In this thread, I completely redesign the entire League of Legends champion roster.

**[Because this is pretty much a novel, I had to break the post up into 14 (!!!) different posts. I will reply to this thread with the rest of the reworks and number them at the top. Consider this post 1 of 14. It may be a little hard to sort through the rest of the posts due to the way the new League forums sorts things.]** Hi folks, Vynzdrix here. Some of you might remember me as the guy who streamed a lot of Kassadin gameplay on own3d a very long time ago. Others might remember the gigantic AP mid analysis I did on the boards a few years ago. I've been playing videogames since I could pick up a controller. When I was a teenager, I got into MUDs. If you don't know what a MUD is, it's basically World of Warcraft, except in pure text form. All actions are typed and everything is described to you. Most MUDs were awful, with no balancing, stock code and generally awful design, but I found a good one and stuck with it. Eventually, I got to join the design team for the game and help balance things. This sparked an interest in game balance and design that hasn't left me since. Analyzing the nuts and bolts of what makes a game fun, interesting, fair and balanced has been a hobby and a passion of mine for over a decade now. I'm really impressed with the League of Legends design team lately, but they have a huge task in front of them. **I. What's the problem?** League design is miles ahead of where it was a few years ago, but the game is still far from perfect. Over half the roster sees little to no LCS play. Reworks are lukewarm as often as they are successful. What lead me to finally commit to this project, though, are the new jungle changes on the PBE. These changes, to me, highlight the fact that the design team at Riot haven't identified some of the core problems with the game. As it stands, Maokai will never be a better jungler than a top laner. It doesn't matter what kind of changes you make to the jungle, the problem lies within the champion itself. How can we conclude this? Let's break it down. Junglers make less gold than solo laners, generally speaking. I believe this is something that Riot wants to keep, and I like it this way. This means that a jungler's kit has to be very strong on its own. Lee Sin, Kha'zix, Jarvan IV, Rammus, all of their kits are packed with tools that make them useful without a lot of gold. They also don't scale like hypercarries, so they find a place in the game competitively, without just feeling like they'd make better solo laners. Why can't Maokai be this way? It's simple: There is no depth or counterplay to Maokai's kit. Maokai's high-impact skills are his W and his R. W is point and click, R is toggle and forget. If you miss a sapling, no one really cares. Q is melee range and AOE, but even if you manage to miss it, it's pretty low impact. When a kit has no depth to it, problems begin to fester, and nowhere is this more highlighted than in jungler design. Maokai becomes a nightmare to balance. If you make Maokai too strong, he sits on top of you and tanks all your damage and you die. If you make Maokai too weak, he sits on top of you, tanks all your damage and he dies. This is the core of why Maokai became a top laner instead of a jungler. When the only thing that matters is how many stats a champion has, he will always be placed where he gets the most gold. Maokai cannot currently be a good jungler without being an even better top laner. If Pantheon scaled well into late game, he would have this exact same problem. **II. Design Goals** If you're not a jungler right now, you're probably thinking, 'so what? I don't care about the jungle. This doesn't apply to me'. The reality is that almost every champion in the game that isn't LCS-worthy suffers from this problem. Fiora, Master Yi, Tryndamere, Olaf, Volibear, Swain, Garen, Dr. Mundo, Shyvana... These guys and so many others cannot ever be balanced because the vast majority of their gameplay interaction boils down to 'run at enemy, dump all abilities, may the highest stats win'. Let me be clear. I'm not saying that every champion in the game needs to be incredibly complicated and have six buttons like Lee Sin. What I am saying, though, is that every last champion in the game needs to have to make meaningful choices based on their kit. **III. Identifying Problems** *Windows of Opportunity* If you ask your average Marksman player