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.



  • #126 guy420

    I agree but this belongs to the RIOT forums, its not an article.

    The problem for LoL: theres 2 stats. Basically, just 2 stats: you have AD, and you have AP. The problem? AD goes with autoattacks, AP dont unless you get an item/you have an skill which does so. Buff AD items and ADC will go out of the roof.

    The problem of LoL is that its not DotA, and therefore it will never be balanced. The fact that dota has str,agi and int makes it so you can make a proper tank/bruiser item, and base 50% of is effectiveness on it giving you strenght. Then str carries wont get it, because 50% of stats are for tanks/bruisers.

    Its sad, but RIOT has had 4 years to demonstrate the contrary, and they didnt.

  • #125 Rain

    Well, remind me to stop reading Shinshin posts. This is just blind rage, the type I tend to see from GD or /r/leagueoflegends, nothing new. Come back with some real arguments.

  • #122 Rispudding

    This post was funny. All that sweet rage. Hashinshin makes a few valid points, but fails completely by denying all the nice items that have actually been introduced.

    Frozen Fist is an amazing for tanks and bruiser with ap scaling. Want more damage, utility, armor, mana and CD as Nautilus/Skarner/Hecarim/Malphite/Amumu/Leona/Poppy/++? Build FF and get them all in one. AoE shen proc with slow on it OP (build it on GP for ranged AOE shen proc slow!) 

    Need to counter a burst AP and you have sustain? Build the improved SV. Shrug of their burst and heal it right up. 

    Mercurial Scimitar boosts slot effeciency for ADCs as well as giving bruiser and assassins a good counter peel item. Getting CC'ed and killed by nukes while trying to dive carries? Get Mercurial Scimitar cleanse their CC and get an insane speed boost. 

    BC is amazing on tanky ad casters and it synergize amazingly with Tiamat. Enemy stacking armor? Build BC on a AD caster and shred their entire team. Congratz your bruiser is now relevant all game and has great utility.

    SotD is OP as hell. You'r Talon and want to be relevant lategame? Build SotD, add a IE for more fun, 3 shot anyone with less then 150 armor. Everyone has above 150 armor? Build LW (and/or get a bruiser to build BC). Once you have IE + SotD + LW + bruta/flat pen item and a bruiser on your team shredding some armor for you no not even the tanks will be safe from your burst.

    Hydra is awesome on riven and other high AD melee auto attackers. AOE dmg that you lifesteal of yes plz. Your a bruiser or adc with high single target dmg and want to be great at teamfighting. Build Hydra do massive aoe damage. Want to be even better at teamfighting? Build a BC also and AOE shred.  1 Fiora ult and their entire team has 30% less armor. 

    Hashinshin cries over mana stacking becoming a viable build path on APs. Lol. They also made it viable on ADs with Muramana. Abilty spammers like Yorik, Pantheon and Urgot can get a lot more burst damage through burning their mana. Lvl 18 Panth ads 145 magic damage to his AA and abilites with only Muramana for mana, this in the addition to the 56 ad Muramana gives with that amount of mana. Throw in a FF or FH if you like for more spam(cd) and burst with tankyness included. 

    Alternative AD build? Have your tried BoRK + RH? Your AD now does massive AOE dmg and can self peel. Give that AD a redbuff and he applies it to 3 targets. Throw in a BC and your ad shreds 3 targets. Getting dived? Get Zephyr and Mercurial Scimitar. Want to get multiple pentas in one game? Go Kog with BorK + RH...

    2 out of the 3 new jungler items are suited for bruisers and tanks, while 1 is suited for APs. A jungling Hecarim/Olaf/Nocturne/Darius/Xin/++ can now apply AOE true dmg.  

    Ohmwrecker not a good item? Have you seen a CLG EU match? Replay of that famous M5 vs CLG EU match, but M5 now has a Ohmwrecker. You even complained about ROA. Ohmwrecker builds from catalyst giving the same sustain in lane...

    BoRK gives an insane damage and sustain boost to any bruiser that has good AS, and also gives good sticking power. It builds from Bilgewater Cutlass which is a great early item for sustain, screw being forced to build wriggles, you can build Cutlass now without having to sell it later. Your jax/olaf/xin or have some AS built all ready and want to melt faces, killing carries or even whole teams? Build BoRK. 

    TL;DR? Stop crying Hashinshin and go try the new items

    Last edited by Rispudding: 11/19/2012 12:34:49 PM
  • #134 Dredbr1nger

    Merc Scim's speed boost only works if you're a melee.

    You are correct in everything else but that.


  • #136 FatsXL

    He didn't say that wasn't the case. He said it boosts slot efficiency for ADC, which it does, because some currently buy QSS. Now they'll be able to have that and some extra AD.

