This is a tentative rework for Cassiopeia, the Serpent's Embrace. Despite being a fairly old champion, Cass only truly surged into prominence last year, when she was reworked for the Shurima event. The results were pretty mixed, to say the least: initially, the new Cassiopeia was catastrophically bad, and was horribly weak on top of still keeping some of her age-old bugs. It was clear her rework was rushed, and the community disliked the direction she had been taken in (E-spamming hypercarry, rather than a dedicated poison mage). After a flurry of buffs, fixes and occasional nerfs, she eventually became far more popular, both in normal and competitive play, than she had ever been before, but there is still a sizeable amount of dissatisfaction surrounding her: even though a lot of power got shifted towards her poisons, she's still mainly focused on her spammy E, and her new passive, while potentially interesting in developing her strength, is a massive bundle of stats that doesn't particularly relate to her theme. Even now, Riot Stashu is still considering modifying Cass to bring her closer to the community's desired poison mage fantasy.
In the end, though, while Stashu got a lot of hate for handling Cassiopeia's rework, he did improve her in a lot of ways: she has a better-defined power progression, more streamlined build options (she used to end up with a weird late-game conundrum where she was either too squishy or not dealing enough damage) and a tighter kit. Her E, which is widely disliked, always existed on her, and she is objectively more poison-focused than she was before. I feel there's a lot to Stashu's changes that significantly improved her, and I think there are also parts of her that could also be changed more integrally. The following is a pretty poison-centric take on Cass, where she still keeps her hypercarry power progression and basic kiting minigame, but also has a much more streamlined ability set, and a less cluttered ability order (that's more Ryze's thing):
Aspect of the Serpent
Cassiopeia generates a stack of Aspect of the Serpent once every 6 seconds (10 times per minute) and for every second that she poisons an enemy champion, up to a maximum of 600 stacks.
Additionally, Cassiopeia'sbasic attacks and abilitiespoison her targets, dealing 5 / 10 / 20 / 40(+ 4 / 5 / 7 / 10% AP) magic damage every second for 3 seconds, stacking up to 5 times.
I feel this would be the best way to combine Cass's current hyperscaling power curve with a centralized theme as a poison mage. Currently, one thing that bothers me is how Cassiopeia has multiple DoTs going around when they basically achieve the same purpose, which I think tends to muddy her power expression a fair bit. Because of this, I feel it would be a good idea to combine all of her poisons into one super-poison which would increase over time. I made the poison apply on basic attacks as well as abilities, as I'm removing Cassiopeia's spammy E, which means she'd need a way to reliably stack her poison. I feel her E is pretty redundant in this respect, since basic attacks are already super-good for a kiting/chasing paradigm. The end result is a passive that's strangely pretty similar to Darius'Hemorrhage, but which would encompass her poison mage theme in a much more unified manner.
RANGE:850 / 75
COST: 40 / 50 / 60 / 70 / 80 mana
Active:Cassiopeia hurls poison at the target area which strikes after a 0.4-second delay, dealing magic damage to all affected enemies.
My main issue with Noxious Blast is that it never really feels that strong on its own: even before Cass's rework, back when she was a lane bully, the ability didn't feel like it was dealing a ton of damage even when it was, due to how its damage was spread out as a DoT. To remedy this, I shifted the DoT to her passive and instead made this deal instant damage: Cass would still poison enemies over time with this, but the bulk of its damage would be front-loaded, allowing her to lay down satisfying spikes of damage each time. The advantage to this is that it would also allow Cass to poke enemies in lane satisfactorily, something the community has been asking for ever since her rework, though not to the same extent as before.
I removed the movement speed bonus here mainly because I'm shifting it to a different iteration on her W: I feel Noxious Blast's main function should be Cassiopeia's primary nuke, and I'm making Miasma a more generalized CC/utility spell, and the end result should give her similar amounts of kiting and chasing potential. I did, however, also reduce Q's cooldown to 3 seconds, down from 4, as she's not going to have as much innate CDR anymore.
RANGE:850 / 200
COST: 60 mana
COOLDOWN: 14 / 13 / 12 / 11 / 10
Active:Cassiopeia throws a cloud of venom at target location which slowly expands over 5 seconds, granting sight of the area. Enemies standing in Miasma are poisoned every second and slowed, and enemy champions also cause the cloud to expand much faster around them.
