Patch 5.9: Ashe update
tl;dr The new Ashe is not obviously broken, but these changes were probably at least a slight upgrade for her.
With patch 5.9, Ashe's abilities were all adjusted. Similar to the recent changes to The Black Cleaver, I wondered what affect, if any, these changes to Ashe are having in game. The ever-growing LeagueMath.com dataset is great for answering these types of questions.
The data for the plots in this post are drawn from 1,259,582 recent ranked NA solo-queue matches played by players of all skill levels on patches 5.3-5.9. By sifting through games where Ashe appeared as a marksmen (markswoman?) and looking at some basic statistics, we can start to piece together an idea of what, in the large, these changes are doing to the game.
For fun, I will begin with this week's most dramatic plot:
Before the recent changes, Ashe's pick rate hovered right around the 5% mark. That is, Ashe was chosen as ADC in approximately 1 in 20 games. On patch 5.9, she is picked as marksmen in greater than 25% of games. This is worth noting. The rest of the plots in this post are based on data from matches where Ashe was in bot lane, with a more or less traditional support. There is no Ashe mid, Ashe top, or Ashe jungle in any of this.
This plot of pick-rate shows uptake in use of Ashe similar to that of The Black Cleaver after its recent change, but perhaps even more dramatic. If you add in bans, and people picking Ashe for random roles, she has been a clear focus of patch 5.9.
One thing to consider is that in patches 5.3-5.8 Ashe was primarily being picked by die-hard stalwart Ashe mains. In patch 5.9 everyone and their mother started picking Ashe. To me, this suggests that the average 'Ashe skill' of someone playing Ashe on the most recent patch is likely to be less than that of previous recent patches. This will be good to keep in mind as we continue.
After pick-rate, the next logical thing to look at is win-rate:
Flat; and hovering just a hair above 50%. Again, these are all matches where Ashe played her traditional role of ADC. Conditioning on those games alone, we can simply divide the number of wins into the total number of games, and voilà.
This result is mildly interesting, to me. I would have expected her win rate to vary more than this with the recent changes. If the patch 5.9 win rate were significantly higher or lower, that would point to an obvious imbalance. It being so flat, if it says anything, it says it indirectly.
Here are plots for Ashe's kills, deaths, and assists:
These are all also extremely flat. The variation we see patch-to-patch easily lies well within any reasonable bounds one would expect given the deviation game to game. However, I find it a bit surprising that with so many new Ashe players on this patch these numbers do not dip a bit. Lots of players are picking up Ashe again either for the first time or after some hiatus; so I would expect them to do a bit worse. But these plots are not really showing that.
Here is a plot of cs at 10 minutes:
Again, so flat! Sure, it pokes up a hair, but that change is not significant compared to the game to game variance in this stat.
Here are a couple of slightly sillier, but related stats:
Ashe is killing about as many cs per game, and earning about as much gold per game. It does look like gold per game dropped a bit, but again these changes are just not statistically significant. At this point I am tempted to write something like, 'Riot's balance team did a great job with this Ashe update'. I hesitate though. We can look at one more thing before we draw any conclusions.
Here are plots for total damage, and damage to champions:
ADC mains love looking at the damage graphs at the end of the game. Even the LCS commentary has brought up this stat on occasion. When I see these numbers for total damage and total gold side by side, it seems like if anything, Ashe's efficacy has dropped slightly; but these changes are far from dramatic. Scroll back up and look at that pick-rate graph again.
With all these new Ashe players, there are going to be some real duffers. I think it is telling that these graphs are not going down more. Mathematically, the changes do not obviously skew her damage output obviously for the better or worse (though the way her crit works is super-interesting to me). I think that as players sort out best build paths for her, and start to find the right comps to put her in, not to mention improving their accuracy with Enchanted Crystal Arrow, Ashe is going to be a force to be reckoned with moving forward.
We are here, again, at the end of the article. One more thought though, consider Ashe and the other most recent ADC, Kalista. Kalista is one of the most (if not the most) mechanically challenging champion in the game. Ashe on the other hand, and this is of course debatable, is one of the least mechanically challenging champions in the game. Making Hawkshot global, and taking off the gold generation passive firmly presses Ashe players to be more strategic and less tactical.
To me, everything here adds up to a perfect storm for Ashe in the LCS summer split. ADCs are already struggling in this tank-heavy meta, and the intense mechanical difficulty of Kalista makes her a sketchy pick in high-pressure situations. Ashe seems poised to be a highly contested champion in competitive play.
I love making predictions. Because when I turn out to be wrong, you can tell me on twitter. There is still some time before the summer split even starts, so read some more articles, and get on that rss feed (if that is your kind of thing).
No "new Ashe OP" bandwagoners were harmed in the making of this article.