somepoint.





How did you choose your online name?


morellovatarRiotlink Button Morello: Like many 18 year olds, I chose “Morello” as a character name in FFTactics after the lead guitarist for one of my favorite bands, Rage Against the Machine. It stuck really well even alllllll these years later 




Are you satisfied with how Zyra turned out?


morellovatarRiotlink Button Morello: I’m a little disappointed we weren’t bolder with her – some mistakes I made there. I love the character, but I think creatively especially, we could have been more “all-in” on the infestor concept than we were, and that flattened it out a bit.




How often do you get trolled by your coworkers?


morellovatarRiotlink Button Morello: Not as often as I’d expect. I’m disappointed!





Do you like the extra emotes added to your latest champions?


With Vi you included a lot of auto-emotes such as her blocking Cait’s shot, or ult-ing Jayce. Would you consider those additions to be successful towards what you guys were hoping for, and if so, do you see your design team adding more of those sort of interactions to existing champions?


morellovatarRiotlink Button Morello: I want to see more of these, yes. I think our fans love them, and they make our game more “alive.”





How have you changed during the course of working on League of Legends?


morellovatarRiotlink Button Morello: I think my values haven’t changed radically, but my priorities have changed with the games’ (and I’ve also learned more about how to accomplish them). A healthy game is still very important, but I think we, as a company, are better at balancing Game Health and fun more effectively. 2.5 years of working on League will definitely teach you a few things too.



Champion & Skin sale (26 – 29th April)


Starting April 26th, the following skins and champions will be available at a discount, for a limited time (three days):


sale 26 to 29



  • Ziggs – 6300 IP/487 RP
  • Leona – 4800 IP/440 RP
  • Wukong – 4800 IP/440 RP



  • Earthrune Skarner – 260 RP
  • Fiddle Me Timbers – 375 RP
  • Shurima Desert Zilean – 487 RP



Don’t keep calm, go nuts! Victory is achieved with passion!



The user Postal Twinkie brought up a suggested change to Akali on the forums, which lead to a good dialogue between Riot’s FeralPony and the community. Through this post a design philosophy surfaced that has some awesome implications and thoughts behind it. This will be a two-part article going over what the design philosophy is and then showing some examples, flaws and perks to this system.

This back-and-forth conversation brings up the three-talon strike of champion balancing: thematics, kit and numbers. These three are present in any champion and balancing requires multiple iterations until things are right. A flaw in character theme can be overlooked with a strong enough kit, but numbers cannot fix a bad kit. So what exactly are these three things?


The first thing to consider is a character’s theme and how their abilities relate to it. The theme ties directly into how a champion feels and should feel, given their appearance and background. In theory this makes sense. You would expect Vi, a champion based around punching with her gauntlets, to have moves focused on being a beat ’em up style punchasizer. You would not expect her to be summoning flaming space creatures at enemy champions.


Punchasize your face, for free.

A lot of the reworks on characters have been to address oversights in their thematics, as the only way to alter it is a rework. Thematics can be problematic, but not always. Nobody would see a spiked turtle (Rammus) and expect him to taunt things while creating an earthquake (Prehistoric Turtlesaurus didn’t), but this character miscommunication works because it ties into his other, predictable abilities.


The next stop on the way to balance-town is the character’s kit. There are reworks focused on kits, whether it is a small change such as removing armor from Lee Sin’s Safeguard or a full blown rework such as the Karma changes. A champion’s kit usually determines how hard they are to balance. Someone such as Lee Sin or Elise would be extremely hard to balance. You can’t simply look at numbers and adjust them; you have to see what impact each of those abilities has and isolate the instances where it is too strong or weak.


A lot of the double ability characters (Lee Sin, Elise, Nidalee, Jayce, etc.) are constantly played and fluctuate from “OP” to “playable”. Their kits are strong and offer a variety of options in play patterns while maintaining theme. Characters that drop off the face of the planet almost always have a kit that can be rendered useless by linear play and numbers. This can be seen in someone such as Volibear who’s play style is “run in and maul things.” This is very linear and he’s either able to maul things or gets exploded; there isn’t too much in between.


Numbers are the final stop. They’re the fine dials you can play with in order to tune a solid kit up or down without making sweeping changes. After enough number changes with no real improvement in perception, a champion will typically see a kit or thematic rework. This was the case with Katarina and Shen where the changes made didn’t really fix their core problems. Number changes are also what creates flavor-of-the-month style characters, as a buff or nerf in a cooldown, base damage, health, etc. can swing a character back in line.


Numbers matter too

While numbers can always make a character stronger or weaker, an inherent flaw in a kit cannot be fixed with numbers. Think of someone such as Sejuani in this instance. Her early game and tankiness could be changed by raising her base health, sustain and/or damage, but this creates the problem of her now being too strong in a best case scenario. Her kit either presses too much advantage with slows, AoE damage and stuns or falls flat on its face because she can’t take any damage in order to accomplish that.

