League of Legends

Why I Think Riot’s current design goal of Mythic diversity actually has it backwards

One of Riot's stated goals in the item rework was to introduce more item diversity in the game. This is a very noble goal, and I think the Mythic Item system is an excellent opportunity to do this. But, Riot's method of achieving this is goal with Mythics has it backwards, in my opinion. More specifically:

Mythic items should be intentionally non-diverse for each specific champion, and in return, almost all of the item diversity should come from Legendary items.

Here's why:

1. Mythic Passives

Besides their sheer scale and cost, the most notable thing about Mythic items are the Mythic passives, which grant increasing amounts of stats the more Legendary items you get. I love this system, because while Riot isn't using it this way, it represents an amazing opportunity for Legendary item diversity.

Many champions heavily rely on specific stats to operate. Assassins need their AD and Lethality, Battlemages need their HP and AP, Wardens need Resistances and AH, et cetera. This requirement means that buying items that don't give those stats in abundance is often self-sabotaging, and any deviations into other items have to be extremely well justified.

You can likely see where I'm going with this. The very nature of Mythic passives is that, even when someone chooses to branch out into a weirder item, they can still receive some of their vital stats. Now if your Braum decides to buy into a Redemption for some extra utility, it won't feel like a waste of gold as long as he still gets some HP or Resistances from his Mythic. Diversifying your items won't be as punishing.

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2. Kit Synergies

When the rune rework came out long ago, many people had concerns that the specific keystone masteries would synergize to strongly with certain kits, locking some champions into certain runes while leaving others without any strong choices. This has proven, in part, to be true, although made better by practically every champion having at least one good choice. Basically every champion has 1 or 2 best choices for keystones, and that's satisfactory.

The same is true of Mythics. Many synergize extremely well with a specific champion's kit, to the point where picking anything else is borderline trolling (try playing Samira without Shieldbow or Rek'sai without Prowler's/Stridebreaker. Or, better yet, don't).

Now, this doesn't need to be a bad thing, as long as this fact is leaned into rather than resisted. The very nature of "very powerful, niche items" means that most champions will have 1-2 optimal choices. This is fine, because again, in conjunction with Mythic passives, it means that most champions can diversify their secondary items without gimping their whole kit.

Which transitions into point number 3 –

3. Adaptation and Game Time

Practically all instances of item diversity come in the form of adaptation, that is, adjusting which items you build based on your allies and enemies. It's how the recommended items work, how most build guides work, and is baked into the design of the items themselves. It can be as simple as building Armor against AD-focused teams, or as complex as buying Mobis instead of Lucis on Bard since you're behind in exp so it's better to give your ADC solo exp and get yours from Chimes.

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It's no secret that Mythic items were meant to be built first; I can count the number of champions that rush non-mythic Legendaries first on one hand. This, again, is not necessarily a a problem as long as it is leaned into. What I mean is that this formula meshes nicely with a key fact about item adaptation: it becomes more valuable later in the game.

This fact seems strange, but it's actually rather obvious when considered. It's better to build your resistances when you know which of the enemy champions will actually be a problem; better to know if you're gonna get a Cloud soul anyway before grabbing Chemtank; etc. Because the game state is usually more clear and set-in-stone late in the game, adaptation in builds becomes more possible.

This means that Mythics are already almost always bought at the worst possible time to be adapting your build: right at the beginning of the game. If we simply assume that each champion will rush their Mythic (or, if not, another similarly powerful and kit-synergistic item like ER), and load more potential adaptability and diversity onto Legendaries bought later into the game, adaptation will become safer, more optimal, and more common.

TLDR: Because Mythics are by nature usually key to a champion's success, while Legendaries are more auxilliary items, making Legendary items more diversifiable will be vastly more successful than trying to force Mythics into diversity.

EDIT: I want to addend some clarification to this in response to the discussion. My point is that, ideally, Mythics represent items core to a champion's kit, and that those items that are vitally important to specific kits should be Mythics. For instance, Shieldbow with Samira, Nashor's with Azir and Diana, Liandry's with Brand and Teemo, BoRK with Jax and Irelia – these items just synergize so well with champion kits that we shouldn't bother making them diverse.

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There's two other kinds of items though – generalist items (Often stat-stick items), like Cosmic Drive or Warmog's Armor, and adaptive items, like Banshee's Veil or old Thornmail, that are built in response to specific champions, situations, and gamestates. Item diversity should come from these two categories of items, not from Mythics.


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