With the League of Legends preseason 11 update, which came out with patch 10.23, Riot Games sought to do away with much of how itemization worked.
The developers brought significant meta shifts to the game by removing existing items and introducing new Mythic sets.
However, the publisher has not publicly disclosed the reasons for removing items in League of Legends. That changed in the recent 'Ask Riot' segment where Matt “Phroxzon” Leung-Harrison, a League of Legends game designer, opened up about the reasons behind the item changes in season 11.
League of Legends devs opens up about the removal of Rod of Ages and Statikk Shiv.
“While we try to avoid removing items that players love, sometimes they violate certain principles which require them to be either removed or reworked.”
Items that violated League of Legends' competitive health, or items that had overlapping purposes, like in the case of Statikk Shiv and Runaan’s Hurricane, were removed or reworked.
However, in the Rod of Ages' case, the reasons were different for the League of Legends developers. Phroxzon explained that,
“Despite being very, very gold efficient, Rod of Ages was only used by a handful of champions due to its stat profile (Anivia, Twisted Fate, Ryze, Singed, etc.). Notably, it left out manaless champions like Mordekaiser, Rumble, Akali, and others who’d be interested in a hybrid damage/durability/healing option. It was also too powerful for the champs who wanted it to consider other options.”
Riot Games wanted to turn Rod of Ages into a League of Legends Mythic Item. However, the developers felt that the item took too long to scale. Players might not invest in a Mythic that took a substantial amount of time to gain relevance.
Hence, Rod of Ages’ Mythic transformation became Riftmaker, which “opened up the healing/durability niche for manaless champions.”
However, hungry champions need to depend on the Mythic Everfrost to go for a more tanky and sustainable build. But Everfrost is relatively underpowered now, and the League of Legends developers are planning to give it a much-needed boost in patch 11.4.