Assassin Rework: First Impressions (Part 2)

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 – Sigil of Malice

LeBlanc’s abilities apply Sigil of Malice to her target. After a short duration, striking the target with LeBlanc’s abilities detonates the sigil, dealing magic damage.

SIGIL ARM TIME: 1.5 seconds
DAMAGE: 40-300 (at levels 1-18)
RATIO: 0.8 ability power
LeBlanc’s new passive is now the entirety of how you play around her kit. The basic concept is they took what was previously the second funtion of her Q, but giving it a timer before you can detonate the extra damage. As with the rest of the reworks, this was intended to require more setup from the LeBlanc, while allowing the enemy some time to react.

Q – Shatter Orb

NEW RENAMED: Sigil of Malice Shatter Orb
RATIO: 0.4 ability power 0.5 ability power
COST: 50/60/70/80/90 mana 40/45/50/55/60 mana
REMOVED IT’S HER PASSIVE NOW: No longer applies a mark.
NEW SHATTER FLUX: If Shatter Orb triggers Sigil of Malice, it chains to the nearest ready Sigil of Malice.
MINION BOUNCE DAMAGE: Shatter Orb bounces deal 120% damage to minions.
LeBlanc’s new Q still functions as just an extra bit of single target damage when going for kills, but now also functions similar to Ryze’s Spell Flux. If you proc Sigil of Malice by using Shatter Orb on the enemy, Shatter Orb will jump to the nearest target with Sigil of Malice. This has given LeBlanc an entirely new method of wave clear, especially at early levels.

W – Distortion

COST: 80/85/90/95/100 mana 70/80/90/100/110 mana
LESS FACEPLANTING: Improved Distortion’s detection when traversing walls.
NEW INTERFERENCE: Now has an 0.25 second delay before returning to her original position when recasting Distortion.


Nothing much to see here, just a couple of things making Distortion feel a little more clean. The early mana cost helps a tiny bit, and the increase at later ranks feels pretty negligible.


E – Ethereal Chains

NEW ETHEREAL CLARITY: Now displays tether range to allies and enemies.
REMOVED DAMNED IF YOU DO: No longer slows enemies during the tether.
The removal of the slow doesn’t feel too bad, as currently Ethereal Chains still feels like if you get hit, you’re getting hit with the root.


On cast, this ability creates a copy of LeBlanc before both becoming invisible for a brief moment. Afterwards, both LeBlanc and her copy cast an empowered version of one of LeBlanc’s basic abilities. Only the real LeBlanc deals damage. Empowering Mimic itself creates a copy of LeBlanc at a target location with global range. Once conjured, the copy will walk towards the nearest visible enemy champion, casting a fake version of LeBlanc’s last used spell before disappearing. Empowering Mimic has its own cooldown.

COOLDOWN: 40/32/24 seconds 54/42/30 seconds
MIMICKED MIMIC COOLDOWN1: 60/140/120 seconds
MIMICKED SHATTER ORB DAMAGE: 150/300/450 (+0.9 ability power) 150/275/400 (+0.6 ability power)
MIMICKED DISTORTION DAMAGE: 150/300/450 (+0.9 ability power) 125/225/325 (+0.5 ability power)
MIMICKED ETHEREAL CHAINS DAMAGE: 100/200/300 (+0.6 ability power) 100/160/200 (+0.4 ability power)
NEW MIMIC MANTRA: Can now mimic any of LeBlanc’s spells, not just her most recently used.
LeBlanc’s new Mimic has a lot of information, but overall the ability remains pretty similar. The most important change is that LeBlanc no longer relies on having to cast an ability before using the mimicked version. This opens LeBlanc up to an incredible amount of different combinations to use, and because her damage is no longer as reliant on using Q before landing a spell, she is completely free to do so.
In team fights you can now freely use W/Q combos to deal a ton of aoe damage, while still keeping two chains ready to go at any time. Mimicking Mimic gives LeBlanc an extra level of mind games, as I’ve seen enemies blowing different summoners or crowd control to no avail on the clone. It’s important to note that while using Mimic on itself doesn’t place Mimic on a cooldown, but you do need Mimic off of cooldown to do so. This means, if you want to use your clone in a fight as a distraction, you must do so before actually mimicking a different ability.
For example, you can W>RR>RW, but not W>RW>RR. LeBlanc didn’t see too much of an increase in play rate after the changes, but definitely seems like she’s one of the stronger assassins currently. I’d say the biggest reason for LeBlanc feeling so strong is the great wave clear she has at early levels now. LeBlanc can shove in just about any mid laner with one W>Q on the wave, giving her free regin to roam or harass the enemy. We’ll see if she gets picked up in professional play, but I’d say LeBlanc is the biggest assassin to watch out for in the coming weeks.



