We’ve all played against a cheeky top lane Teemo or Pantheon in solo queue, and we’ve likely all grown severely salty while doing so. Both are fairly popular picks in ranked queues, because they equate to easy, cheesy wins, especially in low elo games.
This is because of their ranged harass from point-and-click abilities. At the press of a button, undodgeable damage is flying your way—and there’s nothing you can do about it without shielding or healing. It’s frustrating to deal with, and Riot knows this. So, to force point-and-click spammers away from you more often, the balance team is exploring ways to change how those abilities function, according to Riot’s post on the official League of Legends forums today.
The current winning option among the balance team, and the change that will likely be tested on the PBE soon, to go live with either Patch 8.2 or 8.4, is the minion aggro change. This change will draw minion aggro to the caster of a point-and-click ability—the same thing that happens when you hit an enemy with a basic attack. With that in effect, if a Pantheon were to approach you to throw his spear, which is a relatively short-range ability, the minions nearby would turn and attack him. This would create more pressure and would give the target more of a window to counterattack or escape.
Sounds great, right? Well, sort of.
It would be great for the likes of Pantheon, Teemo, and Cassiopeia, and any other champion that spams one ability like this as their primary source of damage. What about the champions that have these abilities, but don’t use them as often? More importantly, what about the champions that use these abilities, but are already in a weak state? We’ll point our attention to Brand and Annie, two champions that Riot used as examples to explain this new system.
Both champions are only barely viable. Brand was buffed today in Patch 8.1, and he’ll probably be significantly stronger, but he’s been considerably weak for the past few months. Annie is in a similar state of affairs, but without a big buff on the horizon to help her out, she’s still fairly weak. These champions, the ones that need a little extra help and the right circumstances to be worth picking, will be negatively affected by this change, too, which could require more buffs to compensate. This would create more stress around champions that already have plenty, and that’s not a good thing.
So while useful on one end of the spectrum, it would only create more problems on the other end. If Riot wants to push this change specifically, it will have to ship with another host of changes to help out those champions that will be driven into the ground by it. Probably not very large changes, maybe some base health increases here and there, but something would have to be done to help them out.