Content of the article: "Essence Reaver is probably the Ryze of items. This item has been reworked a ton of times and had its stats and niche changed multiple times since it was introduced."
Is there any other item like this?
Back when it was initially introduced in season 4, Essence Reaver used to be a lifesteal item with only 10% CDR. Back then, the mana restore passive worked on all attacks independent of them critically striking, but it would restore mana equal to the amount of physical damage you dealt to enemies, based on your missing mana.
Then, in pre-season 6, this item was reworked to be a crit chance item, with its lifesteal removed. It still gave 10% CDR, but could also now give a potential maximum of 30% CDR by itself, depending of how much crit chance you have from other items. Back then, this item was great for ADC casters (please don't confuse with AD casters) such as Lucian, as well as Sivir. You only needed 10% extra CDR from runes, or another item, to maximize 40% CDR. Also, the mana restore passive was reworked to only work when your attack was a critical strike, and it was also changed to always restore 3% of your maximum mana.
Then, in patch 8.11 (a patch where Riot did a lot of changes to marksmen itemization) they reworked Essence Reaver once again. It lost its crit chance entirely, and it gives 300 mana now. The mana restore on-hit has been nerfed to 1% of your MISSING mana, but buffed to be once again independent from critical strikes. By far the most significant change, however, was the new passive. After casting your ultimate, your next attack in the next 10 seconds would give you 30% attack speed, basic attacks would refund 20% of your basic abilities' cooldowns. This was intended to give ADC casters more synergy with casting abilities and auto attacking, but ironically, none of them found this item's passive to be interesting. But even more ironically, the champions that started purchasing this item were Riven, Jax, and Renekton, which not only are not ADCs at all, but two of them are manaless! They made such good use of the passive, that this item's mana and mana restore passive being completely wasted were irrelevant.
Then, in patch 9.3 (a patch where they fixed a ton of the marksmen itemization changes they did in patch 8.11) they reworked Essence Reaver once again. They removed the mana, as well as the ultimate refunding cooldowns passive, and moved it to a (not so) new item named Spear of Shojin (which was eventually removed because it was too OP on the champions it was purchased, namely Riven, Renekton, and Jax). This item is now once again a crit item, but with a few differences from its pre-season 6 incarnation. The first one is that it gives 5% extra crit chance, for a total of 25%. The second difference is that the mana restore passive is still independent from critical strikes, and it has been buffed to restore 1,5% maximum mana. The third difference is that instead of giving you a maximum potential of 30% CDR, this item now always gives you 20% CDR. The build path has also been changed. The BF sword has been removed and instead, you were required to purchase a Pickaxe to build this item. This was a double edged sword change. On one hand, this item was technically cheaper to build. On other hand, many people would mistakenly buy a BF Sword, still thinking this item would build into Essence Reaver (which is natural, because BF Sword was part of this item's recipe for most of its history). Eventually, Riot re-added the BF Sword back to this item's recipe (and removed the Pickaxe). This nerfed this item (which was OP on higher elo/competitive due to how cheap it was) but also proved to be a great QoL change for the aforementioned reasons.
Apparently, Riot is reworking Essence Reaver once again. Judging from this page, which shows the full list of changes they will make to items during the upcoming pre-season, they will probably do those changes: First, this item is going to be 400 gold cheaper. Then, it will give less AD (30 less than what it gives). The CDR is being replaced with ability haste, which is understandable considering the former is being reworked into the latter. By far the most significant change, however, is the passive. The mana restore passive has been reworked into a Spellblade passive which, in addition to restoring 3% of your maximum mana, also deals 100% of your base AD + 40% bonus AD as physical damage. As a Spellblade passive, it naturally only works on the next basic attack you will do after casting a spell. It will probably have Sheen in its recipe (it would be weird if it did not). This means Essence Reaver is now going to be the fourth Spellblade item, this time aimed at AD crit champions, alongside Trinity Force (for AD bruisers),
Iceborn Gauntlet (for tanks)(I've just noticed they will rework IBG and it will no longer be a Spellblade item), and Lich Bane (for APs). Keep in mind this rework may not at all come to live, Riot may decide to scrap it until then. It has a high chance of still coming to live, but Riot has been known to scrap changes they announced in the pre-season before they ever hit live (they did this with the lethality Hydra item in the last pre season).
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