This thread is split into multiple parts. Some of it is to split up the textdump, sort of like chapters, and some of it is because parts are skippable if you have previous knowledge.
Post 1. Preamble
Post 2. LOL Weapon Assassins
Post 3. Vainglory Mechanics
Post 4. Vainglory Weapon Assassins
Post 5. TL;DR
So. If you have any idea what the meta is like right now, you’ll know that Weapon Snipers are all the rage. Vox, Gwen and Baron rampage around the battlefield without a care in the world, simply shooting at whatever they like with four damage items and a reflex block.
So. You would think that you could easily destroy these squishy, low utility characters with some classic assassin magic, right?
Other word that means you’re not right.
The only character that’s currently ‘in meta’ is Koshka, mainly due to her exploitable early game power, where she reaches the enemy vain crystal before the enemy carries even touch their first crit item. Occasionally, you see some CP Taka or Blackfeather, maybe the very rare chance of an Idris.
Now, my question is, why is my favorite class dwindling out in a meta which should realistically favour them. Lovely squishy targets, wherever you go! However, only a quarter of them are really used. And additionally, most cases of these assassins are CP. Why is it that WP assassins have seemingly dissapeared when the meta has been ‘the most balanced its ever been’?
Well, first, we need to look at how Weapon, or AD, or how whatever assassins function in other MOBAs, and to see how they work there. In this case, I’m going to drag in my knowledge of LOL, because SMITE is weird and I haven’t played much DOTA 2.
We’re going to look at two Weapon Assasins today, Yasuo and Zed, because not only are they the edgiest but they show the two sides that I think Weapon Assassins need to take.
Note: I’ll be skipping the abilities that honestly don’t matter to my point, for times sake.
Passive: Double crit chance, slightly reduced crit damage
Q: Extended autoattack, short cooldown, skillshot. Does slightly reduced crit damage, can hit multiple people. Using (and hitting) with it charges stacks, to shoot out a tornado. Tornado knocks up and travels in a straight line.
W: Wall of wind. Blocks all projectiles.
E: Short cooldown dash, can only dash towards units. Can dash through units. Each unit has a cooldown before you can dash to it again. If using Q during a dash, you’ll do the damage in an AOE circle. If you have a tornado charged, you’ll knock up everyone in that AOE.
Important features to point out:
Scaling into late game with passive, deal more damage than ranged carries.
Gaining power by starting fights when you have your knockup ready.
Outplaying ranged enemies with a wall of ‘nope’.
Difficult to use but rewarding mobility.
Q: Throws out a shuriken
W: Throws out a shadow, which copies your Q and E abilities. Switch places with your shadow by pressing W.
E: Slice around you.
R: Leave a shadow at your current location, become untargetable, dash towards an enemy and apply a mark. Mark pops for % of damage Zed deals to them after a few seconds. R shadow behaves like W shadow (but you use R to switch places).
Important features to point out:
Caster like abilities.
Insane mobility, lots of outplaying potential.
All-in type ultimate.
So, obviously, these kits would be completely broken in VG, but that’s not the point here. In vainglory, the concept of instantly killing a player on their team is broken, as it leaves the game as a 2v3, instead of the slightly more manageable 4v5 (Full explanation here:
because there’s no possible way I could explain it better than Mr Left in his video). But, we can learn a great deal from this. Firstly, we need to learn what’s wrong with Weapon Assassins before getting into applying our new LOL knowledge.
