I am here to attempt to open a discussion about Twisted Fate and his under/overwhelming state within the game. As a champion he is about teamwork more than most others in the roster. His ult is about setting up and making plays in unexpected ways. There isn't anything wrong with this thematic direction but it does create a troublesome job of balancing him so that he doesn't become the most overpowered champion in the early game.
What bothers me most about twisted fate is his extremely deceiving skill floor and incredibly high skill cap. At first glance TF looks pretty straight forward in terms of what he can and is designed to do. Once in game though that can change rather quickly as his low move speed, low base health, and short attack range paint a very different picture.
Lane phase is where Twisted Fate Shines his brightest by being able to hop around to nearby areas of the map and revealing all of the enemy team by using his ult. He can set up some out of nowhere plays that help snowball his teammates into the lead when successful or at least provide some good pressure to try and help your allies recover. Once lane phase is over though Twisted Fate's presence begins to dwindle quite quickly. The reason being that after level 13 he scales very poorly.
Stacked deck is the culprit for this drop off. As a spell it works well during lane phase but becomes incredibly inconsistent as the game moves into skirmishes and teamfights. That is because Twisted Fate's attack range and subsequent lack of mobility work against him when it comes to auto attacking targets in order to fully utilize his kit. He has to get pretty close to targets he would least like to be near.
I am asking the Twisted fate players out there as to whether or not this is an accurate assessment. I have seen my share of TF players be extremely successful as well as to many falling flat on their face. I am typically one that falls on my face... Would a change to stacked deck and how it functioned be something people would be interested in if it could be implemented effectively? Stacked deck is the most opportune place to make changes without affecting TF's core identity.
I have an iteration I have come up with that I want to add as well. It is a bit long winded since I am including my thought process on how I came to my iteration so if you want the TL/DR you can find it at the bottom.
**Stacked decks identity**
- Every fourth attack deals additional magic damage that scales with ability power
- increases attack speed passively
- Figure out a way to make stacked deck more reliable and readily available in team fights and skirmishes in the mid and late game without offsetting its early game power.
Rather than require four auto attacks for it to empower your next auto attack, I suggest put it on an automatic activation timer. To draw an example from other existing champions, have it function similar to how Shen's and Nocturne's passive work. After a certain period of time from its last activation it becomes available to be used again and auto attacks while it is on cooldown reduce the down time.
**My thought process**
There is a hiccup with how this ultimately functions and it isn't attack speed, it is cool down reduction. Being one of Twisted Fates 3 regular abilities that he can choose to rank it would be subject to CDR unlike passives. At first I thought to have the ability not be affected by cool down reduction but I quickly realized that would mess with the clarity of CDR and that is against RIOT's design fundamentals. If it is subject to CDR, having each auto attack reduce the down time by a flat amount would make stacked deck be potentially available on every other attack and that would really throw Twisted Fate outa balance.
Since my goal is to port the current values into a new and functioning system while preserving the identity of the ability I had run into a brick wall. That was until today. After having a Twisted fate on my team in one of my matches today the iteration came to my mind again. Remembering why it ultimately wouldn't work from previous brainstorming I simply put it to the back of my mind and continued playing. After the match I thought on it for a bit and went over the reasons I felt it wouldn't work again. The first and second reasons are stated above, the third is that having CDR also reduce the amount of time each auto attack removed from the downtime is not an option since that would make it feel like obtaining CDR was having both a positive and negative effect when it should only have a positive one.
Then I realized that my third reason was in fact my solution and I was just using the wrong variables. Instead of each attack reducing a set value of the downtime it instead would reduce a set ***percentage*** of the maximum downtime. That way obtaining CDR could effectively reduce the downtime without visibly negative side effects.
(***EDIT 7/27*** *removed the passive attack speed bonus, after further discussion I consider it to not be necessary any longer*)
**The Iteration** (TL/DR)
Every 10 seconds, Twisted Fate's next attack deals an additional 55/80/105/130/155 (+50% Ability Power) magic damage. Auto attacks reduce the downtime by 30% of the max cooldown.
*the exact numbers would take actual testing so these are just obvious fill in to better flesh it out*
This ultimately affects Twisted Fate and his balance of power but I don't think it would be enough to really put him over the top. What it does do is make stacked deck scale better into the late game. Provides a different potential play pattern that allows TF to engage and disengage in team fights while still utilizing his entire kit. It also helps reduce both the skill floor and skill cap enough that it makes TF a bit more fun and successful for players just picking him up while at the same time not being to powerful for pro players who know him in and out.