Posts Tagged ‘smashgizmo’


Balance Team AMA Part 2 Banner

The balance team made another pass of community questions, which you can find answered below:

[ Note ] Part 1 of the AMA can be found HERE.




Balance Team QA 2 Ask Us Anything Again

Scarizard Final PortraitEDIT: AMA’S DONE FOR TODAY! Thanks for coming out and asking questions – If you’re reading this and missed this one (or if we missed yours D:), we’ll be doing two more this month at the same time! We’ll see y’all at 12:30pm pacific, on Friday 10/030!

If you have follow-up questions or want to stalk us on the internet, you can follow almost all of us on ze twitters at (@RiotJag) (@RiotFeralPony) (@RiotTimeWizard) (@G_mang) (@ManWolfAxeBoss) (@SmashGizmo) (@ricklessabandon) and (@RiotScarizard)

Hey folks,

We’re back again for our 2nd AMA this month – another week of worlds has gone by and a new patch is on the horizon, and we still have tons of your questions to get to! Got something to say about balance, your favorite champions, or how free SmashGizmo’s sheik is? We’ve got you covered.

If you want to check out our Q+A last week, here’s a link to that one too! M O R E C O N T E X T

On deck, we’ve got:

RiotTimeWizard (thousand-year-dragon in training)

ricklessabandon (all lowercase, all the time)

SmashGizmo (plays 5 colors in EDH like a scumbag)

ManWolfAxeBoss (fire and blood)

RiotGmang (keeps talking so nobody explodes)

RiotJag (has a cool motorcycle)

FeralPony (photoshop artiste)

and yours truly! Got a burning question or top-of-mind curiosity? Fire away and we’ll start answering in an hour! (1:30 PDT)!

If you want some more behind-the-scenes insights on how League’s balance goes, check out these devblogs by RiotJules and King Jag The King, RiotJag himself!

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Which Champions do players ask you guys to nerf the most

Riot Jag Final PortraitEarlier this year: Akali, Fizz, Kassadin, Leblanc

Lately: Vayne, Fiora, Darius, Morde, GP, Garen, Skarner

Always: Lee Sin, Riven

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How do you guys deal with the stress involved with the game

Scarizard Final PortraitYou get thick skin doing this kind of work, but it’d be unfair to say that it doesn’t get to you.

I think the key thing to understand is that even the most angry, vile and vitriolic statements come out of passion for the game we all love and work on. Those people telling us we should be fired, and that we don’t know what we’re doing? They just want to have fun playing a balanced game, same as we do. In many ways, these can be viewed as motivators – when people are upset, we have a job to do.

It’s often thankless, but I think the nature of the constant, ever-evolving puzzle of a Live environment is a big draw for some. I’d also say we have a big emphasis on communication and teamwork within our group, and I’ve never felt like I’ve worked somewhere where I was both valued as an individual contributor and as a friend. It’s that ‘band-of-brothers’ (and sisters) feeling that means no matter how deep in the trenches we are, there’s always someone else with you ready to help out and make that next change the best it can be.

In the end, everyone’s got their own ways (many folks play other games in their off-time, many of us keep up with the gym, pursue art or personal projects, rick plays ffxiv, etc) but having a team of homies to back you up makes it all easier.

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Current CDR AP items are underwhelming for mid laners Will you add new ones

SmashGizmo Final PortraitI mostly just disagree with this statement. Morellonomnomnomicon and Athene’s are both reasonably powerful in my estimation and we still usually see mages rush one of these two. I do think there’s a small gap here in terms of AP/CDR itemization for non-mana mages, but I also think this is a very niche market that we’re hesitant to provide easy CDR for due to how overbearing a, let’s say, Vlad can be when he can easily rush both AP and CDR in lane.

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Have you had balance ideas that sounded good on paper but were broken ingame

SmashGizmo Final PortraitLiterally tons. A lot of our early iterations on Rengar’s Q in the rework come to mind, where we did stuff like using ferocity on Q would give you 3 stacks to make it the sustain damage option on him, but really basically just made him murder you even faster.

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Why are Azir Ryze and Kassidan so hard to balance

SmashGizmo Final PortraitDifferent reasons on all of these. Kassadin’s the most straightforward, where it’s just about how his mobility profile gives him perfect control over when fights are happening, so the second he crosses a certain power threshold, he just consistently runs away with games. Ryze is currently mostly about the mechanical needs of the character and just how much power a player gains from properly executing his passive combos, which means that he looks very weak for our average player, but is secretly one of the highest winrate characters for experienced players. I could probably write a book on why Azir is a balance nightmare at this point, but in the interest of being able to respond to more posts today, I’ll just say that it’s very difficult to balance a hypercarry who has reliable means of ensuring their own safety and that Azir pushes the limits of both being a hypercarry and reliably ensuring his own safety.

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How closely does the balance team work with the design and reworking teams

SmashGizmo Final PortraitVery closely. We try our best to give them good counsel on how to balance their characters pre-release and they try to give us advice on how to balance their characters while retaining their intended identities.

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Any chance of Ranked ever getting more bans

SmashGizmo Final PortraitThere’s a chance, but I think we’re really hesitant about taking this route, as it does really limit players ability to pick the character they want to play in any given game. I know there are some folks looking at pick/ban structure and I wouldn’t be surprised if over the next few years the pick/ban system changed significantly, but it’s not something we’re directly looking at in the short term.

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People like to bring up crit removal is it a thing that might happen

SmashGizmo Final PortraitNot in the short term. There will be some crit shifting around in the pre-season, but we’re not going to do anything so drastic as fully removing it in the near future. I think long term, trying to shift random crits to conditional crits (like, say, every 3rd attack crits, or all your attacks from brushes crit, etc), might have some promise, but we’ve never really gotten a good enough model of this working to ship.

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Are there plans to tone down Tahm Kench without taking him out of the meta

Tahm Kench Single banner

Riot Time Wizard Final PortraitTahm Kench has definitely got some strength packed in that big ‘ol belly. If we do try to tone him down, we definitely won’t be trying to push him out of the meta or out of viability. After all, he’s only started picking up steam over the last couple of patches, so we wanna give him some more soak time before we just bop him!

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Will Janna be receiving buffs in the future

Janna Single Banner

Riot Time Wizard Final PortraitJanna is still in a pretty good place right now. Her disengage ultimate is one of the most reliable ways to counteract the menace of run-at-you tanky guys. She doesn’t seem to be in need of any boosts at the moment, but we won’t forget about her. We’ll need to re-evaluate a lot of champs when pre-season hits. 🙂

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How do you feel about Kindreds current state

Kindred Small Banner 2

Riot Time Wizard Final PortraitKindred is experiencing what almost every new champion does. Extremely high ban rate in games, and players are still picking them up and figuring them out. They’ve proven to be powerful (not ABSURDLY so, mind you) in the hands of players with many Kindred games under their belt. We tend to follow-up within a couple patches on new champions, and we will likely do something to adjust Kindred’s power. Again though, pre-season will be throwing everyone for a loop!

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ManWolf New PortraitThey’re still pretty new to the Rift and have a fairly steep learning curve, so a slightly lower than average win rate right now is appropriate.

I personally feel that they’ll be strong once people figure out all their tricks. Just give it some time.

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How will the Marksman update impact Supports

Riot Time Wizard Final PortraitRegarding the ADC rework: since it won’t be much longer, I think I’ll have to go with a “wait and see” here. We don’t expect that supports are going to be adversely affected by the Marskman changes, though.

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Are there plans to updated boring outdated Champion passives

Riot Gmang Final PortraitGood question, and I agree that there are plenty of passives that leave something to be desired.

Regarding your examples:

Some of the champs you mentioned have also been singled out internally and gotten some experimentation (like Heimer, Shyv, and Syndra), though I can’t speak to how they are prioritized among other projects in terms of urgency and which ones are planning to move forward (within our team specifically, the only one that springs to mind is Syndra, though no promises on exact ship date atm hah).

Regarding passive quantity:

This is a controversial topic, but I wanna just share a bit of context here. It’s important to keep in mind that we don’t design passives in a vacuum and then decide how many each champion gets. Passives are designed to serve the needs of a particular champion.

Say I’m a champion designer making a new kit, and I start with a particular gameplay loop that fits nicely on Q W and E slots. The kit is somewhat functional and unique, but there are still things to figure out (let’s say the W and E have some usability issues, certain lane matchups are very one-sided, my abilities late-game are confusing team mates, my spell rotation feels too unreliable, wave clearing is too easy, and my build paths don’t scale right). What I do with the Passive and R slots–indeed, what I do with all slots–are going to be about problems like these or addressing other higher levels goals (like delivering the fantasy better or more unique or something).

The answer to those problems might involve any number of changes, possibly demanding 0, 1, or 2+ passives. If I do add 2+ passives, it’s not because I just want the champ to be cooler or have more stuff than others. And it is going to come at the cost of power budget and complexity budget, not just added on top of an otherwise finished, balanced champion. A solution might even involve removing/nerfing passives so that we have more complexity and power budget to put on actives!

In the end, individual slots are not supposed to be balanced between each other, nor are “my champ passive(s)” vs “your champ passive(s).” Entire kits are supposed to be balanced between each other. “2 passives > 1 passive” doesn’t always follow. It’s very possible to design a kit with high agency, complexity, and fun with just actives, and it’s also very possible to design a super lame kit that has several passives! And it’s those kinds of properties (agency, fun, complexity, clarity, etc.) that we care most about: if a champion’s multiple passives leaves them with too much control over the game, or too much complexity, or something like that, that is a big concern for us (and we definitely aren’t perfect about these things!). But the actual quantity is usually not inherently good or bad.

Regarding passive quality:

Lemme give a different example: say we have a high-complexity champion who has everything BUT the passive slot locked down (you might have even had an awesome passive during development but it ended up being extraneous as other slots developed further). As in, “if our game hadn’t already set the precedent, I might actually give this champ 0 passives.” This can be a tricky spot: players expect each of their slots to feel fun and distinct, including the passive slot, but you don’t want to disrupt the balance and fun of your existing pattern/slots.

A lot of these passives end up being lower-budget passives: we could have made Jayce get multiple intricate passives, but he’s already so complicated and multi-faceted that it would probably detract from the kit to do so. Sometimes you make the call, “this champ is about these cool actives, and we should avoid detracting from that here.”

This isn’t to say that “lame passives” are a good thing, but sometimes the cost-benefit of trying to discover a perfect passive is outweighed by the value of delivering the champion to players with a not-stellar passive. The opposite is also true: sometimes we have a champion that’s bloated in complexity/abilities by the time we’re reading to ship, but we’re willing to make the trade-off for the sake of delivering what we feel is a good product to players.

All that said, improving lame slots is definitely on our radar; I just wanted to give context. I hope that provides a little clarity for why passives compare/contrast in the way they do!

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Did you plan on doing balancing when training to work in the industry

SmashGizmo Final Portrait100% yes for me. I came from a background of clinging onto competitive games for the long haul (been playing MtG for almost 20 years now, Smash Melee for 10, League for 6), so balancing and preserving the fairness of a game was always something super important and interesting to me.

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Whats an average day like for you guys

SmashGizmo Final PortraitWe work in 2 week sprints on each patch. Once during each sprint we plan out our work on what we want to ship in the upcoming patch, which is a combination of the things we see as off as players and the outliers in terms of metrics like pick rate/ban rate/win rate. Once we take on projects, we rapidly iterate and test changes until we get to changelists we’re happy with. We’re also constantly re-evaluating our work so that if something super broken emerges we can hop on it ASAP (for instance, runeglaive Ezreal).

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How do you feel about the current meta

SmashGizmo Final PortraitThis question is waaaaaaay too big to adequately answer. I guess the tl;dr for me is that I’m happy we’ve hit the sort of diversity numbers in Professional play that we’re seeing in Worlds this year, but that I still feel like some things are really off in terms of feeling like a fair and enjoyable experience for most players. I won’t dive too deep into this, but basically, Professional diversity is great and certainly one valid measure of how the game’s balance is doing, but I don’t think it captures the full picture by any stretch of the imagination.

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What are balance teams looking for on an applicants portfolio

SmashGizmo Final PortraitMake yourself visible as an expert on the game you’re trying to work on. This is pretty broad, but encompasses both getting to a relatively high rank and demonstrating your knowledge on the state of the game. Stuff like blogging, writing articles, and streaming can all be good means of getting exposure and demonstrating that you get the game on a very deep level. Also, perpetually seek the feedback of people who are already working on balance, as they can give great feedback about how you might be limiting your thoughts.

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Any plans to make upgrading the warding trinkets less awkward

Scarizard Final PortraitI’d be looking for something along these lines with the upcoming preseason. I agree that it’s a major frustration to have people put off trinket upgrades for so long, and the entire trinket system has been a hot topic for the Systems team for 2016.

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Is there a particular direction you want to push Elise in eg mage or tank

Ricklessabandon New Portraithi, hi~

a lot of what you’ve been picking up on has been intentional—elise should have a path open to her that allows for gold to be spent on increasing her kill potential, and for less of that threat to be available ‘for free’ in the form of base stats/damages. since elise is a six-ability form swapper it’s more important for her overall fairness to ask elise players to use their early-game power spike to earn a gold advantage and then invest it wisely in order to keep that strength going later into the game. i personally think it helps her feel more like a mage/assassin pairing (which seems more aligned with who she wants to be), whereas the elise of old felt more like a support/tank pairing.

if i had to guess as to what areas we’d look at next, it would be ones that would let us stay on course with the last few changes—base damage past level 7 should be monitored closely, and scaling with gold should feel appropriately rewarding (and tied to success). if we ever needed to go harder on her, i’d imagine it would be thinking of cool ways to replace her w spells that would give us more ‘balance levers’ while keeping her feeling great to play.

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Will you make Mordekaiser less reliant on duo laning to be viable

Mordekaiser Single Banner

FeralPony Final PortraitPower-wise we feel Mordekaiser’s too strong currently in the duo lane and too weak in the solo lane case. We’re generally okay if duo is his main role, but the disparity between those roles is currently too high. His solo lane is too weak and his duo lane is too strong.

Mordekaiser W is totally worth revisiting in regards to the solo vs duo cast, it can feel pretty lackluster and is a good spot to target to help bridge the gap between the Solo lane/ Duo Lane case. Not sure on specific changes we’d make, but we’ll be looking into Morde specifically more after the first big preseason patch (PBE Soon(tm)!)

I’m unsure specifically on % of shield conversion values. He’s pretty damn durable atm, and I feel the minimum shield threshhold helped him a lot more in lane than is getting generally credited, but adjusting the W sustain could grant us the option of increasing his shield growth since that skill in particular is currently double dipping in generating shield and restoring health.

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Are you considering any changes to Lissandra

Lissandra Single Banner

ManWolf New PortraitWe very recently put in the change to her ult where she heals on self cast. Spell costs were something we looked at, but didn’t feel like she really needed anything there. The passive definitely has the biggest room for improvement. I messed around with some changes where she would spawn black ice around her and gain bonuses if she cast on top of them, but ultimately didn’t have time for that patch. Definitely something I’d like to continue work on later though.

That being said, we’ve seen her in a few games at worlds so far and think she’s in a decent place in terms of power.

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Any plans for Katarina

Katarina Single Banner

Ricklessabandon New Portraithello!

so, we’ll probably need to take a look at her sometime after the new season starts up (if nothing else, just as part of a follow-up pass on the different roles) but we don’t have any kat-specific changes already in mind. part of the issue with katarina is that, at present, she is intended to be more about ‘chasing a high moment’ and as such will rarely feel as fair as a lot of the roster (the players playing as, with, or against are kind of playing a zero-sum game over happiness/fairness).

we came around to that intention pretty explicitly around the time i put some very experimental changes out on the pbe, which i believe was about a year ago. essentially, we took a stab at what a more ‘healthy and sustainable’ katarina would look like. what came of that is that while we might have ended up with a katarina that more people could have been more happy with if she was commonly in their games, league of legends as a whole would have lost a type of character/playstyle that was one of the more unique offerings in the game. we likened it to the experience that draven provides—to make the ‘draven experience’ feel as fair as someone like lucian would almost certainly make our adc pool feel less diverse/rich, if not the game as a whole.

that’s kind of the long and short of it. for the time being, katarina represents a play experience larger than herself. if we ever reevaluate and decide that that experience doesn’t align with katarina, then we’ll certainly give her the time needed to give her the appropriate changes. outside of that though, she’ll likely remain in the ‘chasing a high moment’ camp. that said, i think more than a couple assassins could use some love right now, so she might be suffering from compounding issues—we’ll be sure to look into that once the next season gets rolling.

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Thoughts on Nami

Nami Single Banner

Riot Time Wizard Final PortraitShe definitely wasn’t weak prior to her buffs, but she does get harder and harder to succeed with as the game goes on. While people start to move faster with boots and items, her Bubble becomes trickier and trickier to hit. Would definitely be interested in doing even more cool things for her 🙂

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If Nasus were made today what would he be like

ManWolf New PortraitIf he were made today, I assume he’d be classified as a juggernaut and not have an infinite scaling mechanic. If he does ever get reworked, the late game raid boss fantasy is a must and I’d be sad if stacks got removed, but could live with that I suppose.

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How about locking Flash for everyone and adding a third Summoner spell slot

ManWolf New PortraitCurrently, we have no plans to implement a third summoner spell slot, nor do we have plans to lock Flash in for everyone.

We are looking into ways to diversify Summoner Spell choices, and that includes considering how Flash relates to other Summoner Spell.

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Will you guys revisit options for Syndra after Preseason

Syndra Banner

Ricklessabandon New Portraitthat is the current plan, i believe. we had some work in progress we really wanted to wrap up before starting on our preseason work, but we ran out of time. nothing is set in stone though, so that work is just ‘on hold’ until we have an opportunity to pick it back up which could technically be a while (or forever), but with luck it’s just around the corner.

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Do you guys feel you know what’s healthy for the game before you release it

FeralPony Final PortraitNot an easy question to answer. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Generally, we go with the approach that we can be wrong but we tend to have a higher than average hit rate, and we can iterate and update when we make mistakes and get additional eyes and player feedback.

Scuttlecrab was an example of a design that got a ton of initial pushback both internally and externally and we got a lot of pressure to remove but was probably the best single addition we made in the previous preseason. It offered a lot of additional jungle routes, caused tons of tension and skirmishes – something the early game desperately needed, provided additional control and objective control gameplay, and was freaking cute as hell.

On the flip side we aired way too high on the power level of Juggernauts in combination of PBE feedback and with the our expectation that the additional playstyle changes would take a lot longer for players to pick up and adapt to.

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You shouldnt have to use bans for Champions with high winrate

FeralPony Final PortraitI pretty strongly disagree with this statement. The banning phase is exactly used for champions people feel are stronger than average. No champion currently has anything resembling a 64% winrate.

The top 10 bans currently in the game are Darius, Garen, Yasuo, Fiora, Kindred, Mordekaiser, Zed, Riven, Katarina, and Blitzcrank who have ~50%,52%,51%,51%,47%,50%,48%,51%,49%,52% win rates respectively. These numbers are not the end-all-be all statistic or the only thing we care about but the reality of the data is crazy far off from 64% you mention. These will of course fluctuate a little based off ELO, role/lane, and experience rate etc, but not substantially.

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Will Teemo be a part of your Marksman update

Teemo Single Banner

Riot Time Wizard Final PortraitTeemo isn’t currently a part of any marksman updates, so I think someone was trolling you. There’s discussion about doing some changes of VARYING scopes on the others that you’ve mentioned. Distinguishing play patterns is part of the aim for updating marksmen, so there’s definitely some work being done to enhance that. You’ll have to wait for more exact details, but not very long!


Yes, we have tempered our approach to the marksman update with our learnings from the juggernauts. As you say, pre-season will definitely shake things up, but that doesn’t mean we want to repeat any of the frustrations that we introduced with the juggernauts. We’re still being ambitious and creative while trying not to aim for raw power as a means of attaining viability. The marksman update in conjunction with all of the pre-season changes will likely cause a significant shift in a way that we’re working hard to make fun and refreshing.

