Originally Posted by IamDuddits
I understand counter-play enough to know that there are limited, if any, counter-play options in LoL.
The unique passives on most defensive items are actually pretty solid for countering a wide range of champions. Banshee's Veil is pretty good against single-target bursters like Veigar and LeBlanc, Runic Bulwark is handy against more AoE centric magic damage, Tenacity is really handy against champions like Fiddlesticks, AoE slows are nice against champions like Vayne and Kog'Maw, On-Hit slows via Randuin's and Warden's Mail are nice against champions like Ezreal that like kiting, Thornmail is completly broken against auto-attackers when rushed, QSS is handy against more DoT/CC reliant champions.
You are right it's relatively limited though, and against bruisers like Garen and Darius pretty much limited to Guardian Angel's passive alone, which is kind of stupid. League also isn't a game like Pokemon were you can easily switch damage types and damage application methods to fit various defensive mechanisims, which generally causes what deals the most damage on average to be the best build, so spamming Ice Beam is going to be better than switching it up between various abilities - which limits counter building rather substantially.
That's not really what I meant with counter-play though. Counter-play is a little different than counter-building, were you can counter aggressive burst champions by harassing them from afar, you can counter sustained harass by leaping on them and bursting them down, you can counter point-click casters by juking in and out of brush, you can counter melee-range champions by sticking close to a turret, you can counter high DPS low survivability champions by stunning/ccing them, you can counter AoE compositions by spreading out, you can counter strong team-fight compositions by split-pushing and attempting to pick off players in the jungle, etc. And a lot of what this Black King Bar item does is preventing any of that from mattering. Strong AoE team comp? Activate it and run into the middle of them. Their hidding under a tower with the threat of CCing you there? activate this and run into them. Getting focused in a team fight? Activate this and run into the middle of them. Getting kited? Activate this and run into the champion kiting you. This item would generally make skilled plays and strategies not matter - and like you mentioned with Ashe, some champions have to go through a lot of effort to pull of strats their balanced around. I'm fairly certain limiting counter-play options in such a way is exactly why melee carries are in their current state as well. It's not fun loosing to someone who presses 1 button and face-rapes when you're doing cool stuff like scouting their hiding spot, kiting them with near perfect orb-walking, and landing that perfect ultimate in their face.
Which leads me to think melee carry kits are the problem - as they don't offer much capability to out-play opponents as-is. Yi basically just runs fast and smacks things a lot, which isn't particularly interesting. Of coarse the other 3 melee carries with the tag have a little more skill involved, but I'd much rather see them with mechanics that rewarded them with carrying capabilities from out-playing opponents over giving them an item that trivializes out-playing them. I don't think anyone enjoys getting carried or loosing to champions like Garen that just activate a skill and move next to things to win.
Melee carry itemization is weak with that in mind though, for advancing build diversity there really is no reason AD and Armor Penetration should be cheaper than Attack Speed and Critical Strike Chance for the purposes of increasing auto-attack DPS (especially considering attack speed and critical strikes don't apply to ability damage). Health really shouldn't be cheaper than Armor or Magic Resistance for offering the same level of EHP either. I can see why attributes like Life Steal and Spell Vampirisim should be tiered at higher costs, but tiering critical strike chance at a higher price range than AD is really annoying for champions like Fiora, Gangplank, and Master Yi that have steroids making it the best stat to get, if it was cheaper.