Last Thursday, Riot Games released a bit of information as to what's coming to Teamfight Tactics in patch 10.1. In addition to Leona and Karma joining the list of playable champions, Lunar, their origin, is coming as well. More details were shared last week that will shake up which items players create and how to use them.
In the blog post, numerous items were removed/reworked all together or had their numbers tweaked. The goals, according to the development team, were threefold:
- Address some problem items that promised fun payoffs but had a lot of trouble delivering.
- Help some items scale through the game by linking their power to the user’s star level.
- Give more exciting gameplay to tanky champions.
The three items that were removed from the game and replaced with another (with developer comments adding context) are as follows:
Last Whispers in, Repeating Crossbow out
Last Whisper: When the wearer inflicts a critical hit, the target’s Armor is reduced by 90% for 3 seconds.
In theory, Repeating Crossbow had a clear fantasy with huge upside. In practice, there was just too much downtime as it from champion to champion. It also couldn’t jump to a champion who was already full on items, which meant it tended to avoid your carries rather than boosting their stats even more. This also played especially poorly with Set 2’s elemental hexes, which consume an item slot.
So, we’re creating a new item: Last Whisper. When its user scores a critical hit, the target’s Armor is massively reduced for a few seconds. This can let your whole team, not just damage dealers, chunk down a formerly-tough target.
Bramble Vest in, Thornmail out
Bramble Vest: Negates bonus damage from critical hits on the wearer. When the wearer is hit by a Basic Attack, a hail of thorns hits nearby enemies for 80/120/160 magic damage (increases with the holder's star level and can only damage once per second).
Thornmail is a great example of an item that’s fantastic on one champion (Braum) and bad-to-awful on everyone else, because if it’s balanced around broad playability, it will become horribly overpowered on Braum (or any future champion who’s all about big mitigation).
Rather than tweak Thornmail, or nerf it into oblivion, we’ve decided to replace it. Bramble Vest combines a bit of Phantom Dancer with a saner version of Thornmail’s damage-to-attackers. It’s also our first star-scaled item; the damage from the thorns depends on the wearer’s star level.
Titan’s Resolve in, Phantom Dancer out
Titan’s Resolve: When the wearer is hit by a source of damage, they gain a 2.5% stacking damage increase (stacks infinitely).
Phantom Dancer received a significant change in 9.24, but since we ultimately wanted Bramble Vest to fill the anti-crit, anti-assassin role, giving tanks some opportunity to hit back made a lot of sense - especially on an item that grants Attack Speed. Since Bramble Vest renders Phantom Dancer redundant, we created Titan’s Resolve (aka “Leona’s Revenge.”) You want this item on champions who will take a lot of hits and stay standing to reap the benefits of a huge pile of Titan stacks.
Tweaks to existing items
In total, seven items that are already in the game will be reworked or scale based on the wearer's star level to help them become more impactful on the battlefield, more reliable, or more fun to play against.
Old: Creates a zone of ice that expands when the wearer Dodges, slowing enemies' Attack Speed by 25%.
New: After casting a spell, the wearer’s next Basic Attack freezes the target for 1.5 seconds.
Iceborn Gauntlet promised a wonderful dream - cover the map in a layer of ice and chill the enemy team into helplessness wherever they stood. But the visual overlap with Frozen Heart’s effect felt bad and was visually unclear with varying the magnitude of the slow. Additionally, any item that triggers from Dodge will have some extreme cases (Jax for example) that make it difficult to balance.
We hearkened back to our League of Legends roots, and gave the Gauntlet a freeze effect on basic attacks. Ezreal can finally feel good about matching the glove to the rest of his outfit like he does on the Rift.
Old: Prevents the next crowd control effect applied to the wearer. Refreshes every 3 seconds.
New: The wearer is immune to crowd control effects.
Quicksilver’s value was hard to get a read on, and the timing of its refresh could make it feel useless when it was needed most. Not anymore!
Old: Reduces the Attack Speed of nearby enemies by 25%.
New: Reduces the Attack Speed of nearby enemies by 40% (stacking increases the radius of this effect).
Attack Speed drives so many gameplay dynamics in Teamfight Tactics that allowing it to get debuffed to very low levels has many knock-on effects: slower rounds, too-broad usefulness against enemy auto-attackers AND casters, etc. A radius increase will help Frozen Heart stacking remain relevant without turning TFT into NURF mode.
Locket of the Iron Solari, Statikk Shiv, and Luden’s Echo now scale based on the wearer’s star level
It’s OK for items to fall off in the late game after conferring an early advantage, but we’d like to be able to control this better, and we’d also like to avoid the buyer’s remorse that comes with building an item that “everyone knows” becomes unacceptably weak once the game has gone a certain length.
Old: Whenever an enemy casts their Ability, they take 90 true damage.
New: Enemies within 3 hexes that cast a spell are zapped, taking magic damage equal to 200% of their max Mana.
Ionic Spark was an indiscriminate item: it hit the whole board, so no positional play could provide an escape, and it affected all casters equally. The new version now asks players to decide how to deploy it: on the frontline, where it will help burn the enemy frontline but miss the casters in the back? Or on assassins, where it might help kill the squishy casters earlier? Also, the fact that Ionic Spark treated big and small spells the same was a little strange, so now the damage depends on the spell’s mana cost.
Patch 10.1's release date hasn't been made public as of yet but, what is known, is that Teamfight Tactics' items tier list will certainly be shaken up in the near future.
Tim Rizzo is the editor and a reporter for Inven Global. He joined the company back in 2017.