AP champions, or Riot's apparent pet for design bias

Okay so I originally had this article geared towards the changes we've seen so far but it has become extremely obvious to me while writing it that the following is true: Riot is ridiculously biased towards AP champions. Not in giving them power, no, but in giving them a million options with diverse itemization builds and paths. AP champions are seeing more items just for AP dedicated roles (not items merely with AP on them) than other other two roles COMBINED. AP itemization is skyrocketing, again, while AD casters are getting a single revamped item. AP itemization is adding an entire new build option while bruisers are seeing nothing. Get my point? This is just silly, and it's getting annoying.

Simply put, Riot is so in love with giving AP champions everything amazing that anything interesting for other classes is being strangled by Riot's lack of time to do anything for them, what with all the time spent giving APs everything awesome.

AP players, you are spoiled and you should feel bad.

No seriously, was the playtest team 5 AP players, 1 AD player, and a guy who hates bruisers? AP players saw more buffed/revamped/new AP items than any 3 other classes combined. It's sort of absurdity. What's worse is all the new AP items are INCREDIBLY relevant and well stat. Not at all like Ohmwrecker's "for the tank who wants to be tanky but that that tanky but it's k cause you can stop turrets if you're diving I guess" tagline. Or Frozen fist's "for the tank that wants a massive amount of mana, some armor, some AP, and slow, but doesn't just want to buy frozen mallet instead." 

I don't hate that AP champions saw so many new and diverse items. I don't hate that AP champions can go 3 completely different build paths (glass cannon, tanky-AP/flatpen, mana.) I don't hate that even within those three builds they have multiple build options. I do hate that AP champions got ALL THIS WORK done while other classes got 1-2 token items tossed at them. Ranged ADs got Phantom Dancer replacement items tossed at them. Bruisers got nothing (and Maw even got nerfed, jokes. Other than being BLINDINGLY obvious token items added to the classes (oh crap we forgot to add anything for tanks, add an aegis upgrade and erm... an item that stops turrets) it's just the amount of love and care given to AP items was so lopsided.

And I know I'm gonna keep mentioning it because: Seriously? Your answer to AD itemization being bland was to effectively just add replacement phantom dancer items? You still build the same everything except for phantom dancer which you sometimes build a different item. That's it? Wow. Even bruisers get it better than that. Hell, even tanks are getting an end game Aegis that will make their itemization significantly more diverse even on the same champion in different games. ADs? Every AD will still build the exact same way as they do in every match, they'll just build a single item different than other ADs. Ohwow the diversity is giving me cancer.

It's the design bias AP players have/are receiving that's frustrating me.

Compare Maw to Athene's. Maw gets released. Sucks. Never touched again. (Getting nerfed in S3 if you can believe it.) Athene's gets released, good but not OP. Gets buffed to OP WITHIN TWO WEEKS. Maw doesn't see any work in a MONTH, Athene's gets buffed the goddamn patch after release. It's that right there that should explain to you how much more attention APs get than anyone else. How about DFG versus Atma's? One of them enforces all champions who can use it to build it, and has seen two revamps within half a year. One of them got nerfed in to uselessness then never touched again. I'll take "riot why you so favor AP?" for $100 Alex. Both items are considered toxic by Riot. BOTH items are considered must-buys when good. One of them gets revamped twice and stays good even after nerfed, one of them is not for AP players.

Riot has so much observable bias they could just bottle the air in their offices and release it as a new fragrance called "bias." People would be able to SMELL it. How about this. AD champions all build the same way. AP champions all build differently. Who saw significantly more work on top of a (real) mana build path being added? The class that already had diverse item builds. That makes sense right? Spend more time on what is already working fantastically rather than whats busted. Hey guys, AP champions are only sometimes good in TT. Better release 3 new items there to help them! Better revamp both of them within a month! Oh AD, you're still useless on TT? Well you're not AP at all so we don't care. 

Riot keeps saying AP itemization is so healthy, then keeps putting all their focus on them.