Putting it together

We can see that problems in either thematics or kit can render number changes useless. There are constant complaints about champions going up and down in power level because simply tweaking numbers doesn’t work. The next part of this article will go over some problematic examples, the flaws and the perks of using this approach.

Until then, what examples can you find of a patch aiming at the wrong fix for a champion? What champions, like Akali, would be a lot more balanced with a simple (0.5 second cloaking removal) change? What champions would get better with a small kit change (minion pass through on Udyr’s Bear Stance) without a number alteration?



 Check out the changes coming to League of Legends! A video preview of some of the more major ones can be found here.



Balance Changes:




  • Twin Disciplines
    • Discipline of Force
      • Now takes effect immediately instead of requiring 19.5 Ability Power
      • Base spell vamp bonus reduced from 8% to 6%
    • Discipline of Might
      • Now takes effect immediately instead of requiring 9.5 Attack Damage
      • Base damage bonus reduced to 6% from 8%

As Akali players know, you needed a dedicated runepage to activate both passives. Riot removes this factor from the equation making Akali more accessible and, ultimately- more generic. Read these changes as a BUFF, because it does mean you can raise other stats with your runes and masteries now.


  • Glitterlance
    • When cast after Help, Pix!, Glitterlance no longer gains an increased area of effect size against the target of Help, Pix!
  • Whimsy
    • Whimsy no longer interrupts enemy movement abilities that are already in progress

The Whimsy change was a necessary one, its effects felt misplaced, much like Skarner’s Impale before the fix.



  • Nami’s basic attack should now feel more responsive
  • Base movement speed increased to 340 from 335




This will make Nami a much more potent harasser in lane, giving her that early game edge she was lacking. Doesn’t fix her mid and late game issues, however. Hopefully Nami will get more attention in future patches!



  • Siphoning Strike
    • Fixed a bug where Siphoning Strike critical strikes were dealing more damage than intended
    • Mana cost reduced to 20 at all ranks from 20/25/30/35/40
  • Fury of the Sands
    • Now increases attack range by 50 and cast range by 100 while active
    • Mana cost reduced to 100 from 150

    Probably the biggest winner of patch 3.02, Nasus has been massively overhauled. Siphoning Strike will now be much more accessible in the early stages, while the buffs to his ultimate are an amazing addition to his chasing potential. Being the hypercarry he is, these changes may backfire, but for now let’s enjoy seeing the big dog being viable once again.



  • Runic Blade
    • Adjusted damage to 15-45% of her total Attack Damage (based on champion level) from 5-15 (+0.5 bonus attack damage)
  • Broken Wings
    • Fixed a bug that was causing Broken Wings to improperly apply it’s splash damage if Valor was cast too recently

Riven was already nerfed heavily in previous updates so I don’t see this as being justified. It will reduce Riven’s laning dominance by quite a bit, but seeing as she needs it to get ahead of the enemy she may struggle against the top tier bruisers. One welcome factor here is that her passive will be more effective on tankier builds, as it now benefits from total damage.



Quality of Life changes & Bug Fixes:




  • Rebirth
    • Chat messages from Anivia will now have a custom champion name while she’s in egg form





  • Janna’s basic attack should now feel more responsive





JarvanIVSquareJarvan IV

  • Martial Cadence
    • Fixed a bug where Martial Cadence was dealing more damage than intended to minions and monsters




MasterYiSquareMaster Yi

  • Alpha Strike
    • Fixed a bug which caused Alpha Strike to appear available when it was on cooldown





  • Soul Shackles
    • Fixed a bug that sometimes caused the Soul Shackles sound and spell effect to play even when the target wasn’t stunned





    • Fixed a bug where Nocturne wouldn’t automatically chase his target after using Paranoia






  • Fixed a bug where Renekton’s Slice and Dice wouldn’t work on minions that he couldn’t see






  • Ricochet
    • Fixed a bug where the cooldown on earlier ranks was longer than intended





  • Assault and Battery
    • Fixed a bug where the crowd control component of Assault and Battery was ignoring spell shields





  • Hexplosive Minefield
    • Fixed a bug where the sound effect for triggering a mine would not play







Athene's_Unholy_GrailAthene’s Unholy Grail

  • Cooldown reduction increased to 20% from 15%


Glacial_ShroudGlacial Shroud

  • Combine cost reduced to 230 gold from 380 (total cost reduced to 1350 from 1500)
  • Armor increased to 45 from 40
  • Cooldown Reduction reduced to 10% from 15%


Spirit_VisageSpirit Visage

  • Combine cost increased to 630 gold from 540 (total cost unchanged)
  • Cooldown reduction increased to 20% from 15%


Deathfire_GraspDeathfire Grasp

  • Combine cost reduced to 680 gold from 880
  • Total cost reduced to 3100 from 3300
  • Cooldown reduction reduced to 10% from 15%


