Dearly beloved, friends, invocadores - we are gathered here today not to mourn the past, but to celebrate new strategies, new seasons, and new beginnings. While the items below, some of whom we've shared both victory and defeat, won't be moving on into that new age with us, we must remember them for who they were, letting them live on in our memories (even if we didn't let them into our inventories).
While not all of the below items were unsuccessful in the way you might expect, many were often restrictive, incomplete, or otherwise not very well supported, limiting design spaces for us to work. Others simply weren't worth the effort. We'll be covering some of the specifics below, but let's all take one last moment of silence before we commit them to the past. More important than providing us stats or building into other items - you built into our hearts.
On a more serious note, let's talk at-large about some items that might not be real threats to game balance (see: Sword of the Occult) but are still being removed. The answer is two-fold: design trust, and design clutter.
Design trust refers to an item sufficiently fulfilling its intended role. When a player sees X item, they should be able to trust that said item is cost-efficient and can fulfill its expectations. Some items in League just fall to the wayside (like Ohmwrecker. Every season.) and we try to cull the herd when possible (usually during preseason), but deliberately keeping an item undertuned so that it can remain fun but unbalanced is just not something we can uphold while still preserving a competitive game.
This leads to our next point about design clutter. Some items fulfill very niche roles in League and may not actually be undertuned to a very small subset of champions. In these cases we're careful to assess the individual impact of removing said item before taking action. You might have seen this with the removal of the Magus enchantment, where we had to think hard if jungle Fiddlesticks was truly going to be useless without his finely-tuned enchantment (we came to the conclusion of no). Niche items that tie themselves so closely to a champion's balance do end up skewing that champion to being dependent on the item to function, and can often ‘hide' real design problems that we can't get to.