League of Legends: The Return of The Critical Strike Marksman

With Patch 9.3, there will be many critical strike item changes and this changes a whole lot for the bottom lane. Ability-based marksmen will no longer be king (sorry, Lucian) and critical strike champions will return as late game scaling monsters.

Out with the new, in with the old. Wait, that doesn’t sound right…

Critical Strike has been reverted to the old critical strike mechanics that some of us had known and loved for years. Of course, it is not reverted totally to what we used to know. So let’s take a look at what’s changed and how we can build our marksman now.

Some context…

In 2018, Infinity Edge essentially doubled all your critical strike percentage and converted 10% of that critical strike damage to true damage. So all you would need is two critical strike items and an Infinity Edge to reach 100% critical strike, but then, removed the 250% critical damage in Infinity Edge.

What this change does is cause Infinity Edge to be no longer viable in early game pick up. Stormrazor becomes the obvious first item pick up for every marksman because of its strong stats early game.

So why the need for change?

With the removal of 250% critical strike damage, the late game damage of critical strike marksmen became sub-par even though they reached their peak at 3 items. Since none of the critical strike marksmen were viable, ability based marksmen such as Lucian and Miss Fortune became the dominant forces in the bottom lane. In fact, for a brief moment, Mages dominated the bottom lane with Karthus and Veigar and funnily enough, the only critical strike champion viable as a marksman was Yasuo.

What’s new with Patch 9.3

Item changes

First off, the additional critical strike damage returns as a softer 225% damage. Thank the RITO gods. With this, critical strike champions are going to deal a lot of damage again. Think Jinx, Sivir, and Tristana. They are all coming back.

Secondly, Essence Reaver is also reverted but now with critical strike built in. This means ability-based critical strike champions will also receive some love. Xayah, Miss Fortune and Varus will benefit from this revert.

Finally, the best thing to happen to Phantom Dancer is that it will now proc a shield when your life is going to be reduced to less than 30%. Not only is this is another defensive item with critical strike built in, but this could essentially save your life.

So what happened to Stormrazor? It is now a good 4th item pick up. It will now buff your Energized attack by 30% (Statik Shiv, for example) and it also includes a 40% slow for 1 second, allowing you to kite like a pro!

As you can expect, build paths for champions now look very different from just a few weeks ago. Here are some really strong critical strike champions for you to try in the rift!

Cheat Sheet

Jinx – She argues with her guns
Sivir – Give her gold or she takes your blood
Caitlyn – She doesn’t miss
Kai’Sa – The one that doesn’t stumble

What a time to be alive. Critical Strike marksmen are finally a threat again. Personally, I have been loving the change as I wreck the late game team fight with Jinx. She has always been my favorite champion to play and it is great seeing her viable again in game.


Are there any secretly powerful item builds that I don’t know about? Let me know about it in the comments below!

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