Zeke's_HeraldZeke’s Herald

  • Combine cost increased to 900 gold from 800
  • Total cost increased to 2550 gold from 2450
  • Cooldown reduction increased to 20% from 15%


Iceborn_GauntletIceborn Gauntlet

  • Total cost reduced to 3250 gold from 3400
  • Cooldown reduction reduced to 10% from 15%
  • Fixed a bug where the slow field was lasting longer than intended
  • Fixed a bug where the slow was not being applied immediately
  • Slow field radius for ranged champions reduced to 210 from 275
  • Slow field radius for melee champions increased to 285 from 275

Shifting the focus of Iceborn Gauntlet to melee champions is a welcome change, considering it was easily abused on certain picks.


Chalice_of_HarmonyChalice of Harmony

  • Recipe Changed: Faerie Charm + Faerie Charm + Null-Magic Mantle + 120 gold = 880 gold


Will make multiple Faerie Charms a viable option for mages in the early game. Those fare well with level 1 wards so hopefully we’ll see more diversity.


Frozen_HeartFrozen Heart

  • Combine cost increased to 550 gold from 400 (total cost unchanged)
  • Armor increased to 95 from 90


Negatron_CloakNegatron Cloak

  • Cost reduced to 720 gold from 810
  • Magic resist reduced to 40 from 45


Quicksilver_SashQuicksilver Sash

  • Combine cost reduced to 830 gold from 850
  • Total cost reduced to 1550 gold from 1660


Avarice_BladeAvarice Blade

  • Gold per 10 seconds increased to 3 from 2



Eleisa's_MiracleEleisa’s Miracle

  • Now reduces the cooldown of Heal, Clairvoyance and Clarity by 25% instead of reducing the cooldown on Heal, Clairvoyance and Revive by 20%


Executioner's_CallingExecutioner’s Calling

  • Critical strike chance increased to 20% from 15%


Liandry's_TormentLiandry’s Torment

  • Ability power reduced to 50 from 60
  • Damage per second increased to 2% from 1.66%
  • Damage-over-time and multi-target spells no longer have reduced effect
  • Fixed damage effect not being properly reapplied on targets that already have it

Solid buffs to a previously niche item pick. Liandry’s Torment will certainly become a strong choice, seeing as its already staple on some champions.



  • Recipe Changed: Ruby Crystal + Blasting Wand + Philosopher’s Stone + 800 gold = 2850 gold
  • +350 health
  • +50 ability power
  • +15 health regen per 5 seconds
  • +15 mana regen per 5 seconds
  • Retains the same UNIQUE active



Rabadon's_DeathcapRabadon’s Deathcap

  • Combine cost increased to 840 gold from 740 (total cost increased to 3300 gold from 3200)
  • Ability power bonus increased to 30% from 25%


Spirit_of_the_Spectral_WraithSpirit of the Spectral Wraith

  • New UNIQUE Passive: Reduces the cooldown on Smite by 20%



Shurelya's_ReverieShurelya’s Reverie

  • Cooldown reduction is no longer UNIQUE



Blade_of_the_Ruined_KingBlade of the Ruined King

  • Attack damage increased to 45 from 40
  • Current health damage increased to 5% from 4%


Wit's_EndWit’s End

  • Magic resist increased to 25 from 20







  • Fixed a number of display bugs with the league system
  • Updated the rules around displaying Season 2 loading screen borders in each queue
    • Normal and co-op games now show the higher reward from either ranked solo or the appropriate ranked team queue
    • Custom and Dominion games now show the best reward achieved in any queue
    • Ranked games still show the reward from that specific queue


  • We adjusted the matchmaking system last patch so it would account for both matchmaking rating and your total of wins in the current queue when creating matches.
    • We made some adjustments this patch to reduce average queue times.

Item Shop Optimization

  • We made some keyboard navigation updates to the Item Shop:The search menu is now on the Recommended Items tab in addition to the All Items tab
    • Ctrl + L or Ctrl + Enter focuses the search menu (You can rebind this command through the options menu)
    • Ctrl + Tab changes item shop tabs (You can rebind this command through the options menu)
    • You can now view the scoreboard while the item shop is ope
    • You can now chat while the item shop is open
  • “On Hit” and “Stealth Detect” are now searchable terms within the Item Shop
  • You can now single right click items in the item shop to purchase
  • The item shop should now be more responsive upon buying or selling items
  • The size of the item shop when on resolutions of 1080 pixels tall or higher has been slightly reduced

Co-op vs. AI

  • Shen Bot should now continue to function after the target of his ultimate is killed during the channel time


