For the longest time, assassins have been, without a doubt, the worst-designed class in League of Legends. While every class has suffered from design issues preventing them from being as fun as they could be, assassins have suffered for years from critical gameplay issues affecting not only them, but their opponents as well. Assassins tend to be among the most binary, low-counterplay and homogenous champions around, and as a result matches often fall into two outcomes: either the assassin falls behind and becomes incapable of assassinating or contributing in any real respect, either the assassin gets ahead and kills any squishy within their reach without the latter having any real say in the matter. This isn't helped by the fact that older assassins were deliberately designed to remove counterplay, and many to this day feature mostly one-note kits that are really good at bursting enemies down, and not much else.

With that said, assassins have the potential to be incredibly fun and healthy for everyone involved: duels are at the core of every assassin's gameplay, more than for any other class, and tend to be among the most fun experiences one can have in the game. If done right, the high-risk, high-reward playstyles of assassins could lead to far more high moments for them and their targets, including moments of tension and last-second comebacks. Additionally, assassins play a critical function in the game by acting as a release valve against back liners: no matter how strong a mage or marksman gets, no matter how safe or defense-oriented their team comp, assassins have the power to jump right to them, take them down, and get out. Assassins get a lot of hate, but are an invaluable part of League of Legends, and have the power to make it a much more fun experience for everyone. The goals of the changes below are the following:

Like all champions, assassins have their kill potential scale with items. Unlike most other champions, however, kill potential is pretty much all an assassin can provide, and often that kill potential is so heavily influenced by items over anything else that even the slightest lead will make or break them. Assassins have too few fallback strategies and contributions, and their main contribution (assassination) lacks the nuance of many other champions, mainly because they often can rely on only a very small number of casts before they succeed or fail. RengarSquare Rengar is a chief example of this, succeeding primarily when he kills his target in under a second, and failing if he lacks the raw damage to do so. While part of this issue lies with itemization, notably a lack of assassin-specific items and stats that aggravate issues of binariness (assassins can't have strong base damage without devolving into tanky builds that still manage to have overly high kill potential, for example), the main problem lies in the way assassination is currently implemented on many champions: assassins need to have tools designed to let them have a baseline level of two-sided reliability, allowing them to be able to function even when behind and give their opponents a chance even when ahead.

Heavily tied to the issue of binariness, a major issue with several assassins is their counterplay, or general lack of it. Part of this comes from the design of many assassins, which involve mechanics that deliberately circumvented or prevented counterplay, such as silences (e.g. KassadinSquare Kassadin or TalonSquare Talon, prior to the removal of that effect on them), mobility that feals cheap or unfair to deal with (e.g. ZedSquare Zed, FizzSquare Fizz, KassadinSquare Kassadin again), or instant unavoidable front-loaded burst (practically everyone). While it should be possible, even necessary, to give certain assassins some of these features, they a) need to involve proper tradeoffs so that they feel justified, and b) need to involve counterplay in the assassin's all-around kit so that they generate net positive fun for everyone involved, including for their would-be victims. Ideally, combat with an assassin should be a series of high-stakes challenges for everyone involved, where every move each side makes creates a tangible swing in their favor, leading inevitably to a clear victory for one or the other.

While it's good that assassins share the common strength of being really good at killing, it's not so good for them to all be good at exclusively the same thing, or do it in the exact same way. Due to how so many assassins feature very narrow kits, they have a lot of overlap with each other, to the point where often the only way an assassin can make themselves feel valued over the others is if they just kill better than everyone else (e.g. ZedSquare Zed), or do more than everyone else (e.g. EkkoSquare Ekko). There are very likely different subclasses of assassins waiting to emerge, each with their own strengths and weaknesses, and on a per-champion basis this means refining each assassin's playstyle to bring out their unique identity and allow them to each do something clearly better than the rest, and do it their own way. Specifically, the most probable classes would be hunter assassins, who'd have extreme target access, but would also be forced to commit to specific opponents, opportunist assassins, who'd have much more constant exposure, but would instead be great executioners, capable of chaining from target to target, and utility assassins, who'd trade off immediate kill potential for a larger, more disruptive toolset.

