How did this happen: Evelynn’s Sunfire Cape meltdown

In ‘How Did This Happen,’ theScore esports takes a look back at some of the most busted, broken and insanely overpowered things to ever make their way into the world of competitive gaming.

There’s a simple rule to both League of Legends and hunting the Predator: You can’t kill what you can’t see. Because of that rule, stealth has been nerfed several times to prevent invisible champions from running rampant and controlling the Rift from the shadows. But once upon a time, stealth couldn’t be broken by entering combat. More so, you could wear six capes and melt down enemy champions’ health like it was butter. It was hilarious.

How did it work?

Back in the day, Riot didn’t have the experience to think too far ahead about how people would break the game when certain things interacted with one another. It’s also why most of the game’s busted combos to be mostly item-based, since Riot didn’t think about what would happen if you could stack the same item multiple times. In this case, Evelynn would stack six Sunfire Capes and then go invisible. Forever.

See, it wasn’t just about the six Sunfire Capes — those would be silly on most characters — but you could do something about any random champion who crossed your path. You could stun them, slow them down, even kill them outright if they weren’t burning through your health too fast. No, the problem is that stealth used to work very differently in LoL, particularly Evelynn’s.

Back in the day, Evelynn’s Shadow Walk wasn’t her passive ability, it was her W, and it could last for up to 50 seconds at max level. It couldn’t be broken by anything unless she attacked or took damage, which meant that Evelynn could pop her invisibility and walk around you while dealing more and more damage as time went on, eventually killing you without ever actually attacking.

WTF?

Sure, stacking Sunfire Capes is probably a bad idea for your laning and teamfighting effectiveness, but that doesn’t really matter when you can kill any opponent without actually fighting them. If a champion didn’t have an AoE spell that affected the area immediately around them, Evelynn didn’t even necessarily need to walk around them, since there was no way for them to break her stealth.

Otherwise, Evelynn could easily walk up to any champion trying to push a lane and hope they didn’t notice that they were taking just a little too much damage. And then way too much damage. Very, very quickly.

Sunfire Cape dealt a flat 40 damage per second back then, meaning Evelynn could squeeze 2,000 damage out of one fully-leveled Shadow Walk if she had one Sunfire Cape and 12,000 damage if she stacked six capes. Even if you only got half of that, 6,000 damage in 30 seconds is still crazy, especially if you had another player come around and rack up some extra damage.

Evelynn wasn’t the only champion who could pull this off, but she was the most effective at burning people down from the shadows. Twitch could do this effectively as well, though his stealth duration was a lot shorter, and people who were really desperate to cheese could do it with Shaco’s ultimate ability, but it wasn’t as useful or hilarious as Evelynn slowly murdering someone without pressing a single key on her keyboard.

What happened?

Like most broken old LoL tricks, fixing Invisible Arsonist Evelynn was simple enough. In a December 2010 patch, Riot made Sunfire Cape’s passive unique, preventing the ability from stacking the more capes your bought. Again, 2,000 damage over 50 seconds is cool, but it’s not exactly the most effective way to kill people, especially when you could just fight them and probably deal more damage with some help from your teammates.

Riot slowly made a ton of powerful item passives unique over the years, in an attempt to weed the cheese out of their game. These days, when a character is broken it’s usually because of a bug, some crazy ability, or just poor stat balancing. It’s never as busted or fun as when you could kill someone by simply existing next to them and wearing a lot of capes.

Sunfire Evelynn isn’t quite a part of League of Legends history in the way alpha Twisted Fate is, or even in the way the many broken incarnations of Ryze are, but she was hilarious broken. And now she is gone, left only to live in our ever-burning hearts and the annals of stupid, broken garbage.

Daniel Rosen is a news editor for theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.

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