Sunday, December 9, 2012

League Analysis: Atma's Impaler

With the new Season 3 changes to items, I haven't had much opportunity to do another League Analysis because since the changes were soon to come after my last article, I wanted to wait for the changes to come to see how many potential issues with items the patch would "resolve." Now that the patch is out and the multitudes of items have been analyzed, I can safely offer my critique once more. In this article, I will discuss an item called Atma's Impaler, which, despite some changes, is still a rather subpar item.

The Problem

Before I go into the issues with Atma's Impaler, I am aware there are some strong points related to this item. For instance, it's extremely cost efficient since it effectively at least about 30 attack damage (since a level 18 champion has at least 2000 health or so). This means mathematically, based on the combine cost (780 gold), you're effectively buying an item that is slightly stronger than a Pickaxe for less money. On champions with more health, the effect is even stronger.

However, despite the fact this item is very cost-efficient, it is still an item of the Advanced Tier with stats to match. One particular note to make is that a player must build a lot of health items in order to increase this item's usefulness further and doing so may end up being suboptimal. Most Legendary items surpass it in usefulness (especially as the game approaches later stages). While many Advanced Tier items got upgrades (such as Aegis of the Legion), Atma's Impaler saw no such upgrade, meaning it has effectively been "left behind", despite changes to its recipe.

An additional problem not related to why Atma's Impaler is a bit "underpowered" is the niche the item current fills. It is clearly designed for tanky bruisers but at the same time it provides offensive physical stats and armor, something that no other item has (at least in significant amounts with the intention of filling this sort of niche). Because of this, the design is a little confusing for champions who don't build much health, such as the AD carry or a bruiser that doesn't build much health. I don't know whether this is intentional but given that there is an equivalent item for Attack Damage and Magic Resistance that is usable on such champions, why not make an option that gives Attack Damage and Armor (that is usable on AD carries)?

A Potential Solution

I think the best way to make Atma's Impaler useful is by giving it upgrade options. I would handle it using the following steps:
  • Firstly, reduce the strength of the passive effect on Atma's Impaler (or remove it outright) and reduce the cost. For instance, the amount of attack damage granted by the passive could be 0.75% of maximum health and the overall cost reduced to 1800 from 2300.
  • Add two upgrades for Atma's Impaler. One of the upgrades is more oriented towards tank and bruiser champions that build health, while the other is intended to be an item that gives Attack Damage, Armor, and Crit Chance for carries and bruisers that don't build much health.
  • This item would be for tanky champions. To make the crit chance useful, I added an active effect to it that causes critical strikes to heal for a time.
Commander's Pike (Legendary Tier Item)

Builds from: Atma's Impaler, Giant's Belt
Total Cost: 3300 Gold (500 Build cost, 2800 Item cost)
Effect: 500 Health, 50 Armor, 15% Crit Chance
Unique Passive - : Your attack damage is increased by 1.5% of your total health.
Unique Active - Reinforce: Causes your melee critical strikes within the next 10 seconds to heal 1% of your maximum health each. 30 second cooldown.
  • This item would be for champions that don't build as much health, but want the offensive stats and some armor. It has slightly better offensive stats as well:
Slayer's Spike (Legendary Tier Item)

Builds from: Atma's Impaler, Pickaxe
Total Cost: 3200 Gold (525 Build cost, 2675 Item cost)
Effect: 40 Attack Damage, 50 Armor, 20% Crit Chance
Unique Passive: Your attack damage is increased by 1% of your total health
I think these are suitable upgrades for an otherwise decent, but overall lackluster item. If anyone has any other solutions to offer, feel free to post them.

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