Irelia, the Blade Dancer
Irelia's one of the few champions who have truly vexed both Riot and myself for years and years. When you're a walking wall of stats whose sole job was originally to stop a marksman-heavy meta, it quickly becomes clear why "Just Nerf Irelia" became a long-term running joke.
Her recent VGU addressed some of her less healthy elements and introduced a few unique functions (that were quickly nerfed away), and my initial redesign attempted to do the same, but both feel like they fell flat. The question remains: how do you make Irelia healthy and distinct while bringing her theme to life?
The answer, I feel, lies not in any sort of new and innovative gameplay, but rather in tools that already exist but don't quite "fit" where they are. Shen's a master ninja who...teleports a blade around that just deflects attacks. Orianna's a clockwork ballerina who...makes a little robot ball zip around and shoot shockwaves. If there's any one master of a floating weapon that flits around the battlefield, shouldn't it be Irelia?
With flying blades as a dance partner, Irelia is now a more holistic representation of the "weaponmancer" archetype - Irelia's and her blades' positions in relation to one another are vital at every moment, and learning how to coordinate their movements and attacks is key to unlocking her potential. Flexible, fluid, and deadly: these are the qualities of the Blade Dancer.
Much of Irelia's previous identity - even post-VGU - was pretty conforming to League's early melee model (think Xin Zhao, Jax, etc.), but some of her current tools remain in this iteration, such as the ability to chain dashes together with judicious ability use or pincer multiple foes with well-placed blades. Also, she still loves flanking enemies, but now can pull off even fancier moves with the help of agile allies.
As mentioned earlier, Irelia's new gameplay hook borrows heavily from the current mechanics of two champions I had previously redesigned: Shen and Orianna. The mechanics behind the spirit sword and robo-ball were never "bad" - it's just that these floating weapons needed a proper home, leaving the ninja and ballerina to more wholeheartedly embrace their themes.
All values in blue are meant to give a general idea of the ability's properties, and are subject to change.
Recommended Positions: Solo Sidelane, Solo Midlane
Innate: Ionian Fervor
Upon using an ability, issuing a movement command causes Irelia to dash 300/400/500 units in the target direction. Ionian Fervor's dash distance scales with Irelia's boots tier.
Irelia launches Dancing Blades towards the target location, dealing 20/35/50/65/80 +
(100% total AD) physical damage to enemies in their path. The blades remain at their destination for 10 seconds or until Irelia moves more than 900 units away.
While Irelia's Dancing Blades are away from her, Bladesurge will launch them from their current location.
Targeting Type: Skill Shot - Line
Cost: 30/35/40/45/50 mana
W: Flawless Duet
Irelia thrusts her blades towards the target point, dealing 80/115/150/185/220 +
(100% bonus AD) physical damage to enemies they hit.
Dancing Blades will also thrust towards the target point, dealing the same damage. Enemies hit by both Irelia and her Dancing Blades take 80/115/150/185/220 + (100% bonus AD) true damage instead.
Targeting Type: Skill Shot - Line
Cost: 70/80/90/100/110 mana
E: Defiant Dance
PASSIVE: Allies protected by Dancing Blades take 6/7/8/9/10% + (2% per 100 AD) reduced damage from enemy champions' basic attacks.
ACTIVE: Irelia sends her Dancing Blades to protect the target ally champion, shielding them for 95/125/155/185/215 + (100% total AD) for 1 second. The Dancing Blades will continue to follow their target until they are called elsewhere, or until the target moves more than 900 units away.
Targeting Type: Targeted
Cost: 60 mana
R: Vanguard's Edge
Irelia and her Dancing Blades switch places after a 0.75 second delay, dealing 200/300/400 + (120% bonus AD) physical damage to enemies between them and disarming them for 1.5/2/2.5 seconds.
If Irelia's Dancing Blades have been recalled, she instead performs a flourishing slash after a 1.25 second delay, dealing 200/300/400 + (120% bonus AD) physical damage to nearby enemies and disarming them for 1.5/2/2.5 seconds.
Range: 250 (effect radius), 450 (effect radius with Blades recalled)
Targeting Type: None
Cost: 100 mana