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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.

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. Even her identity is contested (what is she? Should she be more like a vampire or succubus? Does she really need bondage gear?), though she's also well-loved by a core fanbase for many of the features that have proven the most problematic. Chief among them is her iconic perma-stealth, which is at the core of her tremendous global threat and unpredictability in-game, but has so far forced her to have weak combat capabilities, while also working mostly as an extra expense in true sight for the enemy team during the laning phase. Despite being officially an assassin, her dysfunctional kit and poor late-game scaling have forced her to build like a mediocre bruiser, and she never feels exceptionally powerful even when playing at her best, partly because her ability set doesn't leave much room for direct skill expression either way: all of her damage is point-and-click (Hate Spike, her main damage source, doesn't even involve pointing), the only real window of downtime she has is her ultimate, and even her passive doesn't carry nearly as much strategic gameplay as it could. The goal of this rework is, above all, to engineer proper highs and lows in her power, and thereby allow Evelynn to have moments of great success while giving her opponents opportunities to turn the tables on her. While the aim here isn't really to forge an identity for Eve, it would make sense for her to have a running theme of shadows and night, as she somewhat does now, and perhaps blend in some of her sadistic, seductive and even dance-based elements on a gameplay level.
  • Stats:
    • Base mana increased to 300 from 265.6.
    • Mana regeneration growth increased to 0.8 from 0.6
  • Shadow Walk
    • Renamed to Nightbringer.
    • Innate reworked: for 30 seconds every 120 seconds, the night takes over, empowering Evelynn's abilities and causing her to become invisible when out of combat.
      • The last 10 seconds of each phase turn to twilight to mark the transition to the next, though this period still retains the effects of the current phase.
  • Hate Spike
    • Renamed to Black Tear.
    • Cooldown increased to 2.5 from 1.5.
    • Mana cost reduced to 10 / 15 / 20 / 25 / 30 from 12 / 18 / 24 / 30 / 36.
    • Active reworked: calls down a spike from the sky that lands at the target location after a 0.5-second delay, dealing 70 / 90 / 110 / 130 / 150 (+ 60 / 65 / 70 / 75 / 80% AP) magic damage to the first enemy it hits and Grounded icon knocking them down.
    • At night, the tear remains for 1 second as impassible terrain.
  • Dark Frenzy
    • Renamed to Shadow Walk.
    • Cooldown reduced to 14 / 13 / 12 / 11 / 10 from 15 at all ranks.
    • Cooldown reduction per ability hit removed.
    • Now instantly stealths Evelynn at night.
  • Ravage
    • Cooldown reduced to 2.5 from 9.
    • Mana cost reduced to 22 / 24 / 26 / 28 / 30 from 50 / 55 / 60 / 65 / 70.
    • Active reworked: Evelynn resets her autoattack timer and causes her next basic attack to dig her claws into her target, disabling her ability to attack and highlighting a moon dial at her target's feet. If she travels a full semicircle around her target, she rips her claws from them, regaining the ability to attack, and deals them 60 / 120 / 180 / 240 / 300 (+ 100% AP) magic damage. If the target moves far enough away from her the effect is interrupted and they take reduced damage, down to a minimum of 15 / 30 / 45 / 60 / 75 (+ 25% AP).
    • At night, the triggering basic attack also Slow icon slows her target by 40 / 50 / 60 / 70 / 80% for 0.5 seconds.
  • Agony's Embrace
    • Renamed to Dark Embrace
    • Cooldown reduced to 120 / 90 / 60 from 150 / 120 / 90.
    • Range reduced to 125 from 650.
    • New Passive: Nightbringer's nighttime duration is increased by 30 per rank, up to a maximum of 60 / 90 / 120 seconds every 120 seconds.
      • At rank 3, the night takes over permanently, and twilight phases cease to exist.
    • Active 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 3 seconds, emerging at their corresponding locations on the map at the end of the duration.
    • Dark Embrace can only be used at night.

