So, as you know there are some champions in League of Legends who (supposedly) focus around deceiving their enemies. I personally think that none of them quite hit the nail on its head, but some of them do a better job of allowing and rewarding deception than others. I would love a champion that is very bad when it comes to being frontal but after mastering the art of deception becomes a great threat. In this thread I'm going to go over three deception-based champions and analyze what they do right and where they need improvements. Before we start, I want to clear something out: my definition of deceiving is not merely surprising, deceiving an enemy means to also trick them into thinking something is true while it isn't / making them play into your hands and take advantage of that. With that out of the way, we can start analyzing.
**First to go is LeBlanc - the deceiver:**
**Passive:** The only deception tool LeBlanc has. It combines invisibility and a clone, two mechanics that go well with deception, yet in most cases it won't really be able to trick you, it will be more of an annoyance (at least it's like that for me).
**Q:** Strait up damage, not even a skill shot so there is not a need to play mind games with the opponent to make it easier to hit.
**W:** A dash/blink. Can allow for jukes via mind games but is mostly used for jukes and chases without any trickery or thought due to the insane amount of mobility it grants. Not much different than a normal dash/blink when it comes to the way it is used to dodge abilities.
**E:** Is a skill shot, but quite a fast one at that. Requires you to stay near the enemy (where you can be easily seen and taken down) to snare them, not something a trick master who likes to stay hidden would do.
**R:** Not much to say about this one since it just gives LeBlanc a recast for her abilities.
**Conclusion:** LeBlanc was always a failure in my eyes, she is supposed to be "The deceiver" yet her only tool of deception is her passive (and her W kind of). Her kit is too damage focused, making trickery irrelevant since she just bursts her target down. The rework she got was a big step in the right direction since it made her ult into a great deception ability, it even gave her E some depth since you get to try and trick you opponent to stay in your range and get snared. In my opinion it's a shame it was reverted. I have some Ideas for a Leblanc rework that I might put into another thread later. Stay tuned for that all of you Leblanc mains/lovers.
**Neeko – the curious chameleon:**
**Passive:** Cool idea, bad execution. The idea of looking like a teammate is cool, though you can't really do anything with it. If you attack, you return to normal, if you get attacked, you return to normal. Most champions you will lane against will try to poke you, it doesn’t really matter to them who you are, so they will just find out eventually that you are Neeko. In most games people (including me when I play her), barely even bother to try and trick others using the passive, it's mostly used to keep the real hp hidden / bait with fake low hp ("false data life" for all of you Overlord fans out there). Imo, Neeko should be able to stay disguised even when hit, but based on a timer, but more on that later).
**Q:** Not much to say about this one. It's fine, but it's not really related to her theme. Could be turned into something less "just damage", and more "you got tricked – a lot of damage, you played smart – you are mostly fine".
**W:** Good job on the active generally, a clone is always nice - it makes for option to throw enemies off and even allows to create a fake gank when used with her (actual) passive. However, the passive it has, is an instance of the reoccurring problem of Riot being afraid to make full on trickery champs. W's passive is basically a compensation for Neeko since she virtually has no passive, it has nothing to do with tricking the opponent, if something it indulges aaing and revealing yourself. It also brings us back to the problem I brought up with Leblanc – too much damage means less need to play tricky.
**E:** Why?! Just why?! Why make it get stronger the more enemies it goes through?! Now, don't get me wrong, my problem is not that it's op or anything (this is not what we are discussing at least), the problem is that it's a full 180 degrees from the deception theme! No need for tricks, just throw it through the minions if you need to, hell, it's even better if you don't trick them into going out of position since the root will be longer.
**R:** A bit too strong, it contributes to the "raw power over tricks" problem. Another thing that bugs me about it is that passive in its current state doesn’t allow it to go under the radar for long enough it's mostly landed using Flash, E or any other kind of movement impairment. The passive change I recommended earlier can help with that problem, though some power will have to be taken out of it.
**Conclusion:** Definitely an improvement from Leblanc. However, it just irritates me how close Riot got on this one. They were going in the right direction, but it feels like they chickened out on the deception trope at the last second and just ended up compensating her with raw power. I think that her Passive should be on a timer and not be canceled by anything (they should add an option for Neeko to turn back – after she turns into someone she'll have her own portrait to press to change back), this change will require the enemy to pay attention and will allow for some sweet tricky plays. I have no specific idea for an E and Q changes, but they definitely need ones. GET ON IT RIOT! SHE HAS SO MUCH POTENTIAL!
**Shaco – the demon jester:**
**Passive:** Now THIS! This is what I'm talking about! What says "traps and cheap/tricky play" more than sneaking behind someone?! Great all around (just dropping that here: give it an indicator so that you know what counts as their back).
**Q:** Just a basic deception tool, invisibility and a blink. Would be better if it was camouflage instead, to require more smart and tricky play (can have some more uptime to compensate).
**W:** A trap. Something that always adds to the trickery and deception theme. Rewards forethinking and smart placement. Good with baiting.
**E:** Too simple. Doesn't add much to the kit. It should get some more synergy with the tricky nature of Shaco's kit along with more potential power. The only ability in his kit that should get a significant change.
**R:** Great execution! A fully controllable clone that greatly rewards successfully deceiving your enemy (by making them think the clone is actually you).
**Conclusion:** Shaco is the MVP of this discussion. While he isn't perfect, he is definitely some levels above the rest. His E needs some work but he really has the right "shape" I'm looking for in a champion of this kind. His kit could use some more complexity but it does the job despite of being simple.
**To wrap up:** Imo, the main problem that prevented the "mind games and deception champs" trope from working is Riots fear of making champions too weak/hard to play. Riot should be more daring with their changes and champions, and in the worst-case scenario the champion can be buffed/changed/reverted. If you don't try out crazy and daring ideas, you won't be able to create an interesting and unique champion. They do seem to go in the right direction lately, with the Teemo (and some other champs) trial and error for example, and that gives me hope for the future.
I didn't bring all of the champions in the game that have trickery/deception aspects in their kit, but I do feel like I brought up the main ones. Tell me what you think about the thoughts I brought up, and give me some of yours.