Mid-Season 2017: Items

By Daryl Zammit
on May 20, 2017

The Season 7 Mid-Season is finally upon us! Mid-Season 2017 updates have garnered a reputation of being a good excuse for Riot to experiment with new visions of champions, items and the game as a whole, stirring the waters just enough to introduce fresh new ways to play the game without having it feel like too big an update. We’ve had overhauls to rosters in previous mid-season updates including the Marksman update, the Mage update, and the Assassin update. This time it was the Tanks’ turn, with RIOT reworking a whopping….3 champions. 

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Well ok that’s a bit unfair; this Mid-Season update brought a lot more with it other than just the 3 champion reworks, as we now also have an updated Rift Herald and the addition of Quests for support items to help make the support role a more engaging one, as well as 2 new items, and a few changes to existing ones.

The latter two will be the focus of this article, where I’ll be taking a general look at the idea behind these item changes, as well as glossing over the introduction of the new items, and what they hope to accomplish.

Item Changes

In the context of reworking items, Riot has tried to diminish the effectiveness of health-based defence, substituting it with resistances. Their reasoning was that by nerfing health items and replacing the lost health with added resistances, it would give players the chance to play around tanky characters by exploiting their weakness, rather than having to deal with a brick wall of health.

Amongst all the defensive item changes however, 3 particular items stand out as having the biggest effect on champion builds; Banshee’s Veil, Abyssal Scepter, and Guardian Angel.

Banshee’s Veil

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With its passive, Banshee’s Veil has always been a great defensive item to protect carries against potentially destructive abilities, but its stats were more oriented towards tanky characters, therefore creating a needlessly difficult decision of having to pick between increased damage (thus allowing you to carry out your intended role) and survivability (which would be useless if you could not play out your role effectively). The updated version of this item aims to swap its stats (mostly) with that of Abyssal Scepter, effectively transforming it into an AP item but keeping its passive the same. 

Abyssal Scepter- [Now called Abyssal Mask]

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On the other hand, Abyssal Scepter was an AP item that rewarded playstyles that involved getting as close to the enemies as possible. While there are a handful of AP champions that may benefit from this, it made more sense to turn the item into a tanky item, thus giving tanks the chance to help out their team better by maximizing the damage that their AP carries can deal. For this reason, Abyssal Scepter has swapped its stats (mostly) with that of Banshee’s Veil, turning it into a tank-oriented item.

Guardian Angel

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Guardian Angel’s build path and statline caters to those who need it the least, the tanks. With such a powerful passive, it would make more sense for it to protect carries rather than champions who might not even need it in the first place. This resulted in a more AD oriented build (providing less armor than before but now also providing AD) that aims to protect AD carries from being bursted to death before they can do anything.

(AP champions have both the new Banshee’s Veil and Zhonya’s hourglass, they don’t really need to have Guardian Angel tossed in as well).

New Items

Adaptive Helm

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“Battle Mages”, the term now used to describe mages like Ryze and Cassiopeia, bring forward an interesting problem in trying to balance tanks to be good at their job without being too overpowered. These low-cooldown mages pelt enemies with their abilities over and over, and can shut down tanks way faster than they should be able to.

“But isn’t that also what burst mages do?” Well, yes, but as described by Riot themselves, “..burst mages have longer cooldowns - and rarely enough damage to one-shot tanks, tanks are less likely to die to them than they are the followup damage from marksmen. Battle mages - with their low cooldowns - circumvent that pattern by continuing to threaten tanks throughout a fight.“

In simpler words, battle mages present a problem of bridging the gap between DoT damage and burst damage, by being able to dish out a substantial amount of damage over the course of a fight, due to the low-cooldown nature of their abilities.

A way to combat this defensively is to buff MR items, but that presents the issue of rendering other mages useless against high MR builds, therefore creating another issue altogether. Enter ”Adaptive Helm,” an item that gives MR, Health, CDR, and a buff in Hp-Regen. The secret to what makes this item useful in such a scenario however, is its unique passive, “Taking magic damage from a spell or effect reduces all subsequent magic damage from that spell or effect by 15% for 4 seconds.” This will effectively help tanks to deal with the issues that battle mages bring about, whilst still allowing burst mages to do their job successfully.

Gargoyle Stoneplate

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How can you avoid creating an unstoppable wall of undefeatable chaos (in other words, a really buffed up tank), whilst still allowing said character to engage and do its job correctly? Simply buffing the resistances offered to the champion will definitely make it able to hold its ground during engages and team-fights, but fighting such a champion head on or in small skirmishes would be utterly useless. Conversely, nerfing the resistances offered will create a fair fight between smaller groups, but would hold the character back from doing what it was initially designed to do in the first place when it comes to team fights.

This is the issue that this new item aims to tackle; stat-wise, it offers below-average armor and magic resistance, and purely nothing else. However, this is where the unique aspects come into place. “Metallicize”, the active tied to Gargoyle Stoneplate, provides bonus health to the user for 4 seconds, but also greatly decreases the damage dealt by that champion. In addition, “Stone Skin”, the item’s passive, doubles the resistances offered by the item if there are 3+ enemies nearby. Combining both together, the item offers the chance to substantially increase the bonus health (it doubles the maximum health) if the item is activated whilst the passive is also in effect.

Final Thoughts

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I’m actually really excited to see how these item changes affect the game. Even though some seem a bit drastic, the reasoning behind them is sound and honestly makes sense to me. I might be wrong though, and we might have some big changes coming soon or maybe even some reversions in the future. But for the time being, this is the direction that league seems to be going in, and I’m more than ok with it. What are your thoughts on these item changes? Do you like the new additions to the pool? Any suggestions for new items or changes that you’d like to see? Let me know in the comments below! 

Until then, cya!!!

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