Thoughts on the juggernaut reworks: Where we're up to after 4 weeks

Hey folks, Wanted to provide an update on our thinking about the recently reworked juggernauts. Initial post from a week post launch here: Overall the juggernauts have definitely been too strong (our bad). Making comparatively immobile melee effective is something we've had trouble with in the past, which in retrospect's lead to us putting too much power into this group. We have been seeing some distinctive play generated by each of the reworks though, which hits on one of our primary goals for this work of making different characters have distinctly different effects on the game. Fairly optimistic we'll see that continue once we've got balance into the correct spot, though won't count those chickens before they hatch of course. What we're thinking for patch 5.18 below, with a few longer term thoughts mixed in. * Garen: Garen did turn out to be too strong as initially suspected. The mobility nerfs in 5.17 have helped with that, we still feel he's a bit strong at present though. Next major change we'll be doing in 5.18 is making it so that people no longer generate Villainy stacks by killing Garen himself. Biggest impact there is that you won't get punished for killing Garen in lane, which in some match ups makes it really hard to get a real advantage in lane against him (or even turns what should be a winning action into a losing action). * Darius: Went from significantly weak to too strong with the hotfix and buff in 5.17. We're nerfing him in 5.18 as a result, giving Q a scaling mana cost and reducing the amount he heals per target hit by Q (with an increase to the max possible healing). Goal there is to nerf his healing overall, in lane in particular, while allowing some big moments still if he can catch 3 enemy champions with the blade. Longer term we've also been talking about whether straight % missing health is the correct model or not for Darius' heal, given how much a tanky Darius can heal for. It's possible we'll shift towards a flat + missing% model instead at some point, still discussing/waiting to see how the 5.18 nerfs impact him. * Skarner: We were pretty happy with how the hotfix hit Skarner, since it dropped his power substantially without going too far and leaving him too weak. He's still too strong, so we'll be following up on him as well in 5.18, with a nerf to his E slow, reducing the power of his ganks in particular. * Morde: Now that the dust's settled somewhat it's pretty clear Morde's significantly overpowered as a farming duo laner, and very weak as a solo laner. We'll be nerfing Morde's base Armor, W healing and W damage (no longer deals double damage when overlapping, base damage increased somewhat). For solo Morde W's going to be self castable for the healing effect (though not the damage). Expectation is that we'll need to do more to Morde in follow up patches as well, though as usual we'll see what effect those changes have first. * Bonus items section: So far Deadman's Plate, Titanic Hydra and Sterak's Gage are looking pretty reasonable. They're doing the right sort of things on the right sort of champions. No current changes planned for them as a result, though we're still keeping a clear eye on them of course as builds continue to get tested and refined. Finally it's also worth noting that since 5.18 is the patch World's will be played on we've been putting a lot of focus into how the juggernauts are performing in professional play (since balance tends to be somewhat different between normal games and organized 5s, high skill level 5s especially). The recent LPL games have been played on 5.16 with the hotfix, which has been a useful data point for us in assessing juggernaut power. We've seen Darius and Skarner picked there (Skarner much more than Darius), both looking strong, though not overwhelming so. No sign of Garen isn't surprising (the nature of his kit's a better match for solo queue). No Morde picks or bans is a harder one to interpret. It's possible his weaknesses are such that an organized team can just shut him down, or that he's new enough teams haven't had enough time to drill into his changes yet, so aren't interested in picking him for now even if he's theoretically strong (I'm personally in this camp, though definitely not 100% certain about it).
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