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How often do you request a rework when balancing is too hard to do

Riot Time Wizard Final PortraitHmm. Lucian is a good example for me. That dude was just in every pro game for the better part of a year, so we actually sat down and did a mini-rework of him (Attack Range, E changes being pretty major here). There’s definitely some kits that you’ve seen us struggle with balancing in the past year or so that may be solved with some small tweaks, or may need some broader updates (Ryze, Azir, Kalista being decent examples).

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Do you playtest minor stat changes or do you just rely on spreadsheets

Riot Jag Final PortraitFor something like that we rely more on past experience, since we’ve seen what kind of power change a nerf like that has had on ADCs before (for example, Twitch got -3 AD last year and we could use that as a reference point for the Vayne nerf).

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Do you recall making small changes that ended up breaking Champions

Riot Jag Final PortraitI definitely didn’t see mid Ezreal coming when I was doing Runeglaive. 😛

I did the Nautilus changes at the beginning of this year, and I knew that he would feel more versatile as a champion, but I didn’t anticipate him being so powerful in the support role.

Most of these surprises were pretty cool though.

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Do youve any plans for Aatrox

Riot Time Wizard Final PortraitA-atrox is a pretty cool guy. We were actually just talking about him this morning. We don’t have any specific plans, though he will definitely be affected along with everyone else with the pre-season. What sort of things do you like about him? Also, have you considered his synergy with Kindred?? ;0

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

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When is Magic Resist per level Used Banner



[ Question ] Why do some tanky Champions not gain Magic Resist-per-level? (example, Shen and Maokai)


SmashGizmo Riotlink Button SmashGizmo: Currently, there are 7 Melee characters in our game without MR/level: Kassadin, Kayle, Maokai, Poppy, Shen, Singed, Yasuo.

I can tell you the general thought process behind why we consciously have omitted MR/level on Kassadin and Yasuo, and I can wager some guesses that I’m nearly sure are right for why they were left out on all the others as well.

Kassadin’s passive provides passive defense versus Magic damage. While it’s not terribly interesting, it is still more interesting than a base stat, so basically any power budget we could spend on making this guy better vs. Magic Damage is better spent on the passive than on base stats.

Yasuo’s passive is mostly meant as an anti-burst mechanic to prevent him from getting gibbed by mages. Again, the passive’s purpose was already aimed at solving the character’s needs in terms of mitigating the damage mages do, so any power we could’ve given him on this axis is once again more interesting being spent on his passive than on base stats.

I’m guessing Maokai was not originally given MR/level because his ult is such a potentially strong mitigation tool vs. Mage AoE. He was also made in an older time where a larger % of the tanks didn’t have MRes/level (most fighter tanks weren’t around and of the original tanks, many of them had no MRes/level at the time).

Kayle almost certainly doesn’t have it because she is functionally ranged most of the time.

Poppy probably doesn’t have it once again because of the passive’s ability to mitigate burst damage.

Singed likely doesn’t have it because of the insane amount he gets from his ultimate, so that mages can actually feel effective vs. him when his long duration ultimate isn’t active.

Shen likely doesn’t have it because of the precedence set by early tanks and also because his W is a strong anti-burst mitigation tool.

Now I know this all sounds kinda silly because you can point out a lot of similar abilities on other characters who do have MR/level and the whole thing starts to just sound arbitrary. And there is some truth in that; the decision isn’t totally arbitrary since all of these character have other tools in place to service their defensive needs, but they just as easy could have MRes/level and be balanced around that as not.

When looking at these guys and working on buffing/nerfing them though, it feels like a cheap and easy way to give them a power buff by just tacking MRes/level, but it’s not always the right answer. Take the Maokai changes I’ve been working on this patch. It would be very easy to just inject power into the character by adding MR/level, but at the end of the day what this change says is that the character is currently working in a healthy and satisfying way but just needs some raw power against mages to succeed. And in some cases, that might be spot on, but on Maokai that just didn’t seem like the right approach. Theoretically, there’s only so much you can buff a character before they become imbalanced, so it’s most interesting and exciting when you can spend your buff budget on impactful actions that the player is making rather than increasing their stat line.

So all in all, I will agree with the sentiment here that our MRes base stat system feels kinda arbitrary, but when working on a character by character basis, we frequently forego just adding the MRes/level to them so that we can try to give that same amount of power to them in a more satisfying and/or interesting way. Hope that helps understand it.



Phreak Riotlink Button Phreak: To be honest, it’s pretty inconsistent.

There are two main reasons I’ve seen:

  1. This champion is a tank. They will buy durability itemization anyway, and they aren’t hurting for gold. This applies to champions like Shen pretty well. Of course there are a million who still do, but we generally seem to want “Fighters” to have some innate tankiness.
  2. Sometimes we give champions really weak base stats to make their abilities or item buys more powerful, and just balance around ratios, etc. Nautilus falls under this category (stupidly slow, bad base stats, P/Q/W/R are crazy)



Traditional skin for post-vu Caitlyn Banner

Following the recent talk of Caitlyn’s VU, players are asking if her original looks will be preserved in a traditional skin (like Karma, for example).


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[ Question ] When the VU does come will it be different enough to warrant doing a traditional skin?


IronStylus Riotlink Button IronStylus: There are differing views on this. 

Initially I thought we might be able to just replace her base and be done with it, then I ran an experiment.

I worked on a concept for her for fun last year, just for the hell of it. It stemmed from a paint-over I did over her in-game model quite a while ago for some style guide exploration. I messed around with removing the dress and giving her pants actually. It was sorta cool. I left the upper part of her body in tact to an extent, mainly just updating the style of the clothing. So she sort of had a bullet-proof corset/bustier thing as well as exposed shoulders with long gloves and also updated the hat. Fine enough, I guess. 

Later I tried doing a front-on concept with this paint over in mind. I did the same design, leaving the shoulders and upper chest exposed. I gave her sort of a half-coat that had short sleeves. Kept the pants, but let the coat replace the silhouette for skirt. It seemed to work fairly well.

Only problem was the exposed skin. The more I tried to update her fashion, add functionality, and tell the story of her being a sheriff, the more the exposed skin just didn’t make sense. Honestly it just looked awkward, like I was exposing skin for exposing skin’s sake. 

I had made a conscious decision to a) make her feel like the sheriff of a major faction, b) make her stylistically fit in with Vi, Jayce and Jinx, and c) give functionality to her gun, hat, clothing, etc to reinforce those themes, while also trying to make her feel distinctly Caitlyn.

So, I started filling in the holes. I threw out everything in my head that I knew of Caitlyn in terms of what she was and looked at things from the perspective of designing a new character. Given all that above info, what would I design? I could hit those notes of feeling representative of Piltover. I could match her with existing characters. I could make her gear work. Even if someone gave me the ambiguous instruction of “make her feel distinct”, there were things I could do. Hell, the hat, gun and fashionable silhouette are the most distinct reads she has, so leveraging those pretty much sums up the path I should take.

So I executed on that. I designed what I felt a one-sheet on her should describe. Sheriff, part of a specific cast of characters, iconic of a specific city-state. 

I got a lot of positive feedback on it. That’s not to say it was, or will be the final word, but people who did approach me said that it achieved the things they wanted Caitlyn to be without sacrificing what made her, her. Now by no means does that say the job of a potential VU concept for her is done. A few other people had differing notes of feedback, which I totally understood, and wanted to take a crack at addressing in any further exploration. 

The concept did change my mind though considering a traditional skin. I didn’t feel as though I could completely replicate everything about Caitlyn. I updated her, I made her more cohesive, but I didn’t 1-for-1 things. That’s the inherent rub of the job. By the results of exploring the concept, I felt as though I couldn’t necessarily have my cake and eat it too (no pun intended). I couldn’t completely capture the feeling of the incongruous charm despite getting a warm reception by other artists who took a look at it. But that’s the thing. Caitlyn isn’t consistent with what the other cast members have set up at the moment, and if our goal is to introduce some consistency, then I probably couldn’t keep a lot of those contrasts. I could objectively make something cool, but it might not address what charm may or may not be lost in the eyes of enthusiasts. 

So there’s the cost-benefit. Remove some of the incongruity, loose some of the charm. That has to be analysed to see if it’s worth it. My feeling is that what I did was a big enough of a departure to warrant a traditional skin. However, some people disagreed. They felt the concept I did was a fine replacement. I currently don’t feel that way. 

So, given my experience, I would ere on the side of including a traditional skin, but I am in no way sure that if she ever does get a VU that we’d make one. Right now she’s on the radar but nothing is planned. Maybe she’ll get overhauled, maybe not. We’ll see. My personal feeling is that I’d like to see a traditional skin. 

But maybe that’s just me trying to have my cake-trap and eat it too.



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[ Question ] Is Xelnath still working on Yorick’s rework?


Xelnath Riotlink Button Xelnath: I am not on reworks at the moment. After discussion, Yorick got moved down the list, relative to Sion and another bloke who will get confirmed sometime after Sion.



[ Question ] What determines if a Champion is on the “high priority” rework list?


Xelnath Riotlink Button Xelnath: I’m afraid I don’t have access to the list, but in general:

* How badly is the design impacting players
* How appealing could this character be if rebuilt well
* How many months of development will need to be invested in new art



[ Question ] Can we have a system where players select their intended hero/role during the draft? 


Xelnath Riotlink Button Xelnath: This isn’t a bad idea. I believe Lyte wants to take a deeper look at the ranked/draft overall though, so I can’t speak to his exact desires.



[ Announcement ] Skin concept art team Q&A


Tamat Riotlink Button Tamat: THE DOORS HAVE OPENED!


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


News Update June 21 Second Banner


Red Post Collection

Single Posts – Darius Rework, Sona, Sion, Headhunter Caitlyn & Much More


Recent News

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Direction for Caitlyn’s Visual Update Banner

Caitlyn’s slated for a visual update and how her design would shift is still being discussed.

[ Question ] Will Caitlyn still be a sexy sniper woman after her VU?

Riot Paddo Button Rioter Riot Paddo: I have nothing to do with a VU but besides her officer skin when I think of Cait I don’t see her as a super sexualized champion comparatively to the rest of the female cast. Most of her skins she is pretty covered up not showing a lot of cleavage and at most she just wears a lot of short shorts and skirts.

Does this image work for capturing Caitlyn’s personality?

Caitlyn Redesign

IronStylus Riotlink Button IronStylus: I may or may not have this image in my reference file for an eventual or non-eventual VU.



[ Follow-up ] Caitlyn’s design

IronStylus Riotlink Button IronStylus: Let’s get slightly less cryptic. I’ll try for at least an 8/10.

There’s a fine line where any champion update is concerned. Yep, that hat is goofy. It’s straight outta Willy Wonka. Egads, that dress, what is she, a ballerina? WHY ALL THE BELTS, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, THE BELTS. However, despite all that inconsistency, there’s charm. I’m coining a term, right here, right now. “Incongruity charm”. The positive emotional responses derived from particular visual aspect of a character that despite making no logical or stylistic sense allows a character to be a) recognized distinctly and b) creates uniqueness. 

That’s what we don’t want to kill, the distinct recognizably and uniqueness of a champion. We want to find a way to make some of that contrast actually consistent without dismantling the character. For me, that means keeping particular reads of a character. It might mean ditching the tutu, but it might mean giving her a long/half coat that creates a similar silhouette. It might mean keeping a hat that’s to a certain extent over-sized, but give it a reason for it to be a little unusual, whether that be by adding functionality, adding fashion or creating story.

For Caitlyn all of the above apply in terms of a solution, I feel. We can turn that hat into something that has functionality that Piltover gadgetry is known for, we can make it something that feels integrated into her fashion persona and we can allow it to be a marker of her story as a member of law enforcement. 

I actually see Caitlyn being able to get a way with high-fashion garb. I wouldn’t yank it right from Victorian London, but I would want to bring it in line with what Piltover is manifesting as in newer characters. That style is more evident and unified in Vi and Jayce. I think it’s only appropriate that Caitlyn follows a similar progression. Making sure that charm is intact but dialing back on some of the incongruity.

[ Opinion ] The above concept just doesn’t fit Caitlyn. It’s too much steampunk, not enough wackiness

IronStylus Riotlink Button IronStylus: It’s not so much about execution nor literal translation of this art. When embarking on any character, a new champion or a VU, I gather reference. I gather a LOT of reference. Sometimes it’s photo reference, sometimes other artist’s reference. It’s reference for design, style, technical execution, etc. This piece happens to be among my reference as is has something to contribute to the conversation. Not necessarily at face value, or from a polish standpoint, but because it’s a player’s interpretation and they’ve let me see the champion through their eyes. I find that extremely valuable.

PBE Changes to Maokai Explained Banner

Maokai got a major overhaul in today’s PBE patch. How will these changes affect his gameplay?

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Clarity on PBE changes

SmashGizmo Button Rioter SmashGizmo: Couple of notes here on the Maokai changes that aren’t immediately apparent from looking at the tooltips on PBE.

W no longer has a cast time, essentially this makes it easier for him to reactively use this ability for either the fast snare or to duck a spell with the untargetability.

Sapling movespeed starts lower at 450, but now scales with Maokai’s movespeed, this is why we had to hit the damage on the skill, the damage is more reliable throughout the game and thus the 460 total base damage was a bit whacky.

What’s with the changes to Twisted Advance [ W ] ?

SmashGizmo Button Rioter SmashGizmo: Totally get this confusion and I’ll do my best to clarify how we got to where we currently are on the W changes.

Essentially the start of the changes to the character were centered around the ult and making it more usable and the initial proposal for ult change was a slightly less polished version of the change you see on PBE today. We liked most of what we saw with this version of the ult, but it left a fundamental flaw in the character where he had an ultimate that made him want to stick by and protect his teammates that was constantly at odds with the 650 range snare dash that screamed “initiate on the opposing backline.” The two mechanics didn’t make sense together, so we set out to re-focus the W around shorter range, but faster teamfight positioning that was most effective vs. the opposing front line to keep Maokai closer to his allies. This is also the reason why the damage paradigm shifted from flat damage to % damage; we wanted Maokai’s W to be more target agnostic so that you can feel good about W’ing to that opposing Vi rather than always feeling compelled to dive the opposing squishies.

The results of these changes have been pretty promising in playtests. Maokai still has decent ability to start fights by opening with Sapling slow to make up the extra range lost on the W, but it doesn’t feel quite as inevitible and frustrating when playing against, and meanwhile Maokai gets to feel much better about using the W to get in useful positions for protecting other members of his team. I want to continue to monitor this and test my assumptions about how this is playing out on PBE, but as I said, thus far I’ve been pleased with the result that this change has on it’s kit alongside the other changes that support it (the E for giving him some reach in ganks/initiation scenarios and the R for preferable teamfight positioning).

Hope this helps you understand where we’re coming from on this!

[ Question ] Will you also make the items for tanky junglers better?

SmashGizmo Button Rioter SmashGizmo: Yes, as we’ve said in the forecast, itemization is also being looked at and improved for Tank Junglers this patch, which involves some changes that I won’t go into on the Golem line since we’re still hashing out some of the details before sharing them with yall. Still not sure when they’ll be ready for PBE, but I can tell you that the benefits that tanks are seeing from these changes in internal playtests have been very promising.

[ Question ] How will these changes affect AP Maokai?

SmashGizmo Button Rioter SmashGizmo: Hard for me to tell what exactly it does for AP Mao. Q is essentially unchanged for AP Mao. W is better as a 1 pointer due to the base damage scaling naturally with game time, but the AP ratio doesn’t catch up to live until the target hits 2K HP, sooooo kinda tough to tell?

E retains it’s high ratio, but takes a base damage hit, BUT also gets extra movespeed off your movespeed and slows the opponents, so his poke game becomes more reliable, but less punishing in terms of damage.

Ult is probably strictly buffed for AP Mao since now he can follow his target to nuke them with it.

I think it’s a small net positive for the AP build, but enough parts are moving around for him and we’ve gotten pretty limited testing on it since it is an off-build, so I can’t really say with confidence where it all puts him. It’s a neat little off-build though, and I’d love for it to still be as effect as it is now, so I’ll be keeping an eye on how AP Maokais perform with these changes and adjust ratios around for him if he’s struggling compared to the current power (or if by some chance I’m missing something and he goes crazy with it :p).

Curse voice still banned Banner

Curse Voice is still forbidden! Why?! (I can’t think of a better summary, I don’t know why it’s still banned).

My thoughts on Curse Voice



Riot Sargonas Button Rioter Riot Sargonas: Hey guys, I just wanted to pop in here. It is NOT ok to use Curse Voice yet. Yes they removed timers, but there are still other concerns we had outlined in our original statement regarding voice chat and overlays. (timers were only 1 of three issues we had with the application at that time.) We’re working closely with Curse to help them make changes that will fit within the guidelines of our ecosystem, so hopefully in the future it will be in the clear once more, as we DO want this to work out well for everyone. However, at this time nothing has changed since our last posting about the issue a few weeks ago.

Why Curse Voice is against Riot policies

Riot Sargonas Button Rioter Riot Sargonas: Since this is a hot topic again, let me outline some clarity on why programs like Curse Voice, Razer Comms, and others are considered against our policies. 

We do not have an issue with people using voice chat, per-say. Skype, Ventrilo, Teamspeak, we know these things are used regularly and that’s fine. Our concerns are when programs interact with the game (during the champion select lobby experience for example) and prompt you with overlays that say “Hey, people on your team are running XYZ software. Click here to chat with them.” That’s where our concerns come in as this is doing several things, including breaking the “should not interfere with the player experience from Play to End of Match Screen”.

I also want to point out you’re perfectly fine to have curse voice installed and use it with other games, we wont ding you for simply having it. We’re even working with them to hopefully find a solution where everyone, especially the players, win.

[ Off-topic ] Why are you working on voice chatting instead of fixing drophacks?

Phreak Button Rioter Phreak: I can promise you that the network engineers are not the ones handling Riot-Developer relations, or detailing Third-Party-Programs rulings.

[ Question ] Why not add your own voice chat option to the game?

Riot Sargonas Button Rioter Riot Sargonas: Adding our own is something we are researching. Not saying we definitely will, or wont, but we are sincerely taking the community sentiment into consideration and investigating possibilities. What may come of that, who knows.. but it’s not something we’ve closed the book on.

Update on Soraka's Rework Banner

How is Soraka’s rework coming along? Game designer Vesh has some thoughts to share with the community on Soraka’s healer theme. 

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My ideas for Soraka


[ Question ] Is it true Morello doesn’t want Soraka to be a healer?

Vesh Button Rioter Vesh: Actually, Morello has been the one who has really been driving the vision of her remaining as a healer above all other things, at any cost.

pls nobody tell him i told u dis. it would ruin his reputation of hating healerz


[ Follow-up ] So Soraka will remain a dedicated healer?

Vesh Button Rioter Vesh: That’s the goal . We sat down and said “what would we be willing to sacrifice to make Soraka the best healer we can” and we decided the answer was everything (if we had to).



[ Question ] How do you balance a healer to not stay back and just heal everyone from safety?

Vesh Button Rioter Vesh: This is absolutely the biggest risk with a healing champion. Heals undermine action and make it feel pointless to engage with the enemy. One way we are looking at solving this is the idea of the “infuse healer” who martyrs herself by giving up her health to an ally. Ideally, she has some interactive way to regenerate her health if she is successful (for instance, some form of offensive spell with adequate counterplay). If you make the healer more at risk as they heal (by making them at lower and lower health) then the “kill the healer” gameplay becomes much more realizable.

[ Question ] Will she have both health and mana costs?

Vesh Button Rioter Vesh: It would probably also need a mana cost to make Soraka not feel bad about buying all the mana items that we push supports towards. I’ll be able to talk more about what is working and what types of things we’re trying as we build more confidence in the direction. Right now we are really just exploring whether this healing pattern can work and feel fair and impactful for both teams.

