Red Post Collection: Quick Gameplay Thoughts: March 9th & More

Today’s red post collection includes Meddler’s quick gameplay thoughts for March 9th covering Syndra, Swain, Waveclear changes and more, as well as red comments from across the web, & a ton more!

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Quick Gameplay Thoughts: March 9th

Here’s Meddler’s quick gameplay thoughts for March 9, including thoughts on Syndra, Rageblade, Locket, and Waveclear, and more:

“Hey all, 

Usual Disclaimers 

These posts will often contain talk about future work we’re doing, or planning to do, that isn’t yet guaranteed to ship. The nature of the work could change or, depending on what we discover, projects mentioned may get put delayed or even stopped. If you’d like to see a Tweet whenever a new one of these posts goes up: 


We last talked about Syndra a bit before the AP item changes were coming out. At that point we were avoiding making changes to most AP champs until we’d seen want impact those items had. At this point though we can be fairly confident they didn’t have a meaningful power impact on Syndra. That does leave her arguably in a weak spot. We’ve been reluctant to just straight buff her however, given the degree to which she ends up being a correct pick all the time when somewhat stronger than she currently is. We’re also still seeing her be the correct pick sometimes at her current power level, at least in the hands of experienced Syndra players. She’s also a champion who, when balanced, will need a noticeably sub 50% win rate, looking at her historically, so we don’t think her current win rate is as strong a signal she’s in urgent need of work as it might suggest on many other champs. 

That’s not to say we won’t take a look at her at some point, ideally finding ways to sharpen when she is or isn’t the correct pick a bit more. At present though we believe other work, both on other champions and systemic elements like items or the jungle, needs to take priority. 

On a much more specific note one thing I also wanted to check for those of you who’ve played a fair bit of Syndra is your opinion on the current Q passive effect (extended duration) as opposed to the previous effect (increased damage to champions only). The extended duration makes a lot of combos between her skills easier to pull off, which arguably has some positives and some negatives, so figured it would be a good thing to assess at this point. 

Rageblade, Locket and Wave Clear 

We’ve got changes on the PBE right now to Locket, wave clear (minion health in particular) and Rageblade. All of those are on the experimental side, and it’s likely most, or all of them, don’t ship in 8.6 but likely hit PBE again in a later patch cycle. A few notes on each below. 

Rageblade – We’re looking to broaden its pool of users somewhat (e.g. melee users, people who currently get screwed by having their Adaptive stat set to AP by its build path) and reduce how much of a single item spike it is early on its current ideal users. Intent is to keep it as a hybrid AD/AP item with a stacking mechanic, though we have also been testing an AD only version to understand what an item in that space looks like. 

Locket – We believe Locket needs to be more contextual (do pick in some circumstances, don’t pick in others). That’s something we’ve been trying to achieve for quite a while now with various changes, but still haven’t gone far enough on. Also trying to make it so its use is more skill dependent/less consistently reliable. The version currently on PBE (DR zone) has some interesting stuff going on, it’s unlikely it ships though given its also got some substantial issues as well. 

Wave Clear – We’re also working on reducing wave clear, during lane in particular, though to some extent later in the game as well. That’s targeted at getting more interaction between champions, since minions being around pulls champions closer to each other to CS thereby creating opportunities for aggression. Easy waveclear by contrast leads to easy safe farming and roaming, which then comes at a cost to other lanes or, late game, leads to stalled out low action scenarios unless Baron buff is available. Still experimenting with different directions there. Think it’s much more likely something ships in 8.8 than 8.6 (exception: a nerf to Shiv which removes its bonus damage to minions that probably will be in 8.6). 


Looks like we probably overbuffed Swain in 8.5. Still assessing him, but suspect we may need to pull some power back (leave him stronger than in 8.4, but not as strong as 8.5). Best guess at present from what we’ve seen so far is that we’d be more likely to reduce his damage/payoff for landing spells than his ability to land them in the first place (which is where a lot of the newly gained power came from). Pre buff Swain was likely too unreliable, so based off current thinking it’s unlikely we’d revert those reliability increases. Need to see some more play before making a call though. 

Next week: Surveys 

Got a good question earlier in the week asking about why we don’t survey more, with some suggestions as to things that might be valuable. Was planning to talk about our survey approach today as a result, give you folks a bunch of context on what we currently do and what our thinking there is. Turned out to be a bigger topic than expected, so moving it to the first post of next week. Let me know if there’s anything survey related you’re particularly interested in hearing about and I’ll try and include something about that.”

Meddler provided his thoughts on the waveclear changes:

“We’re targeting a couple of different points in particular. The first is wave clear from level 5 or so onwards (some champs earlier, some later), where at present it’s too easy to clear quickly and roam or just play passively. The second is later in the game where sieging without Baron’s often just too difficult. 

Not trying to make CSing dramatically more difficult early on though, so possible we might need to compensate there to some degree.”

