League of Legends: Swain and Olaf reworks to feature infinite ultimates
We're only into April, but League of Legends (LoL) developer Riot Games has already been quite busy this year releasing new champions and remaking classic ones.
In January, Zeri the Spark of Zaun was introduced, and along with her, older champions Janna and Tahm Kench got their reworks released.
In February, we saw the release of the Chem Baroness, Renata Glasc onto the rift, along with the rework of Ahri. And this month, Riot had released the rework of Rengar the Pridestalker.
Of course, the developers aren't done. LoL players have more reworks to look forward to, as Lead Champion Designer, August “August” Browning announced plans to release some mid-scope updates on the kits of two more champions: Swain, the Noxian General, and Olaf, the Berserker from Freljord.
A rework on Taliyah is on the way as well, but details have not been revealed yet.
Along with Olaf and Taliyah, we're also working on a mid-scope update for Swain! @TheTruexy is the designer working on him. Will have more to share in future. https://t.co/X8OxDHoTsD pic.twitter.com/o5KwlBNeRQ
— August (@RiotAugust) April 7, 2022
Both Olaf and Swain are up on the public beta environment (PBE), and it seems like there are quite a couple of overpowered "hiccups" on both champions, including unlimited ultimates and overstacked power-ups.
Here’s what both reworked champions currently look like on the PBE:
On 13 April, Tim “Truexy” Jiang released a preview of the updated kit of Swain, the Noxian General.
Swain update coming to PBE today, featuring...more birds! Aiming for these to help solo lane as well as support. Come try it out! pic.twitter.com/15aLapSQGc
— Tim (@TheTruexy) April 12, 2022
Here’s a breakdown and a preview of the changes on him, though these values are not final:
Ravenous Flock (Passive)
Swain players should take note of major changes on his passive, Ravenous Flock, which can no longer pull crowd-controlled enemies. This used to be one of Swain’s main strengths previously, but the adjustments on the rest of his kit make up for it. His healing will also increase at level 16, which gives him the potential to become a mid laner.
[REMOVED] Swain can no longer pull crowd-controlled enemies.
[REMOVED] Swain’s pull no longer deals damage
Healing: 4/5.5/7% (levels 1/6/11) maximum health > 4/5.5/7%/9% (levels 1/6/11/16) maximum health
Health Per Soul Fragment: 5 > 12
Death’s Hand (Q)
Changes to Death’s Hand are pretty minor, with both its cooldown and mana cost going down by a bit, which of course means you can spam the skill more often or allocate the mana elsewhere.
Also, Swain’s build isn’t much for ability haste so the decrease in cooldown will help him greatly. The one-second difference in the cooldown matters a lot, especially when going against champions like Veigar or Illaoi.
The additional damage and bolt damage is a bit negligible, although the maximum damage at later levels has the potential to be quite painful.
Mana Cost: 65/70/75/80/85 > 45/50/55/60/65
Cooldown: 9/7.5/6/4.5/3s > 7/6/5/4/3s
Damage: 55/75/95/115/135 (+40% AP) > 60/80/100/120/140 (+40% AP)
Additional Bolt Damage 15/20/25/30/35% > 12/22/32/42/52 (+10% AP)
Maximum Damage: 88/135/190/253/32 (+64/72/80/88/96% AP) > 108/168/228/348 (+80% AP)
Vision of Empire (W)
Minor additions to Vision of Empire is pretty useful to check on where the enemies could be, its mana cost was also decreased by a bit.
Mana Cost: 70/80/90/100/110 > 60/65/70/75/80
[NEW] Pings now display enemies in range similar to Twisted Fate (R) and Nocturne (R)
This is where Swain's new kit starts to get problematic, as the combination of this and his ultimate can overlap or stack multiple times. Check out what happens in Demonic Ascension.
[NEW] Can now be reactivated to pull champions rooted by Nevermove
[NEW] Cooldown is reduced by 20% during Demonic Ascension (R)
Demonic Ascension (R)
It seems that the dev team’s theme this year is all about game-changing ultimates for champions, with Swain's rework being the latest in that line.
Aside from its cooldown decreasing as Swain levels up, Demonic Ascension's drain heal per second is now also much higher.
This means that Demonic Ascension will be available faster because of the cooldown reduction. Secondly, it also means that the Noxian General will last longer in teamfights, which is one of Swain’s current issues in the public servers.
We asked Truexy on Twitter if the dev team intended for Swain’s ultimate to become infinite or if it was a mistake. The dev's reply was that “as long as he’s draining enemies [Swain] can go infinite”.
What’s even more concerning is Demon Flare (R2), which now deals 150/225/300 (+60%AP) is a huge boost in damage, and the slow to his kit can trap enemies under his grasp.
On the PBE, YouTube content creator “Vandiril” created clips to showcase the problems on this new infinite kit using test dummies.
In the clip, Swain didn't die despite taking hits from two inhibitor turrets at the same time, as long as he’s draining the health of the dummies.
