In a recent Dev Corner, Riot’s game designer Wav3Break provided details about the process of updating Azir. The latter has undergone some mild reworks that are currently being tested on the PBE.
The Wav3Break revealed that Riot is readying several serious nerfs and buffs for Azir. Up until now, the mid laner was either too powerful in the hands of Azir mains or totally worthless when controlled by Azir players. The upcoming patch is expected to remedy the situation.
According to the announcement, the Emperor of the Sands will have all his abilities, except for his passive, reworked. Although this is a major fine-tuning, Riot confirmed that Azir will remain Azir. In other words, the devs will preserve his core identity.
W – Arise
- SOLDIER DEACTIVATION RANGE: 800 ⇒660
- CAST RANGE: 450 ⇒500
- [REMOVED] WARD KILLERS: Azir’s Soldiers can no longer attack wards or trinkets.
Soldier attack damage up
- BASE DAMAGE: Increased at all levels slightly
- SOLDIER STAB DAMAGE BASE DAMAGE: Increased
- [NEW] STRENGTH IN NUMBERS: Azir gains an additional 30/40/50/60/70% attack speed for 5 seconds whenever he summons or has 3 or more soldiers out on the field.
More soldiers early on
- AMMO RECHARGE: 10/9/8/7/6 seconds ⇒7/7.5/7/6.5/6 seconds
Less ambient AoE damage
- [NEW] STABBING IS HARD WORK: Stabs do 40/70/100% damage to secondary targets (levels 1/6/11)
The latest changes to Azir will take some of his range away. His soldier command will be reduced from 800 to 660 units. Wav3Break was quoted as saying that this was one of the nerfs the balance team had to make.
Previously, Azir used his soldiers to deal significant damage to enemy laners while keeping himself out of harm’s way. After the nerf, players will have no choice but to put themselves in harm’s way. The soldiers will not do anything unless Azir is nearby.
It seems this change will achieve the effect devs have sought. Now, more champions will be able to deal some damage when Azir tries to initiate a trade. To make up for the higher risk Azir will face, Riot increased the damage of his soldiers and reduced the attack command time.
R: Emperor’s Divide
- SHURIMA’S BUMPER CARS: Wall Soldiers now only interrupt enemy dashes over them while the soldiers themselves are moving. After reaching their final destination, Wall Soldiers now behave as normal terrain.
- WALL SIZE: 4/5/6 soldiers ⇒5/6/7 soldiers
- COOLDOWN: 140/120/100 seconds ⇒120/105/90 seconds
Riot reduced the cooldown time and increased the wall size. Having said that, Azir’s ultimate no longer bounces enemies more than once. In other words, when enemies dash and jump, they can easily make it over the wall and zero-out Azir. According to Wav3Break, that design choice was implemented with the aim of increasing the counter-play. The game designer also added that players can “can now rely on champions like Kha’Zix, Kayn, or Ahri to be clearer counter-picks into Azir that make it hard for him to dominate all levels of play.”
E: Shifting Sands
- SHIELD DURATION: 4 seconds ⇒5 seconds
- [UPDATED] SHIELD UPFRONT: Azir gains his shield upon casting E, not after hitting an enemy champion.
- [NEW] SHIELD ABILITY POWER RATIO: 0.6
- TO BATTLE: If Azir hits an enemy champion, he immediately prepares a new Sand Soldier for deploy
- BASE HEALTH: 524.4 ⇒540
- BASE MOVEMENT SPEED: 325 ⇒335
Azir’s Shifting Sand ability enables him to make escapes by returning to his soldier’s locations. The Shifting Sands is one of his greatest strengths and it made him overpowered in the right hands. That is why Riot nerfed the shield duration. However, it is essential to note that he gets it on ability use rather than when colliding with an enemy champion. As soon as Azir hits a champ with his dash, he can summon a new Sand Soldier.
Q – Conquering Sands
Range down on dashing.
- CAST RANGE: 875 ⇒720
- SPEAR LENGTH: 300 ⇒370
- COOLDOWN: 10/9/8/7/6 ⇒11/9.5/8/6.5/5
- BASE DAMAGE: 65/85/105/125/145 ⇒70/100/130/160/190
- ABILITY POWER RATIO: 0.5 ⇒3
- BUDDY SYSTEM: Soldiers clump closer together upon arrival
The changes to Azir’s Q are aimed at limiting his long-range escape options. Azir’s primary method of avoiding trouble are his soldiers and more precisely, the Shurima Shuffle that enables him to change a soldier’s position. The Shuffle length is now a bit shorter, so that the soldiers cannot dash as far as they used to.
All these changes are intended to make Azir more well-rounded champ but players might need some time to figure him out. Nevertheless, it seems Riot has headed into the right direction. Azir’s rework is set to be released with Patch 7.19 in the next few weeks.