We made a bunch of quality of life improvements to passive on-attack effects so they’re no longer consumed when attacking wards
  • Ashe
    • Focus is no longer consumed when attacking wards
  • Caitlyn
    • Headshot is no longer consumed when attacking wards
  • Kennen
    • Electrical Surge is no longer consumed when attacking wards
  • Sona
    • Power Chord is no longer consumed when attacking wards
  • Twisted Fate
    • Pick A Card is no longer consumed when attacking wards
    • Stacked Deck is no longer consumed when attacking wards
  • Ziggs
    • Short Fuse is no longer consumed when attacking wards


  • The teleport indicators on the minimap should now appear more distinct from the recall indicators.
  • The chat command system has been slightly improved behind the scenesKnockups now function more consistently and should fail less frequently when close to walls
    • You can type /allcommands to get a complete list of chat commands
    • You can now type /help /command to get detailed information on that chat command
    • You can now ignore a player who is playing a specific champion on your team by typing /ignore @ChampionName
  • Setting the DisableCameraSnapOnRespawn=1 option should no longer cause your spacebar to stop working when you respawn
  • Muting a player will no longer mute his map pings; map pings have been throttled to prevent spam
  • Fixed an issue that prevented some players from receiving in-game messages that included special characters
  • Zooming the camera in and out has been smoothed
  • Boots of Mobility will now show a cooldown for their passive effect
  • You now have the option to display your autoattack range by pressing attack
  • The camera should no longer pan when League of Legends is not the program of focus
  • Kog’maw, Karthus and Zyra should no longer give double kills when using Muramana
  • Dragon and Baron kill callouts should now display assists
  • Nami’s Aqua Prison should now properly reset jungle creeps
  • Hitting space while using a locked camera should no longer disable locked camera mode”



Good luck on the Fields of Justice!

Diana banner

News of the second major balance update to hit the Preseason is now available. Join us for an in-depth discussion on the upcoming changes to League of Legends!



  • Base movement speed increased to 330 from 325
  • Headbutt
    • Range increased to 650 from 600


Alistar lost a lot of his jungling power in recent patches. These changes will likely make him a competent jungler again. Even though his clear time is quite slow, he is an exceptional ganker. Of course, while situational, support Alistar has always been strong regardless of the jungle changes and these buffs may bring him in line with other agressive supports, such as Leona and Blitzcrank.


AmumuSquareAmumu, the Sad Mummy

  • Cursed Touch
    • Magic resist reduction reduced at later levels to 15/20/25 from 15/25/35.



A slight nerf to Amumu’s mid and lategame damage output. He’ll likely remain a very strong pick in almost all compositions, particularly those with a good late game and ample amounts of CC, due to his amazing ultimate and Bandage Toss initiation.


AnnieSquareAnnie, the Dark Child

  • Disintegrate
    • Mana cost reduced to 60/65/70/75/80 from 60/70/80/90/100
  • Incinerate
    • Targeting cone is now attached to Annie
  • Molten Shield
    • Cooldown reduced to 10 seconds from 16
    • Duration reduced to 5 seconds from 8

A few of QoL changes and an interesting alternative to the current version of Molten Shield. It’s always been that “meh” skill Annie players most often use to charge up their Pyromania stun passive. Now it will better serve that purpose while remaining a decent buff to Annie’s tankiness.



  • Mana Barrier
    • Cooldown increased to 90 seconds from 60
  • Rocket Grab
    • Will now give vision when it hits a target

Blitzcrank’s been a dominant force on the bottom lane for quite some time now. The reason for this is that against certain carries and supports he doesn’t need his Rocket Grab to be effective because he would frequently become very tanky due to his passive. This nerf will certainly make Blitzcrank players more cautious about engaging early on.



  • Gatling Gun
    • Mana cost reduced to 60/65/70/75/80 from 60/70/80/90/100



Not much to say here, this buff will make Corki’s mana costs more manageable in the laning phase.



  • Pale Cascade
    • Orb detonation has been adjusted to better match Diana’s basic attack range
    • Shield duration increased to 5 seconds from 4
  • Lunar Rush
    • Cast range increased to 825 from 750

The long-awaited buffs to Diana are finally here! On the PBE she had increased base damage on Pale Cascade to go along with higher duration and detonation range, but that decision has been dropped for the official patch. The most important change, however, is the extra cast range on Lunar Rush. Now Diana players will be able to combo a max-range Crescent Strike (830) with an immediate dash.



  • Hate Spike
    • Mana cost increased to 16/22/28/34/40 from 14/18/22/26/30
    • Bonus attack damage ratio increased to 0.5 from 0.4
  • Ravage
    • Damage reduced at later ranks to 35/55/75/95/115 from 35/60/85/110/135
    • Bonus attack damage ratio increased to 0.5 from 0.4
  • Agony’s Embrace
    • Damage changed to 15/20/25% of the target’s current health from 15/20/25% of their max health
    • Cooldown increased to 150/120/90 seconds from 120/90/60
    • Cast range reduced to 650 from 800

Lots of overall nerfs to our stealthy widowmaker. Evelynn’s proven quite the challenge for the balance team at Riot and she’s received a lot of attention in the past few patches. We’ll start with her Q, which is gaining a substantial mana cost increase. This will impact her ability to stay out of harm’s way in lane by last hitting with Hate Spike. To compensate, the AD ratio on it is going up for jungling and hybrid Evelynn players, as those generally have trouble keeping up with their mana costs. Ravage follows a similar pattern as it’s now a bit more powerful with AD items but will deal slightly less base damage. Keep in mind it hits twice, so the decrease will likely be noticeable.

