The Karma rework was probably one of the most-anticipated events to happen in recent League of Legends history. Karma was a character that was well-liked by the whole community but was almost universally seen as bad. With a surprising change to her model and lore as well as her ability set, Karma has risen from the ashes as an entirely different character. The changes to Karma are similar to the changes to Evelynn, in that Riot completely removed an old character and transplanted someone else that superficially resembled the old character in her place.
However, I was really surprised when Riot decided to rework two additional champions as well. The studio took Trundle out of the jungle and into the frozen mountains of Freljord, reworking his kit to reflect the changes in his lore. Sejuani, on the other hand, was much like Karma: a champion that didn’t mechanically fit. Little changed about her lore, but she decided to put on some clothes and storm off to Summoner’s Rift as a new woman. But are the changes to these three characters good for the League, or were the characters better off staying the same?
Ionia gets itself a paragon
Karma is a character I’ve always liked. The old Karma’s real title should have been, “Oh no you didn’t,” because that’s what I felt she was saying every time I faced her. I would go for the kill, and the enemy would be shielded and healed, and I would be down a bunch of life. “Oh no you didn’t,” Karma said. I would chase after foes; Karma would spirit bond them (or me) and flee, making it impossible for me to catch up. She may have not been the best choice, but she was horribly un-fun to fight against. I don’t want to imply that she was “anti-fun” as Riot is fond of using, though; it is at least as fun to make those clutch plays happen than it is to get owned by them.
Karma’s old kit didn’t really mesh, though. She needed something, but it was obvious that the fix wouldn’t be easy. Adjusting numbers in her favor would just make her OP without really changing the awkward feeling of playing as her or addressing her preferred role issues. Her passive was kind of an awful mage version of Olaf’s that didn’t make sense at all. She was just a problem character, and something had to be done.
I had been saying for a long time that Riot needed to rebuild Karma as a mage. I liked all of her abilities and didn’t want to see any of them go, but I did know that the stigma of being a support wouldn’t work for her. Her kit was fundamentally a mage kit that happened to have a lot of support elements, but the support part was the part that people got stuck on. It would be easier, design-wise, to make her a mage. When Riot turned her into a weird hybrid of Morgana and LeBlanc, I wasn’t really surprised.
Put another way, the new Karma is almost like a Riot-approved version of AP Janna — before all the nerfs to AP Janna to make her unviable (thanks, Riot). Even with the drastic changes to her Q and W, she retained her old E and to some degree, her ultimate. Karma’s R is less like the old Mantra, though, and more like LeBlanc’s Mimic; it gives her an extra use of one of her existing spells, with a boosted effect. The boosted effect is far more pronounced than anything LeBlanc can mimic — most noteworthy in Karma’s signature shield, which explodes with magic power when charged with Mantra.
Nobody will be completely happy with the Karma changes. I dislike her new look and the loss of old Spirit Bond, but by and large the rework did its job and she is in a lot better shape. I love her new passive, and I like the feel of the new Mantra. It really makes Karma interesting.
Trundle in the… mountains? That doesn’t rhyme.
Trundle is a character who was hard to like. His aesthetic was kind of disgusting and didn’t appeal to a lot of people. I also personally think that his gameplay wasn’t that interesting, so any changes to Trundle were for the better, in my mind.
Riot took Trundle out of his origins as a jungle troll and moved him to the icy mountains as an ice troll. Rather than have an emphasis on “dirty” things, Trundle gained an ice theme to go along with his geographical change. Riot also reworked his lore to put him in Freljord, where the team is clearly moving with the current story emphasis. Perhaps we’ll get some kind of Freljord-themed event soon? I don’t know.
However, not a whole lot actually changed about him. Most of his abilities changed their names, but very little mechanically changed. Pillar of Ice is a bit less phallic and suggestive than Pillar of Filth was, and his abilities behave a bit differently. He’s still pretty much Trundle, though he has a few new tricks. If you have fought against him before, the matchup is a little different (mostly due to the slow on his Q and the lack of CC resistance from Contaminate), but he is not a totally new character like Karma. He’s still Trundle, and he still rocks the jungle.
Apparently being half-naked in the snowy mountains wasn’t a good idea
Old Sejuani’s aesthetic was hilarious, mostly because the idea of a woman from the snowy mountains wearing a chainmail bikini was all kinds of amusing. She was a really good example of a character design gone slightly wrong. I don’t really want to blame Riot on this either; her kit was something that seemed reasonable on paper, probably played fine in playtests, and ended up being pretty lackluster in practice. The main issue with old Sejuani was honestly numbers, though. I really wasn’t expecting a rework for her; her kit was strong, and it wouldn’t have taken much tweaking to get her up to par.
In her defense, the new Sejuani is pretty much the old Sejuani with a few tweaks. She still has her old Frost-Permafrost passive trick, she still has her boar charge over walls, she still has her AoE aura and she still has her ridiculously powerful ultimate. So not much changed, right?
Everything changed with Sejuani though. Her new W is clearly designed to help her take out jungle creeps better and deal more damage in ganks. She keeps her old passive, but it’s now attached to her E. Her new passive adds bonus armor, so she basically has two passives now. Her new boar charge knocks people into the air because a girl with crazy amounts of crowd control totally needs more of it.
What the heck is up with this rework? I’m sure it will get toned down, but I have to ask: Is Riot crazy? This version of Sejuani is so powerful on paper I am honestly at a loss for words. How does Riot even tone her down? Her Arctic Assault change is probably the most egregious to me, as it gives her more CC on top of her incredibly slowing ability and powerful stunning ultimate. The change to her W seems totally fine, since she lacked damage in the first place and could use a faster jungle clear time.
Now I’m all for female empowerment, and Sejuani is a perfect example of a woman doing a traditionally “man’s job” (jungling and tanking!). However, this buff might be a little too empowering. Maybe Sejuani needs to wear a little less armor because that armor is totally making her too OP!
In all fairness though, I’m sure she’ll be reasonable when she hits the live servers. At least she can’t be any worse than Jayce already is.