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Jan 14, 2015

Thoughts on Removal of DFG in Patch 5.2



Yesterday, RiotScarizard confirmed that as of Patch 5.2, Deathfire Grasp will be removed. Additionally, RiotJag put in his 2 cents (possibly a bit more) saying that their reasons for doing so were two-fold:
  1. Too Bursty - DFG makes burst champions more bursty, resulting in player frustration when they get "one-shot"
  2. Room to Buff Champions - Since Riot tends to balance for pro play, they have to make sure DFG doesn't make champions like Ahri *too* bursty.


As per Jag's description, it seems like they're certainly buffing some champions, such as Ahri to compensate for the removal of DFG. 


Personally, I think this will be a HUGE buff to Ahri players in solo queue, especially those in lower brackets. The reason for this is that even without using DFG (which many forget to use at the right time), Ahri is already very strong in solo queue. 

This means that her strength will increase for those that don't use DFG via Riot buffs, and for those that used to use DFG, if Riot's compensating buffs are enough, it means that her ease of play just shot up as well.

Other Champions
Some other champions that this might affect include Katarina and Leblanc. For Katarina players I think it will be a huge boost if Riot buffs her, as she doesn't need DFG to be effective.

For Leblanc players, her skillcap was always very high and relies on bursting down champions before they can respond. The removal of DFG is definitely a strong nerf to her overall effectiveness. Her status in Patch 5.2 will largely depend on what love Riot gives her. However, my initial thoughts are that she'll likely remain the same in terms of skill to strength as her distortion still requires good decision making.

Original Post by RiotJag

Hey guys, Jag here from the Live Balance team. It's a new year, a new(ish) season, and we're back with the Patch 5.2 Forecast!

The biggest change we're making in 5.2 is that we're removing Deathfire Grasp from Summoner's Rift. There are two major reasons we felt we had to do this, so I'll run through both:

First, DFG tends to make burst patterns even more bursty. The item effectively adds another nuke spell on top of kits that are already designed to have strong up-front damage and aggravates the "whoa, I got one shot out of nowhere" frustration of playing against certain champions. A good example is LeBlanc; DFG adds reliability to her assassination patterns and ends up removing counterplay (she gets to rely on her Q, E, and DFG spells for damage, and can use dashes to reposition or escape instead of making more risky plays).

The second reason is strongly tied to the first; removing this item gives us room to buff champion kits that would otherwise be overpowered if they could use DFG. The most obvious example is Ahri; more 'magey' elements of the character, like her sustained damage or kiting, end up getting washed out because she has so much power to blow up charmed targets with a DFG burst. This ends up forcing us to balance Ahri around her assassin playstyle because there's always the "I can buy DFG" route to consider; removing the item means we can buff her in more interesting ways while still keeping some of her burst because she can't just pick up a DFG and double down on a single playstyle.

As far as champions that purchase DFG are concerned, some will get some love now that DFG is gone (I mentioned Ahri; expect Veigar to get attention either this patch or next); some are strong enough that losing DFG is a healthy nerf; some rely on alternate item builds sufficiently that they won't be affected too much. When 5.2 goes live, if we feel there is an itemization gap for mages, then we'll address that further.

One of the other character classes we're looking at in 5.2 in Assassins. Some assassins have top tier burst potential that is loaded onto high reliability spells (think Akali or Fizz here) and don't have enough real weaknesses to compensate. Others may simply be too strong along a variety of dimensions; Zed being one of the best 1v1 champions in the game and an extremely efficient tower diver helps make him a super split pusher. However, him having such strong tower killing statistics (e.g. AS, bonus AD from W passive) on top of that makes for an overwhelming combination.

Last point regarding jungle; we have seen the jungle receive a huge amount of changes since the start of the preseason, and Patch 5.1 was no exception with the addition of the Smite charging system. We want to keep a close eye on what happens when 5.1 hits live servers and we will continue to make changes to jungle as appropriate.


What do you think? Got ideas on other champions that might need/get buffs? Comment below!

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  1. rainy1314emily .January 14, 2015

    Just read it. I assume you will have more things to add SSJ? I am personally happy with the change. So I suppose you think Ahri buffs from a mage aspect is unnecessary? As of now, Ahri's aoe damage is much lower than her single target damage. Do you think Riot will ever achieve a perfect balance for someone like Ahri? What sort of buff do you think Riot will add to bring back her mage aspect? More evenly distributed values in her skills? What can Ahri expect to be buffed from a mage/kiting aspect?

