Ever since the preseason patch with Ez getting the cooldown change and slightly more access to CDR, he's been being pushed as far away from Essence Reaver and Trinity Force as possible and I just haven't figured out why every decision is always so focused around pushing Ezreal towards Blue build and always nerfing his items, and even him in some cases, due to how he scales with Iceborn Gauntlet.
Starting it off, I'll go ahead and go through some of the first changes that actually pushed him from the Trinity Force build that's been his staple core. During the pre-season change, Trinity Force had taken some substantial nerfs when it came to being the 'Trinity', which was a mix of Tank, AP Damage, and AD Damage. It gave decent attack speed, decent AD, decent AP, decent health, great movement speed, and rewarded ability usage. During the initial pre-season, it got nerfed to have 15% less attack speed, no more AP, 3% less movement speed (3% never sounds like a lot, but it's about 10 MS with no boots on even the slowest of champions), and AD reduced by 5. These were at the cost of adding in 10% more crit and 10% CDR. Well, all of the stats reduced, save for the AS, were stats that Ez loved. During season 4, Ez had been given an increased AP scaling to scale better with Baron and his Trinity Force, allowing a much better power spike. He was also given a 10% total AD increase to his Q in Season 4, then in season 5, he was given a 50% AD ratio on his E to emphasize on the Trinity+big AD item builds, trying to emphasize his kit around that. But these nerfs reduced his entire kits damage by removing the AP from Sheen for some CDR and the loss of AD also costed him some damage. The movement speed is negligible since the key to Ez is landing a Q, which starts the movement speed boost.
Second item change was Essence Reaver. While I'll admit, Essence prior to the pre-season patch was a niche item and very few Ezreals picked it up. I myself picked it up as a second item, sometimes first to emphasize on more overall burst after the 50% AD ratio added in during season 5. It was a great pick up, kept your mana up, had 10% CDR, plus it gave lifesteal and lots of AD. It was changed to synergize with the new Trinity Force and be a competitor with Infinity Edge. Considering Ez doesn't rely on his AA's hitting and focuses more on poking with the Q, landing good ults, and overall kiting, it was a decent change. It did force him to do more than just Q, which meant having to AA minions often during sieges to try and get the crits to get your mana back. Sadly, you did still need a Muramana to make the new Essence work well since the mana from Trinity just wasn't cutting it if you were consistently poking with the Q since 40% crit isn't much and 3% maximum mana also isn't exactly much when you're lacking in attack speed due to the Trinity Force nerf, so you're completely reliant on your passive and your team not having huge wave clear. If your team clears well, you're not AA'ing minions and as Ezreal, you don't want to be close enough to your enemies as a damage build to AA the enemies. Blue build can do it though since it's got a good slow and tankiness, but Trinity Force Ez just can't.
As these patches have gone through, Ez suffered with trying to make Essence Reaver and Trinity Force work and a lot were moving towards Iceborn since it had been given an extra 10% CDR. While it lost out on AP, there were now more AD items to mix with an Iceborn like the new Death's Dance, plus Iceborn didn't have health so you were able to put the 15% extra damage from Lord Dominik's. Trinity Force gives 250 health. Dominik's does 1.5% per 50 health, maxing at 15% at 500 health. If the enemy would normally only be about 500 health more than you because they have a Rylai's or Rod of Ages, you just lost out on about 7.5% damage boost. Sure, that's not a lot and the target is a squishy and the item is made for Tank killing, but you're still losing out on damage due to one item you could've traded out.
_**Recent Pushes To Blue**_
One of the last pushes really that pushed Ez away from Trinity and Essence was the fact.... Riot completely removed the synergy because of how **other** ADCs used it. Talk about irony since Ez had a few items nerfed. Though that last bit was a push over the edge. Essence was already had to make work with Trinity due to Trinity's nerfs out of Ez's favor, but now that Essence couldn't be paired with Trinity for the full 30% to give 40% in two items, which was the entire purpose of the new Trinity Force and Essence Reaver combo change. Considering you're essentially wasting an entire 10% of CDR since picking up an Infinity Edge just feels wrong.