Passive – Unseen Predator

While in brush, basic attacking causes Rengar to leap towards his target. Leaping to enter combat generates one Ferocity. At four Ferocity, his next ability is empowered. Casting an empowered ability increases Rengar’s movement speed for a short duration. Killing unique champions grants Rengar their trophies, increasing the strength of his Bonetooth Necklace.

BONUS MOVEMENT SPEED ON EMPOWERED CAST 30/40/50% (at levels 1/7/13)
REMOVED- SET BONUS Bonetooth Necklace rewards removed.
NEW- TONIGHT WE HUNT Whenever a unique champion is killed within 1.5 seconds of taking damage from him, Rengar’s attack damage is permanently increased:
1 TROPHY 1 + 2% attack damage
2 TROPHIES 3 + 6% attack damage
3 TROPHIES 6 + 12% attack damage
4 TROPHIES 10 + 20% attack damage
5 TROPHIES 15 + 30% attack damage
A few core changes to the way you execute plays as Rengar came out of these passive changes. A big thing to note is that while Rengar no longer needs as many kills to stack up the bonuses from his Bonetooth Necklace, he does have to be killing different enemy champions. Another big change is that his Ferocity falls off when out of combat. These two changes together are important to note, because Rengar is unable to go into a gank at five Ferocity, and the fact that enemies get warned of his ultimate from much futher, which results in Rengar having to go for the more guaranteed ganks. As such, a lot of games result in Rengar still not being able to stack up his passive until later stages of the game.

Q – Savagery

Rengar slashes enemies in an arc in front of him, followed by piercing in a line, generating one Ferocity. Both strikes deal physical damage. If used at four Ferocity, Savagery’s damage is significantly increased.

COOLDOWN: 6/5.5/5/4.5/4 seconds 4 seconds
DAMAGE: 30/60/90/120/150 40/60/80/100/120 per hit
RATIO: 0/0.05/0.1/0.15/0.2 total attack damage 0.3/0.4/0.5/0.6/0.7 bonus attack damage per hit
EMPOWERED DAMAGE: 30-240 (at levels 1-18) 60-196 per hit (at levels 1-18)
EMPOWERED RATIO: 0.3/0.35/0.4/0.45/0.5 total attack damage 1.1 bonus attack damage per hit
CAST PARADIGM: Targeted Directional AoE
Rengar’s new Savagery still remains his main source of damage, however, it’s no longer an auto attack/auto reset. Losing the attack speed from his empowered Q has affected his early clear speed a little bit, but for the most part, he does alright because the damage on this gets absolutely monstrous.

W – Battle Roar

COOLDOWN: 12 seconds at all ranks 20/18/16/14/12 seconds
REMOVED KITTY GRIT: No longer grants Rengar 10/15/20/25/30 armor and magic resistance per champion hit.
NEW IT’S LIKE EKKO ULT: Now heals Rengar for 50% of the damage he took in the last 1.5 seconds (represented by grey health). Battle Roar heals 100% of the damage dealt by monsters.
REMOVED THE BASE DOES THIS: Casting Battle Roar at four Ferocity no longer heals Rengar.
NEW CATNAROK: Casting Battle Roar at four Ferocity breaks crowd control and renders Rengar immune to incoming crowd control for 1.5 seconds. Empowered Battle Roar can be cast while disabled.
Probably the most controversial change to Rengar has been the CC removal or immunity placed on his empowered Battle Roar. This functions just as Olaf’s Ragnarok, where it can either be used to get out of crowd control, or preemptively to continue the hunt. While Rengar can no longer store a heal while running away or re-engaging, being able to heal up half of the damage you take and run away immune to CC has made Rengar a bit too slippery for most people’s taste.

E – Bola Strike

EMPOWERED DAMAGE: 50-340 (at levels 1-18) 50-305 (at levels 1-18)
SLOW: 60/65/70/75/80%, decaying over the duration 30/45/60/75/90%, non-decaying
SLOW DURATION: 2.5 seconds 1.75 seconds
Bola Strike remains basically the same ability. With the lower duration, but the slow no longer decaying, there hasn’t been much of a difference in the way it affects players.

