Posts Tagged ‘xelnath’


News Update July 14 Banner



 Lead Game Designer Ghostcrawler shares the thought process behind possible nerfs for Lee Sin and why his dominance has largely been left unaddressed for so long. Lots of arguments for where Lee Sin stands, why him warping the meta game by his own is an issue and unlocking weaknesses in his kit without ruining what’s fun about him. Moving on, Lead Champion Designer Meddler hosted a Q&A session where he answered a lot of questions about the design of some of League’s Champions and even teased the New Champion’s role – top laner. You can find a full breakdown of the AMA below.

Lastly, Q&A analyst Baconhawk explains the design motivations behind Headhunter Caitlyn’s new looks and why her original space-suit concept was scrapped in favor of her current looks. And some clarifications on why Yasuo’s ultimate triggers off any displacement, not just knock-ups.


Recent News







Nerfing Lee Sin Banner



What’s so hard about nerfing Lee Sin before Worlds

Ghostcrawler New PortraitI’ll address this at a philosophical level, because someone in the trenches of the live team would be better to mention specific tactics.

Champions are coolest, in our opinion, when they have distinct strengths and weaknesses. (This is why we describe champs that are just balls of stats as a bad thing and try to update them.) Moreover, when balancing champs, we achieve the best results when we buff things a champ is good at and nerf things a champ is weak at. This opens up opportunities for cool moments when a champ leverages their strengths, but still leaves clear opportunities for counterplay.

The problem with Lee Sin is that while he has some really cool things he does well, he doesn’t have obvious weaknesses that we can enhance in order to open up windows to try and shut him down. This means we have to invent a weakness, which is a dicey prospect, because it means having to redefine a champion’s role. “Oh, you only thought Lee was great at mobility and that’s why you played him, but we just decided that should be something he’s bad at instead. So sorry.” (Just an example obviously.) That doesn’t absolve us of the responsibility to balance him, but it means it takes more exploration than just nerfing his Q or whatever.

I’ll even expand on the philosophical discussion and say that improving champion diversity is something we need to deliver. By champion diversity I mean three things: more champions actually played, more distinction among champions, and sometimes actually getting to play the champion you like instead of him or her getting pick/banned all the time. These are long term goals and not something we’re going to quickly accomplish in a patch or two, but they are long term goals, and I have no problem if you hold me accountable for making sure we drive in that direction.

[ Link to Post ]



Follow Up

Xelnath New PortraitHey buds, 

Look, I get it. You’re upset, you’re frustrated. You feel like the diversity of champions that should exist is being crushed by Lee Sin. You are sick of seeing the same thing over and over again. It sucks. 

I hate when I want to jungle it up and see yet-another-lee-sin-invade steal my buffs and being unable to punish the **** out of him for it. (Cuz he just ward hops away, woo hoo!)

At the same time – look at what happened last year when we got close to worlds and made some tweaks to Tri-Force. The result was that it distorted the entire competitive scene for worlds, potentially invalidating months of build-up and expertise. 

Now, I am not saying there aren’t tweaks to Lee Sin that would push him out of Worlds. The perfect solution might even be in this thread. What I am saying is that to find, evaluate and iterate on that solution takes time and causes ripple effects on the rest of the game. 

Lee Sin has become a jungle-defining staple because he has no weaknesses. This is why the long-term solution Ghostcrawler described is the right one – and will probably cause some pain along the way. Once Lee’s out of the way, who are the next three champs to surge to the front? They could make the game just as bad, if not worse. 

When we hit a champ like Lee, we want to do our jobs and do our jobs right. Thank you for holding us to that standard. We’d also be doing you a disservice if we didn’t tell you that the right solution isn’t easy.

[ Link to Post ]



So you admit that Lee Sin has been inhibiting other jungle picks

Xelnath New PortraitYou know, it’s a fair criticism that he’s been strong a long time. 

But do you remember when we had some pretty severe changes to him on PBE? Lots of you guys got pretty upset, saying we over-shot so we scaled back the changes. (E.g. His ult doing damage based on the number of enemies hit)

Maybe we should have pushed forward harder to hit competitive. However, we already saw Lee Sin’s success rate plunge while players continue to play him a ton.

[ Link to Post ]



You’ve yet to address Lee Sin because he makes flashy plays at pro level

Ghostcrawler New PortraitYep, that’s a totally fair criticism, but you can also see the challenge in trying to navigate those two extremes: removing what is cool vs. tinkering around with changes that don’t really solve the problem.

A few of you have mentioned that I didn’t respond with a specific list of changes for Lee. That’s true and I tried to address that up front. What I was attempting to provide is some insight into how we think about these things. If you are only interested in specific patch notes, the patch forecasts or notes themselves are better for that sort of thing. I appreciate not everyone is interested in our conceptual framework for how we solve problems, but my experience has been that some players are.

[ Link to Post ]



Lee Sin has no weaknesses, that’s why he’s problematic

Ghostcrawler New PortraitTo be clear, he does need counterplay. We have to engineer some versus just nerfing something he is already bad at, because he’s not really bad at anything. Our intention is to do that, and when we have a direction, we’ll let you know.

[ Link to Post ]




If you want to hit Lee Sin, why not nerf his energy costs

Ghostcrawler New PortraitThat would nerf him, and something we can consider, but does it really open up coubterplay? Maybe if you survive his attack, you have a chance to counter….

[ Link to Post ]





You overnerf some Champions to remove them from the scene and leave others imbalanced

Ghostcrawler New PortraitTotally agree. We understand how frustrating the inconsistency can be. If we were consistent, at least you could predict what you were likely to see in a patch or two. We also understand that actions speak louder than words here and you won’t take our word on improving consistency. We have to earn that trust.

[ Link to Post ]



Why not rework Poppy, Urgot and Olaf first before moving onto Lee Sin

Ghostcrawler New PortraitSo the difference here is these champions need reworks to some degree. We have several champions, many of which were designed before we really solidified what made a good champion, who don’t have a lot of counterplay or don’t do much interesting to the game overall. We do keep them weak so that they may get some play but aren’t really competitive at higher levels. This isn’t ideal by any stretch but it’s better than having the game dominated by these guys. Our apologies if you play League for Poppy and we will get her straightened out at some point.

Lee Sin isn’t in that category. He does interesting things to the game. He requires skill to play and you can make mistakes. He doesn’t need an update or rework by the team that does that for champions. However, he is very dominant. We don’t think he just needs a simple number tweak. He does need a weakness that skilled players can exploit. Does that distinction make sense?

[ Link to Post ]



Meddler QA Banner


Meddler’s Q&A Breakdown




General New Champions


Is it true that Champion designers can’t look at the player creations forum

Meddler New Portrait Not to the best of my knowledge, I’m not aware of anyone on the champion design team that frequents them though. Good starting ideas aren’t usually the issue we run into, it’s how you refine, implement, iterate, balance etc that’s the bigger challenge.

[ Link to Post ]



What makes a Champion Kit or Lore

Meddler New Portrait Gameplay, lore and art are the pillars of how we approach making a champion. The initial idea can be any of the above – someone’s got an image they’d like to draw, a story they’d like to tell or an ability they’d like to play with. Working from that starting point we then explore what the rest of the champion might look like and what opportunities there are to offer something new. Braum for example started off as a female Piltover engineer, with a giant mechanical shield.

We tested a kit for that initial idea in game and hit on some abilities we really liked (similar to Braum’s current passive and E), the art and personality weren’t coming together however. We consequently took another look at who such a kit could fit on and, after a fair bit of exploration of different possible personalities and origin factions hit on Braum.

[ Link to Post ]



How many Champion concepts never make it to development

Meddler New PortraitMost suggested champions never get made. A lot of ideas stop in their early stages when they’re no more than a sketch or some discussion about abilities that might be interesting. Some do end up getting put aside later in the process though, either because the character’s not working out or because we’ve got something we feel’s better. A number of those ideas do later get revisited and often work out the second or third time though (Lucian and Vi are good examples of that). Finally champions do occasionally get cancelled late in the process, that’s pretty rare though.

[ Link to Post ]



Which lane is Riot looking to design the next Champion for

Meddler New PortraitNext champ’s a top laner. Balancing a lane or the meta’s not something we try to do with a single release though, the roster’s too big and the game too complex for that to be a viable approach.

[ Link to Post ]




When are we going to see Ao Shin , the Storm Dragon

Meddler New PortraitNot for a long time. We do still plan to make Ao Shin, but we ran into a number of issues with how we were approaching him. As a result we basically took his concept back to the really early stages – would rather go for slow, but good, than quick but disappointing.

[ Link to Post ]



How do you like these new forums

Meddler New PortraitLiking the flexibility of these RE ‘pick your own layout’. Bit dark for me though, going to pass on some thoughts to the folks working on them, find out if color scheme modification’s something on their mind.

[ Link to Post ]




Is the Role of a new Champion pre-determined or is it a result of development

Meddler New PortraitWe do have a rough layout of what roles we want to release over the course of the year. As a result if we’re trying to come up with an idea for a particular release slot then yes, we do tend to target a particular role. Having said that if, during the exploration of a champion, we find out that a different role’s a better fit for the character we’re creating we’ll embrace that new role and then usually change which slot we’re planning to release said champion in.

The other thing though is that not all champion ideas are targeted at a particular release slot. Some are instead explorations of what might be cool, with no fixed timeframe in mind. Those by contrast are pretty open, with the goals (gameplay, art and story) eventually deciding what role’s a good fit.

[ Link to Post ]




Champion Skin Design Banner


What were the team’s ideas about Syndra’s kit

Meddler New PortraitTried a lot of different versions of sphere manipulation, some of which consumed the spheres on use. Also tried some other stuff that didn’t work out at all, like a giant nova effect, slow moving extremely powerful skillshot (think a line of Veigar meteors) and an ultimate that let you throw enemy champions (suspect we’ll go back to a variant on that for someone someday, Syndra wasn’t the right fit for it though).

[ Link to Post ]



Why did you make Vel’koz’s first skin of the Battlecast series

Meddler New PortraitWe did look at Deep Sea and Jurassic as options, the visual mockup for the Battlecast skin however was a clear winner for the team though, in terms of personality fit and visual opportunities.

We went for a ram with Braum since it was a great fit with the sort of character we wanted to convey – tough, at home on a mountain, headstrong, forceful but kinda fluffy etc.

[ Link to Post ]



Were any other shapes or blast patterns tried for Vel'koz's Q

Meddler New PortraitSubninja, who did the gameplay design on Vel’koz, did try out a 45 degree split instead of a 90 degree one. Was generally both less useful and harder to land, so didn’t show much promise.

The ult was driven by a desire to make a real disintegration ray, something that gave the player the feeling of melting a target under a blowtorch if they could keep the flame on it.

[ Link to Post ]



What’s your favorite mechanical idea that didn’t make it to live

Meddler New PortraitXypherous played around with a champion that could attach themselves to an ally, soaking damage for them and casting spells as the ally moved around. Would love to try that again sometime on a tank or support.

[ Link to Post ]



Follow Up

It wouldn’t make sense for that Champion to be humanoid, right

Meddler New PortraitYeah, creature or shapeshifter seems likely. I believe (before my time at Riot) the original concept was for a swarm of insects for example. It’s an idea we’ve tested a couple of times since but haven’t found the right fit for.

[ Link to Post ]




Was Jinx different during her concept stage

Meddler New PortraitWe did have another concept that was competing for the same space as Jinx at one point, a heavy hextech chaingunner. There were some cool bits and pieces to the idea, it never really got off the ground though and if we were to revisit it we’d want to do something pretty different – Jinx does the chaingun space well.

[ Link to Post ]



Any updates on your earlier comments regarding Lissandra's passive

Meddler New PortraitStill planning to test out a defensive effect after CCing enemies, probably with a greater effect against ranged attacks than melee, given Lissandra struggles in some ranged match ups . Hoping to put some time into that after getting some Urgot tweaks out.

[ Link to Post ]



Follow Up

What are you tweaking on Urgot

Meddler New PortraitBunch of discussion in this thread:

The tweaks I mention are described in a couple of my most recent posts, short version is making bigger changes is going to require art support for a proper rework, so we’re looking to give him some help (quality of life changes, smallish buffs) in the meantime).

[ Link to Post ]




Was Braum’s concept inspired by Alex Armsrong from Fullmetal Alchemist

Meddler New PortraitArmstrong’s a good example of the archetype we wanted to tap into with Braum, and was one of around half a dozen reference points we had for the sort of character we wanted to make. He wasn’t the initial inspiration though.

[ Link to Post ]




What were some of the biggest challenges while designing Ziggs

Meddler New PortraitI just started on a Ziggs dev blog the other day actually, which should give a bunch of details about how his development went. That’s probably quite a way off though, we’ve got other dev blogs we’d like to get out first, so the short answer is that nailing down his initial personality and appearance was one of the hardest things for the team (Ziggs actually started off as a human in a bomb disposal suit for example, not a manic Yordle).

[ Link to Post ]



What’s currently the biggest unexplored piece of design space

Meddler New PortraitWe went through a period where we avoided doing creatures much at all and that’s something we’re looking to remedy now, so less human/humanoid would be my answer on the visual side. Gameplay wise I think there’s a lot of interesting stuff to be done with clickable objects (like Thresh’s lantern) and we’re playtesting a few things at the moment I’m hoping see release sometime this year (no promises, but fingers crossed).

[ Link to Post ]



Player Suggestions Banner


Will we see a different female Piltover engineer

Meddler New PortraitIt’s a possibility, though we’d want to do something other than a shield now of course. No firm plans, but it’s a concept we have talked about occasionally since.

[ Link to Post ]





Could you make a projectile that blocks other projectiles

Meddler New Portrait Spells that interact with other missiles in flight is something we’ll likely visit again at some point, certainly. No plans to do so in the near to moderate future at least though, that’s gameplay space we’ve tapped into enough for now. Would definitely see a variant on that sort of spell someday though that’s all about a single, brief cast, rather than an extended effect in the world, would have noticeably different use cases.

[ Link to Post ]



Will you ever create a true pet Champion

Meddler New PortraitYeah, we’d like to explore a champion with a more permanent and significant pet at some point. Would definitely want engineering support to do that properly, the current system works well enough for straightforward pets like Tibbers but wouldn’t support a pet that was around constantly, with a bigger skillset, well. Can’t make any promises on timeframe though, besides not for a while at the very least.

[ Link to Post ]



Will we see more Champions with a vacuum mechanic, like Diana’s  E

Meddler New PortraitWe’ve talked about vacuums a lot. They’re extremely powerful however, in terms of how they amplify other abilities’ effectiveness, to the degree that a champion with an accessible ranged vacuum is going to have to be balanced around their best case scenario to a degree that will leave them feeling pretty mediocre otherwise. As a result we’ve opted to limit vacuum like effects in other ways instead, whether that’s with a melee requirement and short range (Diana’s E) or movement compensation (Orianna’s ult, which is as much a flip as a vacuum much of the time).