[ Question ] Will you keep Starcall unchanged?

Vesh Button Rioter Vesh: Starcall is literally just a stat-check. It also tells Soraka to build tanky and stand in the middle of the fight. These things directly conflict with the goals of making an interactive character who can also be a best-in-class healer as her unique support niche.

[ Question ] Why not add risk to healing by making Soraka’s heal melee-ranged?

Vesh Button Rioter Vesh: Haha, don’t want to talk about specifics too much while we are still uncofident, but that’s literally the change I made for this week’s testing. It solves that problem to some degree but feels realllly bad as Soraka when people are over walls or running from you and you can’t help them. (trying a new passive that might help with this though)

[ Opinion ] Soraka’s pushing strengths are a big part of her niche in lane

Vesh Button Rioter Vesh: Didn’t say she wouldn’t still have that aspect. The auto-target starcall that just hits stuff for damage can’t stay though. Can still find ways to preserve the pushing aspect without sacrificing interactive gameplay.

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New theme for Baron’s pit

[ Update ] More ideas for Diana

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gypsylord Button Rioter Gypsylord: Hey guys,

Thanks a ton for all the feedback. Am reading through the whole thread.

Again, it’s unlikely these changes will happen. I’m just spitballing with you guys to better understand Diana’s identity and what could be done with her.

Some general trends I’m picking up:
Assassin pattern would be missed.
What’s a “fighter” anyways and how does that help define a champ’s identity?
R damage spike at 6 would be important to laning and sorely missed.
Maybe switch R and E?
If she doesn’t just kill a guy how does she survive in a fight?

Will try to respond to some of this stuff later this evening when I get more time. Gotta get back to work on next champ D:

[ Question ] How are Sona and Sion’s reworks coming alone?

MeddlerButton Rioter Meddler: Actively in progress is about all I can say at the moment. For Sona timing’s going to depend on availability of art support once possible design changes are locked down. Sion on the other hand’s a really large job (same amount of work as a new champion in many regards, but with more skins) so he’s coming along well but a mammoth project.

[ Follow-up ] Sona rework

MeddlerButton Rioter Meddler: We’re investigating ways to address some issues with her auras at the moment (how can we can that power more appreciable, get some additional skill differentiation). Some more details/discussion here.

[ Update ] Darius Rework

morello Button Rioter Morello: These are very specific and not ready to talk in detail about those (I always think the details are pretty mutable anyhow!). But I can answer a few queastions:

  • What about bleed damage? I think Bleed Damage should be rewarded more in the skill damage ramp than the bleeds. Maybe at higher levels is could go up over the current amount, but I’d imagine the bleed damage itself wouldn’t be seeing huge increases.

  • Will he get tankiness? In this Darius model, he actually needs to be very tanky – agreed. We’re requiring him to spend more time in combat to score kills, so more tankiness is required to get him to be able to do that. Some of this would be itemization, some maybe in skills, or base stats.

  • His kiting issue will NOT be addressed – on purpose. This version of Darius would eventually win any long fight. The key play to deal with Darius is to peel him and keep him off you. I think being kitable is a fine weakness, and there’s quite a few champs with moveblocks who can be played for those players who hate being kited 🙂

Does this help?

Thoughts on Headhunter Caitlyn’s looks

My criticism of Headhunter Caitlyn


Riot Whist Button Rioter Riot Whist: Headhunter Cait is just the headhunter line (which is heavily predator inspired) and is not made to be a future-tech skin.

This doesn’t close the door to a future/mecha/battlecast/pulsefire/whatever kind of skin at all. I’d love to work on a future tech Caitlyn skin, though I’d prefer to wait until after her VU.

Also in defense of cleavage/miniskirt…
That’s Cait. Take a peek at the base model, big boobs and a miniskirt. You’re noticing her boobs more probably because the texture work is better and they look like boobs, not a shelf. Part of the task of Skins team is to make sure skins still look like the base champion. We are looking into addressing some of the concerns though.

A lot of the complaints about the skin seem more like a discussion about Cait as a character and would fit more into a VU discussion. We here at Riot all agree (at least those I’ve spoken with) that a Sheriff probably shouldn’t have a miniskirt.


[ Question ] Will we have a better explosion animation for the Nexus when the game is over?

RiotForScienceButton Rioter RiotForScience: Yup I can though I am certain that the end-of-game-ceremony is stilll work-in-progress

[ Update ] Indicators for Blue/Red buffs on Summoner’s Rift

Button Rioter Les Nomerables: We’ll be creating new ones later in the process 🙂

Riot Games paying employees to quit

Link to announcement (scroll a bit down).

Riot WhistButton Rioter Riot Whist: I expect utilizing this program to be a fairly rare thing thing as stated we are very careful with hires.

This is something other companies like google and amazon have done for years now. It’s a win for both sides, we don’t have new employees who aren’t enjoying their job not giving it their all, and they don’t have to hang around at a job they don’t like.

Riot’s an amazing place to work for a lot of people, but that doesn’t mean it’s for everybody.

We aren’t paying people to leave, Riot doesn’t initiate this. The new hire is the one who decides to leave and get money for it.

[ Follow-up ]

Riot WhistButton Rioter Riot Whist: It’s only for new hires in their first 60 days. If they’re doing a terrible job, we will let them go with no pay if need be (though I doubt we’d ever consider firing in the first 60 days and they’d have adequate warning they need to up their game first). It’s up to THEM to decide if they want to leave.

I don’t know where this elaborate sketchy scheme came about, but Riot would not do this. No sane company would do this.
If you aren’t working out with the company we let you go. There’s no “hey you’re going to get fired in a few months”. That would be a really dumb move.

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

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Why Pantheon was Reworked

A post popped up on the PBE community forums explaining the recent changes to Pantheon.



SmashGizmo Button Rioter SmashGizmo: Hey guys, SmashGizmo here to give some more context and details on the Pantheon changes you’ve already seen on the PBE today.

Pantheon’s one of the biggest benefactors we’ve seen from the recent spirit stone changes, and while we don’t innately dislike him as a jungler, we would like to both add some options for his opponents against his ganks and smooth out his historically lopsided power curve a bit.

The current changelist that’s on PBE is still very fresh and subject to tuning before it hits live, but here is the current full list of changes:


Aegis_ProtectionAegis Protection [ Passive ]

  • Now will block the attack of any siege minion or large jungle monster instead of a damage value based on his character level


Aegis_of_ZeoniaAegis of Zeonia [ W ]

  • Stun duration changed from 1 second at all ranks to 0.5/0.75/1/1.25/1.5


Grand_SkyfallGrand Skyfall [ R ]

  • Channel time reduced from 2 seconds to 0.5
  • Landing time (after circle appears) increased from 1.5 seconds to 2
  • Cast range reduced from 5500 at all ranks to 2000/2500/3000
  • Cooldown reduced from 150/135/120 seconds to 150/125/100


The passive changes are a straightforward modernization of the ability to make it reliably block the minions and monsters that Pantheon wants it to block.

W’s changes are aimed at power curve adjustment and I will be monitoring how much this makes his early ganks less brutal to weigh the gains vs. pain to Pantheon players.

R’s changes are a bit larger in scope and are trying to address a wider breadth of problems. The range reduction is there to allow opponents to ward more effectively versus jungle Pantheon, while the landing time increase is there to give opponents more time to react to an incoming Pantheon gank. The two together may be hurting Pantheon’s level 6 ganks too much, but I tend to go overboard with my initial changes and then tone it back with iterations when I get a better sense of what changes are actually accomplishing. The channel time reduction, on the other hand, is aimed at addressing Pantheon’s ult usability in teamfights and skirmishes. I’m hoping that this will give Pantheon some stronger options when using his ult more reactively, such as being able to escape dicey situations in enemy territory or quickly repositioning mid-teamfight. With this larger emphasis on mid-fight usability from his ult, I also wanted to reduce the late game cooldown so that he will realistically have it as a play making tool in almost every late game fight.

Just to reiterate, these changes are hot off the presses and are subject to go through some iteration before they hit live, but I didn’t want to leave you guys hanging without any context and missing pieces of the changelist.



Gragas rework

Gragas has been dominating in competitive play and Solo Queue and is being taken down a notch. Not your usual nerfs this time – we get a full rework! (for better or worse)



Solcrushed Button Rioter Solcrushed: Hey Summoners,

Although Gragas in his inception was designed as an AP brawler mixing it up with the enemy, he has historically been played as a mid AP nuke/poker. While we were fine with this, the recent resurgence of Gragas as a top pick has brought to our attention the problems inherent in this playstyle.

Gragas currently possesses strengths of long range burst, tankiness and disengage- carried by AP ratios on Q and R being so high that they will effectively two-shot you. This combination of strengths do not make much sense (why do you need tankiness if you are a sniper? Etc.) and are unhealthy for the game.

However, since Gragas was never designed as a sniper, he does not have enough tools he needs to be a valued pick if he is not two-shotting people. Therefore, just nerfing his current damage numbers will ‘Olaf’ him (his win rates are already super low for most players). When we looked at Gragas as a character, it made much more sense to retain the tankiness while hitting the long range burst damage and grant him the tools to succeed while being in the thick of the fight, rather than turn him into a fragile long range sniper, hence the rework. We are attempting to reposition Gragas as more of a bruiser/tank that better reflects the fantasy of being a large drunk dude who gives no @#[email protected] while ramming into people.

The direction of the important changes are below, along with the points of feedback (both playing as and against) I am mainly looking for!


Barrel_RollBarrel Roll [ Q ]

  • Damage reduced
  • Now slows Movement Speed instead of Attack Speed
  • Now deals more damage and slows for more as the barrel sits out


This lowers his effectiveness as a poke mage (since no one will be standing in the barrel radius for any amount of time) and gives more incentive to ‘combo’ his spells to knock people into a barrel.

The coolest play Gragas makes is when he uses Explosive Cask to knock the enemy into a Barrel that has been sitting outside and we wanted to incentivize that. The new effect on Body Slam will also synergize with this ability.

Feedback Point

Do you feel that this ability gives enough payoff for hitting the charged barrel?
Is his prowess as a poke mage too strong for how much cc he brings?


Drunken_RageDrunken Rage [ W ]

  • Much lower CD and duration, grants a one time hit bonus instead of AD.
  • Gragas can also move while drinking.
  • No longer restores mana.


The current Drunken Rage is a very dull spell that is simply a chore to upkeep. There are almost no cases where Gragas engages without this buff and there is very sparse gameplay associated with the trigger or the effect.

The new iteration hopes to create a more windowed effect to his DR and damage so there is richer play and counterplay. Also a Gragas who is drinking more often is a more awesome Gragas.

Feedback Point

Does the spell grant appropriate defenses to allow Gragas to function in melee?
Is there a pronounced success/failure case when Gragas uses his W at the right time?


Body_SlamBody Slam [ E ]

  • Now stuns and slightly knocks enemies back instead of slowing them.


We have moved some power from Barrel Roll to Body Slam to give him the tools be valuable without needing to deal tons of damage. Gragas should be able to function as a mid-teamfight brawler that acts like a brick wall for enemies trying to get past him and gum up the fight.

Feedback Point

Does the spell offer a good enough incentive for you to duke it out in melee?


Explosive_CaskExplosive Cask [ R ]

  • Deals less damage


Explosive Cask is already an awesome ability that requires mastery to use to full potential with amazing payoffs. However, currently it deals too much damage that dilutes its own strengths (You don’t care about where you knock the enemy if he just dies from the explosion).

We wanted the spell to be focused on its cool and unique strength – a huge radius ranged knockback.




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Why Olaf was changed



The discussion from yesterday continues! Find out the reasoning for Riot’s decision to rework Riot and some helpful suggestions from the community.



[Whisla] Olaf was fine and just needed number-tweaking to remain viable


morello Button Rioter Morello: The problem is that this assertion is not informed, because “fine” is from a playing-as standpoint.

Olaf was fun to play as, for sure. If you were great (Plat+ with him), there were no actions you could take to stop him. He wasn’t just a freight train, but one that can’t be stopped!

Couple this with the fact that if you didn’t play Olaf exactly that way, he was really bad. So nerfing him would make him terrible for most of our players, while buffing him would have had him running complete roughshot over competitive. Zed’s a pretty big problem right now, and this hypothetical Olaf would laugh him out of the game of “who can’t you do anything about”? 😛

So, the choices were:

1) Leave Olaf marginalized and weak (OK, that’s bad)
2) Fix Olaf knowing we’d have to take away “I do all the things” from him.

In these cases, we like to choose 2 so you can actually be successful with the champion.



[UATderpyderp] Why the new Olaf feels counter-intuitive


I’ve extensively tried him through the jungle (Not top, I don’t top)I’m going to be as concise as possible, and if you want me to elaborate, then just say so, otherwise I’m not wasting time again so that my post can be ignored, and in before hand I’m sorry if I’m sounding like a jerk, but you just made me stop playing the champion that I’ve loved and used for the past 2 years or so.1)Q Minimum range should be decreased, slightly. I used to move around jungle when Qing, pre-rework, however right now the distance is excessive and I’m wasting considerably more time moving around. Also, with decreased slow time, it’s like slow fading mechanic was never removed, it still doesn’t work to close the gap, try increasing to a minimum of 1.5 secs.2)Attack speed on W needs to either get removed altogether in exchange for something else, or reduced, and W buffed in some other way. (Suggestion: Increased penetration per hit when active, Black cleaver style, but only applies for Olaf) Also, using Q should apply this effect.

3)AD scaling ratio on E should be increased, while the CDR on hit reduced to 0.5 seconds per hit to compensate for the change above, and to move away from the idea that Olaf should hit 2.5 AS since he has no way to actually stick to targets reliably, which means that he won’t stay in auto range for long.

To wrap up those 3 suggestions: He has no synergy in his kit, You either use W in the jungle, or use Q, if you use both you waste your ridiculous steroid from the W while running around to retrieve axes, it feels AWFUL to be punished because you were taking advantage of your blue buff and spamming your spells.

Final point: Ulting feels terribad, you’ve been worrying a lot for the Olaf’s enemies feelings, perhaps it’s time now to start worrying for the Olaf’s players feelings.
I went into a duel with a tryndamere early (post 6, he had no ult though) I had double buff, he didn’t. at first I thought I had the advantage on him, then he finishes building his rage bar and starts hitting me like a truck. I stood there, using my my three skills, and.. I died eventually.

There shouldn’t be anything surprising about this, except for the fact that I was thinking since the beginning of the duel “Should I ult?” then I got to half HP and I was still thinking about it, then 1/4, still undecided, then I died. And I still haven’t figured it out… Tell me Smash, should I have ulted?
The only question a player should be asking himself about his ULTIMATE ability should be “Would this be overkill? Is it necessary at all?”. Because at no point I felt the ultimate would give me an edge at all, Even when soling baron (Which is one of the things your newly made Olaf can do now) I didn’t ever feel like ulting. It’s become nothing more than a glorified cleanse.

I suggested that it should just add flat damage reduction (like it was long ago) so that bursting is an option, but you didn’t seem to like it. If you’re going to make it feel so bad to use, then just rework it to “Olaf gains 90% tenacity for the duration” and give it something else that actually makes you feel powerful while ulted.





  • There is no synergy between W and Q while in the jungle – moving due to the minimum throw range of axes wastes Olaf’s steroid. This is especially bad with blue buff
  • Olaf’s E should have its CD reduced by 0.5 seconds per auto-attack, because he has no reliable method of sticking to a target
  • Using Olaf’s ultimate feels vastly underwhelming, especially in duels and remains a glorified Cleanse



morelloButton Rioter Morello: I think these tuning suggestions are interesting – I’d be interested to see Smash’s thoughts on how that will effect Olaf.

As for the ult, I think this is a clear case that people don’t like kiss/curse mechanics. I think it’s tough with an ult like this on a character like this. There will have to be a tradeoff to make that a decision of some kind, but I can see the evaluation not always being clear. There’s no way you just get to ignore all CC and have bonus stats is a skill.


Follow-ups to Quote:



Undertow (Q)


SmashGizmo Button Rioter SmashGizmo: The first is that the min distance is a bit too far and that it’s hard to play with it in the jungle. I think this is a fair feedback point that I haven’t tuned around enough and I’ll try nudging the range down again.

The second is about the min slow duration and we’re in full agreement here. Olaf needs to stick better to utilize his attacks and I’m looking at both the slow duration and the mana cost to help him out.



Vicious Strikes (W)


SmashGizmo Button Rioter SmashGizmo: We’re going to need to do some talking here. The primary issue I’m seeing with this iteration of the W is that the rank 1 doesn’t feel good and that’s something I’m aiming to address next patch. The AS curve on the ability is just too steep, I personally think it should be 40/50/60/70/80, but that is of course subject to tuning during testing.

As for your suggestion, it reads to me as a ramping threat mechanic to make Olaf feel better about autos, which is something that I’ve tried to accomplish through the E’s tick down. So I guess the questions this raises from me here are:

Is resetting the E just not feeling good enough?


Do auto-attacks need to feel better on their own? (essentially, is resetting the E too deferred a reward to let you feel good about smacking someone with your axes?)



 Reckless Swing (E)


SmashGizmo Button Rioter SmashGizmo: If there’s something off with the E damage, to me it seems to be base, not ratio. My reasoning here is that I think Olaf’s playing too poorly off the back foot right now and I’d rather give him an unconditional buff than one that scales him harder when he gets more gold and levels. That way when you’re getting dunked and need to delay your offensive buys, you still have a decent skill in E rather than feeling like you have a gimped spell until you can afford an offensive item. I’m open to discussion here though, why do you think the ratio is the part of this skill that needs help?



Ragnarok (R)


SmashGizmo Button Rioter SmashGizmo: I dunno man, I’ve been taking a lot of feedback about all the times it sucks to use this ult for months now, but in 1v1 scenarios, it’s pretty clear cut. From a straight cost-analysis perspective, I’ve made sure the offensive stats outweighed the defensive stats considerably (400/800/1200 vs. 1600/2400/3200), the point is to give you so much raw offense that you can feel good about giving up those resists.


SmashGizmo Button Rioter SmashGizmo: The first point here is a convention that was first challenged with Quinn and something that I decided to challenge once again with Olaf. It leads to plenty of bad feelings about using your ult and that sucks, I feel you, but it was the only route I saw working to actually introducing a tactical option to the opposing team against Olaf.

The flat damage reduction directly goes against the pattern I’ve set out with with the ult (if you can’t run, try to focus him), as it is still a form of defense and furthermore punishes multiple sources of damage and damage over time effects disproptionally, while rewarding single massive sources of damage (namely large burst-caster spells and ADC crits). This means that the gameplay that mechanic promotes is for a very targeted expenditure of team resources rather than giving the whole team meaningful actions to take against an ulted Olaf, which is not what I’m going for.

At the end of the day, I’m not sure where we go from here on discussing the ult. It seems to me that you fundamentally disagree with the direction we’ve taken for it.



[Isysar] Isn’t the Metagolem issue a result of you over-tuning Ranged characters?


morelloButton Rioter Morello: I think you’re right that melee is a problem – I posted about this in another thread. Metagolems are results of us trying to make melee usable, and it’s still a problem today – one that needs comprehensive work overall.



[Hidden Dragon] Why is Olaf being reworked instead of Zed, Ahri, Zyra, Orianna, Renekton, etc?


morelloButton Rioter Morello: Worlds are over, so you can imagine what we’re going to be hitting soon 



morelloButton Rioter Morello: Yes, there’s more problems than Olaf. We’re slowly working to add counterplay to a LOT of champs! “There’s another champion without counterplay” isn’t argument, all it does is add to the backlog of work!

I’m still not sure how we can’t fix this with tuning. If he can stick better, he can auto-attack, and then his damage is great. Maybe his stats are off. He at least has to consistently hit skillshots to stick – so we should reward that.