UPDATED R – Thrill of the Hunt

Rengar activates his predatory instincts, becoming camouflaged for the duration. While active, Rengar gains bonus movement speed and vision of the nearest enemy champion. Rengar can leap without being in brush during this time, and leaping to the revealed champion results in a critical strike. Attacking or using abilities ends Thrill of the Hunt.

COOLDOWN: 150/110/70 seconds 130/100/70 seconds
DURATION: 7/12/17 seconds 14/22/30 seconds
COOLDOWN BEGINS: On cast When Thrill of the Hunt ends
NEW FOCUS: Rengar enters camouflage after 2 seconds.
BONUS MOVEMENT SPEED: 15/30/45% while moving towards enemy champions 20/30/40% at all times while active.
ONE-EYED: Rengar gains vision of all enemy champions within 2000/3000/4000 range the closest enemy champion within 2000/3000/4000 range.
RENGAZE: Eyes appear over the head of the target Rengar gains vision of (visible to both teams).
NEW CAMOUFLAGE: Camouflage is a new type of stealth. Like Evelynn’s Passive – Shadow Walk, Rengar is visible to nearby enemies and gains an indicator showing him who can see him and who cannot.
The two major changes to Rengar’s ultimate are the range at which enemies are warned, and the stealth now being a camouflage. Rengar can no longer use his ultimate as a form of escape if things go wrong, and he has to be much closer to enemies before using Thrill of the Hunt, so the enemy doesn’t have enough time to react. While Rengar’s kit has been changed to give more counterplay (enemies know you’re coming from much further and Q can be dodged), teams still find Rengar able to run by and one shot the ADC before much can be done. This is a combination of the guaranteed crit he gets when leaping out of his ultimate, and the insane numbers on his Q.
The main problem I see right now, is without the ridiculously high damage, Rengar isn’t going to be able to do much of anything in later stages of the game. I definitely agree that numbers should be toned back, but I think Rengar is going to be in need of a few changes to his kit before he can be properly balanced.



UPDATED Passive – Backstab

Upon attacking a unit from behind, Shaco critically strikes them. Shaco can’t backstab the same unit for a short duration.

COOLDOWN PER TARGET: 3 seconds (affected by cooldown reduction)
BACKSTAB CRIT DAMAGE: 120-145% (at levels 1-18)
As with a few of the other assassins, they changed what was more sustained damage into more burst. The crit feels pretty good, and it’s a fairly short cooldown, so Shaco makes fairly good use of it while clearing the jungle, as well as minion waves.

Q – Deceive

COST: 90/80/70/60/50 mana 60 mana at all ranks
COOLDOWN: 14 seconds 11 seconds
CAST TIME: Randomly between 0.05 seconds and 0.3 seconds 0.125 seconds
STEALTH DURATION: 3.5 seconds 1.5/2.25/3/3.75/4.5 seconds
REMOVED CRITICALLY DECEPTIVE: No longer causes Shaco’s next basic attack to critically strike.
NEW BASE DAMAGE: Now deals 20/35/50/65/80 (+0.5 ability power) bonus damage on Shaco’s next basic attack. This damage can critically strike.
NEW FOOL ME ONCE: Dealing damage with Deceive lowers its cooldown by 2.5 seconds.
NEW SNEAK KING: Can now place W – Jack in the Box while in stealth. Placing a Jack in the Box briefly reveals Shaco’s position, but doesn’t make him targetable.
While they removed the guaranteed crit from Deceive, most Shaco players are used to postioning themself behind the enemy when Deceving, so you’ll still get that crit, and with the extra damage scaling on Deceive, the damage feels pretty similar. The lower cooldown, as well as the reduced cooldown when making use of the empowered auto attack, is definitely noticable.  
The big change is the lower stealth duration at early ranks, which basically forces anybody jungling as Shaco to put at least two or three points early into Q to be able to really get any ganks off.  This definitely fits into Riot wanting Shaco to be less strong early, as his level two or three ganks are much more easy to spot with proper early warding.

W – Jack In The Box

NEW BIGGER BOX: Now gains 0-400 bonus health (from levels 1-18).
ARM TIME: Randomly between from 2.1 seconds to 2.3 seconds 2 seconds
BASICALLY WARD HEALTH: Jack-in-the-Boxes now instantly die to turret shots, and lose a minimum of 1/3rd of their health from champion basic attacks.
These changes seem to be mostly balanced around AP Shaco, and for AD Shaco, the boxes remain simply as a tool to disrupt enemy movement or clear camps.

