League of Legends: Mordekaiser finally feels modernized with abilities rework

Riot Games
Riot Games /

With his new rework, Mordekaiser is taking the team game that is League of Legends and turning it into a 1v1 in the Realm of Death.

When I first started playing League of Legends almost a decade ago, Mordekaiser was one of my main champions to play as. But as one of the earliest champions in the game, the Iron Revenant has been in desperate need of a makeover.

Mordekaiser is an icon to League of Legends, but he has started to feel like a relic. It was only when I recently returned to the game that I noticed just how stale his abilities have become. Mordekaiser was lacking the synergy and excitement with his kit that as other newly released champions and other classic characters who have received updates now possess.

Over the past few months, Mordekaiser has been undergoing a much-needed graphical and gameplay overhaul. This week, Riot Games finally unveiled his new look and ability kit. The goal was to maintain Mordekaiser’s same intimidating presence, but update his abilities so that they actually reflect the type of champion he is supposed to be.

As explained by Riot Games, one of the issues with Mordekaiser was that his in-game abilities didn’t necessarily match his splash screen look. Was he a mage? Was he a physical melee character with his mace? Was he the Lord of Death with his ultimate (a personal favorite of mine).

There was no sense of cohesion with his abilities and, thankfully, that has changed with his rework. His new abilities, particularly his new ultimate, now better reflect the “unstoppable juggernaut back from the afterworld” that he’s supposed to be.

"Passive – Darkness RiseMordekaiser’s basic attacks deal bonus magic damage. After three spells or attacks against a champion, Darkness Rise deals damage to nearby enemies and gives movement speed until Mordekaiser is out of combat.Q – ObliterateMordekaiser slams down his mace, dealing damage in an area or bonus damage to a single enemy.W – IndestructibleThe evil overlord absorbs 25% of damage taken and damage dealt. Casting once generates a shield with this value. Mordekaiser can cast again to consume 50% of the shield for health.E – Death’s GraspPassive: Mordekaiser gains 25% Magic Penetration.Active: A deadly claw drags enemies towards him, dealing damage.R – Realm of DeathMordekaiser banishes a single enemy champion to the Death Realm for a 7 second 1v1, stealing a percent of their core stats. If he kills his target, he consumes their soul, keeping their partial stats until they respawn."

Mordekaiser’s most noticeable change is undoubtedly new ultimate ability, Realm of Death. It replaces Children of the Grave, which cursed the targeted enemy champion, dealing damage and healing Mordekaiser. It also had the ability to turn the targeted enemy into Mordekaiser’s enslaved minion ghost temporarily if killed while inflicted.

Children of the Grave was one of my favorite ultimates in the game, but it had its drawbacks. Sure, killing an enemy gave you a 6 vs 4 team advantage, essentially guaranteeing a team fight win and a strong push after. But over time it just started to feel a bit dated. And it offered little in terms of synergy during team fights.

Realm of Death does away with the enslaved minion completely and instead “banishes a single enemy champion to the Death Realm for a 7 second 1v1.” This is, in my opinion, one of the coolest ultimates in League of Legends. Besides the sweet new graphical animation, Realm of Death opens up all sorts of possibilities in terms of strategy during team fights.

By banishing a target, you can take them completely out of a team fight for seven seconds, long enough to tip the tide’s in your team’s favor. Can you imagine banishing the enemy team’s AD carry? Or what about their jungler, preventing them from smiting Dragon or Baron? Or the support character to prevent heals or debuffs or crowd control.

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With Realm of Death, Mordekaiser just became an incredibly useful character in team fights. But as Riot explained, they didn’t want the ability to be an instant death for the targeted character, which is why it’s a duel in which the enemy can escape from or even win. Mordekaiser players will have to be very careful with who they target with their ultimate. Communication and timing will be the key when using it.

While Realm of Death is undoubtedly the biggest change for Mordekaiser, all of his other abilities have been reworked as well. If there was any question before as to the type of character Mordekaiser was, there should be little now; he’s an indomitable warlord who will crush his enemies with his mace and capture their soul.

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While I’ve yet to play with Mordekaiser’s new abilities, it seems Riot Games have effectively modernized the classic character without sacrificing that same intimidating nature. Mordekaiser has long felt underwhelming compared to newer champions. This rework has me excited to play as him once again.