Increase opponent play options when playing against Azir
Increase Azir’s live ranked performance (buff)
Preserve his core play pattern of summoning Sand Soldiers and using them as his auto attacks
The first goal here is probably the most difficult. Azir has always lived in the realm of relentless or weak. Focusing on his lane health and overall avoidability by opponents is crucial to turning Azir into a more healthy champion.
The other two goals are actually good news for Azir fanatics (like myself). If they plan on taking away some of his nonsense, he can be in a healthier place in the game. A healthier Azir means one that doesn’t get nerfed into existence after a few months of viability. The challenge will be maintaining the reason fans love him while also making things easier for enemies.
The post continues to outline two distinct directions that they are looking to take Azir in:
1) Reduce Azir’s soldier command range, exposing him to more opponent damage/cc opportunities when he is dealing damage.
Ranges would still be decently long, shorter by roughly 15~% is what we'd likely aim for
Affords his mobility profile remaining similar to live
Might mean he needs more on-demand survivability
Is the direction that reduces the most pressure on us to dramatically change functionality on his current spells (might still require some decent changes depending on what we discover though
The first path focuses on removing some of Azir’s range, making him less frustrating to deal with in lane. However, this would have to make the damage he puts out far more potent than it is currently. Otherwise, he serves very little purpose. There are stronger AP burst mages with short range.
2) Keep Azir’s live soldier command range, but reduce his mobility profile so he is more easily killed when you do have the tools to close the gap on him.
Affords soldiers lasting longer than they currently do
Most likely means we remove his ability to drift or dash to his soldiers
Is the direction that restricts Azir to be even more of a back-liner
The second path here seems a little more interesting, although perhaps not exactly what Azir fans want. Part of what makes Azir so cool is the shifty tricks he can pull on his enemies. It turns what seems like a useless ultimate into one full of potential.
But despite the disappointment of losing mobility, the promise of a new ability for E is certainly interesting. One of Azir’s biggest problems is that very few of his abilities feel good to put points in, namely his Q. Upgrading W and E just make him easier to play.
Sadly, throwing Azir solely into the back-line makes him a far less interesting character. Azir is a beautiful bird because he is flexible, able to change his playstyle to fit the situation. Putting him into the archetype of a backline/artillery mage like Xerath or Vel’Koz is dangerous. Even if he does interact with enemies differently, the thought of pulling him into only one archetype or another is frustrating.
Some characters should be able to do one thing very well while others can flex a little. Azir is an unfortunate place at the moment. When he is strong, he is too good at both artillery and close-range mobility. When he is weak, he is unable to do either. The struggle with the Azir rework will be trying to improve his game health while also maintaining what makes him the coolest bird alive.