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Pyro's Item Overhaul 10 - The Fighter Project

Lukeatlook December 30, 2014 User blog:Lukeatlook

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What is "Pyro's Item Overhaul"?

It's a set of custom patch notes that are meant to enhance and/or fix the problems with itemization in LoL. Previous episodes were a hit or miss, sometimes correctly predicting items implemented by Riot (Forbidden Idol item.png Forbidden Idol, Aether Wisp item.png Aether Wisp, Righteous Glory item.png Righteous Glory), sometimes being far off (...almost everything else).

What is the scope of the overhaul?

Pretty much everything. The idea is to increase diversity in item builds by rebalancing the current items, possibly introducing few new ones when necessary. Keep in mind while assessing this part of the project that more or less all item categories will be affected, so this is far from over.

Why?

TL;DR here would be: To have more than top 3-5 champion picks for every role in LCS with cookie-cutter builds. Item builds should be more reactive, not predefined for a whole class of champions.

Episodes

We're halfway through! :)

Premise of the Fighter Project

Who are "fighters" and what do they do?

To put it simply, they are melee champions who deal damage scaling with AD/AS - unlike tanks, whose damage scales with AP (mostly). A fighter who builds like a tank and relies on their base damages is a bruiser. A fighter who builds mostly AD items and relies on their ability damage is an AD Caster, possibly (but not necessarily) an assassin. A fighter that builds for Critical Strike is a melee carry and those are extremely rare since unlike ranged carries they can't really get through the fight alive.

This project is a sum of the Tank Project and Carry Project, with a few additions:

  • Tank items are worse on their own and better in full tank builds
    • Sunfire Cape scales its damage with % of current health, not levels
    • Randuin's Omen loses the slow and gets a damage block from ranged attacks (but at the price of base stats, 70->50 armor)
  • Critical Strike Chance reworked - crits are removed from the lane and crit items are worse on their own
    • Crits deal 100% base AD, not 100% total (some items can change that)
    • Multiple DPS items like BotRK interact with crit, making them better lategame on carries
  • In general, in order to be really tanky, you need two tank items, and in order to have high DPS, you need two crit items.
    • One fighter item is stronger than one tank/carry item, but two tank/carry items woprk together better than two fighter items
  • Advanced components reworked
  • Armor penetration unique between Phage upgrades (stacking more than one isn't the best idea):
  • Items emphasizing "active" playstyle - fighter items are stronger when you're low on health or under pressure
  • Blade of the Ruined King item.png Blade of the Ruined King rework - this item is too good by itself, becoming a "Build this then go tanky" option that doesn't fall off in the lategame
    • Bilgewater Cutlass item.png Bilgewater Cutlass no longer builds into BotRK and builds into Entropy (active slow on longer range) and Executioner's Calling (old BotRK's active MS/health absorption)
    • BotRK retains its passive % health damage, but loses the active and becomes cheaper. Its interaction with crits makes it a good response item for carries

The change to fighters here is that they have a better "flow" in-combat, but can't get as high DPS as carries AND be as durable as full tanks at the same time.

Changes to components

Basic items

Brawler's Gloves item.png Brawler's Gloves
  • Removed.
Crits are removed from the early stage of laning phase.
Cloak of Agility item.png Cloak of Agility
Important note: critical strike chance is at a different gold value now. Used to be 8% for 400 gold, now it's about 11% for 400g (3.15g per %). By itself, Cloak of Agility scales only with your AS and base AD, not bonus AD - unless you've already completed one of the crit items.
Rejuvenation Bead item.png Rejuvenation Bead
Have you ever seen anyone actually build this item in high level play instead of buying potions and wards? Well, me neither.