He continued:


Hey Meddler, I know you’re still working on the ADC thoughts and the direction you’re taking, I’ve had some thoughts on this for a while and wondering if it’s anything you’ve considered, or if my thinking on this is off-base. I’m going to paste what I asked last time: 

1) I’ve often thought of the tankbuster niche as something that should be champion specific, by having mechanics like %health on a kit (like vayne) or heavy defense penetration (wukong, vi,etc.). 

Is that a direction you see yourself going as giving an entire class of champion that identity as tank buster is what may have been narrowing the choices? 

2) Also, as the premier tower damaging class, I always thought waveclear was an inherent weakness of the [marksmen] class, and specific kits would sacrifice power to gain access to it (sivir, and should be trist but right now she’s pretty dominant so it seems she’s not sacrificing enough power there) also that shiv and such shore up that weakness so well that it’s not really seen as such. 

Is waveclear as an adc weakness something you see pushing more for in the future? (potentially, not looking for a commitment)

Tank busting – we want to ensure there are a range of common picks who can opt into tank busting where needed (Last Whisper line, BotRK etc in the case of Marksmen or Skirmishers for example). Rationale there is that you often won’t know in champ select which enemy champions are going to do really well and get a lot of items or who’ll get picked later in pick order. If tank busting is primarily delivered via kits that then creates a situation where you either always pick a tank busting champ just in case or run the risk of just having no response if an enemy champion gets really tanky. Some champs being extra strong at tank busting’s certainly fine, but shifting towards it not being reasonably available as a baseline creates problems. Longer term we’re hoping to get things to a state where you also don’t have to rely so much on your marksman as possible tank buster (e.g. skirmishers, juggernauts, maybe some mages being alternatives you could grab in champ select who could opt into that role). 

Wave clear by contrast is something we think should be more kit specific on marksmen. We’ll be toning down Shiv against minions a lot in the next patch (no longer deals bonus damage to minions, slightly lower damage overall) as a starting point on that. Not certain yet on next step after that, depends in part on where the larger wave clear focused changes end up.”

Meddler went on:


THANK YOU! I’m very interested in game development and with all the talk about ADC balance this season, these questions have been burning my frikkin brain. 

I see what you’re saying about making tank busting easily accessible, do you think as champs get changed/new champs come out that moving that skill set so that enough champs have tankbusting capabilities, the game will get to a state where ADCs no longer need to have that identity? or is that not really the plan? 

I was excited about the shiv changes. Do you think an item like that is inherently problematic given how strong ADCs are right now? Or is shoring up a champion’s weakness through items so strongly a reasonable design?

I think it’s likely to stay part of the ADC identity, we’d like to make it so that other classes can also fill that niche too though. That means ADCs can be less mandatory and opens up the potential to maybe trim back a bit on tank busting from them someday (that bit’s fairly speculative though). 

I think items need to be able to shore up some of a champion’s weaknesses somewhat, otherwise they’re not able to do anything but magnify what’s already on the kit. I think the issue there is which weaknesses and how much. Dead Man’s Plate for example gives some extra mobility to juggernauts, but they’re still pretty kiteable, compared to giving them an item with a dash say. Or an item like Tear lets champs like Anivia or Kassadin reduce the amount they’re mana gated significantly, but doesn’t let them cast infinitely thankfully. 

I don’t think Shiv’s core design (charge it up to chain lightning) is inherently flawed. The exact mechanics on it on the other hand need some work though certainly.”

On Poppy, Meddler commented:


Any thoughts on Poppy? o.o she seems to be in a bad current state .o.

Oh, I’ve got a different take there. I think the most recent changes actually put her into a pretty decent spot, both in regular play and pro. She’s getting picked and proving fairly effective without being in must pick territory from what I’ve been seeing recently.”

When asked for thoughts on Spellbinder, Meddler  noted:


What are your thoughts on where spellbinder has landed post release? I’m still not seeing it a huge amount, but it feels like it should be pretty strong in certain comps and against certain champs.

Seems in at least an ok spot? Items that aren’t clearly overpowered or extremely appealing tend to take quite a bit longer to assess than champions. That’s because, even if they’re pretty good, it takes quite a while for player behavior to shift to incorporate their use effectively. 

Could hopefully offer more useful thoughts in a few more weeks.”

As for Kai’SaMeddler replied:


Any thoughts on Kai’sa state? Lots of people demand for a bigger aa range which is reasonable given her mobility gated by high cds.

I think it’s too early to be talking about major changes to Kai’Sa like AA range. Rapidly buffing core parts of a champions kit like that often goes poorly for us when players are still learning someone new and there’s a lot Kai’Sa does that’s quite powerful. She’s also got a fair bit of learning curve, given she’s demanding on positioning and her itemization’s somewhat unusual (which, for one thing, is resulting in people trying some pretty experimental and often not that great builds at present).”

On Statikk Shiv, Meddler commented:


So what’s the intended use of Statik Shiv? What’s the reason ADC should be buying this item? (Honest question here, not trying to be loaded.)

AOE damage (its champion damage in team fights is unchanged), burst (given its ability to crit especially) and a lesser amount of wave clear. And its stats. Even without the extra wave clear bonus it still offers a lot IMO.”