If Swain can tank inhibitor turrets, clumping up for teamfights could be potentially too dangerous, especially around turrets or other objectives. This seems to be too disruptive and imbalanced in our opinion.
Cooldown: 120s > 100/80/60s
Drain Damage per Second: 35/50/65 (+14% AP) > 20/45/70 (+10%AP)
Drain Heal per Second: 20/35/40 (+16% AP) > 20/40/60 (+16%AP) > 15/40/65 (+25%)
[REMOVED] No longer grants 125/200/275 Health
Demonflare Damage: 100/150/200 (+50% AP) > 150/225/300 (+60% AP)
[NEW] Demonflare now slows enemies by 60% decaying over 1.5 seconds.
[CHANGED] On casting Demonic Ascension, Swain can cast Demonflare 1 time. This does not end Demonic Ascension.
[REMOVED] Demonflare no longer charges up based on health drained, up to double damage.
Overall, apart from the infinite ultimate, the other updates on Swain's kit aren’t that eye-grabbing.
So while the rework isn’t live yet, we’ll have to watch out for that ult and see if the Noxian General moves away from a support role and into the mid lane.
On 13 April, August posted a “PBE Bugs & Feedback Thread - Olaf Mid Scope Update” on Reddit, which also published the changes to Olaf’s kit. Here’s what Olaf is currently looking like in the PBE:
Our Freljordan Berserker gets a sweet boost on his attack, health, and mana — all of which are most noticeable in the late game.
Attack Damage: 68 (+3.5/level), 127.5 at level 18 > 68 (+4.7/level), 148 at level 18
Health: 575 (+100/level), 2275 at level 18 > 575 (+105/level), 2360 at level 18
Mana: 316 (+42/level), 1030 at level 18 > 316 (+60/level), 1336 at level 18
Passive - Berserker Rage
The most important highlight for the changes in his passive is that the lifesteal he gets is now based on his missing health. On top of his health, the lifesteal gives Olaf more sustain and makes him tankier.
Calculation reworked to grant max effectiveness at or below 30% health
Maximum Attack Speed granted: 99% > 40-100% (levels 1-18)
[NEW] Now gives up to 12-35% life steal (levels 1-18), based on Olaf's missing health
The buffs on Olaf’s Q are pretty significant as well, with it now getting its own Armour shred, meaning the champion no longer relies on Black Cleaver. Moreover, the combination of changes in his damage, range, mana cost, and cooldown makes this skill more available to him. The skill is also better for punishes and allows Olaf to be more effective in ganking both the top and bottom lanes.
[NEW] - Shreds 25/27.5/30/32.5/35% armour for 4 seconds on champion hit
Damage: 80/125/170/215/260> 60/110/160/210/260
Minimum Range: Approximately 300 > 425
Mana Cost: 60 at all ranks > 40/45/50/55/60
Cooldown: 7 seconds > 8 seconds
Cooldown refund on axe pickup: 4.5 seconds > 5 seconds
Vicious Strikes [REWORKED] (W)
Most of Olaf's buffs seem to be all centred on his tankiness and his sustain, including his reworked W.
The previous version of this skill's description read: “Olaf's Attack Speed is increased, he gains Life Steal and has increased healing from all sources based on how much Health he is missing”.
In the current version, this skill now grants Olaf a shield and attack speed, which helps him stay in the fight longer.
The current version is better because the attack from any “grievous wounds” during the time that the shield is active will not damage Olaf.
[NEW] Resets Olaf’s basic attack
[NEW] Olaf gains 70/115/160/205/250 (+25% of Olaf’s missing health) as a shield for 2.5 seconds
[REMOVED] No longer grants Life Steal
[REMOVED] No longer amplifies Olaf’s healing based on missing health
Attack Speed: 50/60/70/80/90% for 6 seconds > 40/50/60/70/80% for 4 seconds
Cooldown: 16 seconds at all ranks > 16/14.5/13/11.5/10 seconds
This is another ultimate that is more or less permanent. Based on Vandiril’s PBE testing video, the ultimate is permanent as long as Olaf is attacking champions. Thankfully this doesn’t apply to monsters and minions on the Rift.
[NEW] Hitting a champion with a basic attack or E - Reckless Swing extends the duration of Ragnarok to 2.5 seconds. Olaf can refresh Ragnarok indefinitely.
Duration: 6 seconds > 3 seconds
[REMOVED] R - Ragnarok's passive's bonus resistances are no longer lost for the duration of the cast
All these updates make Olaf feasible not just in the jungle, but also in the top lane.
To be honest, this buff is pretty scary across all drafts and will make all tanks and bruisers shake in fear because the berserker can completely annihilate them at every turn.
We’re hoping the updates on Olaf can still be adjusted since he’s still in the testing phase.
What do you think about these changes? Do you think there are counters to these new kits?
Anna is a freelance writer and photographer. She is a gamer who loves RPGs and platformers, and is a League of Legends geek. She's also a food enthusiast who loves a good cup of black coffee.
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