AD components

Avarice Blade item
975 Gold (165 Gold)
Dagger item
450 Gold
  • +15 attack damage (new), +15% attack speed (new)
    • Critical strike chance removed.
  • Unique Passive: +3 gold per 10 seconds
  • Unique Passive: Grants 2 gold upon killing a unit.
  • Doesn't build into anything.
If you feel like there is a need for a "comeback item", this is it. Otherwise, consider Avarice Blade removed from the game.
BotRK retains its % health damage, but no longer has the active. This item builds into EC, which gets the BotRK's active, and Entropy, which has a new slow effect.
The Brutalizer item
1337 Gold (617 Gold)
This is labeled now as "AD Caster item" for both melee and ranged champions. Separating armor penetration and cooldown reduction helps smooth out power curves of AD champions.
Cloak and Dagger item
1600 Gold (420 Gold)
Dagger item
450 Gold
  • New item (melee only)
  • +25% attack speed, +25% critical strike chance
  • Unique Passive - Evasion: Reduce damage from area of effect abilities by 10%.
  • Builds into: Spellbreaker item.png Spellbreaker and Sword of the Divine item.png Sword of the Divine
I'm not gonna hide it - I'm trying to make melee carries a thing. I don't have a clear genius idea how to do it, but this is a good start.
Emblem of Valor item
1800 Gold (400 Gold)
  • New item
  • +20 attack damage, +200 health
  • Unique Aura - Stark's Fervor: Grants nearby allies +10% lifesteal and +75% health regeneration
  • Builds into: Zeke's Herald item.png Zeke's Herald
Stepping stone towards Zeke's Herald. Possible option for supports, but barely gold efficient. While Zeke's is mor egeared towards fighters, this particular item is a decent building brick for supports to sit on.
Malady item
850 Gold (400 Gold)
Dagger item
450 Gold
This item could be summed up with "We fix Wit's End", but it also gives foundation for on-hit as an item class. If the on-hit synergy becomes too strong, this passive could become named and unique between items.
Phage item
1300 Gold (540 Gold)
This change resembles how Haunting Guise works. You dump part of the gold into not-so offensive stats. Flat armor penetration now doesn't stack between the items, allowing for high amount on one item without having to account for a full build - resistance penetration is more effective the more of it you have.
Item
1250 Gold (195 Gold)
Pickaxe item
875 Gold
  • New item
  • +25 attack damage, +25% base mana regeneration
  • Unique Passive: Your basic attacks restore mana equal to between 1% and 4% of the physical damage dealt, based on your missing mana. This effect is doubled against champions.
  • Builds into: Essence Reaver item.png Essence Reaver
Component for the reworked ER. Provides mana regen when it's needed instead of way later. If too problematic in lane, can be replaced by a single B. F. Sword item.png B. F. Sword
Zeal item
1100 Gold (200 Gold)
Dagger item
450 Gold
Dagger item
450 Gold
  • +30% attack speed (+10)
    • Critical strike chance and % MS removed
  • Unique Passive - Rage: Basic attacks grant 20 movement speed for 2 seconds on hit. Minion, monster, and champion kills grant 60 movement speed for 2 seconds. The movement speed bonus is halved for ranged champions. (new)
  • Builds into: Phantom Dancer item.png Phantom Dancer, Statikk Shiv item.png Statikk Shiv, Trinity Force item.png Trinity Force and Zephyr item.png Zephyr
Doubleswords are now truly doubleswords. Or doubledaggers, to be precise. The Rage passive moves here from Phage. Zeal still increases your damage output by the same amount.


Carry items

Click "show" to the right to view the items from the Carry Project (previous episode).

Critical Strike Chance

Critical Strike items

All these grant Critical Strike chance and are regarded "carry items".