[Herald of Loki] Why is Olaf an issue to you if he’s so easily kiteable and is reliant on his axes?


morelloButton Rioter Morello: Because once Olaf was in melee, he could permaslow you and do crazy damage by spamming Q at his feet. That alone is a problem, you have to admit.

Most people did not do this.



[Herald of Loki] Why are you nerfing the aspects of Olaf which made him fun to play?


morelloButton Rioter Morello: Because in most games, you’re right, this would be fine. You have fun and the enemy dies. Mission accomplished.

The problem is in League, we want you to have real actions you can take to outplay the opponent. As pointed out by lots of people, many fighters lack this, as do some other characters.

The problem was that there are zero valid actions that result in beating old Olaf if he;

1) Understands how you should play Olaf (a good skill)
2) Can do basic League of Legends gameplay (a good skill)

Wait, both of those are good. WHERE IS THE PROBLEM?!

This is the sticking point. Olaf plays his character as designed and is successful, and skills are required to do it. The enemy’s options are;

1) Die
2) Slowly die
3) Moveblock over a wall

And that’s the problem. Once Olaf starts Olafing, he does that and you get to watch him. CC immunity and a truckload of fighter stats will make that result. The CC Immunity point makes Olaf resilient to the primary counterplay for melee – kite or CC and peel. We can discuss the quality of the changes, or the satisfaction of the current kit, but there’s no reasonable argument for why Olaf was “fine as was.”



[Buzzcop] How did you reach the conclusion that Olaf is problematic?


morelloButton Rioter Morello: IIRC, he was about 46% winrate in under 1600, and 56% in over 1800. That spread always causes us to investigate (and LCS alone showed the nutsoness of it)




[A Dying Dream] Suggestion: Double Olaf’s bonus Attack Speed from his Passive while W is active


morelloButton Rioter Morello: Another great potential tuning point – the long CD gives windows, so I agree directionally with what your’e saying.




[Mawsmile] Suggestion: Hitting a Champion with Q grants Olaf a small movement speed bonus


morelloButton Rioter Morello: I tend to think that something that allows him to stick better goes a long way. Smash agrees. I think this is an easy tuning fix that allows us to actually balance Olaf.



[Brent Rambo II] Off-topic: How do I deal with Quinn and Vayne in lane if they constantly keep me at distance and scale harder?


morelloButton Rioter Morello: Stun them, burst them. Marksmen have a core weakness of vulnerability.

You’re comparing things that are unrelated to the Olaf issue.



[Maximum Riven] Follow-up: Aren’t these two a lose-lose situation for all Melee champions during laning?


morelloButton Rioter Morello: I think this is a problem with valid decisions or item choices that allow this, sure. I don’t think we can go “but melee’s bad, so Olaf should have even less interaction points to compensate.”



Community rises against Zyra changes


Zyra Banner

Following yesterday’s heated discussion on possible changes to Zyra, Summoners on the forum defend her current iteration against the evil gaze of NerfMasterSuckTown.



[UnderworldH4des] Won’t the focus on plant DPS completely break Zyra?


morelloButton Rioter Morello: Yep! But I’d rather weaken and risk balance on a champion if it makes the strategic niche and identity more diverse and clear.

EDIT: Again surprised! You guys prefer leaving Zyra alone, we can do that. I’m surprised more people don’t want the plant mage gameplay that would be much more unique.



[Spiritofryu] Isn’t the point of an AP carry to burst targets down quickly?


morelloButton Rioter Morello: AP carry? Who ever said Zyra is that? 😛





[exec3] As her creator, how do you define Zyra’s role?


morelloButton Rioter Morello: A mage who is more utility and sustained focus. I think her burst basically makes her really similar to other AP Burst mages, and waters down her identity.




[Auren] Isn’t Mage a contextual synonym of AP Carry?


morelloButton Rioter Morello: Oh – AP Carry and mage are being used synonymously here. I see the confusion. She is a mage, I define “AP Carry” as primarily damage-focused mage.




[Auren] Follow-up: So Lissandra isn’t considered AP Carry either?


morelloButton Rioter Morello: Yeah – I think they’re more in control mage territory (you pick them for their utility or other functions, not raw damage).




[DeathByWaffle] Suggestion: Nerf Zyra’s base damage and increase her AP ratios (mage Zyra remains viable, support Zyra is less dominant)


morelloButton Rioter Morello: A good way to tune this for sure.





[Diab0Malandro NA] Isn’t support Zyra popular because you’ve nerfed the real Support class to oblivion?


morelloButton Rioter Morello: This is why we’re systemically fixing this in preseason. It’s going to be MADNESS.




dota decoration



[Erronius] LoL lacks variety in viable items


I just want to start off by saying that I really like the way Riot is truly incorporating player feedback into balancing decisions as well as champion reworks, no other company in the world has such an involved relationship with its’ player base -and I for one fully appreciate the fact.

That said, I hope this reaches Morello or another, more involved, developer.

I like the direction balancing has been going; the emphasis on creating counters to problem champions in particular has me with high hopes for the future. While I genuinely agree with most balance changes that have happened in this current season, and I like the focus on balancing specific champions, I feel like a much larger issue isnt being addressed:


In contrast to Dota, I feel that there simply arent nearly as many viable items. There are a lot of what you fellows like to call “niche” items, and a very select set of items that is generally considered the best to build in most situations. The term “niche” in my mind just means “very few situations where said item would be viable, not comparable to primary build items like Infinity edge and thus overall underused and ignored.” I feel like the term “niche” is just a scapegoat for the larger issue: that a good amount of the available item base is very conditional and situational, and the vast majority of champions only have a use for the accepted “best” items.

This brings me to my point: the number of viable items in the game is relatively small. You removed a number of viable items from last season that were problem cases, and introduced a number of items this season that are currently viable. However you also removed a few items that you added this season as well. Overall you removed items to introduce items essentially, which in the end really didn’t increase the number of viable item choices, but simply changed which classes of champions had more viable build paths (fall of the bruiser, rise of the Adc).

I feel that items need to be introduced, items that open up genuinely viable and different build paths, but moreso give more champions a shot at the competetive scene. I feel like so many amazing champion kits are just simply being held back by plain lack of itemization options.

I feel like, more than anything, this is the core issue. Some classes have more options this season, but others have less. I think we need to be giving everyone more options, not simply shifting the power of each class season-to-season as we have been seeing.

morelloButton Rioter Morello: To some extent, I think this needs improvement, but I think our itemization is less focused on the “unique builds” part and more on creating good pacing, progression and some choice.


Now, variety here is good, but we’re only willing to put so much on the table to cause it. Many of the more niche or underpowered items need some help, definitely, but I think we’re not going to try and create an ecosystem where a champion has 6 different, viable builds. I think our item system isn’t optimized for that currently.



[Erronius] Which role itemization do you consider standard?


morelloButton Rioter Morello: I think AP itemization is a better target to shoot for, even if that’s not perfect. It’s closer though, in terms of variety and options than a lot of other roles.

New Comments View

moltovcarrot Button Rioter moltovcarrot: Hey everyone,

Here on the community beta team, we’ve been keeping a close eye on your feedback and are exploring solutions to a number of improvements we would like to make to the community beta platform.

One of the problems we’re focusing on right now is making it easier to track changes and return to discussions you’ve previously engaged in. You may have noticed the new comments tag on certain discussions in the listing view. We are experimenting with building more functionality onto those.

The following is a feature we’re considering adding to the community beta, and I’d love to get your thoughts! Do you think this new view would help you return to discussions and re-engage with comments of interest?




[Xonra] Doesn’t this serve the same function as Reddit?


moltovcarrot Button Rioter moltovcarrot: Hey Xonra! I’m curious if you’ve had a chance to use our Community Beta yet. We are improving it constantly, and would love to add the perspective of folks who aren’t familiar with a voting-sorted, threaded comment system to our feedback as we tweak the system.

Also, though our format shares some similarities with the basics of Reddit, when you dig in, we do many things quite differently. I encourage you to give it a try and let us know what we can do to make it better.




[Supasonic78] Reddit is too cluttered and makes it hard to navigate


moltovcarrot Button Rioter moltovcarrot: Hey Supasonic! I appreciate the feedback. Do you feel the community beta is also cluttered?

We are actively working to make sure information is clear and easy to navigate over there. I’d love to hear your ideas on how to fix those concerns.




[Spitsonkittens] Is this a feature you’re implementing because you’ve been ignoring forumers for so long?


moltovcarrot Button Rioter moltovcarrot: I understand Spits, and I’m sorry you’ve felt neglected. I haven’t been at Riot for 3 years, but since becoming a Rioter it has been my mission to, among other things, design the best community experience I can.

The rest of the community beta team and I, tasked to solve that problem (and it’s a biggie!) decided that trying to hack additional features onto out-of-the-box software was simply not flexible enough to allow us to rapidly experiment based on your feedback and do all the cool things we want to do for you in a way that also scales to the massive size and diversity of our community.

The community beta is an experiment in creating a better way to interact with us and each other. It is rapidly evolving, and we are constantly watching feedback and making adjustments in a way that is simply not possible on this platform. If you feel pain while using the community beta, please join the conversation and help us address your concerns.



[Ryugi Kazamaru] Will this feature destroy the RP community of the forums?


moltovcarrot Button Rioter moltovcarrot: Rest assured, we are keeping a close eye on the needs of RPers and others who will require a different format in order to have specialized types of interactions. We just need to solidify the core of the system first.



What the Community team wants to achieve


Krylhos Button Rioter Krylhos: I want to talk to you guys about vBulletin and discussion quality, since those seem to be the big sticking points. Let me start off by saying I have worked on a slew of vBulletin installations as a developer, including the lovely stack we have here at Riot. I have endured many long nights with that code. vBulletin is a great tool, and it’s worked really well for us for a long time. But we’ve reached a level of community scale where vBulletin is holding us back.

Let me go into the details a bit. As far as I’m aware, you guys have been participating in the largest vBulletin communityin the world. We run vBulletin at a scale that is above and beyond what the architecture was originally created for. In NA alone, we see about 25k posts per day, and about 3k new threads every day (that’s a new post every three seconds) That being said, we’ve made quite a few customizations over the years to help vBulletin not tip over including disabling a few features, rewriting certain core architectural decisions within the vBulletin codebase and making a variety of MySQL enhancements. Developing features within vBulletin (and allowing it to scale so it doesn’t tip over) is a massive effort. No matter how badly we want to give things to you, it ends up not being a good use of our time because of the massive amount of work required not only to build it, but the massive efforts required to maintain it to scale.

Let’s call out the avatars in vBulletin, because it’s a pretty good example of what I’m talking about. “So Krylhos, why can’t we just use our summoner icons from the game?” Seems easy enough. Until recently, getting our web data to keep up to date with game data with the current public facing patch was very manual and a very large undertaking. Even with a better consistency of game data accessible to web, web needs to keep up-to-date with game profile data specific to players or else it’d be a pretty bad player experience. Training vBulletin to keep every player profile in sync w/ the game data would have negatively impacted scale on both the website and, potentially, the game data service. Doing icons right would have actually meant more lag. I was pretty deeply involved in these conversations. Believe me when I say, we deeply investigated what this would take, because you guys have asked for it for a while, and in the end we didn’t want to sacrifice the stability of the service for profile icons.

Portability of conversations within a larger ecosystem is another place where vBulletin falls short. Unlike vBulletin, we’ve built this as a service, allowing for an enormous amount of flexibility. Being able to drop-in comments on any page is a good example. We also ran a couple contests that didn’t look anything like a discussion using this as a platform. It’s basically a really sturdy foundation that makes it a lot easier for us to build stuff.

With the large volume of comments, threads within GD shuffle around at a rate that’s improbable to keep up on new discussions, or new content submitted to old discussions unless you stare and refresh constantly. This pattern works well enough with smaller communities, but intimacy and quality conversations can quickly get lost. While a majority of the internet (myself included) have been trained for this kind of pattern, we feel like there might be a better way.

We are not cloning Reddit. I understand that on the surface, with vote arrows and nested comments, it can certainly appear that way. Believe it or not, we agree with you on many points in which Reddit falls short. This is a custom community platform which was inspired from realizing certain problems within our forums community. Problems such as large conversations being difficult to follow, intimate back and forths, and quality content being easily accessible are ones we want to solve. I do not feel like the current Community Beta solves all of those problems today. But I do feel that, in order to solve these problems, we have to fundamentally change the model.

To the RP community – I promise you, the kinds of discussions you currently have within your RP community threads will not be lost by the time we take the “beta” tag off. Coder’s promise.

We’re flexible. We’re not opposed to shifting views, providing different presentation styles and sorting strategies. There have been a ton of great ideas that have come up, and we’re excited to provide those features that we didn’t think of. We can quickly, and effectively develop features in this new platform as it’s built with rapid deployment, and Riot’s scale needs in mind, and we can’t do that in vBulletin toda





  • This change is needed, because the forums handle too much data and this is highly impractical for coding
  • Moving over to a new platform could allow Summoners to import their in-game icons to the forum
  • It could also help track threads in GD, which is currently almost impossible
  • RP Community threads will not be lost when the new feature is released



Official Announcements



Champion Spotlight: Jinx, the Loose Cannon



Marvel at the mayhem and start your own crime spree as the Loose Cannon in the Jinx Champion Spotlight.

With a pair of guns known as Pow-Pow and Fishbones, Jinx lights up the battlefield by chaining her abilities to Get Excited! with her passive. Switcheroo! keeps your opponents on-tilt and off-guard, trying to guess which gun you’ll unleash next. Shock enemies with Zap! and maintain control of the lane by spreading your Flame Chompers! When it’s time to finish the fight, we’ll show you how to use a Super Mega Death Rocket most effectively—aw, who’re we kidding, you know how to use a Super Mega Death Rocket; it’s right there in the name.

Revel as the world burns with Jinx, featuring sample masteries, tactics and more in this Champion Spotlight.



League of Legends Music: Get Jinxed



While Jinx finishes loading Pow-Pow and Fishbones for her debut on the battlefield, we wanted to share one more glimpse into her chaotic personality.

For Jinx, the fun doesn’t end just because she’s sleeping. Featuring hexplosive sequences packed with bombs and bullets and her unique take on fun, League of Legends Music: Get Jinxed frees the Loose Cannon to serve up wild hijinks without those pesky Piltover laws getting in the way.

Whether through cinematics, motion comics, log-in screens or music, we’re continuing to explore new ways to deliver champion stories. Showcasing a new song inspired by a hedonistic supercriminal and her vivid imagination running wild? Time for a music video.

As always, we can’t wait to hear what you think of the new song and video. Let us know, and we’ll join you, Jinx, Fishbones and Pow-Pow on the battlefield in an upcoming patch!






Which assassins are problematic in Riot’s view?


morelloButton Rioter Morello: Ahri is definitely going to get changes, and most of them based around how much damage is loaded into the “free” parts of Foxfire and her ult. The changes will largely revolve around making her burst higher if she lands a taunt first.

Ahri, Fizz, Zed and Kassadin all have problems in how fast they burst, and how little you can do about it. We’ll be retaining their roles as Assassins (though I’d wager Ahri, using more poke to set up, is likely more a mage) but fitting patterns that cause a bit more risk and reaction when doing so.



Have you ever tried making a skillshot that bounces from target to target?


Meddler Button Rioter Meddler: There’s a decent feeling basic spell there. We’ve tried something similar on a couple of kits, though have opted for other spells so far. Big thing with a spell like this is identifying why it functions better as a skillshot than a click to hit spell. Maybe that’s because, for whatever reason, it’s on a kit that needs a long range spell and is an appropriate kit for a chaining ability – skillshots can generally have longer range. Maybe you want a chaining ability, but need to add some extra counterplay – make it dodgeable or blockable by first target hit. Maybe you want the spell to, on average, perform much better in narrow areas of terrain than out in the open. Etc.

As pointed out above Varus’ ult’s the really slowly chaining version of that spell. Amongst other things Tendril of Corruption being a skillshot results in extra synergy being created with champions with initiation CC – if you’ve got an Amumu to lock down a group, or even a single target CCer like Lux to lock down an initial target you gain a massive increase in reliability, changing the way you approach using the ult.



Should Any CC Be 3 Seconds?


morelloButton Rioter Morello: The current rule is that 3 second CC can only exist if:

* The spell does no damage
* The spell is single-target
* It’s a core piece of what the character brings to the game


* You’re Enchanted Crystal Arrow, because you’re awesome.

That being said, that’s not defending that Terrify/Puncturing Taunt SHOULD be 3 seconds, but the fit the criteria that allows it to be a consideration.



How far does Enchanted Crystal Arrow (Ashe’s ult) have to travel to get the full duration?


MeddlerButton Rioter Meddler: You’ll get the maximum stun duration after it’s traveled at least 2800 units.

Regarding Jinx’s ult the missile itself changes appearance somewhat once it hits its max damage distance (spins faster, moves faster) to communicate its ramp up distance directly in game. Would be nice to add something similar to Ashe’s ult at some point, the value there though’s not as high as other things our spell effects team are working on however (not worth delaying a visual upgrade/kit rework for a champion in higher need for example).



Will you be nerfing Sivir’s Spell Shield?


morelloButton Rioter Morello: Come on now. Spell shield is a great skill because baiting it out and its long cooldown give it great play.

This isn’t cable news political coverage. Let’s not help it get there.



 Where are the Fiora changes?


morelloButton Rioter Morello: I feel bad for the Fiora conversation because we agree she needs work, and we keep (for some reason I’ll ask about) not doing it.

I’ll escalate this concern and at least get an answer.



Follow-up: Have you guys discussed her issues?


morelloButton Rioter Morello: Yep – we have. I don’t worry much about schedules on this stuff in most cases. We agree that the work needs to happen, then focus on other things that are usually higher-priority.




Isn’t Viktor’s mana cost on his ult too much?


MeddlerButton Rioter Meddler: It’s pretty high certainly. We’re currently experimenting internally with lower ult costs for some of the older champions with really high cost mana ults, Viktor included. Can’t yet promise we’ll change costs, it is something we’re actively looking at right now though.



How does Riot choose when to release patches?


Riot Velvet Button Rioter Riot Velvet: This is correct, we patch servers when there’s the least amount of people online, so that you aren’t stuck with a whole bunch of downtime! Right now its 6 in the morning for OCE, so not as many people are impacted. If we patched right now in NA a bunch of people would get kicked from their ranked games/wouldn’t be able to play 

Hope that clears up any questions!



White Noise Malsahar – Courtesy of RiotPenguin



White Noise Malzahar Sketch

Missed any recent updates? Catch up on the latest topics!


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Red Post Collection

Community Creations: Poppy’s Visual Overhaul

Tidbits: Brand and Mordekaiser

Champion Rotation – Week 36



Balancing Olaf



In response to the backlash over the recent changes to Olaf, SmashGizmo goes back to the forums to collect feedback.



SmashGizmo Button Rioter SmashGizmo: Alright, so now that Olaf’s been on live for a week, I’d like to take another stab at getting some feedback from you guys on GD about how you feel about him. But first let’s clear the air a bit. I’m seeing plenty of talk on Olaf and my old thread so I’m just going to throw out my responses to the two most common criticisms I’m seeing on GD right off the bat.

1. People generally being upset at how the old thread ended

I get that people don’t like that I just dipped from the Olaf feedback thread, but keep in mind that this is after almost a full month of that thread and thirty-some-odd posts from me. Simple fact of the matter is that the thread had devolved into people posting their own kits for Olaf that didn’t align with the design goals that were put forth and the effort of keeping up with the thread drastically outweighed the benefit I gained. I know it’s sucky to hear that, but it is what it is. I was finding myself stressed out every night when I came home and checked the thread only to see the same tired ideas and complaints laid out again and again and so I did what I needed to do to actually get my work done.

