I like Pyke. His kit is very fun and rewarding, and the novelty of a support assassin makes him a very interesting champion as a concept. However, I feel like that concept could be improved. Pyke sits on the teetering edge of being viable in virtually every lane, and efforts to keep him bot as the support have bloated his kit with unnecessary gold generation, insane damage, and free sustain that make him feel hellaciously frustrating to play against.
Here's what I would love to see for Pyke. The goal of these changes is to make it possible to get a good trade against him and reduce his insane safety, while solidifying his role as a support assassin and giving him better tools for doing that job.
**Gift of the Drowned Ones (P)**
(-) 15-40% of damage taken is converted to Gray Health (was 30-81%)
(-) If Pyke has not dealt or taken damage or healed with Gift of the Drowned Ones for 5 seconds, his Gray Health will decay by 5% of his maximum Gray Health value each second, down to a minimum of 10% of his maximum health.
(+) When Pyke deals damage with an attack or basic ability, he gains Gray Health equal to 20-40% of the damage dealt (he can never have more Gray Health than missing health)
(+/-) Pyke's armor and magic resistance cannot increase except through growth (per level), instead he gains 1 lethality per 6 armor and 1 lethality per 8 magic resist.
**Bone Skewer (Q)**
(+/-) Slow changed to a 99% slow that decays over 2 seconds (was a 90% slow for 1 second)
(-) Damage reduced to 60/100/140/180/220 (+50% bonus AD) (was 75/125/175/225/275 (+ 60% bonus AD))
(+) Now does 50% increased damage to enemies above 75% of their maximum health.
**Ghostwater Dive (W)**
(+) Detection radius reduced to 550 units (was 600 units)
**Phantom Undertow (E)**
(-) Damage reduced to 70/90/110/130/150 (+75% bonus AD) (was 95/125/155/185/215 (+100% bonus AD))
(+) Damage is increased by 1% for every 1% of their maximum health the target has.
(+) While the phantom is active, Pyke becomes *ghosted*, able to move through units and gaining 10% movement speed.
**Death From Below (R) **
(-) Pyke no longer gains a “Your Cut” on executions, and only gains one “Your Cut” on assists.
(-) Pyke will blink to the target location if there was an enemy champion in the marked location at any point during the cast (i.e., if an enemy dodges it, he still teleports to the location)
(-) When an enemy dies inside the marked location, Pyke gains the ability to recast Death From Below after 0.75 seconds (was instantly)
(-) Recast timer reduced to 10 seconds (was 20 seconds)
I'll break down these changes. Basically, some power got trimmed out of his ult in order to buff the utility in the rest of his kit, his damage is better against enemies who are near full health so he is better at setting up kills than finishing them, and his sustain depends on him not just taking damage, but also actively dealing damage as well.
First, the passive. He gets far less gray health for simply taking damage, but gets some for dealing damage as well. He can't just walk around taking all the poke in the world and come out unscathed; he actually needs to engage his enemy and do damage of his own in order to break even. The decay makes it so that Pyke needs to disengage and find cover to heal or lose the gray health he has stored, so he can't just sit on a battery of health and wait for it to come back. With good positioning and aim, he has the potential to poke for some pseudo-lifesteal to get himself back into a fight after he's been poked down.
By making his passive convert not just health into AD, but resistances into lethality, Pyke cannot be tanky at any point in the game. The main counterplay to his kit is to kill him before his team can get you under the kill threshold for his ult. The lethality he gets from tank items is inefficient compared to what he gets from actual assassin items, so he's still encouraged to build those. He just can't abuse Aftershock to be too tanky to deal with while he cleans up your team.
The changes to his Q and he E can be talked about together, since they are in the same vein. Base damage is lower, but there's bonus damage for targets at high health. This nails down Pyke's job of getting enemies low for his teammates to clean up so he can finish them off with his ult. He's great at getting enemies low, but he has trouble finishing them off unless he uses his ult. The Q slow change is overall a buff, since it keeps enemies from escaping for much longer, but they aren't quite a slow as before. By letting Pyke move through units and gain a bit of movement speed during his E, he can more easily line up that stun for his teammates. The damage of these abilities is stronger than before against healthy targets and weaker against targets who are low, but their utility is greater. Pyke will depend on teammates to do the dirty work. He just sets up the play, as he always should have been doing.
A simple buff to his W makes it a better tool for getting out of danger or getting in range to engage, which he will need with lower base damage and less consistent sustain.
In order to buff the rest of his kit, some power needed to come out of his R. The threshold stays the same, but the doubling up of gold generation is reverted. By adding a short window before Pyke can recast his R, enemies have more time to respond to him and focus him down. He blinks to the target location if there was ever an enemy in the zone, so if he misses, he ends up in the middle of the enemy team, but he can't use it as an emergency escape. Finally, a shorter recast timer doesn't really affect its use in teamfights, but prevents Pyke from taking the R he used to clean up a skirmish and using it to gank a different lane.