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(Item Concept) A New Kind of Crit

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Critical strikes have been a contentious mechanic in League of Legends since pretty early on: in a game defined by its competitive scene and player-focused gameplay, having a mechanic that is both core to the power of an entire class of champions (namely, marksmen) and completely random (or pseudo-random, anyways) feels out of place. Crit has a lot of issues: it's heavily unstable in small amounts, undesirable unless stacked in large amounts, which creates itemization islands (i.e. some items work only on one class of champions, even though the stats and effects could easily be desirable on other classes), and can determine the outcome of trades, fights and even entire phases of the game (or the game itself) based on what is essentially a virtual coin flip. This is particularly visible in cases like 1% crit rune pages and Tryndamere Tryndamere, who both rely on cheesing lane opponents early on with lucky critical strikes. Many players have called for its removal, and many others have proposed changes to the system in order to make it more reliable, though not without problems: a popular suggestion (which I used to support) was to turn crit into a percentage autoattack damage amplifier, where 1% crit meant you dealt 1% more damage on every basic attack, but that would just make crit completely flat as a mechanic, and wouldn't really add any interesting gameplay. I feel like any rework to crit needs to keep the explosive bursts of power it provides, but also add gameplay and fairness to the mechanic. In view of this, I think there's already a common mechanic out there that could provide all of that, and that's the three-strike mechanic as popularized by Gypsylord.

Players familiar with champions like Gnar Gnar, Vi Vi and Ekko Ekko will know what I'm talking about: basically, all of these champions get to deal bonus damage every time they land three basic attacks or abilities on their targets, plus some additional effects. Three-strike mechanics are common on an even larger scale, too, and have existed for a long time on champions like Vayne Vayne and Diana Diana. Because this kind of mechanic provides explosive damage over extended trades and fights (which is the purpose of crit), I think this would work well as a new model for critical strikes.

Critical Strike

  • Reworked: All champion basic attacks and abilities capable of affecting enemies now apply a critical strike mark on enemies hit, lasting up to 3.5 seconds and stacking up to 3 times. The third mark causes the strike that applied it to be a critical strike, which consumes all critical strike marks on the target.
    • Critical strikes initially have no additional benefit or damage, but can be modified by champion abilities and items.
    • Basic attacks that trigger a critical strike will always use the champion's critical strike animation.
    • Critical strike marks only become visible once they carry an on-crit effect. This basically means you'd have to have an innate on-crit effect or a critical strike item to make critical strike marks appear. The main purpose of this would be to reduce visual clutter, so that not everyone would start out applying marks to everything they hit.
    • Abilities only apply one mark every time they deal damage. Not sure how this would pan out for DoTs like Crowstorm.png Crowstorm or Malefic Visions.png Malefic Visions, or minions like H-28G Evolution Turret.png H-28G Evolution Turret or Summon Voidling.png Summon Voidling, but I feel this would be worth implementing as such for the sake of consistency (perhaps AD Malzahar Malzahar might even become more legitimate as a result). I think pets in general need to be looked at in greater depth, particularly since a great deal many of them (including Malz's Voidlings) are heavily underused in the kits they belong to.

Items

  • Brawler's Gloves item.png Brawler's Gloves reworked: critical strikes deal 25% AD bonus physical damage.
  • Cloak of Agility item.png Cloak of Agility removed.
  • Items with critical strike chance reworked accordingly.
  • Randuin's Omen item.png Randuin's Omen no longer reduces damage from critical hits. Randuin's Omen has always been an item that got picked by default on tanky champions, due to how well it works against marksmen, and the recent addition of reduced crit damage in favor of less raw stats emphasized that niche. However, while it could still be possible to mitigate crits in this system, a passive like that might become too general once more. Rather than specifically having it make marksmen less powerful or give it back its raw stats, I think it might be worth giving it a more powerful active and perhaps even cooldown reduction, which is better explained here.

Runes

  • Critical strike chance and damage runes removed. I'm personally not a fan of runes, and it might be a better idea to remove them entirely, the reason being that they offer mostly unseen and uninteresting power with very little variation, but here removing these specific runes would be more directly justified. Even just in the framework of crit, I'm not a fan of crit chance runes, due to their instability, or crit damage runes, which are far too unreliable and dependent on an already situational stat (i.e. crit) to work.

