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Scott Kostov | 30. September 2022

Riot refusing to balance BOTRK is worrisome

Riot have done an excellent job trying to balance the game after a significant mid-season update but it seems this item is going under the radar.

When patch 12,10 rolled around the League community rejoiced. Not getting deleted in less than a second felt good, more extended team fights allowed for more skill expression and every game was winnable. The new bounty changes added in preseason 12 made sure of that, but now every ADC could carry a game if given enough time.

Balancing Blade of the Ruined King

BOTRK has always been a tough item to balance. One look at the item’s description is all you need to notice the potential for problematic behavior. Giving such a strong passive to an item is probably never a good idea but we understand the need for it. Balancing it around what kind of champions are using it is also understandable, but as always, there are exceptions. Some champions are made to perfectly utilize this item to a point, where they are not viable without him. Many others never even consider it as a part of their build. But what happens when a niche item is a direct counter to a champion, class, meta, and the entire game? Well, that’s where BOTRK is right now.

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BOTRK stats are 75% gold efficient without the passive’s. Credit: U.GG

Durability update in League of Legends

At the start of the year, Riot made BOTRK more expensive by 100 gold. A few patches later they nerfed the lifesteal it gave from 10% down to 7%. That was at the time when they were trying out different quick fixes to the game before shipping out an update that would change the entire game. And when that finally happened with the durability patch on 12,10 Riot buffed the lifesteal on BOTRK back to 8% and left it there.

The problem with this was the durability update itself. Every champion in the game got more health and resistances overnight, which made everything harder to kill. Assassins got hit the hardest since their entire play style consisted of killing everything until someone wins the game. With them out of the meta, front-to-back team fights started deciding the outcome of every game and two classes were necessary for that to work. 

Tanks would have to soak up the damage from the enemy team, support champions in the middle trying to assist their teammates, and carry champions in the back row, most often ADCs and mages.

Riot address BOTRK power level

With one update, BOTRK became the best item in the game without anyone knowing it. With two to three tanky champions in every team composition, the item made sense on every champion. The item meant to destroy health stacking targets fulfilled its purpose and was often a bigger damage power spike against squishy champions as well. Even the squishy characters had more health now, and three auto attacks took out around 27% of their initial health. 

The community suggested changes like lowering the base damage so it’s not as powerful against squishy champions while maintaining its purpose. Reducing power in its second passive ability which slows, increasing cost, and many others. But Riot claims that they want to see non-Mythic items being purchased first. Despite them nerfing the living soul out of Wit’s End, Hullbreaker, and Essence Reaver. These were all items that were too good as a first item on most champions.

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BOTRK is the 3rd most built item in the game while designed to be “situational”. Credit: League of Graphs

And BOTRK only gets stronger as the game progresses since you get health with each level and most items. Apart from it being the best early game item in many scenarios it also scales and out-damages many mythic items throughout an entire game. As every champion in the game that auto attacks a lot continues building it, we probably won’t see a major change from Riot until the season or at least the World Championship is over.

Header: Riot Games