Midseason AD Itemization Changes

Hi folks, We’ve got some tuning-level changes to AD itemization coming in Midseason. I wanted to give some context on those changes, since they’ve hit PBE today. All changes are currently tentative and there’s a good chance you’ll see further tuning before they go live in the Midseason patch. **Armor Penetration** There’s more armor penetration/shred in the system than really ought to exist - 52% armor pen is a pretty common stopping point these days, and many champions add a Black Cleaver and/or some Lethality to that. With so much armor penetration in the system, defensive items have to be tuned to be pretty crazy before they’re worth buying at all. We’ll be reducing the overall amount of armor that can be ignored through item purchases, and putting that power into other sources like Critical Strike itemization, the Giant Slayer effect, and big AD purchases. **Life Steal Items** Looking to balance out the Life Steal items against each other. Our assessment is that Blade of the Ruined King is a bit more powerful than an item should really be, so we’ll be trimming that a bit. At the same time, we don’t want to just balance it down to be equal with the other Life Steal items, which are likely weaker than they ought to be given the way the game is shifting. We’re looking to land all the items somewhere in the middle ground. Look for a small nerf to Blade of the Ruined King and small buffs to Bloodthirster, Death’s Dance, and Ravenous Hydra (which has sadly fallen a bit behind its Titanic cousin :/ ). **Early Marksman Build Path** We’re testing buffs to Zeal and Infinity Edge aimed at smoothing out the first two purchases for critical strike users. We’re targeting a reasonable 1-and-a-half item spike into a fairly strong 2 item spike. This will likely just be cost adjustments to Zeal itself and to Infinity Edge, making it easier to get to IE + Zeal as a power spike than before. **Zeal Upgrade Tuning** We’re taking this opportunity to tune the four Zeal items – Runaan’s Hurricane, Phantom Dancer, Statikk Shiv, and Rapid Firecannon. The goal here will be both balancing them against each other and making their unique identities more clear and better differentiated. On live, Runaan’s Hurricane is the best AOE damage option, has the best build path, and is often the best single target sustained damage option of the four thanks to its on hit damage. Look for a new build path more in line with the other items, plus the loss of on-hit damage in favor of a higher AD ratio on the secondary bolts - Hurricane will still be a powerful sustained AOE damage tool. We’re currently exploring some changes to Rapid Firecannon and Statikk Shiv to sharpen their identities and to make the combination of the two more compelling – Rapid Firecannon charges Energized effects (itself, Shiv, and Warlord’s Bloodlust) faster but deals less burst damage, increasing its usefulness in long range engagements, while Statikk Shiv deals considerably increased burst damage to champions. Phantom Dancer’s already meeting its goals pretty well, so no changes planned (except making it cost the same amount of gold as the other three.) **Executioner’s Calling** Current assessment is that Executioner’s is too powerful as a lane counter to certain champions, but the passive is an important release valve against sustain-based champions later in the game. We’re exploring ways of making it more costly to access that power early in the game, either with a direct cost increase or by making it less reliable.
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