Notes

As you may have figured out by now, I'm not a fan of random critical chance. In most games where it's implemented, League included, it's a relic from tabletop RPGs, which needed random critical strikes to spice up what would otherwise be an extremely predictable experience, and it also often serves as a kind of padding, presenting an illusion of gameplay when there is none. However, videogames are far more complex, and can simulate far more varied gameplay without always having to resort to randomness, diminishing the value of random crit as an interesting gameplay mechanic. In this game's case, crit is fun in the sense that it can provide bursts of explosive power to a class that would otherwise have a very flat power expression (i.e. marksmen, who are often completely DPS-oriented), but it's not really a mechanic in the sense that it requires player input. By contrast, Gypsylord's three-strike system succeeds in adding gameplay and explosive power to a mechanic inherently dependent on DPS, and because of this I think it would be perfectly suited as a replacement for crit, which would also allow for a unification of all three-strike effects.

The premise to this new version is that all champions would be able to critically strike right from the start, with the caveat that the only bonus this would provide on its own would be activating champions' crit animations. However, you'd be able to modify critical strikes, whether it be via your champion's own innate abilities or with items, such as with the reworked Brawler's Gloves item.png Brawler's Gloves to the right, for example. The effect looks pretty strong, but that's effectively the same amount of power you'd get from the current item, except concentrated and made more reliable. If you'd be looking to trade or harass targets, that might become a legitimate starting item. Obviously, since I'm reworking crit, that means I'm also reworking crit items, and in this post I've only touched existing crit items, but one of the advantages to this new system is that it could potentially allow for AP crit itemization, something that would currently be completely unthinkable. Another important thing to keep in mind here is that this crit system would account for damaging abilities as well as basic attacks, so chaining spells and autoattacks would be crucial here.

Changes

  • Now common to all maps.
  • Critical strike chance removed.
  • Reworked passive: critical strikes deal 25% AD bonus physical damage, plus 25% bonus AD additional physical damage over 3 seconds.

Notes

With the changes I'm proposing to crit itemization, I think it would be worth incorporating Wicked Hatchet item.png Wicked Hatchet into Summoner's Rift's itemization: the item was originally designed to make crit items easier to purchase on faster-paced maps, but here I feel it would work well as a mid-tier item to lead to some of the more expensive AD crit purchases, especially Infinity Edge item.png Infinity Edge, which would still have a huge recipe cost even with this.

Changes

  • New recipe: B. F. Sword item.png B. F. Sword + Wicked Hatchet item.png Wicked Hatchet + 1100 Gold (total cost unchanged).
  • Critical strike chance removed.
  • Unique passive removed.
  • New passive: critical strikes deal 50% AD bonus physical damage and require one less mark to activate.

Notes

I'm not a terribly big fan of Infinity Edge item.png Infinity Edge in its current state: despite being central to marksman itemization, it's just a stat stick that doesn't add any kind of new gameplay. Here, I feel like it would be best to change it so that it would still remain the top-tier crit-boosting item, but also so that its power would engineer new gameplay, namely by having crits apply on every other strike, rather than every third strike. This would boost critical strike power by 50%, but in a manner that isn't just a stat increase, and could potentially allow many more champions to buy this and enhance their own innate on-crit effects.

Changes

  • New recipe: Wicked Hatchet item.png Wicked Hatchet + Wicked Hatchet item.png Wicked Hatchet + Caulfield's Warhammer item.png Caulfield's Warhammer + 300 Gold.
    • Total cost increased to 3800 Gold from 3600 Gold.
  • Cooldown reduction is no longer unique.
  • Critical strike chance removed.
  • Unique passives removed.
  • New unique passive: critical strikes deal 100% AD bonus physical damage and permanently grant 1% cooldown reduction when critically striking champions, stacking up to 10 times.
    • Maximum cooldown reduction given by this item reduced to 20% from 30%.

Notes

A completely new player to the post-V5.22 scene, Essence Reaver item.png Essence Reaver's changed completely in theme and role, transitioning from a mediocre caster sustain item to a dedicated caster marksman item. This was an excellent change, and the item has become deservedly popular, though it does nonetheless have a few issues: bar the main problem of the item being too strong overall, the 30% CDR it offers alone is stifling, as it not only crowds out more organic CDR builds, which the addition of Caulfield's Warhammer item.png Caulfield's Warhammer has made a lot more possible, but also flat-out makes The Black Cleaver item.png The Black Cleaver impossible to buy efficiently. I think the solution should be to reduce this item's CDR a fair bit, and instead give it more crit power, which would already synergize a lot better with spells in this system. Since crit chance would no longer exist, it would be worth adding some other kind of gameplay to the additional CDR gain, especially since stat-to-stat conversions tend to be fairly lazy and boring design.