The hardest nerfs are going to be to Evelynn’s ultimate, which is one of the primary reasons she’s always seen on the ban list. Instead of being both a good combo starter and finisher it will now serve more of an initiation purpose, as complemented by the shield provided. This means that where as before it was a very powerful execution tool, it will now deal pitiful damage in a similar scenario. The cooldown is going up substantially to reduce Evelynn’s ganking presence after level 6. And finally, the cast range is being reduced to just below that of Shadow Walk’s detection radius. The reasoning behind this is Agony’s Embrace often struck players like a bolt from the blue as Evelynn would still be stealthed when initiating. This will make for easier counterplay and hopefully bring this champion in line with other melee assassins.



  • Base attack speed reduced to 0.625 from 0.665




An odd nerf that will hopefully reduce Ezreal’s recent popularity spike and bring the spotlight back to forgotten carries such as Ashe, Kog’Maw and Urgot.



  • Base movement speed reduced to 345 from 350
  • Sinister Steel
    • Movement speed adjusted to 15/20/25/30/35% from 12/20/28/36/44%

his is primarily an impact on Katarina’s ability to avoid counter-engages from her opponents in lane. With the bonus movement speed from Sinister Steel she often became too elusive for skillshot champions to properly punish her after an agressive Shunpo. Ganking and chasing are also areas where Katarina players will suffer in the future patch. Perhaps this will reduce her kill-potential in teamfights versus mobile champions, which would in turn prevent her from quickly refreshing her skills.



  • Unseen Threat
    • Damage reduced at later levels to 15-190 from 15-220
    • Slow reduced to 25% from 35%
  • Taste Their Fear
    • Bonus attack damage ratio reduced to 1.5 from 1.6
    • Isolation bonus attack damage ratio reduced to 2.0 from 2.4

Our vicious AD caster from Alien vs Predator will be receiving a pretty painful Morello Nerf Kick as both his damage and ratios are going down by a sizeable margin. The reduction of the damage and slow he gets from his passive will prevent Kha’Zix from quickly snowballing in the early stages, while the lower scaling on his Q ability is added to prevent him from destroying squishier foes with just a few carry items in slot. Overall this will most likely result in us seeing more Kha’Zix play on the solo scene as he is currently permanently banned on most ELO ranges.


LeeSinSquareLee Sin

  • Safeguard
    • Fixed a bug where the tooltip incorrectly stated that Lee Sin regained energy when the shield was broken
  • Iron Will
    • No longer grants armor while active
    • Life steal and spell vamp increased to 5/10/15/20/25% from 5/9/13/17/21%
  • Cripple
    • Slow amount reduced at earlier ranks to 20/30/40/50/60% from 30/37.5/45/52.5/60%
    • Range reduced to 600 from 800

Remember when Phreak did his April Fools joke video back in 2011? Back then people saw Lee Sin as a weak mixture of playstyles and roles who fell short of popular picks. Since then he’s been considered one of the strongest early-game champions with amazing mobility, chase and execute. Indeed Riot has seen a need to alleviate this problem by hitting Cripple’s ganking strengths. In fact, with the reduced range, champions with strong CC such as Irelia, Renekton, Ahri and Ryze will be able to escape a Tempest initiate with Flash and not be slowed. The removal of the armor gained from double casting Safeguard is aimed at hitting Lee Sin’s tankiness when facing other bruisers and ranged carries. Lastly, the increase in Life Steal and Spell Vamp gained from Iron Will will compensate for the loss of armor against monster camps.



  • Base movement speed increased to 335 from 330
  • Aqua Prison
    • Cooldown reduced to 14/13/12/11/10 seconds from 16/14.5/13/11.5/10
  • Tidal Wave
    • Missile speed increased to 850 from 750

Nami is a very underrated support currently, as she brings a lot to the table for her carry and the team overall. Lowering the cooldown on her cage will reduce the downtime she currently experiences in lane while making her a more consistent threat in bigger clashes. A faster Tidal Wave will make Nami’s initiations far more potent, hopefully bringing her in line with Sona and Leona in that department.