E – Two-Shiv Poison

SLOW: 10/15/20/25/30% 20/22.5/25/27.5/30%
DAMAGE: 50/90/130/170/210 (+1.0 bonus attack damage) (+1.0 ability power) 5/35/65/95/125 (+0.85 total attack damage) (+0.9 ability power)
NEW MISSING HEALTH DAMAGE: Now deals an additional 3-8% of the target’s missing health (at levels 1-11).
REMOVED DEBILITATING POISON: No longer slows monster attack speed.
The removal on the attack speed slow against monsters doesn’t do too much to Shaco. The only time that was really ever of much help is if something went wrong at level one and you didn’t get to set up boxes on the first camp. The execute damage feels great, like something that should’ve been there from the beginning, as Shaco typically wants to save this ability for once the enemy is retreating.

R – Hallucinate

INVULNERABILITY: Randomly between 0.25 seconds to 0.5 seconds 0.5 seconds
NEW NO FOOLING TURRETS: Shaco’s clone now takes double damage from turrets.
NEW CLEARING CHARADE: Shaco’s clone can now attack wards.
NEW IT’S MULTIPLE TRAPS: Now creates a nest of Jack-in-the-Boxes upon death. These boxes activate together, and receive damage together.
NEST DURATION: Six seconds
NEST FEAR DURATION: 0.75 seconds
NEST DAMAGE: 25/50/75 (+0.15 ability power) per attack
NEST HEALTH: Gains 210-950 bonus health (from levels 6-18).
Shaco’s clone remains pretty much the same as before. As with the changes to Jack in the Box, Shaco’s clone also is more vulnerable and less damaging to towers. Shaco would often find himself trying to split push in later parts of the game, as team fights didn’t really give him much room to shine, but these changes seem to be driving him away from that. The nest explosion on his Hallucinate doesn’t do too much, but at least adds a little more reward for getting off the explosion in a good position. Shaco’s win rate had the smallest amount of change out of the assassins. With some of the nerfs to his early game, this would suggest Riot did a pretty solid job of keeping him relevant enough in the mid game.


NEW Passive – Blade’s End

Talon’s abilities wound champions and epic monsters for a short duration, stacking up to three times. When Talon basic attacks a fully wounded target, they bleed for a large amount of physical damage over time.

DAMAGE60-160 (+2.0 bonus attack damage) over 2 seconds (at levels 1-11)
The bleed previously held by Talon’s Q is now placed on his passive. This requires Talon to land a few abilities before getting the damage off. It’s important to note that while auto attacks do not add a stack of Blade’s End, they do refresh the debuff at the current number of stacks.

UPDATED Q – Noxian Diplomacy

Talon leaps to a target, dealing physical damage. If cast within melee range, Talon does not leap but instead critically strikes his target for 150 percent. Whenever Noxian Diplomacy kills a unit, Talon restores health and refunds 50 percent of its cooldown.

COOLDOWN: 8/7/6/5/4 seconds 8/7.5/7/6.5/6 seconds
COST: 40/45/50/55/60 mana 30 mana at all ranks
RANGE: 550 (170 if used from melee)
DAMAGE: 80/100/120/140/160 + 1.0 bonus attack damage (120/150/180/210/240 + 1.5 bonus attack damage from melee)
HEAL ON KILL: 17-51 (from levels 1-18)
The lower mana cost, and half reset from the Q allows Talon to get some pretty decent sustain from the heal this ability now provides. With Talon’s Dash now being tied into the ability, it forces Talon to make the decision of trying to get close enough for the extra damage without dashing, or using the ability to close the gap.