whether they'd want to face a fed Amumu or a fed Master Yi, I imagine everyone knows which way the polling would skew. Sure, fed mummy is scary sometimes, but Master Yi is incredibly obnoxious to deal with when your team won't peel for you. When Lee Sin is fed, life gets harder for the enemy team, but with the right window of opportunity, you can manage. If Lee misses a Q, his offensive capabilities are diminished greatly for a period of time. Lee temporarily becomes weaker and this allows the team that's behind to use skill and timing to close the gold gap. The thing about basic attacks is, they have no cooldown. When it comes to Marksmen, their opportunity cost for attacking is that they have to hold still. They sacrifice positioning to gain their advantage. Master Yi wants to be on top of you to do his damage, so this cost doesn't apply to him. This is the core of why melee carries will never be balanced, things staying as they are. There is no window of opportunity with Master Yi because 90% of his effectiveness comes from spamming basic attacks that shred your health bar. We return to the Maokai problem: Either Master Yi is fed, and shreds you in 3 hits, or he kills you slow enough to where you can just blast him. There is no in between. Of course, I can hear the response. 'Just CC him!'. Only, that's no real solution. Again, the results are one-sided. Master Yi either gets CC'd and dies, or he rips everyone apart. There is no push-pull, no tug of war, the results are all or nothing, which means that, invariably, Master Yi is either going to stomp, or he's going to feed. If a champion's kit has no windows of opportunity, they cannot be meaningfully balanced. *Clarity and Reward* Some of the underlying problems with the game are a little less clear, a little less sinister. Let's talk about our buddy Shen. Shen is a great champion. His taunt is iconic. His ultimate requires teamwork and timing. Nobody plays Shen. What's up here? This is another problem that impacts League of Legends a lot: Some champions aren't rewarded properly for doing well. When you get fed as an assassin or a marksman, it's great. Everything about what you do goes into overdrive. Your advantage earned grants you further opportunity. Even as a mage or a fighter, things get a hell of a lot nicer for you when you're ahead. Tanks, in general, get the least amount of reward for getting ahead. On top of that, a lot of champions (not just tanks) suffer from improper scaling. Shen runs into both of these problems. Shen is a tank. His kit inherently rewards him for building tanky. The core of his kit is 'hit me, not my team'. Shen scaling primarily off of AP means that Shen is not rewarded for doing his job. Let's analyze a little more about what's going on here. The ancient golem changes tried to reward tanky junglers for doing well, and almost universally failed. We have to get a little in-depth to understand what's going on here, but follow me. Volibear is a tank. Let's say a Volibear that's doing pretty good has 4000 HP. A fed Volibear gets 5000 HP. What's the difference? Well, it depends. A Marksman with 25% extra damage is 25% more effective in most cases. A Volibear with 1000 extra HP... well, he might be twice as effective, or he might be 0% more effective. Why? Think about it. Volibear gets a little damage from acquiring health, but not much. If you're trying to build tank on Volibear, you're far from the primary source of your team's damage. So what are you doing? You're creating the opportunity for your team to deal damage. That's all well and good, except, aside from Marksmen and Master Yi the blender, your team's primary damage operates on cooldowns. That means if you're tanking for Brand as Volibear, if your extra health does not persist long enough to let him get another rotation of spells off, your being fed is meaningless. The extra damage you get to do is small, because you're not building for that, and you created no new windows of opportunity in the process. Further, if you don't have the proper tools to lock down an enemy opponent, they can just ignore you and focus Brand anyway. Not only are you relying on your team, which isn't as fun, half the time you aren't even helping them more by being ahead. There are two ways to approach this problem. Sion is actually a pretty good example of the first. His Q is on a really low cooldown, and it's a powerful CC. Being more tanky almost guarantees you'll get more