2. People being upset that Olaf is still weak

Consensus on the forum seems to be leaning towards Olaf still being undertuned, and while we don’t have much meaningful data to look at after only a week, I would say the data suggests likewise (note that that can still be misleading this early on, it takes awhile for builds to settle and for players to relearn the character). A lot of people seem confused and angry over this and I get that. I’m kinda bummed out myself that Olaf didn’t magically become perfectly balanced too, but with changes this large, it’s expected that we’d be off, and due to the frustration that Olaf can create when he’s strong, I think we erred on the side of a weak Olaf rather than a strong Olaf coming out of balance testing. The important thing here is that the changes I’ve made on Olaf have put the levers in place to tweak and balance the character while still retaining counterplay and established weaknesses that will prevent him from going crazy the way he did at the end of last season. So if he is indeed weak, it should be a simple matter of tweaking numbers until he’s in the right spot and I already have a good idea of what to do to nudge his power up.

So with that all out there, let me know what you think of the Olaf changes now that you’ve had a chance to play them.



[Sincarnation] Is Olaf weaker as a result of these changes and how should I build him now?


SmashGizmoButton Rioter SmashGizmo: My feeling is that the E base damage is undertuned and that the rank 1 W feels worse than it should. The builds I’m seeing have the most success are ones that use early BotRK/Hydra + Spirit Visage opting into either sunfire or omen when they want armor and then grabbing a 2nd offensive lifesteal item.



[pro4never] Is Olaf still a viable solo top or jungler?


SmashGizmoButton Rioter SmashGizmo: Personally I think he can work in either role at a fairly balanced point. I think Olaf jungle is reasonably good because he’s very strong with double dblade -> ancient golem, which is probably the most cost efficient build one can do out of the jungle right now. Olaf top just feels like the first 5 levels are too painful to me right now, if we sure that up, his scaling with items should be strong enough to let him succeed.

Can you talk a bit more about how you want him to be further focused? Right now I picture Olaf as that beefy dude on the front line who is a threat to anyone given enough time and who is difficult to kill. When he sees the right oppurtunity, he should be able to break free from the front line and hunt down the back line with Ragnarok, but he must choose his moment wisely or he will be focused down for shedding his free defenses.



[Weenyhut] Why do Olaf’s passive and W both grant him Attack Speed?


SmashGizmoButton Rioter SmashGizmo: The thinking here is that Olaf’s kit is currently built around him being able to attack people, and without some attack speed outside of his steroid, he’s completely reliant on being low HP in order to function. Essentially, we had AD on the W for a long time and the kit wasn’t playing well because every perceivable order in which one could press his Q, W, and E felt like it was wasting a synergy and he was too ignorable at high HP, so I opted to switch out the AD for AS and it solved both of these problems from a design standpoint.



[Weenyhut] Why does activating Ragnarok remove the bonus Armor and MR?


SmashGizmoButton Rioter SmashGizmo: The whole design of the current ult iteration is based around clearly defining Olaf’s strengths and weaknesses in and out of the ultimate. When Olaf gets free defensive stats in his ultimate, he can only be dealt with by running away. To even say kiting is the answer is to ignore the fact that CC is a major component of how we understand kiting in the game today, your only option was to run away or to try to focus down the guy with a buttload of free resists. So now the idea is that when Olaf is susceptible to CC, he gets to be extra tanky, but can shed his bonus defense to go ham.


morello Button Rioter Morello: Because we wanted you to use it break CC, and make a tradeoff choice. It’s something we haven’t done a lot to add choice to a skill, but I am a bit surprised at how much it’s been negatively received (IE; that has some kiss/curse to it, but tends to be something considered more hardcore/skilled in a lot of games).



[Vsin] Follow-up: Does this change really add counterplay?


SmashGizmoButton Rioter SmashGizmo: A counter is a strategic action that a team can take to fundamentally counter something that a character does. In this case, Jarvan’s Cataclysm is a counter to Olaf and isn’t an example of counterplay as it is not accessible to everyone as Soraka can’t suddenly strap on her Nike’s and dunk like Jarvan.

Counterplay is a tactical action that a team can responsively take to counter something that a character does. Killing Olaf is actually the only form of counterplay to Ragnarok and always has been. The issue is that Ragnarok used to give 30/45/60 Armor/Mres to Olaf and then say, “gl bad guys, your only form of counterplay is to kill this guy who just got massive resists.” As a design team, this is something we had a fundamental problem with on old Olaf. It presented the opposing team with no options to interact with Olaf in a meaningful way. So I guess technically I haven’t added counterplay, only accentuated it, though I will contend that this is a considerably healthier direction for the character.



[Vectros] Will you be doing major changes to any of Olaf’s spells (eg. remove minimum throw distance from Q)


SmashGizmoButton Rioter SmashGizmo: Q minimum distance is here to stay. Might tweak the number if I have to, but I’m not convinced that’s needed tbh. The thing here is that all understanding of what’s happening and how to play around it is lost to an opponent when Olaf can axe at his feet. I’m inclined to agree that the slow isn’t strong enough at the moment though.

W CD I might tweak down, but if so, it will be very slight. My design intent on this ability is for it to be a high impact brawling/sustain tool with clearly defined windows of opportunity. What I really am looking to avoid is the old Olaf W that got to an over 80% uptime that made him feel like there was never a strong time to engage him. The biggest thing I’m looking at on the W is that the rank 1 feels too crappy, so I’m looking to flatten out the attack speed by rank by raising the lower ranks.

E doesn’t need great damage increases IMO, I think it just needs a nudge to the base damages to help out his early laning.

The big issue I have with your suggestions on the ult are that they don’t clearly pronounce the strengths and weaknesses with ult up vs. ult down. It just cuts the distinction between ulting and not ulting in half, which muddles the gameplay surrounding the decision to drop defenses for offense.



[Luscious Lenny] Why was the focus on counterplay when reworking Olaf’s kit?


morello Button Rioter Morello: This is the direction we’re going to go – adding counterplay to champions who have none will trump tactical balancing in the short term if it allows us to balance the character long-term. That’s the direction we’re always heading.

Are there specific concerns about something feeling bad? That’s an issue we can talk about, but alternatives would have to include appropriate counter-play as well. So solutions that fundamentally remove counterplay wouldn’t be on the table.

Balancing the champion through numbers is possible without him now having to go ape**** to be strong. The choices here, in reality, were to leave old Olaf tuned at the pre-rework level, or do some fundamental work to fix him. We chose the latter because we didn’t think it was great to have to leave Olaf marginalized (and a lot of other champions still live with this while we try to get to it) since there was no world where someone could outplay Olaf if the Olaf knew what he was doing.

To answer #3, you couldn’t kite him 😛 He has CC immunity and a repeatable ranged slow – your ability to kite isn’t a real choice. And since his skills had few windows of opportunity and his build path was so safe, he wasn’t terribly vulnerable to new combat actions if he did reach you. Comparatively, the counterplay to Udyr is to kite him, since he lacks strong tools to compensate.



[Khristophoros] Aren’t other top lane bruisers lacking counterplay as well? Why did you only rework Olaf?


morello Button Rioter Morello: This is the metagolem problem for sure, and it’s not unique to Olaf. Olaf had been the biggest problem on a balance scale, so we decided to tackle him first.




[MoonsBane] Suggestion: Passive now grants Movement Speed per % Health missing


SmashGizmoButton Rioter SmashGizmo: Movespeed while low HP screams escape mechanism to me. Olaf’s lore and entire fantasy is about being a reckless viking who dreams of a glorious death worthy of his kick ass life, so pretty much anything built into his kit that aids him in running away doesn’t feel right to me. Note that this can be solved by recycling vayne’s move-towards-enemies mechanic, and I have thought of putting that on the character more than once throughout this design cycle but…


Phreak Button Rioter Phreak: Move speed is a strict removal of counter-play. Outside of having to buy/bring your own movement (Ghost, Youmuu’s, BotRK) the main weakness of Olaf is “He can’t catch you without landing a skill shot.” Considering his main strength is, “You can’t forcibly stop him” that’s a pretty cool tradeoff. But you ruin that by removing his main weakness.

Added onto that, “Runs faster when people damage him” is really crappy. Your teammates actually help you die by trying to help. That’s pretty rough.



[MoonsBane] Why does Olaf lack a gap closer?


SmashGizmoButton Rioter SmashGizmo: The issue with giving Olaf inherent gap closing is that closing the gap is the one problem that his kit begs you to solve. When he gets into a fight, he is designed to be extremely powerful, but it’s up to you to figure out how you get there. That’s the price he pays for being able to ignore CC. As soon as we solve closing the gap for Olaf, his kit becomes overbearing, as he has an almost guaranteed perma slow + the sustained damage to kill anyone while ignoring CC. Solving the issue of how you get to the high priority targets while using as few resources as possible is what differentiates good Olafs from bad Olafs and that’s just not something I’m ok with removing from the kit’s flow.



[Vsin] How does his new kit compare to the old one?


SmashGizmoButton Rioter SmashGizmo: These E and W iterations have much higher potential benefits than their predecessors, while the Q is technically worse due to the minimum range.




[Vsin] Is Olaf weaker now because you had to adjust for “optimal scenarios” with his new kit?


SmashGizmoButton Rioter SmashGizmo: Your core idea of how we design this game seems to be fundamentally flawed if you think we design around optimal output. Optimal output is something you need to take into consideration, but characters with unreliable optimal performances are allowed to have incredibly high results when they succeed in doing so (i.e. Cassiopeia’s theoretical DPS).

So yes, I have introduced higher variance in Olaf’s potential, however, doing so lets me raise his optimal performance to allow him to do crazy awesome things when the right conditions are met. This version of Olaf does some really crazy things when the stars align and he stabilizes on low HP with a Hydra with his W active and turns a fight around and to me, that’s cooler than Olaf being that CC-immune dude who reliably runs at you with 4000 HP, 200+ armor/mres doing 340 true damage every 3 seconds. There’s a good case to be made that Olaf’s current average case is too weak right now, but that’s fixable without taking away his optimal potential.



[LVNsNASmurf] What’s the incentive to activate Ragnarok if it makes Olaf a squishier fighter? Is pressing R now a false choice?


PhreakButton Rioter Phreak: That’s not really false choice. It’s a real choice. You paint the picture like it’s so bleak, there’s nothing Olaf can do. You could always bring Cleanse, or buy Mercury Treads, and leave the ultimate passive for longer. Or you could forsake that for more damage-oriented options (and pop the ultimate for damage) and do your best to go ham. Sounds like a real choice.



[AHeroNamedHawke] Off-topic: What about Zyra?


morello Button Rioter Morello: A good point – we should fix her too. Thanks for the reminder.





The Issue with Fighters


jayce decoration

A fellow Summoner picks up the age-old topic of the bruiser concept.



[hashinshin] Defining the Metagolem problem


“This is the metagolem problem for sure, and it’s not unique to Olaf. Olaf had been the biggest problem on a balance scale, so we decided to tackle him first.”

This makes me cringe, it really does. When I hear “counterplay” from you guys I think of the latest iteration it has come in to.

1. Zac bloblets. When Zac is winning they’re free healing. When Zac is losing he loses 4% of his current HP per ability.

2. Lissandra ultimate. Incurring the all famous “invulnerable shield” in to ability form! I wonder how long it is before Zed can buy an item to make his damage avoid invulnerable shields? And then how long until TRUE invulnerability which can’t be penetrated? Except of course by true penetration… We already have true-damage which fails against invulnerability.

But more to the point, this creates a haves and have-nots. Have-nots die to Zed every time his ult is off CD. Haves just use their counter-ult ult to beat Zed’s ult. And Zed’s ult is in itself an invulnerable frame that allows him to dodge slower abilities or even things like Ashe ult.

3. Aatrox. Counterplay? Have ignite. Wahoo. So many options. At least EVERYONE uses ignite, except the problem here is what I said 2 years ago, mortal strike ****ing sucks. It’s a concept for an MMORPG where the designers couldn’t give two ****s about PvP balance and bandaided it with mortal strike to make up for obscenely overpowered heals. Is this the direction healing is going?

And finally: Olaf!

Olaf can’t counterplay anyone, all he does is allow his opponent to counter play anything and everything he does. Low HP? Ignite! Pop ult? Use all your damage! Axe? Run the other direction so he can’t pick it up! Maxing E? Just don’t sit in trades! What does Olaf actually have himself? Nothing. So it makes me wonder, what counterplay? What’s more, the amount Olaf is going to need to be overtuned to make up for his obvious drawbacks is scary. I’m really not looking forward to getting chain true damages by a monster struck that will autokill anyone without their escape ability. Except this isn’t bloodline champions and I can’t just press space bar to get away from a raging Olaf cause I might be Warwick and simply don’t have an escape.

And then I get to thinking Morello, what are your plans for melee vs range? Lets analyze!

Elise+Jayce+Quinn: Get to counterplay everything melee.
Zac: Gets to be counterplayed.
Lissandra: Gets to counterplay everything melee.
Aatrox: Gets to be counterplayed.
That Sci-Fi guy who I can’t even remember, you know the one with the sci-fi pistols and other distinguishing features: Gets to counterplay everything melee.

The only exception is Zed who of course gets to counterplay everything. But is that what it comes down to? Melee get to be counterplayed, range get to counterplay everything (unless you’re an assassin!) It’s getting BEYOND frustrating that the best I can do is try to get ****ed over less than other people in the same position. But hey, maybe that’s not the greatest show of Riot’s plans?

Except when Jax got “counteplay” they jacked up his health pool, gave him a HUGE defense steroid, then increased the CD on leap strike and gave his stun a big “FLASH AWAY FROM ME NOW OR USE YOUR ESCAPE MOVE” animation. And then Garen’s rework jacked up his defenses and let you walk through a creep wave to get out of judgmnent. Both reworks the champions themselves got NO counterplay of their own, they just got options to get counterplayed. Also Trundle was there.

You’re basically turning melee in to the side scrolling charging bosses that you had to jump over so they’d run in to a wall and stun themselves, but hey at least you had to hit them 20 times before they’d die.



morello Button Rioter Morello: The core problem you mention IS the problem I want to see fixed, but that’s the ecosystem of fighters right now. We have a Fighter Project (CertainlyT has talked about this) that is looking to systematically look at Fighters as a class and clean it up. As long as one fighter is a ball of stats (and most are, including old Olaf), then any fighter who is not is trash. In the short-term, we’re bandaiding the problem to keep things somewhat stable. For short-term balance, we need to work within what we have – which is suboptimal.

In the long term, we want Fighters to not need to be tuned so hard early, have poor fallback patterns in top lane, and basically have little role in a team fight other than “be strong.” If I understand your post on this, we agree.

The issue becomes that it’s a lot of complex work, and it’s really disruptive. If we actually fix this, fighters become a whole new experience. As you can imagine, that incurs a lot of risk because people who do like melee have spent 4 years growing to like it. That’s a lot to undo. It also is a pretty complex web of stuff since all these champions are inter-related.

Melee right now, either charges at people while they kite (and looks for positioning opportunites to make this better) or dives hard and picks the right timing. In the sense of counter-play, Fighters interact least healthily (for themselves or others) than any other classes except the line of mid assassins we have now.



[Marisa] Why are champions being reworked instead of just adjusted to be viable on the pro scene?


morello Button Rioter Morello: This is a problem for champions that have faulty patterns. And for every person who claims to want this, where will be 50 complaining when we do it. To be frank, there’s too many cooks in the kitchen to make everyone happy, when that requires mutually exclusive approaches. We have to balance disruption with long-term gains, and we learn more about the systems in play all the time. Frankly, balance is not that big on an issue (and cyclical balance is far superior to stagnation), it’s the systemic sources of poor gameplay that cause problems.

I just am not involved with (nor should I really be at this point) individual mechanics and numbers unless their drivers of play patterns. My post is specifically for Hash, not the general populace. I expect people to be mad about stuff and call us out – sure – I don’t expect everything to be a cacophony of diffuse anger and sniping.



Plan(t)s for Zyra


Zyra Banner

It turns out Morello isn’t quite happy with his creation. What does the Riot team have in store for Zyra in upcoming patches?


morello Button Rioter Morello: The primary thing I’d like to do to Zyra is to make her MORE about plants, and less burst mage. I don’t entirely know how this will effect which lane, but I do understand the sentiment to the bottom lane vs mid lane approach. This has been why we’ve been conservative so far (the missile speed change was just something we should have released with).

I can put more complete thoughts on this later, but that’s likely the direction we’d look at outside of numbers tweaks.


morello Button Rioter Morello: Oh, the range tweak is likely needed overall, even for mid. We can likely add power into plants if we shorten her kill range overall. I missed that point, sorry!

There is some compensation for that primarily for mid Zyra inc in 3.13 on that too, last I checked.



[Ginga] Why not shift Zyra more towards sustained DPS?


morello Button Rioter Morello: Directionally, this is what I like too. I think it brings out more about what’s unique about Zyra.





[Ginga] Will the next balance patch feature these plant changes you spoke of?


morello Button Rioter Morello: Plant changes won’t be in these changes, so I might be an accidental liar  What I mean is the direction we’d like to move the character, overall, is that way. This patch will be for raw balance.




[A Dying Dream] Off-topic: Which team are you part of?


morelloButton Rioter Morello: Haha. Well technically, I’m “part” of every team, but none of them. I’m much more high-level than tactical on most things (IE: I’m interested in the direction and goals more than the particular execution).




Community Creations: Poppy’s Visual Overhaul


All credit for these pictures goes to Summoner TofuTarget! You can check out the full thread here.


Poppy Visual Overhaul Rough

Poppy’s VU – Rough Sketch


Poppy Visual Overhaul

Poppy’s VU – detailed Splash Art



Tidbits: Brand and Mordekaiser



[NotSid] Any plans to improve Mordekaiser?


morelloButton Rioter Morello: Don’t want to ignore the thread, but I’d have to ask the team their thoughts on Mord. I know we’re not thrilled there, but not sure on specifics.





[Valtielx] What’s your opinion on Brand currently?


morelloButton Rioter Morello: Lots changes in a year, and I think Brand’s laning back then could make up for it a bit. I think now, though, he has a lot of weight to pull to be a valid pick.

I don’t know, really. I tend to think Brand needs to be able to only kill if he can land every skillshot, and that probably needs to turn into lower CD burnination closer to end game (since his burst will get outscaled with items). Something more of a ticking bomb, but that might also mean he needs a tankier or longer range build.



Champion Rotation – Week 36


Week 36 S3

The following champions will be free-to-play until October 15th!


  • Cho’Gath – 1350 IP / 585 RP
  • Corki– 3150 IP / 790 RP
  • Ezreal– 4800 IP / 880 RP
  • Jarvan IV– 4800 IP / 880 RP
  • Katarina– 3150 IP / 790 RP
  • Lee Sin– 4800 IP / 880 RP
  • Malzahar– 4800 IP / 880 RP
  • Nami– 6300 IP / 975 RP
  • Sona– 3150 IP / 790 RP
  • Wukong– 4800 IP / 880 RP



Missed any recent updates? Check here!


Nerfs to Jinx & Full AMA on the Loose Cannon, Battlecast Skins in the making, IronStylus on Pantheon’s VU, QA Thread for Heimerdinger’s Rework, Preview of Dunkmaster Darius and plans for Soraka’s Passive!

Meet Jinx – Ability Details, Lore, In-game Preview, Guide to Play Style and Community Feedback!

Ransom teases info about the Next Champion, Full AMA inside! || Champion Price Reduction, View Party Program, Graffiti on Vi’s Front Page, Lyte on Issues with the Tribunal and Halloween Ziggs!

PBE Update: Changes to Olaf, New Xerath & Olaf Splashes and Championship Thresh || Official Teamwork Video, even more Official Crazy Cat Lady Yorick || Red Posts: Nerfing %Pen Items, More on the issue of Support/Warding, Climbing to Diamond, RP+ and Scamming, Hotfix for Blue Side XP Bug, How to write in gaming, 3D Character Art

PBE: Massive Changes to Olaf, New Ward Skins & Champion Trading || News: Pool Party Skins on Sale! || Reds: Fighters, Supports & Warding in Season 4, Zac to get future nerfs, Shaping Player Behavior & Concept Art of the New Sivir!