[ Link to Post ]



Single Posts banner



Why is Headhunter Caitlyn’s different from the skin’s original concept

Baconhawk New PortraitThis has been answered before but I am happy to answer it again. That was exactly what you said it was: concept art. If you look closely, it doesn’t bear much resemblance to Caitlyn. In order to fit within our guides for readability and clarity within the game, it had to be adjusted. Otherwise it would definitely not have worked. (You are comparing that artist’s hand-done paintover to an ingame model on the PBE, which we are still working on!).

It’s easy to say “amagad that look so much bettar rito y u do dis” but in all honesty, a lot of our concepts look totally different (for better or worse!) than the final product, but it’s all about readability and gameplay clarity as well as looking totally badass/sexy/amazing/baller/Teemo.

I hope this answers your question.

[ Link to Post ]



Why does Yasuo’s ultimate trigger from every form of displacement

Meddler New PortraitYeah, knocked up’s a misleading shorthand here, I should be saying displaced. We opted to have Yasuo’s ult trigger off any displacement because it both clarifies which allied skills are relevant (if it moves an enemy then you can) and because it opened up the pool of champions Yasuo works with more. Our intent was to make Yasuo stronger with some allies than others, but we did want to keep that set of champs he synergizes with moderately broad.

As to why the ult went out that strong? That was our best estimate on appropriate balance for Yasuo. For the first few weeks players really struggled with him, and we thought for a while we might have undertuned him and buffed him a bit as a result. Those buffs, combined with his learning curve and some quality of life changes (consistent targeting indicators, better visual feedback etc) however brought us to the conclusion he was too strong once mastered so we took some power off him. He’s currently played with some success in both competitive play and normal play. Some discussion internally on whether he may be too strong late game, last I heard we hadn’t come to a definite conclusion on that yet though.

[ Link to Post ]



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



News Update July 6 Banner



As promised yesterday, Lead Champion Designer Meddler has shared an outline of QoL changes to look forward to for Urgot as well as plans for his rework. Also, Phreak joins Xelnath‘s discussion about the limited champion pool in LCS from yesterday. As a bonus, an awesome collection of super-detailed pencil sketches by artist Nathelm!


Recent News






State of Urgot Banner



Plans for Urgot’s Rework, Quality-of-Life Changes List

Meddler New PortraitHey all.

Long delayed update here and a change of plans. My original hope had been that we’d be able to rework Urgot’s gameplay without needing substantial art support. That’s proven to be too optimistic however, with the sort of changes we’d like to make including some new skills and other functionality changes that need animation, spell effects, sound and potentially model changes.

Urgot is on our list for such a full rework, that’s a ways off though (Sion’s up next for major reworks, and we’ve been tentatively discussing Poppy as an option for after that, though that’s not yet certain). As a result the new plan’s to do some much shorter term work on Urgot that, while it won’t fix everything, should help out on some of his issues and get him into a better spot until we’re free to do larger scale work on him.

That shorter term work’s potentially going to be split into a couple of patches. The first (and I’m guessing that would be around patch 4.15, though not certain on that yet) focusing on some general cleanup and quality of life, with a possible follow up set of changes to add in a bit more power if appropriate.

Tentative list of changes we’re looking at for that first patch (note, not yet in testing, so may well change):



  • Basic attack missile speed increased to 1600 (from 1300)
    – Given Urgot’s short attack range a more responsive auto attack’s appropriate for the risk he’s often putting himself in
  • Recommended item update
  • Some minor visual effects clean up


  • Acid Hunters now check for Noxian Corrosive Charge on both start and end of Acid Hunter cast
    – Currently only checks at start of cast, penalizing swift follow up shots after firing the E at long range and attempts to sneak in a final homing shot as Noxian Corrosive Charge is close to expiring)
  • Mana cost increased to 50 (from 40), half mana cost refunded on kill
    – Primary goal here is to punish Urgot less for last hitting with Acid Hunters when he needs to. Slight increase in cost to maintain a bit more harass cost, though still aiming to have this be a net buff to Urgot’s mana usage.


  • CD reduced to 120/110/100 (from 120)
    – Adding a bit of late game power, without increasing his potential lane bully case
  • Mana cost reduced to 100 (from 120)
    – Standardization with standard ult mana cost

 [ Link to Post ]



Will the mana cost refund even on minion kills

Meddler New PortraitYes, minion killing’s the intended use.

[ Link to Post ]





Urgot needs straight-up buffs, not QoL changes

Meddler New PortraitAs above this is an initial set of changes targeted at feel and clean up more than power. Assuming these don’t spike his power substantially (think it’s unlikely they will, but been wrong before) we’ll then look into whether there are some other safe buffs we can throw his way too. To be clear however Urgot’s still got some substantial game health issues in his kit so we’re not going to just keep throwing raw power at him until he’s back to his previous problematic state.

[ Link to Post ]



Can you recommend a build for Urgot currently

Meddler New PortraitJust some minor changes aimed at convenience for existing Urgot players/better starting point for new Urgot players (Last Whisper in, Doran’s Blade start, Mercurial out, Brutalizer/Tear/Glacial Shroud in explicitly not just as components etc).

[ Link to Post ]



Will Urgot be compensated for the Muramana changes

Note: Your Summoner Name might be cool, but it will never be Potato Jesus cool.

Meddler New PortraitYeah, would definitely want to add some compensatory power somewhere if we go ahead with those changes and they cut significant power off Urgot. Not sure what form that would take yet though, few things such as a the possible mana scaling above, I’d want to look into to help make that decision.

[ Link to Post ]



How about making Urgot’s shield scale with AD

Meddler New PortraitOne change I’d like to test, but have only limited confidence in at present, is having his shield scale with mana instead of AP. Doing so would offer some additional build distinction for Urgot (tanky mana build versus raw AD/pen build) and supports using Tear which I feel’s fun and synergizes well with the Q refund change if that sticks. Potential downsides are a risk of forcing Urgot down a single build path, damage and tankiness from one stat via Manamune/Muraman (snowball issues) or alternatively, if the Muramana changes go through, a lack of appropriate mana items to support such a passive.

[ Link to Post ]



Single Posts banner



Is Sion’s rework next up

Meddler New PortraitNext major rework (so full visual update, really big kit changes, lore update etc). Might well see some smaller reworks and/or visual updates first though, not certain on the timing of those off the top of the head.

[ Link to Post ]



Follow-up Limited Champion Pool in LCS

Context: This is a follow-up on Xelnath‘s yesterday response about why few Champions see competitive play.

Phreak New PortraitI’d like to chime in too, if you don’t mind:

Also realize that the LCS is only eight teams per region. Not everyone plays every champion. Thinking back to last season, it took people a long time to pick up Zed, despite being a ridiculously strong champion. Players often justdon’t find the champion, despite being an awesome pick overall.

I remember replying to a thread on this very forum where a player was like “Dude wtf look how bad Zed looked in this Korean game. Come on Riot, buff Zed. He missed his Q and did no damage. Clearly a trash champion.” That thread existed. It was upvoted. On early Season Three Zed: A champion we nerfed multiple times and was STILL #1 pick/ban at the World Championship last year. Just sayin’.

It’s also much easier to imitate than to innovate. A lot of players look to the Korean teams and say, “They’re the best, we’ll just follow in their footsteps.” Unless LCS teams are willing to step out and find their own powerful picks, you’re just only going to see the small set of champions that highly-regarded teams like Samsung Blue or SKT T1 K play. Last week we barely saw any Kog’Maw played in the LCS. This week, we have him played almost every single game. Because people realized, “Oh right, Kog’Maw’s really strong.” The game didn’t change in the LCS over the past seven days: LCS players’ perceptions did.

[ Link to Post ]



Follow Up

Enabling new competitive metas to appear

Xelnath New PortraitThanks, David, that was a really great contribution. 

Kog’maw is a great example of where a team must choose to play protect-the-kog’maw – but that might be impossible vs a team composed of the right set of divers/assassins/vi, etc. 

These strategies exist – the people that are capable of practicing them? Less available until popular. 

We want to enable these kinds of things – Yasuo Knockup comps are a new example of a specific synergy type. AoE Wombo Combo, etc. We don’t go out hunting for any specific comp usually, but instead try to ensure that the potential for them to exist does. 

… and by the way, for every strategy that survives to LCS play – there’s 10 times as many that still work just as well at lower levels of play.

[ Link to Post ]



Feedback on a Learn-the-League Youtube Channel

Context: Summoner Locoangel is doing a series of Learn-the-League Youtube videos where a Diamond player assesses common low ELO scenarios. You can check out their announcement here.

Boourns New PortraitAwesome content! Love the concept of a diamond and bronze player talking. He’s like your Counselor Troy!

Best thing that will help people learn is to summarize and reinforce at the end. Run through a list of tips on screen as you’re doing your closing gameplay reel, put a list of lessons in the video description, etc. One thing we definitely learned in our testing is that just telling someone something once doesn’t make it stick. Using speech, action, and text can help people retain things. Ultimately though, doing it yourself works the best. You can also bring back lessons in the future to help people recall things they’ve learned in the past and reinforce again.

Nitpicky feedback, the color balance/contrast/etc. of the play capture changes. You should try to get that to be consistent. Not sure if it’s from different capture sources or a side effect of the overlays you add.

[ Link to Post ]



Ping went up in Auckland

ToxicHawk New PortraitSorry to tell you the servers haven’t moved. Have you tried reaching out to your ISP’s, its possible the route path that they take has slightly changed when getting to our game servers.

[ Link to Post ]




Nathelm Fan Art Showcase


Here are some amazing pencil sketches of Riven, Darius, Garen, Vi, Miss Fortune, Thresh and Nidalee by Nathelm!


DeviantArt Page


Do you love League art? Check out some previous showcases!


Fan-Art-Showcase-Joon-Ahn (1)


Fan Art School Designers


Miss Fortune and Thresh

Miss Fortune and Thresh

Darius and Garen

Darius and Garen









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



News Update July 5 Banner



Lead Champion Designer Meddler explains the thought process behind nerfing Ziggs, the state of Lee Sin and Elise, why Lissandra‘s E deals such high damage and why Urgot would benefit more from a complete rework than just a texture update. Also, Systems Designer Xelnath discusses the limited Champion pool in LCS and why there haven’t been updates on Yorick‘s rework. Finally, a community suggestion about allowing enemies to report for verbal abuse only if the person they wish to report has used all-chat in that match and why Public Chat Rooms were not included in Patch 4.11.


Recent News






Balance Talk Banner



Ziggs's minefield shouldn't last 10 seconds

Meddler New PortraitThe minefield’s duration is indeed long. Something we’re aiming to do more now when balancing champions is supporting their strengths and accentuating their weaknesses however. Cutting off the most obvious source of power by contrast risks homogenizing characters. We’re looking at Lee Sin at the moment for example, with one of our goals being to see if we can find a way to preserve his mobility – it’s what enables great plays with him and really distinguishes him from most other champions. 

[ Link to Post ]



Did the nerfs to Ziggs fix anything at all

Context: Ziggs’s Q detonation range was nerfed in Patch 4.11. You can read a comprehensive explanation of the nerf here.

Meddler New PortraitRegarding the changes to Ziggs in patch 4.10 we’ve seen a noticeable impact on Ziggs from them so far. A radius cut from 180 to 150’s pretty solid, since we’re dealing with the area of a circle, not just a line, and 150’s pretty small (Lay Waste for example is 200). Not sure whether we’ll want to make follow up changes (buffs or nerfs) to Ziggs yet, the live balance folks will be monitoring him though of course and adjust again if needed.

[ Link to Post ]



Why aren't Lee Sin and Elise being toned down

Meddler New PortraitWe’re looking at Lee Sin and Elise at the moment. It’s not that we don’t feel they need some work, but that they’re more complicated to solve and we don’t want to just cut power without focus – we’d like to amplify (or create) a weakness and preserve their intended strengths. Ziggs by contrast was a relatively straightforward case of cutting unnecessary power (safer than intended, more reliable than intended).

[ Link to Post ]



Why does Lissandra’s E deal so much damage for a gap-closer

Meddler New PortraitLissandra’s E’s a risky, and often hard to land, tool to use for damage and she’s not balanced around the expectation she’ll have access to that damage all of the time. As a result being able to pull off useful mobility and damaging an enemy at the same time or sacrificing movement for extra damage occasionally can have a decent reward attached to it, giving another way to sometimes optimize your play. Her W by contrast is a high reliability spell, so if we were to strip damage off her E we’d have to put significantly less than we removed onto the W (and, as above, we’d be simplifying her kit in the process too).

[ Link to Post ]



Do you think Urgot needs a Texture Update

Meddler New PortraitI think Urgot’s a great candidate for a full overhaul of both his visuals and gameplay. Not certain he’d benefit as much from a texture update alone though as some other champs (Rammus and Skarner for example) have though.

[ Link to Post ]



Has Urgot's rework been set back by Sion

Meddler New PortraitI’ll post some more details on Urgot tomorrow. Short version is doing a significant gameplay rework’s going to take a lot more art support than I’d originally hoped. As a result a full rework’s quite a long way out and so we’ll look into some other changes we can make to help him out with his existing assets in the short term.

[ Link to Post ]



Single Posts banner



Can we have an update on Yorick's rework

Xelnath New PortraitHonestly, no, I’m afraid that he’s not a priority right now. Some other unloved champs will get some love before ol Yorick. This is mostly my fault – I was working really heavily on him until I got distracted and didn’t find another designer to take over Yorick soon enough. 

Feel free to blame me for the delay. That said, Riot’s making good calls about which champs get updates next in my opinion.

[ Link to Post ]



Have they let you look at the next Kha'zix skin

Xelnath New PortraitI’ve seen several potential skin ideas for a lot of champs, our bug friend included. Let’s just say that everything that I see gets me super excited. When we announce stuff, you’ll know what I’m talking about. 

I LOVE our artists. Like seriously, I would just run around the floor hugging them all of the time, if it wouldn’t completely interfere with their drawings.

[ Link to Post ]



Can we have a teaser for the next Champion

Xelnath New PortraitSorry, but no. We have entire teams dedicated to planning and releasing champions. I would be doing them a dis-service if I spilled the beans before them.

[ Link to Post ]





Are you currently designing any future Champions

Meddler New PortraitAfter Lissandra’s release I shifted to a team lead role, rather than working as much on individual champions directly. The next champ up’s one I did get a chance to do some hands on work on however, splitting some of the design work with Gypsylord, which has been good fun.

[ Link to Post ]



Why is there so little Champion diversity in LCS

Xelnath New PortraitI realize how LCS not showcasing your favorite champion can be frustrating. It sucks to not see played by a pro and believe that somehow you’re not playing the game right.

However, the nature of LCS is to play the champions those players can play well at the razor’s edge of skill– this is distinctly different from the rest of the world. Take look at Gambit gaming a few seasons back – they shook the world up by pulling out some impressive team comps that were well-executed.