x20px Camille

Niche: The Duel Forcer
  • Camille's arrival was not one of the most successful newer releases, due to an oft-repeated mistake in her design: she's overloaded. As a result of doing too many different things at once, she's become difficult to balance, and does not feel especially fun to play against, due to how she is easily capable of responding to most incoming threats. At the core of her issues is a kit that is tuned around working as that of a diver, but that fundamentally plays like that of an assassin: she has defenses, sustain, target-agnostic damage, CC and attack steroids, but her core kit gives her tremendous long-ranged mobility that can be easily used to escape, along with bursty instances of ability damage. The goal of these changes is to strip as many extraneous mechanics from her kit as possible, and try to boil her playstyle down to its fundamentals, in order to make her kit feel more fair, but also stronger when she does execute her combos well.
  • Stats:
    • Is now a manaless champion.
    • Base attack damage increased to 65 from 60.
    • Attack damage growth increased to 5 from 3.5.
    • Attack speed growth increased to 4% from 2.5%.
  • Adaptive Defenses:
    • Reworked: Camille's next strike against the target enemy champion renders her untargetable to all other enemies for 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 seconds, also rendering all other enemies untargetable to her for the duration. Adaptive Defenses then goes on cooldown for that target for 10 seconds.
  • Precision Protocol:
    • Bonus movement speed removed.
    • Initial hit bonus damage increased to 40 / 55 / 70 / 85 / 100% AD from 20 / 25 / 30 / 35 / 40% AD.
    • Empowered attack no longer partially converts to true damage.
  • Tactical Sweep:
    • Inner damage removed.
    • Slow icon Slow removed.
    • Self-heal removed.
    • No longer deals reduced damage to non-epic monsters.
    • Outer damage changed to 100 / 175 / 250 / 325 / 400 (+ 150% bonus AD) from 65 / 95 / 125 / 155 / 185 (+ 60% bonus AD) (+ 6 / 6.5 / 7 / 7.5 / 8% (+ 3% per 100 bonus AD) of target's maximum health)
  • Hookshot:
    • Cooldown reduced to 14 / 12 / 10 / 8 / 6 from 16 / 14.5 / 13 / 11.5 / 10.
    • Stun icon Stun removed.
    • Bonus attack speed removed.
    • Can no longer be used to dash over walls.
    • Now only damages the first enemy hit.
    • Second cast longer gains bonus range against enemy champions.
    • Second cast range increased to 800 from 400.
  • The Hextech Ultimatum:
    • Range reduced to 125 from 475.
    • Duration reduced to 2 / 3 / 4 from 2.5 / 3.25 / 4.
    • No longer causes Camille to dash to her target or become untargetable.
    • Airborne icon Knockback removed.
    • Bonus on-hit damage removed.
    • Zone no longer disappears if Camille leaves it.

