(Note: This post is obsolete after Poppy's complete relaunch in V5.24. I still think the ideas below have some value as a potential different direction that could have been taken for her, though her official overhaul is by far the better one.)
This is a tentative rework for Poppy, the Iron Ambassador. Poppy has a lot of problems holding her back right now: her kit is super-old and clunky, and her passive and ultimate are among the most toxic abilities in the game. Were she to get any buffs (to her mana, for example, which is abysmally low), she'd have such a negative impact on the game that she'd have to be nerfed to unviability again. For a champion with such a rich lore and unique identity (She's a talented blacksmith and an ambassador), her appearance and skillset are woefully underdeveloped, as most of her abilities don't really tap into her character ("Valiant Fighter" and "Paragon of Demacia" can describe any Demacian, not just Poppy). Overall, she needs a bit of a redo.
The general idea of what I want to have with Poppy is that she's made to charge into the enemy team, lay down the smack, and exit cleanly (perhaps even unscathed) once she's done. To do this, a lot of her moveset here relies on her trusty hammer, Whomper, and her perks as an ambassador, which should allow her to feel super smashy and intimidating, even invincible, as she goes into the thick of a fight. However, unlike current Poppy, who derives most of her strength from invisible power (i.e. free stats, hard-to-see or understand defenses), as well as a general lack of counterplay, I want Poppy's power to be extremely visible (namely, focused around her giant hammer) and to present tons of options for clear and meaningful interaction at every step.
Poppy's current passive is one of the strongest in the game, not just because it allows her to ignore a ton of damage, but also because it's so complicated as to be confusing to her opponents, who find themselves dealing piddly damage upon hitting her with massive burst but normal damage with basic attacks. With this new version, Poppy still has one of the strongest passives in the game, except instead of getting tons of invisible defenses, Poppy instead gets a clear window of immunity, which to her gives her a few seconds to go nuts, and to her enemies signals that they need to get away from her. Despite being immune to damage, Poppy is not immune to crowd control, and so can still be locked down while she's invulnerable. She also needs to already be in the thick of a fight to access her immunity, which should be a signal for her opponents to kite her or focus her down (she has no free defenses, this time). For those who might be puzzled at my selection of critical strike, the idea is that Poppy would have to land three consecutive basic attacks or abilities against the same target, which in another blog post I established as the baseline for a mechanic that could replace the current iteration of crit.
With this new kit, I wanted to keep Poppy's AD and AP builds, along with her position as both a jungler and a top laner. Though the focus of AP Poppy would be the same (completely combo-centric, but can burst down anyone), AD Poppy would be more focused on using her abilities for their utility and crowd control. Ultimately, this means going for a full damage build would put full AD Poppy at a lot more risk, particularly in teamfights, but could potentially allow her to benefit her team a lot more. A slightly safer build would involve building Poppy like a bruiser, which would prevent her from getting bursted down outside of her immunity and allow her to use both her utility and her passive more frequently.
Aside from that, I also wanted to change some of Poppy's stats a bit: both her mana and mana regen, which are both horrible, need a serious buff, and overall her mana costs need to let her breathe a little in the early game (she should still run out of mana, but not so quickly). I also reduced her armor per level a bit, but gave her Magic Resist per level, which she's currently missing, as I think the kit I'm giving her makes her suitably vulnerable to spells when in combat, and situationally tough enough to soak up a lot of damage in extended fights.
COST: 40 Mana
COOLDOWN: 8 / 7 / 6 / 5 / 4
Active:Poppy's next basic attack deals bonus physical damage.
Bonus Physical Damage:20 / 40 / 60 / 80 / 100% AD
If Poppy's target is stunned, Devastating Blow deals additional magic damage, capped at 300 against monsters.
Bonus Magic Damage: 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12% (+ 3% per 100 AP)of target's maximum health
Poppy's current Q is simple, yet effective, so initially it might not seem necessary to change. The main reason I did, though, is to better separate Poppy's AD and AP builds while rewarding both in their own way: AD Poppy's losing all of her AD, damage and armor steroids here, so instead she gets to scale better with AD on her primary damage ability. The ability's base damage, however, is still a bit lower, as I moved a lot of AD Poppy's power around (she gets better mobility and utility). However, if she lands her stun combo, her bread-and-butter damage ability turns into a massive single-target nuke, which should give her faster clear but also give her situational yet powerful burst. As AP Poppy, landing this bonus damage is especially important, as it allows you to burst down even tanky targets and constitutes a major part of your combo.
Overall, the big tradeoff here compared to Poppy's current Q is useability (its mana cost is significantly lower) versus more situational power: it's not an instant-kill button every time it gets used, but in the right situation its damage becomes even scarier than on live. I set the condition here to stunned targets rather than just targets stunned specifically by Poppy's combo, because I think she could have opportunities to interact with her teammates and pick off CCed teammates while in the fray (full AP Poppy is meant to be an assassin, and assassins are generally opportunistic), in a manner similar to Yasuo with displacement. Since AP Poppy also loses most of her damage if she fails her combo, a more general condition would allow her allies to help her deal more damage in fights and make her slightly less situational (though still very much so). Thematically, I also think this would fit, as dazed targets should make for better smashing :P.
