The Problem with Lethality
Lethality went from being a sought after stat to a second thought when replaced to BOTRK, what's the deal Riot?
Analisis | April 26, 2017 | By The Hound

With the start of the 2017 season for League of Legends, Riot introduced a new mechanic within the realm of League of Legends and that is Lethality. Before we delve into the specifics, a definition of what Lethality within the League of Legends context….

Lethality Stats
Now for those of you who don’t like AddMaths (see what I did there??), this is the formula of what LETHALITY. What makes Lethality overpowered (pre-patch 7.5) was this scaling and how it took into account the enemy’s level.

For added clarity,

The target’s armor is treated as being reduced by an amount for purposes of damage calculation, but cannot be reduced below 0. Flat armor penetration stacks additively.

Example 1: 20 lethality causes a target(level 18) to take damage as if its armor was 20 less, so a target with 30 armor will be treated as though it had 10 for purposes of damage calculation (the target’s actual armor value will not change, however).

 

Marksmen of League

Traditionally, most Marksmen/ADC’s will output DPS (damage per second) onto tanks with auto-attacks to shred their crazy health pools and cut through the resistances built up (armor & magic resist), pre-patch 7.5 – 7.6, the go-to popular champions were Jhin, Miss Fortune and Varus mainly because of how Lethality synergized well with these particular champions and the mastery “Deathfire Touch

For the most part if you look at Jhin, Miss Fortune and Varus, their Marksmen abilities rely heavily on insane range and abilities rather than DPS, on top of that, Deathfire Touch scales really well with their abilities (especially their respective ultimate abilities for both Jhin and Miss Fortune) and how they can absolutely melt tanks from insane range without much punishment, Cost efficiency is also another factor to which Lethality enjoyed popularity within the professional and casual META because of how cheap it was to build Lethality items rather than the traditional critical strike and attack damage and attack speed items.

Most of the champions that benefited from Lethality saw a spike in win rate and also a rise in how early their power spike compared to how they are supposed to actually scale. Late game champions who do tons of damage experience a more stable and consistent power spike earlier than expected because of how broken Lethality was! This is because of how the formula works relative to the level of the enemy team and also the raw attack damage stats inherent within these champions.

So let’s talk increasing Lethality and itemization and what these things provide

Stats for Lethality Increase
In the picture above you will see the stat increase and what kind of scaling it has (as you can see, it is based on target’s level) and on top of that, these items also provides attack damage stats with some of these items having an active component to it.

In terms of items, the main items rushed by most Marksmen who build Lethality are Youmuu’s Ghostblade and Edge of Night. Let’s take a look at what these two items provide!
Edge of NightGhostblade

Top ; Edge of Night
Bottom ; Youmuu’s Ghostblade

So when we look at the stats, there is a lot of utility with these items, Ghostblade giving you a movement speed boost and Edge of Night active component has a spell shield component that protects Marksmen from debilitating spells and crowd control effects.

Here lies the inherent problem, the amount of utility and damage provided by these items and the amount of range that comes with champions that use such items (within the context of Marksmen) is way too high and too overpowered.

Nerfs from patches 7.6 onwards have fixed the problem and with the buffs towards masteries like Fervor and Bloodlust, we see the more traditional DPS Marksmen coming back with a vengeance.

This has made lethality more of a bruiser build or carry top lane build, a champion that has inherent survivability but also good amounts of damage (think Jayce)

While Lethality is still a very much legitimate mechanic, it has been pushed back into the dark what with Blade of the Ruined King making a resurgence into the META, mainly because of the cost efficiency and the percentage current health damage and attack speed that comes with the items (plus a 40+ AD stat is dope as well)

Closing off this analysis, Lethality has seen better days, what with changes to how lethality interacts with Marksmen abilities and the changes within patches (see nerfs on Varus, Jhin and Miss Fortune from patches 7.4, 7.5 and 7.6) it seems that the days of the Varus one shot from across the lane will be a thing of the past and in my humble opinion, it just keeps things fresh in terms of champion variety in the bot lane duo.

With these changes, Caitlyn, Ashe, Ezreal and Twitch are coming back stronger than ever and don’t have such an underwhelming time against champions that can poke them to 30% health without much counterplay!

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