That said, yes, we do look at under played champions and ask “Are these guys in a good place? Do they have a clear role?” If not, we think about appropriate actions relative to the amount of work they need. Full rebuilds (Sion) require the most, followed by Gameplay Updates (Rengar, Skarner, Sona) followed finally by Visual Updates (Sivir) and lastly Balance Updates (Lucian next patch). However, all of these require a certain amount of testing to be sure they are of a quality level that won’t damage the game.

This is why these things take time. Full rebuilds might take two years. Gameplay updates between months (no art required) and a year (vfx, no model required).

But… there’s always champions lurking below the current OP meta tier who are waiting to surge up and overpower the rest. This is why you see things like the full ADC item rework – we want to try to fix problems on the whole CLASS of characters (Marksmen most recently) rather than just singularly bump a single champion up.

Sorry, I know that’s not the answer you want to hear, but we believe that many of our problems are deeply rooted in tough discussions, experimentation and so on. We are being careful to not damage the competitive quality of our game while pursuing the heart of these issues.

[ Link to Post ]



Allow enemies to report for harass if that player has used all chat

Rincewind New PortraitReport in a single game is not going to lead to restrictions. It takes a lot of reports and the data is verified. I would recommend reading through posts by Lyte on how conservative the system is.

[ Link to Post ]



Why Public Chat Rooms weren’t removed in Patch 4

Context: Chat Rooms will be completely overhauled. You can read more on the topic here.

ToxicHawk New PortraitAt times we may decide to make some minor adjustments to the patch notes. For example with the chat rooms. We decided we didn’t want to turn them off at this stage so we removed them from the notes and have informed the team they need to stay on.

[ Link to Post ]



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


Comments off


News Update June 23 Banner


Red Post Collection

Single Posts


Recent News







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).


Related Collection





[ 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.



Single Posts banner



[ 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 Banner June 2


Official Announcements: River Spirit Nami in Store – 975 RP

Red Post Collection

Single Posts


Recent News







River Spirit Nami in Store Banner

Nami’s new skin is riding the tide to League’s store!


 The young farmer had walked this way home countless times before. Beside the jungle, the path stretched from crop to home, but lately he’d found himself a companion on his long trek: a song, drifting through the woods with the cool fall breeze. He’d always ignored his curiosity before – pulled his hood up and marched on home – but this time… it was different. It was calling to him. The boy paused, peering into the mighty woods beside him. Without thinking, he dove into the trees.

 The song filled him, pulling him through the brush. Thorns and nettles clawed at him, tearing through his clothes and ripping his flesh as he sped through the woods. Louder still, the melancholy voice sung.

 Finally, he burst through the undergrowth and fell into an open grove. The boy, gasping for breath, stumbled to his feet and looked around. Evening sunlight danced through the canopy, and in the grove’s center lay a crystal- clear pond filled with water lilies. River Spirit Nami sat at its heart, her emerald mane of hair framing a wide smile on her pale face. Humming, she beckons him forward, healing his wounds with faerie-touched water. Step by step, he wades into the pool, the water coming to his chest as he lurches deeper into the pool. Tears stream down his face. River Spirit Nami pulls him towards her, wrapping him in an embrace. Slowly, she slips beneath the surface, dragging him into oblivion.

Soothe your allies and enthrall your foes with River Spirit Nami, available now in the League of Legends store for 975 RP.



Suspension of Nukeduck and Mithy Banner

 A reminder that not only lowly casuals can be punished in League: Nukeduck and Mithy from Challenger team NiP are being suspended from League for excessive language and poor behavior in-game.



Riot aBhorsen Button Rioter Riot aBhorsen: Summoners–

We recently completed our investigation around highly offensive language used by two Challenger Series players. Below you will find competition rulings related to those events.

League of Legends Competition Ruling

Player: Alfonso Aguirre Rodriguez / Mithy
Region: Europe
Date of Ruling: 2/6/14
Subject: Suspension; Violations of CS Ruleset


In recent months, Rodriguez has exhibited extremely toxic behavior in solo queue. This behavior included, but was not limited to, in game harassment, verbal abuse, and continual use of racial slurs. In the past month, Rodriguez has been reported in over 30% of the games he played, with nearly 60% of those reports being for Offensive Language, Negative Attitude, and Verbal Abuse. During this period, his harassment score rose to be within the top 1% of all players on EUW. Additionally, he was reported over 30 times for leaving the game/going AFK.

Despite previous punishments for his toxicity, Rodriguez’s behavior has shown no improvement over the past months, even after his account became Chat Restricted.

Relevant Rules

Section 9.2.7 of the CS Ruleset states:

If LCS or Riot determines that a Team Member has violated the Summoner’s Code, the LoL Terms of Service, or other rules of LoL, LCS officials may assign penalties at their sole discretion.

Section 9.2.9 of the CS Ruleset states:

A Team Member may not engage in any activity which is deemed by the LCS to be immoral, disgraceful, or contrary to the conventional standards of proper ethical behavior.


Rodriguez has consistently engaged in behavior which violates the letter and spirit of the Summoner’s Code. His tendencies to engage in verbal abuse, racial insults and otherwise offensive behavior is unacceptable for any player (even if provoked).


Rodriguez has violated the Summoner’s Code in a persistent and systematic fashion, and has therefore violated rules 9.2.7 and 9.2.9, and will be subject to penalties.

Competition Penalties

Rodriguez is:
– Suspended from the League Championship Series and the Challenger Series through the end of 2014.

League of Legends Competition Ruling

Player: Erlend Holm / Nukeduck
Region: Europe
Date of Ruling: 2/6/14
Subject: Suspension; Violations of CS Ruleset


In recent months, Holm has exhibited extremely toxic behavior in solo queue. This behavior included, but was not limited to, in game harassment, verbal abuse, and general toxicity. In the past month, Holm has been reported in nearly 30% of the games he played, with over 65% of those reports being for Offensive Language, Negative Attitude, and Verbal Abuse.

Despite previous punishments for his toxicity, Holm’s behavior has shown no improvement over the past months, even after his account became Chat Restricted.

Relevant Rules

Section 9.2.7 of the CS Ruleset states:

If LCS or Riot determines that a Team Member has violated the Summoner’s Code, the LoL Terms of Service, or other rules of LoL, LCS officials may assign penalties at their sole discretion.

Section 9.2.9 of the CS Ruleset states:

A Team Member may not engage in any activity which is deemed by the LCS to be immoral, disgraceful, or contrary to the conventional standards of proper ethical behavior.


Holm has consistently engaged in behavior which violates the letter and spirit of the Summoner’s Code. His tendency to engage in verbal abuse and otherwise offensive behavior is unacceptable for any player (even if provoked).


Holm has violated the Summoner’s Code in a persistent and systematic fashion, and has therefore violated rules 9.2.7 and 9.2.9, and will be subject to penalties.

Competition Penalties

Holm is:
– Suspended from the League Championship Series and the Challenger Series through the end of 2014.



[ Facebook ] Alex Ich on losing Nukeduck & Mithy


546114_398523980255859_743118986_n Button Rioter Alex Ich: I did know the risk of playing with nukeduck and mithy. And having them banned now, ye its sad, but I guess we will be fine. They are really nice guys in real life and really dedicated and all the circlejerk about them being super toxic started from the leaked screenshot of custom game. I guess I agree on bans but the timing isn’t really the best one for the team. Now we got only around 10 days to prepare for next Coke match. But I won’t give up, there are worse things happening in life. Sad morning.



[ Facebook ] Mithy and Nukeduck released from NiP 


1012624_325736094226509_560515048_n Button Rioter NiP: Erlend “NukeDuck” Holm, and Alfonso “mithy” Rodriguez have been released from Ninjas in Pyjamas

Ninjas in Pyjamas have released Erlend “NukeDuck” Holm and Alfonso “mithy” Rodriguez from our roster with immediate effect. This is as a direct result of the recent suspension they have both received from Riot due to breach of code of conduct which bans them from competition for the rest of 2014. Therefore they are unable to participate in Coke Series in 2014.

NiP will immediately start searching for suitable replacements for the two players, and will try out several options during the upcoming weeks.

Statement from Gustav M. Karto, Managing Director of Ninjas in Pyjamas:

“This is a highly regrettable situation that the players can only blame themselves for. Ninjas in Pyjamas do not condone this kind of behaviour and we hope that the players take the time to learn from this incident and come back to competitive play in the future with a refreshed attitude. But for now, we will unfortunately have to say goodbye to Alfonso and Erlend, who have been exceptional and loyal players of NiP for the last 9 months.”



Hardcore vs Casual Banner

Ghostcrawler is up on the forums again to clarify what Riot’s target audience is following their statements in a recent devblog.


Relevant News





Q: Are hardcore players the target audience for Riot?


ghostcrawler  Button Rioter Ghostcrawler: I think we’re all using a different definition of “hardcore” and “casual” here, which isn’t surprising because those terms are pretty vague and subjective. It seems like some of you above are using casual to mean non-Diamond players or even non-LCS players. That’s not what I meant at all.

League is not an easy game to learn. It certainly isn’t an easy game to master. If you play League at all, chances are good that you’re a pretty hardcore gamer (under the definition I am using). Someone whose primary interaction with games is tablets, or someone who buys one console game a year, or someone who don’t really buy games but might play them if they visit a friend’s place once in awhile, probably isn’t a hardcore gamer. 

Riot likes to define core gamers as folks who self-identify as gamers. If you asked me my hobbies or what I do in my free time, gaming is on those lists. I suspect the same is true of many of you.

There are games out there whose mission is to try to attract very casual or even non-gamers. There are games out there who try to appeal to everyone. That’s not something Riot is interested in. We make games for gamers.

So, if the original question was “Are you interested in providing a fun experience for someone who loves messing around, playing League with friends but views it more as a social experience or a way to blow off steam, and isn’t ever going to hit plat and doesn’t care?” the answer is yes.

If the original question was “Are you interested in providing a more casual experience to attract players who play casual games or no games at all?” the answer is no.

Does that clear things up?





ghostcrawler  Button Rioter Ghostcrawler: I posted something similar in another thread, but to reiterate, if you are the kind of League player who is posting on forums in what is the middle of the night in North America, then you are the kind of player who is important to us and we want you to have fun. These design values were crafted with you in mind.

When I joined Riot, I saw a few concerns that I would try to dumb the game down. The quote you are referring to was an attempt by me to reassure you that isn’t the case. Part of the reason I joined Riot was because I found it exciting to be able to work on a game targeted at gamers (in other words, dudes like me). All of the games I have worked on before had a mission of trying to broaden the existing audience. League’s mission is to provide a great experience to you guys. Pardon my language, but F yeah!



Q: Why don’t you take the direction you took with WoW?


ghostcrawler  Button Rioter Ghostcrawler: They are different games with different business models and even different development cultures. If I went to work on the Sims and told them I wanted to steer the direction towards players who play League, I probably wouldn’t be working on the Sims for long. 

However, I do hope the success of League can send a message to developers and publishers that they don’t need to try to appeal to ALL different kinds of gamers with their games.



Q: Follow-up: If someone plays the Sims for 9 hours a day, isn’t he a hardcore gamer, too?


ghostcrawler  Button Rioter Ghostcrawler: Totally. That’s the challenge with labels. People don’t tend to fit into neat little buckets like that.

There are certainly players who enjoy both The Sims and League, and that’s awesome. But if I came out here and said one of our design values to change League to be more attractive to players who liked The Sims, there would probably be a lot of concern from League players. 

You’re awesome!


ghostcrawler  Button Rioter Ghostcrawler: Thanks! Another thing I really like about Riot is that so many Rioters are interested and encouraged to hang out with players on forums and Reddit. While I was a lead on WoW, I was just one of many leads on a very large team. Because players knew my name, I got credit or blame for many decisions that were made on the game. With so many Rioters, it’s easier (I hope!) for our individual personalities and opinions to come out.

It’s still fine to blame me, or any of us, for things you don’t like in the game. But earning your trust is also important to us, which is why I’m making a little effort here to restate that our goal is not to “dumb the game down” in hopes of attracting a broader, more casual audience.



Update on Sion's Rework Banner

Sion’s rework is still a priority for the team! This and a few bits about Skarner.



Xelnath Button Rioter Xelnath: Sion is actually going quite well. 

There was a long discussion thread over here.

However, now we’re into that part of development where things go dark, as rapid iteration, experimentation and development means that a play-by-play forum update doesn’t help as much. I think it will be fair to expect lots of interesting reveals once he’s closer to showing off.



Q: Why are we only hearing about the rework on forums ?


Xelnath Button Rioter Xelnath: If it were as easy to develop new art, concepts and feature as it is to write a forum post, I’d be out of a job. 

That’s OK, you don’t have to believe me. The proof will be once the character is ready. Development is never as easy as you ever wish it was from the outside.



Q: Can we have an update on Skarner?


Meddler Button Rioter Meddler: Few details from RiotSeb a couple of weeks ago can be found here.

We’re still aiming to get something onto the PBE within a patch or two. The passive changes we’re trying out, aimed at giving him a bit more CC if played successfully, require that we change some visual effects. As a result it’s not as simple as just adjusting some numbers in a spell, which is the case for many balance changes, hence the longer timeframe.



Single Posts banner



Q: Which jungle path should I take as Shaco?


Riot Wittrock Button Rioter Riot Wittrock: I like to start at my own red, take Q and level 2, and gank mid, then go to my own blue.

Sometimes gets a kill, usually gets at least some summoners out of the opponent. Be careful not to dive or get too greedy with this play. 

Shaco has TONS of options at levels 1-3, and being adaptable is really important. So, as a Shaco player, don’t ever get locked into “this is my jungle path”.



 Q: Is Nightblu3 good company in Solo Q?


Cedriel Button Rioter Cendriel: Having been trolled by Teambuilder and matched against Nightblue3 (I’m Gold 3), I found him to be a classy gentleman in chat even as his Braum pounded my face.




Q: Why am I stuck in a 40+ minute queue in Team Builder?


Lyte  Button Rioter Lyte: This is because you have higher MMR than the majority of players. This is fixed in a patch in the near future.




Q: Did you take out the stun on Zyra’s ultimate?


Xelnath Button Rioter Xelnath: The stun used to last much longer than the knockup.





CLG partners with Twitch, leaves Azubu


Link to onGamers article.


Counter Logic Gaming announced today that the organization has established a new exclusive streaming partnership with Twitch.

Effective immediately, CLG’s League of Legends player streams will be available on the team’s new Twitch directory. The new partnership ends the company’s previous relationship with competing service, Azubu.

The sponsorship also marks the first time an official partnership has been established between the two esports organizations as CLG streams were previously only available on the now defunct prior to Azubu.