  • Bonetooth Necklace
    • Now grants +5 Attack Damage
  • Unseen Predator
    • Fixed a bug where Rengar could leap while rooted
  • Savagery
    • Attack speed duration increased to 4 seconds from 3
    • Fixed a bug where Savagery could be used three times consecutively
  • Battle Roar
    • Empowered Battle Roar now heals for 60-400 (based on champion level) instead of 10% of his Rengar’s health
  • Thrill of the Hunt
    • Initial delay reduced to 1 second from 1.25 (still can be delayed up to 3 seconds)
    • Stealth duration increased to 7 seconds from 5

The roaring English-speaking monster of the League has received quite a lot of negative attention in recent patches and his initial strength was reduced to rubble. With an added second to his Savagery attack speed bonus Rengar will have an easier time trading with top tier bruiser, while having substantial damage to take down squishies in the late game. The changes to Battle Roar are interesting in that even a level one Empowered Roar will be quite efficient. This will provide Rengar with a powerful method of sustaining himself early, while still able to be used as a clutch heal-nuke for those tight spots. A decent buff to his stealth duration when in Manhunt mode means he will be a larger threat to overextended enemies. Finally an added base damage to his Bonetooth Necklace to justify the 800 gold investment early on.



  • Base health regen reduced to 6 from 10.4
  • Health regen per level reduced to 0.5 from 0.9
  • Valor
    • Shield amount increased to 70/100/130/160/190 from 60/90/120/150/180
  • Blade of the Exile
    • Cooldown increased to 110/80/50 seconds from 75/60/45
    • Targeting cone is now attached to Riven

Regardless of whether she’s donning her peasant rugs or doing fanservice in her Playboy suit, Riven has proven to be a very powerful top laner with her unmatched levels 1-3 agression and dueling capabilities. And that’s exactly what Riot aims to hit with the latest patch as both her initial and per-level HP/5 are being cut essentially in half. To compensate for this unhealthy action (anyone?) the base shield strength on Valor is going up. Now Blade of Exile is an amazing ultimate, it provides both a powerful steroid to start fights with and an execution mechanic to end them. In the older rendition, Riven would be able to constantly reforge her sword in order to either force her opponent out of lane lane or outright kill him. Logical changes that don’t remove any of the champion’s signature strengths (<cough> Diana <cough>).



  • Transcendent
    • Now increases range on Unleashed Power by 75 at max rank
  • Scatter the Weak
    • Cooldown reduced at later ranks to 18/16.5/15/13.5/12 seconds from 18/17/16/15/14

As a huge fan of Malzahar’s wife, I’m a little biased when it comes to these changes. In all honesty Syndra probably isn’t in need of these buffs as she is already a very powerful pick; when used to her full potential. Regardless, increased range of her ultimate in the late game will make bursting high-priority targets a much safer endeavor. And a lower cooldown on her pushback-stun combo is always a welcome improvement.



  • Noxian Diplomacy
    • Bleed damage reduced to 10/20/30/40/50 from 18/36/54/72/90
    • Bleed bonus attack damage ratio reduced to 1 from 1.2
  • Cutthroat
    • Fixed a bug where the damage amplification did not actually apply
    • Fixed an bug that sometimes caused Talon’s Rake to fire backwards after using Cutthroat.
  • Shadow Assault
    • Damage reduced at later ranks to 120/170/220 from 120/190/260
    • Bonus attack damage ratio reduced to 0.75 from 0.9

The dagger-wielder chose axes over conventional blades in the preseason and this helped players revisit him and find his forgotten burst damage and ability to counter mages to a high degree. Talon’s case is more interesting because aside from straight-up nerfing his damage combo, Riot will be fixing a common bug where the bonus damage from Cutthroat wouldn’t trigger. This could actually mean a lot for future play as a 15% damage amplification is no laughing matter. We’ll have to wait and see how Talon turns out after these changes.



  • Monkey’s Agility
    • Now additionally increases Udyr’s armor and magic resist by 4% per stack

A very smart buff to a champion who currently doesn’t see much competitive play due to the high-mobility meta. Udyr is a strong pick for certain compositions as he becomes very tanky with little items due to Turtle Stance. This change will add to that strength, hopefully resulting in the return of the shape-shifting bruiser on the competitive scene.


  • Vault Breaker
    • Fixed a bug where Vault Breaker would sometimes not refund mana or cooldown when interrupted
    • Fixed a bug where interrupting Vault Breaker would sometimes render Vi unable to cast spells
    • Fixed a bug where Vault Breaker’s stun duration was sometimes shorter than intended
    • Fixed a bug where Vi would sometimes stop attacking after hitting a champion with Vault Breaker
  • Excessive Force
    • Increased the responsiveness of Vi’s attacks after using Excessive Force

Assault and Battery

  • Fixed a bug where targets could cast spells after being knocked into the air
  • Fixed a bug where characters with stealth could cause Assault and Battery to miss
  • Fixed a bug where damage was not applied to targets immune to disable effects



ChoGathSquare Cho’Gath

  • Feral Scream
    • Targeting cone is now attached to Cho’Gath

KassadinSquare Kassadin

  • Force Pulse
    • Fixed an issue where Force Pulse would sometimes fire backward after using Rift Walk.

