Assassin Rework: First Impressions (Part 1)

With an overhaul to so many different champions at once, Riot has definitely shaken up the game. Let's take a look at where we stand just over a week into this patch.

The Champions and Their Win Rates

We’ll start by taking a look at just the numbers, then get into a breakdown of each champion invidually.

(Win rates as of Nov. 18, 2016 in the most popular role taken from champion.gg)

Akali – 41.75% (Down from 50.11%)

Ekko – 51.95% (Up from 47.99%)

Fizz – 48.38% (Down from 49.92%)

Katarina – 43.01% (Down from 51.4%)

Kha’Zix – 50.04% (Down from 51.05%)

Leblanc – 48.94% (Up from 48.14%)

Rengar – 47.32% (Down from 48.4%)

Shaco – 51.8% (Up from 51.74%)

Talon – 45.11% (Down from 49.23%)

Zed – 47.31% (Down from 47.63%)

Average – 47.56% (Down from 49.56%)


Passive – Twin Disciplines

Akali’s first two attacks have bonus effects. Akali’s first basic attack heals her, while the second deals bonus damage. A few seconds after her first attack, this resets.

COOLDOWN: 8/7/6/5/4 after first attack (at levels 1/3/5/7/9)
FIRST STRIKE HEALING: 5-60 (at levels 1-18)
HEALING RATIO:  0.6 bonus attack damage + 0.3 ability power
SECOND STRIKE BONUS DAMAGE: 10-100 (at levels 1-18)
SECOND STRIKE RATIO: 0.5 bonus attack damage + 0.5 ability power
Previously, Akali’s passive gave her a constant damage increase on every auto attack, as well as constant healing/spellvamp. This new passive definitely matches Akali’s identity better, as she’s an assassin and not meant to be constantly auto attacking as much as going in for one or two autos while bursting down the target.

W – Twilight Shroud

NEW: Now teleports Akali to the cast location, placing Twilight Shroud at her original position.
NEW: Casting Twilight Shroud places Akali’s other abilities on a 0.5 second global cooldown.
NEW: Cast Range 250.
NEW: Akali now retains Twilight Shroud’s full bonus movement speed value until she leaves the area.
The changes to Akali’s Twilight Shroud were probably the most impactful to her kit. While she lost the ability to throw the shroud from a distance, she gained a small 250 range instant blink, as well as keeping the movement speed for the full duration of the shroud. On top of that, with the new changes to stealths, Akali is no longer shut down by team’s just dropping a *pink* (RED) ward in the middle of a teamfight.

E – Crescent Slash

COOLDOWN: 5/4/3/2/1 second 5/4.5/4/3.5/3 seconds
DAMAGE: 30/55/80/105/130 70/100/130/160/190
RATIO: 0.4 ability power + 0.6 total attack damage 0.5 ability power + 0.7 bonus attack damage
NEW: If Crescent Slash kills a unit, its cooldown is 60 percent refunded.
Crescent Slash got a little bump in damage and scaling, at the cost of a longer cooldown, which is mitigated by getting last hits with the ability. Overall, this ability is simply still too high of an energy cost to have much use other than spamming down a large minion wave.

R – Shadow Dance

COOLDOWN: 2/1.5/1 second 2 seconds
DAMAGE: 100/175/250 50/100/150
RATIO: 0.5 ability power 0.25 ability power
Shadow Dance received an all around nerf to it’s base damage, scaling, and cooldown at higher ranks. Overall, Akali’s instant burst onto a target with her R>Q>E>Auto combo has gone down pretty substantially, as you require that second auto to get your passive damage out. However, Akali being able to hide off and maneuver much better with her new Twilight Shroud gives her more opportunities to react to the opponent’s counter-attack.
Whether this is good for Akali or not, this is the intention of Riot with most of these reworks; to require more finesse on the assassin’s side instead of just 100⇒0ing their target before they can react. While spikes in play rate of tricky champions tend to result in lower win rates, Akali’s abysmal 41.75 percent win rate might be enough to call for some buffs to this champion.



Passive – Z-Drive Resonance

REMOVED Z-DIFFUSER: No longer slows enemy champions

DAMAGE: 20-190 (at levels 1-18) 30-140 (at levels 1-18)

Ekko’s passive is something that has been a major issue with his kit and has been adjusted multiple times since his release. One of the biggest things that put Ekko into a tank role has been the free damage and slow from his passive, which has made him a threat to carries in team fights regardless of him only building tank stats.