  2. There were other things to remove or update as a priority : Guinsoo, Censer, Mallet, Banner, Occult, Righteous Glory, Zeke buff, Warmog buff, Sunfire passive buff...all comes to mind :S

  3. I'm going to cry. These new updates are just getting worse and worse. the zz portal not being able to be hit by skillshots(welcome to the new split push power. get people like heimer and shaco, throw a big tank like malphite with a zz portal. + taking baron at 20 minutes(possible since its base damage is 250 instead of 500 and it has 6500 starting hp instead of 8000). It will be unstoppable. RIOT WHAT ARE YOU DOING

  4. Obviously Ahri is all you care about. (ooh Ahri is easier now none of the other effects of these changes matter)

  5. What the actual, man? you are saying that those are OP items ???????? orwhat?

  6. I am terrified of Ahri players. Especially awesome ones. I can't beat them for the life of me, or it's hard at least. They really rustehl mah jimmies hard. rustles my jimmies.

    The damage...... what the.... what? what the heck? that damage? it just reks you... so fast... and hurts. Then they buy Mejai's and the game is fucking over with only 1-2 kills Ahri is already too strong to stop at all. If the ultimate would be so that you can only dash once, she would have a lot more trouble... but yeah....... idk. i hate ahri enemies, hard to play against.

  7. The problem was with the very nature of DFG: it is a targeted item that does damage against the target based on its max HP. making it a tank shredder, but it also amplified ALL following magic damage by 20% for the next 4 secs.
    This alone was kinda weird: imagine a full HP ADC, you DFG' them, boom, big chunk of their health gone, ez pz to follow up with one or two basic abilities and finish them off, ult not even necessary.
    It's not really the fault of the enemy, since it isn't based around being out of position or anything, it was just based on 'if i get close enough, they're dead meat', no really viable counterplay possible.(Yes, technically banshee's would help but who on earth would be stupid enough to waste a DFG on a spell shield that's brightly visible?)
    Basically removing DFG means no more instakill for a gold price, as you'll now have to carefully lay out your combo before you go in to ensure max damage output.

    I do however agree that it didn't have to get removed outright, maybe if they reworked it from a targeted active to a skillshot active it would be less 'faceroll-instakill' and more 'carefully-planned-kill' and thus making it a higher skillfloor item. Or maybe they could've removed the %HP upfront damage and only kept the amplification, so that it's (again) less 'instakill'

    Sorry for the wall of text :)
    Have a nice day ;)

  8. I just hate the fact that almost everyone simply ignores Veigar simply because he isn't that popular in the competitive scene. There are too many champions that have more reliability, mobility and early damage than him. Also Cass and and Karthus deals more sustained damage than him. Veigar is utterly helpless after a single spell rotation. His only plus point was the act that he could take down any enemy no matter HOW tanky with the help o DGF.
    Unless Veigar gets some utility buffs or less punishing CDR or maybe a more interactive passive he will transform from being a niche pick to Unplayable.

  9. Yeah your complaints here are exactly why they are removing DFG and you have to make a mistake to be caught out and get one shot. The removal of DFG makes her easier to play while being a huge nerf to the overall state of mages. You say that you can't stop an Ahri but that is simply not true at all. You are just whining like most of the League player base because you choose someone and build so that you get caught by her charm and you are dead. There are items to counter and there are many, many ways to outplay an Ahri, just make her miss her charm. Dodge her q on its way back. If you get ONE shot or you can't do something about a champion with 1-2 kills, then I'm sorry but you have some work to do because you are obviously making mistakes(like EVERYONE that plays DOES and has to ACCEPT, just because kids get UPSET when they are OUTPLAYED, that is no reason to CONSTITUTE a REMOVAL of a necessary % damage item that without, many mages will struggle to burst down those champs with 3k+ HP.

  10. All it takes is for the adc, who relies on positioning do to their squish state, to dodge a skillshot.

  11. DFG is no skill shot unfortunately, which is one problem. Again, it's always 'if I get close enough, he's dead meat' ^^

  12. The DFG Swain dream is over.

  13. Ahri is/was God Tier and borderline OP....... Hard to deal with. If you get hit by a Charm damn you might be gettin rekt HARD!!! Her damage is outrageous. If she did less damage, especially with ult combined and the UTILITY of her ultimate lets her fcking jump around and tower dive you, while surviving it?!?!??! disgusting annoying crazy champion

    Then she has mejais and gets stax. with 1-3 kills is unstoppable force to be reckoned with. Whatever. you dont understand.

