I saw a developer post some new conceptual iterations on the adc crit items and it got me thinking. It hurt at first, but I got used to it and now I think I may have an idea that's not entirely garbage.
So how would I change crit items? Thanks for asking!
I started thinking about Jhin, who seems more easily balanced than the crit adcs. He has huge carry level damage, but relatively slow attack speed. This gave me an idea.
Why not break crit chance and attack speed into separate build paths? Right now riot is trying to balance two majorly impactful offensive on multiple items all at the same time, and frankly it's not going well.
Creating two separate adc build paths could hypothetically allow for some actual in game itemization choices, which don't seem to exist for adcs at the moment. The enemy assassin is getting ahead, let's hit really hard on that first shot or two to try to zone/ scare them off before they can engage on you (ad+100%crit). Their tank is becoming a problem (supposing riot ever let tanks become relevant again) let's dps them down (as+true damage conversion).
There are several areas of concern to me in crit itemization that the new item concepts don't seem to address.
Crit adcs have no in game adaptability
Varus was really cool at the end of last season to me, because he actually had options to his builds. Comet poke lethality varus worked, lethal tempo on hit varus worked. There was even a pro game where the adc took comet, built ghost blade, but half way through the second item realized the game wasn't going to be ending soon enough and switched to on hit. That's really cool to me.
Non-adc champions have a multitude of options in game. I played with a lee Sin jungle recently who got real ahead early and built dusk blade first. Is that an optimal build in most games? No. But it's a strategy based item choice, keep snowballing hard or die trying. I often did the same kind of thing playing J4. I was going to build either tiamat or serrated dirk first, but the game state decided which.
You're irelia, do you get sheen first for burst, or tiamat for wave clear?
Their mage starting to hurt? Make a pit stop at hex drinker before going back to core items.
Should a Camille player start sterak or trinity force first?
Liandries, ludens, morello's? All viable first items depending on the situation.
Crit adcs seem to lack any flexibility at all. The question is not what will they build, just how long it takes to get that build finished. This to me is a large part of the lack of satisfaction, and these new items don't seem to change that.
There's also the fact that adc items don't spike the way a lot of other roles items do. Which has more immediate impact? Rfc vs ludens? Static shiv vs duskblade? But because the adc items offer crit and AS, which scale, you have to design them to stack slowly because if adcs got both quickly they'd steam roll every game.
Stormrazor is, imo, just awful. Yes it helps adcs mid game, but it's honestly more like a much stronger, much more expensive doran's item than a core item, or part of a completed build. It's gold efficient, gives a lot of different stats, and helps you while you build core items, but if you're close to full build you're better off selling it, especially as 100% crit leaves it with no functioning passive.
The current full crit+attack speed full build means you can potentially exceed the AS speed cap with 100% crit, multiple forms of life steal and runans bolts for good measure. Having these stats intertwined means if the adc is able to dps shred tanks then they're also packing enough damage per auto to 2 shot squishes. No wonder balancing these items has been such a problem.
With two separate paths offering more targeted stats the items they could be stronger on their own, not having to stack on each other to reach real effectiveness. This means earlier power spikes for adcs. What do you gain when you're stronger earlier?
The ability to build your own lead.
As an adc right now you're dependent on your team to get you through to relevancy. You're so weak for so long you very often can't play well enough to build your own lead. So you're in solo que, in a role that can't carry itself, and just to top it off the role that is likely to most directly impact your ability to become relevant, support, happens to be the one that's most commonly auto filled. Being reliant on someone who isn't used to, or sometimes doesn't even have a working knowledge of how their role works in relation to their adc just sucks out loud.
As mentioned previously current full build adcs seem to offer little counter play. If their positioning is good, or even is their positioning is average but their front line can peel at all, it's going to take some combination of summoner spells and ults, probably from multiple people, to keep them from wiping the other team. In this concept an adc would have much more definable strengths and weaknesses for both their, and the enemy team to play around, even fully built, but still be set up to carry the damage load for the team.
In the immortal worlds of a hero of mine...