The State of Marksmen, part 3 (What, Why, and How the Preseason Changes the Game.) (Megapost)

_Copy pasta'd from my NA post, [here]( _This chapter of the** The State of the Marksmen** is a bit different; rather than explaining the issues with marksmen like the first post, [**Why they need the Rework**](, or how said issues are and aren't being addressed in the second post, [**Why this Rework isn’t it, Yet**](, this chapter details the systematic changes on PBE, AND THEN explains the issues they address as well as their other implications._ There’s tons of notable and exciting changes to champions and items on PBE, but those alone can’t fix lack of strategic diversity. Most strategic niches have a fairly small pool of champions that fulfill them well (tower siege and marksmen, for example), while changing items so that other champions can perform them crowds out the original fulfiller if the items themselves are worthwhile to pick up, like how strong damage itemization for tanks in Cinderhulk and Thornmail crowded out typical damage junglers for a good part of this season. Changing champions to fill roles untypical for their champion pool generally results in the champion not seeing play. To have the power budget for atypical strengths, they need atypical weaknesses; this tends to result in a nearly unplayed champion once they are nerfed to a reasonable power level. Quinn is a good example of this. She is well balanced on live, but her capabilities as a roaming assassin requires the typical marksmen functions of low risk and high dps for tank busting and tower siege to suffer. As teams currently need those functions of a marksman, she tends to be played as a very niche pick top. She’s effective there, but opportunity cost of what she replaced, and the effectiveness of armor against a double ADC comp, severally limits her play. **This post is about what is being done in preseason for what CAN fix strategic diversity** - systematic changes. We tend to take for granted the layout of the map or the many mathematical functionalities of the game, but changes to these have wide consequences, and tend to be necessary to make room for item or champion changes to give viability, power, or enjoyability to certain playstyles without taking an equal or greater amount away from their competition. The start of season three was full of these. Prior, part of the role of junglers and supports was to be effective while cash starved, which generally included building the gp10 items Philosopher’s Stone (mana and hp regen) and Heart of Gold (HP). This more or less limited the jungle to CC tanks like Amumu and Rammus, and supports to utility. S3 changed this by increasing base passive gp10 from 13 to 16 while equivalently reducing the value of lane minions for farmers, making the jungle harder and more rewarding, and adding a slew of diverse jungle and support items. Only by lessening some of the requirements for jungler and supports did they have the power budget to open up the positions in a healthy manner. Season 6 abounds with systematic changes as well, and as they are crucial to understand the champion and item changes, I’m addressing them in this chapter before going onto the champion and items changes in the next. Let us begin. ___ _**Changes to turret defenses**_ - (Mostly addressed in the last post) Turrets have nearly doubled HP on the PBE, going from 2000/2300/2300/2500 to 3500/3500/4000/4000 for tier 1/2/Inhibitor/Nexus turrets respectively, while they all went from 100 armor and MR to 0 of both. As 100 armor or MR is exactly 50% damage reduction, turrets are only slightly squishier. This a good change for clarity - towers now take exactly as much damage as one deals them, while the changes have fewer consequences than you’d think. Unlike monsters, towers have an equal amount of armor and MR, so this doesn’t change relative effectiveness of physical or magic damage against them, and they are also immune to all forms of penetration, so penetration is no more or less effective against them. However, it does have few subtler interactions. The flat 30 damage reduction towers get against attacks before 7 minutes was applied after armor, so it is much less effective now, and thusly towers are much easier to take early. The 200 armor and MR towers get while no enemy minions are nearby is noticeably more effective; while 300 armor takes half the damage 100 armor does, 200 armor takes a third the damage 0 armor does. This works out to turrets taking 8000/9200/9200/12000 pre-mitigation damage on live vs 10500/10500/12000/12000 on PBE, so nexus turrets are just as difficult to take without minions, while all other towers are harder. Of note, Janna’s shield on towers now breaks twice as easily. There’s yet another change - the ratio that AP damages towers has been increased to .5 from .4, so AP champions are more effective against towers. As always, the bonus from AP only goes into effect if it’s larger than your bonus AD, and replaces bonus AD you if it is. Hybrid champions punished just like always, but at least now it’s more readable - the number you see when you hit a turret should be the higher of either exactly 100% of your AD, or 100% of your base AD + 50% of your AP. The sum of these changes is that turrets should go down faster compared to live, especially before 7 minutes and with AP heavy builds. This makes for faster games on average. ___ _**Changes to gold income**_- Like nearly every preseason, passive gold income went up, this time from 19 to 20.4 per 10 (I remember 10 