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Braum and the State of Supports

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Varsuuvius

Member

05-16-2014

With Braum's release, many are crying out "OP" and demanding changes. As we've seen with every release, new champions are typically very powerful for two reasons: People are unaccustomed to playing against a new champion and the kits are often times too powerful in some respects. I'm not ranked but having discussed Braum with some other support mains, I think that Braum is a bit too powerful in some respects but also that supports are a rather centralized meta right now.

I think Braum has a couple points in which he can be hit without "Olafing" him. I'll go over each skill individually.

Passive- Concussive Blows: Possibly the main reason that people argue that Braum is too powerful. His passive is very volatile and deadly when used properly. While Braum does have to get into teamfights to truly make use of this, it makes it so that he is powerful at all levels. It scales by level, not very heavily, but it is still a surprising amount of damage from a tank. At level 3, it'll do more damage than a single proc of Leona's sunlight though Leona has many more procs to get off. I think that there are a couple of ways to change it without gutting it or completely changing the passive.

  • Make Braum have to trigger a certain number of procs of the passive
His stun is as long as Annie's throughout the game but it's harder to trigger so I don't think the stun time is unreasonable. However, it's very easy to simply land Q and let your ADC trigger the rest. Making Braum have to land 2 of the hits may be a solution of sorts.
  • Make Braum have to land the 4th hit of the passive.
This would make it so that Braum must be in melee range and risk leaving his ADC open or force him to position in a way that is subpar for his protector role. I'm not entirely sure either of these is a perfect solution but I'd really like to have Braum maintain one of the more fun aspects of his kit.

Q- Winter's Bite: Braum's easiest way of applying the first stack of his passive. It's a strong ability but in too many ways. A 70% slow is very strong. That's almost as strong as Lulu's Glitterlance on a single target that takes longer to decay than it does. It also scales excellently well off of HP, one of Braum's main stats at 2.5% max health ratio. It also gets lower CD per rank. That's quite a bit for what can quickly be an overwhelmingly useful ability in lane. On top of that, it has a rather low mana cost as well. It's an absurdly efficient ability regardless of what part of the game it is used.
  • Make the delay rate scale per rank similar to Lulu's Glitterlance
  • Lower the HP ratio.
It's not unusual to see a Braum with Randuin's Omen or Sunfire Cape and rarely the terrifying Warmog's Armor. Raising its mana cost as well as either of the previous suggestions may also be useful as Braum is rather mana efficient as he relies mostly on this ability in lane.

W- Stand Behind Me: Oddly enough, I think this ability is actually very balanced in its current iteration. Initially I thought it would be absurd to have a mini-Leona W that also affects your target. However it's short duration does make it feel much less overwhelming than I initially imagined. At most, this might need a small mana cost increase to balance out with the rest of the kit.

E- Unbreakable: Braum's specialty ability. It's likened very heavily to Yasuo's Wind Wall for good reason. The initial hit is essentially a mobile wind wall, afterwards it's a powerful damage reduction. In many regards, this is more similar to Alistar's Ultimate in my opinion. I think this is a neat, good, flavorful ability but has a problem outside of it's initial stats. I'm not sure of how the damage calculation works, but the raw % damage reduction on top of Braum's itemization into almost pure tank makes this ability create a Dr. Mundo situation with Braum making him seem like an indomitable wall for a brief moment. That's not a bad thing though! It's very much so the epitome of what makes Braum, Braum but it is rather overwhelming. Perhaps if it reduced damage differently between attack types (i.e. projectiles are lowered more than melee attacks) could be implemented, hard as that may be code wise. I do think the major problem with this ability is that people aren't sure what exactly it blocks. Once people are more accustomed to what it blocks compared to Yasuo's Wind Wall, I think this ability will seem less powerful overall. (Hint: Zyra doesn't care about this ability )

R- Glacial Fissure: The quintessential Ultimate. A knock up ability that also turns into a slow. The most common comparison is to Rumble's Equalizer due to the leftover slow field although Braum's slow is much more powerful even if Rumble has Rylai's. This is a rather healthy ability all in all. Maybe a small increase in mana cost and shift the slow amount with the Q. It's a rather short range in all regards so I don't think this needs much tweaking, if at all.


These are just my suggestions and perhaps Braum will be less overwhelming as we learn to play against him. However he and Thresh have been bringing up a big problem with supports. There is little argument that Thresh, Leona and now Braum are the most powerful supports in the game. And they have a number of similarities with each other.