EvelynnSquare Evelynn

Niche: The Stealth Assassin
  • Eve and Riot haven't really had a good relationship ever since her release, and she's probably been one of the most problematic champions in the game to balance and rework, as most attempts to change her have led to her becoming either unplayably bad or crushingly overpowered, and generally unhealthy to have around. A full VGU finally cemented her thematic as a sadistic, seductive demon, but while it did improve her kit, it did so in a very awkward way: her iconic stealth is level-gated for fear of her early ganking power, despite very back-loaded damage, and her ult holds both a significant portion of her kill potential, and her only escape: when it's available, Eve is suitably deadly, almost too deadly, but when it's down, she can't really win fights due to her lacking damage, but can't really survive them either due to her lacking a good escape. The goal of these changes is to give Evelynn a bit more agency while preserving her counterplay, allowing her to pick off single targets from stealth, but still have her spend time killing them, and let her kill more often when her ult is down, while still making it an important tool in protecting her from the enemy team's wrath as she chooses her victim.
  • Stats:
    • Is now a manaless champion.
  • Demon Shade:
    • Reworked: Evelynn becomes invisible when out of combat.
  • Hate Spike:
    • Reworked: Evelynn stabs a lasher forth, marking the first enemy it hits for 4 seconds. While Evelynn is near her target, a spike protrudes from under them each second, dealing 40 / 80 / 120 / 160 / 200 (+ 50% AP) magic damage to the marked target each time.
  • Allure:
    • Curse duration reduced to 4 from 5.
    • Curse build-up time reduced to 2 from 2.5.
    • Slow icon Slow removed.
    • Magic resistance reduction removed.
    • Bonus damage and duration against monsters removed.
    • Directional indicator removed.
    • Now breaks invisibility on cast.
  • Whiplash:
    • Renamed to Ravage.
    • Range reduced to 125 from 225.
    • Reworked: Evelynn plants a lasher into her target, following their movement. Moving far enough away from the target or reactivating Ravage breaks Evelynn free, regaining the ability to attack, and dealing them 20 / 40 / 60 / 80 / 100 (+ 25% AP) magic damage, increased by the distance she covered around them, up to 160 / 320 / 480 / 640 / 800 (+ 200% AP) if she traveled a full circle.
  • Last Caress:
    • Range reduced to 125 from 450.
    • Reworked: Evelynn removes herself and the target enemy champion from the map and sends themselves both to the Shadow Realm a dark mirror of the battlefield with no other units for 4 seconds, emerging at their corresponding locations on the map at the end of the duration. Evelynn can also choose to enter this realm alone, and can reactivate Last Caress to end its effects early.

RengarSquare Rengar

Niche: The Diver Assassin
  • In a class that has historically been among the most difficult to balance and design with, Rengar is one of the worst offenders out of any assassin. He takes the notion of feast or famine to the extreme, either snowballing hard off of a lead and blowing up squishies in under a second, or falling severely behind and ending up incapable of functioning without getting killed. His most recent rework did little to address this, even if it did give him more options when behind, as it still left him as an assassin with both reliable target access and mostly front-loaded burst. Part of the issue comes from his abilities still dealing too much damage in one go, as well as Bonetooth Necklace (it still rewards more kill potential for getting kills, a clear snowball mechanic), but at the heart of many of his issues is Ferocity: despite having a kit that encourages situational use of his utility and CC, Rengar is instead encouraged to blow all of his abilities in one go just to access some more burst. The goal of these changes is to resolve these issues by emphasizing Rengar's identity as a fighter-assassin hybrid, forcing him to fight for longer, while giving him more tools to make quick entries and escapes.
  • Stats:
    • Base attack damage increased to 81 from 60.04.
    • Attack damage growth increased to 7 from 1.5.
    • Base movement speed increased to 355 from 345.
    • Now uses Fury instead of Ferocity.
  • Unseen Predator:
    • Bonetooth Necklace removed.
    • Rengar no longer empowers his basic abilities.
    • Empowered attack is now enabled whenever Rengar is unseen by enemies.
      • A visual aid displays when Unseen Predator is enabled.
  • Savagery:
    • Cooldown removed.
    • Now costs 100 Fury.
    • Reworked: Rengar slashes the target enemy, dealing them 200 / 250 / 300 / 350 / 400% AD physical damage.
  • Battle Roar:
    • Passive removed.
    • Active reworked: Rengar roars, rendering himself immune to damage for the next 2 seconds.
  • Bola Strike:
    • Reworked: Rengar throws a bola at the target enemy champion or large monster, Root icon rooting them for 0.5 / 0.75 / 1 / 1.25 / 1.5 seconds after 2 seconds.
  • Thrill of the Hunt:
    • Stealth changed to invisibility from camouflage.
    • Enemy warning removed.
    • Can now only be used while out of combat.
    • Bonus movement speed removed.
    • Guaranteed Critical strike icon critical strike removed.
    • True Sight icon True sight removed.