When asked about marksman junglers, Meddler replied:


Sort of odd question, but do you have any thoughts on the state of Marksman Junglers? (Graves, Quinn, Kindred, Kai’sa maybe?) If it needs to be more specific, than the itemization of them compared to other classes building similar items, such as the crit marksman having a close powerspike to adcs even though their jobs tend to be a bit different.

I think marksmen jungling will need to be closer to the power curves of other carry junglers than laning marksmen. They’ve got a farming pattern that’s much safer (PVE’s reliable), so can’t get the same degree of powerspike purely off that that laning marksmen who are taking more risk do. They should be able to make the same sort of impact, but that should require successful actions with risk attached (ganking, invades, objective control), like other junglers. Needing to do those things then likely means they’ll need similar power progression to other damage focusd junglers like Yi or Kha’Zix.”

As for Duskblade compensation and why Pantheon wasn’t included, Meddler replied:

“From memory when we looked at current Duskblade users Pantheon had similar performance with other items. For champs like that we’re avoiding buffing them because they’ll swap off Duskblade regardless if other items are now better choices. Would mean we’re just buffing their strongest builds relative to today as a result. 

Having said that, we also need to see how a range of champs like that actually get affected by the change. Possible we’re missing something as to why they were more dependent on it than we expected.”

As for why Duskblade was being changed,  Meddler explained:


This is going back a little to ask but why are you guys nefing duskblade but buffing all its users? By your own admissions assassin’s aren’t in a good spot and if you are just buffing all the users doesn’t nerfing the item just make this power neutral? I don’t even play these champions I just find it a confusing logic to follow

A few things on our mind there: 

  1. At present so much power’s wrapped up in Duskblade it makes it harder to tune individual assassins.
  2. Having that much power in an item effect homogenizes its users somewhat (degree to which you’re playing Duskblade, rather than your champion, ends up too high).
  3. Duskblade’s power kicks in all at once, leading to power curves that spike really hard at one point but don’t increase sufficiently pre or post Duskblade for many users.”

Quick Hits

  • Regarding the Waveclear update to minions that was testing on the PBE, Riot Repertoir noted  these changes wouldn’t be going to live in 8.6, but would likely return to the PBE in a few weeks:

“Thanks to everyone that’s given productive feedback and concerns regarding the early waveclear stuff that’s currently on the PBE. As was expected, it won’t be shipping in 8.6, but it’s likely to return in an updated form in a few weeks.”

  • Reav3 noted in the Beyond the Rift podcast that the Aatrox update would also feature model changes, and he elaborated:

“Don’t worry. We plan on bulking him up a bit to match his new gameplay, but not to the level of Sion or Darius or anything like that. His anims are also going in the direction of more agile/finesse greatsword duelist, even with moments of big power. His wings will also need to change a bit to be more in line with some of his new abilties. WAAARHABOOO is the narrative writer on Aatrox, so you can bet his VO will dark.”

  • LeadSandwichArtist commented on the possibility of a model viewer integrated into the client:

“I can speak to this a bit, but giant caveats that a) I’m an engineer and not a product person, b) I can’t say whether this will happen eventually, c) this is just like, my opinion, man, and d) today seems like a bad day to post on Reddit after y’all ritually sacrificed Cactopus:

So far this has been built twice that I’m aware of during a couple of our hack days. The straightforward way was to use WebGL (like lolking does) so we can embed it in the client anywhere without doing anything crazy. The less straightforward way was to render the client to a texture, carve out a quad for rendering the model viewer, hijack mouse input for that quad / otherwise forward it to CEF, then wrap the whole deal around a teapot for kicks. 

Beyond any of the other reasons this doesn’t exist (one major one being “is this higher value for players than something else those engineers can be working on?” I AM NOT A PRODUCT PERSON PLEASE DON’T HURT ME) the limitation on the WebGL solution is that players on Windows XP and Vista (and while the number is going down, there are still millions of you) don’t get GPU acceleration in the client since Google was tired of dealing with all the driver bugs crashing people’s operating systems and they ripped out support. 

If we hit the point where we can ship this to all of our players and we see more value in it than alternatives like embedded videos (this kind of thread helps with that discussion) then it’s on the table but for right now it’s not actively being worked on beyond hack day projects. 

Your votes are tallied, and we’re ready to make some games. 

Here are your themes for Jam Packed: 

  • – Star Guardian 
  • – Pool Party 
  • – PROJECT 

The 48-hour development starts March 14! 

Join our Discord: 

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  • A Kai’Sa AMA was held on the League of Legends Subreddit – here’s community member Spideraxe’s roundup of all the juicy details:

[Click Here for Kai’Sa AMA Roundup]

“The Ahri Nendoroid global release is happening March 13th. We promised a few more photos of her. This is the same day as we launch the Ahri: A New Dawn statue. We ask if you are interested in the Nendoroid but not the statue that you wait til after 1pm PST to visit the store in order to better accommodate the players who are checking out with the statue in the morning. The Nendoroid is available with good quantities while the statue is limited.”



To round out this red post collection, here are a few reminders on current promotions or limited time events!

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