Counter Logic Gaming Owner George ‘HotshotGG’ Georgallidis said of the announcement:

The CLG organization was built out of a community; a group of fans who rallied together behind a League of Legends team and set of values which defines CLG to this day. Streaming, and interaction with our community through it, is one of these primary founding values, which I will readily admit we’ve at least partially neglected. Friends, I’m here to tell you now however that I and the rest of CLG are back. I know CLG fans have waited on this moment for a long time, and I’m happy that we can finally deliver it to them.

Additionally, Twitch released the following statement from COO, Kevin Lin:

At long last, we are incredibly excited to welcome Counter Logic Gaming to Twitch. The good folks at CLG have built one of the most respected brands in esports: one rooted in community, friendship, and gaming culture. Together, we will bring their audience an endless river of pentakills, ragequits, and awkward moments. We look forward to working with CLG to bring premium competitive gaming content to new heights.

Along with the new Twitch partnership, CLG also announced the addition of sports nutrition company Cellucor as a sponsor.



If you have any questions, feel free to ask me at @NoL_Chefo.



MagicnaAnavi Banner


PBE: 04/02

Red Post Collection

RedditNew J4 and Ezreal Splash Arts

Fan Art ShowcaseMagicna Anavi

Champion RotationS4 Week 3

Champion/Skin Sale: 04.02 – 07.02




PBE Khazix Q banner



Khazix New Portrait


Taste_Their_FearTaste Their Fear [ Q ]

  • AD ratio increased from 1.3 bonus AD to 1.5 bonus AD (back to live value)



Bouquet Ward Store

Bouquet Ward Store Image



Minimap Bug – Icons popping up


Riot Feithen Button Rioter Riot Feithen: Hi folks,

In today’s patch we’ve fixed one case that was causing the mini-map vision bug. For those not familiar with the bug, it’s where an enemy champion icon appears on the edge of the fog of war for a split second in the wrong location. It quickly jumps to the correct location where the champion is actually standing (usually somewhere across the map). In the absolute worst case you would see the champion model and particles in the wrong location.

Our fix should lower the frequency of the issue significantly: we’d like to know if you guys feel like it’s improved. Please post any feedback in this thread.





Shaco Rework Topic

Shaco has been suffering in popularity in Season 4. What does Riot plan to do to get the Jester of the League back in the jungle? 



Do you have a general clue what you want to do with Shaco?


Meddler Button Rioter Meddler: We’ve got a direction in mind for him, yes. Goals are solid, exactly how they’re met, ability details in particular, very much a work in progress.



Meddler Button Rioter Meddler: 1. We’re still working on Shaco. Other reworks however are being given a higher priority (Xerath/Skarner being close to done, Sion being a major project that’s in the early stages, Kassadin and Rengar both having much more urgent needs due to their impact on game health/other players, a couple of low gameplay impact reworks to accompany visual upgrades).

2. Shaco’s a pretty difficult character to rework well. It’d be really easy to just strip away all his problematic elements and in the process remove many of his tricks and distinctive skills that people really enjoy when playing him. Finding the correct ways to fix his issues and preserve as much of his gameplay identity as possible however is much tougher, involving a lot more analysis, playtesting, iteration and sometimes, if something isn’t working as hoped, restarting, than many other champions would.

Hope that explains a bit on why rework timing can vary, and why it can be hard to make any concrete estimates or promises on a rework’s ETA.

TLDR: Lots of different types of rework, Shaco’s a tricky one.



Why did the Rengar rework take priority over Shaco’s?


Xelnath Button Rioter Xelnath: The path for Rengar was much clearer than Shaco. For Rengar, we knew we wanted to clean up his core abilities a little bit, experiment with bonetooth, remove some exploits, then experiment with some ideas for his ultimate.

Shaco requires more tinkering. In the worst of cases, Shaco is frustrating to play against, stifling and frustating for everyone in lane, is an uncatchable split pusher and can lay traps that murder you without a chance to counter Shaco.

Rengar’s burst vs. Shaco’s inherently frustrating kit need dramatically different solutions.



So why is Shaco still in this state?


Xelnath Button Rioter Xelnath: Basically, what I am saying is that Shaco’s rework is not on the near horizon, despite being discussed in the past. We had a couple awesome leaps forward, then sat down, looked at the champion list as a whole (see Meddler’s post) and prioritized to suit the upcoming year and champions best.

I really want to reinforce this – meaningful reworks take a long time to do right unless they are minor updates or quality of life improvements.

Shaco is a cool character. We want to do cool characters right. Shaco has some very harsh edges in his playing against experience. Thus we need to do more work than just a few minor tweaks.



What happened to his Rework? Why is it being delayed so heavily?


Xelnath Button Rioter Xelnath: In this case, the guy who was working on the Shaco rework switched his time and energy to help us deliver preseason. I’ve learned in the past year, that people get very “fast” expectations when we talk about things – this is just a side-effect of not framing “hey, I’m looking at this” properly.

To be fair – I expected to ship Xerath in August when I started working on him in May… but as we all see now, it ended up being another 6 months before other important things got done and we were able to schedule team time to finish Xerath. 



Why is Shaco a problematic Champion?


Xelnath Button Rioter Xelnath: He’s best played as a split-pusher who is nigh uncatchable, an assassin who can’t team fight, an ambusher who can’t be countered, if you are chasing him into a next(p.s. does anyone know if red trinket disables his boxes or not?)

And once he starts to get ahead of you, he has a permanent slow in addition to a backstab + crit multiplier – aka, once he wins, if he catches you away from a tower, you don’t have a good way to escape.



Rework Philosophy Topic

The different kinds of Reworks – are Reworks scrapped all the time?



MeddlerButton Rioter Meddler: Sometimes true, depends on what the rework involves and why it’s being done though. Reworks generally fall into one of a few different categories:

1. Those that accompany a visual upgrade for a champion. Sivir’s a good example of this, where our art team had plans for an upgrade to Sivir’s appearance so we took the opportunity to pair some gameplay changes with that upgrade. Visual upgrades are great opportunities to do valuable, not not immediately urgent, gameplay work on a champion, because since animations/particles/sound etc are being redone anyway changing how abilities function is easy to support.

Timing on these reworks is tied to the readiness of the visual upgrade.

2. Those done because a character has gameplay issues that are creating significant problems at present. This is the category that Kassadin and Rengar currently fall into. This is the most urgent category, and one where we’ll put a lot of focused effort into finding a solution, since the alternative’s nerfing the champion so much the issue’s aren’t a major problem (something we’re really trying to avoid where possible).

Timing on these reworks is dependent on how quickly we can identify and valid an appropriate solution to gameplay problems.

3. Reworks on a champion who’s not a major problem, but has the potential, with some adjustments bigger than just number tweaks, to be healthier, more effective, a better take on their theme etc. This is the category Shaco falls into. He’s not creating massive problems, but he struggles if unable to snowball and/or splitpush, and can be a noticeably more frustrating experience than average to play against.

Timing on these reworks can be variable, since they’re much more dependent on how well an initial idea works out, what other responsibilities the person working on the rework also has and whether other emergent works pops up that needs to take priority (e.g. reworks from category 2 above).

4. Reworks on champions that aren’t in particular need of work, and may even be really good already, but that someone believes could be better still. These reworks are side projects, sometimes done in someone’s own time, because they’ve got some cool ideas they want to test out/a vision for how a champion could be better. The Miss Fortune changes ricklessabandon’s testing at the moment are a good example of this. MF’s not a problem, fun to play and well designed. That’s not to say there might not be some good opportunities to smooth out some smaller stuff or enhance her play a bit though.

Timing on these reworks is extremely variable and these are the reworks most likely to get put aside (most often because an idea, when investigated and tested didn’t work out, sometimes because something does work well but is a better fit for another rework, new champion or an item).


XelnathButton Rioter Xelnath: Reworks can take like a year and sometimes get canned or sent back to the drawing board repeatedly. I wouldn’t expect too much in the way of updates for a while.

Edit: Reworks take a long time. Xerath had 18 thrown away kits before he got to PBE. Shaco’s going through similar kinds of exploration to distill the best features of his kit. See Meddler’s post for details – I know it sucks to hear, but Shaco is a lower priority than Sion, Skarner, Xerath and some other champions.



Can you comment on Yorick’s state?


Meddler Button Rioter Meddler: We’ll definitely do some really substantial work on Yorick at some point – gravedigger/necromancer offers a lot more potential than just what’s on his current kit. That’ll be a fair way off though, he’s potentially a Sion sized project and there are only so many of those we can have underway at once (not to say he’ll necessarily be the next major rework post Sion either, there are other good candidates like Poppy that would be worthwhile too).



Can we have an ETA on when Sion’s Rework will be live?


Meddler Button Rioter Meddler: Apologies, timing’s something I’m going to have to be vague on. Would be extremely surprised though if he took as long as a year for what it’s worth. He’s a big project (roughly the same amount of work as a new champion), but also one of our priorities this year.



Is Graves getting any kind of Rework?


ZenonTheStoic Button Rioter ZenonTheStoic: Very early ideation. Not a rework as much as a minor touch up as well, from my understanding. What I’ve heard boils down to “do more damage the closer you get”. No one has implemented any changes much less tested them yet.



Is Viktor still slated for a rework?


RiotScruffy Button Rioter RiotScruffy: Honestly we would like to make improvements on so many champions (Viktor included), but right now he is not an active project. It is definitely noted that there are so many people interested in and hoping for some Viktor changes.


Xelnath Button Rioter Xelnath: We realized it was a much bigger ball of yarn than it appeared to be. We had some specific ideas regarding his unique item, how to improve the feeling of his laser, etc. And it required a lot more work than we could support while getting trinkets, vision updates, new jungle, etc.

Since then, Solcrushed has still been looking at the jungle (see the new spirit stones and some work on the Wriggles line).

Post preseason, we took the time to sort out the reworks but I don’t recall where he ended up.



Why did you pack all the changes to Vision, Jungling and Supporting, into one patch?


XelnathButton Rioter Xelnath: The reason we did those things together was to try to bundle most of the “okay, how I have to think about the entire game has completely changed for everyone” factor into a single patch.

It’s easier to accept, “okay, I’ve got some big changes to learn, but so does everyone else”. For example, just doing the jungle item rework would be all of the junglers are in flux, but everyone else feels kind of the same.

Bundling changes together means players can kind of go through a mutually shared experience of re-experiencing summoner’s rift.

Re: Losing things – part of improving a game is culling features too. The opposite is feature bloat, champion sprawl and creeping complexity.



Xerath Rework Topic

Xerath’s been on the PBE for quite some time and his new kit is close to hitting live. What makes him a better pick this time around?



Xerath’s ult doesn’t feel as satisfying as other long-range ults like Lux, Karthus, Ziggs, etc.


ZenonTheStoic Button Rioter ZenonTheStoic: Lux’s kit is problematic in that she is a “fish for root, 100 to 0” pattern. This means we don’t have a lot of levers to adjust her if she ever does become problematic. Her pattern is all or nothing. Sure her ult fits in that, but I think Lux’s ult is much more interesting when used at long range.


I’m hoping that the amount of damage and range Xerath gets (it IS the highest range in the game) make the ult compelling. But most importantly, even if that is not the case when he goes live, we’ve created a kit that ALLOWS us to tweak these levers. By divorcing the ultimate from the full burst case of the basic kit we’ve made it ADJUSTABLE. I’m not saying it’ll be perfectly well adjusted when it goes live, but we have the tools we need now.



Will you keep Xerath’s strong teamfight presence?


ZenonTheStoic Button Rioter ZenonTheStoic: His Q, which he typically maxes first, goes down to a 5s cooldown. New Xerath hangs around the edges of a teamfight, constantly trying to snipe a high value target. Between that and his W cooldown generally allowing him 2 or 3 casts per fight as well, we find he has very strong teamfight presence.

Let’s also talk about his ult, because I see a lot of mentions of that in this thread!

The way I see it, you can do a lot of different things with mage kit ultimates. One of them is to have an ult that perfectly slots into the kit. Think of Brand: Brand wants to AOE dudes with W/E or just burst one guy out. Pyroclasm helps him do either of these things better. What this means is that Brand has one kit, but every so often that kit is a LOT stronger. He needs to decide when to use his ultimate (generally whenever he feels he can get a kill with it) and then commit to that fight. While his ult is down, he generally does the same kind of thing, only less powerfully. That is a perfectly fine way for a mage kit to work.

Ahri works a little differently from this. Ahri is about poking and fishing for an E hit confirm. When she has her ultimate ready, however, she becomes an all in assassin who zips around the battlefield, getting a kill and using her remaining dashes to get to safety (hopefully). Whether or not her ultimate is up very much defines what she can or cannot do.

Then there are guys like TF and Karthus, where the ultimate isn’t so much part of a rotation as it allows them to exert their influence strategically. This might be to follow up aggression from their team mates, clean up after an exchange they were involved in, or to capitalize on an enemy finding themselves in a compromising situation; say someone being brought to low health by doing Baron/stepping on a Teemo shroom or someone walking over a ward, revealing that their far from their team. Xerath very much falls into this category.

The coolest uses I’ve seen for Xerath ultimate are for instance firing in the path of an enemy ADC who is running from a gank in bot lane (forcing them to make the decision between eating Xerath ult damage or potentially letting the enemy bot lane / jungler catch up with them), stalling out a team from doing Baron (you do not want all three shots to hit multiple people on your team while they’re doing Baron) or to put damage into a team fight when the enemy team has a diver intent on taking out Xerath every single time (Xerath just hangs 1500/2000 units back, waits for the two teams to commit, then shells the teamfight with his ultimate and joins to clean up with his basic kit).

No, Rite of the Arcane will not work as part of his normal in-fight rotation. That is very much by design. The fact that Arcane Barrage worked as part of Xerath’s rotation on live was contributing heavily to Xerath’s biggest game health problem, which is that he is super high burst champion who, if he ever got popular, would have to be balanced around his full kit burst. That way lie boring/safe damage numbers.



Why did you remove Xerath’s % Penetration?


Meddler Button Rioter Meddler: R.e. the removal of the % Magic Pen – we wanted to really reinforce Xerath’s niche as a really long range poke/siege mage. That sort of range gives freedom of target selection. As a result giving him more raw damage, and therefore ability to be effective against a range of targets was a better fit than giving him % magic pen, and therefore focused effectiveness against a subset of enemies who he generally doesn’t need that range to reach (the enemy front line).



Sion Rework Topic

The long-awaited Sion Rework is finally being talked about!



Summoner Feedback


Button Rioter Hellioning: Now, I’m sure everyone is aware that Sion is an issue. He has two real builds; ap and ad. AP completely ignores two of his skills and instead focuses on a point and click that removes the intended counterplay to his exploding shield, that is, blow it up before it can respond. While this is fine in a teamfight environment, since he can only stun one champion and their teammates can explode the shield, it is incredibly hard to play against in a lane enviroment. This build also falls off in late game, due to the ease of which a full team of five can explode his shield, therefore completely neutering his damage. It also completely ignores his theme; he’s a giant zombie with an axe that is a big Ahnuld fan. He should not be a mage.