Executioner's Calling item
2700 Gold (570 Gold)
  • +30 attack damage (+10), +30% critical strike chance (+10), +10% lifesteal (new)
    • Grievous Wounds on hit removed
  • Unique Active: Drains target champion, dealing 15% of the target's maximum health in physical damage (min. 100) and healing you for the damage dealt. Additionally you steal 25% of their movement speed and inflict Grievous Wound on them for 3 seconds - 90 second cooldown. (450 range) (new)
The healing reduction now works only with the BotRK active, which moves here. BotRK retains its % health damage.
Infinity Edge item
3600 Gold (445 Gold)
Pickaxe item
875 Gold
  • +80 attack damage, +20% critical strike chance
  • Unique Passive - Critical Strike Modifier: Your critical strikes deal bonus damage equal to 100% total AD. (nerfed from 150%)
When you do the math on old IE, its crit chance and passive increases your DPS output by about 35%. This version is fairly similar, but since the amp is lower, so is the price.
Phantom Dancer item
2600 Gold (770 Gold)
Zeal item
1100 Gold
  • +50% attack speed, +40% critical strike chance
    •  % movement speed removed
  • Unique Passive - Rage: Basic attacks grant 20 movement speed for 2 seconds on hit. Kills and critical strikes grant 60 movement speed for 2 seconds. The movement speed bonus is halved for ranged champions. (new)
  • Unique Passive: Your champion ignores unit collision.
Crits now grant you full speed from Rage like kills do. Phantom Dancer is defined as a mobility item with highest crit chance in the game.
Spellbreaker item
3400 Gold (450 Gold)
  • New item (melee only)
  • +30 attack damage, +30% attack speed, +30% critical strike chance, +30 magic resistance
  • Unique Passive - Evasion: Reduce damage from area of effect abilities by 10%.
  • Unique Passive – Lifeline: Upon taking magic damage that would reduce health below 30%, removes all crowd control effects and grants a shield that absorbs 300 magic damage for 5 seconds (90 second cooldown).
My melee carry bias is showing. "Hello, I'm Xin Zhao, and welcome to Jackass". The item is centered around protection and unlike other crit items, it does not affect or interact with critical strikes.
Statikk Shiv item
2500 Gold (700 Gold)
Zeal item
1100 Gold
Malady item
850 Gold
  • +50% attack speed (+10)
    • Critical strike chance and % movement speed removed
  • Unique Passive - Rage: Basic attacks grant 20 movement speed for 2 seconds on hit. Minion, monster, and champion kills grant 60 movement speed for 2 seconds. The movement speed bonus is halved for ranged champions. (new)
  • Unique Passive: Your basic attacks deal 30 bonus magic damage on hit. On critical strike, you deal bonus 60 magic damage to up to 4 targets. (reworked)
  • Unique Passive - Stattik Charges: Moving increases your critical strike chance by 1 per 10 units moved. This bonus is reset once you critically strike. (reworked)
The effect is very similar in work (move, charge, proc), but occurs more often with critical strikes for less damage. The item, however, doesn't grant you any critical strike chance by itself unless you move around.
Sword of the Divine item
3400 Gold (925 Gold)
Pickaxe item
875 Gold
  • New item (melee only)
  • +50 attack damage, +30% attack speed, +30% critical strike chance
  • Unique Passive - Evasion: Reduce damage from area of effect abilities by 10%.
  • Unique Passive - Critical Strike Modifier: Your critical strikes deal bonus damage equal to 150% bonus AD.
  • Unique Active: Your next 3 critical strikes deal bonus damage equal to 150% total AD. 45 second cooldown.
While the item is active, your crits will deal damage equal to the IE on Live (250% total AD).
Youmuu's Ghostblade item
2400 Gold (333 Gold)
  • +30 attack damage, +20% critical strike chance (+5), +10% cooldown reduction
    • Armor penetration removed
  • Unique Passive: Critical strikes reduce this item's cooldown by 3 seconds. (new)
  • Unique Active: Gain 40% attack speed and 20% movement speed for 6 seconds. (60 second cooldown).
Higher crit chance makes up for the loss of armor penetration.
Wicked Hatchet item
2600 Gold (995 Gold)
Pickaxe item
875 Gold
  • New item (now available on all maps)
  • +50 attack damage, +20% critical strike chance
  • Unique Passive: Your critical strikes reduce target's armor by 10% for 4 seconds (effect stacks up to 3 times).
Keep in mind this item brings diminishing returns with Last Whisper now that LW penetrates only bonus armor - but you can still use it to fight against absurdly heavy armor.

