Welcome to patch 7.5, the one where we try diving into some long-term problems that have been around for awhile.
First, let’s talk marksmen. While it’s true we’ve been looking more closely at the marksman problem in recent weeks, we overstated ourselves last patch. Apologies for getting everyone’s hopes up! We are, however, continuing that work, so let’s talk about what’s on deck. This patch, we’re taking steps to address how much goddamn damage Varus, Jhin, and Miss Fortune are dealing. (The Virtuoso doesn’t show up by name, but don’t let that fool you! Our DFT power-down hits him the hardest.) We’ve also got updates to Warlord’s Bloodlust and Blade of the Ruined King, sprucing up a few options for marksmen to experiment with.
A few champions have been tearing up pro play, despite the changes they’ve seen over the last couple of patches. We’re diving deeper into their strengths in the best hands, but there’s a good chance we’ll have to hit them again.
Finally, we’re taking a look at some larger projects we’ve been putting off for awhile, whether they be champions like Kindred or Aatrox, or keystone masteries like Bond of Stone (plus the aforementioned Warlord’s and BotRK changes!) The perma-lifesteal on Warlord’s Bloodlust might be gone, but if life leeching people to death was your thing, give Aatrox a spin and tell us what you think!
That’s it for us! Check out the full details below, and we’ll see you on the Rift!
While there's always a re-learning process when we make substantial changes to a champion, Aatrox is suffering more than usual, regardless of whether he's in jungle or top lane. We're giving the Darkin Blade a better shot at stacking Blood Well without dying in the process and upping his payoff when he commits to a fight.
Health costs reduced. Blood Well now gives a large buff when filled.
It’s been awhile since we’ve given the Darkin Blade a patch note (to say the least), and we owe Aatrox players an apology for that. We know it doesn’t feel good to hear that your champion is a “game health issue”, and it’s even more demoralizing when we don’t do anything to solve that.
When we have talked about Aatrox, we’ve typically focused on his self-heal based gameplay, and how difficult it is to maintain. Tackling a project that large is something more appropriate for a full VGU or a champion class update, but that focus has led us to neglect Aatrox for far too long. Aatrox has other problems besides the dicey-ness of self-healing, and we’re taking this time to tackle some of those problems. Hopefully, we’ll come out the other side more comfortable giving Aatrox balance tweaks in the future.
As it stands, Aatrox is always perched on a fine line between smashing everything and not having any options at all. His abilities cost health, which makes fighting from behind even harder. And since his healing scales with his damage, building tanky not only hurts his kill potential, but also doesn’t make him that much harder to kill (because he sacrifices healing potential in the process). We want to give Aatrox more to do in the games he’s not running away with. That means making it more rewarding for him to invest some gold in durability, as well as making it less punishing for him to use his abilities.
PS - turns out a certain Glorious Executioner has an ability called Blood Rush. We’ll be fixing the mix-up next patch.
Changes to Blood Thirst:
Changes to Blood Price:
Q AP ratio up. W bleed duration down, mark duration up. R pickup radius at the end of travel distance reduced. Whiffed fishes can no longer be picked up.
Since Fizz’ changes in the assassin update, a lot of his power has been concentrated in Chum the Waters. Landing the shark spells a briny end for the poor soul that catches the bait, but if misplaced, Fizz can feel less effective than a fish out of water. Rather than continue to prop up his ult with a bunch of failsafes, though, we’re kicking the reliability crutches out from under him and transferring that strength into his basic abilities. Hurling slop at the squishy across the screen is still the best way to send them to the deep end, but a stab from Fizz’ trident is now a more painful affair across the (sea)board.
Passive’s jungle mark rules updated to be more favorable for Kindred.
When we updated the jungle camps in pre-season to give each a stronger identity, this left Kindred in an odd state. While other junglers have the option of clearing camps based on their individual strengths, Kindred’s passive forces them to fight whatever Wolf has marked. This hits hardest with Wolf’s very first mark: Kindred has significantly different choices to make if their target is the enemy Raptors instead of a Rift Scuttler. Given how crucial the start of a game is for junglers, the volatility in possibilities for Kindred’s first mark felt exceptionally bad.
We’ve made a few other changes to smooth Kindred’s jungle mark progression by pushing highly-contested monsters later in Wolf’s mark tiering system and preventing enemies from stalling the Eternal Hunters out by holding marks hostage. We also cleared up a feels-bad scenario where Kindreds who chain-cleared their first seven marks were left without a new Wolf target until 20 minutes, when Baron Nashor finally spawned.
W damage reduced. Q deals more damage to minions.
