Let's talk about Xerath

First Riot Post
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Decadense

Junior Member

05-19-2013

So I ran through this entire thread looking at all of Xelnath's posts to players talking about Xerath. I'm seeing a lot of smart talk and a lot of people who don't really know much about the champion. I would tend to agree that Xerath definitely needs a visual upgrade or just some love to the way he feels. His abilities don't feel like they hit as hard as they do and his model and voice work are outdated.I know that Xelnath pretty much knows the ins and outs of his design but I was just going to throw my thoughts in here.

As far as my experience with him, he's my main and honestly probably the strongest mage in the game rivaled really only by Ziggs in terms of raw power and late game scaling. The thing that really sets Xerath apart from other mages is 2 things.
1) Obviously, his range when he is in Locus form.
2) The passive magic penetration that you get from being in Locus form.
These are the 2 things that set him apart and really make him a huge threat late game. I would say that his stun ultimate combo is another but I feel like you can get just as much damage from many other burst champions. I guess I'm opposed to him being changed because I'm good with him and I understand making him more accessible to players and having him feel right but I think that if you wanted to smooth him out a visual upgrade would be the best thing to start with. I completely understand the rational behind saying that he is an ultimate reliant champion but I think that this line of reasoning is very flat. It implies that he needs his ultimate to be effective in i fight or to have kill potential or anything. I don't think this is true. He has huge poke and utility with just his WQ alone. I think the real reason why Xerath is balanced now is because his laning phase is atrocious. Farming is a hassle and he is so easily caught and ganked. It's not until lategame when Xerath becomes a threat. His gameplay relies on huge burst and shred while also giving really good objective control.

Things that I found interesting throughout this thread and topics that were discussed were really the change of Locus of Power and Arcane Barrage. I think that, while don't change the core mechanics of Xerath, they change the way that he is played which is heavily heavily (double for emphasis) on positioning and also changing the way that he will fell without the game. I like how arbitrary he feels as far as his mechanics go. He is easy to understand but extremely hard to master. I think that the pop stun is good as far as a gameplay perspective is concerned. Maybe I'm coming at a "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" viewpoint but I think that if you wanted him to flow and feel better that the visual update would suffice. His passive is extremely strong. It is a key factor in keeping him viable in the lategame vs AD assassins and bruisers. His Q E and R are all strong by themselves based on their attributes and ratios and the W is what makes him stand out. on top of that the speed boost gives him the mechanic to re-position which is something that skilled Xerath's use to its full potential.

I think I might just be worried that a rework of his skills is going to completely turn me off to playing him. I am 100% hardcore about Xerath. Honestly, I would compare myself in skill with batjewman but the way that Xerath feels and the way he flows through the game gives him that sense of power. Like I have said, start with the aesthetics and work up from there. I think there have been some very interesting ideas presented.

If you were to change Xerath and mix match his assigned W and R I would just say that the R would need to be on a cooldown that would make it relevant from the time he hit Lv6 onward. Explicitly, it can't be on a cooldown greater than a 45 seconds otherwise the gameplay will become stale and you won't have the feel that you were setting out to get. The way i build Xerath right now, he has max CDR by Lv12 or so. Going past the max CDR cap is also interesting, but it raises the issue of spamming as has been talked about before and that's not what Xerath is about. I play Katarina if I want to faceroll the keyboard. An AA augment is interesting but if you;re playing Xerath no one should be that close for you to AA in the first place. Etc., Etc...

I guess I really don't see where he needs to be changed. His counterplay is fine. He has obvious weaknesses that can be exploited if you can understand what he does. For example, I play on a team for fun with my friends and I tend to carry us every game and a friend of mine challenged me to a 1v1 with him playing Riven and I won the match-up. Then we played with each others champions and I still won by using Xerath's weaknesses against him. Sure, this could be chalked up to player skill but it partly proves my vague point. He has weaknesses. He has counterplay. Until mid/lategame he is extremely weak when outside of teamfights or when being focused unless its in a 1v1 with an enemy carry. Making him more "viable" or "flow better" is just going to turn off the niche players who play him more often rather than open him up to players who would rather play Zed or Twisted Fate or Kassadin. Truth be told, those champions are probably more fun. I come to Xerath because I like snuffing out an escaping carry or stealing baron from 1000 range. It is a more serious playstyle and it makes me feel better about winning a game rather than bouncing around with a Karthus and pressing R for the win. That's a bit extreme to say about Karthus but they are different champions and I come to one because I know how to play him and play him very well. Changing him is going to take that away and I don't think it's going to go any different than something like the Karma remake or the Evelynn and Twitch remake. I saw them the first week or so after the rework launches and now I hardly ever see them. Maybe that's case by case aswell. I can't be certain. I have no underlying data or anything. Just my thoughts.

