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. 

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Leave a comment below.



  • #88 ZeMarmotte

    QWER to win is much better, right? It's harder to teamfight with a bruiser than it is with an AP carry.

  • #61 sabrelime

    Did EVERYBODY forget about the fact that riot has added multiple items and changed masteries around to try and make melee carries viable? As far as your complaints for brusiers is concerened, if AP carries become to strong they can be nerfed like anyone else, Ad carries have been specficially nerfed, morello even agrees that they need to weaker, so how exactly do you think it would work if suddenly brusiers were made more powerful for more of the game, when they can already are the strongest early game by design? Do you not see the blatant issue with this?

  • #63 OuterRaven

    We're not asking for bruisers to get stronger, we're asking for item diversity. AP champs have a wide range of items to choose from, AD carries don't have any item diversity since they all build the same items. Bruisers basically build Phage+Hexdrinker every game, with a few exceptions. Most AD casters at the moment don't have a single item where stats don't go to waste (except for Brutalizer). And supports pretty much just get double gp10, Aegis and Shurelya's.

    Again, we're not asking for power, we're asking for diversity.

  • #65 Xyltin

    That's it (except that some bruisers build TriForce, too).
    It is not about raw power, but about the item choice. It gives actually some power, but only in certain situations. But AD assassins are actually in a very small niche, cause of that lack of items. melee ADCs have that problem, too. They don't want to build more dmg, but some dmg + survivability to survive for more than 3 sec. They can lose dmg, but they need some survivability.
    How does it currently look like? You can build a full dmg item first and then a defensive item, what makes you very squishy for some time. You build one survivability item first and then dmg, what means your dmg will be very weak (ADC without a dmg item? can't kill a support).
    You pick a dmg item like zeal or B.F sword first and then swap over to defensive? means you will lose effectiveness, cause finishes recipes are way more effective in terms of gold and synergy.
    The solution would be items that can give you both. Not as much from both, but both at the same time in one item.

  • #71 FatsXL

    Tiamat & upgrade, Manamune & upgrade, Blade of the King, Black Cleaver, Mercurial Scimitar & Frozen Mallet price drop with more AD all give bruisers and melee ADs more options. If you're a hybrid the new rageblade is pretty attractive too and Zephyr could prove worthwhile on melee carries.

    Further I'd argue the issue with AD bruisers wasn't the lack of item options but the fact their damage didn't scale well into late game. That is being rectified with the penetration changes. Now you can buy a ghostblade and Last whisperer without wasting stats. And on that note critical chance is never a waste on an AD caster, if you aren't mixing in regular auto attacks with your spells you are not realizing your full damage potential -- auto attacks deal more DPS, especially with crit.

    Last edited by FatsXL: 11/18/2012 9:41:10 PM
  • #100 OuterRaven

    Play as Talon, get to mid-late game, use your combo and then try to auto attack more than once. You can't, he gets bursted to death as soon as his combo is over, unless he used his ult to run away, which in that case you won't get to auto attack either. Also, I'd like to see you play Renekton or Wukong or any other AD caster and then say that his auto attacks do more damage than his skills. I never said you shouldn't auto attack, but saying that the auto attacks from an AD caster do more damage than his skills is just stupid. If that's the case then all AD casters like Renekton or Talon would be melee carries. You obviously don't know what you're talking about.

  • #140 FatsXL

    I didn't say auto attacks deal more damage, I said auto attacks deal more DPS. DPS means 'damage per second' if you aren't aware of the acronym, in other words damage over time.

    Auto attacks have 1.0 AD scaling which can be doubled or more via criticals, and most AD casters have an attack speed around 1 per second. So unless their spells have 1.0 to 2.0 AD scaling per each second of cooldown (hint: they don't), then mathematically basic attacks will deal more damage over time (DPS) than spells. This is an indisputable fact.

    Spells are burst. They deal more damage at a given moment than auto attacks.
    Auto attacks are sustained damage. They deal more damage over time (DPS) than spells.

    Do you understand?

    As for Talon, if all you are doing as Talon is jumping in, tossing out a W and Q then using your ult to leave, you are the one who does not know what he is talking about. And for the record his Q is an auto attack modifier so it benefits from criticals.

