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I think there is an issue with caster INT champs right now.

Mages are typically placed in the midlane to be able to accrue large amounts of farm (in safe distance to the tower) and quickly outscale their opponents so their abilities do larger proportions of damage. However they tend to do poorly in lane due to a lack of sustain and sustained damage output. In fact, it is more popular nowadays to place bruisers in midlane, for their sustained dps and durability/staying power, or agi carries, who flourish from the single lane creep yield and exp.

In particular, I am discussing champs such as Cyprus, Corona, Narud, Kuramond, Raynor, Core (to a lesser extent), and even Brawler.


Energy Costs

Mages have a choice between controlling the creep wave and harass in lane. They typically excel at both but cannot do both at the same time. Their energy pools are simply not able to continue doing this until they either invest into energy replenishment or return to pool. And without energy they are relatively less useful than Bruisers or Agi DPS, both which can freely deal continuous, adequate damage without using resources.

Early energy investment via Space Battery or Powerstone is therefore necessary (although on champs like Narud, Kuramond, Corona, Cyprus, usually just delays the inevitable of running out of energy in this early point of the game). And this very decision sets back their midlane dominance. Remember when I said mages go mid because they want a powerful midgame? Well now that scaling has been delayed.


Inability to Trade in Lane without Energy Expenditure, eg Lack of Sustained Damage

Mages can't take a hit and they can't keep giving hits.

Unless the champ has significant inbuilt healing in the laning phase, which none of those mentioned above do, if they attempt to trade via auto attack against bruisers or AGI DPS, they will almost always lose. Bruisers are either able to outsustain or withstand more damage than mages can deal with autoattacks and AGI DPS are literally built for auto attack harass; AGI DPS will outdamage mages in auto attack trades. Champs like Darpa and Huntress will easily outtrade mages in just auto attacks.

This is also why I haven't mentioned Maar and Overlord. Maar's laning is strong since not only can he rely on his abilities but he also has respectable sustained damage in his auto attacks. In fact he also has sustain with his Soul Eater and Sap. Overlord has inbuilt INT ramping and is designed to deal damage via auto attacks, he will quickly be able to trade. His banish can also completely end unwanted lane interaction or just simply be used to create a one-sided trade.

Even Brawler, which traditionally tended to harass lane opponents out of lane due to the raw damage the q deals, suffers harshly once the opponents  build health.

Furthermore, lane harass fundamentally has a cost. The cost of creep aggro. In this stage of the game creep aggro is quite dangerous and continuous chip damage from creep aggro may easily even out trades alone, which mages are the least able to withstand.

Finally, if mages miss an ability, this sets them back immensely. They just lost one of the few casts of their abilities they had before needing to refill energy and have fewer chances to shift lane momentum into their favor. Auto attacks (without discussing evasion) can't miss. The majority of mage damage comes from skillshot based abilities, and if any miss they lose a lot of ability to participate in lane interaction.

In other words, the other mages can't take a hit and/or they can't outdamage their opposition unless they devote their energy pools, which will quickly dwindle unless they opt for energy replenishment or durability, both which do not add to their damage output and delays their powerspike.

Their energy pools are not able to sustain harass activity, so any form of sustain built by the opposition tends to significantly reduce mage trading efficacy.

For example, Cyprus constantly q-w's his lane opponent, Cain mid. Cyprus runs out of energy in 3 q-w's. His opponent pops a melange and can now just attack back since Cyprus no longer has the ability to freely harass and cannot outdamage in trades. In response Cyprus can burn Sanctum heal, return to pool, or be outzoned for 40 seconds while waiting for an energy pot. Using an energy pot is likely the best option out of the bad options. In this plain scenario you can replace Cain with Tychus, Kerrigan, Darpa, Huntress, or even Khyrak. Cyprus will quickly lose lane as any of those lane opponents build defensively in preparation for Cyprus's level 6 spike. All of those champs also outdamage pre-6 Cyprus with their skill rotations in lane.