Compare end game AD casters to AP casters. AD casters do: More damage. AP casters: Have positive and negative auras, have unique defensive effects, have unique aggressive effects, have %scaling to kick it up for end game, have DFG. Why not work on AD casters? Riot keeps crying over how bad AD itemization is and if it was just better that they could make AD assassins good... SO DO IT. It's their goddamn game, you can't cry about something you own not doing what you want when YOU own it. Hey I can cry all I want over how bad AD caster itemization is and how Talon is terrible past 25 minutes. I can't change it. But when Riot does it, and 2 years later hasn't changed it? I lose all pity. 

And then, and this is really what sets me off, to just keep doing more and more and more and more for AP champions THEN REMOVING PILLAGER because it might be unhealthy for the game. Well jesus fuck me christ, how unhealthy is the ability to go invulnerable for 2.5 seconds for the game? How about the ability to buy an item that ensures anyone without MR automatically dies in 1 combo and doubles as an anti-tank item? How unhealthy is it for a class to gain more and more options so that they can always counter build whatever they're up against? Talon on the opposing team? Get an early hourglass so you can invuln his combo in team fights and have enough armor to not die in the silence. Up against Leblanc? Well you got Abyssal, and Athene's, and Rylai's, and Rod of ages. Take your pick! Shit, combine two of them.

We've all played that game.

You know, that game where the designers clearly favored one aspect of it. An RPG where one class has all 3 of their talent trees viable while other classes might struggle to get 1 tree viable. An RTS where one faction is constantly receiving help on any unfavorable matchups while other factions are struggling all the time. That's AP right now. Their options, their ability to build against whatever they want and do it without sacrificing any power (take for example: How is a support player going to counter build a draven/blitzcrank lane? Build an armor item? You know, that armor item... the one... that supports) is getting simply crazy.

And the worst part is that the time put in to ensuring AP players are so babied is clearly and overtly taking time away from other classes. Where is the AD caster item? Where are all those bruiser items promised after Atma's got nerfed? Why did it take 2 years for supports players to finally see an overhaul? Why was the big push for AD players to be more diverse simply taking out phantom dancer and adding a replacement? You know why? We had to spend all our time coming up with new AP items. 

And in the end, please consider this Riot.

You have so many neglected classes that build the same items game in game out. ADs basically just saw "phantom dancer removed, phantom dancer replacement items added." Bruisers saw... nothing. AD casters got to see "JACKBOT... no wait bust." Etc. Basically, you're hurting other classes because of your clear design bias towards AP. Maybe you're not making them OP (oh, no, wait you are) but you sure as hell are making them stand out wayyyy above what other classes can bring. Can you give me a single actual reason to bring Talon over Leblanc? Even NOW Leblanc is the better pick and what do you think will happen when she sees a significant increase in options?

Consider SF3. Chun Li wasn't particularly OP because her moves were OP, she was OP because she just had an option to deal with any feasible situation. That's AP champions right now. With AD carries going down in power we're going to see the #2 class shoot up into #1, and with all these new items and toys they're going to be far more up #1. 

Please remember that not everyone loves AP as much as you do. Many of us enjoy playing Talon, Olaf, Zyra (who is apparently a support now) and Nautilus. We like seeing health itemization, damage itemization, burst itemization. And not just "this item has good stats!" but "this item has damage AND unique effects that play perfectly in to what AD assassins have needed!" We aren't looking for an item that has 1000 HP and 30 damage for Olaf, we're looking for items that give Olaf the ability to do things he doesn't do baseline. That's it, right there. Give OTHER classes than AP the ability to do things that they don't do baseline through items. 

Follow me on twitter @hashinshin

Leave a comment below.



  • #160 MannerPots

    Everyone in the comments is saying "qq, ap not op, ap  need buffs" that's off topic. he didn't (well he mentioned it once and that was stupid, they aren't op and he opened himself to these arguments) that ap is op, he said they have more options. don't make ad casters better, give them options, people will figure out how to use the options to be stronger. imagine if ap only had 6 total items to choose from. no matter which 6 you  pick, it's going to make some champs less viable. that is what ad casters and bruisers and everyone else has right now. you can't buff bt or brutalizer to make pantheon better, cause it will make other champs op. we need variety, not a one size fits all build that fits some champs better than others.

  • #158 Teleclast

    What I don't understand is with the nerfs to making AD casters so reliant on mana (see Jayce and Talon) to the point where they need blue or someone like soraka, why not give us a damn Chalice upgrade that's for AD casters?