_**Crit and Ezreal**_
As mentioned in the previous post about Essence Reaver not giving the full CDR without more crit than Trinity has, crit already feels wrong on Ez. Ez always has been and always will be the ADC that doesn't worry about crit. Crits are nice and can be a good boost to damage, but he's always been the critless ADC who didn't get a big AS item or a big crit item and very, very rarely ever got an Infinity Edge unless the game got really late and even then due to Trinity's old 10% crit, the IE just wasn't very useful in comparison to something like a Bloodthirster, BotRK, Essence Reaver, etc. Now he has the crit on Trinity, but... it just feels wrong. It's felt wrong. He's always been the Caster ADC. The Poke ADC. The one ADC who relied more on casting, aiming skill shots... He's been the Caster Marksman for so long and it's simply been his thing. He doesn't have the damage steroids the others have like Vayne's huge AD steroid, MF's painful passive, Draven's Q, Corki's magic damage based AA's (MR is easier to penetrate than armor), Twitch's huge AS boost from Q plus AD boost when ult'ing, Ashe's DPS potential passive, Jhin's passive.... You know where I'm going with this. He doesn't boost his AA's, he boosts his Q and takes down enemies by mixing his low CD Q with his AA's rather than purely AA'ing and having an execute or AA reset. He just pummels his enemies with a quick 1-2 punch from his Q+AA+Q+AA, repeating this and even kiting with just the Q when too low to engage in AA range. But he's always half AA, half Q and crit doesn't work with his Q. His Q doesn't crit, it doesn't do bonus damage, and if it did that would just feel even weirder since that would potentially throw him over the top with sudden Q's acting like Jayce's E'd up Q's.
_**What Feels Right**_
Blue feels right. It has the caster aspect of Ez. It makes him throw his Q for damage, gives him a decent mid to late game potential, albeit not as strong DPS-wise to his builds in Season 5, but it still feels right. You throw the Q and you see the enemy's running around like a chicken with its head cut off to try and evade the barrage of Q's. In an actual team fight, you get to follow up the Q+AA+Q+AA rotation, keeping your enemies at bay, and it lets you do it safely with a slow and tankiness. As I've noticed, people hate the safety Ez gets from this, but this is the only build left that still encompasses Ezreal's Caster-based playstyle. Sure, there's new more caster-based items like Ghostblade (Yes, I know it's not new, but it may as well be a brand new item with how incredible it is now), the new Maw having ArP, Death's Dance, and even Duskblade just from the stats alone, the 75 AD and 10 ArP plus the movement speed, but... Despite these new items, blue just feels right because it gives CDR quicker, it's safer, and has the Sheen. Sheen is just... It's been the staple Ez item for ever. It's his pride and joy. Spellblade is practically essential to Ezreal's core. AP Ez gets Lich, AD Ez gets IBG/Tri (Less-so Tri due to the mentioned reasons).
Caster Ezreal is just... It's what he is. He's a damn caster. He's not an AA'ing Marksman who focuses all around his Q and I know everyone here, especially Riot, understands that he's been about his Q with his AA's just flowing in between the Q's. Heck, his kit being about his Q was even emphasized in the recent pre-season changes giving Ez more reward for landing his Q and to make sure the good skill shotters are rewarded the most, they nerfed his ultimate in 6.4 (The patch that's coming out in a day or two). I know Riot knows Ezreal is the caster Marksman and he focuses all around his Q, but it's becoming painful to watch these patches come out and all it does is focus around killing off build paths for Ezreal like the Trinity Force and Essence Reaver murders we saw.
We need to talk about Ez and come up with a proper way to put him on the right track whether it's all agreeing that Blue Build is what we have to balance to around or if we want to open up other possibilities. Ezreal is the one of a kind champion that isn't just an AD Caster or an ADCarry. He's unique, he uses a low CD skill shot and flows his AA's in between the CD at a range. He's like sorta like a mobile turret. At a range, there's the precision shot coming out sorta slow, but when you get closer, it's easier to hit the target and there's this big, precise shot that hits along with the less damaging and imprecise shots now that you're easier to hit. He uses both his AA's and his Q and builds things that emphasize on both, like Manamune, Iceborn (If the Q misses, it still amplifies his AA), BotRK (Both the AS and the on-hit effect)... He doesn't have big enough ratios on his lower CD abilities to focus on just burst-based tactics, but his CDs are too low to give him any more damage, so his kit isn't all that much of an option to touch. So we have to figure out what the heck we're doing with his itemization finally. We removed two items from his itemization by reducing their effectiveness in comparison to others and now we're saying he's too safe going a tankier version of his old build. We either bring out a new item or we fix Trinity Force.