Time flies, doesn't it.
It feels like yesterday when Riot announced Mordekaiser's rework as a part of the infamous "Juggernaut Update" together with Darius, Garen and Skarner.
It marked the beginning of me flooding the boards with Mordekaiser related topics, urging Riot to return Mordekaiser to a solo lane and going over several thematic and lore-related aspects of Mordekaiser and how they should translate into the game.
And back then I was just some Gold V Mordekaiser fanatic who didn't really see the grand picture of Mordekaiser's rework, blaming Riot, and CertainlyT in particular for not communicating the goals of Morde's rework to us,
But times have changed, so has the game, and so did I, and I thought it was time to conclude the topic of Mordekaiser's Rework by neatly tying everything up with a nice little bow.
So, without further ado, I'll start this off by saying this:
#CertainlyT's approach to Mordekaiser's rework, while flawed in some aspects, was ingenious
#Why was Mordekaiser chosen for this Juggernaut rework?
Some of you may remember pre-rework Mordekaiser.
A very obscure champion who, once you faced him, was no fun to play against.
Old Mordekaiser was one of the meanest lane bullies with minimal counterplay.
I liked to compare him to AP pantheon that doesn't fall off.
Mordekaiser's old solo lane was as uninteractive as it could be, mostly due to the play pattern he applied to molest his ~~victim~~ enemy laner.
He used to max his E, Siphon of Destruction, an AoE 250 base damage, low cd burst spell that was instant cast.
With his old passive generating 35% of the damage dealt into a shield and the heavy AoE aspect of his E Morde was untouchable.
He'd just go about spamming E on the enemy laner without them being able to do anything against it.
If you didn't manage to out sustain him you were doomed, and all inning wasn't an option either because of his W's resistance buff and his Q's heavy single target burst.
Most of the time the counterplay to Morde was turtling and surviving.
But it was easier said than done with him constantly using E for you to fall below 40% hp and die to a r+ignite.
It was absolutely toxic to play against as he lacked any windows of power and didn't interact with his laner at all.
He was doomed to mediocrity and left mostly untouched (disregarding the DFG "compensation" that lowered his hp/5 by SIX)
#So why did CertainlyT put Mordekaiser into a duo lane?
It's pretty logical if you think about it.
Mordekaiser's identity back then wasn't just heavy lane bully but "6v4 Carry", "Pure damage, no utility" and it was one that aligns really well with one class in particular:
The Bot lane Carry
Trying to preserve Mordekaiser's carry potential and some of his core themes was one part of it, with the other being the addition of Interactivity.
Probably the best thing that came out of Mordekaiser's rework.
Harvester of Sorrow Checklist:
Introduces windows of power to Mordekaiser through it being a lot of his damage and main survivability tool:✓
Is thematically fitting for an undead Juggernaut that grows stronger as he feeds on his enemies pain and suffering: ✓
Has a badass Metal name: ✓
Harvester of Sorrow made Mordekaiser's lane a lot more interactive by giving him a reason to take risks and giving him clear windows of power.
He has to choose between the heavy AoE damage or heal, as reactivating it may cut down his DPS but being greedy may result in his demise.
By shifting most of his base kit's power into his W DoT and away from his E instant AoE Nuke Mordekaiser was given more skill expression and ways to truly show the mastery over the champion while also giving a HP based caster an actual way to regain the HP he lost.
Putting him primarily bot lane was warranted too as in a solo lane he faced the problem of being extremely binary due to only providing damage and just relying on stomping the enemy laner to the point of them being irrelevant.
Bot lane introduced a lot more variables in the equation that is a healthier Mordekaiser gameplay.
There are FOUR players in total down there, distributing the load of interactivity evenly.
The enemy ADC has to know how to poke Morde and deny him
The enemy SUPPORT has to peel Morde and try deny him access to his ADC
The allied SUPPORT has to ENABLE Mordekaiser, giving him room to breathe to CS and providing the CC and/or utility for Morde to kill the enemy
And of course Morde has to deal with 3 other people as he has to know how to trade, to all in, to farm, to poke and how to play the lane.
All the while staying true to his identity as heavy damage dealer with great survivability.
A Juggernaut Carry
It was a big step towards a healthier Mordekaiser, and a healthier bot lane as it opened up more flexible team comps and carry champions bot
#So why is the Rework considered a failure?
I always go on about how Morde's rework would've been deemed a success if they had released him in his 6.1 state.
Mordekaiser's exponential Q damage had to be evened out in order to make it more reliable, increase counterplay and make it more satisfying
W has to become castable on allied units in order to allow Mordekaiser to have the OPTION to solo lane as other carries can (Lucian, Vayne, etc.)
Dragon clone had to be tuned towards scaling better and being less obnoxious early game
IF they had released Mordekaiser in this state he'd be probably the best class update, besides maybe Vladimir.
But they didn't.
And the way Riot took a long time to change him made people frustrated with the way they handled Mordekaiser
With my threads not really helping and painting a picture of a "Doomed champion" of one that was "ruined" even though he's become a lot better and once the dust settled he rose from the rubble stronger than before.
Mordekaiser's rework had the right ideas in mind but him still having some of his old toxic aspects in his kit like his passive being too strong at times and his R wraith being too feast or famine, coupled with outdated Visuals and VO puts him on the VGU list.
But does that mean Mordekaiser's Juggernaut rework is going to be wiped off the earth as they just try building Morde with a blank slate?
CertainlyT had the right ideas and the only problem was that they lacked resources to further push this idea to its full potential.
Mordekaiser should be a damage Carry as every Mordekaiser main plays him for that aspect.
We want to be tough as nails while dealing extreme damage.
Mordekaiser isn't about utility, he's all about destroying those who stand in his path, meaning that cowards who flee can escape his grasp.
His theme fits that of an Undead warlord who conquers everything in sight and as every Juggernaut he works best when ENABLED by his team.
So, will Mordekaiser still be this unholy bot lane Carry who'll snatch away the ADC's crown over the dominion of the bot lane carry position or will he be your stereotypical top lane bruiser with some CC, healing and negligible, unreliable damage?
Only time will tell, though Riot being unsure which path to tread on when reworking Mordekaiser makes me hopeful for an actual Mordekaiser VGU that truly puts him up there with other Carries.
In a way CertainlyT was in the right when reworking Mordekaiser and not really budging when pestered by people wanting Mordekaiser to be solely a solo laner.
He took a toxic waste of a champion and gave him a place in the game that does not come at the expense of someone's enjoyment, totally destroying their fun for 15+ minutes.
Instead he gave Mordekaiser the OPTION to be played bot lane, where he's provided with everything he needs to truly Carry and fulfill his fantasy of Undying Revenant King who rules with a literal Iron fist.
If he had the time and resources to actually take this further I believe it would have been one of the greatest reworks after initial tweaking as currently Mordekaiser, as so many carry champions, can roll Solo and Duo, with both being successful.
And as so many solo lane carries this comes with him not really providing his team with utility, which perfectly aligns with the true concept of a carry champion that has to be enabled to truly shine.
So, I wanted to apologize for the outrage and witchhunt that ensued after the Juggernaut Patch hit.
As in due time all the wrongs were turned into rights and Mordekaiser ended up being a total improvement over his old self.
Healthier, more interactive and innovative.
Thank you, Bradford 'CertainlyT' Wenban
-Malicious Metal, a Mordekaiser fanatic