_**Comparing current problematic state of AD caster/assassin itemization to its state in Seasons 3,4, and 5**_
First I am going to illustrate the lethality 20 mins power spike and how outrageous it is in season 8.
In season 7,8 the main strategy forced upon AD caster/assassins has been to simply rush lethality and severe amounts of lethality. Nearly everytime you see a Zed or Talon, they just rush ghostblade duskblade into probably another dirk or cleaver. And with a slight lead, as early as 15-20 minutes they have already purchased the equivalent of near ~45 flat armor pen (this is including sudden impact rune). This point in the game is where lethality is the most "cancer" , most of these champions are around lvl 11-13, they have 2 points in their ult and at 13 they have two of their main skills maxed out and now they have also spiked so much lethality that they are near gods. Most players at this point in the game have around 50-60 base armor some champions even less than that, so a lethality stacker at this point in the game is doing near true damage to a squishy with ALL their abilities and auto attacks. The stat itself is so flawed it really has nothing to do with champions like Zed or Talon, they are just good at abusing it due to target access and good at being easy targets of community "hate". Alot of people in the community dont understand the real problems going in here and an easy scapegoat is to just point fingers at Zed and say its his fault. But really you can pick lethality stacking VI or Jarvan, lethality stacking quinn , olaf, draven, jayce? Any fucking champion in the game that has physical AD scaling abilities. Pick any of them, stack lethality, hit lvl 13 with ghostblade dusk , dirk at precisely 20 mins and you will do so much damage its disgusting. Lethality Vi at this point in the game can kill a squishy target with no armor with just ult into auto E. Can kill a second target with charged Q auto E. Can she always do this? no just at this point in the game. At this exact point in the game, did you know jarvan can kill a squishy target with just Q R auto electrocute proc? nothing else? Jarvan and Vi are fine and dont need nerfs but lethality has serious problems.
Next, I will show evidence of how different it was in season 3-5. When comparing this number of ~45 lethality, lets also add another 10 to that because in season 3-5 everybody had 10 armor from yellow runes. Without 10 armor yellow runes, thats literally 10 lethality added to every AD champion in the game from the start of the match. So really, in season 8, the number is 55 lethality not just 45 and upwards of 60 lethality vs ADCs because they lost another 5 or so armor in their 8.11 update. In season 3-5, the only item in the entire game that gave lethality (called flat armor pen back then) was ghostblade which gave 20 of it. Thats it. Alot of players would receive about 12 of it from old runes. Most players back then wouldnt finish ghostblade either, they would just sit on the brutalizer. So really in season 3-5 at this same 20 min mark, players had around 22-32 lethality depending on whether they chose to finish the ghostblade or not, compare this to season 8 with 55-60 lethality. The difference in power spike is disgusting.
Hopefully I have done a good job of explaining how absurd the 20 min power spike is for any champion choosing to stack lethality in season 8 compared to season 5. However, I know I will offend some people saying this but I believe its true and relevant here: most league players are not very observant people. They will encounter an enemy lethality stacking champion during this 20 min power spike vs a squishy who has no armor, get completely destroyed, then go on to cry about X champion being overpowered when its clearly not, next game Y champion abuses 20 min lethality power spike and one shots someone with global true dmg and the individual will cry about Y champion being OP when its clearly not. Go on to cry about lethality being overpowered etc assassins overpowered etc. Lethality is actually not a good stat, its pretty bad actually. Its so poorly designed IDK how it has gone on for this long without a rework. Its a stat that turns its users into gods for A) the 20 min power spike B) vs a squishy and thats pretty much it. Once the game proceeds to the point where everybody is level 18 and base armor levels have reached near ~100 or players have purchased ninja tabis on top of that or completed zhonyas or GA or any other source of armor. _**Lethality lowering armor from 150 to 100 is exponentially worse than lowering armor from 60 to 10**_
The best way I would describe lethality in season 8 is "the ultimate cheese stat". You quickly stack it up for a god like power spike then you slowly become irrelevant once late game reaches. A stat that destroys squishies so hard but tickles tanks or bruisers who bought armor. Zed with full lethality stacking can take 60-70% of a squishies life total with just W combo, but if he does that to a tank, barely 10% of their life. _**The game was not like this in season 5, the variance in damage output dealt to a tank compared to a squishy is extreme for a lethality stakcer in season 8 but not that big of a deal in season 5.**_
Zed was a massive success in season 5 and AD caster/assassin itemization was genius. Back then, everybody would jerk him off for being the "best designed assassin" "high skill" and his banrate in season 5 was abysmally low, thats just a fact. Its funny how in season 8, everybody hates playing against zed but all the zed players hate playing zed too, what a great failure from Riot. To take one of the best designed champions and turn him into a complete failure deserves a round of applause. That people hate playing against the champ AND the mains hate playing the champ. Did you know season 5 was almost entirely a tank meta but Zed mains love season 5, they always talk about back then being the best time to play zed.