I would like some feedback on this too. I know Xelnath said they were looking for Xerath player opinions but I guess I would like either some comfirmation about any of my points or for someone to tell me how and why I'm wrong.


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IS1c1d21220aa58ffe97d65

Senior Member

05-19-2013

@Xelnath

I get it now that you want his Ult to be highly interactive in that it too is his biggest weakness, still a lot of Xerath players are adverse to the thought of being immobile to feel powerful. Just an insight.

Also you commented about how Locus should not damage to be in lien with this effect. How about a slow instead? Something of a clutch of sorts to give ample reaction time for the less skilled players heck even heightened vision during Locus would be nice but too much wishful thinking.

P.S. I really like how interactive you are here, I see you bump/reply on ideas you find to be worthwhile for discussion, mind if you take a bit of non-healthy insights and point out to us why they are so and how they do not fit with your general idea of how Xerath should be?


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Palooka

Junior Member

05-19-2013

Here's an idea for Mage Chains:

A skillshot that starts off with a very slow travel time, but speeds up as it travels, passing through enemies and inflicting the mage chains debuff.

This could give Xerath players a really satisfying way to begin their combo, by lining up a well-timed delayed shot, and could potentially stun multiple targets if landed really well, but would also be easy to see coming if enemy players had vision of Xerath, leading him into a sniper playstyle. It would also tie in nicely with the current charge-up version of Arcanopulse, where laying down a charged Arcanopulse right as your Mage Chains hits would be nuanced and rewarding.

Thematically, I imagine an energy/lightning particle that is planted on the ground, and revs up speed.

One thing I think people find frustrating about playing against Xerath is that if he hits mage chains and has his ult up, he just explodes whoever he hit. If it was difficult to land I think this interaction would be better for both parties. It would still be easy to land on melee targets, though, so Xerath would still have that defense.


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SmellslikeCF

Senior Member

05-19-2013

Dear Xelnath,

It's me again!

Couldn't you make the stun aspect of his kit a part of his passive instead?

Unstable current: Hitting two consecutive spells on a champion will stun them for 1 second.

That way you get rid of the Prim-pop mechanic of his kit and have more room to play around with his Mage chains.

Perhaps make the chains an ability like a targetable leash/root where a target enemy is bound to a chain of energy and are not able to move more than 450 units away from it or if that's too strong make it a leash but if the enemy breaks it, they take damage?


EDIT: Nvm I just realised... I just described Kennen HAHA


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RobertFreeman

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Senior Member

05-19-2013

How about this. You tried switching locus of power and arcane barage, but what about switching arcanopulse and arcane barrage?

Arcane barrage as a regular skill caused problems because ranking it up first versus arcanopulse was either too good or not good enough. But it solved the problems with followups for Mage Chains, and made Xer more active.

But if you make AB his main skill, and AP his ultimate (which, I guess, would have to be differentiated from lux's in some interesting way), you can keep his power spread roughly as it is now, only with more action while his ult is not up.

You also talked about an ammo system for Arcane Barrage -- but what about making it similar to Living Artillery? Only, get this, instead of ramping up the mana cost, you ramp up the time it takes to come down. The first AB is faster than it currently is, and it has, say, a 1-2 second cooldown, but if you keep using it within, say, five seconds, it comes down slower and slower. Or maybe its cooldown scales -- from 0 seconds (you can cast two at a time for free) to five seconds, with a 5-6 second reset period. Again, this interplays nicely with mage chains -- if you can land the stun (which you might change to a longer root or slow), you'll follow up with one or two more ABs, free. If you can't land the stun combo, then you will have to wait for Q's timer to reset before you can start harassing/farming effectively again.


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Koby

Senior Member

05-19-2013

He's fine I just don't like how you have to root yourself to the ground


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Shinkada

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Senior Member

05-19-2013

"This was in contrast to the "methodical sniper" playstyle players on the forums expressed and has thus been canned."