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, generating 20 Fury per strike against enemy champions and large monsters, and losing 20 Fury per second while out of combat.
  • Unseen Predator:
    • Bonetooth Necklace removed.
    • Empowered attack is now enabled whenever Rengar is unseen by enemies.
      • A visual aid displays when Unseen Predator is enabled.
  • Savagery:
    • No longer resets Rengar's autoattack timer.
    • Animation speed now scales with Rengar's attack speed.
    • Cooldown increased to 5 from 4.
    • Damage per hit changed to 60 / 70 / 80 / 90 / 100% AD from 40 / 60 / 80 / 100 / 120 (+ 30 / 40 / 50 / 60 / 70% bonus AD.
    • Empowered version removed.
    • At 100 Fury, Savagery consumes Rengar's Fury and enrages him, causing Savagery to have no cooldown for the next 1.5 seconds.
  • Battle Roar:
    • Passive removed.
    • Damage removed.
    • Cooldown reduced to 18 / 16 / 14 / 12 / 10 from 20 / 18 / 16 / 14 / 12.
    • Empowered version removed.
    • Now cleanses Rengar of all crowd control on cast.
    • Rengar now heals for 60 / 70 / 80 / 90 / 100% of all damage taken in the past 1.5 seconds.
      • An indicator on Rengar's health bar displays the health he will regain.
  • Bola Strike:
    • Damage removed.
    • Empowered version removed.
    • Slow icon Slow strength reduced to an increase up to 30 / 40 / 50 / 60 / 70%, from a constant 30 / 45 / 60 / 75 / 90%.
    • Slow icon Slow duration reduced to 1.5 from 1.75.
    • At the end of the duration, the target is Root icon rooted for 0.5 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.

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 3.5 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 Poke 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:
    • Attack speed growth increased to 3.5% from 3.22%.
    • Range reduced to 500 from 525.
  • Prowl:
    • Renamed to Hunt.
    • Reworked: While in human form, Nidalee initiates a Hunt if she damages an enemy champion or large monster with an ability, shifting to her cougar form for 3.5 seconds, switching to 125-range melee attacks, Sight icon revealing her target for the duration, and gaining new abilities.
      • Each of Nidalee's cougar form abilities can only be used once per Hunt, and only on Hunted targets.
  • Javelin Toss:
    • Renamed to Skewer.
    • Minimum damage changed to 50 / 75 / 100 / 125 / 150 (+ 50% AP) from 70 / 85 / 100 / 115 / 130 (+ 40% AP)
    • Damage now begins increasing at 500 units, from 525, and increases to up to 100% bonus damage at the end of the projectile's range.
      • Maximum damage reduced to 100 / 150 / 200 / 250 / 300 (+ 100% AP), or 200% damage, from 210 / 255 / 300 / 345 / 390 (+ 120% AP).
    • Projectile now becomes Sight icon visible to all nearby enemies while it increases its damage.
  • Takedown:
    • Reworked: Nidalee bites down on her target, dealing 90 - 600 (based on level) (+ 150% AP) magic damage and healing herself for 48 - 150 (based on level) (+ 50% AP) health, increased by 1% for every 1% of her missing health, up to 96 - 300 (based on level) (+ 100% AP) health.
  • Bushwhack:
    • Nidalee can now carry up to 3 traps at once.
    • Recharge time increased to 30 / 25 / 20 / 15 / 10 from 13 / 12 / 11 / 10 / 9.
    • Traps reworked: upon being set off, instantly deal 50 / 75 / 100 / 125 / 150 (+ 50% AP) magic damage to the target, increased by 1% per 1% of their current health, up to 100 / 150 / 200 / 250 / 300 (+ 100% AP) magic damage.
    • Targets become immune to further traps while Hunted and in the same area.
    • Enemy champions can now target traps and destroy them with a basic attack.
  • Pounce:
    • Reworked: Nidalee dashes to her target. Pounce can then be recast to freely dash to the target location.
  • Primal Surge:
    • Is now available in both human and cougar forms, and retains the same cooldown.
    • Mana cost changed to 90 at all ranks from 60 / 75 / 90 / 105 / 120.
    • Cooldown changed to 15, beginning after the ability's effects end, from 12.
    • Reworked: Nidalee gains 100 / 125 / 150 / 175 / 200 bonus movement speed for 3.5 seconds, refreshed upon entering brush. Each bush only refreshes Primal Surge once.
  • Aspect of the Cougar:
    • Renamed to Call of the Wild.
    • Cooldown increased to 150 / 120 / 90 from 3 at all ranks.
    • Reworked: Nidalee summons 1 / 3 / 5 cougar cubs that each seek out an enemy champion for 5 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, dealing 100 / 200 / 300 (+ 50% AP) magic damage and then running away. 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:
    • Base attack damage increased to 65 from 58.04.
    • Attack damage growth increased to 5 from 3.
    • Is now a manaless champion.
  • 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 2 seconds. While latched on, Fizz Slow icon slows his target by 30 / 35 / 40 / 45 / 50% if they are an enemy, neither Fizz nor his target can attack each other, though both can attack and use spells freely, and damage each other through other means. 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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