_**Solution/Suggestions How to Fix AD assassin itemization **_
With season 5 as a model, I truly believe the best first step into fixing this mess is to remove duskblade from the game and follow up with buffs to other AD assassin items. _**The biggest goal should be a smooth power curve not only in respect to progression of the game from early,mid, to late BUT ALSO in respect to damage the assassin deals to squishes vs deals to tanks. **_ I called AD assassin itemization in season 5 genius because it was not only better to play against but it was also better to play AS. Removing duskblade from the game is important because it lowers the pool of total lethality available or rushable. Edge of night while also rushable, forces the player to buy hp as well and has a skill-based passive and is more expensive.
- Remove duskblade and "sudden impact" rune, 28 lethality removed from total pool.
- Lower cost of LDR from 2800 to 2300 (the same price it was in season 5) also if Riot thinks this will make ADCs too strong, maybe its time to nerf stormrazer? about time? less frontloaded dmg more reliable dmg. Its funny they took one of the greatest best designed items LDR and gutted it for neato shit like stormrazer and duskblade.
- Reintroduce attack speed into the ghostblade active. I know people are thinking "ADCs will abuse it again, jhin will be even more OP" ... just make the attack speed on active be melee only. Attack speed on ghostblade was way healthier than ANY iteration of duskblade and way better too. It gave champions like zed sustained dmg to better deal with tanks/ bruisers but also less upfront burst for less random 1 shots when compared to dusk.
Now Zed specific changes. Goals are to make him more like season 5 zed and better in high elo, worse in low elo. Keep in mind the removal of dusk stated above:
-The worst design problem with Zed right now in my opinion is the mechanic they added during the 2016 assassin rework. Its no surprise the 2016 assassin rework was a global failure. LB Rengar already reverted. Fizz W already reverted. Talon was a huge mess. In the 2016 assassin rework, for zed they added one of the worst most volatile mechanics, the AD reap mechanic he received. This mechanic allows him to be either extremely snowbally or complete dogshit useless. Lets say scenario A: Zed gets really lucky that theres a jhin on the enemy team (there often is), then Zed also kills the jhin at a opportune time. Now zed not only received 300 gold for killing the jhin, but he also reaped like 80 AD from him too when he previously only had a 20 AD reap. A 2400 gold value kill!!!! Great mechanic !!! Other possible situations like this, zed reaps a riven during her ult for random massive AD, zed reaps a rengar for massive AD randomly, zed reaps an enemy AD champion who had baron buff and infernal drake for MASSIVE AD. Now scenario B: there is no AD stacking champion on the enemy team, its all APs or tanks and the enemy ADC is kaisa or someone stacking zeal items. So now this game, zed plays the whole game with 20 AD reap. So this champion zed, is so volatile, he can either be running around with 100 AD or like 20 AD. IDK who thought this was a good idea but its awful. In low elo, its often easy to get reaps on the target you want whenever you want. But in high elo, getting a reap on a key target isnt always going to happen, I question Riots experience on "testing" zed in high elo playtests. The solution here is to revert Zed to his season 5 form where his W passively gave a small AD bonus with every point put into W. It was his late game safety mechanic which he accessed when he leveled up the skill from lvl 14-18. He didnt access the bonus AD until essentially level 15 and the bonus was consistent rather than volatile.
-Remove snapback delay and revert patch 5.22 bugfix. These two mechanics were crucial to high elo zed gameplay. The fact that most zed "haters" in low elo who want him removed from the game dont even know what the 5.22 bugfix was should be evidence that these strategies werent used by low elo zeds to their fullest effect and Riot IMO dug a hole for themselves when they removed these two mechanics. Would you rather play against zed who has no snapback delay and reverted 5.22 bugfix (season 5) or would u rather play against lethality stacking duskblade rushing zed of today's era? Banrate speaks for itself.
-Double hit from shurikens can no longer proc electrocute but W cd lowered from 22 seconds to 15 seconds. A big difference in high elo vs low elo is the W cd. In high elo, when zed's W is on cd, the enemy laner pressures really hard and makes zed his bitch. In low elo, when zed's W is on cd, the enemy laner does nothing and keeps farming and plays super scared of zed. Sorry if I offended any low elo player, but its literally what happens.
- Increase Zed Base attack speed back to pre-nerf season 5 levels
As far as follow up changes to other champions who relied on dusk like Khazix, I wont comment because I dont know enough about those champions to suggest changes but they probably will need some changes.
I would also like to thank Laceration (best zed NA) for helping me create this post. Making shit posts like "REMOVE ZED, ZED TAKES NO SKILL" "REMOVE LETHALITY" is not going to move Riot to do anything. We, instead, are trying to work WITH Riot to find a solution and restore the gamestate to a more stable time for AD assassin itemization. Infact nothing is more laughable than listening to someone cry about "zed 0 skill champ" who has no idea what the real problems and then looking up their account to see its a silver 5 _**VEIGAR**_ main.