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.



  • #51 erslev

    Seems like every comment is either a complaint against hashinshin or someone crying along with him. How does hashinshin keep his keyboard dry, I wonder? "AP Players you are spoiled and you should feel bad." Even without considering the fact that LoL players are expected to play every role, aren't about half the champions in the game AP? Hashinshin is the only writer for this website who consistently posts articles that offer no useful information or strategic commentary... just complaints. I can't figure out if he's here to widen the website's audience or if he's just kept around as a parody of the kind of league players who talk like this. Regardless, it's pretty easy to NOT click on his articles and even easier to NOT read them so I guess complaints against him, including mine, are kind of unfounded. I guess a lot of readers like me are confused because the stuff he writes just doesn't seem to fit in here.

  • #53 Hashinshin

    funny, clicking here to comment does legitimately the exact same thing as reading it all. Thank you for your patronage! 

  • #135 Cerbereth

    So what you don't care if your articles are true as long as people comment? Some serious journalistic standards you have there.

  • #49 LordSpectreX

    Didn't know Reign of Gaming suddenly wanted to be GameFAQs.

  • #46 porkcchop

    AD Caster items = INDIRECT RIVEN BUFFS. 

  • #48 Xyltin

    Riven is actually pretty happy currently with BT + GA.

    She wants some Armor and MR and she wants a lot of AD. But compared to KZ or Talon or even Garen, she can use the life steal. Maybe it would make her a tick stronger, but do you hold back items for a role cause of one champ? Nerf that champ after that if needed. It will happen to Kog and Teemo now that hurricane is coming.

    try to take a chain vest early as an AD assassin. And then what? you want to use it  in combination for an AD item.
    Do the same thing as an AP champ => Zhonyas.
    Negatron => Abyssal
    Ruby crystal => HG
    Giants Belt => Rylais

    You can take every defensive stat and combine it with your main stat.
    The only thing an AP champ can't combine with AP is HP reg (couldn't cause the new jungle item for APs has it).
    (And ArPen + AP isn't possible, but that is a combination that actually nobody wants to get).

    Last edited by Xyltin: 11/18/2012 7:02:44 PM
  • #45 Xyltin

    It is less about the strength of the items (even when a lot of new ones are OP now), but about the amount of possible build paths for each role and how they can react in the game.

    In this game, it is very important to react to your enemies build and champ composition. The more good choices you have, the harder it will be to shut you down.

    AP champs have these choices (they had them since beta already). That's why they keep getting used (e.g. Karthus) even when the meta shifts a bit. They can get the items they need. Abyssal, Rylais, WotA, ROA, Deathcap, .... What item needs to be rushed first? The one that helps you do your job for this game.

    What does an ADC build?
    IE, BT
    PD or TriForce (Corki and Ez only)
    LW (if the enemy uses armor)
    GA or QSS as defensive options

    What does Talon build?
    Brutalizer (no upgrades for burst assassins), BT (doesn't want life steal, but there is no other option), LW, TriForce? (not really ideal with the AP and mana he doesn't need late game, also crit and AS are actually wasted), GA (you don't need the revive thing, but the Armor and MR probably).

    There are no options.  there is no chance to react to your enemies build. Where is the Armor + AD item? where is the possible MR + AD item (hextrinker good early, but MoM is crap).
    HG got an upgraded version (a good item), cause AP champs thought they would need another item with AP + HP but instead of a slow, they wanted more MPen.
    Brutalizer stays pretty bad for assassins late game cause it doesn't have such an option. Same with hextrinker.

    Last edited by Xyltin: 11/18/2012 6:55:35 PM
  • #66 Tomaj

    I do believe the QSS upgrade is the MR+AD item outside of Hexdrinker/Maw. Which still leaves an Armor+AD item to be desired, I know, but I guess they want Atma's to still fill that niche (too bad it's really only great on GP and Garen because it's crit, not AD).


    Last edited by Tomaj: 11/18/2012 9:06:24 PM
  • #72 Xyltin

    AD + MR is a bit different.
    A lot of strong items that have a good build path get built like Hextrinker (2 cheap items) and then added with another more expensive item (like MoM) or like Rylais, from 3 items (normally 1 cheap and 2 bit more expensive ones or 3 more expensive ones).