A more minor change is the removal of the mana restoration: I don't like the current state of mana, and in my opinion a large part of the issue comes from mana itemization, whose very existence tends to make innate mana gates harsher than they should be. This is likely food for another blog post, but I feel mana should be changed into a very different system and removed from itemization entirely, so that it could be better implemented on every champion.

Changes

  • New recipe: Caulfield's Warhammer item.png Caulfield's Warhammer + Wicked Hatchet item.png Wicked Hatchet + 900g (total cost unchanged).
  • Armor penetration removed.
  • New unique passive: critical strikes deal 50% AD bonus physical damage and reduce the cooldown of the item's active by 1 second.
  • Reworked active: grants 100% bonus movement speed for 2 seconds. 60 second cooldown.

Notes

While this section was mainly directed towards Youmuu's Ghostblade item.png Youmuu's Ghostblade prior to its rework in V5.22, back wen it had a lot of diluted stats, including crit, I think crit in this version might still be worth keeping on the item, at least with respect to the armor penetration. I'm not a fan of flat armor penetration, since it becomes expressly weaker as games progress and could easily be replaced by more flat damage, and so it would make sense to remove it and replace it with another source of damage, which would still appeal to squishy-bursters, including AD assassins.

Along with this, I feel it might be a good idea to concentrate the active as well: typically, Youmuu's active is used for a quick burst of movement speed in order to reposition, which makes the 6-second duration and attack speed bonus not as useful as they could be. Making the movement speed bonus significantly stronger, but also shorter and lacking in bonus attack speed, would make this item's success cases a lot clearer (e.g. "I just put myself into the perfect position" or "I evaded an opponent at just the right time"), while also potentially opening up new avenues: for example, Youmuu's might become a popular item for splitpushers, who would be able to get themselves out of stickier situations with the new active, as well as ready it up by clearing waves, but it could also be a popular item for extremely low-mobility champions, who would be able to use this as a pseudo-dash for crucial repositioning. In any case, the item's stats would keep it popular on caster marksmen and damage-oriented fighters, and its more concentrated stats and effects would reinforce its niche power.

Changes

  • New recipe: Wicked Hatchet item.png Wicked Hatchet + Wicked Hatchet item.png Wicked Hatchet + Pickaxe item.png Pickaxe + 325 Gold (total cost unchanged).
  • Critical strike chance removed.
  • Reworked unique passive: critical strikes also deal 75% AD bonus physical damage.

Notes

This is pretty much the logical outcome to changing all crit items. I'm not entirely familiar with itemization outside of Summoner's Rift, so I can't make an informed value judgment on Lord Van Damm's Pillager item.png Lord Van Damm's Pillager and its bleed/reveal effect, but my opinion is that it's fairly interesting in that it allows marksmen to scale better in the mid-game and maintain sticking power in the absence of trinkets, though the bleed also looks like it falls off later on, when crits become more frequent. Perhaps it would be worth having the bleed duration scale inversely with attack speed, so that enemies would bleed for more damage later on, though that would be a strict buff to the item, one I'm not sure is worth making considering my limited knowledge of its current balance.

Changes

  • New recipe: Wicked Hatchet item.png Wicked Hatchet + Wicked Hatchet item.png Wicked Hatchet + 300 Gold.
  • Total cost increased to 2700 Gold from 2350 Gold.
  • Attack damage increased to 40 from 30.
  • Critical strike chance removed.
  • Reworked unique passive (critical vision): critical strikes also deal 75% AD bonus physical damage.
  • Trap detection passive removed (I'm proposing to change the way stealth and sight works, see here for a more in-depth explanation).
  • Reworked active: fire an arrow that critically strikes all enemies and grants Sight icon sight of the area for 5 seconds. 800 range and 60-second cooldown.