Weak point in game is very small: Braum, Leona and Thresh all hit power spikes that don't ever seem to drop off and yet happen very early in the game. Any of these supports without all 3 non-ult abilities are far less threatening than when they do have all 3. Braum is worse at protecting, Thresh loses utility and Leona sacrifices quite a bit without one ability. However, after level 3, they can all be very threatening in lane simply by walking at you. When they hit Level 6, hey are massive threats and level 9 makes them terrifying with one maxed ability making them very constantly powerful. They all require relatively high levels of skill but it is exceedingly difficult to outtrade these three if they land even part of their combo.

Free Defensive Stats: Each of these champions has built in resistances on their kit. Braum has both his W and his E which can gimp the damage of his lane enemies and even spam laugh while charging forward. Leona's W at level 9 gives a staggering +60 in both defensive stats for a massive six seconds while also sitting on your face. Thresh gains free armor (granted he has no armor per level) but he can quickly gain a respectable amount simply by being smart in collecting souls at max range and with his lantern. All of these champions are rewarded heavily simply for leveling the appropriate skill and for building the proper stats. Leona and Braum gain more resistances for building resistance, much like Garen. Thresh has theoretically infinite armor even if he doesn't have so much as a cloth armor in his inventory.

Even without damage, they all are credit to team: A phrase I've heard a few times, particularly on Reddit, is that Thresh would still be the best support even if his abilities did no damage. I'm rather inclined to agree in some regards. His E passive allows him to trade very well in lane and simply does more damage as the game goes on thanks to his souls. His entire kit is very well designed and even after a long series of nerfs, he's a great champion. I feel like Braum is soon to go down this same, sad path. I think I speak for many when I say Supports are extremely fun to play this season (cheers for not ending with only tier 1 boots) but it's very centralized. Some supports are still used with some frequency but these three are simply too overwhelming which leads to...

Older, dedicated supports simply can't compare in more than one regard: I've made many comparisons to other champions in this post but I feel they are very appropriate. Let's look at some other supports briefly.

Alistar: Not a weak pick by any means, look at Aphromoo's success in the NA LCS with him, but he requires a high level of skill, is rather mana intensive and is very risky to use properly without his ultimate. He peels about as well as Braum but doesn't really have a stun and a much less constant damage reduction.

Janna: Once the queen of supports and still arguably the best disengager amongst all supports. Her kit is great for protecting her ADC in a different way than Braum. However her kit makes her very volatile and hard to properly balance. Her passive was hit massively and I think the main problem is how small the range is. Janna gets very speedy with her W and some AP and makes it difficult for anyone in the game to really maintain pace with her and last inside her passive range. She's also rather squishy and her AD boost form her shield is very easy to pop before it even really gets used.

Lulu, Karma, Soraka: I grouped these three together as they've all been seeing successful play mid as of the recent months. Their kits have great utility and solid scaling which has made them problematic in some regards. They're the most "mage-like" of the supports (Annie is looking for Tibbers). Their kits and the movement away from the pure-assassin mid meta has given them room to shine. They have great waveclear and fantastic abilities all in all. Lulu's ult is amazing regardless of composition and her Whimsy can make anyone into a sad cupcake/snowman/dragon/cat/squirrel (is that all of them?). Karma's tether and dirty bait potential as well as AoE shield MS buff make her incredibly volatile in good hands. Her mantra lets her be able to be useful in nearly any situation and always prepared for different situations. Soraka is the classic beloved(?)typical healer. Sustain for days as well as MR reduction and then some more heals. I don't think these supports are bad but simply perform their secondary functionality as mages a bit too well to really be thought of as "simply supports"

Taric: Alas, poor Taric. With an impossible to properly balance kit, your reign of early S4 fell before we knew ye. Taric has always been a very difficult to balance champion. He's gone through numerous passive changes alone over the past two seasons. He's either very powerful or rather plain. He's a bundle of invisible power which is his main problem. He does amazingly well with Aura items and makes his entire team invisibly powerful and becomes very cost efficient. Taric may need to be re-envisioned before he can be brought to Top 3 levels (Tier 2 Judgment skin when)

Nami: One of the highest skill cap supports in the game in my opinion. If you utilize her kit well, she can be dominating but missing 2 skills means the trade is lost and so is your mana. Nami simply relies on outplaying your opponent and being able to utilize your kit exceedingly well. She's a bit mana-starved but if she wasn't, she'd be overwhelming in lane. She's one of the few mage supports that is not really well played as a mage. A solid champion that may need a few touches to be really loved.

