Kayle as a barometer of support changes


I played a normal game tonight that served as a painful reminder of just how toxic support currently is to League of Legends. I’ll spare you the long and drawn out replay and just say that my opponents had a healer and my team did not. Actually, scratch that. The things the healer allowed them to do were so utterly ridiculous that I need to explain.

My team was losing the early game badly, but with some farm and a little map control we were able to regain our footing. We took baron twice, knocked down two inhibitors and I thought we had sealed the game. Not so. As we went to push the third lane, three of my teammates and I got caught in a well placed Orianna ult/Veigar cage combo. I made it out alive but three of my teammates died. The enemy team had five up, all chasing down Fiddle. There was no chance I could stop them so I tried to quickly backdoor bottom lane. I got the turret down in a hurry and moved on to the inhibitor. Pantheon was able to bring me down from the 25 percent HP I had survived with. Despite the fact that we had two lanes down, the enemy team of Tristana, Veigar, Soraka, and a very low Orianna were able to soak wave after wave of turret fire and super minion aggro, tearing down a lane turret, two nexus turrets and finally my nexus.

It sucked, and they wouldn’t have been able to do it without the support. I know Riot has said support is going to get nerfed/changed, but I think we can take the Kayle remake and use it as a barometer for the change we’re likely to support over the next 3 months.

Originally, the Kayle changes were supposed to be a serious remake, altering the way that she performs healing and shielding significantly. What we got in the end was a passive remake and some number tweaks. Though she does seem to deal damage a bit better than before, she certainly isn’t in a great position. She heals decently as ever, though, and her ultimate can still be incredibly frustrating to play against. In short, Riot decided to leave her role virtually unchanged, a role that contains some of the most problematic elements in the game.

I think we’re going to see the same thing happen with the other support characters. Riot has agreed that healing is bad for the game, but I have yet to see even a suggested solution to the problem. Chances are, if Riot is going to do anything significant to healing it will happen to all the targeted healing in the game in one patch. Remaking one champion at a time doesn’t solve the problem, it just moves the other healers up the viability list. Unfortunately, I don’t think Riot can afford to significantly change the way support works. Tournament players are too used to it, and for the time being, tournament play is the most exciting thing happening in the LoL community.

What’s more likely is that we’ll see a long string of number adjustments for the support characters in game, reducing heals and increasing the resistance buffs granted by their spells. Reducing the duration of shields and increasing mana costs. Until the launch of Season Two, I think support is going to stay as it is – frustrating the hell out of blind pick players and encouraging the passive tournament play that pretty much defines high tier these days.


LoL: Champion updates on the TR (AKA how they broke Eve)

Eve will be so OP.I’ve covered both Al’Zahar and the sweeping changes to the magic/armor penetration system, but this latest TR patch also includes a number of fairly serious champion changes. It’s also worth mentioning that Riot has removed base critical chance percentages from all champions, as well as their scaling chance to crit per level. It’s a small change toward reducing the RNG factor of early game fights, though I wonder if critical chance runes won’t become a whole lot more popular because of the change, especially since armor pen runes will be terrible for physical damage dealers. Compared to the penetration system changes, though, this is small potatoes. Let’s focus on the champion changes.

Ashe finally got the Plentiful Bounty rework in the form of a directional truesight shot called Hawkshot. For now the particle looks like Ezreal’s ult and casts in the same fashion, though it only covers 15-20 percent of the map in a straight line. It does grant vision to an area, so you can catch invisible targets. The spell kept its gold/kill passive, which is kinda nice, but I don’t think there’s great reason to take more than one rank . That’s not really a problem, since most characters encourage you to focus on two skills and then the ultimate, but it is kind of anticlimactic. Ashe also caught a long overdue volley nerf, bringing the number of arrows down to seven from nine. A lot of people are upset about it, but considering that Ashe is in almost every game and that building her for mana regen and CDR gave an almost unparalleled level of harass says to me it was time.

The only serious change Cho’Gath got was losing up to three Feast stacks on death instead of losing them all. It’s a decent solution to the death problem, though I think it could make him a little strong. Cho already snowballs pretty hard, and giving him the ability to die and be essentially right back at that massive level doesn’t seem like the right solution to his problems.

Teemo’s been the subject of the forum’s ire for a long time, though it took one of the PTR Fridays to get him onto Shurelia’s “list.” His camouflage now takes three seconds for fade instead of four and grants 40 percent attack speed buff for three seconds on stealth break. It’s a nice thought, but how often will you really take advantage of that change in a fight? Standing still for three seconds is a lot of wasted time. Move Quick has changed so that it only breaks on damage from enemy turrets and champions, which is nice. His poison was also changed to deal one tick of bonus damage on hit rather than after the first hit. It’s a minor tweak but should help him a bit with last-hitting.

I saved Eve for last because she received the most dramatic changes, changes that Riot has said aren’t complete. Her passive is now a 30% AOE damage reduction, which seems completely ridiculous compared to some of the other passives in the game. From a design perspective it seems to me that a champion has poorly designed engagement or disengagement if you have to give her an amazing damage reduction skill, particularly as a DPS toon. Hate Spike now has built in spell vamp and hits two additional targets (up from one), which gives her some extra lane stay. I don’t mind this change so much but coupled with her new passive it makes her difficult to kill. Her stealth now lasts 40 seconds at all ranks and grants a move speed buff. This was an obvious fix so that you only take one rank of stealth and focus the rest of your points on damage abilities. Ravage now grants the bonus MR/armor reduction regardless of your attack position, which again, coupled with the other buffs is over the top. To cap off the ridiculousness, her ultimate grants cooldown reduction along with 35% flat damage reduction for 15 seconds. Do you see where I’m going with this? They’ve turned her into an unstoppable machine of death with stealth, a two-second stun, massive damage reduction (almost on par with Alistar’s ultimate) and lifesteal. I saw her take down a level 18 Jax who was massively farmed with three elixirs while she was sporting a Rageblade, an 8-stack Mejais and a Gunblade. It was absurd. I’ll save much more criticism for later, but only because Riot said the ultimate is going away. Even with something different, though, I think they made her far too durable for a character that also has the benefit of stealth and a stun. Oracles is practically worthless against her because in all likelihood you won’t kill her, even if you have a couple people focus fire. But I’m criticizing and I said I wouldn’t. Just know that her changes might not go live with this patch, but if they do, you better be ready to see her in every game.

Other heroes got some small tweaks that won’t change much about the game. Rammus will be more mana efficient and a little better at farming. Janna won’t be quite so ridiculous at level one on TT. Zilean caught an early game nerf but a buff to his assists, and Ryze won’t burst quite as hard. I’m keeping a cautious eye out for the rest of the Eve changes.


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