Notes

As with Lord Van Damm's Pillager item.png Lord Van Damm's Pillager, I'm not too familiar with The Lightbringer item.png The Lightbringer's exact balance, though several of its aspects (namely, trap detection) correspond to another blog post I made regarding changes to vision. The basic idea is that I want to remove true sight and make stealth detection more dependent on proper gameplay, rather than item-based counters, which is why I want to remove the trap detection passive and true sight on the active here. To compensate, though, I changed the active a little to synergize with its crit and attack damage. As with Pillager, I'm not entirely a fan of the bleed sort of falling off at high amounts of attack speed, but I guess that's a quirk of secondary map itemization I should look into in greater depth.

Changes

  • Critical strike chance removed.
  • Movement speed removed.
  • New passive: critical strikes deal 30% AD bonus physical damage and grant 5% bonus movement speed for 3 seconds.

Notes

One of the sub-goals of this crit rework is to streamline crit itemization, mainly by removing Cloak of Agility item.png Cloak of Agility, which isn't particularly interesting (it's not something you'd want to purchase for its own sake), as well as Avarice Blade item.png Avarice Blade, a problematic item due to how its gold generation just disappears at higher levels, and also by adding Wicked Hatchet item.png Wicked Hatchet into the common roster as an AD + Crit item. To differentiate between Zeal and Hatchet, I fiddled with Zeal's passive a little to have it provide its movement speed on-crit. The item would be nice on any champion who likes attack speed, and wouldn't entirely be a ball of stats.

Changes

  • New recipe: Zeal item.png Zeal + Zeal item.png Zeal + Brawler's Gloves item.png Brawler's Gloves + 200 Gold.
  • Total cost increased to 3000 Gold from 2700 Gold.
  • Critical strike chance removed.
  • Unit collision removal and Lament removed.
  • New unique passive: critical strikes deal 75% AD bonus physical damage and grant 10% bonus attack speed and 10% bonus attack speed for 3 seconds. The bonus attack speed stacks up to 3 times.

Notes

Up until 5.22, Phantom Dancer item.png Phantom Dancer has struggled to find an identity of its own for a very long time, especially since the addition of Statikk Shiv item.png Statikk Shiv, which has been a far more interesting item. Come Preseason 6, though, PD finally got the fleshing out it deserved, with an emphasis on dueling and dancing around targets. I'm not a fan of unit collision or its specific removal, and so want to remove it on anything that's not an enemy champion or epic monster, including here, and I think Lament's damage reduction passive might not be the best way to express the item's fantasy as well movement speed, which would allow for true dancing around targets. Consequently, I think the above ramping attack and movement speed would better flesh out the item's niche as a single target-focused attack speed and crit item.

Changes

  • Critical strike chance removed.
  • New passive: critical strikes deal 50% AD bonus physical damage.
  • Unique passive:
    • Base damage removed.
    • Lightning instead critically strikes all targets it hits, applying all of the wielder's on-crit effects.

Notes

I really like Statikk Shiv item.png Statikk Shiv overall. It has a nice amount of power attached to it, but more importantly the item feels powerful, as its lightning effect is really cool. Compared to pre-V5.22 Phantom Dancer item.png Phantom Dancer, which objectively had more stats and better late-game scaling but still felt boring, Shiv is in my opinion a great model for a well-designed crit item, with tons of internal synergy (all of its stats feed into its passive). The only thing I dislike on it is its dependence on randomness, which is inevitable considering its reliance on crit, and since its existing passive would no longer work (there would be no such thing as crit chance or critical damage), I feel a passive that would maintain that crit synergy would work best. Itemization-wise, the effect would still scale with other crit effects (and more reliably so, too), but the item would also scale with attack damage and innate on-crit effects to provide potentially more up-front damage, at a cost in power over the course of fights (you'd get to crit earlier on some occasions, but you'd no longer be able to deal additional magic damage). This would make it a much better fit for bursty champions (e.g. Graves Graves), as well as champions looking for stronger poke or AoE/waveclear, while maintaining a clear distinction between PD, which would be far more potent in prolonged duels.

Changes

  • Attack speed increased to 35% from 30%.
  • Movement speed removed.
  • Critical strike chance removed.
  • New passive: critical strikes deal 75% AD bonus physical damage and grant a decaying 15% bonus movement speed over 3 seconds.
  • Unique passive:
    • Base damage removed.
    • Now critically strikes the target, with the strike still being able to affect turrets.