    Last edited by FatsXL: 11/20/2012 12:12:27 AM
  • #141 Gameguy301
    im no talon player but isnt his standard combo E W auto attack Q R W auto attack Q? that seems like some major damage on a carry, mage, or support. even if you die on the spot after the fact you did your job.

    talons issue has always been poor laneing this is a product of his crappy sustain (it got nerfed after his release which BTW saw extensive tournament play), i cant help but feel any and all talon complaints boil down to poor late game as a result of being shut down early. if they would just give back a fraction of what they took away im sure hed be right back on top.
    Last edited by Gameguy301: 11/20/2012 12:24:25 AM
  • #59 paintballreturns

    lolhash sucks. nothing new here

  • #58 CovertGhoul

    Hashinshin is totally right.  Try playing an AD caster in platinum/diamond and then come back to this post.  We are going to see a huge influx of pure AP line-ups.  I really do not see a point in going AD anything now.  The Muramana, the Scimitar, the new cleaver, and etc are all great, but these are items that should have already existed. 

    The new DFG, Frozen Fist, Landry's Torment, etc are all SOOOO STRONG.  Hell AD Casters like Garen lose out if they get a sheen or a glacial shroud, so thats a pretty huge fuck you.  The Sheen and the Glacial Shrouds basically make a character a tier high if they can use them.  Those 2 items are so huge.  They also nerfed the warden's mail, the mallet, and the MAW which a huge fuck you to Bruisers.


    I feel like the game is going to feel even more DOTA centric.  Hell in the jungle you have to go machete now, which is less item choices for the jungle at the front.  Everyone has less itemization now, where before you'd have more.  Buying any mitigation is going to feel bad with the pen changes compared to buying HP, and with the new anti-hp items, HP will also feel bad.  Making melee DPS feel TERRIBLE.  Melting before you do damage feels bad, and when you have less tanky options, you will completely melt.  CC/Ranged options just gained a ton of stock.  Sure, they added masteries/tiems that will help with CC, but you are going to be better off just picking CC characters. 

    The number of viable top laners/junglers are going to hugely suffer because of these changes.


    The new item that creates a blizzard is bullshit, that and the frozen fist can go fuck themselves.

  • #69 FatsXL

    ? Huh? no, Mallet was buffed. It has more AD and costs less. How in the hell is that a nerf? As for wardens you are forgetting that is is 150g cheaper and can now be upgraded into 2 different items.


  • #79 CovertGhoul

    Well, it is cheaper and does give more HP/ad (hp was nerfed, so it giving the same hp is a buff) however with all ranged carries getting a zephyr by late game + 1 less second of slow, thats like 1.5 seconds less slow.  It has less utility now, and that bugs me.  I do like the extra damage though.


  • #56 Shinnyshin

    I generally hate everything that comes out of Hashinshin's mouth.  I feel he tends to kneejerkily rant against whatever he's currently annoyed with, regardless of whether he has a case, for the sake of being loud, annoyed, and irrational.


    Which is why it pains me to have to agree with him so much.  Pretty much everything here is spot-on, if presented in a rather dramatic manner.  AP items have a way of providing significant power boosts with unique traits.  What's more, the components of bigger items are useful by themselves.  Chalice, Catalyst, Hextech Revolver, Tear (to a lesser extent), etc...  They're all extremely useful items you can buy that give you immediate power and are also components of much bigger heavy-hitting items.


    The only thing tanky types had that's remotely in the same category (affordable immediate power with unique traits that's a major component of a heavy-hitting power item) is probably Warden's Mail.  And that's getting destroyed.  Tanky types only have one item that awesome, so it's the nail that sticks up.  Whereas pretty much every AP item is at that standard and anything that isn't is seen as underpowered.

  • #55 LordSpectreX

    BTW, 41 of 107 champs build generic AP items. Far more than any other role. This is also me being generous and not including Kog Maw, Ezreal, Nidalee, Maokai, Amumu, Nunu etc, who all can be built AP.

    APs take up half the game. Complaining that they get more itemization choices when bruisers don't is completely insane.

  • #57 OuterRaven

    Except most AD casters don't have any items that don't feel weird or a waste when buying them? Bloodthirster? Sure, the damage is nice, but the lifesteal is going to waste because you barely auto attack at all. Yoummu's Ghostblade? Armor pen and cdr is always welcome, but the crit chance is a waste and I only use the active to chase or to run away, the atk speed is useless.

    Plus, please explain how was LVD's Pillager "unhealthy" for the game, when it only gives some damage, armor pen, cdr and some spell vamp, but DFG isn't? Or, like Hashinshin said, why hasn't Riot touched Atma's Impaler at all?