Meanwhile, his AD build takes forever to build up to a reasonable level. While this build does not ignore his shield and stun, they are much weaker and only used for the utility and survivability they bring. After he gets his items, he gets much stronger, so he can right click people and kill them during the stun. This makes much more sense in regards to his theme, but is also incredibly boring.

Now, it’s no secret he’s getting reworked, because when people think ‘clunky kits’ Sion is either the first or second champ they think besides Urgot (incidentally, both are reanimated Noxian warriors. Coincidence?) The issue is ‘what IS Sion?’ Theme wise, it’s obvious; he’s a giant axe-swinging zombie that quotes Schwarzenegger, so he should have something akin to Darius’ kit. When it comes to gameplay, however, people are far more attached to his AP mage pattern. Even if it’s impossible to play against, that shield is so much fun when it explodes. Something has to change; but what?

Please post your comments and concerns in this thread; IronStylus has promised to post this thread on his twitter and hopefully get some discussion going, so he can properly express the average player’s opinion to the relaunch team. Hopefully, we can make a Sion that everyone enjoys or, at the very least, everyone can tolerate.


IronStylus Button Rioter IronStylus: Great ideas here. There’s not much I can add in terms of mechanics, but I can say that these ideas can slot in very well to the overall thematics. Something specific which you’ve mentioned is being this slow, un-killable, unstoppable undead force, who, yes, would have died previously. I think this is a core characteristic.

Another thing that you’ve said about his axe not defining him, I think you’re correct there. Sion himself is the focus here. He’s a brute, maybe one that was consumed by such uncaring murderous momentum in his time in the Noxian military. Almost a precursor to Darius, maybe a similar position as Darius not commands. A idea we had is that Darius might even be the modern day incarnation of what Sion’s “style” used to be. Sion might have been a great ax wielder (though a more primitive style) in the past, but is now this lumbering monster where his ax is just representative of his brute strength. It’s used in more of a clobbering, smashing way than a precise slicing that Darius does.

This also adds into potential story lines. We can draw parallels back into Sion’s previous life, perhaps in the heyday of the Noxian-Demacian war. Whatever might have transpired there could have caused his death and eventual arcane reanimation. But, that’s just it, he’s a behemoth which has been brought back, reinvigorated with undeath. Not really a Frankenstein which has been put together from other people’s parts, Sion is still quinticentially Sion, just an undead extension of his brutal formar sense.

We’re playing around with the idea that maybe he’s sort of like.. if the US were to resurrect a great war hero. What would that person be like in present day? What would they retain? We surmise that in undeath they’re motivations would sort of taper off where they’re core craft still exists, or their fighting spirit is still there. Maybe Sion is Noxus’ George Washington or General Patton, resurrected. Who knows!


That’s a great sentiment, like Prince Vigo from Ghostbusters minus the maniacal mentality 😛

Thanks for the feedback!



Is Sion’s character defined by his axe?


FeralPony Button Rioter FeralPony: Jumping in real quick as I’m working on the mechanics design on Sion. It’s a bit early to start talking specific mechanics here since we’re still very early in the process but I do want to confirm that we’re aligned on the thematic goals. Sion is an undead juggernaut.


Sion does have an axe and he needs to hit people with it. As to your concern of does the axe define him? Not at all. As far as I’m concerned mechanically the axe only exists because it’s the tool in his hands he died with and he uses it to break people. It’s about force and impact, not cutting and precision. Mechanically his weapon could just as easily be a hammer, a tree trunk, or a lead pipe. It just needs to hurt people and act as an extension of his force and brutality.

As for your concerns of him being a reskinned Darius I have no desire to tie Darius and Sion together mechanically despite being thematically tied (Sion is basically an older, deader, Champion of Noxus). They both have axes but that isn’t enough for us to make them similar. Just as Garen and Yi both have swords but are totally unrelated.

I am going to very upfront on one point though despite being very early in development, I have no intent or desire to retain the current AP Sion playstyle. It doesn’t make sense thematically, visually, or have much mechanically worth salvaging. Run at a bro – click to stun then explode before they can react is really harmful to the game as a whole and is an incredibly frustrating and binary experience. It simply is not worth preserving. We are trying out versions of the character where we keep the exploding shield because it is a really solid tank mechanic and has some cool gameplay around it. But the current Q is most definitely getting removed.



What sort of DPS do you think is appropriate for Sion?


FeralPony Button Rioter FeralPony: It’s a little mathy but yeah it’s something I’ll definitely consider. He is a champion that I think would look silly at 2.5 attacks per second. I’d rather see him with something like 600AD with a more reasonable AS in a DPS build 😛



Any ideas for his Q? Will it stay the same?


FeralPony Button Rioter FeralPony: I think shifting him a bit more in the fighter/tank direction is very natural and makes a lot of sense to fit the overall unkilling/juggernaut theme. This would involve retaining CC and mostly likely increasing the amount of CC on his kit. The current kit actually has a ton of CC, we’ll see how it plays out internally before I go into more details on it though.



 Suggestion: Sion’s new ult throws his target in a direction


FeralPony Button Rioter FeralPony: Thematically it’s super awesome and I tried this in the very first prototype. I even had a version of it where champions thrown into walls would bounce off back into Sion (Pro Wresting Style) but I really didn’t like how it played out when I actually implemented it and played with it.

It basically felt like a more frustrating/crazy strong Skarner Ultimate with clunkier targeting. I had to slash so much power out of the rest of the kit because it was basically a guaranteed death sentence to the enemy in any team fight that the rest of the character felt pretty unsatisfying.

The scenario of throwing someone back into their team (the cool play) almost never occurred, instead it devolved into just flipping them into Sion’s team every single time which is a much less cool version of the skill.



Will you get rid of his Schwarzenegger voice?


IronStylusButton Rioter IronStylus: That’s probably the direction we’re going to go. It’s just really an odd phenomenon.





Will you give Sion players a Classic Skin when he’s reworked?


FeralPony Button Rioter FeralPony: I can’t commit the relaunch team to it but I would suspect there will be a classic skin. Keeping the VO or the feel of the classic VO if there is a classic skin would be very likely.




Reddit J4 Ezreal Splash Topic

New Splash Arts for Jarvan IV and Ezreal coming to the client? Affirmative, according to Reddit.


Jarvan New Splash

Jarvan New Splash

Ezreal New Splash

Ezreal New Splash



Fan Art Showcase MagicnaAnavi

I’ll try to turn this into a daily/weekly series where I preview an artist and his LoL-related work. Hope you enjoy!








Cyber Sona

Cyber Sona



Foxfire Ahri

Foxfire Ahri



Koi Nami

Koi Nami

Nanotech Caitlyn  (League of Legends)

Nanotech Caitlyn











Champion Rotation – Week 3, Season 4


  • Anivia – 3150 IP / 790 RP
  • Draven – 6300 IP / 975 RP
  • Elise – 6300 IP / 975 RP
  • Karthus – 3150 IP / 790 RP
  • Kha’Zix – 6300 IP / 975 RP
  • Malphite – 1350 IP / 585 RP
  • Nami – 6300 IP / 975 RP
  • Orianna – 4800 IP / 880 RP
  • Shen – 3150 IP / 790 RP
  • Sivir – 450 IP / 260 RP



Sale February 7




  • Dr. Mundo – 292 RP
  • Kog’Maw – 440 RP
  • Quinn – 487 RP






Missed any recent articles? Check below:



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



ghostcrawler banner final


Showdown & Magma Chamber Info

Red Post Collection

Single Posts

Champion Rotation – Preseason Week 8



Showdown & Magma Chamber Info


Magma chamber info banner

Is Magma Chamber destined to never be? Will One-for-All make a return? Keep reading!



In December, we debuted our second Featured Game Mode, Showdown. We wanted to share some results from the mode’s first run, and give an update on the…less icy map we showed off at the 2013 All-Star Game and said we’d launch before the next season.

The idea for a 1v1/2v2 map originated from a Thunderdome project and ended up evolving into what you saw at the 2013 All-Star Game. At the time, the Featured Game Modes project was just kicking off and the team decided to take a deeper dive into a 1v1/2v2 game mode. They discovered a few things:

  • Pros (and internal play testers) actually preferred the longer lanes, health packs and brush of Howling Abyss
  • Magma Chamber ran alright on the nigh-supercomputers pros were playing on, but it was far from optimized and had a slew of unforeseen performance issues

There were also a few questions that needed answers:

  • Would 1v1/2v2 be a popular and replayable mode for players?
  • What’s the correct map layout? Should players be able to choose a lane on Summoner’s Rift? Should there be health pickups? Brush?
  • What’s the optimal rule set for a 1v1 or 2v2 matchup?

So we had to make a decision – we wanted to try out a game mode like this, but creating a mode-specific map represented a significant commitment when we weren’t sure the game mode was going to be something players wanted. Since players seemed really interested in a 1v1/2v2 experience, we chose to try the game mode out on Howling Abyss – an art-complete and optimized map – to gather player feedback and data.

Showdown was a relatively short-lived experience for most players. Tons of players tried Showdown out when it was first released, but, after only a week, players worldwide spent less than 1% of all in game time on Showdown. Generally, we heard good feedback about the 1v1/2v2 gameplay on Howling Abyss as compared to Magma Chamber. Players also had ideas about continued improvement of the 1v1/2v2 experience such as being able to do specific top, mid or bot lane matchups on SR.

Ultimately, we concluded that Magma Chamber simply isn’t the right place for us to further develop a great 1v1/2v2 experience and the mode itself isn’t sustainable as a permanent feature. So, after many discussions and a lot of fact checking, we’re halting development of the Magma Chamber map you saw at last year’s All-Star Game. That doesn’t mean that a lot of you (and us) didn’t have fun dueling it out on Howling Abyss and we really want to bring back 1v1/2v2 in the future.

(If you’re interested in the complete breakdown of our Featured Game Modes data as well as some information on the future of Showdown, check out Brackhar’s post.)

We know we changed our minds after making a commitment and we’re sorry. We hate doing it. Thebiggest promise we make, and the one that makes us believe this is the right decision, is that we aspire to be the most player-focused game company in the world. We’re always trying to make decisions that we think are in the best interest of players and in this case, we think that the best path forward is to perfect 1v1/2v2  as a Featured Game Mode. We’re excited about future possibilities and there are already more projects in the works we think you guys will love.



Red Post Collection



Showdown Statistical breakdown


Snowdown approaches

Let’s have a professional analysis of both modes – how popular were Snowdown and One-For-All?



BrackharButton Rioter Brackhar: Hey Everyone!

With Snowdown now a few weeks behind us, I wanted to talk with you guys about how the mode was received, some of the feedback that was given and what our future plans are for the experience. This post uses One For All as a comparison point, so you’ll get to see some neat data there as well. So without further ado, let’s dive in!

First, let’s start by discussing the feedback we received from the Micro Feedback Tool (MFT). The MFT is a tool where we pose a simple statement to players like “The game of Showdown I just played was fun,” and ask them to rate their agreement on a scale from 1 to 5. We use the MFT for almost every feature we release, and it’s a great way for us to hear player’s first impressions.

For any featured game mode we create, there are three main questions we ask via the MFT: Was the game fun, did it feel different from other game modes, and would you like to play it again. We then collect data at three different times during the event: once when the event starts, once midway through, and once at the end. This helps us understand how player sentiment changes as exposure to the game mode increases, and it can be very useful in separating out novelty appeal.

Generally speaking, we view a response above 4.0 as representing strong agreement in the community, and as you can see above, both 1v1 and 2v2 scored very well on all metrics. Additionally, each question remained stable throughout the different time periods on all questions, meaning, the people who continued to play Showdown enjoyed the mode and left with a favorable opinion. 2v2 generally scored slightly better on each of these questions which we expected given the increased amount of combat interaction. This leads us to believe that Showdown is a candidate for returning sometime in the future.

Next, let’s take a look at some play data and see how it compared to One For All.

This is the first time we’ve shown data like this, so let me give some context. One of the more common metrics we use to measure a game mode’s appeal is the number of minutes a player spends playing each particular mode. By looking at the percent of time they spend in any particular experience, we can judge how it holds up against other game modes. Additionally, “minutes played” allows us to compare game modes with drastically different game lengths without biasing in one direction or another. One For All fares very well by this metric, averaging almost 23.4% of all playtime across all regions. Showdown also fared well, though it only accounted for about 2.3% of all play during the time period.

Because much of the appeal of these game modes comes from the novelty aspect, we also do a breakdown of playtime across the lifetime of a mode to see how it falls off. The below graph shows the average play time of both One For All and Showdown as a product of time.

As you can see, both One For All and Showdown had a high spike in playtime when they were first turned on, with One For All accounting for 37% and Showdown 8% on their respective first days. As time passed the amount of time both modes were played decreased. One For All lost 75% of its playtime and Showdown lost 90% by the end. This drop-off for both modes is a pretty good indicator that these modes are likely better suited as short-term events rather than permanent game modes. If the modes were left on permanently, the queue times for each would be pretty atrocious after a few more weeks.

All of the above is in line with how we generally expect featured game modes to perform, and this type of data helps us determine what to pursue next. Both modes successfully delivered on being fun, memorable experiences, and my team wants to thank all of you who played and gave your feedback. We really appreciate your support.

Speaking of feedback, a number of you wrote to us and gave your ideas on how we could improve Showdown in the future. I’d like to let you guys in on some of the early ideas we’re discussing.

  • The amount of time spent in champion select was too long for how long the games were.
    • After playing a number of games after release, this is a point we definitely agree with. One idea we’re discussing right now is potentially making each match a best of 3 or best of 5 competition instead of a one-off, which should help while also opening up some interesting counter play opportunities. There are a number of variants we could use also, from letting you bring in multiple champions that you cycle between to not resetting gold and xp so late game champions/builds could potentially shine more. All are open to discussion.
  • Players wanted an experience more like top/mid/bot on SR.
    • We’re pretty happy with the hybrid experience we created by doing Showdown on Howling Abyss, but we also understand the desire to have a matchup that is more true to the lanes of Summoner’s Rift. One thing we’re discussing is potentially having Showdown return on SR with different queues for top, mid or bot lane matchups. That way people who really do want to see who is the best mid-laner can, and no one will be able to use the excuse that they lost because of the health packs or brush differences.
  • It’d be great to have a ladder showing progress.
    • This is definitely a cool idea and one we want to pursue. Our team doesn’t have any web developers on it so we’d have to negotiate with some of the other teams here at Riot, but there’s value here for sure!

Thanks for taking the time to read this, and I look forward to sharing more data with you in the future!




Are the modes coming back?


BrackharButton Rioter Brackhar: Yeap! When any mode is received well it definitely becomes a candidate, with the question of when being dependent on its relative popularity.




