There are a lot of interesting changes in the 4.4 patch. Elise is nerfed, Kassadin “reworked”, Annie does less damage as support, Vi’s Vault Breaker requires building some AD to get the same effect, and then a slew of changes around Lich Bane — including buffing the only 4 champions that they deem use the item.
I’m ok with the change, but when was the last time you thought, “Gee, Diana is really getting out of hand in my ranked games?”
Diana, Ezreal, Twisted Fate, and Fizz were the four champions doing too much damage with Lich Bane, but all four barely see competitive play. Fizz saw some play at the start of Season 4, but has disappeared since. Ezreal is still played competitively, but not with a Lich Bane that I noticed.
So, while the change itself seems fine. I’m unconvinced that this was a pressing need.
I’d rather that the balance team focussed on reigning in Kha’zix who is picked or banned in every single one of my games and is frustrating to play against. You could argue that I’m “just not doing it right”, but I’m not even saying that I’m losing all of my games against him. I’m saying that he has a massive impact on every game he is in. He’s similar to Kassadin, in that he jumps on people’s faces and instantly destroys anybody he lands on, then jumps on somebody else. Even when you aren’t isolated, he’s a serious threat if you are squishy. If you are in lane and a jungle Kha’zix jumps on you after he comes out of invisibility, he kills the minions near you instantly, snares you, and makes you flash. Then, he’ll come back again in thirty seconds to kill you. Compared to Kha’zix, a Vi gank is a treat. Vi will dash-flash into lane and then ult you. If you are squishy, you’ll die, if you are durable with any escape tools, you might get away. The fact that Vi’s ganks are most successful when she has flash up makes it less absurd than a Kha’zix’s gank where he technically doesn’t need anything but a jump, though he benefits most from having his ultimate up. His damage for non-isolated champions and his aoe damage really need a nerf, but I digress. We should really look at the champions who will be changing.
Instead of doing 50 damage + 75% of your AP damage on your next auto attack after an ability activation, it will now do 75% of your AD damage + %50 of your AP damage. Of the changed champions who now have abilities that scale better off of AP, only Ezreal would plausibly build AD, and that would include the Trinity Force, which also has the unique passive “Spell Blade.” So, we need to know how spell blade stacks:
From wiki: In the event you own multiple spellblade items, only one attack bonus applies, to which the order of priority is: Lich Bane, Trinity Force, Iceborn Gauntlet and Sheen.
So, Trinity Force users can get the Lich Bane proc with the stats of Trinity Force. This seems to be a great damage buff to Ezreal. (I haven’t run the numbers, yet.)
Every single time that Riot adds both AD and AP ratios to a champion or item, it is abused, so let’s look at champions who suddenly benefit from it… heck, let’s just look at Jax. Blade of the Ruined King into Gunblade, Trinity Force, and Lich Bane. Will this be a new thing?
I don’t know, but I do know that Riot is constantly caught off guard when they add multiple ratio types to items and abilities. Time will tell if Jax becomes stupid powerful, or remains on the fringes of viability. Maybe this change is totally fine and good. I can’t be sure yet.