Hello. I am writing this post to discuss how to better balance manaless champions in League of Legends. Currently, there are 22 manaless champions in the game. Of these 22,
- 5 use health as their resource: Aatrox, Dr. Mundo, Mordekaiser, Vladmir, Zac
- 5 use energy as their resource: Akali, Kennen, Lee Sin, Shen, Zed
- 12 have no costs to their abilities: Garen, Gnar, Katarina, Kled, Rek'Sai, Renekton, Rengar, Riven, Rumble, Shyvana, Tryndamere, Yasuo
An interesting thing to note is that many of these champions have either high winrates or pickrates, or both.
CURRENT CHAMPION STATISTICS FROM OP.GG (As of 01-23-18):
- Aatrox: 51.18% WR, 0.86% PR
- Riven: 51.13% WR, 7.11% PR
- Mordekaiser: 50.42% WR, 0.62% PR
- Kled: 49.9% WR, 2.74% PR
- Renekton: 49.39% WR, 3.15% PR
- Kennen: 48.89% WR, 2.73% PR
- Shen: 48.79% WR, 5.95% PR
- Garen: 48.97% WR, 2.06% PR
- Tryndamere: 47.77% WR, 0.97% PR
- Gnar: 47.31% WR, 6.8% PR
- Rumble: 45.99% WR, 2.78 % PR
- Dr. Mundo: 45.86% WR, 1.22 % PR
- Rengar: 50.96% WR, 3.39% PR
- Reksai: 50.81% WR, 3.84% PR
- Zac: 48.94% WR, 4.71% PR
- Lee Sin: 48.29% WR, 23.71% PR
- Shyvana: 52.16% WR, 10.87% PR
- Vladimir: 52.91% WR, 8.47% PR
- Katarina: 52.71% WR, 9.76% PR
- Akali: 52.08% WR, 0.84% PR
- Yasuo: 49.71% WR, 7.97% PR
- Zed: 48.94% WR, 9.24% PR
As you can see from these statistics, most of them have pretty good winrates and also good pickrates, most of them above average. Also, for the number of champions there are in the game, a good percentage of them are picked in LCK games, like Kled/Kennen/Shen/Gnar/Rumble in top lane, Rengar/Zac/Shyvana/Lee Sin in jungle, and Vladimir mid and sometimes top lane. There seems to be a correlation between manaless champions and better winrates on those champions.
I think a champion using energy, health, no cost for abilities is a good advantage, and doesn't have too many drawbacks. Even though energy champions are limited by their energy bar, it still gives them an inherent advantage early game over nearly all mana based champions. Discussing energy champions, I understand that they are supposed to be strong early on in the game. But the problem is that advantage is so good that it carries on into later parts of the game, so that they are ahead of their opponent most of the game. Only very late into a match, when all champions get all thier items are they then weaker.
Of course not all manaless champions are superior, but most seem to be.
I will go over the 3 different types of manaless champions and what I would change with each one.
For the energy champions, I believe that all three basic abilities should be where one can use as many as abilites within a short amount of time, but still having a 1 second cooldown between casts. This will allow for bursts of abilities that can be used on ADCs to take them out quickly. For example, Zed would be able to cast his Q - Razor Shuriken or W - Living Shadow or E - Shadow Slash as often as the abilities are up and he has energy. So, he could if he wanted cast 3 Razor Shurikens in rapid succession (1 second between casts) but would then be at about 20/200 energy. This would limit energy champions to use their abilities in more ways, and also make them use them efficiently. To compensate for being able to use an ability whenever as long as their is energy available, the abilities damages would need to be reduced a bit. Also, W - Living Shadow would need to cost more energy and maybe move Zed less units.
In some ways, this new way of managing energy abilities is similar, since if you do a basic zed combo like W - E - Q at level 3, you use up 165/200 energy, leaving you to wait a bit before you can cast another E - Shadow Slash, for example. However, why it would be more interesting is because you could use 3 Razor Shurikens if you wanted to for maybe quickly finishing off a low target enemy that is further away. Or, if the target is in melee range, you can use 4 Shadow Slashes to finish the enemy off. This idea allows for more creative uses of ones abilities I think. Also, the energy regeneration rate would need to be reduced a bit, to prevent using too many abilities.
For the champions that use health as a resource, I would suggest a very similar thing: allow them to use any ability whenever they want, but have a 1 second cooldown between as well as make them unable to cast any ability if they fall to below 20% of their max health at any point. However, once they fall below 20%, they can have a passive where their health regenerates at a much higher rate until they reach 20% again. This is too prevent them from using all of their "health" as abilities and quickly annihilate a priority target, as this would be too strong.
For the no cost champions, I think they need to specialize in one of 3 areas and to only allow lower damage champions:
-High mobility, low utility, low damage, Tanky (like Zac)
-Low mobility, high utility, low damage, Tanky (like Shen)
-Low mobility, no utility, moderate damage, moderate Tanky
I don't think no ability cost champions should have more than these because then it becomes too powerful and useful. Also, because they have no cost to their abilities, they need to have higher cooldowns on all of them to make it fair. Lastly, I only believe low or moderate damage champions should be no mana cost ability champions, because otherwise they become too strong. Katarina, for example, is a problem because she has high mobility, high damage, but also very low cooldown abilities, allowing her to kill her opponent before they can do much, even if Katarina is squishy.
I really believe their shouldn't be no cost abilities in this game, as their needs to be a cost somewhere to balance something. But since it will remain in the game probably, these are my ideas on it.
If you noticed, I made mention of cooldowns when talking about all 3 types of manaless champions. I really think that cooldowns are just as important as damage on an ability in determining if a champion is overpowered. This is why I suggested limiting their abilites in some way, whether by cooldown, or energy regeneration rate. I think cooldowns should always be taken into account.
Thank you for reading my post, and let me know your ideas about manaless champions and what you would change about them.