TL;DR at bottom, since this is kinda long
The coming changes to Liandry's Anguish:
As most of you probably know, in Quick Gameplay Thoughts: Feb 26 Riot noted that mage mythics were the furthest off their criteria for mythic diversity. As stated in the following Quick Gameplay Thoughts, 10 out of 33 mages missed the criteria. Riot attributed this partly to the fact that
Liandry's/Luden’s have some of the more “kit synergistic” effects among mythics, which leads to some champs favoring them a bit too strongly.
Now, trying to combat this Riot has made the following changes to Liandry's Anguish items on PBE:
"Agony: Deal up to 12% bonus magic damage based on the target's bonus health (maxed at 1250 bonus health)." "Whilst burning, they lose 5% Magic Resist per second (max reduction 15%)."
What they've done here is switch out a more universally good passive (15 % magic pen) for a more situationally powerful ability (bonus damage against targets with bonus health). Now at first glance this seems like a good change to increase build diversity – now the relative power between Luden's and Liandry's vary more from game to game depending on the enemy team composition. The problem however is that this isn't really an interesting choice for a mythic item. When Riot announced the mythic items, they described them as
Mythic items are the the cornestone of your build, with big effects that define your playstyle from game to game.
In my opinion, mythic diversity shouldn't come because one item deals more damage than another against a specific enemy team, but because they change your playstyle to one that is optimal in the game. The Marksmen mythics illustrate this concept well.
How other mythics augment playstyle:
Let's quickly take a look at the role each specific Marksmen mythic occupies in the game:
Kraken slayer: High DPS, no self peel or survivability.
Galeforce: Target access, burst and mobility.
Shieldbow: Sustain and survivability.
Notice how these mythics shine in different situations, not because they directly counter enemy teams or synergize with specific allies, but instead because they augment your playstyle to better fit the current game? Playing against a team with low target access, where you feel relatively safe? Play teamfights front to back with Kraken Slayer, and utilize the increased dps. Does the enemy team have all their damage concentrated on a single carry? Consider going Galeforce and look for picks with a more 'assasiny' playstyle. Even Shieldbow, which is mostly bought against teams with high target access (i.e. assasins), augments your playstyle by turning you into a drain tank and hence letting you go balls deep in teamfights. The point of the Marksmen mythics (as it should be for any mythic in my opinion) is not to directly counter the enemy team, but to allow you to choose a playstyle which excels against the enemy team.
I highlighted the Marksmen mythics here, but I think similar trends can be seen for the other mythics too. For the Fighter mythics for example, Trinity Force is a premier splitpushing item with great dueling potential, Stridebreaker gives you the ability to catch people out of position and Goredrinker gives strong teamfight potential and shines in the 5v5 situations. Not all mythics are perfect in this sense, but I think there is no doubt that the mage mythics are in the worst spot in this sense.
The problem with the change to Liandry's Anguish:
Now how does all this relate to the fault in Riots metric for mythic diversity? The problem is that the metric only tracks how often the same champion builds different mythics, and this is not directly related to how the mythic augments your playstyle. Increasing the diversity among mythics is actually super easy – just make one mythic give you a lot of damage against tanks, and one item a lot of damage against squishies. This makes it correct to choose a different mythic from game to game, but this has nothing to do with your playstyle in the given game. Riot should be changing Luden's and Liandries in ways such that they promote different playstyles that excel in different games, rather than having one be good against squishies, and one good against tanks.
I have not mentioned Everfrost yet because I think that item is in a pretty good spot design-wise. Everfrost functions as the premier peeling item, and is hence for when you when you want to play an anti-engage game. Furthermore it can function as a catch item for mages with setup for the active. Everfrost incentivises you to play in a certain way. I want Riot to expand on this: My personal suggestion would be to let Liandry's be the premier poke item, let Luden's be the premier burst item, and then add a new mythic which would function as a skirmish item.
(I also hate how Riot has tried to make Luden's into a skirmish item on PBE, but it still gives flat magic pen, which is usually something that fits a burst-oriented playstyle, rather than AH. But that is a discussion for another day).
Finally, I would like to note that I actually think the new passive on Liandry's (bonus damage against targets with bonus health) would be great to have in the game – it should just be on a legendary item, rather than a mythic.
The change to Liandry's on PBE artifically bumps up the mythic diversity of mage mythics, by making the item situationally better against tanks. This strikes against the core fundemental of mythic items – mythics augment the players playstyle, and diversity in mythic items should come from the fact that in different games different playstyles are optimal.
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