    YES, I have gotten outplayed and I can't dodge 90% of ahri charms, and some people are good at using it. YES,I make mistakes,I ADMIT IT =)! But Ahri punishes for that greatly and she is not even like super squishy even, feels like. And her damage is the most outrageous thing about her... Damn... it hurts. You're over if you cant dodge around like hell and if you don't keep in mind that she can come dashin' around like a MOFO with her ultimate while tower diving you. easy life for ahri when played right.

    I don't even care about DFG on her but i guess that made her supa OP too. Whatever.

  14. Spideraxe30January 14, 2015

    I thought I was the only one who did that sucks how no more 40% damage boost

  15. Eric MayhewJanuary 14, 2015

    i honestly dont build dfg on leblanc anyways, i just go either morello/athenes straight into rabadons and void staff and i dont have any trouble killing squishies

  16. Potential Zed nerf? If they nerf Zed and not Akali the balance team is dumb as bricks

  17. why does riot hate leblanc so much

  18. I don't get why all the ap assassins seem to be better/at least more popular than there ad counterparts. Please someone explain this to me as I've only been playing for a year.

    Any way it annoys me all of the ap assassins can ( well do buy ) buy zhonyas which gives them much greater kill and survive potential. Where as ad assassins simply die if they get caught out, how is it fair is the ad assassins have a get out of jail free card and we call that balance?

  19. HELL NO, they are completely underpowered and underplayed and all need serious buff or to be removed. All the Twisted-T items I quoted are barely ever used cause there is clear better options. Zeke, Warmog, Sunfire, Mallet and Righteous are all cool but need serious boost. The rest is crap (and I feel that the new Zz'Rot is going to know the sad destiny of Ohm).

  20. Buffing LB is ok...but Ahri and Katarina :S ... #Welcome2MonsterTier

  21. RisingFlamesJanuary 14, 2015

    Well, AD Champs are considerably stronger at split-pushing and taking towers, and there aren't that many AD Assassins to begin with. Zed is already a very safe assassin, Talon's job is just to blow something up and go invisible, so they already have many built in safeties.

  22. RisingFlamesJanuary 14, 2015

    Play Talon vs Ahri, come back and tell us that you smashed Ahri's face. She's countered so hard by mobility it's sad.

  23. hence why u have a team

  24. LeBlanc is by far and above my favorite champion.

    That being said, her design is kinda anti-fun. There are a lot of people who hate playing against her, and cry for nerfs/say she's a cancer champ.

  25. Not all the AP assassins, only the non-mana using (aka Kata and Akali).

  26. Don't forget about Qss/Mercurial Scimitar that AD assasins benefit from (although it may not be optimal for some champs, being able to remove CC is sometimes as good if not better than stasis).

  27. Coronel Mostaza LanJanuary 15, 2015

    Lb will really need a buff after this, i main her im plat and my rush item is dfg, without it it will be harder to try to stand a chance against champions like zed or akali because if you miss 1 of the spells youre already dead, the silence removal was ok i think to balance her, but this? im really sad, this item is also very fun to use. ):

  28. Coronel Mostaza LanJanuary 15, 2015

    and challenger ahri is out nearly at the same time e.e, what a coincidence...

  29. KingoftheSocksJanuary 15, 2015

    Honestly I've never used DFG on veigar and I normally am able to do quite well, I just felt that if you farmed your a well enough you'd be abler to compensate for it. As well as getting tear into archangels with him. I think if they buff him in the right way he'll be a nice counter pick to any passive mid laner as he'll just out scale them. Besides riot want item diversity and if all veigars are simply feeling forced to buy DFG that's not fitting their plan. Hopefully this'll bring some healthy buffs to him and he'll be viable even without DFG.

    Also I got my first pentakill with veigar last week so any buff to him gives me hope I can do it again

  30. ?? Are you telling me you don't build Zhonya on something like Ahri or Annie?

  31. Because with her, they created a heavy balance problem. She is like the AP version of Kha'zix: they can't balance her properly due to in-built mechanics. They tried to balance her by removing her silence, and since she was underpowered they buffed her again, and even if that buff wasn't THAT big, it made her come back almost as strong as before the silence nerf.
    This is gonna be like this forever, you just gotta be used to it ^^

  32. Well, it's right until now you can blow even some tanks with your DFG, but a good Veigar who farms properly, in lategame can still blow the enemy team without it. Of course this is gonna hurt him A LOT (let's wait for the promised compensating buffs by now), but I'm actually more concerned about the CDR issues this is gonna cause. Veigar needs that CDR to remain useful in teamfights, and he isn't designed to take enough profit of a Morellonomicon, so right now the only viable choice for him is Athene's in terms of CDR.

