Mid Year Mage Updates - Malzahar Direction

Hi all, Though we're still a good amount of time from their release, I wanted to put up a quick post about the kinds of things you can expect from the mid season update to Malzahar. To start, I'd like to point out that this will not be an exhaustive list of the exact mechanics changes or numerical changes you can expect to see in the update, as that is all still pending. Instead, I hope that informs interested parties in the _kinds_ of things they can expect to see. A few weeks back, Statikk put up a post introducing the mages we plan to address in the mid season update. From that post, and a variety of others (usually player created), we've been able to identify a bit more specifically the areas we'd like to work on Malzahar and the kinds of issues we'd like to address for him specifically. The community has been a big reminder to me, and I believe Riot more holistically, that these smaller scale updates cannot take a "one size fits all" approach, and that we need to be cautious about biting off more than we can chew, so to speak. With that out of the way, let's get into the directional plan for Malzahar, a plan that I hope is fitting to the community's vision for Malzahar, fitting to Riot's vision for Malzahar, and true to coolest and most beloved elements of Malzahar that players enjoy him for. Generally speaking, Malzahar is a relatively low agency champion by virtue of his limited range and mobility. In order for him to succeed as he is on Live, he's balanced around being able to pretty reliably drop a full spell combo on whatever's in front of him and watch them die. We'd like to make it so he doesn't necessarily feel quite so much like a burst champion, but in order to make that happen, we need to give him a bit of breathing room so that it feels like he can comfortably navigate the fast pace game that League of Legends is today. * Here's some stuff we're happy with about Malzahar and are unlikely to change: * Functions well as a reliable anti-mobility/anti-assassin via Nether Grasp (R). * Has really fun/unique farming patterns via Malefic Visions (E). * Here's some stuff we're less happy with and are actively trying to resolve: * A simple W>E>R is often enough to eliminate or remove enemies, leaving them little opportunity to act outside of not getting into his range. * Malzahar is inherently low agency, and is historically balanced in a way that means he forces similarly low agency situations upon opponents. * Voidlings are a cool and unique element of the kit that often don't play a large role in his success throughout the game (AD Malz aside). * Here's what I _hope_ (these designs are still in progress) will be true of Malzahar following his changes: * Malzahar's kit will feel familiar to Malzahar players; he has a lot of cool spells/visuals, and we don't want to change that. * Malzahar will feel less like a burst caster to everyone. * Malzahar will continue to be low range and low mobility, but he will feel less vulnerable. * AP Malzahar players will care about using their Voidlings correctly. * AD Malzahar will still be a decent option. * Malzahar's kit will have clearer signals for how he could have played better and/or how opponents could have played better against it. * Playing Malzahar still won't be a mechanically intense/exhausting experience. I've got to get going. This was something I decided to do somewhat randomly, so if anything is unclear, please do let me know and I'll try to respond. I'm going to be away for the next several hours, but I'll check in tonight/tomorrow. If anything, I hope this post helps to inform everyone what our perspective on Malzahar is, so if there's anything that seems way off or overly concerning, please do let me know. Cheers, Repertoir
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