KennenSquare Kennen

  • Basic attack has been retuned so it’s more responsive


  • Siphon of Destruction
    • Targeting cone is now attached to Mordekaiser


  • Hallucinate
    • Controlling the clone no longer reveals Shaco in brush
    • Fixed a bug that prevented Shaco from casting Hallucinate for the rest of the game in certain circumstances


  • Short Fuse
    • The cooldown indicator now more accurately shows when Short Fuse is available.

Summener’s Rift

  • Wraith
    • Base gold increased to 30 from 25
    • Base health increased to 1000 from 750
  • Lesser Wraith
    • Base health reduced to 150 from 250
  • Giant Wolf
    • Base gold increased to 55 from 40
    • Base health increased to 1100 from 900
  • Wolf
    • Base health reduced to 200 from 300
  • Golem
    • Base gold increased to 55 from 45
    • Base health increased to 1200 from 1000
  • Small Golem
    • Base health reduced to 300 from 500

    Riot’s primary goal with the tweaks to the jungle in preseason were to nerf the dominance of AoE junglers and give single- target champions such as Warwick, Rengar, Trundle, Volibear, Fiddlesticks and Xin Zhao the opportunity to shine. This new set of changes is aimed in the same direction, shifting health from lesser monsters to primary ones.


    • Item tooltips have been revised to improve consistency
    • Manamune
      • Attack damage increased to 20 from 10
    • Archangel’s Staff
      • Ability power increased to 60 from 50
      • Mana charge amount increased to 6 from 5

      Both items have really solid late game upgrades that don’t cost anything. Improving upon their base stats will make them a more attractive choice for players who don’t consider large quantities of mana to be something worth investing in.

    • Crystalline Flask
      • Cost increased to 345 from 225
      • Now restores 120 health and 60 mana over 12 seconds from 100 health and 40 mana over 10 seconds per charge

      Riot’s alternative to the Bottle from Dota 2 actually proved to be an amazing sustain item as it allowed the purchase of Wards and Potions in addition to itself. Next patch will switch focus to the strengths of the Flask and not so much on the gold left over from purchasing it.

    • Mikael’s Crucible
      • Can no longer target allied minions
    • Last Whisper
      • Combine cost increased to 1025 from 860 (total cost is now 2300 from 2135)
    • Hextech Gunblade
      • Spell vamp is now UNIQUE
    • Iceborne Gauntlet
      • Duration of slow field reduced to 2 seconds from 3
      • Slow percentage reduced to 30% from 35%
      • Slowing field now displays team color rings

      A cosmetic upgrade to go along with indirect Ezreal nerfs. Other AD carries approve.

    • Philosopher’s Stone
      • Now correctly grants 5 gold per 10 seconds (was 4 gold per 10 seconds)
    • Enchantment: Homeguard
      • Homeguard now works immediately after purchasing the enchant
    • Spirit of the Elder Lizard
      • Now grants +10% cooldown reduction
    • Spirit of the Spectral Wraith
      • Ability power increased to 50 from 40
      • Cooldown reduction is no longer UNIQUE
    • Sanguine Blade
      • Combine cost reduced to 500 gold from 800
      • Attack damage increased to 65 from 60
      • Attack damage per stack increased to 6 from 5
      • Max stacks reduced to 5 from 7
    • Blackfire Torch
      • New recipe: Kage’s Lucky Pick + Fiendish Codex + Haunting Guise
      • Total gold cost: 3950 (combine cost: 700)
      • Ability power increased to 80 from 70
      • Cooldown reduction increased to 20% from 10%
      • Now grants 10 mana regeneration per 5 seconds
    • Will of the Ancients
      • New recipe: Kage’s Pick + Hextech Revolver
      • Total gold cost is now 2550 (combine cost: 585)
    • Twin Shadows
      • Ability power reduced to 40 from 50
      • Magic resist increased to 40 from 30
      • Movement speed increased to 6% from 5%

      Twin Shadows is primarily a support item that could be seen on champions such as Gragas and Twisted Fate. Shifting the stat bonuses from offensive to defensive helps narrow the usages of this pickup.

    • Banner of Command
      • Ability power reduced to 40 from 50
      • Now grants 10% cooldown reduction

      Although it will probably still be frowned upon, the Banner of Command will now become a more viable choice for supports. Besides, most of them secretly love turning minions into Godzilla.

