It’s that time of year again. The notes have been posted, the patch will soon go live, and the latest competitive season of League of Legends should begin today.
This preseason has been a time for many things. We’ve laughed, we’ve cried, we’ve prayed to the Rito gods, but more importantly, things have changed. In fact, things have changed so dramatically that for some- the sheer amount of changes might be very difficult to wrap your head around before you set off into the wilderness that we call “ranked gameplay.”
For those people (don’t worry, we won’t tell your friends), here’s a list of the biggest, most momentous changes League of Legends has experienced since the start of the preseason.
You might be thinking, “But can the jungle have been changed that much? It was just completely overhauled last year. And the year before that. And the year before that.” Well, you’re wrong. The jungle has been changed on a huge scale once more.
Plants have been added to the jungle. No, we’re not talking about the trees- those were already there. We’re talking about these small plants that randomly spawn throughout the jungle in key locations that, when attacked, produce effects dependent on the type of plant.
Blast Cone plants launch you in whatever direction you’re standing on the side of the plant when you destroy it.
Scryer’s Bloom releases a wave of pollen away from the attacker that reveals all area in its path.
Honeyfruit drops chunks of fruit when attacked that heal whomever walks over them, while also slowing them for a short duration.
But wait, there’s more!
The jungle saw more changes than just vegetables. Smite buffs from the jungle camps were completely removed, and they were replaced with a small portion of health that is returned to the attacker upon smiting.
The camps themselves were also changed. Krugs now split into two, weaker krugs each time you destroy them until they reach their smallest size. The Blue Sentinel and Red Razorback have both lost their little monsters in their camps and are now very lonely. As of patch 6.24, the AP bonus that Blue gave and the Red damage proc on each basic attack hit have both been removed. Along with the smite buff removal, that now makes two things that were added last preseason that are both gone now (I hope you’re picking up a theme here).
We won’t go into too much detail here, because Riot already did a great job on the official Assassins Update page.
Four of League’s assassins received massive changes to their gameplay, including complete overhauls of skills and new animations.
These four champions were Katarina, Talon, Rengar, and LeBlanc. The goal of these changes was to make each champion more complex and fun, adding more reward for smart gameplay and more punishment for not-so-smart gameplay. Except for LeBlanc. She was really only hit with the nerf noodle more than anything.
Outside of those four, several other assassins received minor updates, including Zed, Kha’zix, Akali, and several more.
Armor penetration was replaced by the lethality stat in the first patch of the preseason. What’s that mean, exactly? Well, the armor penetration stat allowed attack damage to ignore a certain portion of armor directly proportionate to the amount of penetration the user has.
The issue with this system? The items that gave armor penetration did not give enough to get past any significant amount of armor. This meant that although one would assume you would be able to use armor penetration to best a tank, it was better used against squishy targets, like marksmen.
This meant that a snowballing assassin could build armor penetration to negate the small amount that a carry would build up from leveling up, dealing closer and closer to what seemed like true damage.
Riot wanted to bottleneck the snowball potential for assassins and redirect the stat’s use towards dealing with tanks and into the late game instead of early snowballing on squishies. So it created lethality, the combination of traditional armor pen (ignoring a direct portion of armor), and damage that scales with the target’s current level. This makes the stat deal more damage to targets that are ahead, rather than those behind, and makes more sense as a late-game purchase when enemy levels are respectable.
There were two major changes to the vision system during the preseason. First, pink vision wards were replaced by control wards. These control wards act as pink wards with four hitpoints and last until destroyed by an enemy. But they block out all nearby enemy wards as well.
Second, invisibility was split into two categories. Camouflage is now the term for all stealth that is persistent and long-lasting. Some examples used when describing camouflage are Rengar’s R, and Evelynn’s passive. Those champions under the effect of camouflage are able to be revealed by control wards.
Those under invisibility cannot be revealed, however. Invisibility is only being used by those under the effect of stealth in short, decisive bursts. These moments of stealth are usually used in combat, such as Akali’s W and Vayne’s ultimate-empowered Q.
The biggest item change to find its way into the preseason was the removal of Aegis of the Legion’s aura. Riot claimed that the strength of the aura’s passive magic resistance that applied itself to all nearby allies was too strong, and the item became the norm among all tanks and support, regardless of champion type, as long as the enemy team had some kind of magic damage. To negate this, the aura was removed, and the items that the Aegis builds into now grant impressive resistance for both armor and magic resistance.
Riot added the Knight’s Vow as a brand-new item to the game that works well with tanky support champions. After activating the item, you bind together with an ally. While near the targeted ally, you gain armor and movement speed, and a portion of damage dealt to them transferred as damage to the wielder of Knight’s Vow. Not only that, but a portion of the damage dealt by the target ally is also returned to the wielder as health back.
Redemption is the final item to be added, and it is also a support item. It joins the ranks of support items that grants bonus shield and healing power, but it also has a unique active ability that allows the wielder to summon a beam from the sky that heals allies in the area of effect as well as damaging enemies caught in it.
6) Ranked Queues
The last of the big changes to come to the game this preseason is that affecting the ranked queue types. To return to the theme of things added last season that have been reverted, dynamic queue has been abolished. Instead, solo/duo queue has returned (it was replaced last year by dynamic queue) and flex queue has taken the place of both the ranked teams modes and the dynamic queue. In the new flex queue, a team up to three people or a team of five can queue up to fight, but a group of four has been prohibited in order to alleviate long queue times.
The last of the shiny new things coming to League of Legends is the newest champion, Camille, who is slated to be released during patch 6.24. Camille is a cyborg from Piltover with blades for legs who is a mobile fighter champion. For more information on Camille, check out our speculative guide on her before her launch.