Movement Speed Modifier: 35 / 40 / 45 / 50 / 55%
Cassiopeia gains bonus movement speed while standing in Miasma, and also causes the poison to expand more rapidly around herself.
Miasma feels fairly underdeveloped on Cassiopeia: even before her rework, it mostly just served as a waveclear ability and an additional spell to dump on targets stunned with her ultimate, and her rework did nothing to truly flesh it out. This is a bit of an extreme makeover, but the intent is to expand this ability's role as Cassiopeia's primary source of crowd control, while also allowing her to both chase enemies into fights more easily and set up zones of power and control (standing in Miasma would be the equivalent of standing in the fire in any video game, and would play very much like the Defile ability in World of Warcraft). I removed the ability's damage and instead fused it with Cass's innate poison, as I feel it would make more sense, and the result would be a more spread-out damage progression, though one that would ultimately far surpass Miasma's current damage when used in conjunction with her other abilities. I also shifted Noxious Blast's bonus movement speed to here, as I feel it would put greater emphasis on this spell as part of Cass's ability to trail enemies, and further discourage her from just dumping it onto enemies.
In addition to these pretty drastic changes, I stabilized the mana cost to 60 at all ranks (the ability doesn't scale in any way other than utility, so there's no need to give it an increasing mana cost), and reduced its duration to 5 seconds, down from 7. With enough CDR, Cassiopeia can lay down multiple overlapping Miasmas, and I don't think that does much good in the way of clarity or power concentration.
COST: 50 / 60 / 70 / 80 / 90 mana
Active:Cassiopeiadashes towards the target enemy, biting them, and quickly retracts to her original location, factoring in intermediary movement. The bite deals magic damage to her target, increased by 20% for every stack of her poison they were afflicted with upon being bitten.
If Treacherous Bite kills its target, it is placed on a 0.5-second static cooldown, healsCassiopeia and refunds its mana cost (+ 1.5% maximum mana). The heal and percentage mana refund are multiplied by 10 if Treacherous Bite kills an enemy champion.
This is probably the biggest change I want to implement on Cassiopeia's kit. I am not at all a fan of her current E, which makes no thematic sense (why is she flinging her teeth at people?) and carries little genuinely interesting gameplay, even with a host of conditionals tacked onto it (you basically just spam it non-stop once you get the poison trail rolling). More often than not, failing to reset Twin Fang's cooldown comes from unfortunate timing or simply poor poison recognition on the game's side, which is why Riot had to dig through a whole lot of issues affecting Cass's E reset following her rework.
As a replacement, I figured this ability would work better as a kind of execute. I kept its last-hitting potential, which would allow Cass to farm decently, as well as its on-kill refund, but also made its power stem from Cass's poison, instead of making it central to her poison damage: the ability would no longer be spammable, but it would turn into a tremendously strong nuke given enough time, and its on-kill heal would allow Cass to get a second wind when trailing enemies in fights. As I phrased the ability, it's technically a dash, since Cassiopeia would literally extend herself to bite her target before retracting to the position she'd be while moving: this is intentional, since I feel every last hit or poke with this should entail some level of risk, and in fights Cass should also put herself at increased moments of risk when trying to finish off her target. If she were to get caught by a root, stun or other effect, she'd therefore stay at the location she had been dashing to, and not her original position.
RANGE:825 / 80°
COST: 100 mana
COOLDOWN: 120 / 110 / 100
Active: After a brief delay, Cassiopeia blasts all enemies in a cone in front of her with her gaze, dealing them magic damage and briefly slowing them by 50%. Enemies directly facing her are stunned for the same duration instead.
No significant changes here. I upped the ability's AP ratio, since 50% AP isn't too strong without a 30% innate AP bonus, and I made the stun/slow duration start out lower and scale up. Cass would still hyperscale into the late game without needing these kinds of changes, but I decided to have her CC scale here because I don't want her locking targets down for too long early on.
What do you think of this? What are your thoughts on Cassiopeia, both before and after her rework? What do you think is her identity? Does she fully capture that on live, and do the above changes bring her closer to the gameplay fantasy you'd want to achieve with her?