Sona: The giant minion that loves music. Sona's constant rotation of skills was always an interesting concept but similar to Taric, she has an odd amount of hidden power. Her small buffs can make just the right difference and her ult has long been feared. She's in a healthy spot but the Top 3 are simply too strong.

The main difference between the Top 3 and other supports is that they simply go well with nearly every marksman, especially the most popular one right now, Lucian. Braum and Lucian form manly bond of insta stuns with passive synergy. Lucian embraces the sun and has the easiest time proccing all of Leona's Sunlight marks giving massive burst damage to an already bursty champion. Lucian grudgingly teams up with Thresh to have easy to land skills and a free escape if he goes in too deep and constant ranged harass in lane. These make these supports shine above others. Sure Annie and some niche picks have showed up but these guys are obviously heads and shoulders above others.


Tl;dr: Braum, Leona and Thresh should be the standard for supports and the others need to be brought to their level rather than them being nerfed.


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XxXDarkSideXxX

Senior Member

05-16-2014

No.

Stop Attacking Him Head On, Or Better Yet Play A Melee Character And He Can't Block ****


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The5lacker

Senior Member

05-16-2014

Braum is fine. In fact, Braum is more than fine. He's the most solidly designed and well balanced champion they've released in at least a year. The older supports are outdated. This is not Braums fault. They'd be outdated no matter what champion was released, and they'll be outdated until they're fixed.

Or until Riot wises up and starts working on something other than League, because there are so many core systemic issues that cannot possibly be fixed on top of the community's psychotic breakdowns whenever any old thing is changed.


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SirLapse

Senior Member

05-16-2014

You hit the nail on the head for many points, and honestly I think his main issue is the lack of decay on his Q as well. Passive does need some danger involved in it but he has no proper gap closes to be able to land it efficiently in lane. So in that case, I believe his passive should at least have less damage and stun time involved into it so that his carries can still follow up, but his early game advantage isn't as serious.

The other two supports have been problematic as well; I've mentioned them as counter-picks to Blitzcrank in the topic regarding his kit balance and design due to them just being seriously overpowering and popular as well. I feel like they need less free stats. Galio doesn't have this problem as much because his damage is centered on leveling Q, and if he levels his W first then he can win trades as support but has almost no damage (doesn't really bring much CC to the table except for his ultimate though, which is why he's not as viable regardless of the free stats).


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Varsuuvius

Member

05-16-2014

Quote:
XxXDarkSideXxX:
No.

Stop Attacking Him Head On, Or Better Yet Play A Melee Character And He Can't Block ****


If you can't attack him head on, that creates a problem in general trades. He is designed to be played bottom lane yet, across most "Elos" he seems to heavily come out on top for almost any trade. Sure the melee like Leona or Taric can go at him but that still leaves the ADC vulnerable.


Quote:
The5lacker:
Braum is fine. In fact, Braum is more than fine. He's the most solidly designed and well balanced champion they've released in at least a year. The older supports are outdated. This is not Braums fault. They'd be outdated no matter what champion was released, and they'll be outdated until they're fixed.

Or until Riot wises up and starts working on something other than League, because there are so many core systemic issues that cannot possibly be fixed on top of the community's psychotic breakdowns whenever any old thing is changed.


I certainly don't think Braum needs major tweaking. I'm not suggesting that absolutely everything I said needs to be enacted immediately. I definitely agree that the older supports are definitely outdated and need to be handled. As I said, I love Braum and Thresh, they make me feel awesome as a support main and I just don't quite get that same feeling on older guys. It's definitely not good to have a kneejerk reaction and response to new champs but I do still think Braum merits some looking at.

Quote:
SirLapse:
You hit the nail on the head for many points, and honestly I think his main issue is the lack of decay on his Q as well. Passive does need some danger involved in it but he has no proper gap closes to be able to land it efficiently in lane. So in that case, I believe his passive should at least have less damage and stun time involved into it so that his carries can still follow up, but his early game advantage isn't as serious.

The other two supports have been problematic as well; I've mentioned them as counter-picks to Blitzcrank in the topic regarding his kit balance and design due to them just being seriously overpowering and popular as well. I feel like they need less free stats. Galio doesn't have this problem as much because his damage is centered on leveling Q, and if he levels his W first then he can win trades as support but has almost no damage (doesn't really bring much CC to the table except for his ultimate though, which is why he's not as viable regardless of the free stats).


