(Note: This post is obsolete after Ashe received a mini-rework in V5.9. I still think the ideas below have some value as a potential different direction that could have been taken for Ashe, though her official rework is by far the better one.)
This is a tentative rework for Ashe, the Frost Archer. Ashe is, in many respects, one of the most unique marksmen out there, able to provide not only great DPS, but also some of the best crowd control in the entire game (she has the longest potential stun, at 3.5 seconds). She fits a very clear, very specific niche in team comps, and has incredible playmaking potential. However, she hasn't aged too well: at a time where other hypercarries have become top picks, she still remains unpopular. I feel her problems aren't so much with her not fitting into the current meta (though she's been hit hard by mobility creep), but rather with her play patterns: during the laning phase, she has minimal tools to interact with her opponents, but plenty of incentive to play super-passively, and her perma-slow, while somewhat iconic, is significantly unhealthy, and responsible for locking out a lot of her power.
What Ashe needs, basically, is more fighting options: she doesn't really need additional damage, she's meant to have an abysmal laning phase and an amazing late game, and she's not meant to be too difficult to play (or at least to learn). I do, however, want her to be rewarded for initiating fights and engaging rather than for playing passively, even while in lane. A lot of her CC and utility, with a bit of tweaking, could encourage her to poke and trade rather than just farm.
Bow of True Ice
Enemies who have their movement impaired by Ashe's abilities are Frozen for the duration of their impaired movement. Ashe'sbasic attacks shatter Frozen enemies, dealing 25% AD bonus magic damage. This damage cannot apply again on the same target until they are Frozen once more.
Everyone who knows Ashe knows how weak and unintuitive her passive, Focus, is. It encourages her to not attack in order to gain a single crit, which only serves as a crutch to her otherwise weak laning phase and quickly becomes irrelevant as Ashe builds crit items. Generally, Ashe's kit doesn't really encourage her to interact much with her opponents during the laning phase, and instead rewards her more for playing ultra-passively and hard farming until she gets to reach a late-game build. I want to reverse this by instead giving Ashe a passive that encourages her to follow up on her poke with an autoattack, forcing her to put herself a bit more at risk in order to reap the largest rewards. While damage isn't Ashe's strong suit, and not really something I want her to have more of, I think switching out her current crit for something that would feel more intuitive ("shoot the frozen enemy") and more powerful at all stages of the game, at the cost of some of her more passive power (namely, her perma-slow and her farm-happy gold generation passive), would make her feel stronger and more interactive.
Ideally, I'd also like to expand on the Frozen debuff and merge it with Anivia's version of it, which is the Chilled effect. There's already a visual effect to represent enemies whose movement is impaired by ice-related debuffs, and I think every form of ice-related CC should have an associated Chilled debuff, which could lead to crazy Freljordian synergy.
RANGE:825 / 75
COST: 20 / 30 / 40 / 50 / 60 mana
COOLDOWN: 8 / 7.5 / 7 / 6.5 / 6
Active:Ashe shoots a frozen arrow into the air that lands at the target location, rooting the enemy closest to its point of impact and dealing physical damage.
Having the ability equivalent of Frozen Mallet's passive is extremely strong on any marksman. However, perma-slow is also not healthy for good play: one hit means you not only greatly limit your opponent's options, particularly if they have no gapclosers, but also don't have to apply any additional skill to apply massive amounts of crowd control over time. It's also why Ashe has fallen out of favor: while she can effortlessly kite champions with no gapcloser, any enemy with a dash or blink can instantly close the distance and either dive her or escape. With the latter kind of mobility being much more common, Ashe can't really function as well as she could in teamfights. There's also the issue of overlap with her W: both apply a long-range slow with the exact same value, so she essentially has two tools to accomplish the exact same thing (slowing targets from a distance). On top of all this, the ability has no real positive use in the laning phase: most of the time, it'll be toggled off, but in the event that a trade does turn in Ashe's favor, she can easily snowball into a kill.
To address this, I'd suggest turning her permanent, low-strength slow into a skillshot root: though it wouldn't deal a lot of damage and would be fairly easy to dodge, its ability to fly over minions means Ashe could poke in lane at the opportune time to lock down her target for a Frozen proc. If she'd land it, she could get a lot more out of it than her perma-slow for a brief window of time, but at the same time she'd give her opponent far more opportunities to dodge the shot or react after being rooted. She'd get a lot more active power, at the cost of the ability's reliability and permanent effect.
COST: 60 mana
COOLDOWN: 16 / 13 / 10 / 7 / 4
Active:Ashe fires 7 arrows in a 57.5º cone, dealing physical damage to each target hit and slowing them by 「 5 + (2.5 × Ashe's level)% 」「 7.5 - 50 (based on level)% 」 for 1.5 seconds. Each arrow can only hit one enemy, and each enemy can only be hit by one arrow.
Volley is more or less fine as is. Its early cooldown is insane, but justifiably so, as the ability is pretty strong in lane. Its current problem is that it's Ashe's only high moment for levels 1-5, which can make for very boring early levels, which should be remedied by changing her Q to be more interactive. My only change here is to make the slow scale per level, rather than with ranks in Frost Shot (it no longer applies a perma-slow). The reason I didn't want the slow to scale with ranks in Volley was because it would be the equivalent of leveling Volley and her current Frost Shot at the same time, quickly ramping up to a very strong slow. I want Ashe's crowd control to be fairly minimal in lane, as CC can easily turn trades into kills, but I really want it to shine through in the late game. The slow is effectively way better at level 18, but it scales a little slower and has a slightly lower duration.
I dislike Hawkshot's current passive, because it encourages Ashe to hard farm and play passively early on, giving her even less incentive to interact with her opponents during the laning phase. I originally replaced it with what is now Bow of True Ice, but then decided to make that effect her proper passive, and instead give Hawkshot more versatility: right now, the ability's mainly used to for safety during the laning phase, and for scouting ahead after that. It's tremendously powerful to anyone who understands the importance of vision, but doesn't feel as strong to newcomers, for whom Ashe is usually one of the first marksmen they pick up. Even when it's used properly, the ability doesn't exactly have that much oomph ("Okay, we see them, what do we do now?"). Giving the active the ability to lay down a powerful slow from a huge distance would reinforce Ashe's theme as a long-range playmaker and allow her to set up fights much better. Hawkshot could also be used at close range to create zones of frozen ground, allowing Ashe to apply her passive multiple times in a row, as enemies would be continuously Frozen as long as they'd remain in the area. This would also give all of Ashe's abilities some form of crowd control, making her the definite queen (hah) of CC and utility among marksmen, and one of the most CC-centric champions in the game.
Ashe's ultimate is amazing at making awesome plays, and perfectly balances reliability and power. No changes here.
What do you think? While removing Ashe's perma-slow may not be appealing, I think all perma-slows will eventually be removed (one of the main reasons Skarner was reworked), including Ashe's. Do you think these changes are still true to Ashe, her theme and gameplay?