Q – Timewinder

OUTGOING RATIO: 0.2 ability power 0.3 ability power
LOLLIPOPS: Timewinder’s radius increases by 50 as it hovers by the end of its travel distance, returning to normal while it travels back to Ekko. 
Previous editions of Ekko have used Timewinder as simply an extra damage ability that you carelessly toss in the direction of the enemy when fighting or running away. Giving the ability better scaling, as well as the expansion effect, rewards Ekko for properly directing this ability, and force enemies to really pay attention to it.

R – Chronobreak

HEAL RATIO: 20% of health recently lost plus an additional 6% per 100 ability power flat health equal to 0.6 ability power.
NEW IT’S BETTER WITH AP: Chronobreak’s heal is increased by 3% for each 1% of maximum health lost in the last 4 seconds.
NEW TIME WALK: Chronobreaking through W – Parallel Convergence will trigger the stun and shield.
The defining ability of Ekko’s kit is Chronobreak. This ability can be used as a teleport back to a lane, a lifesaver for Ekko, or to catch an overchasing enemy with extreme burst. Riot’s plan of giving AP Ekko a “true” reset would encourage people to play him as more of an assassin seems to have worked.
Ekko’s popularity as an AP mid laner has greatly increased and players are playing him to a great degree of success. While Ekko has been a pretty relevant pick since his release, most of his games on the professional level have been as a tanky top laner; his changes seem to have him in a pretty good spot.


Q – Urchin Strike

COOLDOWN: 10/9/8/7/6 seconds 8/7.5/7/6.5/6 seconds
COST: 50/55/60/65/70 mana 50 mana at all ranks
FIXED: Sheen now properly activates when used on targets right next to Fizz.
Q was often the ability people leveled up last on Fizz, so the changes to the mana cost don’t really effect him, but he does get to benefit from the lower cooldown early on. The bigger effect on Fizz’s Urchin Strike actually come from the changes to his Seastone Trident.

W – Seastone Trident

COOLDOWN: 10 seconds 10/9.5/9/8.5/8 seconds
COST: 40 mana at all ranks 30/40/50/60/70 mana
PASSIVE DAMAGE: 20/30/40/50/60 25/40/55/70/85
PASSIVE RATIO: 0.45 ability power 0.33 ability power
PASSIVE DURATION: 3 seconds 4 seconds
REMOVED SEEYASTONE: No longer empowers Fizz’s basic attacks for six seconds.
NEW SUPER TRIDENT: Now resets Fizz’s basic attack timer and empowers his next attack.
ACTIVE DAMAGE: 10/15/20/25/30 25/40/55/70/85
NEW BLOOD IN THE WATER: If Fizz’s target has bled for at least two seconds, Seastone Trident’s damage increases to 75/120/165/210/255 (+1.0 ability power).
NEW ALMOST GOT THE RESET: If Seastone Trident’s active kills a unit, 20/28/36/42/50 mana is refunded and its cooldown is set to one second.
NEW MORE TRIDENT: In addition to basic attacks, Seastone Trident’s passive is also applied onto enemies Fizz dashes through during Urchin Strike and any enemies affected by Chum the Waters.
The biggest changes to Fizz are within Seastone Trident. His new W has pretty similar bleed damage over a longer duration. Importantly, it no longer gives Fizz constant damage on his auto attacks for a duration, but rather one big auto when his target has been bleeding for over two seconds.
Another thing that greatly helps Fizz here is the reset when his extra damage from W kills the target. This means that Fizz has a signifigantly easier time clearing waves by constantly resetting this ability, instead of solely relying on his Playful/Trickster to do the job. Farming early on has always been where Fizz struggles, but between the resets on his W and his Q applying the W bleed to all enemies Fizz dashes through, he can now have a much easier time handling the early game.

E – Playful / Trickster

THAT’S THE ACTUAL SIZE: Now shows Fizz an indicator of the area damaged before he lands. Enemies see a red flash of this area after he lands.
COST: 90/100/110/120/130 mana 90/95/100/105/110 mana
Fizz now gives a little more clarity to the enemy as to the (surprisingly large) splash of his Playful/Trickster. Other than that, just a little reduced mana cost for later ranks of this spell leave it’s changes pretty much unnoticeable. 

