Why Was Sword Of The Occult Removed From League of Legends?


Sword Of Occult was an extremely popular item back in the glory days of League of Legends. However, the AD-heavy item was mysteriously removed in patch 5.22 with the excuse that the purpose it was meant to serve was deemed unhealthy for the game. 

Unsurprisingly, there were a plethora of underlying reasons that forced Riot into making this decision. 

Quite simply put, this item was Overpowered on some champions and completely useless on others. It was inherently paving the way for a much more toxic and difficult-to-balance game environment which would be a nuisance for veterans and newbies alike.

That being said, when has that ever stopped Riot from outright removing systems or items from the game entirely? In true Riot fashion, this item should have been nerfed into the ground, never to see the light of day again. 

Why is it then, that the balance team decided to completely scrap the idea and move on from it?

The fact of the matter is that there is always more than meets the eye with things that Riot completely removes from League. 

In this case, this item tried to erase a very thin line between the power levels of attack damage and ability power, two of the main damage types in the game.

Also read: When to Split Push in LoL?

Sword Of Occult: A Trip Down Memory Lane

Sword of The Occult was added in Patch 1.0.0.61, VERY early on in the development of the game. Back then, systems worked a lot differently than they do today. 

Not every champion had “a million dashes” or “infinite amounts of crowd control”, and champion releases were not far and few between, but rather the exact opposite.

The point is, Riot liked to experiment with the game a lot more back then. Originally, Sword of The Occult gave 10 attack damage (AD) and 2 AD in addition to 2% critical strike chance per stack, 2 per kill, and 1 per assist, up to a maximum of 20. Upon dying, you would lose a third of the stacks. 

Later on, this was changed to remove critical strike chance in favor of increasing the AD per stack from 2 to 5, which made the item less enticing for AD carries and more so for Assassins.

However, this item rarely appeared on builds for the few AD assassins back then, and even when it did it was not considered ideal, only as a means to have “fun”. 

For perspective, the usefulness of this item can be compared to “Axiom Arc” from season 12. Different niche, same principle.

Was Sword Of Occult Better Than Mejai’s?

Mejai’s is still a big part of the gameplay of League of Legends in 2022 and for good reason. Many of the champions that buy Mejai’s are much safer, and more champions make use of a huge amount of AP (ability power) than a huge amount of AD. 

Since AD contributes to champion auto-attacks as well as damage from abilities, it must be kept lower than ability power on purpose. Imagine a world where an AD version of Rabadon’s Deathcap exists, and every AD champion is running around with Jhin levels of AD, doing massive auto-attack damage as well as ability damage.

Furthermore, ability power assassins have Zhonya’s Hourglass to negate some of the risk of having a high-risk high-reward item. 

Other than assassins, most mages are much safer than almost all AD champions. Spellcasting makes it easier to apply your damage from a distance (in most cases), creating a potential purpose for a Mejai’s buy.

On the flip side, almost every AD champion relies on getting in closer proximity than a mage would to apply their damage. 

Hence, Sword of The Occult served little to no purpose in 5v5 team fights, unless it was built by an ADC who relied on heavy AD stats, (basically only Draven), and at that point, why not just build critical strike?

Also read: How to Counter Thornmail

How Are Power Levels Intended To Work?

During the awful learning phase of League of Legends, many players wonder why ability power is allowed to be obtained in much higher quantities than attack damage is. 

Before season 11 and the item overhaul, the primary principle of balance between the two main damage types was fairly straightforward.

Attack damage champions had access to lifesteal and overall sustain to mitigate the pure stat power of ability damage champions, and that intricate balance was heavily disrupted by season 11’s item overhaul. 

Why? Because it added sustain for every other ability power champion if they wanted it.

Likewise, Sword of The Occult only served to disrupt this balance of power. Like how Riot tuned down every element of sustain for season 12, they decided a similar fate for the item back in season 5, except it was only one item causing the disruption, so it was easier to remove it entirely than to spend time and money fixing it. 

In a perfect world, every ADC main could get their hands on a Sword of The Occult in their ranked games, but the bitter truth is that an item that drives a wedge through the power levels of the game is an item that will never be able to find a middle ground.

Why Did People Want Riot To Keep it When it Was Barely Used?

The removal of “fun” mechanics and items has always been a sour experience for the users of said mechanics and items. 

However, even looking at builds on Mobafire from seasons 1-5 there are barely any that even reference Sword of The Occult as a viable item on any of the assassins of the time.

Since smurfing was the only real use left of this item nearing the end of its lifetime, it is understandable that a select group of AD assassin players just enjoyed playing versus players below their caliber and completely wiping the floor with them. 

Perhaps this item added to the experience in such a way that no other item could at the time.

Another contributing factor may have been a sense of attachment towards certain ways of playing that players thought were no longer possible due to the item’s removal. In other words, the nostalgia factor. 

Although this would be heavily debatable since not many players are still around that have been playing since season 1.

One thing is for sure though, players stopped talking about it a long time ago, so it seems like they have moved on from it. 

Also read: How to Fix Bug Splat After Champion Select?

Final Thoughts 

An unwillingness to properly fix issues on Riot’s part, a potential disruption of power levels, and not having a true purpose all led to the removal of the sword of the occult.

Regardless of what people might have said at the time, it would have been objectively bad for the game, which is another way of saying Riot did identify the issues it would create before they got a chance to happen, otherwise, we may not have had champions along the lines of Jhin on our roster of champions today.

Do you disagree with our opinion on the removal of Sword of The Occult? Have you ever wanted to air out your frustrations about any beloved item of yours that Riot has axed over the past few years? 

If so, do let us know in the comments section below, along with any other type of feedback you may wish to leave!



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