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Why Xerath's Passive is Bad

ClariS March 17, 2013 User blog:ClariS
Xerath Battlecast concept


Xerath's shouldn't have his passive because it makes no sense on a champion like him. Let me rephrase this so more people understand, "This passive does not make sense on HIM."

I am not saying this passive is useless, I am only saying, this passive does not make sense on him (or champions like him).

For those who might not know for sure what passive this is, here it is:

Xerath gains bonus armor equal to 15% of his Ability Power.

I want to start off with this statement right here, "I don't believe this passive is weak, I actually believe this passive is really strong." Let me repeat myself again, the issue I have with this passive has nothing to do with it's strength. This passive, in my opinion, is rather strong.

Now that I have repeated this twice, I better not get any one saying arguing about it not being that strong or something because that is completely irreverent to me and about this topic. This passive can have a 100% AP scaling and my issue with this passive would remain true (granted, the passive then would be completely overpowered).

So now, let's talk about why I am against this passive.

My Reason Of Hating

It provides nothing for Xerath's playstyle. Xerath is a far range caster, usually set on bursting champions (sniping them off at a distance). Therefore, he abuses his far range to kill targets before the enemy can touch him. He sieges from afar and attacks, and then, with his first rotation done, he relocates his position and repeats his siege.

The entire premise in granting free defensive stats is to promote close engagements. Champions only get free defensive steroids because they need to survive being in the middle of teamfights. That is why so many melee champions have these free defensive stats.

The only ranged champions who gets free defensive stats are ranged champion with kits that promotes getting close to teamfights, like Graves Graves who is intended to dash up to enemy's face and use Buckshot.png Buckshot or Kennen Kennen who dives in the middle of teamfights to unleash his Slicing Maelstrom.png Slicing Maelstrom. Without those defensive steriods, there is very little reason to come up close to the enemy when they can stay back and not take damage.

Now when looking at Xerath's passive, he has no incentive to come close to anyone. By far, the better a player becomes with Xerath, the less useful his passive becomes for him.

Now, that is my main reason why I hate it, but now, people may argue this with other reasons, so I'll try to explain everything.

No Added Gameplay Dynamic

Unlike Lux Lux's Illumination.png Illumination or Orianna Orianna's Clockwork Windup.png Clockwork Windup, Xerath's passive does not add any champion dynamic for him or his enemy. Without those passive, Lux and Orianna would be far ranged caster and be extremely safe. There would be very little counter play as their range would make them extremely safe. So in Lux and Orianna situation, their passive increases their risk-reward and actually allow the enemy champion a chance to do some counter aggression. They achieve max damage by putting themselves at some risk.

The only time Xerath will use this passive is when the enemy champion jumps at him. Will it help, yes, but this doesn't change anything. Knowing full well about his passive, I ask everyone, does Xerath build any different from any other far ranged mage like Lux Lux, Brand Brand, Ziggs Ziggs. Does his passive allow Xerath to build any different from them, and the answer you'll find is no. Xerath will build exactly like any other far ranged mage, and that is because their range already allow them to be safe. Their range is their main defense to keep them alive. As Xerath, you're no more willing to come close to anyone compared to those champions listed above.

But wait, I'm not done. Let's compare to some other passives like Kog'Maw Kog'Maw's Icathian Surprise.png Icathian Surprise and Zyra Zyra's Rise of the Thorns.png Rise of the Thorns who no ones want to use since this means they are dying. Unlike Xerath's passive, there passive does add gameplay dynamic for both sides.

I know for a fact that there has been a time when you have seen or played where the Kog dies and because of his passive, the entire enemy team begins to run away because Kog's passive might give him one final kill. Even though his passive is not ideal, it does add more gameplay for him. Player's who are good with Kog will make the best use of it if they can. Pretend in this situation, it's a 3v3 fight, and Kog is murdered, but before he died, he took the enemy's champion health down to 200 health. Because of Kog's passive, the enemy champion is most likely running away from Kog instead of continuing the fight, changing the entire dynamic of how that battle goes. Xearth's passive does not do that. Xerath's passive does nothing like that.

Xerath's passive will not change his build choice. Even if he was to lose that passive, his build would remain completely the same. It's not like Cassiopeia Cassiopeia who can care little about mana and mana regen because she has her passive to allow her to spam.

Lastly, imagine this. Does it make sense that someone who is staying in the back line (using his entire team as buffer zone), why does he need to be tanky? Why does he deserve it over the team who is giving him the buffer zone?


So here's my point again. The general theme for getting bonus armor is because a champion has to put himself at risk of counter-attacks, but in Xerath Xerath case, this makes no sense because he has such strong range with 0 incentive to get close to anyone.

That's why people complain. His passive is more better fitted for a champion like Swain Swain, Morgana Morgana, Kennen Kennen, Rumble Rumble who actually wants to jump in the middle of teamfights. If they were to have this passive, you would hear no complaint about this passive.

Another good example to explain this is Alistar Alistar's old passive (dealing 60% more damage to turrets). It was a good passive, but it made no sense on a tank who barely attacked the turret.

Another example, imagine Veigar Veigar had Wukong Wukong's passive (gains armor/magic resist for each nearby enemy). No one would argue that the passive is bad (there will be time when it is useful), but the passive doesn't make sense because he has no reason to get close to anyone willingly. He'll nuke, and then run away.

Also, his passive doesn't even make sense with his lore, or theme. Lore states that the armor was placed on him to subdue him. Later, it states he joined the league to get rid of the armor. Clearly, the armor is not there to help him.

Closing Statement

I'm not going to suggest any idea, because I honestly don't care what passive he gets. I don't even care even if the new passive is a lot weaker, for example:

Xerath regains mana equal to 1% of the total damage he deals through his abilities.

I'm not here complaining about the strength, I'm here complaining about how the passive doesn't match up or add anything to his kit. This is why most people complain and this is why most people continue to complain about his passive. Even if he is broken, or underpowered, I will continue to complain about his passive.

If you believe other champions have passive that mechanically doesn't match them, or promote even of the things I have mentioned above, please list them and I'll tell you how that is wrong.

So, thoughts and opinions?

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