I Can Fix That: Akali, the Fist of Shadow
Sat 2nd Mar 2013 - 5:45pm: League of Legends
With the recent championships, I've been intrigued by how much their picks and bans differ so much from our - at least, my - picks and bans. Additionally, Morello's post to the forums, hinting coming nerfs to Vi, Xin Zhao and Jarvan IV have struck me as true. The recurring appearence of the former two in both Ranked play, as well as normals, have been a recurring pain in my hindquarters.
On the other hand, in high level pro play, champions like Elise and Olaf have been very much a recurring pick or ban in the last IEM Sao Paolo, and it kinda got me thinking. If even pro players have so much trouble with certain champions, what is there to be done to fix these champions?
First champion that springs to mind - not to mention she's the first in alphabetical order - is Akali, the Fist of Shadow. If you tuned in to the latest LCS Europe, Wickd displayed a tremendous performance on Akali for Evil Geniuses. Now don't get me wrong. Wickd did in fact put out an amazing performance, but my problem lies in what lurks behind this performance.
While the k/d wasn't all that impressive on itself, especially on an assassin, he did play a very important role in getting kills for his team. In this game, there was a gank where Wickd combined with Froggen to kill TheTess on Ezreal. What in fact happened - kudos to Qu1kshot for actually noticing - was that Wickd used his Shadow Dance on minions twice, then Flashed towards TheTess to put his last charge to TheTest (haha, lame pun) and combine with Froggen's Gold and Card to quickly drop Ezreal in his tracks.
Problem? The items Wickd had in his inventory. While the Sorcerer's Shoes and Hextech Gunblade seem like logical choices from a hybrid assassin, the fact that he added a Warmog's Armor, a Haunting Guise and the ingredients to a Sunfire Cape means there's something wrong with the damage balance.
The amount of mobility - read the aforementioned example if you don't believe she has mobility - combined with an up-to 8 second stealth plus Ar/MRes boost, and some really low cooldown abilities that refund Energy if properly utilized... it's a broken strong combination. The idea of actually building very durable (Warmog's, Sunfire) whilst being able to outburst say... a full-on AP Kassadin. That's imbalanced.
I can fix that!
What my problem with Akali is, is that her damages - which are not laughable - are on a way too low cooldown. Additionally, her single target damage dealing dash (Shadow Dance) has a longer range than the way lower damage AoE blink for Kassadin (Riftwalk). And if that wasn't enough, her main damage dealing abilities (Shadow Dance and Mark of the Assassin) both proc Rylai's Crystal Scepter for the full single target slow, which makes her pinning you down a breeze as soon as he actually builds the Rylai's. But my problem is how much the Gunblade actually increases her damage.
Wickd displayed that the only damage dealing item she needs is the Gunblade itself. From there, she can actually just build fulltank and be fine with it. Her sustain, damage and survivability that come with the build - also partially through Twin Disciples - are badly balanced, and I think there's something wrong with a champion if one item makes them deal carry-like damage throughout every stage of the game. Building durability afterwards and having no drop in damage indicates a flaw in the design to me.
I have a few things in mind to balance this problem. First off is a simple range nerf to Shadow Dance. There is no way any champion should be able to move 2800 range in 5 seconds without using Teleport or a long range teleporting ability. Additionally, I feel that the cooldowns on Shadow Dance, Crescent Slash and Mark of the Assassin are too damn low. The way she can utilize all of those abilities is rediculous: Q into R and E, then waiting on another R into Q and E again. The AP Ratio on that - all of it within about 4 or 5 seconds - is 3,2. And I'm not even counting a Lich Bane into there, which would make those things even more rediculous.
I'd like to know if you feel my approach is right. Does Akali need a nerf in your opinion? And do my nerfs sound about right to you? Hit me back in the comment section down below.
Coballz signing off.