  • #118 scruftypufty

    this guy shouldn't be allowed to post here O_o this wasn't an artival this was a random guy saying his opinion without thinking about what the thoughts wre behind it or what other ppl would say about it, it's just a guy raging which is retarded

  • #113 CuddleBunni

    To be fair, AP champions need that itemization to stay relevant. AD Carries will still hyper carry though late game, some of the new items do open up some massive changes to viability and builds for a handful of champions. Supports and tanks are designed so that they shouldn't need much more attention.

    Leaving bruisers and ad casters. Bruisers were such a pain to balance forever ago, that they're probably scared of going too far. Especially now that TT is relevant. AD Casters, I think, just need their own version of DFG.

  • #109 den3erwtinabalw

    I think most of the items with ap are not actually mage items but support items... I think riots goal was to give supports the option to build ap while keeping utility with ap items that have supportive actives. The new items dont really give a passive for a mage or enough ap to be considered mage viable 

  • #107 AncientSpark

    What I don't get is how we're supposed to take away that you're an impartial judge that can clearly oversee Riot's bias without being biased yourself. I'm a jungler and a top bruiser player and, while I sort of agree with what you're saying, I don't agree that you get to assign intent to the company.

    For example, in the thread, you mentioned Wizards hate for red and their bias towards white/blue. Well, as it turns out, white used to be one of the weakest colors in the game, so much so that people used to have hours long bitching fests like you are having right now on how much shit white was. Further more, you didn't actually bother looking into WHY the colors are the way they are; they can't, say, magically take away card drawing from blue because it screws up both the lore and what players expect from the game. Sure, they can nerf it (like they nerfed counterspells), but because blue has dominant domain over one of the important parts of the game, blue will still be integral to the game. Lets not even get started on the evolution of green from hilarious joke to being a constant player in the metagame.

    With applications to LoL, sure, I might not agree with what Riot is doing with AP itemization, nor do I agree with how long Riot has taken to fix AD caster itemization. But it really does sound completely petulant when you keep throw a tantrum and try and claim that AP is Riot's "pet" class. Notice how on the thread, Morello has basically stopped responding to you? It's like when reporters go up to the President and go "How's it feel to be the number one socialist in America?" Sure, they COULD respond to you. Do you DESERVE a response?

    Besides, I don't think you remember the days before Deathcap, dude.

  • #104 Yaawei

    lol hashinshin is such a stupid rager 

  • #103 brabroke

    well, i think its fair, look how many AP casters we have.


    and then look at how many AD caster we have

    Talon, Zed, Pantheon, Garen.. thats it.

    I guess you couls say Lee Sin, Ezreal, Corki and Renekton is some how partially AD casters bt they rely on auto attacks mainly still.

    I think Riot need an item for AP Physical DPS like Elise... jst kidding

  • #105 Blastronaut

    You forgot Kha'Zix, Riven, and Urgot (he used to be, anyway). They're AD casters as well. Renekton is a full on AD caster, if Garen is too.

  • #108 ordosan

    ren is full caster. build him 40% cdr(still pissed if hansin is right about removal of pillager) and you use his aa mabey once twice between his skills

  • #120 brabroke

    Riven isnt really an ad caster, her spells is mobility based rather than damage, I mean u still mainly auto attacks as damage source as riven, bt because your AD ratio is so high, you focus AD items. I give u that on Urgot though

    Renekton... sorta... bt still hes mostly right clicking

  • #123 Blastronaut

    You autoattack to trigger her passive. Which is pretty much an ability in and of itself with it's high AD ratio.

  • #131 brabroke

    ye bt its a passive, u wouldnt say Twitch is a caster cos his auto attacks adds passive


    bt speak of auto attack passive, I would say Darius is also an AD caster.

    and corki... no, hes wierd, hes a mage who turn into AD ranged carry, jst like any casters in DOTA lol

  • #121 PMilkos

    Item for AP melees?

    Frozen Fist says high :p

  • #102 iain

    And yet we are seeing the majority of the traditional "ap mages" that rely on range and burst rapidly disappear in favor of high mobility and/or tanky AP's such as Katarina, Diana, and Cho'Gath... or even completely forgoing the AP mid and throwing a bruiser mid to dominate the lane.

    For all your complaining that Riot is completely biased about AP's and have been getting all the good items, the majority of them seem to be in a pretty poor spot. Having your favorite role keep being in the spotlight and keep getting ridiculous changes isn't always a good thing, my friend. 

  • #111 exacerberus

    1 post. Did you really sign in just and this is your contribution? Sorry to ask, but... what was your point exactly? Because really dude, I didn't understand it.

    Edited: made it sugary to comply with hypocritical, compulsory civil code (evidently, implying that someone is talking nonsense is unbearably offensive). Now explain me this (from the main article above):

    Well jesus fuck me christ

    Last edited by exacerberus: 11/19/2012 11:03:45 AM
  • #112 gekkos

    keep it civil please...


  • To post a comment, please or register a new account.
Posts Quoted:
Clear All Quotes