Preseason 2017: Assassin Itemization - First Impressions
A big patch just hit the PBE recently with huge preseason changes, most notably the assassins rework.
Amongst the changes are also massive changes to items, with the inclusion of four new items to the game.
In this post, we look at the assassin itemization changes that will be live on Patch 6.22, the first patch of preseason that will be out in early November.
New Stat: Lethality
Before we jump into item changes, it’s important to note that flat armor penetration has been replaced with a new stat called ‘Lethality’.
Lethality still gives the user flat penetration, but it’s split between a base and a scaling amount, it scales with your ENEMIES level.
All in all this effectively makes Flat Armor Penetration less snowbally, as base values early on will be lower and instead scale up. So the goal is clearly to impair an assassin’s stacking of flat pen early on, especially when ahead while also keeping assassins relevant as the game goes on, especially when they’re behind.
The current formula is:
X is the amount of Lethality and Y is your target's champion level. With the Formula you obtain Armor Penetration.
So Lethality scales from 40% against level 1 opponents up until 100% against level 18 opponents, when it finally matches Armor Penetration.
NEW: Poacher's Dirk
+15 Attack Damage
UNIQUE Passive: +20 Movement Speed out of Combat
UNIQUE Passive: After poaching 3 large monsters from the enemy jungle (60 second cooldown), transforms into a Serrated Dirk.
A very interesting new item especially made for jungle assassins like Rengar or Kha’zix.
Invading and counter jungling is encouraged and after three camps, Poacher’s Dirk will transform into a Serrated Dirk, so essentially you can save up 350g for a Serrated Dirk if you’re ahead as an jungle assassin or you have the chance to take jungle camps while split pushing.
NEW: Edge of Night
Edge of Night
+60 Attack Damage
+35 Magic Resist
UNIQUE Passive: +15 Lethality
UNIQUE Passive: +20 Movement Speed our of Combat
UNIQUE Active - Night's Veil: Channel for 1.5 seconds to grant a spell shield that blocks the next enemy ability. Lasts for 10 seconds. (30 second cooldown) (Can move while channeling)
Edge of Night is very similar to the old Maw of Malmortius in terms of raw stats, but the passive is what makes this item unique. Being able to block an incoming spell for a short duration of time can be key for champions that rely on flanking to get to the backline
Who wants this?
This is pretty much exclusively an assassin item. Its use is very niche and the Night’s Veil passive will go on cooldown if you cast, take damage or attack, so it isn’t very useful on AD carries for example. Ideally, you want to use it on assassins and possibly on some very offensive fighters like Irelia or Pantheon that want to flank to get into the back line. Night’s Veil will help block that first incoming damage and/or crowd control spell so you guarantee you can aim for the backline effectively without getting stopped, this is the typical play pattern for champions such as Talon, Rengar, Zed as Kha’zix, so expect them to pick it up.
Maw of Malmortious
Edge of Night is essentially taking Maw’s place as the offensive item that grants magic resist. Maw lost its Armor Penetration but in turn got utility in the form of 10% Cooldown Reduction. The item is still good on assassins but it’s now tailored towards other champion archetypes as well.
Who wants this?
Similarly as before, Maw’s passive is extremely strong as the shield pop can be the difference between life and death against burst mages and heavy magic damage. Most fighters and bruisers will still want the item if they need to itemize defensively against burst. For assassins and AD Carries this is a more situational purchase.
With that said, to deal with heavy magic damage compositions, assassins can now go for both Edge of Night and Maw of Malmortius and grab 80 Magic Resistance while still itemizing quite offensively with 110 Attack Damage.
Youmuu’s is essentially the same item as it was before in terms of base stats, obviously minus that change from armor penetration to lethality.
The big change is to the active. It no longer grants attack speed but the item is now 200 gold cheaper.
Overall this is probably the most nerfed item and it's purchase rate will decline after players realize the nerfs on it. 20 Lethality only matches 20 Armor Penetration at level 18 and other Lethality Items now also have 20 Lethality just like Youmuu's.
Duskblade and Maw of Malmortius (now replaced by Edge of Night as Armor Pen itemization) had 10 less Armor Penetration and will now have matching Lethality Stats.
Who wants this?
The removal of the attack speed buff doesn't really hurt assassins as they would rather have a cheaper item. As it was before, expect Zed, Talon and Kha’zix to be amongst the champions picking it up. Some AD carries might still pick it up, such as Lucian, but expect it to be less common on them.
Duskblade of Draktharr
Duskblade now has weaker base stats, but has one new and another reworked passive that make the item really unique and tailored towards Assassins.
Blackout is an extremely good tool for assassins. A big part of playing assassins is roaming to other lanes and finding flanks, and with this passive you can clear any wards that you walk past. If the passive doesn’t pop you know the path is unwarded, so you can roam freely, just like the current iteration of the Razorbeak’s smite buff. If the passive does pop, blackout works exactly as a sweeper trinket. You can hit the ward to take them out or just walk past it to give the enemy 0 information of your whereabouts. They will never see you coming.
Who wants this?
Nightstalker is a buff to basic attacks that deals 50 + (200% Lethality) true damage on-hit every time you hit a target after being unseen for at least 1 second. Being unseen can be done by either stealthing or just not being in the enemy’s vision, so just moving inside an unwarded brush to break vision can be enough to reset the passive.
Most AD assassins will want this in their build but Kha’zix is likely the one that will be able to apply it more frequently. His Void Assault will allow him to go unseen twice in a short span of time, resulting in two extra procs to be possible after the first one. Talon is the other main champion interested in the item, as he can use Shadow Assault to reset Duskblade procs.
Other than that, you can expect it situationally on AD Carries that stack Lethality, such as Miss Fortune and possibly Jhin.
That covers it for the assassin itemization changes so far for Preseason 2017, but be on the lookout for more posts on the upcoming changes and also updates to this post as we will be updating it throughout the next few weeks until the changes hit the live servers!