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New Website banner


PBE Update featuring the jungle changes mentioned by RiotPwyff, reverted health gains on Spirit of the Ancient Golem, some harsh nerfs for Vayne and the death of AP Lucian, community questions regarding the recently implemented Undo Last Purchase option, preview of LoL’s New Website which is set to replace the current layout very soon, SmashGizmo‘s latest update on Olaf‘s kit and the new Sale!


PBE Update:

Undo Last Purchase pulled from PBE

Xypherous on Phage

Arcane Helix – Canceled Item

The League’s New Website

Current State of Olaf’s Rework

Champion/Skin Sale – Expires July 29th



PBE Update





The_CullingThe Culling ( R )

  • AP ratio per bullet reduced from 0.3 to 0.1. Maximum damage ratio reduced from 10.2 to 3.4




  Master Yi

HighlanderHighlander ( R )

  • Attack speed bonus increased from 20/40/80% to 30/55/80%





DamnationDamnation ( Passive )

  • Each soul now grants 0.75 Armor/AP, changed from 1 Armor/AP with each subsequent granting 0.005 stats less, down to a minimum of 0.5




  • Move speed decreased from 340 to 335 – same as live





Condemn Condemn ( E )

  • Range reduced from 650 to 550


Final_HourFinal hour ( R )

  • Cooldown increased from 70 to 100/85/70 seconds




Spirit_of_the_Ancient_Golem_itemSpirit of the Ancient Golem

  • Health increased from 450 to 500 – same as live


New Icons:


Haunting Guise




Haunting Guise New Icon



Jungle Changes


120px-WolfSquare  Wolves

  • Spawn time increased to 2:05 from 1:55



  • Spawn time increased to 2:05 from 1:55



  • Spawn time increased to 2:05 from 1:55


120px-GolemSquareAncient Golem

  • Base experience granted reduced to 260 from 340


120px-LizardSquareLizard Elder

  • Base experience granted reduced to 260 from 340


120px-LizardSquareYoung Lizard

  • Base experience granted increased to 50 from 10
  • Base Health increased to 400 from 300



Reasons behind these changes


Statikk Button Rioter Statikk: The reason why we moved EXP away from the Young Lizards in the first place was to avoid EXP leeching ruining jungle runs.

We’ve done 2 things to help alleviate the possibility of junglers not hitting the correct levels due to EXP leeching.

1) At the current tuning if both Young Lizards are leeched by a teammate at the first buff camp, Junglers will still hit level 3 after both buff camps. I think I’ll have to do some slight tuning to the other camps to ensure Junglers still hit 4 after a full clear.

2) We’ve given the Young Lizards a bit more starting Health so they’re less likely to die to ambient AoE.

We’ll definitely continue to monitor and iterate on this.

As far as the Runic / Aegis changes go, these changes are simply necessary for the game to be less stagnant. Aegis / Bulwark on Live are so ridiculously overpowered to the point where they push out the other possibilities in the game.

You’re right on the Spirit of the Ancient Golem nerf though. It’s probably unnecessary at the moment even if the item is objectively overpowered. Will probably pull it from the patch.


The jungle changes are identical with RiotPwyff‘s PBE notes.


Undo Last Purchase pulled from PBE


Undo Last Purchase

The latest shop feature, the undo last purchase button, has been pulled from the PBE. Check out Riot’s reasoning on this as well as a couple community questions on the subject.



Riot ReinboomButton Rioter Riot Reinboom: We’ll be turning undo off for PBE releases starting today until after this release makes it way to live. Undo is not intended for 3.10. We still have a few things to fix with it and we need to react to the great feedback provided here.




Will Guardian’s Angel cooldown reset if I undo its purchase?


Riot Reinboom Button Rioter Riot Reinboom: Guardian Angel’s cooldown should be remembered and since your undo history clears on receiving damage, that edge case shouldn’t exist.
If you do discover an abuse case, make sure you post it here.




What about abusing Aura item reselling? (eg. WotA)


Riot ReinboomButton Rioter Riot Reinboom: We’re currently not handling the WotA case, though we may address it. This specific situation serves an interesting problem. The system was made so that we could, say, clear your undo history if an ally makes use of your WotA buff. That is super unclear though when it does occur when you’re not trying to abuse it. We’ll definitely be examining it though.




Follow-up: Countering Exploits


Riot ReinboomButton Rioter Riot Reinboom: If you deal damage you lose your undo history as well. Nothing to exploit there.





When does “Undo Last Purchase” reset?


Riot ReinboomButton Rioter Riot Reinboom: Some more important pieces for these gameplay puzzles:

Undo clears on any spell or item usage. It also clears on dealing any damage separately. Ezreal ult, for example, will clear once when cast and then once every time is passes through something.

Most calculations are done on hit, not on cast (except cooldown).

Undo triggers all things that would occur specific to an item as though you sold it. I would need to check each item to be certain, but most items get rid of their benefits on sell (or shortly after). Mejai’s should clear itself within 1.2 seconds of undoing or selling.

There is no time limit. Only game events will clear it.



Follow-up: Toggle Spells


Riot ReinboomButton Rioter Riot Reinboom: Currently, the clear on spell cast clears when you – actively – send the request. Spells that occur from a condition, such as something already being toggled on, should not clear your undo history.
Toggling things on and off actively should clear your undo history.




If an enemy gets damaged from a trap/shroom spell of mine, will it reset the Undo option?


Riot ReinboomButton Rioter Riot Reinboom: As much as it pains me from an understand-ability stance and as the-person-who-otherwise-be-stepping-on-the-AP-Teemo’s-shrooms-even-though-he-was-AD-Teemo-while-he-was-alive-and-oh-gods-these-hurt, it clears your undo history.

There are alternatives to solving some of the problems, whatever those problems may be, that not having it clear would cause but we opted for something a bit more general as to reduce the amount of niche explanations we would need to do for each exception.



What about being able to undo a purchase after leaving Shop area?


Riot ReinboomButton Rioter Riot Reinboom: In regards to wanting to undo after leaving the shop area:
I hear you and I understand. However, the clear on leaving shopping area is not likely to change on release (it may however, there are many voices to this feature).


We wish to go a more conservative route on release with this feature since it has the potential to cause much unwanted gameplay. If ever the optimal choice in a game is to with full intent use undo in such a way that is not compensating for an error, whether that be user or system error, then that is outside the scope of the feature. We don’t want such occurrences because it’s unclear optimization – there’s no part of the system that reads “this is the way this should be used”.

We’re still able to remove or reduce the restriction on leaving the shopping area at a later point in time as well. Adding that restriction after release, if it’s discovered it’s needed, would be taken much more harshly than slowly opening up the feature.

With even the PBE release of this feature we’ve ran in to many strange abuse (and buggy) issues caused directly or incidentally with undo. Finding these takes more than theorizing; many issues have been quite niche. They take time. With each restriction we remove from undo, the more time it would require before this can go to live environments. In this case and in my opinion, I wouldn’t like to make that trade off.

On the other side of things, the system should not be so restricting as to remove from existing gameplay. It’s purely additive. This is one of the reasons this is an undo rather than, say, a shopping cart approach. There’s situations where a user purchases boots, starts to move towards lane, and then closes the item shop part of the way there. Most shopping cart designs would’ve lead to that user not getting the movement speed until the last moment.



 Isn’t adjusting your build for free based on the enemy’s items an exploit?


Riot ReinboomButton Rioter Riot Reinboom: Item visibility and compensating for new information is pretty significant actually, especially at high levels of play.
There’s also corner case advantages like temporary captains boots to lead an escaping ally back in from a long chase.


For speed boost situations, there’s compensating for CDR switchouts. This is slightly more significant when it’s a team boost speed up, such as comes from Sona or Jayce. Each case needs to be evaluated if we were to do ability specific exceptions.
Exceptions also add to development costs – which translates to time. Not that hooking them up is difficult (adding tech to make a spell not add to the undo stack wouldn’t take very long), but keeping track of which ones do an do not costs QA time, how to change it .

In this case, since this is an additive and restricted feature, not addressing the exceptions at first – as long as those exceptions don’t harm the game state as is currently – and instead getting a solid marble statue for which we can chisel down the finer details later is important. Even if we decide that chiseling should remove the arms of the feature.


Xypherous on Phage


Xypherous decoration

Xypherous weighs in on the price of Phage and why changing it might cause snowball issues. 



Xypherous Button Rioter Xypherous: Phage is an item that is problematic – especially top lane, where isolation is key. Phage, when balanced, guarantees that if you are winning, you will win overall – because every trade henceforth has the chance of guaranteed death (running away).

This is different from cutlass – as the cutlass slow is not repeatable in short duration and can be overcome. That’s kind of the main issue with Phage – Generic Defense + Repeatable Slow Proc means that if you win trades – you will now turn trades into kills, which isn’t an acceptable trait to have in lane.

So it’s a tricky problem overall – as Phage causes problems in a very isolated case – but that isolated case just happens to be every top lane conflict ever that involves auto-attacks.

The question here then becomes: When do we want Phage to be good – and what do we want it to good for.



Follow-up: Why Phage is bad at the moment


XypherousButton Rioter Xypherous: Phage is a toxic item because if it was cost-efficient in terms of Health / Damage / Proc – it does make it an auto-win button.

The fact that it isn’t cost-efficient is the reason why you don’t auto-win when you buy Phage – because you’re taking a heavy gold efficiency hit to attempt to turn trades into guaranteed advantage.

The other win lane items are very efficient at countering being killed by opponents – but do relatively little for you in terms of winning the lane overall. The other items mentioned (Hexdrinker / Armguard) prevent you from outright losing lane by lowering the opponent’s burst combo – but they don’t really guarantee trades becoming kills – they merely lower the effect of trades.



Suggestion: Make Phage proc every 3 seconds


Xypherous Button Rioter Xypherous: That actually ensures enemies dies as no character only relies on their autoattacks – they have typically secondary mechanics to allow them to land more than one autoattack.

Then, once slowed, having it be every 3 autoattacks traditionally guarantees death given the duration of 2 seconds.



Why is securing kills when you’re ahead in lane an issue?


Xypherous Button Rioter Xypherous: An item shouldn’t turn laning phase into a farce essentially. Laning ideally is about back and forths and skillful plays – not ‘Oh, I got a little bit ahead or I’m a little stronger overall – if I have Phage, the lane is over.’




Suggestion: Decrease the Slow % and make it stack


Xypherous Button Rioter Xypherous: The random nature of Phage isn’t ideal – but it turns out to be a lot better than most of the suggestions listed except for the guaranteed proc on activate that has a cooldown – of course, that item is just Cutlass – so we kind of have that item already.

A very real problem of Phage is that it doesn’t have a cooldown but when it does have a cooldown, you’ll never be able to use the proc intelligently as you can’t choose to not autoattack.

There’s a piece of this here where RNG is basically the worst solution ever – but one of the few that actually work.



Suggestion: Enemies slowed by Phage can’t be slowed again for X seconds


Xypherous Button Rioter Xypherous: Since you can’t choose to when to proc Phage’s passive – it pretty much means that you will never benefit from Phage’s passive.

And if you *can* choose when to proc Phage’s passive – well, we made that item, it’s called Cutlass. Yeah – it works fairly well.

(Although you could argue that the next hit attack feeling feels better than an active targetted slow – but then you’d get into a bunch of melee and range differences that get fairly obnoxious in scope.)

For example – let’s make a guaranteed slow item that has a slightly reduced slow percentage – this item is completely broken on ranged, unless the passive was close to minimal in effectiveness.



Why isn’t Cutlass as problematic as Phage?


Xypherous Button Rioter Xypherous: Right – Health is a form of generic defense that has less costs to utilize as a defensive mechanic and has less conditionals to be good.

Let’s take Phage and Cutlass and give them the same active – which item is problematic to be stronger? Phage as the item is self-sufficient. Phage will always have less of a statistical budget because early lifesteal is conditional on having minions around to use it on.

It’s definitely true that Cutlass will scale harder but Phage’s problem has never been its end-game effectiveness. It’s always been on the warping nature of it in lane.



Frozen Mallet is an underwhelming upgrade compared to BotRK


Xypherous Button Rioter Xypherous: Again – as stated, Phage’s problem has never been its end-game effectiveness – it’s always been about its warping effect in early laning.

Cutlass will definitely be stronger in the end – this is completely true. However, that doesn’t justify Phage dominating lane automatically by itself.

You have to basically solve a couple things on Phage:

1. Change it from generic defense to something more conditional.

2. Give it some kind of cooldown to gate the repeated case.

3. Give it some kind of counterplay for its upgrades, or make the upgrades acquirable so late in the game that it will never matter in lane.

So, for a really bad example, if Frozen Mallet was a 3800 gold item that gave you 50% reduction versus critical hit damage, health, light AD and a cooldown being slow procs – we might be getting somewhere. However, doing this between Seasons is basically asking for the game to blow up in your face. XD



Follow-up: Better Phage upgrades


Xypherous Button Rioter Xypherous: We could definitely make the other items better. If anyone would actually like to talk about Frozen Mallet and Tri-Force and what they should be – I’m entirely open to that. Just responding directly to Phage suggestions at the moment.

The additional aside of ‘Hey, Iceborne Gauntlet is too good’ isn’t really a solution into making Tri-Force and Frozen Mallet better – it might be a true statement but nerfing IBG won’t magically make Tri-Force and Frozen Mallet good or fun to play with / against.



Have you been working on improving Phage?


Xypherous Button Rioter Xypherous: I haven’t actually had time to work on Phage – but it’s not altogether clear that the game is better if the item was actually good (compared to the other items commonly listed as being straight better than Phage).

I’m not sure I have a solution currently otherwise, I probably would’ve already implemented something by now.



Suggestion: Basic Attacks slow the target by 15% for 1.5 seconds. Enemy cannot be slowed by Phage for 12 seconds afterward.


Xypherous Button Rioter Xypherous: Okay – think about this specifically for a second. You’re Irelia – You bladesurge onto your opponent to trade with them.

What happens to your Phage proc? Is it actually useful – can it actually accomplish the goal here of sticking onto your opponent?

It’s definitely a good item for late-game ganks in this scenario – except that you tend to burn the slow immediately – but this is often the worst time to apply the slow to begin with. It would definitely make it a better mid to late game item but in lane it’s almost completely uncontrollable for melee in a good way.

Then the flip-side of this is that you then have to make it completely ineffective for ranged characters – which is something you’ll just have to do if you want it guaranteed.



Follow-up: Irelia example


Xypherous Button Rioter Xypherous: You’ve essentially burned the slow you need to stick onto the target immediately at the beginning of the fight.

If the reason you purchased the item was to stick onto retreating targets – this defeats the point as they’ll trade with you in the 1 second it takes for the slow to fall off and be able to run away.

Essentially, this version of phage is only effective if the target can do nothing but run as soon as you engage on them – it’s definitely a good item mid to late game – but pretty awful in lane.

(Which may be the point of the suggestion I suppose – You’d still need to couple it with a really hard direct ranged effectiveness nerf on it.)



How is Lifesteal a drawback compared to Flat Health in the case of Cutlass/Phage for top lane?


Xypherous Button Rioter Xypherous: This is true, lifesteal over time can definitely outclass the bonus from extra health.

However, recall the worst case scenario of Phage to begin with – I can convert trades to kills – which means that I have no incentive to let the over time portion of the equation to even come into play.

Get back into lane – murder the opponent as soon as possible, have the health to buffer the opponent’s counterattack.

It’s true that lifesteal can be stronger given time – however, given the way Health works with regards to what a no cooldown slow-proc wants you to do (Kill the opponent as soon as you can) – it’s much stronger coupled with that passive.



Is it possible to balance Phage’s slow, or will the item be re-purposed?


Xypherous Button Rioter Xypherous: I think we’ll probably have to repurpose Phage and Frozen Mallet to have more targeted defenses of some type.

There’s a definite simplicity to the fact that Phage and Frozen Mallet are just Health / Damage / Slows – but ideally, we’d want to target Phage and Frozen Mallet to be more effective at one specific type of damage if we want it to remain a hybrid offense/defense item.

You’d really want to focus on what you want Phage / FM to do – if it’s to be melee bruiser ways to stick onto carry targets – you probably want to focus the defense around ranged or critical damage reduction and the slow to be quite long but have a very long cooldown between procs.

As for the build path into Trinity Force – that also comes down to deciding what Trinity Force should be. It has definitely lost its niche of being able to control space and mobility – it feels like to me Trinity Force should be the item with the most movement speed in the game by far and focus on minor slows to opponents.



Phage allows a person who’s behind to peel for his carry


Xypherous Button Rioter Xypherous: I find this an odd statement to make because Phage’s problem used to be that it was one of the best buys as a bruiser when you were ahead.While it was definitely nice to have when you were behind and using it to provide utility – that wasn’t why Phage was problematic.


By fixing the problematic aspect of Phage by attacking cost / stat efficiency – we removed the utility / behind nature you’re speaking of. If your goal here is to bring that utility power and an item to buy when you’re behind back – buffing the item won’t fix anything as that will bring the other problem back – that Phage is incredibly strong when you’re ahead.

That’s why I talk about repurposing the item or changing the item fundamentally – because in the end – you can’t make it generalized without causing a lot of problems.



If Phage leads to lane dominance, doesn’t this apply to champions like Ezreal/Jayce/Kennen?

Xypherous Button Rioter Xypherous: You’re correct in that those characters are problems. I don’t think I’ve ever disagreed with the Elise/Jayce sentiments – I make those claims personally and am working on Jayce personally to tone down some of the more abusive/unfair elements in lane in late game.I’m of the opinion though, that just because problems exist, that doesn’t mean that you can go make more problems of the same nature intentionally.



Doesn’t BotRK share the same issues as Phage?


Xypherous Button Rioter Xypherous: BoRK typically doesn’t come into play as early as Phage was – by the time a 3k item makes its entrance into the laning phase – I’m not sure there’s enough of the laning phase left to say that all trades from this point turning into kills is an issue.BoRK’s active slow duration is too high right now – that’s absolutely true and something we’ll have to address. However – I’m just not sure there are many trades left in the laning phase after 3k gold worth of items.




Suggestion: Phage buffs your movement speed instead of slowing the enemy’s


Xypherous Button Rioter Xypherous: Yeah – it’s probably a better direction for the item overall.Movement speed on-hit is always weird because you proc it off minions to use it to engage on people but honestly, that’s probably a good thing in this case as it’ll give you interesting lane play.What happens to this on Frozen Mallet then?




Would buffing Phage improve the state of Melee Champions?


Xypherous Button Rioter Xypherous: While that’s definitely a relevant discussion to have – what exactly makes you think that Phage is the best engine for that and not that Jayce or Elise are dominant and unfair in lane?

Secondly, what makes you think that the resultant melee vs. melee matchups would be fun and not revert to the problems that S2 Phage had?

The best solution here to get the ranged counter-item that you desire is to make Phage work only against ranged champions.



Follow-up Suggestion: Make Phage melee-only


Xypherous Button Rioter Xypherous: The problems with S2 Phage was entirely a problem with melee vs. other melee in top lane.

Making Phage Melee only and buffing Phage only gets you back to the original problem with Phage.


Let’s say this is a perfect ideal world where Phage has totally completely destroyed the ranged class and no ranged characters exist anymore. That doesn’t mean that Phage is particularly healthy because it retains the S2 qualities it had.

That’s why you have to do a more holistic solution on Phage.


Arcane Helix – Canceled Item


Xypherous decoration

An unreleased item becomes a new topic of discussion for Xypherous. Why is Arcane Helix not in the game?



Arcane_Helix_itemArcane Helix


  • Grants 400 Health, 300 Mana and 10% Cooldown Reduction
  • Builds out of Catalyst the Protectorand a Ruby Crystal
  • Unique Passive: Spending Mana heals you for 30% of the Mana spent.
  • Recipe Cost: 500 // Total Cost: 2175 gold



Was Arcane Helix too easy to abuse?