Heavy AD

80 AD

The "endgame" high AD items other than Infinity Edge item.png Infinity Edge.

The Bloodthirster item
3600 Gold (450 Gold)
  • +80 attack damage
  • Unique Passive: +20% lifesteal
  • Unique Passive: Your life steal overheals you, converting the excess healing into a shield that absorbs up to 50-350 damage and decays when out of combat for 25 seconds.
I'm not entirely sure if the item deserves such a smooth buildpath past the BF Sword, but it seems to make sense, especially with the insane new build for Essence Reaver below.
Essence Reaver item
3600 Gold (213 Gold)
  • +80 attack damage, +10% lifesteal, +10% cooldown reduction, +50% base mana regeneration (new)
  • Unique Passive - Mana Leech: Restore mana equal to between 2% and 8% of the physical damage dealt, based on your missing mana. This effect is halved for spell damage. (buffed)
The item should now appeal to those who need it: champions who want to cast spells and use mana. You have to choose between restoring health and mana, though. The spellvamp is purely experimental and can be scrapped. If Soul Sickle is too much in lane, it can be replaced with a B. F. Sword item.png B. F. Sword.
Mercurial Scimitar item
3600 Gold (800 Gold)
  • +80 attack damage, +30 magic resistance (-5)
  • Unique Active – Quicksilver: Removes all debuffs from your champion and grants +50% movement speed for 1 second. 90 second cooldown.
With QSS significantly cheaper, this item is actually stronger now. The tiny MR nerf is part of the MR compartmentalization.

Armor penetration items

Flat penetration

Phage upgrades, pick one. Or pick more than one and let the armor penetration go to waste, that's still an option.

The Black Cleaver item
3100 Gold (363 Gold)
Phage item
1300 Gold
  • +50 attack damage, +200 health, +10% cooldown reduction
  • Unique Passive - Bash: +10 armor penetration
  • Unique Passive: Dealing physical damage to an enemy champion reduces their armor by 5% for 4 seconds. This effect stacks up to 6 times. (+1 max stack)
Now with a smooth buildpath. Reeeeeally smooth. Cost goes up by 100, though. Since LW is gone and the flat armor penetration doesn't stack between the items, it could possibly deserve a buff to the % reduction passive.
Entropy item
3100 Gold (400 Gold)
Phage item
1300 Gold
  • +50 attack damage (-5), +200 health (-75), +10% lifesteal
  • Unique Passive - Bash: +20 armor penetration (new)
  • Unique Active: Slow the target enemy champion's movement speed by 25% for 2 seconds. Hitting the target with a basic attack will refresh the slow, up to 5 seconds total. 90 second cooldown (700 range) (reworked)
Now available on Summoner's Rift as one of the Phage upgrades. The functionality is simple - you slow the target with the Bilgewater active (with longer range), and if you catch up and hit the target, the slow lasts longer.
Frozen Mallet item
3300 Gold (1000 Gold)
Phage item
1300 Gold
  • +30 attack damage, +600 health (-100)
  • Unique Passive - Bash: +10 armor penetration (new)
  • Unique Passive - Icy: Your basic attacks apply a 20% slow for 2 seconds. (nerfed)
  • Active: Doubles the strength of this item's passives for 10 seconds. 60 second cooldown. (new)
This is better suited for fighters than carries, but I guess it could still be utilized when in need for high health.
Trinity Force item
3603 Gold (Gold)
Phage item
1300 Gold
Zeal item
1100 Gold
Sheen item
1200 Gold
  • +30 attack damage, +30% attack speed, +30 ability power, +300 health (+50), +300 mana (+100)
  • Unique Passive - Bash: +10 armor penetration (new)
  • Unique Passive - Rage: Basic attacks grant 20 movement speed for 2 seconds on hit. Minion, monster, and champion kills grant 60 movement speed for 2 seconds. The movement speed bonus is halved for ranged champions.
  • Unique Passive - Spellblade: After using an ability, your next basic attack will critically strike. 2 second cooldown. (reworked)
  • Unique Passive - Critical Strike Modifier: Your critical strikes deal bonus damage equal to 200% base AD. (new)
Trinity Force now has 3 components, 4 passives and 5 statistics. Spellblade procs are functinally unchanged by themselves, but they don't stack with crit chance now. Higher crit modifiers will be applied, though, so if you have IE, Spellblade will deal 100% of your bonus AD if it's higher than 200% of your base AD.