KatarinaSquare Katarina

Niche: The AoE Assassin
  • Katarina has typically been seen as somewhat of a joke champion, due to her essentially being able to do one thing, and either succeeding or failing tremendously based on how strong she is when she gets to do it. Her most recent rework changed that significantly, giving her many more options, as well as more outplay potential and more counterplay. At the core of her new kit are her daggers, which she can lay down and pick up, yet excluded from this system is her ultimate: while Kat's ult has been her healthiest ability for a long time, and is still pretty healthy, it has some elements that haven't aged well, namely its Grievous Wounds, and not having it interact with her dagger creates a pretty significant disconnect in her kits. The goal of this rework is mainly to unify Kat around her Daggers, opening up potentially even more options for her and her opponents.
  • Stats:
    • Katarina's abilities now have no ranks, and her ultimate is available at level 1.
  • Voracity:
    • Renamed to Dancing Daggers.
    • Reworked: Katarina uses Daggers for her abilities, and carries up to 2 charges. Daggers on the ground last for 4 seconds and are picked up by touching them, causing Katarina to deal 45 - 300 (based on level) (+ 49 - 100% (based on level) AP) magic damage to all nearby enemies and regain a charge. Taking down large enemies also causes them to drop a Dagger, and Katarina regains a charge automatically every time one disappears.
  • Bouncing Blade:
    • Renamed to Phase Mark.
    • Cooldown removed.
    • Now consumes one Dagger.
    • Reworked: Katarina throws a Dagger at the target unit that blinks past them and lands on the ground behind them.
  • Preparation:
    • Cooldown removed.
    • Now consumes one Dagger.
    • Bonus movement speed removed.
  • Shunpo:
    • Damage removed.
    • Cooldown removed.
    • Range limit removed.
    • Can now only be used on Daggers.
  • Death Lotus:
    • Cooldown removed.
    • Reworked: Katarina channels indefinitely, laying down a Dagger on the ground around her every 0.2 seconds.
      • The Daggers form a series of concentric circles around her, with each circle made up of 6 Daggers, and beginning with the innermost circle, cycling through three circles as the Daggers disappear.

NidaleeSquare Nidalee

Niche: The Artillery Assassin
  • Nidalee has a few long-standing issues, a lot of them tied to her shapeshifting paradigm. As the game's very first shapeshifter champion, she is a good example of the problems that typically affect old-school dual-form kits: she has access to far too many different things on demand, the constant, full availability of her kit means she has no exceptional highs or lows in her power, and the sheer amount of abilities at her disposal end up causing some of them to feel weak, or at least less essential than the others (her traps, for example, don't feel like they achieve much). Adding to that, Nidalee is a notoriously low-risk champion, despite the power placed in her Cougar form, as she can poke and heal herself on demand, and use her Cougar mobility to run away if she gets caught. The combination of all of these issues has made her extremely difficult to balance, and she has constantly oscillated between feeling either useless or oppressively strong, as is the latter case in competitive play. The goal of these changes is to make some of her power less accessible, but make each ability feel stronger as a result, and flesh out her niche as a long-range assassin who contributes through opportunistic burst and vision.
  • Stats:
    • Is now a manaless champion.
    • Range reduced to 125 from 525.
      • Is now a melee champion.
    • Base attack damage increased to 81 from 53.
    • Attack damage growth increased to 7 from 3.5.
    • Attack speed growth increased to 3.5% from 3.22%.
    • Base magic resistance increased to 32.1 from 30.
    • Magic resistance growth increased to 1.25 from 0.5.
    • Nidalee's abilities now have no ranks.
  • Prowl:
    • Renamed to Hunt.
    • Reworked: Skewer, Bushwhack and Call of the Wild all initiate a Hunt against the enemies they hit for 4 seconds, Sight icon revealing them and transforming Nidalee into a cougar while it lasts. While in cougar form, Nidalee Silence icon cannot use abilities, but her basic attacks gain global range against Hunted targets, causing her to dash to them, deal 300% AD bonus physical damage and revert back to human form, ending the Hunt on all targets.
  • Javelin Toss:
    • Renamed to Skewer.
    • Cooldown reduced to 5 from 6.
    • Damage removed.
  • Takedown removed.
  • Bushwhack:
    • Nidalee can now carry up to 5 traps at once and deploy them without a cooldown.
    • Only 5 traps can now be deployed at any time from 4 / 6 / 8 / 10.
    • Recharge time changed to 10 from 13 / 12 / 11 / 10 / 9.
    • Damage removed.
    • Traps now last indefinitely until consumed or destroyed.
  • Pounce removed.
  • Primal Surge:
    • Reworked into a passive: Nidalee gains 335 bonus movement speed while in brush, which decays over 2 seconds upon leaving it.
  • Swipe removed.
  • Aspect of the Cougar:
    • Renamed to Call of the Wild.
    • Cooldown increased to 100 from 3.
    • Reworked: Nidalee summons 5 cougar cubs that each seek out an enemy champion for 4 seconds, running towards them even if Nidalee herself cannot Sight icon see them. Once in range and with Sight icon sight of their target, the cubs pounce on them and then disappear. The cubs grant Sight icon sight of the area around them as they travel.

