League of Legends

The 11.19 Ryze nerfs could target pros more effectively

TLDR: Current PBE nerfs don't seem optimal for hurting pros more than solo queue players. Other nerfs could hit pro-valued tools more effectively.

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Ryze currently has these nerfs on the PBE:

Overload (Q) AP lowered from 45% to 40%

Spell Flux (E) cooldown increased from 3.25/3/2.75/2.5/2.25 to 3.5/3.25/3/2.75/2.5

I think Ryze definitely should be nerfed based on his pro presence. However, if the goal is to hit Ryze in pro specifically (limiting solo queue impact), the current changes are far off the mark in my opinion.

We know that pros value early-game power a lot more than solo queue players do. Most number changes intended to promote or remove champions from pro play will center around this principle.

This early-game focus is clearly seen with Ryze. Pros use Corrupting start most of the time, but solo queue players take it in ~17% of games. Biscuits + Timewarp is the dominant secondary tree in pro games, but those runes have sub-20% pickrates in solo queue (stats from lolalytics.com in 11.17). We frequently see pro Ryze players rush defensive boots against their lane opponents.

If Ryze is showing up a lot in pro (while having poor solo queue winrates), it makes sense to nerf his early game and other pro-specific things.

However, the current PBE nerfs do not look pro-specific. They are generic power nerfs that hit both solo queue and pro players. In fact, if I am not missing anything, they are more impactful later on.

This is easy to see with Overload. The AP ratio nerf starts to matter once Ryze has a few items and the later ultimate ranks, but the damage difference is small early on.

For Spell Flux, it might not be as intuitive.

LevelCurrent CD + Cast Time (0 AH)New CD + Cast Time (0 AH)New / Old EQ DPS (when cast off-CD)
33.503.750.933333
43.503.750.9333
53.503.750.9333
63.503.750.9333
73.503.750.9333
83.253.500.9286
93.253.500.9286
103.003.250.9231
113.003.250.9231
122.753.000.9167
132.502.750.9091
142.502.750.9091
152.502.750.9091
162.502.750.9091
172.502.750.9091
182.502.750.9091​

With earlier Spell Flux ranks, the flat cooldown increase has a relatively smaller impact on overall DPS (in terms of EQ casts / second).

What about Ability Haste? AH curbs the effects a tiny bit. At 50 AH and max rank E, the DPS is 91.3% of the previous value rather than 90.9%, so the drop-off is a little smaller than the chart shows. However, if I did the numbers right, there is no realistic AH value where the hit to Ryze's early-game DPS is equal to or larger than the one to his late-game DPS from EQ casts.

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Why are these nerfs being used? I don't know and won't guess. Maybe there is a good reason for them, but I can't see it. I will share some alternative adjustments that might be more pro-specific. Obviously, there isn't enough time for mini-rework stuff, but number adjustments can be effective at suppressing Ryze for the Worlds patch so that the devs can deal with him later.


1. Realm Warp

There isn't a lot of time before Worlds, and I don't know how hard it is to make mechanical adjustments to Realm Warp. However, any nerf to this ability will hit pros much harder than solo queue players. I don't think Realm Warp is useless in solo queue, but it is obviously way better for pros. The rank 1 cooldown is already extremely high; higher CD at later ranks, a channel time increase, a range decrease, etc. could be effective strategies.


2. EW Roots

Ryze's targeted roots are very effective in pro. They offer reliable gank setup as well as easy-to-execute roams. Both of these things are more valuable in coordinated games. If the root time is given a scaling component rather than being 1.5 seconds for the whole game, Ryze's ability to make plays around level 6 would be a lot worse. Scaling with W rank might be too restrictive; it could interact with ult ranks or levels instead.


3. Base Magic Resistance

Ryze has crazy amounts of base MR. The stat has been buffed twice in this iteration, going from 30 in Season 9 to 36 in the middle of Season 10. This is a huge boon for pros. It helps Ryze survive the early laning phase against pro staples like Azir, Orianna, etc. that out-range him.

On the other hand, Ryze's MR scaling is fairly low. Base MR nerfs could be paired with scaling MR buffs to shift power towards solo queue players. Base armor and/or armor growth are also candidates for softening the solo queue blow, since AD mids are way more common in solo queue than pro play (and Ryze top is nearly nonexistent in pro).


4. Overload Safety

Overload's 1000 range and 6-second cooldown grant Ryze some lane safety by allowing him to farm minions outside of his (and the opponent's) combat range. Lowering the range, lowering the cooldown, increasing the mana cost, etc. could help Ryze's lane counters create larger CS deficits by zoning him off of waves more effectively.


5. Waveclear

Pros play around Ryze's early-midgame wave priority much better than uncoordinated solo queue teams are able to. There isn't a whole lot that can be done about that without changing mechanics. The simple and inelegant solution would be to reduce Overload's damage to minions by some % (maybe decreasing with ult rank so that the nerf is softer later on).


6. Heath Regeneration

Ryze's HP regen was buffed to 8 in 9.14. If this is nerfed back to 7 (or sent lower), it would allow lane harass to "stick" better than it currently does. HP regen growth/lvl can also be nerfed.


7. Overload Base Damage

Q base damage nerfs (like the 9.24 one) can be really effective. The early DPS losses are larger than the losses from this CD increase, and the late-game nerfs are smaller. Maybe the devs were uncomfortable with the solo queue winrate drop that occurred last time, but I don't think the current PBE changelist will do much better on that front.

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