What this post covers
* Why Pantheon is Deserving of a Rework, and His Inherent Problems
* His Current Kit’s Strengths and Weaknesses
* Reworked Kit
* Goals of the Reworked Kit
And no there is not a TL;DR, link goes to a google doc of the same thing (also made by me) because I personally find it easier to read on there than on boards
Pantheon right now is not in the spotlight for being reworked even though he deserves one to solidify himself into a clear niche that he should embody. He is the aspect of war in league and his kit doesn’t exactly feel that way. Right now he goes from Poke and potential lane bully, only in the right matchups, to a stun bot late game because he falls off so hard. Part of this falling off is due to his obscene mana problems that he Absolutely cannot afford to itemize for, since he needs to stay ahead in stats to delay his falling off as much as possible. Itemizing into mana therefore puts him behind, forces him to begin itemizing into his tankier build sooner, and he becomes nothing but a cleaver Shred with E and a W stun bot. There really isn’t a reason to pick him over say Renekton top, or Lee Sin in the jungle. Except for his Semi-global ult that takes a significant amount of time to arrive and is extremely telegraphed. Both Renekton and Lee naturally itemize into tankier builds (or in the case of Lee, can actually be played as an assassin) and still do damage later on even though they have very good early games. Don’t confuse what is being said as Pantheon being weak though. He doesn’t need a buff. Just he needs to solidify himself as someone you actually think to pick in the right game.
Pantheon’s current kit offers him some very unique strengths.. His Q allows him to either poke, or last hit from range in an unfavorable matchup. His W stun is on a fairly low cd and gives him a free block on top of the stun. Also is his only reliable gap closer (even if short range). His E does a LOT of damage early if maxed, and later on is his way of stacking cleaver shreds onto the tankier targets so that his ADC can kill them easier while pantheon is peeling with W. And of course Global ults are always strong, to the point where the champs with them have to be semi-gimped simply for how strong they can be.
Speaking of gimping...his mana costs are obscene if he wants to use his skills in trades. He is considered an AD caster, and yet the majority of the time playing him you are having to either commit 100% to a fight or sit and auto attack waiting on the mana regen to maybe cast another skill. In the past people had talked about making essence reaver build out of brutalizer (which used to be core on him for early game) just so he could reliably get some mana returns. He lost Brutalizer a while ago, which is probably the reason for how he feels now. He doesn’t have a strong early rush item that allows him to reliably get damage right away.
Also, if you haven’t noticed, this is speaking almost exclusively to top lane Pantheon. In the jungle he is in a way worse spot, between the new jungle changes absolutely wrecking him (seriously raptors need a change in how much damage they do), Blue buff no longer gives mana on smiting it (so if you give blue to mid you are oom always), and he is one of the worst krug killers. Which krugs are so rewarding, that it is painful to be forced to red>krug>gank>scuttle, or lose out on your strongest play.
* MANALESS. 2nd resource bar changed from mana to “Fatigue”.
Mana is a problem for Pantheon, and if you try to get itemization in place to work for him it will break others (like ezreal). Giving him his own resource just makes sense in my opinion. Works functionally the same as Mana, and skills keep a “fatigue” cost. Different from Energy in the sense that It has a far higher pool, but regenerates much slower.
* Q put on an ammo system.
Same, or slightly lower CD as current Q, holds 3 Javelins, significant recharge on Javelins. Javelins can be replenished by auto attacking the target hit by Q, or if the Q killed the target, walking over the dropped Javelin (where the target died). Auto attacks against the target with a javelin deal a small amount of max hp % bonus damage over time as a bleed. Bleed has a short internal cd on the same target but can stack. (very short amount of time overlapping, just so he doesn’t waste his next javelin if he does hit 40%+ cdr but isn’t instantly getting multiple bleed stacks off)
* W if used on a target with a Javelin in them, deals Q’s bonus damage up front and consumes the Javelin. Otherwise functionally the same as current W.
* E - New: Vault - Cast on himself or a ground target. 1 charge at lv1 gains a charge every 2 ranks (so r1:1 charge, r3:2 charge, r5:3 charge)
Self cast, pantheon channels while propping his shield over his head. If an ally clicks on him during the channel they will be springboarded in the direction they were running. Consumes 1 charge per ally that uses it. Consumes fatigue while channeling and when an ally uses it.
Ground cast, Pantheon does a small leap and deals aoe damage where he lands. Slows champions and deals bonus damage to monsters. Goes on a cd after use to prevent being used to much as an escape.
* Ult: shorter cast time, indicator lasts same amount of time, lower damage (remove AP scaling as well it’s weird). Replenishes % missing Fatigue for every enemy champion hit.
Should be able to get to a fight before it is over, but since it should become more consistent to get in there, it also needs to be lower damage.
* Passive - New: Combatant
This is last because it is probably the biggest change. Removing the Block from passive, only available on the first auto that hits him after he uses W. Instead Pantheon gets Bonuses based on his Health and his Fatigue.
*High health : Bonus Damage
*Low Health : Bonus Resistances (flat amount based on level)
*High Fatigue : Increased Fatigue costs, and bonus damage
*Low Fatigue : Lower Fatigue costs, but loses the bonus damage
Hopefully this rework fixes a few core things. When Ahead he has to actually play aggressive to be oppressive. He can’t just poke you out of lane but actually has to commit to fights if he wants to keep his Javelin Charges, which opens him up to ganks. However he isn’t losing his ability to pick up some safer CS if behind with his Q. The bleed is added to make stacking Cleaver still possible for later on to make up for his E being changed. More power that is put into what is Pantheons core spell. At the cost of he needs to go in to use it.
The W consuming the Javelin in the target to deal its damage up front is going to make pantheon able to burst a little better, there are people who play him as an assassin and they should not feel completely left out by the E change.
The E, now the old E was a good spell. It was very underrated as it did a lot of damage but didn’t feel impactful at all. The new E gives him some team utility for chasing later on, or a way to get out of a bad spot. Also once at rank 3 should help him significantly when clearing raptors with having 2 casts (still not likely grabbing them in first 1-2 clears, but after that everyone should really be capable of doing so.)
The ult is just QoL but without giving it significantly more strength. He should be able to get into fights that are happening as they are happening, not 2 seconds after everyone is already dead/backed off. And if he gets a good one off, he gets rewarded with restored fatigue, which will give him extra damage afterwards anyways (as long as he lands on multiple people).
The passive change is something league has been kinda steering away from (just free stats nothing really special) However in Pantheons case it feels right. The block was really strong when used correctly, but it polarized his lane matchups. (Does nothing vs rumble, dominates vs some others). Having it work this way is more fitting for the new resource and the bonus damage/resistances based on his health left fits for a more brawly champion.
Hopefully this can make him fit more as a brawly champion in the early game. Not Poke you until you have to recall or are killed, or you just sustain and ignore him. Still retains his early strength. Makes him quite vulnerable to poke to an extent. (Jabs and leg kicks in Mixed Martial Arts accomplish the same thing of making someone have less power in their punches). The Fatigue resource means he can be balanced directly around that without worrying if a mana item will break him or someone else. It also fits him thematically with his passive. The E change gives him more utility for his team or a way to clear waves/escape/chase. Jungle Panth will probably go Q>E>E>W>E>R then max R>Q>E>W and Lane Panth will go Q>E>W>Q>Q>R then max R>Q>E>W.