Notes

Rapid Firecannon item.png Rapid Firecannon is the newcomer to this crit line, and came a while after this post was made as it was released in V5.22. The item is really nice overall, but a bit too similar to Statikk Shiv item.png Statikk Shiv: while it's good that both items have similar stats and build paths, since the choice between them should revolve around overall strategy and not so much stat optimization, there could still be ways to create more separation between the two. In this case, whereas Shiv would grant more roaming and clearing power, Firecannon would become even better at sieging by offering a stronger, though more situational movement speed boost, one better-suited for kiting enemies than, say Phantom Dancer item.png Phantom Dancer's sustained dueling mobility. Firecannon would also express better single-target damage overall via its energized effect, which would be a little better than Shiv's and allow for more distinguished poking.

Changes

  • Combine cost increased to 150 Gold from 300 Gold.
  • Total cost reduced to 3000g from 3800g.
  • Stats changed (see here for a better explanation).
  • New passive: critical strikes deal 100% AD bonus physical damage and grant 10% bonus movement speed.

Notes

While Trinity Force is not a particularly problematic item, its host of stats in tiny amounts, plus its status as a hybrid item, mean its power is never going to feel fully optimal on anyone but a select few champion. With these changes, Triforce would still remain a good pick on any AD champion who heavily incorporates spells into combat, though it would also allow spammier marksmen to potentially pick it as a replacement to Infinity Edge item.png Infinity Edge, forgoing heavy AD and DPS-based crit synergy for more on-demand crits in small bursts and a slew of other extremely useful passives (Vayne Vayne would love this new Triforce, for example). In the end, though, Triforce would still remain an item with a ton of good stats and other effects, though its bonuses would synergize even more with each other and consolidate its niche as the ultimate AD spell-weaving item.

Considering how crit is a currently core stat to a great deal many champions, as well as a mechanic present on some kits (including on older kits, which include "critical strikes" in a manner that has very little to do with even the existing implementation of crit), reworking crit would also imply adjusting the kit of those champions. Conversely, there are a great deal many champions whose mechanics map on perfectly to this new form of crit (Gypsylord's champions, in particular), and so who would likely benefit from becoming part of a unified system:

