After looking it over, I think something like…
Crimson Fastness should be baseline -> Alleviates some of the snap engage/snap disengage discussed above. Adds some slight nuance to its usage as opposed to its current point-and-shoot also has the potential to over-extend you if used improperly
His secondary attack should be some sort of parry stance that slows movespeed but reduces projectile and melee damage from the front (but not skills?) (maybe using his sick-fresh greatsword that he uses for nothing other than catalytic smash and looking cool), similar to Galilea’s block when she is shieldless (with less DR than Galilea, of course). A slightly different option could be to have him reflect (maybe non-ulti) melees & projectiles back @30% of their damage with said stance. His secondary is… alright currently. It’s just, uh, not that cool or useful. And this would alleviate some of the minions/getting picked off while engaging minions etc discussed above. Again, this would also add some cool nuance and flavor.
Evasive maneuvers Should be baseline **QoL for the whole hit-and-run thing. Shields are down, risk/reward. Use the speed boost to close on whatever’s shooting you (hit) or get the hell out because you’re overextended (run). **
Dreadwind should have its damage and area nerfed by about ~30%, but render him cc (not damage) immune. This renders the ulti more versatile - Is it burst damage killer? Maybe, but with reduced damage, it won’t be as strong at ganking as it is currently, but it won’t be as counterable. Is it a 60sec CD get-out-of-jail-free card?
I’m not sure what the percentage of Swordman’s salve is, but that feels like it should be baseline also. Although I think a slightly cooler mechanic might be to buff the amount to be somewhere between not-a-vampire and swordman’s salve, and then have the hits restore shields as well - not necessarily shield steal, but the %lifesteal will just apply that to his shields if/when he’s at full health. EDIT: On second thought, I’d probably make the shield thing a helix choice rather than baseline.
Note that his damage output wouldn’t really change much aside from nerfing the ulti, but the trade-off would be that he is a little bit more able to stick on targets and/or run when he needs to. And not get solo’d by winions or a few stray shots from ranged characters who noticed there was a Rath engaging winions.
Given his low health pool, none of this would actually help him take on more than one player, necessarily. Rather, he’ll be well-equipped to fill his stated roll. Hit-and-run attacker/duelist. Bane of squishies, back-line ranged assassins or supports without peels. But still vulnerable to cc, tanks who are peeling, etc.
The combo would be something like Catalytic Flash in, crossblade, dreadblade, evasive maneuvers out. If you miscalculated, evasive maneuvers should give you that run option. If you’re running but getting sniped or shot, get some distance and turn around to parry, decreasing 30% of the damage you’re getting pegged with and sending it back where it came from (putting them in danger) as you slowly back up.