Symphonic Seed, Cerebro, Asura's Guise, Khalis Relic

To eventually get out of this cycle of losing energy so they can try to be able to keep up with the others' damage outputs,  mages must build one of these items. However none of the items provide the optimal damage to abilities that mages want.

Mages either want to prioritize damage to quickly be able to waveclear, or they want to be able to burst a champ down in midgame without the opponent being able to respond.

In fact, any deviation from an endgame build of Kura's Deathmask, Yamato, Argus Crystal, Rune, and Nightstalker (and one defensive item or Sunflare gun), usually ends up causing too little damage.

Likewise, this build is both greedy, expensive, risky and rigid. Users are easily killed by tetra-DPS or Aegis.


Mage Advantages

Mages still have their classic advantages of range and CC. By using these in lane they try to damage opponents without taking damage. They tend to be easy pickings for any champs that can close the gap.

Mages tend to win only when they are scaling faster than their opponents.

Not all is bad, but mages need too much to get off the ground. They are always in a struggle between energy conservation and needing to deal damage.

And of course, sustained-dps carries with Tetra are an inevitable countdown to when they reign supreme with their ability to scale the best.

It is understood that champs like Cyprus are meant to be stifled in the early game before they can become the elusive one shot monsters at endgame. However it is veritably easy to do so.


I believe evidence of this pattern can be seen across current games by seeing what champs are often chosen in lanes. Mages are not excruciatingly weak but they are riskier and more unreliable than other options.


I'm repeating myself b/c I am unable to properly convey the big picture here besides just saying "mages suck, fallen out of meta hurdur", but this is definitely why it's easier right now to just play champs that don't rely on skillshots and expensive abilities, which don't even deal as much damage as other champs in the long run. Just that mages can do so with the safety of being long-ranged..

Edited by Head
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Mage position 1-2 and even 3s are by design meant to have a slower start. The mages you mention Dustin, Cyprus, Narud, Corona, Core, and to a lesser extent Raynor all fall into this category. Koramund has very high energy costs but I wouldn’t put him in this category as he is a support.

As a Dustin player, I recognize the issue you speak of though, and I won’t lie: It is by design that as an INT hero you are meant to choose between maximum damage or constant/frequent damage. It may need finetuning but that was the intention. Kicking Mages out of the meta was not.

This issue can be solved by buffing the sustain provided by INT attribute. The problem here is that I don’t want to buff energy sustains of Agi/Str heroes.

The Siegemaster aura and Energy Regen talents could be be improved to cater to better sustain for casters during the laning stage. But again this could inadvertently also buff Agi/Str heroes so I’m not sure it is the way either.

Direct buffs to these heroes’ early games could be made, but most of them are in relatively in good places no? This option would need more thought but it is doable if we can name the precise struggles of each hero that is eligible.

The last option, which is my favorite, is a slight revision of INT early/mid game items. Possibly introducing new or replacing old items. However as exciting as this option seems to me, I’m afraid I am almost out of time so I won’t be able to explore it.

What do you propose?




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Sorry, meant Kuradel, not kuramond;

The design that these champs must choose between damage and sustain is fair and acceptable,

Some options, can blend or choose one

1. Lower energy costs across the board for mages, as symphonic seed is a near necessity on all the champs listed, especially if opposition has a healer, mages do poorly in battles of attrition.

2. Buff energy recovery given by symphonic seed based on max energy

3. Cheaper space battery and/or energy recovery based on max energy added (small amount)

4. Introduce early new energy item that refunds energy and that builds into Symphonic seed or Khali relic, and/or have kinetic cell recover energy by the same amount it increases max energy

5. Kinetic cell maxes out stacks more quickly, by 25%

6. Each point of INT grants 0.001% Max energy regen


I am thinking choices 1. 2. 4. 5. and 6. are viable all together. Kinetic cell items and symphonic seed are not exactly optimal for damage output. Current symphonic seed does not provide enough energy regen for mages, but it does for everybody else.

Option  6. helps the endgame where even energy still runs out extremely quickly, especially on full damage Brawler, only dedicated INT builds and INT champs will have access to significant Max Energy Regen. Can be an issue with Stukov, also will require nerfing Immortal's passive energy regen ability.