  • Ashe Ashe:
    • Frost Shot.png Frost Shot no longer deals modified critical damage. I feel like this mechanic only exists so that Ashe can't randomly burst enemies at the start of a fight, when she can stun targets and prevent them from fighting back. With this new system, though, there would be no such thing as random crits, so her damage output would be far more controlled.
    • Ranger's Focus.png Ranger's Focus:
      • No longer increases Ashe's attack speed.
      • Arrows fired reduced to 3 from 5.
      • Damage per arrow increased to 38 / 41 / 44 / 47 / 50% AD from 23 / 24 / 25 / 26 / 27% AD.
        • Total flurry damage changed to 114 / 123 / 132 / 141 / 150% AD from 115 / 120 / 125 / 130 / 135% AD While the crit rework in V5.22 worked wonders in further reinforcing Ashe's niche as a CC carry and tightening her Q steroid, I think it could be simplified even further, and it probably should in view of a system like this, which would effectively allow Ashe to crit on every basic attack for a few seconds. Perhaps it would be better to special-case Ashe's Q and balance her in another way, but a change like this could be interesting to see in action.
  • Ekko Ekko's Z-Drive Resonance.png Z-Drive Resonance now applies on critical strikes, with a 3-second static per-target cooldown. Since this is a Gypsylord champion, there would be pretty much 100% overlap between this mechanic and the proposed three-strike model of crit here. I feel having an AP champion rely on crit is both weird and interesting, and this looks like one more reason to investigate possible AP crit itemization within this framework.
  • Fiora Fiora's Bladework.png Bladework no longer modifies crit application, and instead causes the second attack to deal 40 / 55 / 70 / 85 / 100% AD bonus physical damage. The "crit" applied by this ability isn't really a crit in most contexts, and the special-casing here feels weird and unnecessarily fiddly. This would be a pretty literal transition overall.
  • Gangplank Gangplank:
    • Parrrley.png Parrrley:
      • Now deals 10 / 20 / 30 / 40 / 50% AD bonus true damage on critical strikes.
      • Plundering five enemies or one large enemy causes the next cast of Parrrley within 10 seconds to be a guaranteed critical strike.
  • Powder Keg.png Powder Keg now always critically strikes. I have a few other changes in mind for Gangplank to answer what small issues remained after his amazing rework in V5.14, but the meat of the crit-related changes I want to implement for him are here. The idea is that he'd still get to crit his opponent in lane without getting into sustained brawls with them first, and would damage armor-clad enemies better overall (perhaps Gangplank's kit could even have a heavy emphasis on true damage as an addition to his already rich thematic), but would have to put some work into it, and could also alert his laning opponent as well.
  • Gnar Gnar's Hyper.png Hyper now applies on critical strikes. This would probably be the cleanest blend from one of Gypsylord's patented three-strike effects to the proposed crit mechanic here, and would incur no direct changes. Farther down the line, this could perhaps be an itemization buff relative to crit and Infinity Edge, especially, but I think that might be something worth trying out, considering Gnar currently doesn't have too many incentives to build damage.
  • Master Yi Master Yi:
    • Double Strike.png Double Strike reworked: critical strikes deal 50% AD bonus physical damage and apply additional on-hit effects. This would produce the same overall damage, with the small caveat that Double Strike would no longer require one extra hit at the start of combat to work, though you'd have to stick to the same target to land an extra strike. This could also potentially add some depth to Alpha Strike, too, as its bonus damage would be more based on timing. Worth noting is that this is framed in such a way that Yi doesn't actually land an additional strike, which is mostly inconsequential but crucial for preventing him from applying double crit strike marks.
    • Alpha Strike.png Alpha Strike no longer deals bonus physical damage upon critically striking.
  • Pantheon Pantheon's Heartseeker Strike.png Heartseeker Strike reworked: Pantheon now always critically strikes enemies below 15% of their maximum health, dealing double damage with his basic attacks and Spear Shot.png Spear Shot. This is essentially a rephrasing of his current passive. I feel Panth could use some sprucing up, since several aspects of his kit are fairly antiquated, but this would be the most immediate change he could receive in view of this proposed crit rework.
  • Shaco Shaco's Deceive.png Deceive now just deals modified damage on his next basic attack and critically strikes. This isn't exactly a direct change, per se, more a modification to the phrasing, since there wouldn't be critical damage to start with. This would change Shaco's itemization a bit, but I feel he also needs a rework, one that would include a less archaic form of this ability.
