Hey guys. Continuing from my initial discussion of preseason itemization changes, which you can read here, I wanted to talk about new alternatives to items that are getting removed as part of the overall rework.
As you know we have a lot of old items that exist in a weird twilight space between useful and confusing, and it’s traditionally been very hard to find a place for these items to exist and be satisfying to use in the current environment. In a lot of cases, we’ve decide to remove items that were either identified as having pretty negative consequences for the game or warped freedom of itemization around themselves. While making these items better or more satisfying to use might have been an option, if the core purpose of the item seemed flawed it was targeted for removal.
I’ll walk through some of the more sweeping changes and try to explain our thoughts behind them as well as what replacements achieve a similar functionality.
Meki Pendant & Rejuvenation Bead – Removed
These items have been removed because they were mostly superfluous item paths that constrained early game purchases and mid-game upgrades. Everything that builds out of Meki Pendant and Rejuvenation Bead has been modified to build out of Regrowth Pendant and Faerie Charm.
Alternative: Regrowth Pendant and Faerie Charm
These items will sit at a much smaller price-point but build into many more items overall, allowing players to have much greater flexibility when building items out of regeneration items.
Madred’s Bloodrazor - Removed
Madred’s Bloodrazor has traditionally been a weak pick overall. On the surface, it appears to counter high health targets. However, its odd build path and the fact that it does magical damage make the Bloodrazor awkward in many situations. It doesn’t do as much damage as other alternatives to high hit point targets, nor is the build path something lenient enough to let you quickly build it to counter high health targets. As a jungle control item it is surpassed by Wriggle’s Lantern in many ways, especially for sustains, invades and jungle vision.
Alternative: Blade of the Ruined King
This item first debuted in Twisted Treeline, and was meant to be the ‘high health counter’ for ranged attackers. Against moderate DPS / high health targets, Blade of the Ruined King attacks these characters where it hurts the most – the fact that their DPS is consistent over time. By draining a percentage of their current health on every strike, Blade of the Ruined King seeks to burn down high health targets by both outlasting and kiting them.
Blade of the Ruined King also works well for on-hit ranged attackers, providing them a form of combat sustain that is independent of the amount of damage done by their main attack. On-hit Teemo or On-hit Kog’maws have traditionally fared poorly in being able to output sustained damage in a fight because life steal was so anti-synergistic with their builds. Blade of the Ruined King not only fits the % damage profile that Madred’s Bloodrazor once occupied but also supplies life steal for these character builds.
Force of Nature - Removed
Force of Nature has been the go-to high MR item for tanks who want to counter magic damage. The item, however, is kind of confusing. Is it a movement speed option for fighters and tanks? Or is it meant to be a regeneration item in sieges? Force of Nature’s odd stat combination made it particularly difficult to make it feel like a quality purchase. One of its attributes was probably redundant or unnecessary on your character.
Alternative: Spirit Visage
Spirit Visage is getting a slight touch up for the preseason. It will now build out of Negatron Cloak instead of Null Magic Mantle, and Spirit Visage’s passive is getting a bump in power. Additionally, there are a lot more Tier 2.5 items that offer Magic Resistance, allowing you to more easily spec into Magic Resistance without wasting slot efficiency.
Ionic Spark – Removed
Ionic Spark is a bit of a confusing item right now. Ionic Spark only fully synergizes with one or two champions (Shen, Gangplank), but it’s good to have an effective wave clearing option for characters that lack an innate ability to quickly deal with waves of minions. For a proc-build, Ionic Spark is awkward because it grants a very inconsistent proc that does some damage but is inferior to Wit’s End in a lot of cases.
Alternative: Statikk Shiv, Tiamat, Wit’s End
Tiamat has been vastly upgraded as a passive wave clearing item, while Wit’s End has always been the traditionally stronger option for Attack Speed / On-hit builds.
Elixir of Agility – Removed
Right now Elixir of Agility serves a single purpose in the game – to make the winning hyper-carry exponentially more powerful than the losing one. This has some general negative effects: Due to the multiplicative factor of attack speed and critical strike, the raw DPS increase is always better for the winner than the loser in this case. It also strongly pigeonholes viable end-game carry builds to take advantage of critical strike, as it is the cheapest and most powerful form of DPS boost.
We don’t want an item in the game whose sole purpose is to pigeonhole end-game carry builds and provide exponential damage increase to a single class. While there should be purchasable buffs that help close out the game, a 250 Gold item that typically only benefits a single player on the winning team seemed a bit superfluous.
Heart of Gold – Removed
Heart of Gold is a deeply conflicted item. Gold over Time items are designed to be a tradeoff of early game power versus reliable scaling further on in the game. However, Heart of Gold is a Health item, a statistic that is primarily dominant early game rather than late game. It helps create a lot to passivity, but worst of all it contributes to passive snowballing. While the intent of the item was to help out gold-starved characters that were traditionally weak, there are much better ways to solve this than an item that also makes their direct competitors stronger.
Alternative: The other Gold per 10 items
We don’t want to see an item in the game that lets you passively win your lane and close off options for your opponent. The other 3 Gold per 10 items have all been upgraded with either much more flexible build paths in terms of what they can build into or additional ways to generate real and imagined incomes. From Gold per 10 upgrades that let you keep the Gold per 10 when fully upgraded to alternate gold gain passives, the other 3 Gold per 10 items have become much more flexible in their final builds.