  • #159 CovertGhoul

    word, i mean the manamune is basically that however...

    Last edited by CovertGhoul: 11/28/2012 1:46:49 AM
  • #154 tronatula

    I think Riot have been being biased  AP champs so much, please bring back bruisers like Pantheon or Assasins to LoL life!

  • #155 WayneX

    Quote from tronatula »

    I think Riot have been being biased  AP champs so much, please bring back bruisers like Pantheon or Assasins to LoL life!

    yeah cuz spamming your spear on that squishy mage is so fun . lol 

  • #152 Jaigarman

    Brusiers got Nothing?  They got a whole new stat called Slow Resistance and the Zephyr.

  • #150 Nosyaiel

    Registered to comment on this.

    Are you fucking kidding me? You act like an eight year old kid who didn't get any Christmas presents.

    Ap mids are dominated by every other role in the game (even half the supports screw us over.) Without itemization to allow for flexibility in our builds and the capability to spot-counter champions, we lack anything.

    As of right now, the tanky dps meta can follow an extremely cookie-cutter build, and proceed to wreck us. If we build for survivability, we lack damage, and if we build for damage, we melt. ADCs are saved by the fact that they can lifesteal obscene amounts of health back, and no matter what people try to say, spell vamp is nowhere near equal. Tanky dps has more HP and mres than we can deal with, and Merc treads being the best boot choice for them doesn't help our situation.

    On top of that, the changes to Black cleaver and the penetration formula makes what little defenses we can afford to itemize null and void. THEN add in a physical Madred's with a lifesteal component that makes it impossible to escape, and you have the reason why we get more attention.

    And yes, we have DFG. Explain to me how DFG destroys your entire team. Late game, it can hit one person for a decent amount. It definitely helps against a single target. 1v1 it would be bought every game. This isn't a 1v1 game. On top of that, it's going to cost us 3k to build. That's a huge investment for champions that already have problems getting where we need to be in terms of reliable counters for tanky dps.

    If you really can't see that EVEN WITH all these nice new toys, we're still in a rough place, you really need to try playing ap mid, so you can see just how much our life is ruined by the current meta.

    Notes: please refrain from using vulgair language
    Last edited by Nosyaiel: 12/1/2012 6:03:10 PM
  • #151 WayneX

    amen brother!


  • #153 Jaigarman

    It should also be said that DFG's active bonus, the bonus 20% damage dealt to target, can be completely nullified by a good stun on the AP carry or a Zhonya's.

    The thing is, the BC and penetration changes hurt APs a little bit, but its designed to hurt bruisers more.  Yes, they will benefit from the changes more, but they will lose some tankiness.  Also BotRK isn't that strong of an item.  Its pricey for the stats you get, and the 4% CURRENT health proc isn't as strong as it seems.  The active on it is nice though, but its range is a bit short.

    Grail also took a big big nerf.  I just don't see design favoritism for AP casters.

  • #156 Badalia



  • #148 yarumasi

    Most of these changes were oriented to benefit 3v3 players. You think AP players had it good? We weren't even viable until BFT came out. So, yeah, trust me, you're looking at it from one side of the coin. 

  • #147 exacerberus

    A couple of little buffs to AD caster itemization:

    • The Black Cleaver
      now gives 15 armor penetration, up from 10
    • The Brutalizer
      now gives 15 armor penetration, up from 10
    • Youmuu's Ghostblade
      now gives +20 Armor Penetration, up from 15
    • The Bloodthirster
      Now costs 650, down from 1000

    ... sheer coincidence?

  • #149 phracture

    Quote from exacerberus »

    A couple of little buffs to AD caster itemization:

    • The Black Cleaver
      now gives 15 armor penetration, up from 10
    • The Brutalizer
      now gives 15 armor penetration, up from 10
    • Youmuu's Ghostblade
      now gives +20 Armor Penetration, up from 15
    • The Bloodthirster
      Now costs 650, down from 1000

    ... sheer coincidence?

    Not sheer coincidence, but design changes to keep the items at the same power they were at before. 

    Bloodthirster is the same price because vamp scepter now requires a long sword to build it

    The other armor penetration increase is due to the mastery changes and the fact that armor is easier to get on anyone now.

