By Petar Vukobrat
June 3, 2019
The recently announced Mordekaiser rework is yet another fantastic face-lift to an old and beloved champion. But as opposed to going for a complete visual upgrade, Riot also changed quite a big chunk of Mordekaiser’s ability kit. That should come as no surprise to anyone, but it’s still important to highlight.
Mordekaiser always belonged in a somewhat niche category, but his lore and overall aesthetic were alluring to many players across the globe, and with good reason. The problem was, whenever you actually played him, the experience itself fell far short of expectations. In short — it wasn’t nearly as exciting and intuitive as it might have seemed at first glance.
His abilities, while alright by design, left a lot to be desired, especially when compared to his overall aesthetic. It’s like getting in a supercar only to find out its engine was replaced by some legos with the word “engine” written across them. You wanted to hear the thunderous roar of a V12, and yet it was nowhere to be found.
That’s Mordekaiser in a nutshell. Fortunately, even in his off-putting state, he was unique in the world of League of Legends. He had interesting builds, a specific playstyle, he was relatively viable in three lanes with three distinct playstyles (he was even played in the bottom lane as an AP carry a couple of years ago), and when he got a couple of items he quickly became an unstoppable juggernaut that could one-shot opposing squishies.
Then again, his specific interactions and confusing ability kit meant he wasn’t exactly coded optimally. As a result, Mordekaiser had over one hundred registered bugs. If you had a keen eye for detail (or bugs, in this case), then playing Mordekaiser wasn’t exactly the most error-free experience. Not in the slightest.
And Riot never wanted to fix him because it would be a fool’s errand — he was due for a rework anyway, so why put in the work twice? Solid logic, regardless of the way you look at it. Well, after quite a long while, Riot has finally revealed their long-awaited Mordekaiser rework! Fortunately for everyone involved, it looks like a resounding success.
So without any further ado, let’s take a closer look at the Mordekaiser rework, and all that is brings to the table!
Passive: “Darkness Rise” — After three basic attacks or spells against champions, Mordekaiser will deal additional maximum health damage per second in a fairly sizeable AoE (Area of Effect). He will also gain bonus movement speed. Finally, Mordekaiser’s basic attacks deal 40% of his AP in bonus magic damage.
By doing this, Riot preserved his auto-attack-oriented playstyle. He’s still going to be throwing out abilities left and right, but you’ll have to weave in a couple of basic attacks for maximum efficiency and damage output.
Q: “Obliterate” — Mordekaiser smashes the ground with his mace, dealing a noticeable amount of damage to all enemies hit. The damage numbers are increased (by up to 50%) if you manage to hit just a single enemy. In other words, this is especially potent when lane skirmishing and trading.
W: “Indestructible” — Mordekaiser stores 30% of his damage output and creates a potential shield. Once you activate the ability, however, you’ll gain the stored shield amount and you can also cast it a second time in order to consume the shield and heal for a set amount instead.
E: “Death’s Grasp” — This ability, which also happens to be so aptly named, is spectacular in design. There are two components to this ability — a passive and an active one. Mordekaiser will passively gain bonus passive Magic Penetration (up to 25% when maxed out). When you activate the ability, however, Mordekaiser will throw out a huge hand under the ground and snatch any opponent found in the area and bring him forward.
This is especially useful once you start fighting after using your ultimate. Having an ability (skillshot) that can bring your opponents closer will be extremely valuable in the heat of battle.
R: “Realm of Death” — This is a big one. When you click on an opponent, Mordekaiser will banish both himself and the target to the Death Realm for seven seconds, and steal 10% of his target’s core stats during the duration. You’re basically separated from your team (and the same goes for your chosen opponent), and you’re literally fighting one against the other until one target dies or until the ultimate duration passes. If Mordekaiser kills the target while in the Death Realm, he’ll consume their soul and keep the stolen stats until the target respawns.
Every Mordekaiser’s ability plays into the “lord of death” fantasy. Your opponents should be afraid of every aspect of your kit, and when they’re the ones singled out by your ultimate, they’re literally separated from their team and forced to fight you mano-a-mano.
Everything you do as Mordekaiser revolves around destroying something and getting closer to your opponents in order to dish out damage and eventually emerge victorious. His unique abilities and play style slot him into the “bruiser mage” subset of champions, and if you build him in the right way you should be far from a glass cannon.
The closer you are to your opponents the better.
His ultimate also presents a very interesting chance to isolate himself and another target from the opposing team. This is absolutely huge (in both casual and competitive play), and could seriously impact the course of the game. If you land your ultimate on a priority target (like an opposing AD carry or fed mid laner), you can completely turn the tide of a team fight.
As for itemization, while it’s still too early to tell for sure, it seems like the age-old Mordekaiser build isn’t going anywhere. That means Rylai’s Crystal Scepter, Liandry’s Torment, Hextech Gunblade, Zhonya’s Hourglass, and perhaps even Hextech Protobelt. Obviously, you’re going to itemize depending on your lane match-up as well as opposing team comp, but his build path shouldn’t be much different than before.
You’re basically going for as much health as possible, while also stacking Ability Power along with bonus Magic Penetration seeing how all three stats synergize incredibly well with your ability kit. Even though his visuals and a good portion of his kit got overhauled, his core identity didn’t, which is a hallmark of a great rework.
As with every previous rework, Riot invested a ton of time in updating all of Mordekaiser’s skins (and accompanying splash arts). Needless to say, everything looks extremely slick. Have a look below:
Dragon Knight Mordekaiser
Club of Spades Mordekaiser
That’s it for our detailed look at the latest Mordekaiser rework! He’s currently playable in the PBE (Public Beta Environment) and should be hitting live servers once the next patch rolls around. If you’re a fan of the written word, you can check out Mordekaiser’s League bio page by clicking here, and you can also check our recent breakdown of the League of Legends patch 9.11 if you’re looking for the nitty-gritty on Riot’s latest set of balance changes.
Finally, if you’re itching for some high octane competitive League, you’re in luck! The Summer Split is currently in progress, so be sure to keep an eye on the site for updates! This is the first time the major regions have ever been this close in terms of both strength and potential, and however things pan out we’re in for a spectacular end to the 2019 season.