The upcoming support item changes are both great and awful at the same time
There are big changes coming to League of Legends' Ancient Coin and Athene's Unholy Grail, according to the latest update to the PBE.
There's a lot wrong with the support item meta right now. Redemption is built on every champion with letters in their name and other items are only bought by people that have recently lost a bet. The upcoming support item changes aim to fix one of those problems, at least, and we're not sure how we feel about it.
The coin is the best starting item option for supports that rely on the utility from their abilities more than damage. For example, the Spellthief's Edge is better on champions like Lulu and Karma who rely on trading damage with the other laners, but the coin is better on champions like Blitzcrank who only need to disrupt enemies rather than damage. The upcoming change will remove the item's five percent cooldown reduction, and it's being replaced with 50 mana.
Why that's good
Before we get to raising our pitchforks, let's get into why this change is a good thing. Five percent CDR doesn't really help anything at the early stages of the game. On its own five percent CDR may reduce an ability's cooldown by a second, maybe two, depending on the ability. This would only really be useful later in the game when the support has built up more CDR, up to the cap of 40 percent. The thing is though, all of the popular meta items for supports already max out your average support's CDR, so the five percent from this item becomes useless. In that case, removing the small bit of CDR actually makes sense, but if you replace it with something equally as useless, does it really matter?
Why it's bad
No, of course it doesn't matter, but the five percent CDR is being replaced with 50 mana whether it's useful or not. To put it into perspective, a Blitzcrank Q costs 100 mana, so you basically have an extra half of a Q. At least the small amount of CDR was sort of useful throughout the laning phase, but this 50 mana becomes useless as soon as you use an ability. At least with something like mana regeneration, even a small amount, you get something back while you stay in the lane, but this new item trait really seems forced. In other words, it seems like Riot just added it in because it knew the five percent CDR needed to be replaced with something, although honestly, you could take the 50 mana away altogether and it wouldn't make much of a difference.
Athene's Unholy Grail
The grail was once a staple of mid lane power, but when the Morellamanomicron (that's how you spell that, right?) was reworked back in Patch 6.9, the grail's power was completely trumped. That's why the item is being reworked as a viable support item, so hopefully players will show it some love. The ability power and CDR are both being nerfed, but the mana regeneration is being buffed, and its passive is being turned into something very frightening. The item's Harmony ability is being switched to Dissonance, and instead of granting the player health regeneration equal to their mana regeneration, it will now give the player ability power based on how much mana regeneration they have already.
Why that's good
With how often the grail is built now, which is never unless you've been triple dog dared into it, this is bound to improve things. This item will only be useful to mage supports who want AP, like Zyra, Karma, Brand, or Annie. With how many other popular support items grant mana regeneration, like Ardent Censor and Redemption, this passive will stack up very quickly, and before you know it, you can deal more damage for a fraction of the price. You can definitely expect the grail to be purchased more often.
Why it's bad
Did Karma really need more damage, though? She already has a ton, and now she gains damage, CDR, mana regeneration, and a boost to her shields due to the item's other passive ability. That might be a little over the top. And it's not only Karma, either. Every mage support will benefit from this item, even those that don't have shields to take advantage of the item's other passive. Zyra and Brand could definitely benefit from buying this item, and it's scary to think about those monsters dealing even more damage in lane.
With changes to Doran's items already revealed, Patch 7.12 is shaping up to be heavy on item changes. You can expect the patch to go live in two to three weeks, since Patch 7.11 just arrived last week.