Xypherous Button Rioter Xypherous: This.

Yeah – I tried making a more wide-spread version of Locket to try to combat the point abuse cases – but as it turns out engine items (engine here, defined as things that are designed to convert one resource to another at a bonus) are notoriously hard to get right as solo items.

One day – I’ll figure out how to make one of these work. >_>



Was Grevious Wounds not a successful counter to this item?


Xypherous Button Rioter Xypherous: No one particularly likes Grevious wounds – because the effect isn’t really justifiable as a sole item purchase.I have plans in S4 for Grevious Wounds to act more like an augment to certain items – rather than the sole reason you rush an item, which should make it a bit more palatable.

Still thinking we might have to retune the % of GW though. 50% is kind of ridiculous – but some of our healing is also balanced around it. Graaah. 😛



Isn’t the real problem behind Arcane Helix the fact that Tear exists?


Xypherous Button Rioter Xypherous: A large part of it was actually blue buff / map mana regen auras and large max mana items like Rod of Ages and Frozen Heart (and Tear.)

Essentially, once you had enough max mana, Helix plus any source of regeneration would turn the engine on overdrive.



Why didn’t you just lower the health gain on toggled abilities?


Xypherous Button Rioter Xypherous: Honestly – the item didn’t seem cool enough in the end when it worked to justify putting a bunch of conditions in, unfortunately.

It was just – Hey! I’m Swain / Kassadin and I want to stay out in the field forever – rather than doing anything particularly cool – they were just tanky and healy. 😛



Follow-up: Why didn’t you go through with its release?


Xypherous Button Rioter Xypherous: It would definitely fix some of the abuse cases (well, barring Kassadin / Kog’maw) – but in the end, it was determined that the net benefit of having the item wasn’t cool enough to justify having in the game – as it just wasn’t particularly cool.




The League’s New Website!


Website banner

Following this announcement from a couple months ago, RiotChrist shows us the new layout of LoL’s official website. Expect the transition to begin as early as next week!



RiotChristButton Rioter RiotChris:  Starting this coming week, we’ll begin the transition to the new We got a lot of great feedback from the beta testers, and, after a few minor tweaks, it’s ready for live.

A lot’s changed since the last site update back in Season 1, so we wanted to build a new site to support the wider range of content we’re releasing these days.

Here’s what you can expect from the new design:

  • Streamlined navigation focused around a clearer, visual way to access news, along with new ways to find older articles
  • A more focused design built from the ground up to feature articles backed up by vibrant art and videos
  • A prominently placed community portal full of programs and fan content for you to enjoy

For an in-depth look at the changes coming with the new site, click here.

To visit the beta site now, click here.


New Website Preview Miss Fortune

New Website Preview ARAM

New Website Preview Tutorial

New Website Preview Forums



Current state of Olaf’s Rework


olaf decoration

SmashGizmo brings an update on how Olaf’s rework is coming along.



 SmashGizmoButton Rioter SmashGizmo: Nope, we’re still working on him. I apologize for the lack of posts but last week was a bit slow on Olaf work due to suring up more immediate Live Design changes and keeping up with this thread eats up a ton of my time when I try to do so, so I tend to come and go as my schedule permits.


That being said, let’s look at what I’m looking at testing for Olaf. I’ll just try to bold out the things that have changed recently.


Olaf Changes, V1.1


UndertowUndertow ( Q )

  • Slow no longer decays
  • Now has a minimum throw distance of 400 units
  • Axes now stick in walls and structures if they would land inside impassable terrain


Basically as I said last time, tuned the min distance down a bit, now the necessary movement to pick up an Axe is under 100 units.

Current status of wall sticking is that it has been mostly removed, but I have put checks in place to see if an Axe would land in impassible terrain and if it would, it instead backtracks and finds the last wall it passed through and sticks there. Essentially trying to get the best of both worlds, enabling 0 distance Axes for junglers, preventing you from throwing unretrievable Axes, and still retaining the scouting power of Axes.


Vicious_StrikesVicious Strikes ( W )

  • Mana cost reduced from 40/45/50/55/60 to 25
  • Base damage increased from 7/14/21/28/35 to 20/35/50/65/80
  • HP -> damage ratio removed
  • Lifesteal reduced from 9/12/15/18/21% to 8/10.5/13/15.5/18%
  • Spellvamp removed
  • Now provides 1% enhanced healing from all sources for every 2% health Olaf is missing during the duration


Spellvamp still seems to be adding really esoteric and misleading power onto this ability so I’m trying an iteration with the spellvamp removed. While I get that players feel clever for smiting with Vicious Strikes up to get bonus healing, I think that adds unnecessary burden of knowledge on Olaf’s opponents and gives us the ability to more directly buff his jungle if it feel underpowered. Not to mention the spellvamp off smite was getting kinda silly with the new amped healing mechanic (~300+ burst healing out of nowhere late game).

I also feel like this was leading players to improperly use W before Q in chasing scenarios, though whether that was the spellvamp or just the AD remains to be seen with this iteration. I’m fine with W -> Q being situationally useful, but with a tightly windowed lifesteal/berzerker steroid, I don’t like players feeling compelled to spend 40+% of the duration catching up to their long range Axe.

The HP scaling was limiting Olaf’s build paths and causing his power to spike at level 13 rather than transition smoothly to 18, so I’ve removed it in favor of larger base damage numbers. I’m guessing these are too high right now, but I’d rather test them at too high to make sure they feel good and work than to discard the idea do to undertuned numbers.

Lifesteal scaled slightly down due to early feedback that his sustain was feeling pretty silly in conjunction with the new healing mechanic.



  • Mana Cost removed
  • Cooldown changed from 100 to 120/100/80
  • Active duration changed from 6 to 5
  • New Passive Added: Olaf gains 10/25/40 Armor and Magic Resist passively
  • Active Changed: Olaf removes all disables from himself and becomes immune to them for the next 5 seconds. During this time, he loses the passive portion of this skill and gains 15/20/25% lifesteal (PLACEHOLDER MECHANIC).


Still pretty unhappy with this skill.

Double passive bonus was going by unnoticed, which points to attack speed being pretty useless on this ult. I’m not really happy with just throwing more lifesteal on here, but I’ll openly admit that I’m having trouble finding a healthy mechanic to put on the active portion of this skill. Right now, in lieu of a stronger idea, I’ve put on lifesteal mostly to drive home that focusing Olaf as a team during his ult is strong, but trying to duel him is a bad idea, and partially to proof of concept Olaf’s lifesteal tank pattern by boosting his LS number to a somewhat obnoxious level to see how it feels to play as and against. Again, I can’t stress this enough, this mechanic is intended as a placeholder while I work on finding the right mechanics that preserve the intended play of Olaf and counterplay versus Olaf.

Also, I get that people are scared of changes, I really do, but I want you guys to remember that this is an iterative process and you’re getting very early eyes on my work here. Changes will come and go and get tweaked until I have confidence in them. I assure you that Olaf will not be seeing a net nerf with the final changes that hit live.

But at the same time, I want to point out that individual aspects of Olaf’s kit will be getting trimmed to focus the character. Right now, Olaf’s power is very diffuse and I’m trying to tighten that power up into the things that actually make Olaf awesome. And when it comes to Ragnarok in particular, I’m trying to figure out exactly how to make being completely immune to CC feel good for both Olaf and his victim at the same time, as I don’t think we have ever really figured that out.


Skin Sale – Expires July 29th


Sale 29th July

Enjoy the following Champions and Skins at a discount until July 29th!




  • Heimerdinger - 395 RP
  • Kennen - 440 RP
  • Zac - 487 RP



Blade Mistress Morgana – 375 RP


Blade Mistress Morgana


Boneclaw Shyvana – 260 RP


Boneclaw Shyvana


  Justicar Syndra – 487 RP


Justicar Syndra



Missed any recent updates? Check here!


PBE Updates explained, Morello on Janna/Aura items, Xelnath examines Rengar, Future Caitlyn

PBE: Golem Spirit Nerf, Morello on Poppy/Karma/TF/Jungle Issues, New Rengar buffs

PBE: Karma changes/ New TF Passive, Rioters discuss Olaf, Rengar and Warwick reworks

Rengar Changes, Yorick’s new Kit, Aegis/Locket Talk, Free Transfer to Russian Server

PBE: Jayce/Olaf/Aegis/Locket Changes, Hired Gun Lucian, Queue Dodge Penalty




Pandannie banner


New PBE Update brings changes to Karma and Twisted Fate‘s Passive as well as a brand new feature – an Undo Last Purchase button! SmashGizmo discusses Olaf’s Combos and possible improvements, Morello reviews the state of Warwick and where Riot is taking his concept as well as revising the current Champion Roles and Scarizard drops a few suggestions regarding Rengar‘s Savagery and benefits from Bonetooth Necklace. All this plus the new Champion/Skin Sale!


PBE Update:

Overview of Warwick

Update on Champion Roles

Savage Gameplay – Rengar Improvements

Wild thoughts on Olaf

Champion/Skin Sale – Expires July 22nd



PBE Update


Champion changes





Gathering_FireGathering Fire ( Passive )

  • Basic attacks reduce the cooldown of Mantra by 2 seconds, up from 1


Inner_FlameInner flame ( Q )

  • Slow amount changed from 25% at all ranks to 20/25/30/35/40%


Focused_ResolveFocused Resolve ( W )

  • Cooldown reduced from 16/15/14/13/12 to 12 seconds at all ranks


SoulflareSoulflare ( R+Q )

  • Slow amount increased from 50% to 60%
  • No longer deals bonus damage on initial hit
  • Damage on detonation increased from 50/150/250/350 ( +0.6 AP ) to 80/230/380/530 ( +1.1 AP )


RenewalRenewal ( R+W )

  • Leash heal changed from 20% ( +0.01 AP ) of missing HP to 30/70/110/150 + ( 0.3 AP ) (heals for the same amount if the leash is not broken)
  • No longer deals bonus magical damage


DefianceDefiance ( R+E )

  • Ratio decreased from 0.6 to 0.25 AP
  • Ally shield now has a base amount 40/85/130/175 (+ .25 AP ) instead of half  the amount of Inspire – 40/60/80/100/120 (+ .25 AP).






Ardent BlazeArdent Blaze ( W )

  • Range increased from 900 to 1000




  Master Yi


Wuju StyleWuju Style ( E )

  • Passive bonus damage decreased from 15% at all ranks to 7/9/11/13/15%





Vicious_StrikesVicious Strikes ( W )

  • Bonus attack damage changed from 1% of Max HP + 7/14/21/28/35 to 20/35/50/65/80
  • Lifesteal and Spellvamp decreased from 9/12/15/18/21% to 8/10.5/13/15.5/18%




Twisted Fate


Loaded_DiceLoaded Dice ( Passive )

  • Now states: Upon killing a unit, Twisted Fate rolls his “‘lucky” dice and receives anywhere between 1 and 6 bonus gold


NOTE: The changes to Jayce, Karma and Olaf have been reverted and will be available in the next patch.




Boots_of_Speed_item Boots of Speed

  • Now states: “Limited to 1”. (for anti-trolling purposes)



Blackfire_Torch_itemBlackfire Torch (Twisted Treeline & Crystal Scar)

  • Cost decreased from 3770 to 2400 gold
  • Now builds out of a Blasting Wand + Fiendish Codex instead of a Kage’s Lucky Pick + Fiendish Codex + Haunting Guise
  • No longer grants 250 HP
  • Bonus Cooldown reduction decreased from 20% to 10%
  • No longer grants Passive magic penetratio
  • Unique active changed – Now deals 20% of target’s maximum health over 6 seconds as magic damage. Also increases any additional magic damage taken by the target by 20% during this duration


deathfire grasp Deathfire Grasp
  • Can no longer be bought on Twisted Treeline and Crystal Scar



Liandry's_TormentLiandry’s Torment

  • Can now be bought on Twisted Treeline and Crystal Scar


Moonflair_Spellblade_itemMoonflair Spell Blade (Twisted Treeline & Crystal Scar)
  • Cannot be bought by Melee champions
  • Now builds out of Seeker’s Armguard + Negatron Cloak instead of a Blasting Wand
  • Cost increased from 1200 to 2000 gold
  • Now grants an additional 50 Armor and 50 Magic Resist


Needlessly_Large_Rod_itemNeedlessly Large Rod
  • Can no longer be bought on Twisted Treeline and Crystal Scar (nothing builds from it anymore there)


Wooglet's_Witchcap_itemWooglet’s Witchcap

  • Now builds out of Seeker’s Armguard instead of a Chain Vest + 2 Blasting Wands
  • Armor increased from 40 to 45



 Undo Last Purchase


Undo Last Purchase

Located next to the SELL button in the Shop is the option to sell back the last item you’ve purchased. This refunds 100% of the gold cost and does not expire over-time.






Overview of Warwick


warwick banner

Warwick’s getting some much-needed attention from Rioters. Morello covers the basis for future improvements.



morelloButton Rioter Morello: Alright – again, thanks for your patience. We’ve chatted a bit about Warwick, and I’ll try to lay out what we see the problems, concerns, and our direction we’d like to take while fixing things to bring him up to date.

Let’s start with what’s holding Warwick back, currently;

He has weak pre-6 game presence:

Because of the reliance on his ultimate, Warwick’s ability to make plays, gank, or finish a kill is really poor until he hits 6.

He has a very flat pacing that disallows skilled duels, which keeps him weak:

Most reasonable Warwick builds have enough cooldown reduction to keep W up almost all the time, spam Q quickly (and E, of course, is a passive). Over time, this has lead Warwick to having few levers for us to adjust and make him have both a satisfying and balanced place in League.

Blood Scent is only helpful if Warwick is ahead:

Since the skill is passive, and conditional on the enemy being low, this thematically-great skill doesn’t make a lot of opportunities for fallback patterns or make ways to outplay an opponent.

These are likely the first places we’d look to fix with him. Next, where do we envision Warwick living in the game, and what should he do?

Warwick should be a staple in the jungle:

Warwick has historically been a jungler (and for a lot of older players, THE jungler!), and we think this should be where he primarily lives. His lifesteal focus is easier to balance there, and could be used to make for strong counter-jungling safety with the right adjustments.

Warwick should be a consistent, sustained lifesteal fighter:

This is largely what he is now, and I don’t see any need to change that identity. I think details will need to change to bring him up-to-date, but the identity is a fine one.

I’ll give you some very initial thoughts on what direction we’ll take. I’m not going to comb details much in this thread (that’s going to likely be handled by someone on the team!), but just give you an idea what we’re thinking.

Improve Blood Scent and improve pre-6 ganks:

This is a pretty cool skill in the way it sells “hunter,” but mechanically, it needs some work. This skill is also the first place for us to look in ways to add new decisions (which will show more/less skilled play between players) and enable pre-6 ganks so he can actually perform his job as a jungler.

More wildly adjust numbers, especially cooldowns:

The lack of pacing spoken to earlier will need to change if we want to buff Warwick. Even other fighters like Jax or Irelia have windows of downtime that more knowledgable players can capitalize on to turn engagements. Without this, we can’t really up Warwick’s power much – this will be a part of it. It may also include mechanical tweaks on skills like W, E, or his passive.

This likely won’t happen for several patches:

While we agree something needs to occur here, we do have bigger fish to fry before we do this. I’d love to get this out after World Finals patches are stabilized and we can focus on more opportunistic work like WW.

I’m sure there are some unanswered questions, so I’ll try to get to what I can.



How do you plan on making Warwick a “sustain tank”?


morelloButton Rioter Morello: Part of this is by making him a primary jungler. Lifesteal tanks are much more problematic in lane (especially melee) because there’s not tons of options to deal with them, and the combat windows are long and support sustain. From the jungle, they can use it to get an edge during ganks, but not become sustainbots.



Will Warwick get a Visual update along with his Rework?


morelloButton Rioter Morello: Bigger offenders on the VU list, but I’m sure he’ll get one when it’s his turn





Updated Champion Roles


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Morello discusses the upcoming distinctive name-changes of Champion Roles, complete with descriptions of each one.



morello Button Rioter Morello: Hey Summoners,

After much discussion, we’ve decided to update our champion role names to more accurately reflect how we think of roles in League of Legends. While most of these roles (maybe not one!) may sound familiar, we wanted to share our thoughts with you and to get everyone on the same page before the changes go live in-client on the champion info tab and with Patch 3.10. I’m also going to take this as an opportunity to give some insight into the live design process and how we differentiate between role archetypes that exist in League of Legends and the positions they can play in a given game.

Let’s start with defining what role means.

A champion’s role roughly defines the type of value they contribute to a team, or else communicates the fundamentals of their playstyle. It sets expectations for what a player’s experience will be like and what they can do for their team. At Riot, we see a champion’s place in the game as some combination of primary and secondary roles from the following list.

  • Assassin

An assassin is an agile champion that specializes in killing or disabling high value targets. Focused on infiltration, deception, and mobility, assassins are opportunistic hunters who find favorable moments within a fight before jumping into the fray. Regardless of the size of the enemy team, assassins specialize in positioning and artful killing. They strike when the time is right – no sooner, no later.


  • Mage

Mages are mostly ranged champions who prioritize powerful abilities over basic attacks. Typically mages are characterized by some combination of long-range, area-effect or high-utility spells to get the job done. A skilled mage can have a huge impact on any team with their versatile skillsets and flexible playstyle.


  • Tank

Tanks are durable, front-line champions that help lock down enemies and start fights. They’re usually found leading the charge, choosing the right times and situations to initiate aggression. Many tanks can also protect their more fragile teammates by stunning or pushing around dangerous foes and limiting their damage potential.


  • Support

Supports make plays by enabling their allies through buffs and heals, or by disrupting enemy lines through crowd control. From laning to late game teamfights, supports create advantages and opportunities for their teammates to capitalize on. A skilled support gives their team the edge it needs to claim victory, and can turn the tide of battle with just one well-timed play.


  • Fighter

Fighters are melee combatants that possess a mix of offensive and defensive capabilities. While they don’t have as much utility as a tank or as much damage as an assassin, a fighter’s damage will add up over time to make them a major threat. Each fighter has a unique blend of mobility, damage, disruption and durability.


  • Marksman

A marksman is a ranged attacker that sacrifices defensive power and utility to focus on dealing strong, continuous damage to individual targets. Typically focused on using their basic attacks more than their abilities, marksmen have the capability to scale and deal out devastating levels of damage in the late phase of any game.


By the way, using the term “marksman” over the colloquial “AD carry” is deliberate. Calling the role marksman defines it in a more clear and accurate way – plus AD carry is a bit of a holdover from when an AD player was always expected to carry a team. League is a game about teamwork and it’s inaccurate to say that marksman is the only role, or even the primary role, to carry teams to victory. A lot of people will still call it AD carry, and that’s fine, but for the places we use this officially, we’ll be using marksman. It’s a semantic change, but it’s important to note here just to let you know it’s coming.

Some of these roles are obvious fits for a champion, like Brand being a mage or Nautilus being a tank, but others are more nuanced or embody a combination of roles. This helps us define what the champion brings to the table and lets us get on the same page about the types of expectations you can have for a champion. For example, Mordekaiser is primarily a mage, but also a fighter. It’s also worth mentioning that we’re relatively stat agnostic when it comes to considering roles – Pantheon and Annie are both mages, for example, because they rely primarily on their abilities for damage, but the former is attack damage based while the latter is ability power based.

Since I’m here, I’d also like to address a common misconception about position and how it differs from role. Position refers to the places a champion can go, so a champion going mid could be a mage, assassin, or a fighter, but they’re still playing the mid position. This is the part of the game that players define and evolve, and we frequently like seeing surprising things here (as long as it supports good counterplay, of course)!