Kinetic cell is too restricted to only champs with short cd abilities I feel


You sound like you are terminal 😞

Edited by Head
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After last night's games I am also thinking they do too little damage in the endgame


When mages are on par or behind they do too little damage


Some champs like Brawler and Raynor have mechanics that reduce cooldowns for repeat casts, their energy pools even with seed are insufficient for the necessary number of casts to hold their own in damage output


These INT champs are, after all, forsaken of all nearly all mobility and defense, they should make up for it in damage or utility

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played corona today, 100% useless champ. u cant add debuff immunity willy nilly into the game if u have champs that rely solely on stacking.

i agree the energy costs are ridiculous and im not only talking about int champs, even though it affects them the most. 200 energy for an ultimate when i only have 400 base energy? why

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12 minutes ago, Revision said:

played corona today, 100% useless champ. u cant add debuff immunity willy nilly into the game if u have champs that rely solely on stacking.

i agree the energy costs are ridiculous and im not only talking about int champs, even though it affects them the most. 200 energy for an ultimate when i only have 400 base energy? why

Saying Corona is 100% useless is quite harsh, she can get very powerful late game. 

But like Grass pointed it out its generally too hard to get to that point, even if you are a decent to good player, and even after getting there all mages get countered by enemy dps getting a single item in Tetra. 

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u realize theres an item that gives 100% spell immunity and debuff immunity for 8 seconds. what are even talking about late game shes good. also debuff immunity removes all stacks of ur passive.

she was designed as a late game int carry, but now shes fully countered by a single item, a multitude of heroes who have debuff immunity, and any early game champion. champ is trash.



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Tetra´s duration is reduced with every use, down to 4s. Also there are a lot of tools to play around it (barrier/mobility spells and items). 

There won´t be 5 champions building tetra so it´s more about your teams ability to play around the 1/2 champions using it.

I think Corona isn´t bad, just really situational.

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Increasing Corona Q cd 3->4 second, by 33%, feels bad

Corona stacks used to not be removed by debuff immunity, Mother found the cure


Also, I did the math for

6. Each point of INT grants 0.1% Max energy regen

horrendously wrong, each should give 0.001% Max Energy regen, my bad

Edited by Head
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A Corona that is ahead can still wipe the floor with entire enemy teams. Not everyone gets Tetra, let alone Parallax. When in doubt, maybe get Blue Gene and ionize everything.

Also the increase to Q CD's was meant to make her rely on E to keep the CD low.

Anyway, this is not why I am posting.

I did some testing and numbers crunching, and I came to the conclusion that you are right. INT Mages are underperforming during the time you should be able to rely on them to carry your team (From end of laning phase to late midgame/early-mid late game). The inconsistencies I found means there will be some hero specific and several overarching changes meant to address their performance levels during these stages.

However, I do not agree with you that very late game they are not as strong as they should be. I think they fall off when they should (on paper at least). Very late game, a position 1 Mage Carry should be less likely to outperform a position 1 AGI Carry (Melee especially) with all things equal.

There are a few ideas that came to me for some INT items I would love to do, but as I said I won't be able to during this development cycle as I am in the process of wrapping things up. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
22 hours ago, Revision said:

an aoe teamfight mage with trash early game should always outdamage a single target splitpusher late game...

That is still very much the case. 

No one even brought up splitpushers and that style of play.

I said AGI Melee Carry, a hero built for head on late game combat, should be more likely outperform a mage carry - VERY late game.


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its impossible to know for sure since ive only played pubs, but it seems to me any auto attack champ has an easier time accruing farm simply by the items that are in the game. there are so many auto attack items that increase damage vs creeps. this game has denying, how is a caster supposed to keep up with these champs?

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DPS items (especially those with raw weapon dmg) are on average more expensive than INT items, and can have steeper build-ups. This allows INT heroes to come online faster with less.

There is also an item in the game for Casters that want to have an easy time in the Jungle called Spirit Containment Vessel (or SCV for short). It allows them to clear camps faster and help with bosses later.

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