LeBlanc is one of the strongest champions in the right hands, and despite multiple trips to the Patch Notes this season, she’s still one of the most contested champions. We’re pretty clear on what it is we want the Deceiver to be doing: using the split-second confusion of clone gameplay to avoid retaliation until her target is dead and she’s jumped back to safety. ...You know, deceiving people. Today’s LeBlanc has the tools to be a trickster, but her brute strength allows her to borrow from the “death is the longest CC” camp and treat damage as the ultimate trickery.
Normally, we feel comfortable hitting a champion’s unintended strengths, and giving them something back to compromise. In this case, LeBlanc has been so dominant that our top priority is getting her in line, and from there we can investigate ways to flesh out LeBlanc’s fantasy.
Q and W are smoother to cast.
Despite his buffs at the start of the year, Lucian’s been struggling pretty hard. With the prevalence of massive poke damage in bot, Lucian simply can’t get close enough to start the skirmishes he’s meant for. As it so happens, we’ve recently shipped changes to rein in the dominant marksmen and their builds. That being the case, we’re treading carefully: moving Lucian too far up when others are moving down could overshoot the problem. For the time being, we’re smoothing out the flow of his gameplay, fixing up a few spots where Lucian felt a bit slow to respond.
Q bounce now has the same base damage and ratios as the first hit. If the first hit kills a target, the bounce now crits instead of dealing 50% increased damage.
Though Miss Fortune hasn’t reached Jhin or Varus levels of prominence, she’s still pretty oppressive in her own right. (Those of you who’ve lost three-quarters of your health bar in lane to a Double Up bounce know what we mean.) By the numbers, Double Up’s early-game damage was bonkers even before Lethality and Deathfire Touch became the norm. Tying bonus damage to Miss Fortune’s last hitting is a slick reward for learning her playstyle, but bounces also just had bigger numbers to begin with. Double Up’s first hit now has to kill a unit for the bounce to hit hard early on, and even then, the numbers are far more reasonable. For Miss Fortunes willing to give crit another chance, however, late-game Q’s will reliably knock the teeth out of squishies no matter how she lines up the shot.
Base armor down, W monster damage conversion to grey health down.
Rengar relies on his ability to get early ganks and kills in order to snowball games, but when he’s able to do so without putting himself at some degree of risk, it puts him far ahead of other junglers that also need to go aggro early. Taking more damage in the jungle will force Rengar players to decide if they really want to gank that lane, or if they should go back to base after their first clear.
W duration reduced, E cooldown now scales down with ability level
Ryze has been a constant in Patch Notes this year - this stems from the fact that we're still working to reduce the gap between pro play and regular play. This time we're aiming to reduce his reliability at setting up ganks - for its reliability, Rune Prison’s point-and-click root results in success far too often. The long root also lets Ryze players on low-ping environments churn out combos (WQEQ) that aren’t similarly with even a little latency added to the mix. Together with that, we're also reducing the amount of pressure he puts on waves and enemies - we want Ryze's enemies to have more opportunities to interact with the minion wave without getting Flux’d in the process.
Q deals less damage when fully charged and has a longer base cooldown, but the cooldown is partially refunded if Q detonates Blight on a champion.
As most bot- or mid-laners can attest to, Varus's Piercing Arrow is really good at bringing the full force of Lethality (and Deathfire Touch) to bear from long range. This is (or was) somewhat intentional: when Varus is behind, Piercing Arrow lets him contribute to fights without feeding the enemy more kills. Right now, that backup plan doesn’t actually cost Varus that much damage, raising the question “why take the risks associated with basic attacking if safe Q spam works just as well?”
While it's clear that Piercing Arrow needs to be brought in line, the larger goal is to encourage Varus to do things we can support in the long run. To that end, the changes below are lessened when he uses Q as a Blight detonator between attacks, rather than a fully-charged fog-of-war snipe. Granted, even a basic-attacking Varus won’t escape the Deathfire Touch changes further below, but that’s honestly how far off the rails Piercing Arrow was.
Along with her sweet new skin, Zyra’s sporting a brand new death animation. If you feel compelled to see it for yourself, please avoid doing so in ranked.
Attack damage and lifesteal up, attack speed down. Active deals flat damage and no longer heals.
When evaluating items, we want to ensure each has its own important role to play in the item system as a whole. Blade of the Ruined King has filled a number of roles over time: dueling spike, kite enabler, and tank buster, to name a few. In recent years, we've introduced new items dedicated to filling one or another of those needs, meaning many former Blade users now have better options. Blade no longer needs to cover so many bases, so we're focusing its strength onto one main behavior.
The primary purpose for Blade is now to be another compelling lifesteal option for champions who care about basic attacking a lot. This focus guided our decisions on how to shuffle power. First, basic attackers reliably grab dedicated attack speed items - Blade doesn’t need to pull nearly as much of that weight. Second, quite a bit of Blade’s strength used to be tied into its active, but its new target audience needs power that manifests in every attack. We took strength from these areas and pushed it into power Blade’s users are best able to optimize.
