This is a tentative rework for Cassiopeia, the Serpent's Embrace. After having remained mostly untouched for years, her rework during the Shurima update sent her down a rocky road of reworks. Her initial update mostly aimed at defining her hypercarry power curve, but shifted a lot of power towards her Twin Fang, while failing to address its gameplay issues. Her second update in V6.9 improved her even further, though, and made her play much more consistently, but still left her in a middling state between a DoT mage and a not-quite-poison mage.
At the core of Cassiopeia's issues is a fair amount of redundancy: her Q applies a DoT, her W applies a DoT, and her E applies a lot of DPS, and on top of that both her Q and E are fairly spammable. All of these inputs don't really add up to as much depth as they should, and create a lot of unnecessarily difficulty and dependency on good ping to succeed. The changes below aim to fix that while reconciling her themes, giving her more unified sources of damage while also letting her play a bit more with her different poisons. Cassiopeia would still have a lot to do from moment to moment, but she'd also get to make more impactful decisions along the way during fights.
Aspect of the Serpent
Innate:Cassiopeia's abilities poison affected enemies for 3 seconds, dealing 「 3.5 - 12 (based on level)(+ 2.5% AP) magic damage every 0.25 seconds 」「 42 - 144 (based on level)(+ 30% AP) magic damage 」 over the duration and stacking infinitely with further applications.
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.
Because I'm removing Cass's current passive, I also changed her base movement speed to a constant 340. I also slightly changed her kiting, moving away from pure movement speed bonuses and instead towards moderately restricted dashes dependent on her attack range, which is why I reduced it to 450 from 550.
Cassiopeia's next basic attack against enemies afflicted with Devouring Poison can strike from any range, causes her to dash to her target and retract back to her attack range, and heals her, consuming the effect.
Cass's kit feels a bit redundant when you consider that she has two spammable, low-cooldown nukes at her disposal. The resulting combination often makes for very messy button-mashing, without any real gameplay being added by piling one spam effect on top of the other. Here I more or less combined the effects of both, with Q remaining Cass's main poison applicator, while also encouraging her to blend autoattacks in-between spells. Since she's already fairly marksman-like, this would achieve a similar effect without having to resort to an extra ability.
COST: 60 mana
COOLDOWN: 19 / 18 / 17 / 16 / 15
Active:Cassiopeia spits forth eight bolts of venom in an arc, leaving toxic clouds where they hit the ground for 5 seconds, which ground enemies within and afflict them with Debilitating Poison for 3 seconds.
No major changes here, I removed the minimum range, as I don't think it would be entirely relevant here, moved the damage to Cass's passive, and switched around her poisons to have the slow persist outside of the area, but otherwise this ability still serves pretty much the same function.
COST: 70 mana
Active:Cassiopeia envenoms the target poisoned enemy based on the poisons they are afflicted with:
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).
As a replacement, I figured this ability would work better as a kind of situational empowerment to her other abilities. The ability's damage is there mainly for her to last-hit with a bit more consistency, as well as synergize with poisons other than her own, and the crowd control is there to aid her in duels. Though it would be relatively easy to envenom a single ability, envenoming both would require more follow-up, though it would also reward Cassiopeia with more disabling power.
COST: 100 mana
COOLDOWN: 100 / 90 / 80
Active: After a brief delay, Cassiopeia blasts the target cone with her gaze, stunning all enemies in range directly facing her.
I removed the ability's damage and slow mainly to put emphasis on her identity as a DPS mage, as well as establish clearer success and failure cases for her opponents (success = turn away, nothing happens, failure = get stunned). In exchange, though, I increased the stun's duration at later ranks, and reduced the ability's cooldown.
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?