  33. Most of the items you listed don't need a buff at all (in fact, some like Sunfire got tweaked because it was too broken).
    Zeke is a niche buy, everytime i support a team of 3-4 AD champs I build it right after the core support items and it works wonders.
    Warmog is a good item, but people doesnt like using it because it "only" gives flat HP. It's a very good buy when you play a champion with inbuilt resistances/shields or HP% increased damage (Pantheon, Shen, Sejuani, Nautilus).
    Sunfire just lost some early damage because it was a no-brain rush to dominate your lane (remember the days when Renekton or Nasus rushed it and you could do absolutely nothing, 0 counterplay). It's just a mid-late game item now.
    Mallet maybe yeah, needs some tweaking because people prefer other move slowing/enhancing items.
    Righteous glory... honestly, is one of the best items they have implemented lately for supports/tanks. It gives you sustain, an enormous boost to HP/mana and a freaking combination of the old Shurelya and Randuin. All in a single item, and you think it needs a buff?

    Honestly, the problem with those items is people just tries to follow the pro builds without using their brain, and can't stop to think about what's better in each situation.

  34. So her single target damage is higher than her AoE damage... and? Akali is the same, Kassadin is the same, Zed is the same, Leblanc is the same... and the list goes on. And you know what's the same about all of them as well? They are all ASSASSINS, because that's what being an assassin means, being capable of burst you to oblivion, but not the whole team at once (that's the job of other mages like Lissandra, Annie, Malzahar, Orianna and the likes). Seriously guys, try to understand how this game works before complaining because they nerf your beloved champions.

  35. i think thats the point of dfg, i mean, if you are an assasin, you need to do your combo correctly if you want to kill someone. With dfg you could fail 1 skill and still one-shot people, and thats really annoying

  36. I mean "in the specifical "assassin" role" I only see Akali or Katarina over ad counterparts like Zed or Talon (the only exeption could be Fizz). I was talking about general effectiveness...but it's true that Zhonya surviving potential has no equivalent for AD (Ruined King + Ghostblade often save my ass but it's not unvulnerability).

  37. Safwan FordeJanuary 15, 2015

    Dfg removsl hurts leblanc badly. They might as well give her silence back

  38. Yeah probably talon is good

  39. oh yeah, okay. thats what i thought maybe you meant. I was like wtf they are not OP :D.

    Warmog's is good though!!! but yeah i know what you mean it costs helluva lot and only gives that stupid littel passive. not so efficient and good... buff the passive or the health that it gives. SunFire passive AOE DMG Got nerfed i remember. so yeah. Frozen Mallet is pretty good, pretty OK. Righteous Glory is great too!! thats a viable good one.

    Other items i agree with pretty much

  40. Romain NicolasJanuary 15, 2015

    As a low ELO player (High Silver), I have to say I kinda like the fact that they intend to buff them after DFG's removal : I always forget to use it! Still, I've had some success with Ahri and LB, so I welcome all these changes :D

  41. Marcus FostervoldJanuary 15, 2015

    Then Annie HAS to be given a small boost aswell, doesn't she?

  42. Not in a thousand years. She's already too mobile and bursty to have her silence back, that would remove any possible counterplay.

  43. Most people tend to build DFG as first item to ahri (because of the synergy with the charm). I think ahri players (as me) would start rushing morello for the cdr.

  44. Cameron FreedJanuary 16, 2015

    What really saddens me about this is how it'll affect Mordekaiser. I always found him a super fun champ to play and DFG was one of his core items. Now Riot is making it even harder for a hugely underplayed champion to play competitively. And for some reason, I haven't heard a peep out of anything about him possibly receiving buffs to compensate for it. Man, right when I was starting to think he might be a sleeper OP pick due to how well he matches up against a lot of the assassins played in mid right now. And this is starting to get near to my big problem with Riot's balancing/rework department and that's another rant for another time.

  45. Safwan FordeJanuary 16, 2015

    The main readon why she is bursty is because of dfg. Thats a whole 120ap gone from leblanc. Maybe not her 2 second silence but anywhere between .5 to 1 swcind would be decent enough. There isnt really much to replace dfg on leblanc to compensate and since shes going to need something heavy OR shes gunna end up like urgot .-.