FizzSquare Fizz

Niche: The Initiator Assassin
  • Fizz is one of a select group of champions suffering from an interesting conundrum: he's intended to be annoying by design, and succeeds at that, but succeeds a little too well, and for the wrong reasons. A mobile, highly evasive assassin, Fizz becomes a problem the moment he gets to kill enemies within a single ability rotation, or any similarly short span of time, as his untargetability allows him to approach champions with relative impunity. On the flipside, once he kills his target, he has trouble getting out, and unless tremendously fed, he dies quickly after. While his mini-rework did a good job of solidifying his core contribution, it still left in some of his problems, namely his low-visibility durability and awkward post-initiation downtimes. The goal of these changes is to trade off some of his burst and innate defenses for even greater slipperiness, and enable potential AP and AD playstyles to emphasize different aspects of his kill pattern.
  • Stats:
    • Is now a manaless champion.
    • Base attack damage increased to 65 from 58.04.
    • Attack damage growth increased to 5 from 3.
  • Nimble Fighter:
    • Renamed to Blood in the Water.
    • Reworked: Fizz's basic attacks and damaging abilities rend his targets, dealing them 「 15 - 100 (based on level) (+ 25% AP) magic per half-second 」「 60 - 400 (based on level) (+ 100% AP) magic damage 」 over 2 seconds. Further strikes refresh the effect.
  • Urchin Strike:
    • Cooldown changed to 12 / 10 / 8 / 6 / 4 from 10 / 9 / 8 / 7 / 6.
    • Bonus magic damage removed.
    • Fizz now damages every enemy he passes through.
    • No longer applies on-hit or on-attack effects.
  • Seastone Trident:
    • Renamed to Barnacle Bounce.
    • Reworked: Fizz jumps onto the target unit and latches onto them for 1 / 1.25 / 1.5 / 1.75 / 2 seconds. While latched on, Fizz follows his target's movement, and both are untargetable to each other. Fizz falls from his target at the end of the duration, or before that if he moves off his target or has his movement Root icon interrupted.
      • Cooldown is 14 / 13 / 12 / 11 / 10 per target.
      • Fizz cannot latch onto epic monsters.
      • If Fizz or his latched target launch a colliding ability, it does not take the other into account.
      • If Fizz's latched target is Airborne icon displaced or becomes invisible, he remains latched onto them, though he falls off from them if they become untargetable.
  • Playful / Trickster:
    • Renamed to Playful Trickster.
    • New passive: Fizz generates 1 Flow for every 60 / 55 / 50 / 45 / 40 units he moves, with the rate doubled while at least one enemy champion or large monster is affected by Blood in the Water.
    • Active now requires and consumes 100 Flow.
    • Cooldown removed.
    • Damage removed.
    • Slow icon Slow removed.
    • Casting the ability again mid-flight does not accelerate it.
  • Chum the Waters:
    • Slow icon Slow removed.
    • True Sight icon True sight removed.
    • Minimum damage increased to 200 / 300 / 400 (+ 100% AP) from 150 / 250 / 350 (+ 60% AP).
    • Maximum damage increased to 400 / 600 / 800 (+ 200% AP) from 300 / 400 / 500 (+ 120% AP).
    • Airborne icon knockup and Airborne icon knockback duration is now reduced the further away the target is from the center, and increased based on the shark's size, up to a maximum of 2 seconds and a minimum of 0.

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