[5.2] Live Gameplay Patch Forecast

Hey guys, Jag here from the Live Balance team. It's a new year, a new(ish) season, and we're back with the Patch 5.2 Forecast! The biggest change we're making in 5.2 is that we're removing Deathfire Grasp from Summoner's Rift. There are two major reasons we felt we had to do this, so I'll run through both: First, DFG tends to make burst patterns even more bursty. The item effectively adds another nuke spell on top of kits that are already designed to have strong up-front damage and aggravates the "whoa, I got one shot out of nowhere" frustration of playing against certain champions. A good example is LeBlanc; DFG adds reliability to her assassination patterns and ends up removing counterplay (she gets to rely on her Q, E, and DFG spells for damage, and can use dashes to reposition or escape instead of making more risky plays). The second reason is strongly tied to the first; removing this item gives us room to buff champion kits that would otherwise be overpowered if they could use DFG. The most obvious example is Ahri; more 'magey' elements of the character, like her sustained damage or kiting, end up getting washed out because she has so much power to blow up charmed targets with a DFG burst. This ends up forcing us to balance Ahri around her assassin playstyle because there's always the "I can buy DFG" route to consider; removing the item means we can buff her in more interesting ways while still keeping some of her burst because she can't just pick up a DFG and double down on a single playstyle. As far as champions that purchase DFG are concerned, some will get some love now that DFG is gone (I mentioned Ahri; expect Veigar to get attention either this patch or next); some are strong enough that losing DFG is a healthy nerf; some rely on alternate item builds sufficiently that they won't be affected too much. When 5.2 goes live, if we feel there is an itemization gap for mages, then we'll address that further. One of the other character classes we're looking at in 5.2 in Assassins. Some assassins have top tier burst potential that is loaded onto high reliability spells (think Akali or Fizz here) and don't have enough real weaknesses to compensate. Others may simply be too strong along a variety of dimensions; Zed being one of the best 1v1 champions in the game and an extremely efficient tower diver helps make him a super split pusher. However, him having such strong tower killing statistics (e.g. AS, bonus AD from W passive) on top of that makes for an overwhelming combination. Last point regarding jungle; we have seen the jungle receive a huge amount of changes since the start of the preseason, and Patch 5.1 was no exception with the addition of the Smite charging system. We want to keep a close eye on what happens when 5.1 hits live servers and we will continue to make changes to jungle as appropriate.
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