Thursday, October 3, 2013

League Analysis: Phage Upgrade Options

A couple patches ago, Trinity Force was considered to be lacking in viability. It was too costly and overshadowed by other items like Iceborn Gauntlet. However, with the 3.10a patch, Trinity Force and one of its prerequisite upgrades, Phage, were changed to have a passive that wasn't reliant on RNG (among other changes that made Trinity Force suddenly viable to the point that it influenced World Championship champion picks). In order to make this change completely logical, however, the other upgrade to Phage, which is Frozen Mallet, has its build prerequisites changed to ensure it retained its unique passive.

As a result of these changes, Phage is now left to only upgrade into one item. Furthermore, while Trinity Force is fantastic, it doesn't work too well with certain champions for various reasons, such as the inability to make use of the Sheen proc or the exceedingly diverse amount of stats the item has. Besides, being pigeonholed into Trinity Force because of Phage's itemization and passive effect (especially now that the price of Phage has recently been increased) is unfortunate for champions that may benefit from the Health, Attack Damage, and the passive effect, but not from anything else Trinity Force might bring.


There is another Phage upgrade in the game that is only used on certain maps: Entropy. However, in its current state the active is a little too strong and redundant with the movement speed bonus the new passive provides, especially on ranged champions who really don't need even more peeling power. The Attack Damage may also be a little high in general. In addition, the item is pretty expensive, making both Phage upgrades, if Entropy were implemented as it is, costly. To make it more suitably balanced, the new Entropy could look like this:
Entropy (Legendary Item)
Cost: 3000 (2700 Item Cost, 300 Combine Cost
Built From: Phage, Ruby Crystal, Pickaxe
Stats: 400 Health, 50 Attack Damage
UNIQUE Passive - Rage: Basic attacks grant 20 movement speed for 2 seconds on hit. Minion, monster, and champion kills grant 60 movement speed for 2 seconds. The movement speed bonus is halved for ranged champions.
UNIQUE Active: For 5 seconds, your attacks deal an additional 80 true damage over 2.5 seconds. (60 second cooldown)
Regardless, this would be but a quick fix. There's a pretty strong chance Phage will gain another upgrade in the next season since its build trees changed most recently, so it's more likely to be on developers' minds at the moment. However, even though the Rage passive effect has been nerfed for ranged champions, making the itemization of new Phage upgrades too favorable for ranged champions may cause "issues of balance" similar to Trinity Force's changes (an upgrade may also be too favorable for bruiser champions as well).

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