R – Chum the Waters

DELAY BEFORE SHARK: 1.5 seconds 2 seconds
NEW SHARK WEEK: Fizz summons different sharks based on how far the fish traveled before latching onto an enemy. The further the fish travels, the larger and more damaging the shark.
  • GUPPY SHARK: If Chum the Waters travels less than 455 units, it will summon a Guppy Shark after two seconds.
    • DAMAGE: 150/250/350 (+0.6 ability power)
    • SLOW: 40%
    • KNOCKBACK: 150
  • NORMAL SHARK: If Chum the Waters travels between 455 and 910 units, it will summon a normal (but still terrifying) shark.
    • DAMAGE: 225/325/425 (+0.8 ability power)
    • SLOW: 60%
    • KNOCKBACK: 250
  • GIGALODON SHARK: If Chum the Waters has traveled at least 910 units, it will summon a massive Gigalodon Shark
    • DAMAGE: 300/400/500 (+1.2 ability power)
    • SLOW: 80%
    • KNOCKBACK: 350
NEW GET OUT OF THE WALL: Chum the Water’s fish can no longer be placed inside of terrain.
The idea behind the new Chum the Waters was to give Fizz a higher reward for aiming for the risker, but longer, range ults. The issue that has come with the new size of his max range ultimate is that it hasn’t really felt that risky to throw it, as it expands to a size that makes it fairly hard to miss. On the other hand, the close range ultimates definitely feel pretty weak with the small area and low damage.
This kind of makes most Fizz players just launch the long range ultimate without much fear of missing, and currently it isn’t providing the sort of dynamic play Riot was hoping for. Fizz is still a champion that requires a bit of finesse, and didn’t take too large of a hit in win rate, which was already at a pretty acceptable spot for such a champion, so overall, I’d say he’s looking ok. 



BASE HEALTH: 510 590
A decent amount of some slight tweaks here and there end up with what are overall pretty solid buffs to Kat’s base defensive stats.  

Q – Bouncing Blades

Katarina throws a dagger, dealing damage to her target and nearby enemies. Then, the dagger ricochets onto the ground behind her initial target. If Katarina picks up a dagger, she uses it to slash through all nearby enemies.

COOLDOWN: 10/9.5/9/8.5/8 seconds 11/10/9/8/7 seconds
DAMAGE: 60/85/110/135/160 75/105/135/165/195
RATIO: 0.45 ability power 0.3 ability power
RANGE: 675 625
NEW DAGGERS: Picking up a dagger causes Katarina to slash all enemies around her in a small area.
DAGGER SPIN DAMAGE: 75-285 (at levels 1-18)
DAGGER SPIN RATIO: 1.0 bonus attack damage + 0.55/0.7/0.8/1.0 ability power (at levels 1-16)


This has changed the entire dynamic of how Katarina is played and has given her a much higher skill ceiling. Previously, Katarina was mostly about finding that opportune time to go in and just blow all of her abilities to get the proper reset and reposition in a fight to continue mashing her abilities. The new dagger system that has been created for Kat has given her very interesting ways to actually set up the fights herself and carefully plan her ways in and out of fights, while forcing the enemy to keep track of her plethora of mind games.

W – Preparation

Katarina tosses a dagger into the air and gains movement speed for a short duration.

COOLDOWN: 15/14/13/12/11 seconds
MOVEMENT SPEED: 50/60/70/80/90%, decaying over 1.25 seconds
This ability kind of kept it’s identity of her extra movement speed on W, while now playing into her new dagger mechanics. Preparation is mostly used for Kat to either ensure she has a way out after going in, or simply to just chase down the target.

E – Shunpo

COOLDOWN: 12/10.5/9/7.5/6 seconds 10/9.5/9/8.5/8 seconds
DAMAGE: 40/70/100/130/160 30/45/60/75/90
RANGE: 700 725
RATIO: 0.25 ability power 0.65 total attack damage + 0.25 ability power
NEW WIDE BERTH: Shunpo now targets an area around Katarina’s target, and strikes the nearest enemy if cast on an ally or dagger.
NEW ON A KNIFE’S EDGE: In addition to allied and enemy units, Katarina can target daggers with Shunpo. Targeting a dagger with Shunpo or walking over it refunds 78/84/90/96% (at levels 1-16) of Shunpo’s total cooldown.
NEW A NEW RESET: Shunpo now resets Katarina’s basic attack timer.
REMOVED THE SHUNPOLICE: Shunpo can no longer target wards.
Here we have a pretty massive tune up to Shunpo, with some interesting changes. Two big things to note are that Kat no longer has the ability to ward-hop, which was previously a very common way for her to make her escape. On the other hand, a very nice quality of life buff is that Kat now chooses where she teleports to the target. Previous iterations of Shunpo had Kat jumping to one side or the other, which led to enemies being able to easily predict Kat’s movements, and made it much more dangerous for her to jump in. The way Shunpo interacts with her daggers creates some very fast paced jumping around with the constant cooldown reset, allowing Kat to really create paths, which she can carefully navigate at her leisure.

