On 13.11, Riot pushed the Ivern midscope. At first I didn't like it, but I wanted to give it as honest of a chance as possible. It's been 2 months since then, and now with over 350 games of new Ivern, I can comfortably say that the Ivern rework has been a catastrophic failure that should be reverted. As much as I want to be fair to the designers and list both the good and the bad, it's become clear that not a single change was good.
The 3 major abilities changed from the midscope (W, E, and R) were greatly buffed, but in the process removed most of their counterplay. This has left Ivern both feeling shallow to play as and oppressive to play against. Let me explain:
-Bushes will now despawn when your team loses vision of them-Bush recharge decreased from 40/36/32/28/24 -> 20s (all ranks)
-Nearby allies (1000 unit radius) gain a weakened version of Ivern's W passive: While in a bush and for 1 second after, attacks fire a missile that deals 5/7.5/10/12.5/15 (+10% Ivern's AP).
One of Riot's long time goals has been to make Ivern's bushes more clearly beneficial to his team rather than neutral. The problem with these changes is that they make it almost impossible for Ivern's bushes to be used against him, which was the main source of counterplay. Being able to place a bush is an extremely powerful ability, but if you get pushed off of them or place them carelessly, your opponent can use them against you.
Before 13.11, I felt like I had to be thoughtful about my bush placement. The fact that they weren't explicitly favoring one team made it a deeply interesting ability to strategize around, and often led to creative solutions to overcome it's shortcomings. Now that they despawn when Ivern's team loses control of them and the cooldown was effectively halved, Ivern players are incentivized to just throw bushes around wherever they might generate a bit of value, and it has lost most of the creative expression that it previously had.
Something important that I should also mention is that the previous bushes had a lot more of a presence. Since they're neutral, when an Ivern bush is placed (especially a very risky one), both teams will naturally fight for control over it. This rarely happens now, as the enemy team doesn't have much incentive to take control of a bush that will just disappear. This gave Ivern a unique way to impact fights that has been greatly diminished with the rework.
Giving your teammates onhit damage in bushes is also a weird change. Putting bushes on your teammates to buff their attacks is definitely impactful, but often feels like a chore to do rather than a fun/impactful dynamic. There isn't any timing or interactivity to it, it's just a box that needs to be ticked to deal a little bit more damage. Riot plans on significantly buffing this effect next patch (which I assume is to get more players to use it), but it won't change the fact that it's tedious and boring.
Another one of the goals of the midscope was to make Ivern better at supporting ranged champions. The problem is that this doesn't actually change Ivern's preference for melee champions, while once again removing most of the counterplay from the ability.
The main way you would play against Ivern's E (especially in 2v2 skirmishes) would be to bait out the shield, space the explosion, and then punish. This whiff-punish dynamic is a fundamental part of not just Ivern, but League of Legends as a whole. It's very easy to understand and fun for both parties involved.
With the new shield refresh mechanic, what previously counted as a whiff will now apply a second shield for another 2 seconds. Once the second shield expires, Ivern will already have his E back up and can cast it again. This basically removes the entire punish window that previously existed. There is no more precise timing or holding the ability for the perfect cast since you can't be punished for wasting it.
And as I said before, this still doesn't change Ivern's preference for melee champions. The main reason Ivern wants melee champions is so that they can deliver his E's slow, making ganking much easier and allowing for more aggressive plays. The rework only makes Ivern better at peeling ranged champions, which he was already pretty good at.
sidenote: this doesn't mean that I think Ivern should actually synergize better with ranged champions. please let Ivern have weaknesses; it allows for creative problem-solving and overall makes the game more fun
- HP Regeneration: 0 ⇒ 2.5/5/7.5 health per second
- Movement Speed: 419 ⇒ 440
- Attack Speed: 0.7 ⇒ 0.75
- Bonus Attack Speed: 30/50/70 ⇒ 30/45/60
- Knockup Damage: 100% of Daisy's AD (+20% AP) ⇒ 40/60/80 (+100% of Daisy's AD) (+20% AP)
-Now applies Ivern's on-hit effects (including W passive)
The intent here was to decrease the burden of pet control while also increasing satisfaction. These changes achieve that in the worst way possible. Since Daisy's range, attack speed, and movement speed have been increased, you no longer need to micromanage Daisy to have her stick on someone. She's harder to run from, harder to kite, and as a result is much more of a threat.
The problem lies in the sheer strength of new Daisy. In order for this to be balanced, major cuts need to be made to the rest of his kit. If the solution for decreasing Daisy micro is to massively increase all of her stats, it ends up shifting more of Ivern's power towards his ult, which ironically makes Ivern more reliant on Daisy and rewards more precise pet control.
I also don't get why pet control is a problem in the first place. Removing Daisy control has been on the table since as early as 2019. Sure it takes up a lot of mindshare, but it's not like that extra control isn't satisfying. I'm not sure what metrics Riot has been using to track this, but I find it hard to believe that they have solid proof that Ivern would be better off without a controllable pet.
I understand that old Daisy was only satisfying once you could comfortably control her, but is there anything wrong with that? Ivern is already a super niche champion, so I don't see the issue with giving him mechanics that take time to master. Was Ivern supposed to be a simple champion to pick up and play?
Note: For sake of brevity, I've excluded a lot of the smaller nitpicky thoughts (such as the 0.2s longer dash or bush vision quirks). If you want to see those, you can read my blog post about the rework.
Something that worried me a lot as I was writing this was coming off the wrong way, especially towards Squad5. Blake is a game designer whom I greatly respect (Sylas and Ornn being two of my other favorite champions), so the last thing I'd want to do is paint him as incompetent. Ivern is a very weird champion, so identifying and fixing his problems is not an easy task.
I also don't want to come off as somebody who is against change. I absolutely love how Ivern was pre-13.11, but I could reasonably learn to enjoy future changes as long as they're well designed and keep the spirit of Ivern alive. If you were to ask me what should be done with Ivern, I still think the correct answer would be to revert his kit and never rework him again, but I can accept if this isn't possible (again, as long as the new version is well designed).
Note: LS was included here to highlight his thoughts on how Ivern pre-rework was in a "very good state right now" and how the E changes are "bullshit gimmicks". However, the tweet linked is outdated and in reference to a previous iteration of the rework.
Thank you for spending your time reading this. If you have any questions, I'll be responding to every comment that I can. All I want is for Ivern to be saved.