In an upcoming patch we’ll be revisiting one of our original classic champions: Twitch, the Plague Rat. Twitch’s Ambush ability will be seeing some changes to shift him toward a more aggressive role on the battlefield. Since this ability allowed Twitch to remain invisible for significant periods of time, enemy players were forced to adopt an extremely cautious and defensive playstyle in response. Since we want League of Legends to be a fun, fast-paced experience, we decided to update Twitch with a new version of Ambush.
Even beyond its duration, we saw some major issues with the Ambush ability, primarily surrounding the nature of the Attack Speed bonus that it provided. While Attack Speed helps quickly stack up charges of Deadly Venom, this bonus ramped up over the total duration Twitch remained invisible. This forced players to strike a balance between selecting the ideal time to strike and attempting to lurk for as long as possible in order to reach the maximum bonus. This was especially problematic for Plague Rat enthusiasts, since it forced Twitch to forego farming gold in order to reach his maximum Attack Speed bonus.
To shift emphasis towards a more action-oriented style of play, we retooled Ambush to promote aggressive repositioning over stalking. The first step in accomplishing this was to change the ability so that it always applies the maximum Attack Speed bonus, solidifying the emphasis on selecting the opportune moment of attack. We also drastically shortened the duration to give the ability a more tactical context, and gave Ambush a Movement Speed boost to help Twitch quickly outflank his opponent.
Another issue Twitch faced was an over-reliance on the enormous damage potential of his ultimate ability. More often than not, Twitch’s success or failure on the battlefield depended on his ability to output massive amounts of damage over the course of Spray and Pray rather than on Deadly Venom and Expunge. Since most of his interesting gameplay revolved around poison combos, we wanted to augment this aspect of his kit both to make him more interesting to play and to make him less one dimensional.
For starters, we noticed most Twitch players using Debilitating Poison to begin every engagement rather than waiting to build up stacks of Deadly Venom. For this reason, we decided to replace this ability with one that was better suited to initiating combat. This new ability, Venom Cask, not only allows Twitch to initiate by slowing a group of enemies at range, but also gives him a head start on his combo by adding stacks of Deadly Venom to those caught within the area of effect. To top things off, while Expunge still adds bonus damage for each stack of Deadly Venom on the target, it no longer consumes those stacks when cast, allowing your poisons to continue to tick away. Expunge will also now receive a damage bonus based on your total Attack Damage, preserving its function as a heavy hitting nuke even into the late game.
The final step in the process was repurposing Spray and Pray to better support this new emphasis on poison gameplay. To do this, we scaled back the massive, team-wide damage potential by making each missile deal reduced damage after passing through each target. To compensate for this, we increased its missile speed to make attacks more difficult to dodge and removed the ammunition requirement, allowing Twitch to spray poisoned arrows to his heart’s content for the full duration of his ultimate. This allows tanks to take the brunt of the initial assault for their team through good positioning, but still allows Twitch to douse the more vulnerable enemies at the back of the formation with stacks of Deadly Venom. These more powerful poison-delivery options help Twitch maintain a constant threat level, allowing him to take down high value targets without leaning so heavily on Spray and Pray.
- Deadly Venom (Passive): Twitch’s basic attacks infect the target, dealing true damage over time.
- Ambush: Twitch becomes invisible for a short duration and gains Movement Speed. At the end of this effect, Twitch gains Attack Speed for a short duration.
- Venom Cask: Twitch hurls a cask of venom that explodes on contact, slowing targets in the area and applying Deadly Venom.
- Expunge: All nearby enemies secrete Twitch's Deadly Venom from their bodies, dealing damage for each stack.
- Spray and Pray: Twitch closes his eyes and rapidly fires his crossbow, quickly spraying powerful poisoned bolts ahead of him.