W – Rake

COOLDOWN: 10 seconds at all ranks 9 seconds at all ranks
COST: 60/65/70/75/80 mana 55/60/65/70/75 mana
SLOW: 20/25/30/35/40% 40/45/50/55/60%
SLOW DURATION: 2 seconds 1 second
NEW WAIT FOR IT: Rake’s slow now only applies when the blades return.
NEW WAAAIT FOR IT: Now has a 0.7 second delay before returning to Talon
RANGE: 750 900
ARC: 40 degrees 22 degrees
INITIAL DAMAGE: 30/60/90/120/150 (+0.3 bonus attack damage) 50/60/70/80/90 (+0.4 bonus attack damage)
RETURN DAMAGE: 30/60/90/120/150 (+0.3 bonus attack damage) 60/90/120/150/180 (+0.7 bonus attack damage)
TOTAL DAMAGE: 60/120/180/240/300 (+0.6 bonus attack damage) 110/150/190/230/270 (+1.1 bonus attack damage)
Rake received a fair bit of changes from this rework. While the extra range is helpful, I’ve found with the more narrow cone, the lack of slow on the inital damage, and the longer return time, that enemies have a much easier time dodging the second part of this ability. So while the damage increase is nice, it’s a lot harder to get the most out of this ability.

NEW E – Assassin’s Path

Talon vaults over the nearest structure or terrain in a target direction. The vault’s speed is affected by Talon’s movement speed. Talon cannot vault over the same section of terrain for a period of time.

COOLDOWN: 2 seconds at all ranks
COOLDOWN ON TERRAIN: 160/135/110/85/60 seconds
TERRAIN COOLDOWN: Terrain that’s currently on cooldown will appear outlined in red for Talon.
AINT NO MOUNTAIN HIGH ENOUGH: Talon can vault over player-made terrain as well.
Assassin’s Path is the most fun change made to Talon’s kit. This new ability gives him a type of mobility only matched by Aurelian Sol. While the cooldown on terrain feels pretty long (Talon really can’t afford to put points into this over anything else), Talon’s roaming and escape potential went to a whole new level with this change.

R – Shadow Assault

DAMAGE PER STRIKE: 120/170/220 (+0.75 bonus attack damage) 80/120/160 (+0.8 bonus attack damage)
MINIMUM TIME: Blades now have a minimum lifetime of 0.8 seconds before returning to Talon.
GUIDED BLADES: Blades can now be redirected to the target of Talon’s first basic attack.
WHY DO YOU EVEN HAVE THAT MANY BLADES: Now has way more blades.
A bit of a damage reduction was thrown onto Shadow Assault. This is Talon’s only ability that stayed pretty much untouched in functionality. It’s still a large chunk of damage when bursting down, as well as a great way to find your escape path. I’d say the biggest reason Talon is having trouble currently is the removal of the instant slow on his W. Talon, right now, seems to require hitting absolutely everything to get enough damage out on his target, but is having a lot of trouble sticking to that target to do so.


W – Living Shadow

REMOVED OVER THE TOP: No longer provides 4/8/12/16/20% bonus attack damage.
ENERGY RETURN ON MULTI-HIT: 20/25/30/35/40 30/35/40/45/50
The energy return has never really been something Zed is able to get much use out of. The shadow swap range ends up being a little helpful when covering large distances and moving back and forth with your ultimate. The real change is that W is no longer giving Zed free attack damage, which I’ll address with his ultimate.

E – Shadow Slash

COOLDOWN: 4 seconds at all ranks 5/4.5/4/3.5/3 seconds
DAMAGE: 60/90/120/150/180 65/90/115/140/165
This ability has always been primarily used for the slow from his shadow. The changes to the damage and cooldown haven’t been something that’s really impacted Zed too much.

R – Death Mark

NEW SHADOW REAPING: Whenever Death Mark kills an enemy, Zed steals their shadow for himself, gaining a portion of their attack damage. Zed can only possess one shadow at a time, and only steals a new shadow if it would give him more damage.
REAPING BONUS: 5 attack damage + 5/10/15% of the target’s total attack damage
Shadow Reaping essentially makes up for the loss of bonus AD from Zed’s W. It does force Zed to look for that early kill onto the enemy ADC, and requires the kill to actually come from Death Mark. Zed suprisingly received the least impactful changes to his kit, considering he’s been the assassin with the least counterplay once the QSS changes came in.
Right now, Zed really relies on getting that kill on a high attack damage target before he can get into the unstoppable split push mode Zed is known for. I don’t think we’re going to find Zed in a healthy place until an actual rework is put into place addressing his core issues. Currently, Zed often ends up becoming a Master Yi or Tryndamere, where all the nuance to his kit is tossed aside and he just slams through enemies with a few auto attacks. Zed is doing alright in terms of win rate, but won’t be properly balanced until some major changes roll through.

That sums up my Assassin Rework: First Impressions, but I’d love to hear what you think on this topic. Keep an eye out on @GAMURScom and follow me @calvinbwitt for more content.