gp 10, geez). Unlike most preseasons, Riot didn’t decrease gold income elsewhere, and instead inflated price. Offensive items took the brunt of loss in gold efficiency, tank items for the most part got a near equivalent amount of extra stats in compensation, and support items didn’t change in price much. Net change is that supports are richer, tank items are more effective while about as difficult to buy, and missing farm either from lack of skill, or your opponents excess of it, is slightly less punishing. Supports are further helped by an increase in item gold income of roughly 2 gp 10, more details on that in the next post. ___ **_Changes to masteries_** - I plan on going in depth into each mastery next post, but there's several main trends to note. Each tree now goes to 18 points, with 5 points to advance in tier 1, 3, and 5, and a single point for the nodes in 2, 4, and 6. Every tier has 2 nodes but the final, which has 3, and you can’t spend any more than the points needed to advance in each tier, or a single point in the final tier. It forces you to make real, impactful choices based around your gameplay and champion, rather than a generalized min-max shared with everyone who uses that champion. The offense and utility tree were combined then resplit into ferocity and cunning - more along the lines of life sustain (vamp) and DPS for ferocity, and mana sustain, utility, and burst in cunning. The the defensive tree is basically what you’d expect, but the choices are real. The keystone (tier 6, you only get one) nodes are all awesome and highly game impacting. I’ll discuss them in the next chapter, but the big takeaways are supports have a helluva lot more options, as the cunning tree is less necessary, let’s supports go full down another tree as its mana regen and gold income only take 12 points, and also has good damage options (I expect most assassins, and many mages, to go 12 in ferocity and 18 in cunning). Finally, the masteries now heavily value specialisation, rather than giving you a large bunch of generically useful stats. This in turn benefits specialist picks, like Soraka and her healing, over generalists like Thresh. This also means squishies specializing in damage do noticeably more damage to squishies doing the same. There’s certainly some clear winners with the new masteries, but I’d need to save that till I go after them one-by-one in the next chapter. ___ **_Changes to Call to Help_** - This one is probably the most undervalued of all the changes. Currently, autoattacks draw aggro to the shooter from minions 1) within ~ 650 range of the attacked target, and 2) within 400 units of of being able to auto attack said shooter. This has meant that so as long as ranged champions ~650 units minus their auto attack range away from your minions, (Typical range is around 550, so 100 units, or 1 teemo) they could poke you from max range without drawing minion aggro, effectively zoning you completely out of any attempt to CS, and maybe even XP range. Caitlyn’s range is 650, so she can more or less stand in minions and zone without retaliation. The first image shows a red circle for the call for help range. On PBE, there’s a ~650 range zone on the attacker that will draw aggro as well, the purple circle in the second image; this means ranged champions can’t as effectively zone melee champs (or ranged champions, although that’s less of an issue) in the early game when minion damage is still relevant, all while not particularly affecting aggro for melee champions as their circle is going to be overlapping their opponents if they are autoing. There’s some changes to minion deleashing that make minion agro a bit easier for both ranged and melee champions to get rid of that partially negates this (no more minions following you through jungle from one lane to another), especially if ranged champions can abuse it easier. In part two I while talking about the dominance of marksmen bot lane, I said “At the very least, we need some changes to make melee's either more reliable or more rewarding bot lane, with reliability the healthiest option.” This is the kind of healthy change for their reliability I was talking about. I’d like to see it pushed a little further, perhaps with melee mobs (who are unlikely to significantly agro to a ranged champion except in hard zoning situations, even with the changes) doing increased damage against ranged champions. This is the healthiest mechanic I’ve seen so far for adjusting the reliability of melee vs ranged. Minion agro has always been much more brutal for melee champions than ranged, and the power from this divide is both completely superfluous and unclear. _(Read Riot Reinboom's comment about this [here. ]('s where I stole the images from.)