    • Banshee’s Veil
      • Combine cost increased to 600 from 490 (total cost is now 2610 from 2500)
      • Health increased to 400 from 300
    • Ninja Tabi
      • Once again reduces 10% damage from all basic attacks, rather than only champion basic attacks
    • Liandry’s Torment
      • Health increased to 300 from 200
      • Ability power reduced to 60 from 70
    • Wooglet’s Witchcap
      • New recipe: Blasting Wand + Blasting Wand + Chain Vest
      • Total gold cost: 3500 (combine cost: 1060)
      • Armor reduced to 40 from 50
    • Hextech Sweeper
      • New UNIQUE passive – Trap Detection: Nearby stealthed enemy traps are revealed
    • Grez’s Spectral Lantern
      • Attack damage reduced to 20 from 25
    • Lightbringer – Remade!
      • New recipe: Grez’s Spectral Lantern + Pickaxe
      • Total gold cost: 2425 (combine cost: 300)
      • +50 attack damage
      • +20 armor
      • +12% life steal
      • UNIQUE passive – Vanquish: Basic attacks have a 20% chance to deal 100 bonus magic damage (doubled for non-champions)
      • UNIQUE passive – Trap Detection: Nearby stealthed enemy traps are revealed
      • UNIQUE active: Cover s a target area in a stealth-detecting mist that grants vision for 10 seconds (60 second cooldown)


    • Pickpocket
      • Now displays a buff timer after attacking to show the time before gold can be earned again

    Twisted Treeline

    • Speed Shrine removed! There’s now a Ghost Relic in its place.
      • The Ghost Relic replenishes 94-315 health and a small amount of your ability resource. It also grants a brief speed boost.
      • The Ghost Relic spawns at 1:55 and respawns every 90 seconds.
    • New items now available
      • Lightbringer
      • Runic Bulwark
      • Ohmwrecker

    Proving Grounds

    • New items now available
      • Blade of the Ruined King

    Co-op vs. AI

    • Bots are now more likely to use activatable items.
    • Added Darius Bot to Co-op vs. AI on all maps.
    • Fixed a bug where Shen Bot wasn’t casting Stand United.
    • Co-op vs. AI will now properly display as a co-op vs. AI match instead of a 5v5 pvp match.


    • Gold totals with more than three digits will now include punctuation for easier readability
    • Directed camera positioning will now take the health bars for Baron and Vilemaw into account
    • Fixed a bug that could cause directed camera to focus on recalling champions even with no enemies nearby
    • Added spectator chat callouts for powerful items such as Athene’s Unholy Grail and Blade of the Ruined King


    • Added a new provisional medal for players and teams that are in their placement matches
      • All players and teams have been temporarily set to this medal in preparation for Season 3


    • Improvements to the item shop
      • Holding the CTRL key while clicking on categories in the All Items tab will now select multiple categories, similar to using the check boxes
      • Fixed a bug where the item shop could show you as owning more of an item than you actually have
      • Fixed a bug where items in the recommended item pane would light up even if you couldn’t afford the item
      • Fixed a bug where items that could not be sold were showing a sell value
      • Improved the responsiveness of double clicking to purchase items
      • Improved the performance of the item shop during various item updates (opening the item shop, searching, purchasing and selling)
    • Adjusted the graphics for the borders on vote tallies in the surrender display


    • Turrets
      • Now prioritize minions in the following order:
        • Player-owned minions (ex: Tibbers, Zyra Plants)
        • Super Minions, Cannon Minions
        • Melee Minions
        • Caster Minions
    • Added keybindings for Self Casting Items
    • Fixed keybinding for Show/Hide HUD
    • Changed the “Ended Killing Spree” chat messages to better indicate that the number shown is the total gold received for the kill
    • Fixed a bug where players couldn’t send chat messages at end of game
    • Fixed a bug where champions affected by near-sightedness (Graves’s Smokescreen, Nocturne’s ultimate) could attack their team mates
    • The Minimap has been improved:
      • Wards now show special icons on the minimap
      • Players are outlined in blue while recalling
      • Players are outlined in orange while using teleport
    • Teleport is now colored based on enemy/ally team
    • Fixed an issue that was causing player health bars and ultimate indicators in the team UI to update too slowly
    • Fixed an issue where purchasing a legendary item (ex: Runic Bulwark, Blade of the Ruined King) would consume all components of a lower tier instead of just those necessary for the recipe
    • Fixed a rare issue where certain spells (ex: Ezreal’s Mystic Shot) could land an unintentional critical hit
    • Hovering over your attack damage stat will display your champion’s auto attack range
    • You may now unlock the game camera while holding down your mouse button on the minimap
    • Pinging a tower in the basic tutorial will no longer display an unlocalized string
    • The camera snap that occurs when you respawn can be disabled by setting “DisableCameraSnapOnRespawn=1” in Game.cfg
    • You now have a few extra seconds to finish a kill streak if the target is the last member of the team alive
    • Muting a player will now mute that player’s emote sounds
    • Added teammate chat callouts for new items such as Sightstone, Mikael’s Crucible and Ohmwrecker
    • Fixed a bug preventing buff durations from drawing on the target frame

    That’s all for the upcoming patch! I hope you found my analysis on the changes helpful and entertaining. A review on Riot’s newest deviation, Thresh, will be available soon.