TLDR: riot should nerf healing in general by ~40% and then rework grievous (GW) wounds to follow all of the principles that the other “counter items” follow. I.e. Either make an alternative to GW that you apply on yourself to reduce the healing enemies receive from you, or make all of the GW items actives with cooldowns (eg. your next auto applies GW, your next spell applies GW, etc), creating power windows for both teams.
I believe the problem with healing is actually caused by how grievous wounds is applied; once you purchase your GW item, you can ensure that whoever you fight for the rest of the game will always be affected by GW. This means three things:
- They will never have windows of opportunity where GW cannot be applied to them. (unless the person who bought the item is dead or not in a team fight).
- Grievous wounds items do not just counter one champion at a time; once you buy one item you counter the healing of everyone on the enemy team.
- Whoever buys the GW item doesn’t just counter the champion that wants to heal, they make it so that their entire team counters the champion that wants to heal (unless the person who bought the item is dead or not in a team fight).
I will now refer to these points as point 1, 2, and 3 respectively. I believe these are the reasons that healing and GW seem so unbalanced, where it’s like an arms race where both are continuously getting stronger. To show this, I will compare GW items to other “counter items”.
Quicksilver Sash, a case study:
How QSS addresses point 1:
QSS has a cooldown; when you buy it it makes champions like Skarner and Malzahal unable to do what they want. Late game these champions will have a brief window to capitalize on this cooldown, however this is usually negligible. However, when used to counter basic ability CC, QSS has a much longer cooldown, giving a large window for a champion to play around.
How QSS addresses point 2:
QSS does counter all CC, so if a team has both Skarner and Malzahar it counters both of them, but not at the same time. If someone QSS’s a Skarner ult, now Malzahar has 90 seconds to ult them. Or any other cc (stuns, snares, taunts, charms, etc) can also be applied to them during this window when they cannot QSS.
How QSS addresses point 3:
When you buy QSS it only affects you. You can’t use it to remove the CC from someone else, which would make champions like Skarner and Malzahar useless against your whole team.
Mikael’s Crucible, a case study:
How Mikael’s Crucible addresses point 3:
This does make it so your whole team counters CC, however, it cannot be used to remove suppression. So the champions like Skarner and Malzahar who revolve around their ult do not become useless or countered by it. This still does make your whole team counter other CC though.
How Mikael’s Crucible addresses point 2:
Mikael’s does counter all CC that the enemy team has, however it has a cooldown, so if a team staggers their CC it won’t be able to counter all of them at the same time.
How Mikael’s Crucible addresses point 1:
Mikael’s does have a cooldown, and since it cannot be used on suppression, we’re going to compare its cooldown to other cc (stuns, snares, taunts, charms, etc). CC on basic abilities usually have less than a ten second cooldown late game, this means that even if Mikael’s is used to counter your cc, you now have about a 110 second window where it can no longer counter your cc.
QSS fails to completely align with point 1 because the abilities it is countering also have long cooldowns, but it aligns with the other two. Mikael’s Crucible fails to completely align with point 3 (for non suppressions), but it aligns with point 2 via its cooldown and it aligns with point 1.
Interestingly enough, frozen heart’s aura passive is the only “counter item” that breaks all three points besides GW. A well used Randuin's can also break it, but that can be played around easier than frozen heart. We will treat frozen heart as an outlier and base our criteria for GW items off of the rest, and the following principle that they all follow.
GW items must either follow point 3 or at least two rules:
- GW items should allow for windows of opportunity where it cannot be applied.
- GW items should not counter all enemies of the opposing team simultaneously.
- GW items should not make your entire team counter grievous wounds.
Finally, healing should be nerfed across the board. If grievous wounds will be adjusted to obey the above principle then it follows that healing should also be adjusted because it has been inflated to survive in the current unhealthy ecosystem. I believe healing should be nerfed by ~40% on average, but it should vary by champion/item/rune, and I’m sure riot can figure out exact numbers better than I can.
Possible actives (aligns with point 1 and 2):
Auto attack based:
- Your next x auto attacks apply grievous wounds for y seconds. Z second cooldown.
- For the next x seconds your auto attacks apply grievous wounds for y seconds. Z second cooldown
- Your next x spells apply grievous wounds for y seconds. Z second cooldown.
- For the next x seconds your spells apply grievous wounds for y seconds. Z second cooldown.
More unique options:
- Apply grievous wounds to target enemy for y seconds (ABC range). Z second cooldown.
- Point and click projectile that apply grievous wounds.
- Apply grievous wounds to the target area for y seconds. Z second cooldown.
- Target an area and fire a projectile (or instead have a delay) and then every enemy unit in that area suffer grievous wounds for y seconds.
- Target an area and create a zone that lasts for x seconds, while enemy units are within the zone they suffer grievous wounds. Z second cooldown.
- Similar to the above one, but now units can leave the zone to instantly remove the grievous wounds, think Soraka E.
- Apply grievous wounds to all enemy units in a circle around you for y seconds. Z second cooldown.
- About the size of Randuin's Omen's active
- Create a zone around you that lasts for x seconds, while enemies are within the zone they suffer grievous wounds. Z second cooldown.
- About the size of Amumu's E
Possible passives (aligns with point 3):
- An item that has a passive where enemy champions only heal 50% off of you.
- This would be interesting because it would specifically hurt lifesteal/omnivamp and champions like Vlad and Sylas, but it wouldn’t affect healers or champions like Zac and Mundo.
- Bramblevest THORNS passive.
- A champion can choose not to attack a champion that has this item in a fight, therefore it mostly aligns with point 3.
I’m sure riot can come up with more and better ideas, but the point of this post is to show how GW items don't follow the same principles that other “counter items” do.
If healing is nerfed by ~40%, then when grievous wounds are applied (if assuming at 50% healing reduction), champions will only heal by around 30% of what they heal today, however the ways in which grievous wounds are applied are much stricter, so during fights champions can still have opportunities to heal by around 60% of what they heal today. Making grievous wounds items have actives instead of passive allows teams to capitalize on periods of time where champions can heal less to collectively burst a target, but also allow the healing champion a window where the item is on cooldown. Alternatively, instead of applying grievous wounds to an enemy, make it a buff on your champion where enemies heal less off of you.
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