_ ___ **_The Rift Herald_** - There's a new Jungle mob that spawns at four minutes in the baron pit, and respawns 5 minutes after being killed. It disappears at 19:45 to make room for baron, or 19:55 if it was in combat. It’s a tanky, high dps (much higher than dragon) mutated scuttle crab, with an eye on its back that opens on occasion. The eye can’t be hit by the person tanking, but someone else can hit it for 15% of its max hp in true damage - more than smite. This allows two people to take it quite quickly, while it is nearly impossible to take one on one. When killed, it gives everyone on the killers team 50 gold, and the killer itself a mini-baron buff. The buff grants 10% increased damage, but not true damage, 40 movespeed, a 40% buff to nearby minion attack speeds, and the 4 second recall of baron buff. While not as important as dragon, this objective gives top lane a strategic objective beyond just turrets, which in turn makes ignite or exhaust taken for lane dominance stronger relative to TP, and gives junglers and mid laners more incentive to gank or pressure either lane - top lane to take the herald (and top tower with the minion buff), or bot lane to distract the other team while top and the other take it. Overall, it’s a great strategic addition that will make top lane less of an island while lowering the dominance of TP, as TP is no longer necessary for top laners to influence the rest of the game pre-20 minutes in, as well as bringing reason for influence to come to them. ___ **_Lowered XP and higher gold from jungle mobs for non-junglers_** - The jungle items were shifted from giving bonus gold on monsters kills to bonus experience, while monsters XP was shifted down and their gold shifted up to compensate. This is almost entirely due to the dominance of top lane either double jungling, were they tank two camps for the jungler, leaching xp and killing the small monsters, so that they both get level two with the jungler at full health, or the top lanner taking a camp for themselfs level one, then in either case recalling and teleporting top with extra potions and level 2. Once a again, this is a nerf to TP. ___ **_Nerf to Teleport_** - Notice a trend? TP no longer gets a 60 second lower CD for teleporting to towers. In all honesty, I would've kept that and instead just increased its CD by 30 seconds in both cases. The real issues are the jungling issues above, that TP is the best summoner mid asides from flash, TP being even better than flash top, and frequent teleports to lane wards bot lane to capitalize on overextension/aggression. This has really made bot lane much more passive than it used to. TP’s high usage is largely symptomatic of top lane being so strategically non-optimal for junglers and mid to roam to (In high tier play, a jungler or mid being spotted top, at least without TP, means the that the other team takes drag) TP is the only way top laners can see any action before 25 minutes, of ignite being use-impaired top and mid lane thanks to barrier, the meta, it’s low range, common shielding items, and current support picks (caugh caugh Tahm) countering the bursty playstyle that traditionally got ignite. This nerf however, is largely negated by the 15% cdr reduction on summoner spells early on in the defensive tree, and therefore quite accessible to any top or mid that wants it. Boots of lucidity now grant another 10% cdr on summoner spells, and are cheaper, while the distortion upgrade is much more viable thanks to a replacement of the near mandatory (or at least, the most noticeable and fun) homeguard upgrade with a buff enabled on everyone at the 20 minute mark, although this isn’t shipping with 5.22. Still, the CDR works with all summoners, so while it adds the lost power back to TP, it adds power to non-nerfed summoners as well. ___ **_Nerf to Grievous wounds while making it extremely accessible for AD_** - They lowered the healing reduction to 40%, with non-implemented plans to make it not function against healing from allies, such as soraka healing her allies. They added executioner’s calling back as a 800 gold item that grants 15 ad and applies grievous wounds for three seconds on ALL physical damage, and also combines with Last Whisper good gold and slot efficiency vs targets with armor. It comes at the cost of up to 1.5% increased damage per 50 health your opponent has over you, up to 15%, as that is the other Last Whisper upgrade. Otherwise, they cost exactly the same and give identical stats. Overall, I dislike this change the most. I’d much prefer grievous wounds to be out of the game entirely, and all healing reduced a third or so towards late game to compensate. Right now, healing is over the top because it needs to be balanced around the fact that grievous wounds is so available. Having a certain item 100% necessary, especially a cheap one with no active, against many of the champions in the game doesn’t add any counterplay, while it makes balancing a nightmare revolving around whether or not people buy the item. ___ **_Changes to shutdown gold, including globalizing it_** - Shutdown’s now start at only 2 kills, but still cap at 5 kills. Dying lowers it by 3 kills, but not lower than 0, rather than resetting it. Oddly enough, after a shutdown at 4 kills, you’ll still get shutdown at 1 stack. Most importantly, the bonus gold for shutdowns is now global - the kill grants 300 gold to the killer and 150 gold split among the assistants, but also grants 20/30/60/70/90 (note the 20 gold one requires you to die at 4 stacks) gold the every member of the team, for a total of 100/150/300/350/460 team gold, rather than 0/50/108/175/200 without assists, or 0/75/162/262.5/300 with assists. Dying spree gold reduction unchanged as far as I know. This means quite a few things. This is a pretty noticeable increase in gold overall, spread evenly amongst the team. It’s much more worthwhile to try to coordinate against high value targets, as the reward is noticeably greater, and killing them a second time still gives bonus gold if they were fed enough. Failing to get any assists on a shutdown no longer punishes your team gold any more than a normal kill - the 150 assist gold is still wasted, but it’s not amplified by the team gold. This incentivise solo aggression and assassination against high value targets, rather than