Riot discusses why Vex’s ultimate places a mage into close-range battle

Mages need to stay far back, right? Not Vex.

Image via Riot Games

Mages in League of Legends should keep their distance from opponents—well, most mages.

Upcoming yordle Vex is bringing some angst to the Rift, along with a unique ultimate (Shadow Surge) that allows the Gloomist to close the distance between her and an opponent. While it’s unusual for burst mages to dash toward their enemies, game design manager Bryan “Riot Axes” Salvatore discussed the decision in a Reddit post today, according to Surrenderat20 mod Spideraxe.

“From a gameplay perspective, we had to make Vex comfortable playing at shorter ranges for the anti-mobility stuff, so closing to short range is less of a cost than for most Mages, which made this a unique opportunity to do this gameplay on a mage,” Riot Axes said.

Vex’s kit is centered around fearing enemies, countering mobility, and delivering deadly burst. Because she works well as an anti-dive champ, getting close to an opponent isn’t as lethal to the Gloomist since she has tools to protect herself. If the yordle is empowered with her Doom passive, for example, her next basic spell interrupts dashes and fears enemies. Diving onto an enemy isn’t as dangerous if she can combo a perfect AoE fear with her allies.

Riot Axes compared the mage’s ultimate to Lee Sin’s Q because “once you hit the first missile, psychological pressure builds to recast it… which dovetails nicely as an experience with Shadow egging Vex on.” There will likely be many moments of players recasting Shadow Surge and forfeiting their life in the process. Once players get past the learning curve, however, Vex has massive potential.

“It’s a super fun spell, so we were pretty excited to shit it all along, even if it’s a somewhat off class moment,” Riot Axes said. “We spent significant effort gating it so that it can be a big moment, rather than the thing that defines her gameplay.”

Vex is scheduled to be released on Sept. 23 with League Patch 11.19.

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