Let’s look do a thought exercise:

What is Teemo? Besides adorable, or pure evil, depending on who you ask, he tends to go top lane. But that doesn’t make him the same type of champion as Jax, Irelia or Jayce – champions that also go top lane. What it means, in terms of our discussion, is that Teemo is a marksman/mage. That’s his role from a design perspective. The fact that he is commonly played top is a matter of position. Lux is a mage (role) that is commonly played in mid (position). She is also played bot in more of a support role. Kha’Zix is an assassin who people like to play top, jungle or mid.

None of these position choices affect the DNA of the champion at all – they still bring the same ability kits and have the same core playstyle, but their position can affect what they do for that game. Naturally, some champions will be more suited for some positions, but there are also variables that affect even that. Team composition, for allies and enemies both, will influence a champion’s effectiveness, and item build synergy can enhance a champion’s ability to perform within a certain position. The different items players buy when playing Jarvan IV top lane as opposed to jungle Jarvan show us how items can enhance and define the two positions, even on the same champion. Ultimately these things can affect current game balance, but not the champion’s core role.

The long and short of it is that role and position are different concepts, and we approach them differently as designers. Players can use this information to better understand what to expect from a champion, and what their strengths and weaknesses can be. By all of us speaking the same language on these concepts, it’ll make for better discussions on more complex design issues.



 Will Melee Carries like Master Yi now be classified as Assassins?


morello Button Rioter Morello: Yes, his pattern is a bit carry-ish, a bit assassin. Melee carries were the hardest in here, and it was hard to justify a role name for a handful of characters. It won’t change how we treat them, really – we still know this design space is needing work.




Do AD Casters fall in the “Mages” category?


morello Button Rioter Morello: We debated this – maybe so. I think since they were colloquially “AD Casters,” anything that implied casting was OK. Mage and Caster was a hard word to pick, actually!





What categories will Urgot fall under?


morello Button Rioter Morello: Probably Fighter/Marskman or vice-versa.






Will Lux/Karma/Morg/Orianna be Mages or Supports?


morello Button Rioter Morello: Mages. They can be played in the Support position, but their role is mage.






Why is Mordekaiser labeled as “Fighter”?


pwyff Button Rioter Riot Pwyff: Each fighter has a unique blend of mobility, damage, disruption and durability.First it’s worth noting once again that Mordekaiser is primarily a mage (lots of area-effect damage and primarily dealing damage with spells), but he’s secondarily a fighter because he deals damage ramping up over time.

So his “unique” blend here is damage and a small amount of durability (in comparison to, say, a lot of mages thanks to his self replenishing shield).

In other words, primarily a mage and secondarily a fighter!



What constitutes a “Tank” Champion?


pwyff Button Rioter Riot Pwyff: Leona’s inherently tanky due to her W. Alistar is inherently tanky due to his ultimate. I think ultimately if we go by your argument that a champion must build a certain way in order to fulfill the role, then Marksmen might not achieve their definition as high-damage auto-attackers because they inherently need items to reach that potential.

If we were to take part of your definition of supports being an ideal label (in that a support has abilities that, when used correctly, accomplish supportive goals) then I think tank as a role also works. Leona is a tank because her damage isn’t high but she has built in tankiness (her W), lots of battlefield control, and huge initiation capabilities. Alistar can be seen in the same way. This is core to their abilities and can be augmented by how they’re built. You use Blitz as an ideal “support” category, but I’ve seen a coworker run AP Blitz for his huge AoE ult damage and displacement (he uses the hook to get himself kills).

Other tank champions who fall under the category role of tank might be able to go glass cannon for great effectiveness (AP AMUMU WHYYYYY), but their core skillset fundamentally encourages a tanky playstyle, and that’s an expectation that goes hand in hand with the role.

If I were to think of a perfect champion that fulfills the tank role, by the way, I’d think of Leona and Alistar – not Singed.



Will we be able to create our own Champion Role tags?


morello Button Rioter Morello: Totally different goals and tech required (and not a bad idea), but not really part of any of this stuff.





Why are Carry Mages (Cassiopeia/Karthus/Ryze) not listed under “Marksman”?


pwyff Button Rioter Riot Pwyff: For your first point, you’re misconstruing the concept of a Marksman as a “Carry” and this was the precise reason we wanted to move away from AD Carry as a term. Marksmen can carry. Mages can carry. Fighters can carry. So on and so forth. Nowhere do we indicate that one role cannot carry and one is a designated carry because, as you’ve noted, Ryze, Karthus and Cass can carry as Mages.

To argue the other point about Cass being a Marksman, I don’t quite understand what you’re going for aside from the fact that she can carry a team with her strong damage. Cass deals all of her damage through abilities and she has two high control spells in her ultimate and Miasma. You’ll notice this definition in Marksman:

“Typically focused on using their basic attacks more than their abilities”

But that’s not the case here.

On that note we did debate about adding a line “While Mages may not deal as much damage as Marksmen, they can still have a high impact in damage and control etc etc” that’s not the actual wording but the general gist is there. We just took it out because we realized we mentioned Marksmen before we even got to the definition.

As for your edit, champions can have secondary roles (see Mordekaiser as a Mage / Fighter), so consider that.





pwyff Button Rioter Riot Pwyff: For the role referring to ranged constant DPS, I get that there are a few crossovers (Ashe as another example of straddling certain boundaries despite operating primarily as a Marksman), but these are foundational role titles that need to be broad in order to get that alignment. I’m thinking of roles as being almost a spectrum wherein champions fall in various spots on the rainbow of roles (the difference between Mage and Support feels a little hazy to me).

Anyway, I apologize if I misconstrued that initial point. I think I was focused a little too heavily on getting that “some roles can carry at different stages in the game” point out there. Cass does do continuous damage through ability use, but I still feel her highest impact point is in her ultimate which primarily classifies her as a Mage. That’s just my two cents though.



The problems with Support Champions: Season 4 improvements


morello Button Rioter Morello: I think the biggest issue here, abstractly, is supports miss out on the satisfying power curve portion of LoL. I think their duo laning is actually pretty good (they focus on PvP actions as opposed to farm – a different pace), but their inability to gain power meaningfully throughout the game is highly unsatisfying. Right now, their income isn’t terrible overall, but their expenditure due to ward burden is.

Unfortunately, that speaks to more systemic fixes – especially to wards and vision. And that’s all for Season Four.



 Savage Gameplay – Rengar Improvements


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Disappointed with the latest updates on Rengar? Don’t be! Scarizard and Wav3Break are dedicated to making the League’s predator rise to glory.



Regarding the recent Savagery suggestions


ScarizardButton Rioter Scarizard: Trying to balance catching up on posts and doing actual work – a few points:

1. Please remember that the changes to Q are in testing, and that the lack of an effect on Q is placeholder. It might be returned to %AS on Q and ??? on Q2. Previously we had ‘If Savagery strikes a champion below 50% life, gain an additional ferocity point’ which we had some pros and cons. When judging the changes understand that the goal is to lower the burst potential of these two spells and that shifting them into tools for sustained damage is a win for Rengar’s balance overall – but i don’t intend to leave either part of this skill bare.

2. Some people seem to like the counterplay we’re introducing to his ultimate, and some of you don’t. I’m open to suggestions here – but Rengar sorely needs more counterplay on this skill for it to retain the strength it has, let alone gain more. Give me your thoughts on how’d you like to see this done.

Gonna go grab some food, but i’m at least caught up on this threads’ posts.



 Possible improvements to Savagery


Scarizard Button Rioter Scarizard: So i’m finishing up packing and heading to bed before my flight in the morning (For those of you who missed the previous post, i’m heading the Spain for the EU Pro Player conference for a couple of days) but wanted to let you guys know about the iteration we just clocked – while i won’t be around for playtests on thursday or friday, Wav3break will be tuning numbers and driving it while i’m gone.

I’ll update the original post as well, but the changes look something like:

– Attack Speed reinstated, -slight- buff to %AS, -slight- nerf to base damage.

Empowered Savagery
– In addition to dealing bonus damage, grants Rengar 3 Ferocity.

So what does this mean? Basically, Rengar’s Empowered Savagery sets him up for a potential Ryze-like spell chain. Feedback from this thread has been that (Triple Q or no), you guys really like stabbing. With this setup, you can Q2 -> Q, W, -> Q2, E. Q ->Q2 again, with a higher degree of Attack Speed than before. I’ve played around with the changes a bit with a few people and i have to say it looks pretty awesome tbh. You lie in wait, ready for the kill….and then you proceed to maul your target’s face off.

Another cool thing about the ‘Q-Train’ as Volty calls it, is that you can end the cycle at any point with Empowered Battle Roar or Emp. Bola strike and call it a day, winning trades or flatly disengaging. We still need to see what this does in laning situations, but from i can tell it drastically increases his engagement windows but highly rewards him for ‘keeping up’ his combos – all while hacking away like a madman.

I suspect it will be slightly OP with this version, but we can always tune. One idea we had is to slightly lower the damage further of Empowered Savagery, but instead have it apply a debuff making your next Emp. Savagery deal 50% more damage (probably only stacks 3 times?). This option feels unnecessary at -this- point, but can proceed to it if his laning is obnoxious but we like the pattern of Q2. Also drives home a lot of the ‘single-target mauling predator’ feel if you can single out your prey and make their lives hell.

Feeling more confident about this version, but everything is always subject to change. Could possibly see Bola’s slow% being increased to accomodate Rengar’s knifing around if he’s having too much trouble gettin’ to the folks he needs. Looking into using Battle Roar as a slot to provide a mechanic that helps him survive endgame without making his solo/dueling cases feel unbeatable – some of you guys have suggested a Wukong-like ‘Less defense, but stacking with nearby targets’ and i’d like to try it and see how it goes.

Even to those who think i’m not listening – your voices not going unheard. Thanks again for all of your posts, y’all.



Suggestion for Bonetooth Necklace bonus (bonus movement speed in brush/when unseen)


Originally Posted by Eleshakai View Post
I think a +movement speed when not visible to enemy team might be a cool perk for the necklace to offer. Kind of along the lines of boots of mobility, but just any time he isn’t able to be seen by enemy teams. It’d also open up some strategic counter-ward play.


ScarizardButton Rioter Scarizard: Catching this before i leave – i think something like this sounds really cool. I know i mentioned earlier that we were looking at +MS% in brush. What do people think about similar version?

‘Rengar gains X movement speed while not visible to the enemy team (or out of combat). This bonus is doubled while Rengar is in brush.’ ?

A lot of the bonetooth ideas specifically have been pretty interesting – Wav3break’s heavy lifting is going to be focused on BTN, but i’ll make sure to keep passing these along.



Q-mashing Awesomeness


Wav3Break Button Rioter Wav3Break: Just to buffer Scarizard’s post, I am currently tuning the new “Q-Train” destroyer knife cat damage window and I’m not gonna lie, this thing feels freaking awesome to pull off. You will knife more than you ever could and stab peoples faces like no tomorrow. Now time to balance and test it more :P. Again everything is subject to change.

I would also like to ask some questions:

How would you guys feel about Bola Strike being a skill shot?

How would you guys feel about Empowered Bola Strike bringing a little bit more team utility?

P.S. I think Bone Tooth is feeling pretty healthy building out of a Hunter’s machete for all of you jungle Rangos out there .

Continue to give us great ideas guys we will continue to iterate and try our best to make sure Rengar becomes an awesome and healthy character!



Rengar will still burst


Wav3BreakButton Rioter Wav3Break: Rengar will always have burst due to the nature of his ability mechanics, but we need to tune it to be healthier in early stages of the game and give him some extra stuff to make him flow into late game scenarios where he should be able to select his target of choice, possibly be in the middle of the enemy team and not necessarily only fulfill the role of “I kill your squishy and die right after/I can only kill your squishy and am useless to my team if I fail.”

We are not going to destroy his burst nor are we tuning him into a tanky bruiser. You will still be able to knife cat ambush people, but once again, the challenge for us is to make that pattern healthy, fun and balanced. This undoubtedly means we have to take some power away from his burst, whether its damage or execution speed. At the same time, we are also able to use the room created by this change to give him cooler effects that won’t force Rengar into his current “if I fail to kill someone squishy on my first Leap from Ult, I am useless” and “suicide dive bomb/kamikaze” play pattern.

As a final thought, I would just like to stress this point again: burst damage on a long duration true stealth character with no counter play, no warning, and no window to react is not okay. It is not fun to play against, it is not healthy for our game and it completely warps the game for enemy players. This pattern’s existence in its current form on Rengar’s kit limits our ability to make this character healthy and that is why it has to go. With it gone we have the room to make him into the true predator and hunter who doesn’t just jump in and die after taking down his prized prey.



How far can Rengar go with his new ultimate?


ScarizardButton Rioter Scarizard: Pretty far – Rengar’s vision range originates from his body, so it’s impossible for him to ever activate it and exceed his own vision range. Currently, people only hear VO if they are within his champion sight radius(around 1k or so) when he activates the ultimate. If he activates the ultimate while he’s ‘on his way’ the opponent won’t hear his VO play – but would see the particle above their head once he reached the appropriate range.



Will you remove triple Savagery?


ScarizardButton Rioter Scarizard: I’d like to address this. Triple Q with Rengar isn’t like Zed landing double Razor Shurikens or Lulu Glitterlancing multiple people, or even like Kha’Zix leaping perfectly for a multi-kill. Once you know how to do it, you know how to do it.


Triple Q’ing isn’t what makes Rengar rengar. Stalking prey, making decisions on which Ferocity Bonus to use for the right situation, leaping out of brush and killing someone, or flanking and jumping someone for an allied takedown? Those are things that make Rengar who he is. You’re all right that this was intended functionality when it was put in the game – but even Classick agrees that it was also a mistake. Frontloading 500% of your AD in less than a second on a target of your choosing when no one can see you coming is just not something that’s okay.

I want him to kill people – Rengar’s a damage dealer and that’s what he does. I would just like him to kill people over 5 or 6 seconds than 1 to 2.

I want him to inspire fear into his opponents. I don’t want him to inspire rage.



Wild thoughts on Olaf


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SmashGizmo posts an update on his previous changes to Olaf.



SmashGizmo Button Rioter SmashGizmo: Guess I should’ve made it clear that I would be gone all weekend when I mentioned I was going to Evo. Sorry for the delay on updates.

Just gonna rapid fire my thoughts to you guys so you know what’s going on, but I honestly don’t have enough time for a lot of back and forth until later in the week.


  • Min Range
  • Overall confident in the change
  • Distance currently tuned at 400 (pickup radius is 250, cast ranges are measured for the center of a character so Olaf is currently walking under 100 units to retrieve min range axes)
  • Slow Decay
  • Confident in the change
  • Unlikely to change slow values until I’m confident in larger scale changes and am at the phase where it’s time to do balance tuning
  • Wall Sticking
  • Unconfident in the change
  • Testing feedback has been inconsistent
  • More experienced Olafs dislike it more than newer Olafs, laners dislike it more than junglers
  • Planning on trying an iteration where wall sticking only occurs if the axe would land inside impassible terrain, essentially trying to keep it as a solution for junglers who rely on the lower min range without disrupting its current use cases
  • Going to try lowering axe’s vision radius on impact to reduce the ability’s scouting power without fully removing the scouting aspects

Vicious Strikes and Ragnarok

  • AS feels pretty meaningless on Ult, probably getting removed
  • AD on Vicious Strikes muddles the use case considerably
  • Likely to iterate on Vicious Strikes by removing the spell vamp and AD and replacing with AS of some sort
  • Undertow scaling off the AD and spell vamp is making the usage of this skill overly confusing
  • Would like to make it clear that this is your berserking steroid, best used in conjunction with Berserker Rage, rather than providing a hodgepodge of stats that are difficult to optimize
  • Still trying to figure out what to do with Ragnarok
  • Passive Armor/MRes that is cast aside during Ragnarok is conceptually better in terms of defined counterplay and seems well liked by Designers
  • However, creates some weird feelings for players with less design context, where they are hesitant to trade off their defensive stats and then go in
  • Still trying to find the balance between offering sufficient counterplay to opponents and providing the Olaf player with what they want out of Ragnarok

So I guess the tl;dr is that I’m still not happy with the W/R mechanics and will be shifting those around until I’m happier with their defined use cases and will be trying to find a more intuitive way to accomplish my goals on Undertow.



Why do you want to remove the bonus AD from Vicious Strikes?


SmashGizmoButton Rioter SmashGizmo: I specifically don’t like that players have a strong natural urge to press W before Qing to get the bonus AD and spell vamp on their axe. This pattern encourages Olaf players to use their strongest auto-attacking steroid before they’ve closed the distance, which is a fairly large misuse of the ability’s power in most situations. I wonder if maybe just taking the spellvamp off is sufficient to make this use case less attractive.


I dunno, I’ll think on it. I agree that the AD provides better gains for Olaf by accessing the multiplicative scaling and conceptually feels better, but I just don’t like the W + Q interaction and how it frequently leads players into a poor skill usage cycle.



Champion/Skin Sale – Expires July 22nd


Sale 22nd July

Enjoy the following champions and skins at a discount from July 19th to the 22nd!


  • Janna - 292 RP
  • Varus - 487 RP
  • Yorick - 440 RP



Full Metal Pantheon – 487 RP


Full Metal Pantheon


Ravager Nocturne – 260 RP


Ravager Nocturne


Sun Goddess Karma – 375 RP


Sun Goddess Karma



Missed any recent updates? Check here!


 Rengar Changes, Yorick’s new Kit, Aegis/Locket Talk, Free Transfer to Russian Server

PBE: Jayce/Olaf/Aegis/Locket Changes, Hired Gun Lucian, Queue Dodge Penalty

PBE: Lucian & Yi’s kits / Changes to Sivir’s looks, Olaf and Xerath

Patch 3.9 Preview, Lucian revealed and Themed Bundles

Heimerdinger Rework, Lucian Revealed, RP Summer Sale & Art Thread


Master Yi banner 1 

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


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


Lucian – Full Ability details


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



Lightslinger ( Passive )

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


Piercing LightPiercing Light ( Q )

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

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


Ardent BlazeArdent Blaze ( W )

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

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

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


Relentless Pursuit

Relentless Pursuit ( E )

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

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


The CullingThe Culling ( R )

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

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



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


Master Yi’s Reworked kit


ionia master yi decoration

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


Double StrikeDouble Strike ( Passive )

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


Alpha Strike

Alpha Strike ( Q )

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

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

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



Meditate ( W )

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

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

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

Wuju Style

 Wuju Style ( E )

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

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

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



Highlander ( R )

Cooldown: 75 || Mana Cost: 100

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

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



 Where is Sivir’s Visual Update?


Sivir Banner

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




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

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

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



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


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




Follow-up: Does sexy midriff mean abs?


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





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


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



Are her abilities being reworked as well?


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





Is her boomerang being worked on?


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




Does she still strut with pride?


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





How does her Spell Shield look like?


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





Are her feet still as big?


IronStylus Button Rioter IronStylus: Death to pizza feet.





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


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






To Action! Olaf Changes coming


olaf decoration

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

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


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

Olaf Changes, V1.0

UndertowUndertow ( Q )

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

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

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

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

Vicious_StrikesVicious Strikes ( W )

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

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

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

Ragnarok  Ragnarok ( R )

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

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

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

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



Why did you remove the slow decay from Undertow?


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

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



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


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




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


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



What prompted you to change Ragnarok?


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




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

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

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



Some iteration on Undertow’s minimal throw range


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

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



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


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



Have you thought about putting a CD Floor on Undertow?


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

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

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



How does his reworked kit come together in a game?


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


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



Xelnath on Xerath: Ultimate patterns


scorched xerath banner

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



XelnathButton Rioter Xelnath: Hey guys,

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

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

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

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

Issues with Patterns:


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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

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

So now we’re trying this ultimate:

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

Currently roughly the same range as Zigg’s ultimate.

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

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



What about his damage reduction? Is that still there?


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

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



How much damage will his new ultimate deal?


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




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


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



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


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




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


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





Follow-up: How big is the AoE?


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





Why should he become immobilized?


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

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



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


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





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