Before I begin I would like to formally state that I am in favor of Riot's decision to limit the number of health potions you can carry to 5. With this in mind, please continue to read the following points with my potential bias in mind. I do not try to profess a bias in factual arguments, however, human nature makes avoiding bias completely nearly impossible. I apologize for any misrepresentations that may be professed as you continue reading, as I know that this is a very controversial issue amongst League of Legends players.
What Potions do:
For those of you who don't know, health potions restore 150 health over 15 seconds, corresponding to a 2 HP5 boost for 15 seconds, or 10 Health per Second for 15 seconds. The main use of these potions is to delay returning to the fountain for as long as possible so that you can farm minions to accrue a large amount of gold. Ordinarily, this does not pose a problem to gameplay, in fact, it allows for a more interesting style of play where sustained damage champions can hold their own against high poke or high burst damage lane partners. Therefore, the health potion adds balance to a the game, making it a crucial item.
Where the supposed problem lies:
Riot believes that the current situation allowing players to purchase as many health potions as they had the gold for (and item space, with stacks of potions going up to 9) is problematic. Their argument is that it makes laning far too safe for all champions, not just ones designed around safe laning (Garen for example). This makes the laning phase less fun for more agressive play styles, and removes the concept of high risk high reward gameplay. For example. Cass bursts an enemy Akali, taking some damage in the process. Cass burns her entire mana pool on Akali, but Akali does not die. Akali retreats to the turret, and slams 3 of her 9 potions. Suddenly Akali has more health than Cass, no mana issues, and Cass is OOM. Akali jumps in and kills Cass (or forces her to back) and, even though she was outplayed on the initial burst, still won the trade and gains time to free farm. Cass's risk was entirely unrewarded except for Akali having to use some pots (too bad Akali will take the money she earned from free farming and getting a kill to buy either spell vamp or more potions).
Arguments for Retaining the Potion System:
- The passive style of play afforded by the potions is necessary on some champions in order to make them useful
- Akali for example is really weak in the first few levels of the game
- Sion, Nasus, and Veigar make great use of their farming based spell passives the longer they are in lane. Their hyper-carry status makes them a burden without appropriate sustain in lane
- Buying 9 health potions makes it impossible to buy anything in terms of mana potions (unless you don't take wards, which is an awful decision). This makes managing mana more essential on champions, changing the way in which a champion needs to be cautious in lane.
- Health cost champions (Mordekaiser, Mundo, Vlad, and Zac) are all dependent upon having high amounts of sustain in early game, otherwise they lose out on farm too much and therefore lose lane.
I know I missed many of the arguments against. Please send them to me through PM or post them in the comments below so I can append them. I'm sorry about this, it's just that arguments other than that are sort of hard for me to grasp considering my personal opinion on the subject. Anyway, I just wanted to make the whole viewpoints on the subject available for everyone to see as clearly as possible, and, more importantly, to enlighten people on the main ideas of both arguments to make the feelings of the community more apparent on the issue. If you actually took the time to read this whole thing, then I thank you for your time and wish you luck in all of your endeavors, League of Legends related or otherwise.