Shield duration decreased.
We mentioned last patch that we were working on Edge of Night nerfs… and then hotfixed two thirds of them in the next day. Edge of Night was ridiculously overpowered and many of you are probably just glad to see it nerfed, but we should still chat. How did Edge of Night end up busted to begin with?
No other item or spell shield has to be channeled. This gave Edge a pretty steep learning curve on release. Given Lethality’s weakness at that point, most players who could’ve been learning to use Edge of Night weren’t, dragging the process out even further. So, when we were working on 7.2, all signs pointed to Edge needing extra buffs on top of Lethality’s own. We reduced its cooldown to make it more forgiving to use, even though players hadn’t yet figured out how to properly use it to begin with (read: we reacted to unstable data).
The outcome, as we now know, is that Lethality builds became the norm and the correct use of Edge of Night devolved to mashing the cooldown as soon as enemies appeared (timing went out the window). This brought two concerns to light. First, the cooldown has to be long enough for skittish users to be punished if they shield up at the wrong time. Second, the shield has to expire quickly enough for enemies to have the option of waiting it out without being forced to back off entirely in the process. We’ve now made changes to address both.
Just as a reminder.
Bond of Stone replaced with Stoneborn Pact. Allies heal when attacking enemies you’ve marked with movement-impairing effects.
Bond of Stone feels pretty underwhelming at the moment. It’s not incredibly weak per se, but its strength is pretty invisible. Keystone Masteries are supposed to impact your playstyle, and to do that, they need more clear success - and failure - cases. The new Stoneborn Pact still delivers on the promise of “make allies harder to kill”, but in a way that offers more for players to actually do.
(This bit’s here for those of you who CTRL+F to find stuff)
Bonus attack damage ratio reduced.
As far as botlane goes, Deathfire Touch is meant for marksmen who lean heavily on their abilities to deal damage (Jhin, Varus, Miss Fortune). That said... they’re still marksmen. Basic attacking may not be as important to them as others, but when basic attacks aren’t even needed as filler between cooldowns, DFT is doing far too much work. (To be honest, we should have hit it in last patch’s damage mastery sweep.) Marksmen who lack poke tools of their own can’t even approach the minion wave without eating a full trade’s worth of damage and dealing none in return, choking out a lot of bot lane picks.
We won’t dance around the subject - this is going to sting for DFT marksmen. We fully expect them to lose footing, particularly while reacquainting themselves with their basic attack ranges. That said, DFT is still strong for the champions who can repeatedly proc it, but at a level more in line with what mage users get.
Is now an Energized effect. Energized attacks gain lifesteal and grant movement speed.
Easy access to low-risk healing is pretty bad for the early game. Winning a trade or poking an opponent should lead to an edge, but when somebody can just heal it back up, what’s the point? Last patch, our bandaid fix was to just nerf the numbers on Warlord’s Bloodlust.
This patch, we’re shifting direction on Warlord’s, enhancing its lifesteal when used the way marksmen already fight: kiting and repositioning. We hope to create high moments of lifesteal that will feel more impactful, rather than a slow, consistent drain. With less flat lifesteal, this will also temper marksmen’s ability to use minions as health batteries in lane.
No longer reduces attack speed or resistances.
Are assassins bursting your carry at the start of teamfights? Is Kennen ultimate destroying your team? Then we’ve got the summoner spell for you: Exhaust! However, Exhaust is pulling too many extra strengths beyond “anti-burst” - even making its targets easier to kill. There’s nothing wrong with a summoner spell serving multiple functions, but when a defensive summoner spell is about as good for killing people as an offensive one like Ignite, it’s time to trim some fat.
Older champions didn't have recall animations, and that sucked. By using animations you’d typically never see anyways (who idles in League anymore? MAD APM BROS), we made it so every champion and skin now has a recall.
Last time we did a pass on sizing was in 5.23 - quite a while ago. Some folks joined the Rift since then, so we're checking and keeping them aligned with the rest. All of them are slightly (very slightly) smaller. This shouldn’t affect their in-game hitboxes or have any impact on the game.
We’re cleaning up some of the more distracting visuals in spectator mode and in game. For the most part, we’re simply reducing visual noise, such as the lightning particles on Jayce’s Lightning Field. Toning these effects down makes it easier to track other information at the same time.
Ascension is now live from 3/10/17 12:00 PT - 3/14/17 04:00 PT and 3/17/17 12:00 PT - 3/21/17 04:00 PT.
Check out this Ascension post for more details on the rotating game mode. For those who just need a TL;DR:
Go forth. Conquer. Ascend.
We’ve released a beta update that talks about our plans for replacing the legacy client and future development of the client. Check it out here. We will continue to do these on a regular basis to keep players up to date with our plans.
You can also find solutions to most common issues in the Known Issues section of our support site.