Mid Year Mage Updates - Low-Scope Mage Directions

When we began talking about the Mid Year Mage Update a while back, we mentioned that we’d be taking a sweep through the rest of the class and not just reworking the ‘Big Six’ and calling it a day. Similar to the Marksman Update, we’ve targeted 9 champions with low-scope changes to their existing kits, aimed at improving their feel and thematics. These champions weren’t in need of in-depth playstyle changes or visual work like the Big Six did, but were great opportunities to apply a fresh coat of gameplay nonetheless. Like the other direction posts you’ve seen, we’ll do a rapid-fire breakdown of why we picked these champions and what you can expect coming into midseason. Let’s meet the team. **Fiddlesticks** **What we’re happy with**: * Sneaky. Fiddle’s always looking for the perfect opportunity to jump-scare the enemy team (and often wins the game because of it) **What we’re less happy with**: * Low-engagement passive is just a stat-boost that’s hard to feel * Perma-drain on targets without CC to stop you lends itself to dull gameplay for both parties **What we hope to see coming out of the update**: * Fiddlesticks’ passive feels impactful and interactive * Make some general game health improvements and remove some of Fiddle’s overall clunkiness **Veigar** **What we’re happy with**: * AP Stacking feels like you’re actively growing Veigar’s strength * Nukes a single target. We like Veigar’s presence in a game being meaningful for both teams - ‘how do we best enable his burst’ vs. ‘how do we defend against it?’ * Strong fantasy. ‘Getting revenge on the big guys’ is a strong theme for someone that ultimately catches you out and destroys you. **What we’re less happy with**: * Veigar has no optimal (or suboptimal) way to use his ult. He points and clicks and the output is always the same. * Current passive just feels like an excuse to give him higher-than-average mana costs **What we hope to see coming out of the update**: * Veigar’s passive feels aligned with his thematics and overall game plan * Players understand when and why they get destroyed by Primordial Burst **Kennen** **What we’re happy with**: * Mark of the Storm lets Kennen show his mastery over chaining abilities to get stuns * Zone Control. Kennen generates a lot of threat over tight-spaces which creates tense pre-fight situations. **What we’re less happy with**: * Slicing Maelstrom’s RNG makes it confusing for both teams to get a clear expectation of what Kennen’s going to contribute when the fight breaks out. **What we hope to see coming out of the update**: * Increased payoff & satisfaction when setting up the perfect Kennen Ult * Strengthened identity of ‘skirmisher with lots of crowd control potential’ **Ziggs** **What we’re happy with**: * Perfectly captures the Mad Bomber thematic. * Fills a unique artillery role by lobbing bombs constantly * Mega Inferno Bomb creates some high-moments and big plays **What we’re less happy with**: * Has the ability to stall out games by keeping multiple minion waves pushed * Doesn’t distinguish himself enough from the other long-range mages (like Lux and Xerath), meaning you tend to just play whichever is the strongest **What we hope to see coming out of the update**: * Ziggs fulfills a strategic niche that rewards you for picking him over other mages in the right situations * His ability to stall a game is diminished to the point that a strong Ziggs doesn’t delay the outcome of games by large lengths of time **Xerath** **What we’re happy with**: * Keepaway. Xerath has a lot of tension built-in to wanting to be just far away to poke, but never close enough to be in threat range. **What we’re less happy with**: * For a mage that feels like he’s ascending to ultimate power, Rite of the Arcane can feel really lackluster. * Playing against Xerath can feel like some of his abilities cheat in his favor **What we hope to see coming out of the update**: * Reinforce the use of his abilities at long-range while making them more fair to play against * Make Rite of the Arcane feel like a meaningful crescendo for Xerath’s poke-pattern **Swain** **What we're happy with**: * Sturdy. Swain's one of the few mages that can live on the front lines and take a punch. **What we're less happy with**: * Damage-over-time spells, while central to Swain's damage output feel very 'fire-and-forget'. * Give Swain more meaningful decisions around his target selection rather than 'click on the nearest champion'. **What we're hoping comes out of the update**: * Introduce more interesting decisions to Swain's pattern while keeping him familiar. If you like drain-tanking and DoT's, this won't change. **Anivia** **What we’re happy with**: * Strategic niche as a zone-control mage with R and W feels well-defined. * Feels very thematically tied to Ice **What we’re less happy with**: * Effortless waveclear makes her hard to interact with when strong * ‘Feels old’ from a usability standpoint. Anivia’s one of our first champions and it shows. **What we hope to see coming out of the update**: * Focus her strategic niche by increasing the power and game health of her zone control * Improve her usability so she feels crisp to play **Viktor** **What we’re happy with**: * ‘Glorious Evolution’ thematic and Hex Core feel unique * Multiple cast paradigms make playing Viktor different from other mages **What we’re less happy with**: * Viktor’s primary contributions to his team are overwhelmingly about getting damage off quickly, lending itself to a flat experience overall. **What we hope to see coming out of the update**: * Viktor provides a team unique ways to play around enabling his huge teamfight potential rather than feeling like a one-man show **Syndra** **What we’re happy with**: * Syndra’s interactions with Dark Spheres give her a unique combo feel * She’s an imminent threat that forces opponents to react to her as more Spheres pop up **What we’re less happy with**: * Transcendence feels lame and forgetful compared to her fantasy’s promise of ultimate power **What we hope to see coming out of the update:** * Give her passive some visceral power that Syndra can feel excited about * Follow-through on the promise of making her abilities evolve to allow stronger play-making And that’s the squad! We’ll be sticking around in the comments to answer questions you may have about anything you see above - otherwise, we’ll see you when Midseason rolls around soon.

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