Let's talk about Xerath

  • Let's start with a few facts:
    • Xerath has a 50% win rate across all elos.
    • Xerath only has a 51% win rate in very high elo matches.
    • Xerath's total burst has a 1134 dmg + 3.4 AP Ratio + 40% spell pen - the highest baseline burst in the game.
    • Xerath has a very cool theme and concept

    Despite this:
    • Xerath is the 2nd least played Mage across all regions.

    The data indicates Xerath is actually balanced in terms of total impact on the game. His best case burst is massive. Yet he's not played a lot.

    Why do you feel this is? What do you feel would make Xerath feel better?



    Curious about the player response to our survey? Read this post:

  • I want to take a moment today and give a quick shout-out to our air client UI team today. (I would mention their summoner names, but its a secret to everybody)

    They took some time out of their work day to play Xerath in some internal tests and tracked down some subtle issues with Xerath's ultimate that I was able to fix.

    Sometimes when you are reading forums like this, its easy to forget how many other people are there, quietly supporting these efforts.
  • Quote:
    Originally Posted by Auryiel View Post
    Hey, Xelnath, I was wondering, how would you descrive Xerath right now?

    A long range burst mage?
    A sieger/poker?
    A sustained, long ranged damage dealer?
    He's a blend of all three. Less bursty than on live, but still quite powerful.
  • Quote:
    Originally Posted by The Italian Ice View Post
    Perhaps it was asked (or detailed previously), but how long does it take to fully charge the new Arcanopulse? Around Piercing Arrow's charge-up I'm assuming?
    Pretty close to that. I think its 1.5 sec to total charge-up.

    Originally Posted by M0ng00seGangsta View Post
    How big is the Aoe? Is it a precision tool or is it like a free kill on a cooldown?
    200 unit radius seems to feel right. That's about the same size as a Karthas Q.

    Why is Xerath Immobilized
    In many ways, this play pattern is actually *more* like traditional Xerath. Except instead of dropping 3 undodgeable boulders, you fire a stream of precision rockets.

    This in general has felt healthier and let Xerath be more powerful and focused.
  • Quote:
    Originally Posted by Cladun View Post
    Wait, am I reading this wrong, Xerath's current ult, that is being worked on, is an autoattack replacer that disables his normal spells? No longer rooting for range, no longer Locus of Power? Kinda worries me.
    You are still immobilized and gain a large amount of range, but only on one type of specific mortar-style attack.
  • Quote:
    Originally Posted by sarcasmsmurf View Post
    if i am reading it right.... as Xerath i will be able to simply poke any mid laner out of lane now with his range being included in his Q,W,E base...depending on how the R works it could be really frustrating to enemy mid laners...

    what if his R worked more like a Ryze R... where all of Xerath's spells become super charged with lower CD so you can spam more than 1 rotation in a team fight... with special effects like each spell will do some kind of soft cc....and Xerath obviouly cannot move during his ult and maybe takes more damage rather than less damage...so he becomes a nuker at the cost of some defensive stats temporarily ???
    We tried that, iteration C. The result was that either you need to be able to constantly cast spells (making him the area control mage from hell) or you get bored being immobilized for the duration. The result was that Xerath protecting a point made the game stagnate for too long and denied too many opportunities for his opponents..
  • Quote:
    Originally Posted by exe3 View Post
    So are you looking at making Xerath more a sniper than an artillery barrager now Xelnath? If so is that because you don't feel an artillery barrager works in League (for reasons of frustration as you've listed) or because Xerath's kit and theme doesn't work for an artillery barrager archetype (what i'm saying is that if you started from scratch you could make the whole kit work for artillery without having to keep some of the skills that probably weren't designed with artillery bombardment in mind).
    These are the same things.
  • Quote:
    Originally Posted by Vacus View Post
    I like this in general, but I don't like the damage reduction.

    I feel like if you get to Xerath, he should want to cancel his ult to get away. He should not want to sit there and tank you.
    We removed it previously. What we discovered is that "stray" skillshots would constantly penalize Xerath's immobilization to the point where he could no longer participate in team fights. This lead to some amount of survivability to be justified. It may not last, but we've yet to see a situation where an assassin who closes on Xerath doesn't finish him off.

    This just lets Xerath finish more of his payload before exploding.
  • Quote:
    Originally Posted by Auryiel View Post
    How powerful are the auto-attacks?