  • #60 Xyltin

    So you are saying that when a champ would come to lol and has a completely new role, and he doesn't have items for his role (what makes him UP), that this is fine as long as the majority of the roles has the items? So why bother introducing such a champ if you never intent to make him right and fix him as good as possible?

    And making more AP's doesn't mean they need more items. Cause at a certain amount of combinations, you don't give them more choices but redundant ones. So the number of champs for a roles has nothing to do with the amount of items. But the amount of item choices has something to do with balancing, and a champ that has a low amount of choices will always be a niche champ while the others will be main picks.

    So your argument is 100% off topic and has nothing to do with the situation explained and doesn't solve the problem or makes the game better. It doesn't even give constructive criticism or really counters any argument given about the bad itemization for AD assassins and some AD casters.

    And about AD scaling champs: 100% of the champs in the game scale with AD, so there should be way more AD (also AS and crit) items than AP items.

    Last edited by Xyltin: 11/18/2012 8:13:51 PM
  • #54 OuterRaven

    AD casters will always get the shaft. They keep saying they want to bring AD assassins back, but so far they've done absolutely nothing to make me believe they're actually trying. The removal of LVD's Pillager showed exactly how much Riot really cares about AD casters.

  • #52 exacerberus

    But Hashinshin... you play AP champions too... Riot may not be eager to help the manliness of your Jarvan in his Noxian a55-kicking duties, but for sure the hammer of your Xerath benefits a lot from their itemization biases...

    Nah joking: AP itemization is hands-down better. You should still thank god they gave to AD champions (and particularly to melee bruisers and AD casters) the option to get Mercurial Scimitar (that item is expensive but it's worth the price).

  • #62 Xyltin

    True, Mercurial is a great item, but they said they would improve the itemization for Bruisers, AD assassins/casters and melee ADC.
    not they will release this one item to solve these 3 problems?
    We got AD + HP at least (BC).
    But how shall melee ADC survive mid game? They have a pretty weak early game (Yi), a risky mid game (bursted down and no range) and when their DPS is finally awesome, they still can't survive the burst and CC. A Darius comes in dunks Yi to death. No chance for Yi to get some Armor.

    Riot has to realize that with the release of Talon, K'Z and Rengar, they have made 3 AD assassins that need actually as much AD + X items as Annie and Malz need AP + X items.
    Before, the AD itemization always had AD + AS + Crit, and the amount of all these 3 categories together was good (not great, but ok). But these AD assassins don't need 95% of these items. They actually only need Brutalizer, LW/BC and maybe BT. They can build TriForce (but it has a lot of wasted stats and is only there cause there is no alternative).

    You can't give a role one early game, 2 mid game and one late game item and think that this works out for a long time.
    in terms of strength, these champs are 100% fine. But in terms of itemization, they are left alone by Riot, and even their promise didn't help, cause it seems they don't keep it.

    Last edited by Xyltin: 11/18/2012 8:27:14 PM
  • #68 exacerberus

    I feel your pain. In all honesty balancing AD caster and manaless bruiser itemization shouldn't be so hard. Just some examples:

    • simply, add Lord Van Damm's Pillager to SR
    • make a Warden Mail + Brutalizer item upgrade, give him 15% CDR, give him a Passive granting 15% slow on AAs and physical damage abilities (tag it Melee only)
    • buff Black Cleaver to be 15% Armor bebuff (+ 5% Armor debuff per additional AA or Phys damage ability proc, stackable 2 times)
    • remove Crit Chance from Atma, keep Chain Vest (or swap with Cloth Armor if you feel it's too OP): change the recipe swapping Cloak of Agility for a Pickaxe or even better, Long Sword + Ruby Crystal; adjust the total item price accordingly; maintain the passive (tag it Melee only)
    • buff Maw of Malmortius passive to give 1 AD for every 2% missing health , increase the the Unique passive shield strength to 500 dmg absorption
    • swap BF Sword for Pickaxe in Mercurial Scimitar recipe, add 35 Tenacity to the item, lower a bit the price

    Oh, looks like I've balanced melee AD caster/bruiser/assassin itemization in 5 minutes... It was so hard... Hire me Riot.

    Oh the other hand I must say I enjoy the new options for support champions.

    Last edited by exacerberus: 11/19/2012 1:37:56 AM
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