Just want to chime in that I disagree here. A Mage who ascended to essentially become mana in a box with a voice who is totally obsessed with power? Ramping up cdr, damage and mana costs until he's pretty much just throwing lightning all over the map sounds pretty much exactly right thematically.

Maybe you could even attach it to Locus itself, have it ramp up just cdr, range and mana cost? Am I the only person who thinks blowing your entire mana pool for ~2 qs, ~3ws and one or two of whatever e becomes at 3000 range would be pretty much the most amazing thing ever? It'd also be super projected and have lots of counterplay because the enemy would see the Xerath throwing blind Arcanopulses at increasing range as he worked through his mana, even if they wouldn't see Xerath himself.


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TheDeFecto

Senior Member

05-19-2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by Xelnath View Post
Let's start with a few facts:
  • Xerath has a 50% win rate across all elos.
  • Xerath only has a 51% win rate in very high elo matches.
  • Xerath's total burst has a 1134 dmg + 3.4 AP Ratio + 40% spell pen - the highest baseline burst in the game.
  • Xerath has a very cool theme and concept

Despite this:
  • Xerath is the 2nd least played Mage across all regions.

The data indicates Xerath is actually balanced in terms of total impact on the game. His best case burst is massive. Yet he's not played a lot.

Why do you feel this is? What do you feel would make Xerath feel better?
When talking about overwhelming power the first thing I think about are aesthetics. I used to play Xerath a bit and the thing that stood out to me immediately was his ult! Each cast felt strong as I watched an orbital bombardment eradicate my foes. What didn't make sense to me though was his look. Though radiating power contained by armor, his general look seemed quite frail in comparison to the power he was capable of unleashing. To me, I would think he is stronger off the bat if he were to have some type of radiant power coursing over his armor, sparking as it let off each individual piece of metal. An aura of some type should be emanating from the base of his "feet" to give some type of indicator as to why he is hovering! Or maybe some type of light on both hands to show that those tiny little hands are ready to put forth a powerful blast of energy at his whim. These are just some of the things I feel should be naturally inherent on a champion that resembles a boiling teapot ready to burst. His kit may need some work yes, but the general aesthetic to me does not read "I can destroy you".

I hope some of this insight helped, I really LOVE Xerath and I'm glad hes getting looked at. Keep up the good work!

TL;DR: He seems a bit frail and stick like in comparison to the amount of damage hes able to put out.


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QuickWhit

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Junior Member

05-19-2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by Xelnath View Post
It's in, hooked up to his ultimate, and probably massively OP. We'll find out for sure in testing.
If it is too powerful, how about just displacement reduction. It would be like a unique form of tenacity. So Ali headbutts, Blitz pulls, etc. only move him half the distance when rooted by locus of power. There could even be a nice graphic effect that shows the ground all torn up in the path that Xerath was moved. This makes it clear what is happening, satifies the idea of Xerath being powerfully rooted to the ground, and would be much less frustrating for opponents.


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KevXman

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Junior Member

05-19-2013

For me, Xerath's problem is that (as some people have already mentioned in the thread) without the ult up, he has nothing to follow up a stun, since he has to use his other damaging spell, his Q to proc the stun. So basically, he W -> E -> Q and while other champions with stuns use the stun to follow up with other skills (such as Anivia, where you hit the stun with the Q and then follow up with E after the stun), Xerath hits the stun and then... runs away? I think this makes hitting the stun quite underwhelming and not very rewarding without having his ult up, unless you're making an escape.

I say maybe make his Q after a stun from his E is hit. That way, a Xerath player without his ult up can use E -> Q to stun, and then be rewarded with extra damage in guaranteeing another hit on his Q. His combo without his ult up can then be E -> Q (stun, refresh) -> Q, which would be much more satisfying than E -> Q -> run away. This way, his full ult combo (which I think is fine the way it is) will still be E -> R (stun) -> Q -> R -> R, since his Q wasn't on cooldown in the first place when the ult procs the stun, unless he procs the stun with the Q in E -> Q (stun) -> Q -> R -> R -> R combo, in which the Xerath player should be rewarded for hitting the stun with the Q rather than the ult anyway. Even then, the full combo may not actually hit, as the stun should run out before the last ult, allowing the enemy to dodge.