I’m not going to list them all, but lately we have seen a bunch of nerfs to shields. This last patch being the most recent (and brutal) of all. Things like irelia dealing bonus damage to shield being an example.
First I want to talk about that, if a champion is no specialized he suffers from the “feast or famine” problem. Put her against a shen or a janna and she feast, no shields in the enemy team and she famines. This is of course if we asume she isn’t balanced without that extra damage being taken into account (kills you without shields, absolutely wrecks you with them). So while she can easily be balanced in a shield heavy meta, I belive that might end swiftly.
Second, why were shields so great? And why were they outperforming heals? After all the stat that increases shields also increases heals. Well I belive it is because of the skill cap shields have.
What do I mean? I mean with shields you can be pro-active, you can predict incoming damage, you or your team-mates can abuse the windows of streng shields offer and trade... all this while still being able to be reactive (as long as you don’t die, but the same is true for heals), being generally stronger both in stats and in utility than heals ETC. This means that a skilled player and team (competitive) can really make good use of shielding. And since the average skill level of the game is increasing that extends to normal play. It also helps that shields have been really strong for a lot of time and so average players have had plenty of time to practice and get good at using them. (Think of yasuo, relatively hard champ to use but anyone can master a champion if they play 500 games with him. And so he has his best performances in low elo, because thats were individual skill level is more important and a yasuo player has more skill than you literally because that champ has a higher skill ceiling than yours and so he out-performs you).
So I have a suggestion. But it only works for shield-reliant tanks and fighters: shen, ornn, sion, ¿galio?, malphite, poppy, ¿mordekaiser? ... im sure I forgot someone. My idea is to give them ways of increasing their shields (or just buffing them) and give us items that counter shields. Make it like healing and grievous wounds. I will go out of my way to buy something to deal with your shields, but in the other hand they can buy something to increase their shields.
This way you can partially reverse this brutal nerfs to shielding supports and increase item diversity in both tank builds and tank-killing (true, we already have many ways of dealing with them). What I know for certain right now is that except shen, all self shielding follows the pattern of “one per fight, high stats, medium-to-long duration, early proc”. So they are great for quick lane trades and “all ins” but worthless in prolonged duels or skirmishes. This new item would allow to explore other patterns of shielding. AND that would also help balance irelia (by the time she gets that extra damage to barriers most of them are either broken or have worn off). It’s also not good to give people more deal with support shields without buffing self-shielders.
Finally this new item or stat would of course help against shield reliant supports and mid laners and could be used against blood-thirster shield and other similar stuff. So it would still have some uses agaisnt carries. This would avoid the “last whisper” problem of being to specific , almost mandatory, too much of a hit or miss ETC. It’s never wise to balance the game based on an item but what are “infinite edge, banshee, grievous wounds items, black cleaver, randuim, the old last whisper, BOTRK, ETC. If not just that.