The passive point is interesting. I do think a small damage nerf would be good. I feel like it does far more damage than the tooltip actually states and once I compared numbers to Leona, it seemed low but doesn't feel that way in game. Yes, the passive is an odd issue. I'm just unsure how to properly force Braum into risk without also making him struggle to really activate it.
Ah Blitzcrank! I knew there was a point I forgot to bring up. He's smashed by the Top Three and I feel like he's all but irrelevant now. I definitely would like to see some tweaking of the free stats on at least Leona, despite my love of her. Thresh is kinda hard as he already has some amount of risk when attempting to pick up souls. I think perhaps Braum can have some minor tweaks. I'd actually like to see Leona simply have a shorter duration on her Eclipse. Take off .5 seconds on each side, make it last for a total of 5 seconds. Perhaps some smaller scaling could help or just a very slight number tweak.


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SirLapse

Senior Member

05-16-2014

Thresh is pretty easy to balance actually. Just needs the effects of souls lessened if he picks them up with W. I'm not actually sure on how to affect Leona without going overboard. Her entire kit practically relies on W.


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Varsuuvius

Member

05-16-2014

Quote:
SirLapse:
Thresh is pretty easy to balance actually. Just needs the effects of souls lessened if he picks them up with W. I'm not actually sure on how to affect Leona without going overboard. Her entire kit practically relies on W.


I haven't done the math but I feel like tweaking the amount of armor given by souls is really tricky considering how many he'll get over the course of a game. Leona is definitely tricky. I don't think hitting her base numbers is going to solve a ton but I am interested to see what would happen simply with a shorter duration.

edit: I totally misread part of that. That's actually an interesting idea, would be cool to see a differentiation in that. Not a number cruncher though so I can't imagine the actual tweak.


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Cdwwg

Senior Member

05-16-2014

The thing that I can't wrap my head around is his passive. He's got all the defense in the world, amazing CC, can peel well for his ADC, can harass relatively well in lane, and yet he's given a passive that literally gives his ADC CC.

He doesn't have to melee you for his passive to be proc'd, and someone like Lucian can take that as a huge advantage to just dash right on in and slaughter the enemy ADC without them being able to do much about it. If your support doesn't manage to lock down the enemy ADC from the moment he hops in, you're probably dead or at least too damaged to stay in lane. It's hard to lock down the ADC when Braum can jump to him and shield away the support's CC. It's SUCH a deadly passive (keyword: passive).

Hell, that passive is better than the CC a lot of supports have as their MAIN forms of CC.

Edit: Another thing I've noticed is that people are going Braum top simply because of how strong his passive is. He jumps to a minion when you go to farm, pumps some AA's into you, then when you go to run back he Q's you to ensure you don't get away and goes back to farming after he's out-traded you. If you manage to get away and kite him, he just throws his shield up and walks away. It's really hard to deal with him as a melee champ. If you're an AP champ, he rushes a Witt's End and makes you life hell if he can get in range of you at all.


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Varsuuvius

Member

05-16-2014

Quote:
Cdwwg:
The thing that I can't wrap my head around is his passive.


His passive is definitely one of the strongest in the game but I do enjoy that it requires some amount of teamwork to really get it to work super effectively. Yes people take it top but unless you actually build damage on Braum, he doesn't really do a ton of damage. He's like Leona in that sense. Her sunlight passive is strong but alone it really doesn't shine. I do think it's a main problem with him and needs some tweaking but I don't think it needs to be driven into the ground. There needs to be some real risk on Braum's part to make it activate but he has so much raw defense even without items that it's difficult to really threaten him.


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Irrwi

Senior Member

05-17-2014

Totally agree, i loved playng Nami, Sona and co. but ended up playing Thresh and Leona mainly since squishy ap supports just fall off too much and don't offer as much as tank supports do.

For example, as Leona i have 2 stuns, immob, slow, dmg buff for teammates and i deal quite some dmg myself while being full tank and actually being very mana efficient meanwhile sona/janna/nami and co. are mana starved and effect of their spells is rather discouraging and frankly sad compared to what tank supports offer.

Braum is last thing we needed. I am surprised that Riot didn't learn anything from crappy design of Yasuo wind wall. Let's add a tank, with consistent stuns, knock up, crazy slows, crazy dmg for a tank and another wall (because we certanly needed it, right?)


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