Wednesday, April 17, 2013

League Analysis: Youmuu's Ghostblade

Back before the item changes that were made in preparation of season 3, the Avarice Blade was an item that was rather underused because while it provided passive gold per 10, the upgrade was undesirable for ranged champions and melee "carries" aren't particularly strong (and they still aren't). Fortunately, more upgrade options were added to Avarice Blade and it is now used a bit more often, particularly on ADCs and some other champions that benefit from the upgrades. However, its sole upgrade wasn't quite so lucky...
The Youmuu's Ghostblade, while it got a small buff and some changes to the active effect, has remained very underused. While I recommend using it in my guide for Master Yi, the guide isn't very serious to begin with (a melee carry that attempts to build maximum crit and attack speed is just for laughs, honestly). This item has bothered me for a really long time but I also felt that buffing the item too much could potentially make it really broken. But its usage isn't increasing and there's no sign of the item changing, so this article will attempt to find out what's wrong with the item and resolve the issue(s).

The Problem(s)

First, let us look at the gold efficiency of Youmuu's Ghostblade by finding how much the stats are worth:
AD: 1094.4
Crit Chance: 740.1
Cooldown Reduction: 322
Armor Pen: 850 (Brutalizer used as reference - probably more valuable than this)
Movement Speed: 233.3 (melee), 155.6 (ranged) (This is assuming active is used as much as possible, this value for movespeed was used.)
Attack Speed: 173.3 (melee), 115.6 (ranged) (Again, this is assuming the active is used as much as possible.)
Total: 3413.1 (melee), 3277.7 (ranged)
Efficiency: ~126.41% (melee), ~121.40% (ranged)
This is less efficient than Trinity Force, as shown in my previous analysis (and Trinity Force has become more efficient since the article was written). This is even more so for ranged due to the reduced duration on the active. Something worth noting is that the efficiency effectively increases if the champion is not making use of the item (i.e. has downtime due to death or has nothing to attack), the active is put to maximum use, and Artificer is taken as a Mastery.

Just by looking at the efficiency, some of the issues come to light. Firstly, the efficiency is rather low (and somewhat variant). Secondly, the item is clearly inferior for ranged (probably intended to keep it from being overpowered, especially when coupled with other steroid effects).

Another small issue with the item is it has every offensive stat for physical damage dealers possible. This means a champion has to benefit from all the stats to make best use of the item (they're less likely to benefit from either crit chance or attack speed).

The Solution(s)

Solving this issue is bit difficult, but I've come up with a few:
  • Increase the base stats of the item by a small amount.
Increasing the base stats of the item, particularly the Attack Damage (from 35 to 40, for instance) will make the item more efficient, especially without the active effect.
  • Reduce the Armor Penetration of the item and increase the other base stats by a larger amount than in the previous suggestion.
  • The Armor Penetration could even be removed and the build options for the item could be changed to exclude Brutalizer in favor of something else.
The Armor Penetration is really high on Youmuu's Ghostblade. I feel that while it makes for an interesting niche, the item has so many stats on it and it's ignored in favor of other items that give Armor Penetration (Black Cleaver, Last Whisper).

For instance, the Armor Penetration could be lowered to 10 (like on Brutalizer), an extra Long Sword could be added to the build order (wouldn't change cost, but it would make more sense if the item's attack damage is going to be increased, since having the attack damage jump from 25 to a number like 40+ seems illogical), and the attack damage on Youmuu's Ghostblade could be increased to anywhere between 40 and 50.
  • Increase the duration of the active for ranged or normalize the active in general.
I can understand that the active is kind of silly on ranged because they probably get more out of the attack speed/movement speed, but on the other hand it seems unfair to make the item clearly inferior and thus potentially undesirable for ranged AD. If it's really a problem the active can be changed/nerfed a bit too (i.e. reduced movement speed bonus to prevent ranged AD from having the easiest time kiting ever, though this may also ruin melee mobility as well).
  • Change the active in some sort of way (buff/nerf/other).
The active seems rather gimmicky and the item's efficiency is traded off mostly in favor of it. A number of changes to the active could be done to make Youmuu's Ghostblade more desirable. For instance, the active could allow the champion to ignore unit pathing while active, the active could be reduced in strength but have a longer duration, the active could receive a flat nerf in favor of additional base stats for Youmuu's Ghostblade, and so on.

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