    Now Mercurial gets built out of 2 items that both cost around 1550-1660g and another 600g. It is not only very expensive, but it is a pure late game item, nothing you can build like a Rylais, Abyssal or RAO. Even Zhonyas is easier to build. If QSS would have some AD in it or B.F. sword some MR, it would be different. If you would use Hextrinker + QSS to get that item, it would be different, or even better, hextrinker + B.F. sword.

    It is not about the pure strength of the item, but the build path makes it unacceptable pre 20 min. You can't get a B.F. sword and then build one QSS. It makes you vulnerable to physical dmg and will let all other stats down. No HP or anything. And finishing it means you focus so much gold into one item early as only an ADC or a really fed player can do.

    Don't understand me wrong. The item gives MR and AD, and it is very good. But the build path is nearly impossible to go early on. It is an item for your last 2, maybe 3 slots, after you got boots and at least 2 other major items.

    Now what we have are items like Brutalizer or Hextrinker. They are good early on and easy to build. No expensive item in there (similar to Hextech Revolver). But what we seek are items that use such items like Brutalizer, Hextrinker or a pick axe to get an upgraded version.
    Maw is actually the item wee seek in terms of the build path, but the item itself is bullsh*t (sorry for that word, but it is the truth). The only champs that can use it have to take a lot of survivability already to survive with low HP for some time or Trynda.
    If Maw would give a shield, straight MR and AD and maybe an active or passive that would be useful for more than one champ, it would be the AD + MR item most people probably want.

    Do the same thing with Brutalizer (not into BC, but like hunting guise into an item with more selfish usage, cause that is what most assassins want in the first place).
    Then also with some kind of armor item and we may be finished (some better crit itemization would also be nice to get, cause most crit items have crit as a secondary stat).

    Last edited by Xyltin: 11/18/2012 9:48:59 PM
  • #43 Nash19

    Never looked at it this way, but you're actually right.. I am pretty much sick of being forced to build my bruisers as tanks since Atma's was nerfed into oblivion, and they got no change + apparently the new jungle still sucks in terms of gold = you'll still have to build cheap, cost effective AKA tank items on your bruisers junglers.

    Don't mind the Diana icon. I am more of a bruiser (Jarvan, Olaf, Xin, Lee mainly) player.

    PS : I am not worried about AD carries because the game pretty much revoles around them, they will never be in a bad shape, but bruisers currently are and will probably still be in season 3. The only viable bruisers right now are OP Trinity Force Champions such as Jax or Irelia who're like tanks with amazing utility and carry-like damage.

    Instead of nerfing Jax and Irelia, they increased the cost on TF by 200 (not much but still), so everyone that built it (I.E. Jarvan) is also screwed in the process.

    Edit : sent Statikk a message talking about this, maybe I'll get an answer since he answered a thread I posted on Reddit this weekend about the new jungle.

    Last edited by Nash19: 11/18/2012 6:52:19 PM
  • #39 Katrex

    How is this an article on this site. Complaining for the sake of complaining. 

  • #41 Hashinshin

    go count new items for each class and come back to me

  • #36 TwinPyro

    I'm confused how did Maw get nerfed it seem to have received a buff??

  • #38 Hashinshin

    proc CD went from 60 to 90 second. 

  • #35 mooninites7

    just hashinshin bitching about bruisers not being retarded broken, nothing new here, move along

  • #47 Nash19

    I don't think it's fun that you're currently forced to build as a tank if you're not one of those retarded champions that are tanky bruisers with tank utility and carry-like sustained damage output. 

    If I wanted to build my champion as a tank I'd play Maokai, or Malphite, not Olaf Riven or Jarvan.

  • #124 Rispudding

    Build BoRK on Olaf. Lifesteal more and more as you get low and never die. Build Hydra on riven and damage and lifesteal of their whole team. Build BC on J4 and shred their whole team while you kill their carry, throw in a SoTD and that carry is dead before he lands from the knock up.

  • #33 keybler86

    Hashinshin reminds me of a homeless guy outside of Wal-Mart demanding healthcare for the tiny moon people inside his head.

    Seriously, does this guy ever have an article he doesn't cry about injustice in?

  • #50 Xyltin

    He does make it loud and shouts out his opinion. But that doesn't mean that he is wrong. He actually proves that he has a lot of insight in these things. He is not 100% right all the time (he is also only a human), but he makes his point clear and shows some possible problems in the game. If Riot reads these things, they can think about it and maybe work on it. Nothing wrong with that.

  • #30 monkyyy

    maybe this is the apc item patch and the adcaster is next

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