Suggestion: Challenge players to Showdown from post-game screen


BrackharButton Rioter Brackhar: Yeah, that’d be a pretty cool addition. I’ll bring it up with the team.





Why are there such long breaks between game modes?


BrackharButton Rioter Brackhar: The breaks do a number of things that are helpful, from giving my team some time to make game modes that are more complex to also helping make each mode an event in the community so the play rate is high. As for why we don’t make the game modes permanent I talk a bit about it in this post:….php?t=4019198



Is it true that making these modes permanent now will lead to long queue times?


BrackharButton Rioter Brackhar: Well, you can see from the data that the play rate dropped off substantially after just two weeks for Showdown, and it didn’t show signs of stopping. A few more weeks and we’d likely be looking at 20 minute queue times commonly, which is unacceptable for a 5 minute average game mode.



Will you give us statistics like this for Champion win rates?


BrackharButton Rioter Brackhar: I can’t speak to champion win rates, but I’d love to keep doing this for any of the featured game modes we do.





What do you think of a Capture-the-Flag mode?


BrackharButton Rioter Brackhar: Could be pretty cool! I think bombing run would be a bit better than CTF, but I like the idea!





Can you explain how using game time is an unbiased way of gathering data?


BrackharButton Rioter Brackhar: Sure, I’ll take a stab at it. Broadly speaking, the idea is the players generally have an amount of time that they’re interested in playing LoL when they sit down. Have you ever had a 80 minute SR game and thought “Man, that game was super long, I can’t play another” or had a 20 minute surrender and thought “Oh hey, that game was super fast, I can probably get in another one?” That’s this concept in practice.

As such, what differences in game time do is they affect the minimum amount of time you’ll play a mode in a night, more than anything else. If a game mode is really engaging you’ll play it for all the time you’re on, and if it’s not you’ll spend that time elsewhere. If we had shipped Showdown as a best of 5 match vs the heads up one we did, our expectation is that we would have seen a similar amount of time spent in Showdown with on the order of a fifth the total number of game starts. It is fair that the Showdown experience spent more proportional time in champion select than our other modes does, but even if you multiply the average by 1.2x it doesn’t really move the needle appreciably.


BrackharButton Rioter Brackhar: We use % play time as a way to measure player’s engagement with a game mode and feel that it effectively normalizes for engagement across varying game length since players naturally self-budget their time. Since Showdown had a very low % play time by the end of its lifetime and had much worse falloff than any of our other modes during a same time window after launch, we felt that Showdown was not a particularly long-term engaging mode.

The caveat here is that the MFT data shows that the game mode was received well and left people with a positive opinion, meaning that it’s a decent candidate to try bringing back with changes in the future. However, as currently envisioned it’s not a strong candidate for being a permanent game mode.



What do you mean by “spending time in Champion Select”?


BrackharButton Rioter Brackhar: What I was trying to refer to by referencing champion select was heading off a potential counter argument. Champion select for Showdown takes roughly 2-4 minutes to get through, and the average Showdown time was 7 minutes. As such you could argue that only looking at game time isn’t a great measure of engagement, since spending time banning champions/selecting champions is a much larger proportion of the experience compared to other game modes. All I was trying to say was that, even if you inflate the playtime of Showdown to account for that time in champion select, it doesn’t appreciably change the results.

As for accounting for players yes. Average play time accounts for that inherently, which is why we use it. Number of game starts is where you really have to account for different team sizes, and as such is a confusing metric in this case. That’s why we left it out.



Using this methology, are Dominion / Twisted Treeline worth maintaining?


BrackharButton Rioter Brackhar: We want to try and do some things with Dominion via the auspices of featured game modes, we just need to figure out what first.





Why aren’t these game modes available all the time?


BrackharButton Rioter Brackhar: Every game mode that is on live increases the cost of any change that we do. Some of the balance changes that we’ve done already have broken One For All as an example, so we’ll need to go back and fix it up before we bring it back. Now imagine that we’re having to check 10+ game modes for every change we do, and you can see how slow development could become.



Will you include Team Builder in featured game modes?


BrackharButton Rioter Brackhar: Yeah, I think Team Builder has a lot of potential for cool stuff in featured game modes! I definitely want to explore the possibilities once it’s released.




Are you concerned that MFT data might be inherently skewed upwards?


BrackharButton Rioter Brackhar: We use these types of questions for a bunch of stuff. Trust me; when players don’t like something they let us know. 😛





Do these stats include custom games?


BrackharButton Rioter Brackhar: Yeap.




Don’t you think not resetting gold and xp would make for some really bad snowballing, where eventually it would be extremely difficult to come back from a bad position?


BrackharButton Rioter Brackhar: Possibly, but maybe we also remove the gold/xp bonus from champion kills. The idea basically comes from the question of if it’s interesting to see how a matchup fairs at different champ levels. Some champs are better late game, so maybe it’d be more fair to them. Dunno! It’s just an idea currently.



Do you think making 1v1 and 2v2 “hardcore” conceptually alienated a lot of players?


BrackharButton Rioter Brackhar: I dunno. We’ve got a pretty large segment of out playerbase who self identify as hardcore/competitive players, so I don’t think that’s intrinsically it. As for the timing question I don’t know if I’d agree with the argument as phrased.




Are Fighters poorly designed?


Irelia banner

Morello explains Riot’s philosophy in dealing with top lane picks. Happy times guaranteed below! 



Why did you nerf Irelia so many times?


morello Button Rioter Morello: Irelia’s not a special case to me, but a representation of the problem that many fighters have overall – you bring power to the table, and your function is to outpower everything in terms of raw effectiveness.

Let me give you a little history lesson on fighters from the old days;

Originally, melee consisted of mostly true tanks and melee carries – Yi and Tryndamere to be exact. Quickly, the latter category really was phased out by ranged AD who could do their jobs, and better. Sure, melee did more damage, but with itemization, the damage wasn’t meaningful enough to make up for the extra risk incurred by melee ranged attacks.

The team saw this and wanted to solve it. After a few attempts and one successful champion launch on this front, Garen, Xin was released. Xin was our first true love letter to melee (Garen was more designed to be a straight-forward champion).

And oh, what a love letter it was. Xin was tough as a nail, bursty as an assassin and had chainable CC. Our solution was to try to give them everything we could to make up for the melee nature. While Xin’s tuning was absurd on launch, the formula worked in the “here’s how melee can be viable in LoL.” The problem is that approach left us little we could do to adjust playbalance outside of power and numbers.

All-the-while, we were continuing to launch champions at a break-neck pace. I started at the Miss Fortune patch, and I think while she was launching we had 6 other champions almost done at that time. I’d be surprised if Irelia wasn’t kit-locked already by then (hard to remember as I’m old now).

So, we kept on keeping on – Irelia, Renekton, J4, half of 2012, etc etc. All the while, these melee were enjoyable, people were playing them, we saw some new trends with the S1 switch – lots was looking up.

The problem was that we didn’t have nearly the sophistication with understanding what effect this would have on the game long-term. We’d all get different insights and peeks into it, but never anything to change course. It was really in the end of 2011 (after a very storied Volibear development) where we went “OK, what the **** is happening here.”

Now, we get into last year and up to today. Fighters have these problem more than even (Hi, Riven!) and they all live in a world where any of them that don’t are completely useless. In the short-term, we try to play whack-a-mole to keep it in check somewhat, but it’s a bit of a futile battle – as long asone champion has this problem, no others can show up with interesting stuff, meaningful weaknesses, or a laning phase that doesn’t have everything.

And our balance was going this way on fighters too – Nasus’ eventual rise from trash to god, Jax’s two redos, etc. Our long-term desires were directly being fought by the actual reality. So while we knew we wanted to fix it, we didn’t want to, say, release Vi in a state where she wasn’t playable. I think it’s a pretty harsh kick in the dick to make something really exciting and then go “jk she’s bad forever” because we made her in line with what we think fighters should be, rather than what they are.

So, “Better Nerf Irelia” is just a representation of why fighters break League of Legends, and in the abstract sense, we have a lot of old stuff that does it.

For what it’s worth, I’m pretty much fed up with that state of the game as a designer. I want to go hard. I want to reconstruct this stuff. There’s no way we can start making interesting characters in these lanes when you get a ton of tool variety, reliability, power, and stats for just playing your character competently. Meanwhile, something that takes nuance and hard work is just bad – because his competition for power is so high, there’s no way he can be in that space.



Are Fighters (Bruisers, for old-timers) the primary offender when it comes to balance?


morelloButton Rioter Morello: I think fighters are the worse in this, but ADC (via items and some kits) and assassins have similarly patterned problems. Mages have tool overload, and I think mobility creep is out of control too. All on the hit list.

I’m OK if someone quits with rage over “my champ got nerfed a lot”, I’m not OK if someone quits because “eh, League is getting boring” – the road we’ll be on if we don’t do something about it.



Do you have the team necessary to make major balance changes?


morelloButton Rioter Morello: I’m hiring/have hired at least 4 people for Core Gameplay/Live Balance this year. So there’s some 





Are you willing to make those changes?


morelloButton Rioter Morello: I guess I’d rather have us fail spectacularly (and likely make big progress) than not shoot for it.





Ghostcrawler – New Lead Designer


ghostcrawler banner

Ghostcrawler, former Lead Balance Designer for World of Warcraft, steps in the shoes of a Rioter with a very important mission – beat Morello at nerfing things.



Will Ghostcrawler replace Morello as Lead Designer?


morelloButton Rioter Morello: Nah – League’s a huge game and there’s a lot to do. GC’s actually some MUCH-needed help on the leadership side – it’s just too much for any one person to handle and make the progress I’d like to see. We’ll be dividing up some of the effort on leading it, but other than making sure more things have support, the teams are pretty unchanged from who’s doing want (Statikk and friends are still doing Game Health, Meddler still heads champ development, we just have more expertise to draw on now).

A lot of the things we want to focus on with game health this year (and preseason is a kick-off to this effort) is primarily around fixing a lot of the old problems. After finishing up support (IE the gold item particulars + Annie problem), we want to focus on adding choice and depth by taking a HARD look at “ball of stats” stuff so we can actually introduce interesting stuff with trade-offs.



Do people blame you because they don’t know what Lead Designer’s job is?


morelloButton Rioter Morello: There’s a lot of this – people think I suck at numeric balancing because I DO, but that’s also why I don’t actually do it. Funny how that works 

That being said, the leads ARE responsible for what goes out. So it’s our fault still 



How do you feel about Greg (“Ghostcrawler”) joining as Lead Designer?


Xelnath Button Rioter Xelnath: I appreciate the positive thoughts.

I worked with Greg both directly and indirectly for years. He’s an awesome guy who took on the impossible task of doing what Morello has done for league for so long on a game where people are incredibly invested in their character and any nerf is an extremely personal offense.

It’s a tough, tough job. Greg tanked it like a champion.

I’m excited to see how helps bolster our ranks.



Single Posts



Is Miss Fortune still a viable pick?


ricklessabandon Button Rioter ricklessabandon: Miss Fortune seems to perform fairly well, but with the recent releases and/or updates for other Marksmen the spotlight hasn’t been on her for a little while. That said, I do have some changes in mind i’d like to get on the pbe soon, so if those go over well they could ship in the foreseeable future.



Is Irelia getting a full rework?


ricklessabandon Button Rioter ricklessabandon: Just to be clear, ‘more than a small number adjustment or two’ could include anything from reworking one ability up to redoing her whole kit—it means that it’s more than a couple of days worth of time, and that’s about all it means as far as ruling out possibilities.

Until someone starts working on her in earnest, I couldn’t really say which other kit update (Master Yi, Katarina, Trundle, Ahri, etc) Irelia’s would be like.



Team Builder available (again) on the PBE!


Lyte Button Rioter Lyte: Summoners,

Team Builder is coming to the PBE today! On Monday and Tuesday (1/13 and 1/14), we’re going to run a PBE test of Team Builder from 1:00 – 5:00 PM PST. Select PBE testers will be able to try out this new feature and give us invaluable feedback on its design and functionality.

We got a lot of great feedback on Team Builder in the first two PBE tests, and we have been hard at work incorporating some of your feedback. Team Builder is a complete re-design of Champion Select, which means it’s extremely complicated and there are a lot of changes. One of our goals is to keep collaborating with players on this feature, and collect feedback throughout the development process.

What does this mean for players?

As players, you’ll be able to help us test the feature extremely early in the process, and work directly with developers to evolve the feature over time.

PBE is a smaller server, so queue times will be longer, and gameplay experiences will not represent a Live server. Matches might be very unbalanced as players of all skill levels will appear in the same match, but our focus is on testing the feature and collecting your feedback.

The following additions have been made for this PBE test:

  • Skin Selection now works, but skin preferences won’t be saved from game-to-game
  • Role selection is currently limited to “Any Role”
  • Limited Match Found Ceremony (you’ll hear a gong!)
  • Added tool-tips for several buttons in the feature
  • Lots of polish!

The following bugs have been fixed for this PBE test:

  • Summoner Spell selections are now saved
  • Summoner Icons will now show up in the loading screen
  • Team Builder games will now be available for Spectator Mode
  • Reduced the volume of sound effects
  • Added missing buttons in the Champion Select window
  • You now receive a notification when a group disbands
  • Team Builder animations can now be disabled in the client

The following features are still turned off or incomplete for this PBE test:

  • Friend Invites from Friends List
  • Dynamic Matchmaking Adjustments
  • Estimated Wait Times
  • Anti-Abuse System

How do I get involved and help make Team Builder awesome?

We’ll be using this thread to collect player feedback and answer questions about this PBE test. We’re looking for more general feedback since we’ll be on PBE longer than the previous tests. For example, where are all the places we can add polish to the feature, and are there any points in the feature that seems confusing to you.

RiotDoctahWayne has a thread in the Bugs Forum that will be collecting information on bugs you’ve found in Team Builder.

To participate in future beta testing for League of Legends, apply for beta access here.




Champion Rotation – Preseason Week 8


Rotation Preseason Week 8

The following Champions will be free-to-play until January 21st!


  • Ahri – 6300 IP / 975 RP
  • Caitlyn – 4800 IP / 880 RP
  • Corki – 3150 IP /790 RP
  • Fizz – 6300 IP / 975 RP
  • Kha’Zix – 6300 IP / 975 RP
  • Lux – 3150 IP / 790 RP
  • Rammus – 3150 IP / 790 RP
  • Rengar – 6300 IP / 975 RP
  • Taric – 1350 IP / 585 RP
  • Udyr – 1350 IP / 585 RP



Missed any recent articles? Check below:


Lunar Revel Splash Arts


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


Lunar Goddess Diana Banner


PBE Update

Meddler / Xelnath AMA

RiotBrokenSword – AMA

Single Posts

Champion/Skin Sale: 10.01 – 13.01



PBE Update





Cannon_BarrageCannon Barrage ( R )

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





MonsoonMonsoon ( R )

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






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


Flame_Chompers!Flame Chompers! ( E )  

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






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






Caustic_SpittleCaustic Spittle ( Q )

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





SavagerySavagery ( Q )

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






CutthroatCutthroat (  E  )

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



Lunar Goddess Diana

Lunar Goddess Diana Splash



Meddler / Xelnath AMA



Preseason / Season 4



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


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

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

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



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


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




Anything you can tell us about the next Champion?