  • Tahm Kench Tahm Kench's An Acquired Taste.png An Acquired Taste now applies on critical strikes (i.e. Tahm Kench's critical strikes allow him to Devour.png Devour and stun targets with Tongue Lash.png Tongue Lash), with further strikes prolonging the effect. It's surprising how well Tahm Kench's passive maps onto this crit model, and I feel it would be worth adding here. I doubt this would make him invest in crit, or at least AD crit, but seeing how there's tons of potential here for AP crit, or even other kinds of crit items (e.g. tanky crit, support crit, etc.), this could always carry an additional benefit farther down the line.
  • Tryndamere Tryndamere:
    • Now generates 10 bonus Fury per critical strike, up from 5. This is mainly to compensate for the reduced frequency of crits later on, since currently Tryndamere crits pretty much on every autoattack late-game. Trynd would likely crit a little bit more often earlier on, though the paradigm to his crits would also change and always involve heavy trading.
    • Battle Fury.png Battle Fury now causes Tryndamere to deal 1% AD bonus physical damage on critical strikes for every point of Fury he has, up to a maximum of 100% AD bonus damage. This would offer a more-or-less equivalent means for Tryndamere to benefit from crit via his passive, and would preserve his explosive attacks while also making them more reliable for both him and his opponent. Trynd's kit is really old, unstable in the laning phase and not too good at fulfilling the fantasy of a melee carry, which is why I think he'll eventually get reworked, but just this kind of change would do him a world of good by making his early levels far less cheesy.
    • Spinning Slash.png Spinning Slash's cooldown is now reduced by 2 seconds every time Tryndamere critically strikes, doubled on champions. As with the change to Trynd's Fury generation, this is mainly to compensate for less frequent crits overall. As with the change to Battle Fury, this would allow Trynd to reduce his E cooldown far more reliably, though he'd have to land more sustained damage in order to benefit from the effect as well.
  • Vayne Vayne's Silver Bolts.png Silver Bolts now deals damage on critical strikes. It's surprising how Vayne, despite being a fairly old champion, has a mechanic that has only recently become extremely popular on new champions, and is pretty much the exact same in functionality. In fact, her W pretty much works perfectly with this proposed crit system. The only edge case to perhaps be wary of would be how she'd be able to apply W to multiple targets at once, which she currently can't do, but in the worst case I feel like Silver Bolts could always be special-cased to work like it currently does, especially since it already is (it doesn't apply on Runaan's Hurricane item.png Runaan's Hurricane's secondary bolts, for example).
  • Vi Vi's Denting Blows.png Denting Blows now applies on critical strikes. As another Gypsylord champion, Vi's W would mesh pretty well with the new crit model. This would be a slight buff to her, since her ult and E splash damage could apply Denting Blows, which would likely warrant nerfs elsewhere (likely to her raw burst, which I think would make her healthier overall), but one that would also make her mechanics more consistent.
  • Xin Zhao Xin Zhao's Battle Cry.png Battle Cry now applies the heal on critical strikes. This would likely be a slight buff overall, since Xin would be able to use his dash and ult to heal himself faster, but it would also require him to focus on the same target for prolonged periods of time, so he wouldn't be able to heal by switching targets. Xin's free heal is one of the many aspects of his kit I find archaic and not too rich with gameplay (Xin overall is pretty one-dimensional), so it might perhaps get changed or cut, but this change would update him a little and place more emphasis on single-target dueling.
  • Yasuo Yasuo:
    • Way of the Wanderer.png Way of the Wanderer now allows Yasuo to critically strike at two marks, instead of three, and no longer reduces critical strike damage. Considering how Yasuo's interaction with crit is fairly... special, this would best capture his doubled crit chance, I think, especially since Infinity Edge would them allow him to crit on every attack. This might perhaps change his itemization-related scaling, and therefore incur balance changes elsewhere, but I don't think this would require immediate attention. Yasuo probably needs a bigger set of kit changes, especially since this crit enhancement effect would no longer amplify anything innate to his kit, but this would likely be the simplest and most direct transition to this new crit system.

