(Note: This blog post was originally made before the release of. I really like the item and its functionality, but am not a big fan of its build path or stat bonuses, which I think are always a bit wasteful. The following changes should mostly be seen as an attempt to create the same feeling while tuning the item slightly differently, favoring itemization on tanky champions and more class-agnostic damage on its active.)
has always been a problem item: back when it was still known as Stark's Fervor, it gave a massive amount of bonuses through its aura, including attack speed, health regeneration, and enemy armor reduction on top of massive life steal. It was a popular item, but only because its aura was far too powerful, and so it was nerfed over time to its current state. While currently sort of okay in niche full-AD comps, the item suffers from serious design issues: it's an item with bruiser-oriented stats but support-grade team buffing power, meaning that supports purchasing it tend to find the aura next to useless on themselves, and bruisers purchasing it get a fairly weak amount of stats. By design, it's never going to be fully useful, and consequently there's a lot of wasted power on it, exacerbated by the fact that most auras tend to be fairly diluted by nature (the aura itself also only truly works on autoattack-based AD champions, AKA marksmen).
The most common discussion around changes to Zeke's is whether it should be made a dedicated bruiser item or a pure support item, but I think it's possible for it to be both: basically, I'm copying Kalista's Sentinel passive, allowing for the item to have tons of great tanky personal stats and grant the wielder a bit of extra damage, while also tying that extra damage to team play. It would change the item's niche a fair bit, making it an item for champions who want to build a tanky item and contribute more damage for their team, rather than a full-AD damage/sustain aura item, but I think it would still preserve most of the item's focus on team damage while concentrating its power.
- New recipe: + + 1000g.
- Total cost increased to 2600g from 2550g.
- Attack damage removed.
- Life steal removed.
- Cooldown reduction reduced to 10% from 20%.
- Health increased to 400 from 250.
- Now grants 50 armor.
- Aura removed.
- New unique active: select an allied champion to become your Conduit, granting the use of the item's unique passive. Selecting a new ally puts the passive on a 60-second cooldown.
- New unique passive: Build charges when near your Conduit, increased when dealing damage. At 100 charges, dealing damage empowers you and your ally for 5 seconds, causing you to both deal 24 + 7 × level bonus magic damage from all sources and consume all charges.
My main goal with the item's stats is to make it an attractive tanky item on its own.has nice stats, but is mainly dependent on its fairly incomplete passive and active. Zeke's, on the other hand, would hold on its own, particularly if you compare it to Ohmwrecker and . On top of this, I want it to be even more attractive by having it provide damage on top of its tankiness, something all bruisers would love, but can't easily get due to how snowbally that usually is. Here, Zeke's could provide both a lot of damage and a lot of tankiness without being excessively problematic, because that damage would only be conditional upon having an ally around. If you're a top laner, you'd want to tag your jungler and have extra power during ganks, or more realistically you'd buy this item if you'd feel like forcing frequent teamfights. If you're a support, you could tag laners before moving in for a gank, and if you're a support, whether melee or ranged, you'd be able to use this item in concert with your marksman to supplement large amounts of damage without having to buy damage items. It would concentrate all of the item's power into something clear and visible, while providing extra interaction for everyone involved and securing its own niche ("I want to be tankier, but I also want to contribute more damage to my team").
What do you think of this? Do you think an item like this would work? Do you think it would be an appropriate change to Zeke's Herald? If not, what changes would you suggest instead, if any?