  • #142 CrazedMcCrazy

    This, this thing you have, this thing you managed to create with a simple post on RoG, Hashinshin, this is power.

    Within a blink of an eye you made the entire community revolve around your post and your discontent towards classes itemization and even more quickly you got Riot in a sort of panic trying to calm everyone down while miserably failing at hiding their insecurities.

    Like I said... power and god dammit, you've done a great job!


    And I agree with you. The thing with AP itemization is not that it's overpowered, because it's not, it's just that it's perfect. Absolutely balanced. You can build every single stat in game (armor, MR, MS, AS, health, mana... every-single-thing) and always, always get AP and in decent amounts. It's perfect.

    Now the real issue is, like you so wisely said, despite this ideal equilibrium AP gets, they're the only ones who get it. That's what makes it, by comparison with the remaining classes, unbalanced and biased. 

    I'm quite surprised, though, that Riot failed so miserably at understanding the issue. Besides the usual wave of condescending bullshit they tried throwing at everyone's faces, they would usually just accuse clear argumentation of being full of rage and thus not worthy of their godly replies.


    Anyway, hell of a job, Hashinshin, hell of a job...

  • #138 Gilaeth

    Wow. I didn't expect an idiotic ragerant from somebody trusted to post on RoG. So, a few points:

    ADs actually received a number of new options. Blade of the Ruined King, for example, is an incredible madred's replacement for tank melting, provided that the "dealing physical damage" remains, rather than magic. The quicksilver upgrade is an awesome defensive option, and the hurricane provides an alternative for specific games where they may want more AoE to single target dps (unless they are kogmaw, where yes, it is pretty much always going to be built.) Overall, the single-target damage optimal builds will not change. Did you expect it to? This is a website that is VERY mathy. You, of all people - given your colleagues - should realize that single target DPS can be very easily quantified to exactly which build to go, regardless of options. The fact that there is NO SCALING ON AD FOR AUTO ATTACKS is why. Unless you are looking to change the roles completely of AD carries (and thus, no longer being AD carries) then their itemization WILL remain relatively limited. There does remain room for improvement, of course, but what Riot gave AD carries is options for branching out a bit from single target DPS.

    As for all the AP items. An item having an AP ratio does not make it exclusively for AP carries. A large number of the new items have synergy with bruisers and tanks who have AP scaling. While I do agree - to an extent - that AP carries received a large amount of love this patch, I completely disagree that it is any form of favoritism. 

    *Shrugs* This is just a quick response while on break at work, so my apologies for not in-depth responding. Really, though, perhaps when you rage this hard over something, have somebody look over your article before you post it. I do the same thing when angry, because it's easy to react inappropriately when you feel your preferred <insert preference here> has been shafted. Articles like this have absolutely no place on this website.

  • #132 Cerbereth

    I think you've jumped the shark Hashinshin. A few weeks ago all you talked about was how op ranged ad carries were and how Riot needed to nerf phantom dancer. Riot nerfed phantom dancer, but your not only not happy about that you now hate ap carries.

    I mean you said yourself that you didn't think it was right that the game revolved around adcs and that some other class(es) should knock them off their perch. I said it was a bad idea, but I didn't win you did.

    "With AD carries going down in power we're going to see the #2 class shoot up into #1, and with all these new items and toys they're going to be far more up #1."

    That is what you asked for. Adcs got nerfed to the number two spot. Are you mad you got what you wanted or are you mad that your pet class (bruisers) didn't become #1 instead of ap carries?

    Whats worse is you caused a bunch of players to go on general discussion with your article and grill Morello and Xypherous over this "ap conspiracy," and I like Morello and Xypherous.  


    Last edited by Cerbereth: 11/19/2012 5:08:16 PM
  • #130 rogirk

    Hashishin post this in @riotpls reddit, not here.

  • #128 CovertGhoul

    Fiora + Hydra is pretty lawl, lol.  Riot doesn't seem to mind it either....

  • #129 OuterRaven

    Mostly because Fiora gets stomped against most (if not all) bruisers. Why would they worry about something so easily countered as Fiora?

  • #127 VirusHazard

    I'll bother reading one of your articles when it's not about you bitching about everything

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