R – Death Lotus

DAMAGE PER DAGGER: 35/55/75 (+0.375 bonus attack damage)(+0.25 ability power) 25/37.5/50 (+0.22 bonus attack damage)(+0.19 ability power)
TOTAL DAMAGE: 350/550/750 (+3.75 bonus attack damage)(+2.50 ability power) 375/562.5/750 (+3.30 bonus attack damage)(+2.85 ability power)
NEW LESS MISTAKES: Cannot be cancelled by movement and basic attack commands in the first and last 0.25 seconds of channeling.
NEW DEATH RADIUS: Now displays Death Lotus’ radius to Katarina and her enemies.
A couple of QoL changes with the radius being displayed to both Kat and her enemies, as well as Kat no longer having the frustrations of landing that perfect ultimate just to immediately cancel it by auto attacking. Overall, this ability remains the same as an interaction for both Katarina and the enemy team, where if timed properly, it can shred through a team fight, but timed poorly and you can guarantee you’re getting hit with all of the crowd control and burst the enemy team has to offer.
The Katarina rework was definitely the most exciting for me, as it gave Katarina the type of intricacies that all assassins should have. The amount of total damage Kat can dish out when played perfectly is very rewarding, but puts a huge burden on the player to do so. Currently, Katarina has plummeted quite a bit in win rate, but it would be more worrying if she hadn’t. Taking a champion that isn’t very popular and increasing the skill cap of them by such a large degree should result in poor performance for a while, as it should take players some time to master that champion, and truly unlock it’s potential.
For Katarina, I’d say we’ll probably see her slowly climb up to the mid 40’s for win rate, which would probably mean she’s in a fairly healthy spot. Any higher too soon, and we may be looking at Riot to tone down the damage, but for now, she’s ok in my book.



Passive – Unseen Threat

DAMAGE:  15 – 190 (+0.5 ability power) 10 – 146 (+0.4 bonus attack damage)

Got rid of the useless AP scaling from his passive, overall a buff due to Kha’Zix building a decent amount of AD most of the time.


Q – Taste Their Fear

COOLDOWN: 3 seconds 4 seconds
RATIO: 1.2 bonus attack damage 1.4 bonus attack damage
EVOLUTION NAME: Evolved Enlarged Claws Evolved Reaper Claws
REMOVED BIG CLAWS: Evolving Taste Their Fear no longer increases its damage against Isolated targets.
NEW SWIFT CLAWS: Evolving Taste Their Fear now refunds 60% of its cooldown when cast on Isolated targets.
While they removed the bonus damage from evolving it, the reduced cooldown on isolated target’s still allows Kha’Zix to pump damage into an isolated target. 

W – Void Spike

SLOW: 20% Removed
NEW ISOLATED SLOW: 80% on Isolated targets
A pretty straight forward change, now if Kha’Zix chooses to not evolve W, he loses out on the slow entirely. However, an isolated target receives a very significant slow of 80 percent, giving Kha’Zix the option to go for something to better help with chasing down the enemy, and making the evolved Void Spike feel more meaningful.

R – Void Assault

INVISIBILITY DURATION: 1 second 1.25 seconds
EVOLUTION NAME: Evolved Active Camouflage Evolved Adaptive Cloaking (it’s not a Camouflage effect!)
REMOVED ACTIVE CAMOUFLAGE: Evolving Void Assault no longer increases Kha’Zix’s invisibility duration or number of charges.
NEW AGGRESSIVE CLOAKING: While evolved, Kha’Zix gains Void Assault’s invisibility and movement speed for 2.5 seconds upon entering any brush while out of combat (with a maximum of 1.25 seconds after exiting the brush). This effect has a 10 second cooldown per brush.
Void Assault received a buff in it’s duration, which is always something that often fell just a tad too short to be effective. On top of this, the new evolution for Kha’Zix’s ultimate gives him another interesting option. Overall, Kha’Zix stayed pretty much the same, including skill order. It’s still often a toss-up for most players on whether or not to rank up R or W, but now feels like each offers a more unique advantage. If your team is really lacking in the crowd control department, evolved Void Spikes could do an excellent job at securing the lockdown of an isolated target; whereas evolved Void Assault can give Kha’Zix a lot more elusiveness.
Kha’Zix feels like he’s doing pretty well for himself, and is often times found to be a bit overwhelming, which has resulted in a decent spike in his ban rate. While Kha’Zix mains everywhere are enjoying their new threatening power, it seems as if we’ll likely see some nerfs in the near future.

That wraps it up for the first part of my Assassin Rework: First Impressions. Stay tuned to @GAMURScom for the second part, and follow me @calvinbwitt on Twitter to stay updated.