RANGE:1400 / 600
COST: 70 Mana
COOLDOWN: 14 / 13 / 12 / 11 / 10
ActivePoppy throws down her trusty hammer, Whomper, towards the target area, dealing magic damage to all enemies it passes through and knocking them aside. Towards the end of its path, Whomper will bury itself in the ground and grind to a halt throughout a fixed distance, slowing enemies it hits by 50% for 1 second instead. Afterwards, it will remain in the ground for up to 4 seconds and form impassable terrain. Whomper always travels at least the fixed distance.
While Whomper is in the ground, Diplomatic Immunity and all of Poppy'sabilities, with the exception of Heroic Charge, are disabled. Whomper will return to Poppy if she comes into contact with it or upon disappearing.
Since I'm removing Poppy's current ult (mostly), along with her stealth-tank passive, Poppy needs a way to breach the enemy lines if she wants to rush into that sweet, sweet back line. Another common complaint is that her stun, while potentially full of awesome gameplay, is far too unreliable: while I'm trying to solve that through a more efficient movespeed boost as well (see E), I want Poppy to have a realistic opportunity to use her stun in teamfights, and not just for random jungle skirmishes. A tool like this would also give Poppy better pre-6 ganks, as her current playstyle consists of hard farming until she gets damage items.
However, the big tradeoff to an ability like this is that it forces Poppy to commit: throwing down her hammer deprives her of nearly the entirety of her kit, which forces her to either attempt a combo, which puts her at risk, or sit back and wait until she can reequip her hammer, which leaves her vulnerable (she can't fight). Poppy's not a passive champion by nature, and even though this gives her a certain amount of farming and harass, it's harass she needs to follow through with, lest she risk incurring losses even bigger than her gains.
RANGE:425 / 300
COST: 50 / 55 / 60 / 65 / 70 Mana
COOLDOWN: 12 / 11 / 10 / 9 / 8
Active:Poppy gains 100% increased movement speed, decaying rapidly to a lower amount over 1 second and persisting for another 2 seconds.
Movement Speed: 30 / 35 / 40 / 45 / 50%
While the bonus movement speed persists, Poppy's next basic attack gains range, deals bonus magic damage and will make her dash to her target, carrying them along with her.
This ability is effectively Heroic Charge and a bit of Paragon of Demacia mushed together. Poppy's current Heroic Charge is, despite complaints, actually a pretty well-designed ability, and offers both plenty of opportunities for Poppy to land some situational damage and CC, and plenty of counterplay for her targets. The only issue, though, is that Poppy's current kit doesn't give her the tools to position herself properly, which means she'll usually be using her E to carry herself along with her opponent, instead of trying to pin them to a wall. By allowing Poppy to deploy terrain with her W, and by repurposing her 5-second movespeed steroid to work as a much more intense, yet shorter-lived boost, she should have a lot more opportunities to lay down her stun. The tradeoff to this, aside from the shorter bonus movespeed duration, is that she no longer deals magic damage at the start, and instead has to rely on terrain collision to deal this ability's full damage. She does, however, get to land in a basic attack right as she charges, so this allows AD Poppy to still land some reliable damage, while AP Poppy's damage is potentially a lot higher, but also a lot more situational.
COST: 100 Mana
COOLDOWN: 140 / 120 / 100
Active: After channeling for 1.5 seconds, Poppy brings Whomper down, dealing magic damage to all enemies around her and declaring a ceasefire upon the affected ground, pacifying all enemies and enemy turrets within.
This is where I really wanted Poppy's ambassador side to shine. Poppy needs a new ult, and while I more or less condensed the basics of Poppy's main combo across her passive and basic abilities, I wanted to give her an ability that could both allow her a clean escape and provide potentially incredible initiation. There's heavy risk involved in using this ult (you need to channel for the full duration in the middle of the enemy team), but at the same time it could open up spectacular plays during teamfights, and allow Poppy to make a unique contribution to her team besides killing the enemy carry with near-impunity.
While this looks a long ways off her current ultimate, I think she needs a new one entirely, as Diplomatic Immunity currently has very little counterplay or actual gameplay. I did want to try and keep the feeling of invulnerability, though, which is why I wanted Poppy's ult to pacify enemies, rather than make their attacks useless against her. This is, admittedly, a massive amount of crowd control, particularly on a champion who (I intend) can be played as an assassin, but I think Ceasefire has sufficient risks (a long, mid-fight channel), costs (a super-high cooldown) and counterplay (the channel can be broken with hard CC, even when Poppy's immune to damage through her passive, she can be bursted down easily when not immune, and failing that she telegraphs her ult for long enough for anyone to walk out of the affected 750-radius area) to justify its power.
Comments and criticism are greatly appreciated! What do you think of these changes? How would you feel playing with this kit? How would you feel playing against this kit? Are these abilities true to Poppy's character? Is there something about her that I missed, or didn't handle well?
Also, for those who are seeing this article for the first time and are confused by the comments below: the above is actually my second idea for a Poppy redo. The first was basically me trying to clean up her stats and passive/ult, and the result was a fairly uninspired kit that failed to address her issues (namely, invisible power) or add to her gameplay (you can check the old kit through this post's history). Hopefully, this version addresses her issues better, but also provides a kit with genuinely fun and original gameplay of its own. Did it work? You tell me!