Attempting to keep Kassadin’s mobility but allowing counter play Riot inadvertently gutted his kill range well below that of any relevant midlane champion. This is the larger issue with Kassadin, the strongest midlaners (Xerath, Ahri, Leblanc, Zed) all have the ability to initiate a combo with high kill potential from 1000+ range without flash. While Kassadin has never been on par with the best midlaner’s distance, he has remained strong due to the more important ~600 range of an ADC’s auto attack. Once the ADC gets a few items his auto attack becomes one of the strongest abilities in the game, with the lowest cool down and it’s targeted along side critical hits. This approximate 600 distance is the range that keeps a midlaner relevant, if you can start the kill on an ADC from outside of his attack range he has very little counter play, relying on his teammates to protect him, a key mechanic to team play and the support role. Kassadin’s previous range allowed him the same luxury of engaging on an ADC before being in auto attack range, but unlike the best midlaners he used the cool down (also Zhonya’s) instead of the further 400-500 range to beat out the inevitable flash. Most relevant midlaners have around an 800 kill range, but for those who are under the 600 kill range are typically considered weak such as Annie or Ryze, typically finding a new place in other lanes.
But with all the talk about range and mobility it clouds the important point, the damage payload that needs to be delivered, a 450 range Riftwalk could work if it could deliver 700 range worth of damage. But right now Riftwalk loses its usefulness as a damage skill significantly lowering his overall threat. It’s key that the champions can kill their targets at this range, while Kassadin’s Q and E are 700 range skills alone they will not be enough to put major threat on a target. Unlike the bruisers who will usually have low range dashes, Kassadin does not build a strong enough tank or have the CC needed to walk into several ADC auto attacks before becoming a threat. If the kill range isn’t there then you inevitably need to avoid damage or have massive spell vamp similar to Ryze.
Here are two images of Kassadin’s abilities with a ranged grid indicating other champions and ADC ranges compared to Kassadin’s new and old range.
Old Kassadin Range comparison:
New Kassadin Range Comparison:
Riftwalk is Edge to Edge so Kassadin will end up slightly outside of the bubble range.
Also note the way ranges are calculated being edge or edge or center to center depending on targeted or skills shots cause a lot of the seemingly longer auto attack and shorter skill ranges even if they have the same range number. The images are an attempt to show center to center ranges.
Kassadin’s new range, less than that of the typical ADC’s auto attack, prevents him from doing the damage at a range that midlaners and assassin champions need to. While tied directly to his mobility, the mobility nerf is not the issue, the damage range nerf is the problem.