    Is it just a finisher, or can I expect it to be a strong ultimate that makes me trade movement and utility for insane damage?
    Numbers are the last thing you should fret over at this point, but in the last playtest, a champion who was locked down and couldn't move for the entire duration took ~1000 damage from the ultimate at max rank.
  • Hey guys,

    It's been a while since I've posted an update here. We've been undergoing a large number of iterations on Xerath's kit. Primarily his "R" slot. Giving an update on every single change would probably just lead to more confusion trying to stay current than just giving a bigger update after we've done a bunch of different tests.

    When I can find the time to sit down and focus more, I'll walk through a few of the iterations and explain the problems with each incarnation.

    All of these iterations involved immobilization during Locus. The most recent cycle has been:

    A) Xerath R increases all spells and grants auto-attack barrages, duration limited by mana.
    B) Xerath R grants 50% base cooldown reduction, duration limited by mana. No auto-attack replacer.
    C) Xerath R grants super short cooldown on "W" (aoe orbital strike) for the duration.
    D) Xerath R grants global range on W for a short time. Duration flat and limited by mana.
    E) Xerath R grants super-massive range on auto-attack replacer. Duration flat. Mana Cost flat.

    Issues with Patterns:


    Having a spell that grants sustained damage over a long period of time is cool.
    Having a spell that grants super range is cool.
    Having a spell that has its duration unlimited, except by mana is cool.

    Combing two or more of these mechanic together has proven infinitely frustrating to the enemy team if it is large. Having the opponent constantly raining down damage that you cannot retaliate against proved frustrating and game warping.

    Our early experiments reveals that Xerath performing at a "growing missile silo" was a very cool in terms of creating a map objective. However, it fell apart once you required either the Xerath to stand there for 10-15 sec before acting (xerath player got bored) since that's how long it took for a player to reach Xerath.

    Furthermore, many of the champions that *could* reach Xerath would either die being bombarded along the way or would get ripped apart cutting through the enemy team to get to Xerath. Ultimately, this left our live designers feeling like this strategy wasn't fun in League of Legends.

    I could see it revived in terms of a "nuke silo building" champion who sets up a time-delayed bomb or item in the future, but forcing a player to remain there just doesn't play nice.


    Once we removed the constant barrage of damage, we expected to alleviate the perceptions of constant danger. Once that happened, the "right" way to play Xerath (intuitively) was to siege up, blow your load, then leave the siege mode immediately.

    Movement in league of legends is a moment-to-moment filler of activity that feels very good in terms of allowing mages to feel useful and smart. Removing that ability and not providing a moment-to-moment replacement meant we had to reduce the cooldowns of your spells in Locus of Power so that you were constantly casting.

    This meant that we were back to square one in terms of "constant zone of power" on Xerath which meant enemy players just constantly fled his radius and he never could captialize on his ultimate. 3000 was either too easy or impossible to flee.


    Being bored while rooted isn't fun. So next we tried other ways, aside from the constant missile storm to make you feel good during the root.

    Next we tried just allowing you to spam "W" (orbital strikes) as the primary damage source. This just lead to Xerath being insanely bursty *and* being unable to escape him.


    Next we tried granting Xerath global range Orbital Strikes, paced 4-5 sec apart. This was a very cool idea, but it turned out that we had just re-created Karthas that was harder to play, kill-stole constantly *and* didn't feel like an artillery-barrage feel.

    It was about this time that we realized that all of these ultimates having severe influence on other lanes resulted in Xerath's laning phase needing to be weaker than most midlane champions. So we cut the ultimate's power down and boosted his laning phase.


    Now we're on iteration E. We found that allowing super-massive CC + slows + full access to your damage was overwhelming. There was too much to do as well. Even our challenger level testers were like, "there's more here than I could possibly ever do, so I never felt good about what I chose to do."

    So we asked ourselves, "What's the most fun part of the new locus of power and barrage attacks?"

    The answer was resoundingly "Let's focus on his role as a mage sniper / long range damager. Let's move all of the range we want Xerath to have on his base kit into his base spell ranges, then give him an ultimate that is about predicting and finishing off escaping targets"

    So now we're trying this ultimate:

    Ascended Wrath (R) - Xerath immobilizes himself and disables his basic spells, but granting him the ability to fire super-long range aoe barrages at the target location every 0.5 sec. During this effect, Xerath gains 25-30% damage reduction and is immune to displacement effects Lasts for 6-8 sec or until cancelled.

    Currently roughly the same range as Zigg's ultimate.

    Xerath's Q, W and E are all now around ~1000 range, except Q which can be charged-up to 1550 range.

    By focusing what Xerath can do to a concentrated point in time, it gives both Xerath and opponents a clear indication of how good a job Xerath is doing and gives them the opportunity to blow cooldowns to escape it.