Aftershock VS Arcane Comet | Catchers VS APCs

To start off, let's go over what the Catcher class is. If you are already familiar with champion classes, feel free to skip over the next several paragraphs. From a Riot article explaining Catchers: > Blitzcrank, Thresh, Morgana, etc… These champions primarily rely on ranged fishing tools, setting their team up for success by picking out a vulnerable target for their team to quickly follow up on. If Vanguards and Wardens are the aggressive and defensive sides of the Tanks, then Catchers can be considered the aggressive side of the Controllers - opposite to the usually more defensive oriented Enchanters. Catchers bring huge playmaking potential without necessarily being the primary damage threats themselves - this is what makes them unique and exciting to have in the champion roster. So to paraphrase, Catchers are a primary utility class of champions that aggressively create opportunities for their allies. Unlike tanks, they're not defined by being primarily front-liners. They are unified by their CC potential over all else. From that same article, here is the list of examples of Catchers: > * Bard > * Blitzcrank > * Ivern > * Morgana > * Rakan > * Thresh > * Zyra From that list, we can get the sense of a sort of spectrum where Catchers fit into the overall cast of League of Legends champions. Tanks... <---{{champion:53}}---{{champion:412}}---{{champion:427}}---{{champion:497}}---{{champion:432}}---{{champion:25}}---{{champion:143}}---> ...Mages ----------------------------------------------[Parallel to Enchanters]---------------------------------------------- Aftershock is a rune for both Catchers and Tanks. It was designed with Catchers in mind so that they can use their CC to make a play in a fight without being easily blown up themselves. Catchers need to be safer and/or more reliable in their playmaking than carry mages as a trade-off for their lower damage output and therefore greater team reliance. Aftershock provides them a fitting keystone to improve their safety. If we look at the carry Mages who have been using the Aftershock rune, we can see that they are very close in playstyle to the edge of the Catcher spectrum. Catchers---{{champion:25}}---{{champion:143}}---> ... <---{{champion:99}}---{{champion:127}}---Mages And then we also have {{champion:9}} who Riot defines as a "Unique Playstyle" which means he was difficult to classify. As a Fiddlesticks player, I would argue he actually is a Catcher + Battle Mage hybrid. The champion class structure isn't extremely concrete, especially on the edges of classes. The edge cases {{champion:25}} {{champion:143}} {{champion:99}} {{champion:127}} are close enough to eachother that they can shift into playstyles more similar to one another's classes according to the player's chosen build. Here we have a Catcher playing as a mage: (Mid) {{champion:143}} https://lolstatic-a.akamaihd.net/frontpage/apps/prod/preseason-2018/en_US/a6708b7ae3dbc0b25463f9c8e259a513d2c4c7e6/assets/img/runeBuilder/runes/108x108/8229.png {{item:3020}} {{item:3285}}{{item:3165}} {{item:3089}} Here we have a mage playing as a Catcher: (Support) {{champion:127}} https://lolstatic-a.akamaihd.net/frontpage/apps/prod/preseason-2018/en_US/a6708b7ae3dbc0b25463f9c8e259a513d2c4c7e6/assets/img/runeBuilder/runes/108x108/8439.png {{item:3158}} {{item:3092}} {{item:3905}} {{item:2065}} If you swap their builds and positions, the two can flip between the Catcher and carry Mage classes. I don't see that flexibility as a problem and I don't consider these 'abuse' cases. However, I do think some people complaining about Aftershock on Mages have valid points. Specifically, it seems like there is a legitimate issue that damage levels are too similar when a mage champion opts into the Catcher playstyle. If that were true, we would see symptoms like Lux being played in mid lane with a regular mage playstyle with Aftershock just for added safety, and that is indeed happening frequently. I think if we want to enable flexibility in playstyles while making the trade-offs between options feel fair, then we need to widen the gap in damage output between the two playstyles. I think that Aftershock and Arcane Comet are a good place to target changes with this goal. I suggest that a group of CC Mages and mage-like Catchers have their early (level 1-4 at least) base ability damage in their kits nerfed to the point that they can no longer reliably waveclear at early levels in mid lane **if** they choose to build Aftershock. This won't kill Aftershock catchers/mages in the support role because they do not have a hard prerequisite of being able to clear waves at early levels in order to be viable. Aftershock mage supports would do a little bit less early damage to their lane opponents as well with these nerfs, but that is probably a good change on its own. To fit into this group to be nerfed, they must have: 1) An interest in using Arcane Comet 2) AOE CC and AOE damage that they use to waveclear {{champion:99}} {{champion:127}} {{champion:34}} {{champion:143}} to name a few who would be impacted. So that these nerfed mages don't become non-viable in mid lane, they will then need a way to bring back up their early waveclear potential when they are solo laning. That's where Arcane Comet comes in. Arcane Comet can be allowed to activate on enemy minions but would deal greatly reduced damage unless if its target has had their had their movement impaired within the last 1 second. This will mean champions like {{champion:99}} {{champion:127}} can use Arcane Comet to waveclear because their waveclearing abilities also impair enemy movement. > https://lolstatic-a.akamaihd.net/frontpage/apps/prod/preseason-2018/en_US/a6708b7ae3dbc0b25463f9c8e259a513d2c4c7e6/assets/img/runeBuilder/runes/108x108/8229.png > Arcane Comet > Damaging enemy champions or minions with an ability hurls a comet at their location (prioritizes champions), or, if Arcane Comet is on cooldown, reduces its remaining cooldown. > Adaptive Damage 30-60 based on level (+0.1 AP + 0.15 AD), doubled if the target has had their movement impaired in the last 1 second. > Cooldown: 20 - 8s This would likely greatly increase the use of the Arcane Comet rune overall as it would fill a niche for champions that need waveclear, like the CC mages intentionally nerfed to direct them to this rune for solo laning. There might be some champions who wouldn't be able to use it as well as before, but it's generally not a very commonly used rune right now anyways, as almost all of its potential users prefer Summon Aery because it's currently the stronger rune. The few who can't use the new version can switch over to Summon Aery or Electrocute. This change would help make Arcane Comet and Summon Aery less interchangeable by defining a more unique purpose for Arcane Comet. It might also open up some interesting stuff like Arcane Comet mid Varus as a positive side effect. I'll admit there would be potential balance struggles with this change. Riot would need to keep a close eye on Arcane Comet users after this change and nerf the early waveclear in their kit to balance out the Arcane Comet waveclear for any champion made overpowered by the change. But it could bring about several positive changes by creating reasonable trade-offs between Aftershock and Comet on mages and reducing the damage output of mage supports.
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