opportunities to use it. This is good, this is nice, this is rewarding for tanky Sion. Low cooldown control abilities help mitigate the problem where lasting longer doesn't always grant you more impact on the game. Shen's taunt is on a higher cooldown, though, and it doesn't scale with AD or his health. That means being healthier isn't always going to grant you more taunts, and since your only real scaling lies in your passive, you've got a big problem. Tanks being rewarded with being healthier means very little unless it allows them to deal more respectable damage or it lets them lock down a LOT more enemies. Almost every ability in League of Legends needs to scale properly. Making all of Shen's abilities stronger the more bonus health or AD he gets might make him overpowered. That's fine, you can just nerf him, but now his actions on the board are actually meaningful. When you take an enemy's piece in chess, it always matters. Without proper scaling, the same can't be said of League of Legends. **IV. Overhaul** With all this in mind, I undertook the task of doing an in-depth analysis of every single League of Legends champion. Champions that I felt were properly designed, I simply left alone. A lot of champions were mostly alright, but required several tweaks to get right. Then came the real work. A huge portion of the kits in League of Legends are simply unworkable. Worse, quite a few of those champions are iconic and a lot of people love their kits and playstyles. I'll talk about what I did with them later, but wherever I felt I could get away with it, I completely revamped these champions. *The Rules* When you're messing with things that people love, the number one rule is respect. Whenever I made major changes to a kit, I had a few rules for myself. One, retain everything iconic and unique. If it creates unique gameplay or feels definitive, it's got to stay. Two, the goal is enhancing the fantasy of the character, first and foremost. Almost all of my work extensively referenced two ideas. The first is the champion's lore. Wherever possible, my ideas come from the iconic attributes of the character's background. Tying a champion's playstyle to his background helps a player to connect with the character, and keeps changes respectful and enjoyable for the people that appreciate the character on all levels. The second idea is about expectations. Every character has a basic theme. Galio is a protector, a sentinel. Swain is a strategist, a commander. Olaf is an unstoppable berserker. At the forefront of all of this work is trying to make these champions feel more like they have the tools to be who they are. Picking a character is about getting to live that character, but the kits don't always match. Enhancing the feeling of being the character is one of my highest goals. *The Tools* I approached every champion on a complete case-by-case basis. This is the only way to do it right. That being said, uniformity and cleanliness is a big deal in such a huge roster, so a lot of changes are similar across the board. One of the biggest changes I've done is on Resets. Everyone knows resets are a huge problem. The risk to reward ratio on them is way too high. It was tempting to just eliminate them entirely, or sweep them under the rug. After some thought, though, I realized that resets are a lot of fun. That surge of power you get feels awesome, and it creates lots of additional gameplay. So, instead of toning them down, I decided to expand on them. Resets are no longer for just assassins. Lots of tanks now get conditionally defensive resets. For some, when an allied champion is about to die near them, their defensive abilities will reset. For more offensive-oriented tanks, it's justice. When an allied champion dies near them, they get the reset. This makes tank life a lot more clutch, reactive and exciting. In order for all this to work, resets had to be tamed. The solution was simple. Resets now operate on their own independent cooldowns. That means you can only ever get one reset at a time. No more flashy pentakills, but they had to go. They just weren't good for the game. The other big change is that some champions scale a lot differently. All of Ezreal's abilities scale off of AD as well as AP now. Nautilus and Shen have entirely revamped scaling. You'll notice that all of the reworks don't even talk about numbers. This is because they're the easy part. Tristana and Ezreal getting AD scaling on all