Intent – the limits of crit-based builds and how Yasuo defies them

Welcome to this week’s article – this time about the upcoming champion Yasuo and his passive ability. My goal with this article is to explain why builds based on critical strike chance are almost exclusively used on ranged marksmen (with few exceptions) and why Yasuo’s passive might be even stronger than you anticipated.

Critical hit chance: a multiplicative factor for attack damage

When you hit an enemy with a critical strike, you deal 100% additional damage – this means that a “crit” pretty much doubles your AD. The very strong thing about critical strikes is that it is a multiplicative factor: just like resistances work with health, critical strike chance gets a lot stronger the more attack damage a champion has, especially when crit damage is involved.

Due to the fact that critical hit chance is more expensive than attack damage (1 AD ~ 36 gold ; 1% crit ~ 50 gold), buying crit is – purely in terms of mathematic efficiency – only worth it if you have the increased critical damage from Infinity Edge. This is only looking at DPS via autoattacks, disregarding ability scalings which favor Attack Damage heavily as well.

So, aside from the obvious survivability issues, what keeps every champion from going for critical strike based builds?

Not enough crit in my pockets – inventory space

The six item limit is what actually keeps critical strikes in check on both ranged and melee carries and bruisers. Items only give a rather small amount of critical hit chance in League of Legends: Phantom Dancer is the item with the most crit-% ingame, and it gives “only” 30%. It is often very inefficient to buy a certain item more than once, limiting the item choices even more. Melee champions have even more problems in that regard: due to the fact that they have to get close to the enemy to apply their damage, its very important to be able to take some hits. That is why bruisers are more popular than melee carries: tankyness is much more forgiving in terms of positioning than going class cannon.

This is where Yasuos passive comes in:

Way of the Wanderer

Way of the wanderer

Intent: Yasuo’s critical strike chance is doubled.

Resolve: At maximum Flow, the next time he would take damage from a champion or monster he first gains a shield equal to his maximum Flow, that lingers for up to 2 seconds.

When Yasuo was revealed, many people were absolutely baffled by Intent – not only does it give an incredible load of free gold, but it also completely defies the limits of crit based builds. Yasuo can reach 100% critical hit chance with just two items; not even AD carries are  able to go that high in a serious 5on5 if they get 1 survivability item. This means two things:

Yasuo could very well be the strongest carry that will be in the game yet, simply based on stats (in terms of raw power trough numbers). Reaching 100% crit with Infinity Edge and Phantom Dancer, he can go for more Lifesteal and Attack Damage as well as some Attack Speed, all backed by a 250%-damage multiplicator – constantly. An example build could look like this:

This would provide 322 AD with 1,92 attacks per second, 18% lifesteal and 100% crit with 250% crit damage at level 18. With proper use of Yasuos wall, this build would be very efficient at tearing trough frontlines before going for the enemy squishies.

This build would blow up just like Master Yi though if the wind wall wears off or Yasuo is behind; this is the reason why i think a bruiser-y build will be even more effective:

or or        

The first five items would already provide 2806 HP, 110 magic resistance, 146 armor and 182 AD with an attack speed of 1,69 attacks per second.

The insane thing here is that we are looking at a bruiser with 100% crit chance – remember my article about the utilization of base stats? I cannot imagine a better use of base AD than simply multiplying it by 2.5. If a comparable build was used to go for the squishy backlines of the enemy team, it’s damage would be absolutely devastating while still being durable enough to reach your target – and stick to it. Last Whisper would most likely not even be nessecary due to the fact that armor is a difficult stat to build for AD carries.

Most players experiencing Yasuo on the PBE reported this behavior: with his low range and team dependent kit, Yasuo is kind of weak during the early game – before he gets one or two items. Once Infinity Edge is aquired, Yasuo spikes harder than any other champion at this time though, creating a special game flow for him. The proper usage of his kit will be very skill intensive, but I think Yasuo will be problematic in the future for said reasons. If not due to the strange power spike which never really wears down, the free gold provided by Intent is just calling for trouble. Back in season 2, Vladimir was called extremely toxic by members of Riot’s balance team due to his passive which gives him free Ability Power for bonus health and free health for bonus Ability Power. I think that we are looking at a very similar problem here: Yasuo being manaless and AD based (can use Lifesteal quite well) is not quite as “unfair” as Vladimirs inbuilt heals, but it might be enough to cause the same problems in the future – I’m not stating that Yasuo is “OP”, but that his kit is one of the harder ones to balance; he could be too gated by his kit limits (which are not that weak in my opinion), or he could very well be too strong based on his incredible passive. The difference between both states could be very thin.

At his current state, I don’t think that he will enter competetive play – and if so, only with a specific strategy which focuses on getting Yasuos gold flow up and running before utilizing his strenght. I am however sure of him being quite strong for every other game mode where it is hard to shutdown a single player very hard without team coordination.

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I am a student from germany and I like the theorycrafting behind the game a lot - while I'm not into number crunching, I always try to find the best synergies in ability kits and items. I write to help people get into the crazy mass of knowledge that is buried behind the surface of League of Legends and to learn a thing or two while looking into certain themes. I mainly play assassins and carries because I really enjoy the concept of dodging enemy impact trough my movement and play. In a similar fashion, I play action-rich games with nice role-playing elements - my favorites aside of League of Legends are the Monster Hunter series and Terraria. I also got into Magic: the Gathering recently.

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