Heavy penetration

Last Whisper item
2700 Gold (925 Gold)
Pickaxe item
875 Gold
  • +30 attack damage (-10), +30% attack speed (new)
  • Unique Passive: Your basic attacks and abilities ignore 50% of target's bonus armor. (reworked)
Yes, it allows you to shred the enemy tanks in the lategame, but against anyone below 100 armor or so the passive is practically useless. Base stats are worth 1980g. The item becomes somewhat gold efficient if you hit a target that has more than 70 bonus armor.

Fighter items

Items defining the fighter class, combining damage with survivability.

Atma's Impaler item
3500 Gold (850 Gold)
Tiamat item
1900 Gold
  • New item
  • +50 attack damage, +50 armor, +100% base health regeneration
  • Unioque Passive: Gain attack damage equal to 1% of your bonus health.
  • Unique Passive – Cleave (Melee only): Your attacks deal physical damage up to 60% of your Attack Damage to units around your target (185 range), decaying down to 20% near the edge (385 range).
  • Unique Active – Crescent (Melee only): Deals physical damage up to 100% of your Attack Damage to units around you, decaying down to 60% near the edge. - 10 second cooldown (400 range)
The dreaded Impaler. This item requires about 1000 health from other items to become gold efficient. Probably not the best starting item, but a good finishing one. Atmogs is back!
Guinsoo's Rageblade item
2500 Gold (525 Gold)
Pickaxe item
875 Gold
Zeal item
1100 Gold
  • +30 attack damage, +30% attack speed (new)
  • Ability power removed
  • Passive: Autoattacks (on attack) and champion abilities grant +3 armor penetration and +3 magic penetration for 8 seconds (stacks up to 5 times). (reworked)
  • Unique Passive - Rage: Basic attacks grant 20 movement speed for 2 seconds on hit. Minion, monster, and champion kills grant 60 movement speed for 2 seconds. The movement speed bonus is halved for ranged champions. (new)
  • Unique Passive: Falling below 50% health grants +10% life steal and +10% spell vamp until out of combat. 30 second cooldown. (AS removed)
A set of changes to revamp the item - the stats are different, the price is lower and the passive grants hybrid penetration instead of AS and AP. AP was really a dead in-combat stat for a vast majority of autoattacking champions. Flat penetration is not worth as much by itself, but it's a better multiplier. Core on Jax? Possibly, but without AP it should significantly reduce his burst. Anyway, the item is redefined as for "AD-AS champions with magic damage", be that Jax or Shyvana.
Maw of Malmortius item
3200 Gold (975 Gold)
Pickaxe item
875 Gold
  • +50 attack damage (-10), +30 magic resistance (-10)
  • Unique Passive: Grants +1 attack damage for every 1% of missing health, up to 70 Attack Damage. (buffed)
  • Unique Passive – Lifeline: Upon taking magic damage that would reduce health below 30%, grants a shield that absorbs 400 magic damage for 5 seconds (90 second cooldown).
Less base AD/MR, but TONS OF DAMAGE when you get low on health. Compared to the Live version, it starts giving more AD below 80% health.
  • +80 attack damage (+5), +100% base health regeneration
  • Passive and active effects unchanged
A small buff making up for the relative nerf to the health regen provided by the item (which is significant only early in the game while holding Tiamat and breaks even mid- to lategame).
Wit's End item
3000 Gold (900 Gold)
Malady item
850 Gold
  • +50% attack speed, +30 magic resistance
  • Unique Passive - Maim: +42 magic damage on hit
  • Unique Passive: Basic attacks steal 5 magic resistance from the target (stacks up to 5 times).
  • Active – Quicksilver: Removes all debuffs from your champion and grants 25% Tenacity for 3 seconds. 90 second cooldown.
Old Wit's End is... old and busted. Behold the new awesomeness. Tenacity stacks multiplicatively (reduced effectiveness) with other sources.
Zeke's Herald item
2800 Gold (150 Gold)
  • +30 attack damage (new), +400 health (+150), +10% cooldown reduction (-10)
  • Unique Aura - Stark's Fervor: Grants nearby allies +10% lifesteal and +75% base health regeneration. (1100 range) (AD removed)
  • Unique Active - Rally: Reduces the armor of nearby enemies by 10 for 5 seconds and grants 10 atack damage per enemy affected for 10 seconds. Nearby allied champions receive half of this bonus. 60 second cooldown (700 range) (new)
The active is a giant "WE GO IN" signal. The range of the effect isn't enough to reach your AD Carry sitting in the back, but for a pair of diving fighters it's helluva effective. If you want to run two fighters into the enemy team, get Black Cleaver and this thing, and charge with no fear.
Zephyr item
3100 Gold (663 Gold)
Zeal item
1100 Gold
  • +50 attack damage, +50% attack speed, +10% cooldown reduction
  • Unique Passive - Rage: Basic attacks grant 20 movement speed for 2 seconds on hit. Minion, monster, and champion kills grant 60 movement speed for 2 seconds. The movement speed bonus is halved for ranged champions.
  • Unique Passive - Tenacity: Reduces the duration of crowd control by 35%.
  • Unique Passive - Slow Resistance: Reduces the strength of slows by 25%.
Without 10% MS bonus it shouldn't be a boots replacement anymore, but the anti-CC passives should be a really nice bundle for melee champions.