their abilities probably means they'll be too strong. The numbers tweaking is just assumed. The idea is that Tristana's E and R should feel the same or weaker if she's behind or doing alright, but they should feel stronger if she's ahead. If you let Ez and Trist scale more thoroughly across the board, it's easier to balance their numbers at the end of the day. Major changes aside, a lot of champions get some quality of life tweaking. Some of them are things the community have begged for. Some are just to help give each champion a stronger identity. A lot of the roster is close to balanced, just needing a little push or a shove in one direction to sit right in the mix. *The Goal* At the end of the day, these are just suggestions, not the one true path. These ideas have a simple goal in mind. Every champion in League of Legends should feel strong, fun, and bring something unique to the table. That's it. There's a thousand different ways to make that happen. This is just my way. **V. Respect for the Game** *Community Champions* Teemo, Fiora, Tryndamere... People love these champions. They probably won't ever see LCS play. They don't feel fair to play against. My first instinct here was to simply rework them. Their kits are old school. They need some love. I started to think, though, what about the people that love these champions the way they are? I hate Teemo with all of my heart. But a lot of people love him and the way he plays. Modernizing the League cast is going to get some backlash. It's inevitable. Sion really needed that rework, but people still complained. It's natural. But the conclusion I came to is, some of these champions belong to the community. When discussing the design process for Azir, the Riot designers talked about how they came up with half a dozen kits for Azir and worked through them all until they found the best one. What I propose for champions like Teemo is this: Riot whips up five new kits for each of these community champions. They're placed into a poll with the champion's original kit, and the community votes on which one they'd prefer the champion to have. The most popular kit becomes the basis for the rework. Discussions are then opened on the forums to let everyone weigh in on what they think should happen to the champions. The community is worked with through the design process. Riot designers and popular community opinion co-create something everyone can be happy with. This is the best way to modernize some of these champions while showing respect to the history of League of Legends and the community. *Wrapping up* I had a great time with this project. Along the way, I had so many ideas, I came up with a few champion concepts of my own. At the end of the rework listings are two champion concepts I came up with myself. I think they'd be a great fit in the game, but that's far from the point here. They're just for fun. If you read this far, thanks, and enjoy the reworks. **VI. The Reworks** * **Aatrox** * **(P) Blood Well** *- No longer grants attack speed.* * **[Q] Dark Flight** * - No changes.* * **[W] Blood Thirst / Blood Price ** - **TOGGLE OFF:** *No changes.* **TOGGLE ON:** *Extra damage at the cost of health just like before, but every third attack is now a 500 range lunging strike, a la Rengar passive.* * **[E] Blades of Torment** *- No changes.* * **[R] Massacre** *- Attack range removed. For the next eight seconds, Blood Thirst healing procs are tripled and Blood Price's lunge range is doubled. Massacre's initial damage now scales with bonus AD as well as AP.* **NOTES: **Aatrox loses his passive attack speed, but gains a lunge on every third proc of Blood Price. He can now stick to carries better after his initial ability dump, provided he is allowed to attack multiple times in a row. His ultimate expands Aatrox's playstyle by offering him the option of darting around the battlefield aggressively, or tanking for his team with obscene lifesteal. Aatrox may need nerfs after this change, but his depth of gameplay is increased. * **Ahri** * *No changes.* * **Akali** * **New Mechanic: Trueblind** *- Akali's damaging abilities inflict Trueblind. Enemies affected by Trueblind temporarily lose their ability to see invisible targets.* * **(P) Twin Disciplines** *- No changes.* * **[Q] Mark of the Assassin** *- No changes.* * **[W] Twilight Shroud** *- No changes.