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

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



General Balance



Do you plan on revisiting the Defense Mastery tree?


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



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


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




Why are buffs so scarce?


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

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

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



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


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



Will you balance support items?


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




Do you still plan on changing minion spawn timers?


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



Why did you nerf the CDR on Spirit Visage?


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

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



Why do you want to rework Sion?


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



Will we see more changes to Summoner spells?


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



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


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

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



Why is healing problematic to solve?


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



Champion-specific Balance



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


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

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



Is Ashe outclassed by other AD carries?


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

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

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

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



Do you still plan on reworking Zilean?


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

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



What’re your plans for Kog’Maw’s Q?


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



Anything you want to change about Galio?


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




Top lane



Progress on the fighter project CertainlyT was talking about?


MeddlerButton Rioter Meddler: All good, happy to chat!

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



Will the top lane changes come in a single patch?


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




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


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



Future concepts / development



Any concepts you wish to explore?


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

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



RiotBrokenSword AMA


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

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

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

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

I now open the floodgates to your thoughts.






When are you going to release Ao Shin?


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



When does Season 4 start?


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




What plans do you have for improving the forum interface?


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

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



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


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





Will we ever get the original Magma Chamber?


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






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


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

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



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


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




What does your team do for Riot?


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

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

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

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






Why is Kassadin still not nerfed?


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



Personal / Funny



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


Riot DragglesButton Rioter Riot Draggles: MUTINY!




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




How cold is it there?


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

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



Can you guys make a Ketchup Fiddlesticks skin?


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





Do you enjoy French cuisine ?


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

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



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


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




Do you have an evil cousin named Blizzard RepairedAxe?


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






Single Posts



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


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

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

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



Clarifying LCS rules – why Lemondogs didn’t make it


Button Rioter RiotNickAllen: Summoners,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Champion/Skin Sale: 10.01 – 13.01


sale january 13




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






Missed any recent articles? Check below:



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




Anivia texture banner


PBE Update

  • Base HP: 430
  • HP-per-level: 82
  • Base Movement Speed: 350
  • Base Attack Range: 175
  • Base Damage: 48
  • Damage-per-level: 3.6
  • Base Armor: 15
  • Armor-per-level: 3.4
  • Base Magic Resist: 30
  • Magic Resist-per-level: 0
  • HP/5-per-level: 0.18


Way of the Wanderer ( Passive )

Way_of_the_WandererIntent: Yasuo’s critical strike chance is doubled.

Resolve: At maximum Flow, the next time he would take damage from a champion or monster he first gains a shield that lingers for up to 2 seconds.


Steel Tempest ( Q )

Range: 475 || Cooldown: 6 / 5.5 / 5 / 4.5 / 4

Steel_TempestYasuo thrusts forward with his sword, dealing 10 / 30 / 50 / 70 / 90 (+100% Total AD) physical damage to all enemies in a line. Landing Steel Tempest grants Yasuo 1 stack of Gathering Storm for 10 seconds. If Yasuo has 2 stacks, his next Steel Tempest consumes the stacks for an additional effect.

If cast during Sweeping Blade or Last Breath, Steel Tempest and Empowered Steel Tempest become a point-blank area of effect instead of a linear skill shot. The damage can critically strike and on-hit effects are applied to all enemies damaged. The cooldown of Steel Tempest is unaffected by cooldown reduction and is instead reduced based on his bonus attack speed. The casting time/missile speed is also reduced based on Yasuo’s bonus attack speed.


Empowered Steel Tempest (Q + 2 Stacks of Gathering Storm)

Empowered_Steel_TempestRange: 900

Yasuo brandishes his sword and causes a whirlwind to tear forward instead, dealing the same damage to all enemies in a line and knocking them airborne.


Wind Wall ( W )

Range: 400 || Cooldown: 26 / 24 / 22 / 20 / 18

Wind_WallPassive: Yasuo generates 4 / 8 / 12 / 16 / 20% of his maximum Flow whenever he uses Sweeping Blade or Last Breath.

Active: Yasuo creates a wall of wind that slowly drifts forward over the next 3.75 seconds. The wall blocks all enemy projectiles and becomes wider with more levels in W.


Sweeping Blade ( E )

Range: 475 || Cooldown: 0.5 / 0.4 / 0.3 / 0.2 / 0.1

Sweeping_BladeYasuo dashes 475 units in the direction of the target enemy, dealing 70 / 90 / 110 / 130 / 150 (+100% AP) magic damage and marking them for 10 / 9 / 8 / 7 / 6 seconds. Each cast increases the next dash’s damage by 25%, up to 140 / 180 / 220 / 260 / 300 (+200% AP) damage. Yasuo cannot use Sweeping Blade on an enemy that’s already been marked.


Last Breath ( R )

Cooldown: 80 / 55 / 30

Last_BreathYasuo dashes to a nearby airborne enemy champion, dealing 200 / 300 / 400 (+150% Total AD) physical damage and holding all airborne enemies in the air for an additional 1 second. Once he lands, Yasuo gains 50% armor penetration for 15 seconds that only affects his target’s bonus armor.

Casting Last Breath will consume active stacks of Gathering Storm.

In-game Preview



“Yasuo is a man of resolve, an agile swordsman who wields the wind itself to cut down his foes. This once-proud warrior has been disgraced by a false accusation and forced into a desperate fight for survival. With the world turned against him, he will do everything in his power to bring the guilty to justice and restore his honor.

Formerly a brilliant pupil at a renowned Ionian sword school, Yasuo was the only student in a generation to master the legendary wind technique. Many believed he was destined to become a great hero. However, his fate was changed forever when Noxus invaded. Yasuo was charged with guarding an Ionian Elder, but, foolishly believing his blade alone could make the difference, left his post to join the fray. By the time he returned, the Elder had been slain.

Disgraced, Yasuo willingly turned himself in, prepared to pay for his failure with his life. He was shocked, however, to find himself accused not just of dereliction, but of the murder itself. Though confused and racked with guilt, he knew the assassin would go unpunished if he did not act. Yasuo raised his sword against the school and fought his way free, knowing his treason would turn all of Ionia against him. Left truly alone for the first time in his life, he set out to find the Elder’s real killer.

Yasuo spent the next several years wandering the land, seeking any clue that might lead him to the murderer. All the while, he was relentlessly hunted by his former allies, continually forced to fight or die. His mission drove him ever forward, until he was tracked down by the one foe he dreaded most – his own brother, Yone.

Bound by a common code of honor, the two warriors bowed and drew their swords. Silently they circled one another under the moonlight. When they finally charged forward, Yone was no match for Yasuo; with a single flash of steel he cut his brother down. Yasuo dropped his weapon and rushed to Yone’s side.

Overcome with emotion, he demanded to know how his own kin could think him guilty. Yone spoke: ”The Elder was killed by a wind technique. Who else could it be?” Understanding swept over Yasuo as he suddenly realized why he had been accused. He professed his innocence once more and begged his brother’s forgiveness. Tears streamed down Yasuo’s face as his brother passed in his arms.

Yasuo buried Yone under the rising sun, but could take no time to mourn. Others would be after him before long. His brother’s revelation had given Yasuo newfound purpose; he now had the clue that would lead to the true killer. Swearing an oath, he gathered his belongings and, with one last look at Yone’s grave, set out with the wind at his back.

The story of a sword is inked in blood.”
— Yasuo”



Special Interactions


With Master Yi

  • MasterYiSquare“Wuju? Never heard of it”
  • “Wuju? No, I wouldn’t”
  • “Nice… sword… boots?”


With Riven

  • RivenSquare“Which weighs more Riven? Your blade or your past?”
  • “Everyone faces a reckoning Riven!”
  • “You can’t run from yourself riven! I’ve tried…”
  • “Broken Sword, Broken Spirit”


With Zed

  • ZedSquare“Scurry back to your shadows ninja.”
  • “Ninjas… I hate those guys”
  • “Cute mask .. your – uh -mom sew that?”



Anivia Texture Update


Anivia Classic

Classic Anivia

Anivia Bird of Prey

Bird of Prey Anivia

Anivia Noxus Hunter

Noxus Hunter Anivia

Hextech Anivia

Hextech Anivia


Balance Changes


Skarner’s rework is back for testing!





Crystal_SlashCrystal Slash ( Q )

  • Mana cost reduced from 20/22/24/26/28 to 16/18/20/22/24
  • When target is hit, applies an attack speed buff for 5s that stacks up to 3 times 4/5/6/7/8
  • Slow removed from Crystal Slash (moved to Fracture)


Crystalline_ExoskeletonExoskeleton ( W )

  • Attack speed component removed
  • Cooldown lowered from 18s to 14s
  • Max movepseed increased from 15/17/19/21/23 to 24/28/32/36/40 and ramps up over 3s
  • Duration remains at 6s
  • Shield value increased from 70/115/160/205/250 to 80/135/190/245/300
  • Shield AP ratio increased from 0.6 to 0.8


FractureFracture ( E )

  • Mana cost reduced from 50/55/60/65/70 to 30/35/40/45/50
  • Heal removed
  • Targets hit are slowed by 30/35/40/45/50% for 2.5s
  • Missile range increased 800->1000
  • Missile width reduced from 120->90


ImpaleImpale ( R )

  • Impale now roots targeted champion during the windup animation
  • VO for “feel my sting” etc will happen on successful grab instead of cast start



Relic ShieldRelic Shield

  • Recharge time increased from 30 seconds to 60




A new meta? Relic, Rakkor and Face of the Mountain



Xelnath Button Rioter Xelnath: Hey guys,

I’m so glad you’ve all been enjoying the preseason. As we mentioned, we fully expected our changes to dramatically shake up the League of Legends you’ve known for so long. We’re really happy to see people questioning the fundamental preconceptions they’ve held about league for so long.

That said, we’ve heard your concerns and we’re going to nudge down the Relic Shield lines to free up some more breathing room for experimentation.


  • Balance Relic Shield to match Spellthief and Ancient Coin incomes
  • Reduce the early game sustain of Relic Shield
  • Focus Relic Shield’s value on melee champions
  • Reduce the midgame pushing power of Targon’s Brace

Specific Changes:

  • Relic Shield’s execute will not proc on ranged attacks
  • Relic Shield’s charge rate will be reduced by 50%.
  • Brace of Targon’s max charges will be reduced to 3.

We’re not removing the doubling up on Relic Shield yet, because we feel that once we’ve nerfed the frequency, we’re hitting both the sustain and income rate for weakly investing in the item. That should let us clear away the early-game smoke and evaluate the impact of 2:1:2 on the game.

How does the income generation really work?

Every X seconds, you gain the ability to share the kill value of a minion with an ally with a small bonus.

This can effectively be calculated as GP/5:

30 sec cooldown -> 16 gold minion ~= 5 gp / 10

As so many players have noted, Ancient Coin and Spellthief’s Edge give smaller amounts than this. So our first step is to reduce Relic Shield’s income to put it on parity with the other items. The initial item is just too powerful for its cost, because it has a level 2 income stream on a cheaper item.

Now, let’s talk about stacking. When you stack, you give 5 gp / 30 or 1 gp / 10 to your ally. This value might be too high and I’m personally keeping an eye on it. However, keep in mind most of the gold you share is still gold your lane mate could have CS’d themselves.

We also want to reward coordination and skill expression – so we’re OK with the fact that if you execute the Cannon minion, you get more than the baseline cash. This is similar to how you can get extra gold from the Frostfang line if you stack auto attacks *and* spells when you harass.

Focusing its identity

Finally, we’re changing the execute proc so it only triggers on melee attacks. This is because we feel good about about Relic Shield and Brace of Targon create for characters who have to place themselves into danger to last hit. This should also reduce the pushing potential of a lane with ranged characters. We feel safer about melee champions having this pushing power because once they are under tower, their ability to harass the opponent is dramatically riskier.

That said, we will be keeping an eye on the evolving nature of the game and want you guys to continue experimenting with the preseason changes. Once we have the Relic Shield nerfs fully tested and vetted, we’ll bring them to you guys.

Jungle vs 2:1:2

We like that players are experimenting with the game. However, we want to make sure that whatever meta changes occur have clear trade-offs. Once Relic Shield is adjusted, we’ll continue comparing jungler and non-jungler comps and make sure that there’s a clear reason for doing them. Jungle should bring a distinct, clear advantage and risks, just as 2:1:2 brings its own advantage and risks.

Again, thanks for working with us to understand the preseason. 



How will Relic Shield be used on ranged characters?


XelnathButton Rioter Xelnath: If you want to proc the Spoils of War effect, you will need to CS normally or use a spell to kill a minion.





Will you fix the bug with killing Zac’s blobs with a Relic shield? (grants more than double gold for assists)


XelnathButton Rioter Xelnath: This is being packaged into a “soon” hotfix 





Will this fix pose a problem for Thresh?


XelnathButton Rioter Xelnath: We’ll keep an eye on thresh, but thresh has his E build-up which means he has better-than-average last hitting capabilities.

Is that still correct or am I missing something?




Are you trying to make jungling optional in Season 4?


XelnathButton Rioter Xelnath: I am a jungle main. I don’t intend to allow junglers to disappear. A cursory analysis has shown that you get substantially more XP in jungle than sharing a top lane. Similarly, you get very competitive gold and very strong map pressure which forces lanes to play a certain way.

I’m not sure that 2:1:2 is as strong as people perceive it to be. This implies that players may be enjoying this because its new, novel or perhaps has some strengths that we don’t clearly understand. Thus, it warrants further analysis, not brutal murder.



What effect will these changes have on bot lane?


XelnathButton Rioter Xelnath: Once we take away the execute proc from ranged marksman, I think it will get bot lane back where it should be. I’m OK with the idea that your support can support you by last hitting once in a while tho.




Single Posts



Why “One for All” is played on the Rift, not the Howling Abyss


BuffMePlzButton Rioter BuffMePlz: Hey everyone!

First, I want to thank you for the great feedback on One for All! We’re all really excited about finally getting this out to you, and we’re glad that you’re enjoying it.


I’d like to take a bit of time to talk through some feedback we’ve received about having the One for All queue on Summoner’s Rift as opposed to Howling Abyss. One of the initial goals we had while first developing One for All was to fulfill the fantasy of having five of one champion fight five of another. Who would win in a match between 5 Ezreals against 5 Dravens? As such, we decided to explore Summoner’s Rift as the battlefield for these clone combats. We felt that having multiple lanes and secondary objectives opens up a lot more opportunities for teams to create strategies while behind, a scenario that could commonly happen if the champion you picked was not as strong in lane as your opponents’.