So, what do Assassins trump? You would think Mages and Snipers, and although you should be right, it’s not that simple. You see, currently, other than a few exceptions, CP Assassins > Mages and Snipers, while Weapon Assassins > Mages, and very few snipers. Other than Petal, and Reim (if you count him), most Mages are rather squishy and more importantly, can be outplayed. You can dodge Celeste Stars and Skaarf Spitfires with your amazing assassin mobility. So why shouldn’t you beat them. However, unless you’re in a matchup like Weapon Blackfeather vs Ringo or Weapon Idris vs Gwen, you’re in for a rough time. Many of these snipers, notably Vox, deal too much damage too quickly for Weapon Assassins to keep up with. Like, seriously. Why does Vox, a character with range have better base stats than Blackfeather, a character with none. Unless you’re snowballing, you’ve likely lost the game. Winning as these Weapon Assassins is made increasingly difficult due to the large constraints on them which stop them from being able to get much of an advantage, which could have possibly counteracted how quickly they get blown up trying to dive. Blackfeather requires level 6, Idris needs a Sorrowblade, and Taka scales off such mediocre early game pressure it’s unreal. So unless the snipers are getting countered, these Weapon Assassins have no real means of dueling late game, or beginning and sustaining a snowball early game.
"So what! Catch them by surprise!"
That doesn’t really work.
Even during late game, if someone like Idris tries to dive, a vanguard isn’t going to help you as much as a gythian wall or bright bulwark will cripple you. So, the sniper just slaps you around anyway. Maybe we need another dive roamer, but I’m getting off topic, so lets stop that.
But why don’t CP Assassins have this problem?
Well, it’s because they DON’T have these weaknesses.
Koshka doesn’t need to wait to start snowballing, and she can keep it going quite easily, feeding allies kills with her ult and speeding around the enemy jungle, taking their camps.
Taka doesn’t take nearly as much damage diving, because all his damage comes down to a dash and a flip. Just box out and enjoy your free chunk.
Blackfeather can poke from range after level 8, while still being able to use his mobility to go in and out of fights, taking out targets.
Idris literally is ranged, and his ult gives him immunity. Bulwarks and walls don’t affect him nearly as much as any other assassin, especially due to the sizable dismount range increase.
Plus, using abilities to do the majority of your damage instead of autoattack inheritely has outplay potential, as using your skills to their maximum, especially when you’re trying to specifically build them up, should generally lead to you winning against some simple autoattacker.
So. How do we make Weapon Assassins better? Well, there’s two ways of doing it, ways that we see being done partially in our current versions.
Taka and Blackfeather are closer to the Yasuo example, with Takas passive being similar to Yasuos in some way, and Blackfeathers dashes with immunity being something you could easily see on the edgy wind samurais kit. They both have lots of mobility, but it’s all quite simple to use, and although it can have multiple uses, it’s not extraordinary strong in those uses. They have kits with decently powerful abilities, but compared to those of snipers, are quite lack laster considering the range advantage. These two characters need to have some sort of way to be doing more damage to the enemy sniper when they’re up close, rewarding you for getting past the roamer, and they need to have abilities that can be dodged and outplayed but have much stronger effects when they are used at the right time or land correctly. Abilities like Kaiten and Rose Offensive fall under these catagories, but the other abilities lack some of these features. Hint: X-Retsu
Idris is much closer to the Zed example, being a caster type weapon assassin. Although his general gimmick with the chakram passes are quite well thought out, Idris needs some more mobility to help him out, while making the chakram more rewarding to hit with. For example, make it so that after every hit, the same chakram hitting the same person does additional damage. This shifts focus away from simple autoattacking and praying you outslap them, where your chakram is an afterthought, to this battle of minds, where you try and bait out mobility abilities. The Idris needs to position himself for the chakram to him, and try to predict when the opponent will use their mobility, so he can use his shimmer strike for the guaranteed chakram pass. The enemy… well… they need to stop that.
Also if this stuff happens they’ll need to buff mage utility but I’ll let SEMC figure that out.
TL;DR Weapon Assassins succs agains Snipers.
Weapon Assassins need riskier but more rewarding playstyles, to make up for their inherit disadvantage of not having range.
Give WP Taka and Blackfeather more rewarding and skilled abilities, or ones that aren’t so one noted and are strong at multiple things.
Give WP Idris more interactivity with his chakram, and make it a more centeral part of his kit.
Also I forgot to mention playing a WP assassin doesn’t let you run a sniper unless you both go Bonesaw or whatever.
Ehh. I need sleep so I’ll leave my mess of a thread like that. Time to pass out.