* * **[E] Crescent Slash** *- Crescent Slash is now a skillshot. Akali flings her kamas in a boomerang arc. They both do a complete loop and return to Akali. For a visual reference, just imagine two Diana skillshots that do a complete loop. Crescent Slash now applies Mark instead of triggering it.* * **[R] Shadow Dance** *- Shadow Dance's charge gain on kill/assist now has its own cooldown of 30 seconds. Shadow Dance deals 60% damage to targets that aren't Marked.* **NOTES:** Lots of changes here. Trueblind means Akali's shroud becomes more potent if she's aggressive, but it's harder for her to Trueblind multiple targets. Trueblind makes Akali a lot more slippery, but her damage takes a hit. Shadow Dance deals reduced damage to unmarked targets. The first mark from Q is essentially free, but Akali has to land her E to get a second. Consistently landing E and maintaining marks on opponents will bring your damage up close to what it was before, but you've got to earn it. More slippery, skillful assassin gameplay, a lot less spam. * **Alistar** * **(P) Trample** *- Now scales with bonus health as well as AP.* * **[Q] Pulverize** *- No changes.* * **[W] Headbutt** *- No changes.* * **[E] Triumphant Roar** *- Now scales with bonus health as well as AP.* * **[R] Unbreakable Will** *- No changes.* * **Amumu** * *No changes.* * **Anivia** * *No changes.* * **Annie** * **(P) Pyromania** *- No changes.* * **[Q] Disintegrate** *- No changes.* * **[W] Incinerate** *- No changes.* * **[E] Molten Shield** *- No longer self-cast. Annie can now cast this spell on her allies.* * **[R] Summon: Tibbers** *- No changes.* **NOTES:** Very simple change that helps Annie out a little bit. I consider Annie a learner mage, and this helps her power just a touch while allowing new mages to prepare for using champions like Orianna. * **Ashe** * **(P) Focus** *- Scrapped and reworked. New functionality: Basic attacking a target causes Ashe to Focus on the target. Focused targets take 4% extra damage from Ashe's basic attacks and abilities. Stacks 5 times. Basic attacks on any other target switch and reset the Focus debuff.* * **[Q] Frost Shot** *- No changes.* * **[W] Volley** *- No changes.* * **[E] Hawkshot** *- No changes.* * **[R] Enchanted Crystal Arrow** *- Now scales off of bonus AD as well as AP.* **NOTES:** Pretty basic quality of life changes. Ashe's passive is a much more reliable steroid, and her ult gets some AD scaling. * **Azir** * *No changes.* * **Blitzcrank** * *No changes.* * **Brand** * *No changes.* * **Braum** * *No changes.* * **Caitlyn** * **(P) Headshot** *- No changes.* * **[Q] Piltover Peacemaker** *- No changes.* * **[W] Yordle Snap Trap** *- Now scales with bonus AD as well as AP.* * **[E] 90 Caliber Net** *- Now scales with bonus AD as well as AP.* * **[R] Ace in the Hole** *- No changes.* * **Cassiopeia** * **(P) Aspect of the Serpent** *- Aspect of the Serpent no longer gains stacks from killing poisoned enemies besides champions. Number of stacks gained from poisoning enemy champions and killing them greatly increased.* * **[Q] Noxious Blast** *- Cast time removed.* * **[W] Miasma** *- Cast time removed.* * **[E] Twin Fang** *- No changes.* * **[R] Petrifying Gaze** *- No changes.* **NOTES:** Passives that force you to farm are stale and can inhibit aggressive gameplay. Taking away Cassiopeia's cast times helps make her kite game a lot more smooth, but keeping the cast time on her E means she's got to hold still to really let loose. * **Cho'gath** * **(P) Carnivore** *- No changes.* * **[Q] Rupture** *- Now scales with bonus health as well as AP.* * **[W] Feral Scream** *- Now scales with bonus health as well as AP.* * **[E] Vorpal Spikes** *- Now scales with bonus health as well as AP.* * **[R] Feast** *- Feast now grants stacks regardless of whether or not it deals the killing blow.* * **Corki** * *No changes.* * **Darius** * *See 'Community Champions'.* * **Diana** * *See 'Community Champions'.* * **Dr. Mundo** * *See 'Community Champions'.* * **Draven** * *No changes.* * **Elise** * *No changes.* * **Evelynn** * *No changes.* * **Ezreal** * **(P) Rising Spell Force** *- No changes.* * **[Q] Mystic Shot** *- No changes.* * **[W] Essence Flux** *- Now scales with bonus AD as well as AP.* * **[E] Arcane Shift** *- Now scales with bonus AD as well as AP.* * **[R] Trueshot Barrage** *- No changes.* * **Fiddlesticks** * *See 'Community Champions'.* * **Fiora** * *See 'Community Champions'.* * **Fizz** * *No changes.* **MORE IN NEXT POST**
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