In that patch, sweeping changes were made to marksman base stats and items, and it effectively threw the bot lane into a wild west fever dream. This opened up the door for mages, fighters, and bruisers to take over. In 8.15, Riot lowered the cost on major marksman items in an attempt to strengthen their early laning, which is when they struggle against mages.
It didn’t help all that much. Overall, we’d mark it as a pretty big disappointment, especially after trying the changes out for ourselves.
While it’s true that items such as the Infinity Edge and Stormrazor were reduced in cost, they also took a hefty hit to their damage. The Infinity Edge’s damage nerfs were the most severe, as it dropped 10 AD and five percent of its crit to True Damage conversion at the expense of 200 less gold. The Stormrazor’s was a lot more of an overall buff, because it also lost 10 AD, but it dropped by 400 gold in total cost.
Right now, the Stormrazor is an instant-buy for any crit-based marksman, because it gives them an early and reliable boost of damage. Being able to access it 400 gold earlier is very nice. The Infinity Edge, however, is something that’s purchased later in the game, and it’s what allows the marksman to turn into the hyper-carry champion that they’re used to. Now, with less True Damage and AD, it’s harder to justify the gold reduction.
This is especially true because if you’re only 200 gold short of a major item, you can just grab two waves and a camp and you’re all set, which is much easier to do later in the game.
The real pain comes if you buy them both. You’re now down 20 AD and you have less True Damage, which means, sure, you may have been able to buy them earlier, but you’re going to be less enabled to carry the game when you eventually buy them.
Even the cost reductions to the Zeal items, which were just straightforward buffs, don’t feel very good. Each Zeal item was lowered by 100 gold at no cost to their power, but again, 100 gold isn’t that much, and since your crits will deal less damage on account of you having 20 less AD and less True Damage, those cost buffs ended up not feeling like much at all.
The real question is whether or not these changes allow marksmen to compete with mages. Simply put, we don’t think they do. Mages have access to a plethora of early damage items to snuff out marksmen from the bot lane, and they didn’t have to lose any power to get to that point. More importantly, some mages, like Swain, can out-carry marksmen during the late-game as of right now, and again, he didn’t have to sacrifice any item power to get there.
Since marksmen had to give up some of their damage the late-game difference in power might have grown in favor of hyper-carry mages even more.
We think this might help more marksmen to be viable, as they should be able to compete with mages and other burst-marksmen during the laning phase. But we don’t think they’re going to be overall much stronger, because they’ve taken quite a hit to their late-game power to reach this point.
The solution, in our opinion, is to let the pendulum swing back on Patch 8.11 and buff some of each marksman’s base stats. They don’t have to return to the level that they were pre-8.11, but there should be a compromise or a middle ground where they can be happier than they are now.