While the game is definitely paced differently on Howling Abyss and has lots of positives, we found the asymmetrical champion selection to be potentially more punishing on Howling Abyss than it is on Summoner’s Rift. We felt the lack of objectives on Howling Abyss resulted in players having fewer options when they’re up against a team composition that was unbeatable in team fights – with only a single lane and no fountain healing, the actions available to your team felt limited, and were further exacerbated if the champion matchup was uneven.

That’s not to say that poor matchups don’t happen on Summoner’s Rift as well, but we found that the additional objectives gave teams more of a fighting chance, even when their chosen champion was losing (all of?) their lanes. Maybe the traditional laning paradigm isn’t the best one to use against a team of 5 Yoricks – on SR, your team has the ability to pivot on this and try something different. Triple mid? Give it a shot, you might be surprised! Double jungle? Not a bad thing to try against that pesky 5 Soraka team. There are a lot of strategies to explore on Summoner’s Rift – I wouldn’t expect the established Summoner’s Rift meta to work on One for All, and would encourage you and your teammates to be inventive and come up with a new strategy that really suits your particular champion!

That said, remember that you can still play One for All on any map through custom games right now. We heard your early feedback and made sure that this was an experience you could still enjoy once the game mode went live through the new featured custom game flow. Though it differs from the 5X vs. 5Y theme we were hoping to hit with this release, there’s definitely a lot of merit in having 10-man mirror matches. I would posit that these mirror matches would actually be more fun on Howling Abyss than they would be on Summoner’s Rift – we definitely think that this tenfold Murderbridge variant of One for All is a mode worth exploring, and have already started planning for having this be its own featured game mode in the coming year.

Given that, I hope you’ll continue to try new and crazy strategies on One for All on SR! Please continue to give feedback on these featured game modes – we love hearing from players and your input is an important part of the iteration process! =)



Isn’t Soraka too powerful in “One for All”?


Zileas Button Rioter Zileas: I agree that we need to keep our eyes on this sort of thing. We certainly would like to tune it to be more and more fun in any future iterations. If we came to believe that Soraka is as OP or frustrating as Karthus or Teemo were, we would certainly ban her out at some point. I know the team is monitoring all of this closely. In the meanwhile, I’d recommend running executioner’s calling vs this — it works pretty well.

That being said, mode is not supposed to be the pinnacle of competitive gaming, it’s supposed to be fun. Some match-ups, much like aram match-ups, are a little one-sided, and balancing them all is just not feisable — but we think the mode is a good fun for a bit nonetheless.


Missed any recent articles? Check below!



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



Preseason rundown banner


PBE Update

Preseason Rundown

Meddler: Urgot Rework incoming

Socrates: Issues with Challenger tier

Xelnath: Dealing with team mistakes in-game

Meddler:  Season 4 Pink Wards



PBE Update


Balance Changes





  • HP-per-level increased from 87 to 98  (same as live)


EmpowerEmpower ( W )

  • Damage changed from 60/80/100/120/140 to 40/75/110/145/180  (same as live)
  • Mana cost changed from 20/25/30/35/40 to 30 at all ranks  (same as live)



Spirit_of_the_Spectral_Wraith_itemSpirit of the Spectral Wraith
  • Mana and Health gained from spell damage increased from 5% to 8%
  • This effect is now halved for AoE spells (4%)



Twin_Shadows_itemTwin Shadows
  • AP increased from 30 to 50




New Icons


Emblem of Valor

Emblem of Valor

Face of the Mountain

Face of the Mountain

Relic Shield

Relic Shield

Spellthief's Edge

Spellthief’s Edge

Frost Queen's Claim

Frost Queen’s Claim




Preseason Rundown


Riot has released a mini-website that explains all the changes we’ll see this Preseason.


Check out the links below for previews of what’s to come:




Urgot Rework incoming


Urgot banner

A continuation of yesterday’s news that Urgot is on the list for a future rework.



MeddlerButton Rioter Meddler: Thanks for all the feedback and thoughts so far folks. Apologies for the lack responses to individual posts, between this thread and its counterparts on other forums there are a lot of posts to get through, so I’ve had to stick to just reading everything so far.

Based off this discussion, and our internal assessment of Urgot, I’ve got an initial plan for approaching changes to Urgot’s gameplay, as below. Please note that this work on Urgot will take a fair bit of time. We’ve got other projects that are currently higher priority (Preseason changes and follow up balancing in particular). As a result it’ll be quite a while before any changes actually get patched out (will update over the course of work though of course, particularly on how this direction is or isn’t panning out).

Urgot’s Core Theme/Fantasy:

  • Main battle tank (the sort with treads/a cannon, not the tank role). A heavy weapons platform that can both take a hit and hit back, hard, at range.
  • Monstrous and filled with hatred. No longer human.

Most Defining Elements of Urgot’s Gameplay:

  • E+Q homing combo.
  • Tanky playstyle and itemization, combined with the ability to deal damage from range. Does not play like an ADC.
  • Weaving of auto attacks and Q.

Biggest Gameplay Problems:

  • Insufficient counterplay on Q/E combo.
  • Lot of invisible power (to be shifted to visible power and/or given better feedback to improve visibility).
  • Unclear niche, resulting in some aspects of kit creating awkward moments of play.

Initial Direction to Explore:

  • Push Urgot into more of a ranged bruiser or tough, front line AD caster role (better thematic fit, more interesting than making him more of a standard AD ranged auto attacker).
  • Find a better way of offering homing Acid Hunters that give both more counterplay options for an enemy and more opportunity for skilled use by the Urgot player, in contrast to the current binary outcome (E+QQQ or nothing, with insufficient options for either player after the initial E shot).
  • Investigate fundamentally different options for passive and ult. Both do offer some good benefits, but also generate a lot of problems, power versus satisfaction (passive) and clash with core of kit (ult much of the time) in particular. Also potentially some missed opportunities r.e. abilities that offer more gameplay and capitalize better on Urgot’s theme.

Feedback on the above, and of course Urgot in general still, much appreciated!



Does this mean Urgot will be remade into a proper monster Champion?


MeddlerButton Rioter Meddler: No longer human as in was once human and is now part machine/part zombie/has lost his humanity.





Any plans to rework his shield?


MeddlerButton Rioter Meddler: Will certainly be considering opportunities for the shield, no firm plans yet though, particularly since it’s not a primary issue to address.




Will this update include a visual/texture rework?


MeddlerButton Rioter Meddler: No immediate plans for a visual update or texture update. I expect we’ll do one for Urgot at some point, won’t be for a while though so taking the opportunity to look at his gameplay separately.



Will Urgot’s ult remain in the game?


MeddlerButton Rioter Meddler: If we do decide to change Urgot’s ult significantly (not a certainty at this point) then yes, it, or something very similar, would be a good option for a different champion. It’s an interesting ability, there are potentially better options for Urgot specifically however.



Urgot in Season 4


MeddlerButton Rioter Meddler: Some of the preseason changes will definitely have an affect on Urgot and we’ll need to assess that after the changes have been out for a while. The preseason changes will primarily affect power and performance though. Some other issues (like insufficient counterplay and kit cohesion) won’t be improved and those are the sort of problems/opportunities that initial work will be focused on.



Issues with Challenger tier


challenger banner

A lot of Challengers got demoted to Diamond by newcomers just a few days before S3’s end. How does Riot plan to resolve this issue next season?


Socrates Button Rioter Socrates: Hey all,

As many of you noticed, players at the highest levels of ranked competitive play hit some problems with Challenger tier at the end of the season. While we’ve had a number of discussions about Challenger tier, it’s clear that we – and the systems running Challenger tier – weren’t as clear as anyone would’ve liked. We’ll be fixing it based on your feedback, but first we want to explain our original thinking behind the system and where we think it broke down:




Immunity is the chief culprit of some of the issues involving Challenger tier. The intent with immunity was to create a window where a player could reach Challenger but not feel immediately pressured to stay afloat. This was intended to give players enough time to build up a pool of LP so that the newest players weren’t always the ones being kicked by up-and-coming Diamond I players. Winning a series of five promotional games against the best players in the region, and then being told you also need to immediately start climbing the ladder in order to not be the first player kicked is a bit much. A complete lack of immunity would also give an unfair advantage to incumbent Challenger tier players.

During the regular season, Challenger immunity worked and most players even appreciated it for the breathing room it provided post-promotion. Unfortunately, the end of season deadline threw a wrench into things. It opened up the opportunity for players to game the system by hitting Challenger at the right time and relying on immunity to rest easy for the last few days. The first feat – hitting Challenger – is deserved by each and every player who accomplished it, but the second – using immunity to remain competitively stagnant during a period of intense competition isn’t the behavior we want to allow at the highest competitive tier.




Clamping in Diamond I can become ridiculous with LP gains of one or even zero per win. Behind the scenes, the player is always getting slightly closer to entering their Challenger promos but the opacity makes the experience unfulfilling and even discouraging. The reason it behaves in this way is that there are only 50 spots in Challenger. Those spots must accurately maintain the top 50 players. So if a player is almost as good at the top 50 players, but not quite there yet, a safety valve must exist to keep them from taking a challenger spot. The choice here was between clarity at the top of Diamond 1 and Challenger’s accurate depiction of the very top of the game. We chose accuracy for Challenger, but ultimately believe one without the other is flawed and will be working to change this in the coming season.


Perceived unfairness of Challenger


Promotions from Diamond I to Challenger trigger when a player hits a higher MMR rating than the lowest ranked, non-immune Challenger player. Once the lowest ranked Challenger is passed, the next Diamond I player to hit a promo series would need to pass the secondlowest ranked, non-immune Challenger player. During the end of the season, when competition is fierce, the floor constantly rises because of the cut-off date. We wanted to emphasize that players who’ve reached Challenger deserved it, because they surpassed their opponents, but the clarity of the system failed. Nobody knew when they were safe in Challenger, what had happened when they were kicked from Challenger, or how close they were to re-qualifying for Challenger. To us, this is a major shortcoming. The system being perceived as accurate is just as important as the system actually being accurate, and it’s something we’ll be improving on.


Fixing it


First, the core tenet of Challenger is that it should represent the absolute pinnacle of competitive play in every ranked queue. The system broke down at the end of the season, so we’re going to do this philosophy justice by also cross-checking MMR values. The 50 players/teams with the highest MMR in each ranked queue (regardless of League position) will be granted Challenger rewards. This is in addition to those who already have their rewards for ending the season in Challenger. This should end up dishing out rewards to about 10-20 additional players / teams.

Second, we’re going to take a long, hard look at immunity in Challenger tier. Clearly immunity is an issue when a deadline is introduced, but we still want some kind of grace period for players that reach Challenger. We’re hitting the drawing board on this now.

Third, we’re going to look at the core transparency of Challenger tier and player progression to and through it. At the highest level of play, competition comes down to the wire and the current system is incapable of reflecting players’ positions relative to their opponents. We have some ideas on this but they’re still in development.

Expect more thorough and transparent updates on these efforts down the line. In the meantime, expect some additional quality of life changes coming to Leagues, including the introduction of tier demotions, reductions in LP clamping outside of Diamond I, and a few other upgrades.


Unsportsmanlike conduct


We’re actively investigating cases of deliberate abuse like win trading in low-population queues, team selling and deliberate game throwing to sabotage other’s promo efforts. We’ll act only in cases of irrefutable evidence, but you can bet that players (including high-visibility ones) who abused the system will see the shoe drop.



Why not just disable Challenger immunity for the final week of a season?


Riot PwyffButton Rioter Pwyff: If you create a competitive environment with specific expectations for timelines and “how the system works,” but then message a drastic change in the last week to make it more fair, you do end up with a more competitive environment, but it sort of erodes the trust that the system will stay put.

Making changes to a super competitive system in the middle of the competition is like watching a game of hockey and thinking “THESE GOALIE PADS SHOULD BE SMALLER,” and then implementing that into the the Stanley Cup finals because it’ll make for a better game.

This also communicates to the difficulty of a system like leagues. It’s like… design a system, make it perfect, wind it up, then set it on its course for a year. At no point during the year should you really mess with the system (or risk creating an inconsistent player experience) so you have to make it perfect up front, which is… tough as you can imagine. Considering a million different possibilities and reacting before they happen can be tough. A fair amount of clairvoyancy should become a requirement for those who work on leagues, in my opinion.



Dealing with team mistakes in-game


Xelnath shares his story on Reddit about how frustrating team chat can be.



Xelnath Button Rioter Xelnath: I just had a frustrating game where my top laner set me off by asking me ‘Why’ in a game. It threw me on the defensive instead of letting me focus on looking for plays and opportunities.

Never ask ‘why’ in relation to another person’s decisions or builds during the match.

  • It implies too much negative sentiment about the result.
  • It demands a justification.
  • It presumes the other party had the same information as you.
  • It never results in fixing the problem mid-match.
  • It coveys distrust and emotional distress.

Instead, making statements is more powerful, focuses the feedback around your opinion and can be more easily framed as emotionally detached.

‘Why did you go for baron’


‘I feel that fighting the enemy team first would have been better there.’

‘Why did you build Twins Shadows, ur not a support!’


‘I think chalice would have helped you out more in lane.’

The basic psychology of humans is that when you question them the way that ‘why’ questions come off mid-game, they feel their safety has been violated. People whose safety is violated must then naturally attack or defend themselves.

Having your safety violated by an ally is the worst type of experience since what was ‘safe’ is now dangerous. This is why people naturally expect threats and shit-talking from their opponents and flip out over that less.

Finally, when you make statements, if you do it right, you put the ownership of those feelings and opinions on yourself – ‘i feel x, i believe y’ meaning that you are expressing your own thoughts and actions rather than busy dismantling your opponents.

These are my thoughts.


Xelnath Button Rioter Xelnath: Here’s the deal – the whole process of asking and investigating mid-game is counter productive when there isn’t an effective relationship at work.

The mutually shared goal of winning the game is undermined by drawing attention to the issue, instead of on the plays, strategy and experience at hand. An old teacher of mine used to say: “Don’t ask why we’re passing mid-play, talk about it in the huddle afterwards”.

Even innocent questions are detrimental – the internet doesn’t give us the cues to communicate genuine curiousity from accusatory questioning.



Season 4 Pink Wards


MeddlerButton Rioter Meddler: Counterwarding with pinks will be more difficult, you do have the option of having other players purchase a pink as well however, not just the support (e.g. jungler grabing one for dragon). The other key thing though is the new Sweeper trinket, which allows you to temporarily reveal nearby stealth wards and kill them (with a CD), making it a good choice for champions jungling or bot lane especially.



Bonus: Challenger I strategies


How to time your Red/Blue buffs


Button Rioter  san4ez13: Without utility mastries and distortion boots the timer of flash is 5 minutes (same as jungle buffs). So, every time you take one of your buffs, just burn flash immedinently when you have killed last monster from this camp. Use it if you are lazy!



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