  46. Naughty NautilusJanuary 16, 2015

    Sucks that DFG is going to be gone.
    Guess I'll build morello first now as Ahri.
    Despite the reasoning they give for the removal, there are plenty of champs that can nuke without DFG like Veigar and Syndra.
    Yeah it sucks but we'll see how it plays out

  47. If you say that she isn't bursty you must be levelling her skills wrongly or building bad. With only 2 Dorans and a Morello she's able to 100-0 pretty much anyone without MR. This is of course if you max W first and then Q

  48. Congrats on the veigar penta.
    I helped a guy get a pentakill with veigar as LB sp.
    That made the enemy surrender immediately.

    The problem with veigar is that you need big ticket ap items and only dfg gave alot o ap and cdr and the active that transformed veigar into a monster.
    Hopefully the compensation buffs are sufficient.(better mana regen with passive, higher ap scaling on q, shorter w cd , lower early mana costs anyone of these would be nice,)
    I also hope that they release the new item that will build out of NLR this patch.

  49. Hmm... almost all bursty mages can nuke you if you get caught.
    get sunned by heimer you get nuked by rockets.
    get stunned by syndra and learn to swim in balls.
    Get stunned by brand or lissa and you'll get a fever.
    Get hooked on gravity and you'll get a deathray to the face.

    Among other things all these spells will get you killed within 2 secs i you get caught,
    in fact charm is one of the harder spells to land.and it has a very unique look.

    In fact all of the above mages can wreck ahri when played right. So no, ahri maybe very versatile and quite useful in almost all comps but she is not overpowered with or without dfg.

  50. SleepyBojioJanuary 16, 2015

    Send her top lane then.

  51. Christos PapadakisJanuary 16, 2015

    How about they nerf it instead of removing it? Is that possible ?

    P.S Nice LeBlanc pic *wink*

  52. But for me Ahri is the most dangerous and she is very popular ATM. so yeah

  53. reallyreallysadJanuary 17, 2015

    stop deleting items from the game wtf, forget about bursting squishies, dfg is also very useful at taking down tanks because of the 15% max hp damage. I still miss sword of the divine so much, this things are so sad, you guys put some useless items in the game and take out useful ones.

  54. Huge buff for Ahri, terrible nerf for Lb.
    Ahri will receive some compensatory buffs but lb will be in the shadow. Anyway, Ahri can be played as a mage and still have decent burst damage. The same thing doesn't apply to lb. If she can't delete someone in less than 1 second, she's probably dead. Ahri can always throw her q to make a lot of damage but lb only has a way to be played and that way is severely affected by the DFG removal.


  56. Such hit for assassin in the midlane like LeBlanc Syndra & Kat :)

  57. Am i bad player if I never had dfg in my build with champions like leblanc and katarina?

  58. I think its not that bad for LB, because if you noticed she doesnt have to be build with DFG, you can see it in OGN right now, and she still does a fukton of damage.

  59. I dont like this feel like they could seriously fuck up, and if they dont replace DFG with another 120AP then most mages will be very weak late game.

  60. For everyone's info, acording to this page i saw (
    Akali is getting nerfed pretty hard, her e wont proc q anymore and her ult range was decreased. Fizz's q and w are getting nerfed but his ult will give him a pseudo dfg. ahri is getting sort of buffed and kat and veigar and lb will be unchanged :)

  61. Ahri OP? Pls. You're just complaining about a champ that has pronounced strengths and pronounced weaknesses. Sure, she does a lot of damage, but that's if she lands her skillshots. Dodging her skillshots are very easy - stay behind minions and dodge the second part of her q. She gets wrecked on if her charm and ult are both on cd, leaving a very big window for counterplay.
    Imo, akali, cassiopeia, and heimerdinger are much bigger problems than her.

  62. The way I see it, some mage is getting attention/popularity and Riot will make a small buff with a new skin (or re-opened skin).

    Several skins are good to go, then the "OP" complaints are too much and Riot Games will nerf that champ enough for major players switch to other champ (except "heretics", maybe)

  63. "RIP all veigar" lol this guy don't need dfg he just need to stack AP and nuke you down
    In AP matchup, this guy is digusting with the damage on his ultimate : the magic resist stack don't work wtih him since his scaling on AP is the highest with cassio and akali.

  64. I couldn't agree more


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