Update 12.8 is now available in League of Legends. The patch introduced changes to a number of characters, with Swain - a mage who specializes in draining the health of his opponents - receiving the biggest overhaul.
There are concerns that the reworked champion may upset the game's balance. One Reddit user showed how under certain conditions Swain can even become immortal.
Unending life drain
The video, presented by Reddit user unlichtbaer, shows how Swain seamlessly takes the damage dealt to him in the fountain (or respawn zone) of the enemy player.
The zone is designed to deal damage almost instantly to any enemy that comes within its area. In this way, the game prevents a weaker team from being preyed upon at its own home base.
The demon wizard doesn't mind the damage from the enemy fountain thanks to an ability that enables him to suck the health from surrounding enemies. This ability is provided by his Ult, Demonic Ascension, which enables him to drain his enemies of health (and thus heal himself) in a small area for an unlimited amount of time.
You can read more about Swain's skills and mechanics here.
Not always, not everywhere
Naturally, the situation shown in the video above could only occur under certain conditions, and the test was conducted on a training map with bots.
Reddit user sp33dzer0 even made a list of conditions necessary for a champion to achieve immortality.
In order for Swain to survive in the enemy spawn:
- He must be level 18 [max level - ed. note]
- He must purchase certain items [such as Warmogs Armour or Mejai Soulstealer - ed. note]
- Not take any damage so as not to interrupt the Warmogs Armour effect.
- There must be enemies with zero magic resistance on the platform.
- He must have a fully charged Conqueror rune.
This means that while in theory Swain can be immortal in the enemy spawn zone, in a real skirmish on Summoner's Rift, the likelihood of such a situation occurring is extremely low..
As GalaxySmash noted, the situation with a character becoming immortal is alarming, but at the same time allows for looking at the problem of balancing gameplay from another angle:
"This footage is a pretty cool exercise in performing a sort of screening of design and balance problems. First, confirm that such a situation can actually happen (video evidence is great for this), and then look at its severity and likelihood of occurrence to determine its viability.
In this case, the severity can probably be quite high, since constantly staying alive in the enemy fountain is an experience that essentially breaks the game, but the conditions you listed [this is in response to the comment quoted above - ed. note] mean that while the effect may seem severe, the actual likelihood and impact on the game is very minimal [...]."
It looks like Riot Games will have to think about the potential problems that Swain may cause. Even if his potential immortality can't be exploited in ranked matches, the mage could still become a character that shakes up the game's balance. Will he be getting another change in patch 12.9?