Polls

Is Phage as the new flat arpen core a good idea?
 
8
 
2
 
11
 

The poll was created at 15:03 on December 30, 2014, and so far 21 people voted.
How should fighters deal with high armor targets?
 
20
 
2
 
0
 
0
 

The poll was created at 15:35 on December 30, 2014, and so far 22 people voted.
Atma's Impaler - yay or nay?
 
16
 
3
 
1
 

The poll was created at 15:03 on December 30, 2014, and so far 20 people voted.

Afterword

Item changes alone are only half of the solution. Fighters as a champion class are tainted with kit homogenity and lack of diverse identity. To truly balance fighters, almost every single fighter champion would need changes to their kit. As it is, they're all too similar to each other - they're balls of stats with AD/AS steroids and slows, and sometimes bits of innate tankiness.

Ask yourself a question "What can X do that other champions cannot?". For example, Shyvana Shyvana is a brick wall of magic DPS with AS synergy and tank transformation. For magic DPS, Dr. Mundo Dr. Mundo does her part; for AS synergy on a bruiser, there is Trundle Trundle and to some extent Shen Shen and Volibear Volibear. And Shyvana's tank transformation is laughable when compared to Gnar Gnar, who gains TONS of crowd control in his Mega form.

Similarities between fighters causes the top 3-5 picks to dominate over the rest, since there is no strong reason to give up the currently strongest picks if they can do everything the weaker picks do. If champion kits were more diverse, even the "weaker" picks would have a reason to exist, since they would do something noone else could.

Up Next

  • The Mage Project - taking a close look at items like DFG and trying to put an end to the everlasting war between Athene's Unholy Grail item.png Athene's Unholy Grail and Morellonomicon item.png Morellonomicon.
  • The Jungle Followup - some slight rebalance of jungle items and discussing how to prevent poaching at lvl 1 in competitve (also asking if it's necessary)
  • The Peripheral Maps - cleanup for items on Twisted Treeline, Howling Abyss and Crystal Scar with some commentary on the other game modes in general

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