decentivising it like on live. This helps assassins, and generally makes the game more interesting and faster in pace. The increased gold itself for shutdowns makes comebacks easier - kills 2 through 5 effectively give 150 gold apiece to the team being slaughtered if they kill the spreer, keeping in mind kills 4 and 5 carry some of the gold over onto their next death. When someone is fed, it’s everyone’s problem, and this makes killing them reward everyone. ___ **_Removal of Assist Streaks_** - this is largely due to the changes in bounty above, which more than make up for the lost income. Assist streaks encouraged passive play, like a Janna with a Mejai’s who only comes close enough to fights to shield the backline. I’m glad they’re gone. ___ **_Changes in Experience from Champion kills_** - The experience gained from the death of enemy champions higher level than you is significantly increased, while the experience gained from champs lower level than you is noticeably decreased. This lowers snowballing and makes comebacks considerably more likely. This encourages more aggressive play while loosing, which will in turn make the game faster paced, and faster overall. ___ **_A Middle Finger Flipped Towards non-AD Junglers_** - Most non-epic Monsters lost their armor, while many gained MR. T2 jungle items (And T3) now grant 10% lifesteal but no spellvamp, and generally less mana. At least it gives 30 hp over 5 seconds for every monster you damage, but AD junglers have plenty of AoE to get this as well, and anyone can smite Gromp or buy a Cinder. Runeglaive gives 10 less AP but gives 50 mana, costs 425 more, while cinderhulk simply costs 375 more. Devourer got back the 10 damage on-hit it lost last nerf, and only cost 200 more, while warrior lost its pen, gained 20 AD, and 375 gold to its price tag. I’ll be going into this more in depth on my upcoming post about items. T1 Jungle items split into one only good for AD junglers, and one equally decent for AD jungler and everyone else. Jungle monsters generally got weaker, but T1 jungle items are much worse, and the T2 now costs 700 gold, The increase in gold for t3 jungle items is partially offset by the increase in gold income, fully for devourer. I’m a bit bothered by favoritism for AD and Devourer, but in all honesty the jungle isn’t too rough for mages or tanks. ___ **_Green wards are gone, Pink wards cost 75 gold, no trinket to reveal invisible units, and no upgrade for yellow trinket._** - Green wards are no longer in the shop, although sightstone still exists. The warding trinket now improves linearly from levels 1 to 9, rather than suddenly at 9, but it never gets better than a 120 second ward on a 120 second cooldown. Blue trinket is gone, and instead yellow trinket can upgrade into the current upgraded blue trinket for free at level 9, while the red trinket can upgrade for free into it’s current upgrade, but instead of revealing invisible champions it gives them a radar-like outline every few second or so while active. There is no vision ward trinket available; There’s literally no way to reveal invisible units besides pink wards, which requires you to have an open item slot. Very strong buff to Twitch’s and Rengar’s mid to late game, and to a less extent Talon. Pink wards are cheaper, which makes them even more enticing. You should always try to have one out if you aren’t full build. The much lower vision available in the game encourages roaming, trying to make picks, and aggression, which in turn makes assassins stronger. Like many other changes this season, this increases the pace of the game and makes it bloodier. I like most of this, but I wish I had more options to ward when full build, and some way to reveal invisible units. I really miss the two upgrades for yellow trinket on live. ___ **_Block, Blind, and Dodge now consistently work against nearly all auto attacks and their modifiers_** - This is closer to champion changes than anything systematic, simply because there are so few champions that benefit. Jax, Pantheon, and Teemo got significantly stronger, especially against certain champs. ___ **_Clones now get copies of their parent’s jungle buffs_** - Once again, while a systematic change in theory, this is a buff to 3 champions, Shaco, Wukong, and LB. Still, it's something people have been asking since each champ came out, and it should have been in the game a lot sooner. ___ **_Clarity and Clairvoyance removed_** - Doesn’t have any in game effect, as no one gets them. Still available outside of Summoner's Rift ___ **_All marksmen have 5 to 9 more AD at level one, and roughly an equal amount less at level 18_** - This is in part due to the removal of flat AD from the mastery tree. This is a reasonable change, but I don’t see why this was restricted to marksmen - pretty much every AD champion got it. This makes marksmen much stronger early game, and lets most of them Jungle. It does really help marksmen in solo lanes, which I’m sure was a large part of Riot’s intent. Well, there you have it. To the best of my knowledge, this is every change to things other than items, champions, and masteries so far on PBE for season 6. Expect a much faster paced game, marksmen appearing in every lane, more comebacks and upsets, and fewer teleports per game. My next chapter in _The State of Marksmen_ is going to be in-depth on the new masteries. If you liked this post or my others, please share with friends or comment; I'll try to reply to any answers or feedback.
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