Alongside champions who have pretty much one-to-one mapping between some of their mechanics and a three-strike crit system, there are other champions out there who come very close, either because they already have a mechanic revolving around landing three of something (three spells, three autoattacks, etc.) or because they have a paradigm that could encourage sustained combat. The following is a list of tentative changes that could bring more champions in line with the new system, but which would also involve more drastic, often gameplay-modifying changes to their kits:

  • Aatrox Aatrox's Blood Thirst.png Blood Thirst and Blood Price.png Blood Price are now on-crit effects, with the self-damage and self-heal only occurring once per strike. This would speed up Aatrox's Ws a bit, and would make Blood Price feel a little less terrible when using it to clear waves, though ultimately I think Aatrox needs a pretty serious rework, one that would likely change the functionality of his W. A change like this would potentially allow him to work better with damage builds, especially Infinity Edge item.png Infinity Edge, though it wouldn't solve his build issues either.
  • Caitlyn Caitlyn's Headshot.png Headshot reworked, and can allow Caitlyn to critically strike on certain basic attacks. This would make a lot more sense after reading the blog post, but basically I want to rework Cait in such a way that she genuinely feels like a sniper, as her current passive isn't really that interesting or sniper-like. Headshots would be more the result of careful aiming rather than just autoattack stacking, and having them crit would make sense.
  • Diana Diana's Moonsilver Blade.png Moonsilver Blade no longer grants bonus attack speed, but causes her critical strikes to empower her blade, causing either the triggering attack (if it was a basic attack) or her next basic attack to deal bonus damage and cleave enemies. The main change this would bring would be that Diana's Q, W and ult would charge up her blade along with her basic attacks, which would speed up her procs in the late game, though the removal of the bonus AS would likely keep her early game at a similar pace in most cases. I feel Diana might need a mini-rework in order to turn her into a proper bruiser, rather than a middling semi-tanky fighter/assassin hybrid, which could reduce her sources of ability damage, but this would be the most direct change she could receive. Due to a current lack of crit items for non-AD champions, this might not directly lead to overly large changes, but that could very well be different if non-AD crit items were to appear under this new framework.
  • Jax Jax's Grandmaster's Might.png Grandmaster's Might now deals bonus damage on critical strikes. While Jax is one of the very first champions to have a three-strike mechanic, mapping it onto this crit system would not be 100% smooth, since he's specifically designed to have it work on basic attacks only, while also letting him switch targets. I feel having it work on crits, and therefore on his Q and E, would integrate the mechanic far better in his kit and allow him to flow a lot better, though he would likely also require nerfs to the proc's damage.
  • Kennen Kennen could fit here somewhere, especially considering he can be played either as an AP mage/assassin who incorporates a lot of autoattacks, or more rarely a marksman whose autoattacking power feeds into his spell strength, but I have no immediate idea on how to approach his kit, partly because of how archaic it is, but also because of the dual focus on autoattacks and spells that interact on different levels (he can't just stun people on-crit, but he can't really be prevented from critting normally with his basic attacks either). He likely needs a kit update before being able to properly integrate this proposed version of crit.
  • Twisted Fate Twisted Fate's Stacked Deck.png Stacked Deck now causes critical strikes to empower his next basic attack, granting it bonus magic damage. As with Jax and Diana, this isn't a perfectly identical blend, since TF wouldn't be able to switch targets as easily and could use Q to accelerate his passive, but it would also make his kit, which is primarily autoattack-based anyway, run more smoothly. TF has a really old kit that might need updating, but in the meantime a change like this would make him a little healthier, namely by preventing him from "stocking up" on his E damage before ganking a target, which would also likely allow him to receive buffs.
  • Varus Varus' Living Vengeance.png Blighted Quiver no longer applies individual Blight stacks, but instead marks targets on-crit with Blight, causing his next ability to consume the mark and deal bonus magic damage. This isn't entirely a "pure" conversion, since it would allow Varus to accelerate the Blight application process with abilities and would no longer allow him to detonate Blight on just one or two autoattacks for less damage, but I feel his overall gameplay would remain very similar (he'd even be able to make full use of his ult as a means of stacking Blight). I proposed a rework to his kit that would make Blighted Quiver his innate, and I feel this change would be appropriate both for live Varus and my own version.
  • Vel'Koz Vel'Koz's basic attacks no longer apply critical strike marks, but instead prolong his existing critical strike marks on targets. However, Organic Deconstruction.png Organic Deconstruction is now an on-crit effect. Not the most graceful transition from a bespoke system to the proposed crit system, but one that would nonetheless work with minimal immediate consequences. As with other non-AD champions integrating crit, this would not have an immediate effect on itemization, but could potentially lead to very interesting developments in case an AP crit item does end up appearing.
    • Lifeform Disintegration Ray.png Lifeform Disintegration Ray now deals damage every 0.5 seconds rather than every 0.25 seconds, but deals double damage with every tick. Just an adjustment to keep the same rate of Organic Deconstruction stacks on his ult. I feel this is already a change worth adding, since it's weird that he only applies stacks every two ticks of ability damage.

A possibility this new crit system raises is that of AP crit: while the idea of an AP crit item would make no sense under the current system, it could potentially carry interesting gameplay here, since all AP champions would innately be able to crit. Not only that, but it would also reward ability combos and encourage autoattacking, both of which are important aspects to mastering mages. There's the issue of additional burst to be careful of (Luden's Echo item.png Luden's Echo is already way too good at making certain bursty champions even burstier), but at least this type of crit mechanic would guarantee that any additional damage would require pulling off a successful combo, and would therefore not be entirely on-demand.

An issue this new system issue might raise, however, is that of sustain: with crit decoupled from basic attacks, life steal would become a lot less effective on marksmen. While this might perhaps be a positive change for some, as marksmen would be easier to kill late-game, this would nonetheless be a substantial sustain nerf. One potential way to counterbalance this would be to simply buff late-game life steal items, though this could also risk giving other roles (namely bruisers) too much sustain. Another possibility could be to decouple lifesteal itself from damage and instead make it scale on its own curve: I proposed a rework to spell vamp that would make its healing somewhat independent of damage, while still scaling with AP, and mirroring that to have life steal scale with level and AD, rather than damage dealt, could potentially allow it to be a lot more stable.


What are your thoughts on these changes? Beware, the whole blog post is a massive wall of text, so you might not be able to read everything in one go, but what do you think of the general idea behind this proposal? Do you think this kind of system would contribute positively to gameplay? How do you think this would change the game? Do you think crit needs to change, and if so, is this how you'd like it to develop into?

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