29 May 2018 - 19:38

A guide to the massive ADC changes coming in League's Patch 8.11 this week

How they'll affect the meta, in-game strategies, and you.
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Image via Riot Games

Patch 8.10 came to League of Legends two weeks ago and dramatically altered the way junglers play and how their laning teammates play around them. This week, Patch 8.11 is taking aim at the bot lane, and there's a lot to wrap your head around.

Between new items, heavy-handed balance changes, new runes, and updates, there's quite a lot to take in, and it will all undoubtedly affect the meta at almost every level of play. To better understand these changes and how they'll affect the players, we created a comprehensive guide based on changes from the PBE that dives into each of them.

Bloodrazor

Image via Riot Games

Our favorite facet of this patch's ADC-geared changes are those made to the items, because they're, quite frankly, the most interesting. The fact that they're more interesting isn't necessarily a good thing, though, but we'll get into that in a bit.

First up, there's a brand new B. F. Sword item called the Stormrazor. This item has a unique passive that makes your first basic attack in combat deal a guaranteed crit and boosts your movement speed for about two seconds, which is excellent for kiting. The item provides high AD and attack speed as its base stats.

The Stormrazor's stats and passive are intended to make it work well on burst ADCs that have previously been pigeonholed into building attack speed and crit like other marksmen in the game that are unlike them. There's no need to build more crit if the passive lands a guaranteed crit, right? You'd think, but unfortunately, we think this item might miss the mark a little bit.

Early iterations of this item on the PBE included a passive that boosted AD for the first few in-combat basic attacks and another that caused the first few attacks to have a 100 percent crit chance, which both would have been great for champions like Lucian and Jhin to help their big bursts. This new item, however, still sort of sort of pushes you to build expensive crit items, which isn't great for non-crit marksmen.

For starters, Stormrazor's guaranteed crit isn't a normal crit. Its damage scales higher the more crit strike chance you have, which incentivizes building those late-game crit items that hyper carry ADCs love, not Jhin or Lucian. Where this item, in its first versions on the PBE prior to release, seemed great as a non-crit option for champions that should have to build crit every game, it now appears to do the exact opposite by enforcing more crit building.

That doesn't mean it isn't strong, because it is, it just seems like, on paper, that it missed the mark a little bit. In fact, those hyper-carry crit marksmen that this item wasn't intended for will be able to build this as an early game item that gives them a guaranteed crit for reliability, while just continuing into big crit items later. It could be a strong meta item for those champions, but honestly, it probably won't have much use for those burst ADCs it was intended for.

Infinity Edge

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Remember what we said about opening up more options for non-crit ADCs? This one definitely 100 percent does the exact opposite.

The new Infinity Edge no longer provides a boost to crit damage, nor does it even provide more crit chance. Instead, aside from providing 10 more AD than before, it has a new passive. This new passive doubles any crit chance you have (like Yasuo's passive), and converts 15 percent of your crit strike damage into True Damage that ignores all resistances.

So, obviously, for this item to work at all, you need significant crit chance build into your kit with other expensive items. That being said, it clearly doesn't help non-crit builds in any way. Unfortunately, that crit-doubling-true-damage-buffing passive is extremely powerful, which will pressure burst ADCs into building crit anyway. This will especially help Jhin, because all crit chance is converted into bonus AD for him. If he has crit chance with other items, it'll be doubled with the IE, giving him much more bang for his passive's buck.

In other words, this is another incentive for every ADC in the game to build crit, and for all bot lane mains to stick to champions who work best with those types of build, limiting the meta further. Not to mention, you can combine this with the Stormrazor to get guaranteed True Damage on your opening basic attack.

Essence Reaver

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This is where things get interesting. Where the Stormrazor was sort of a faux option for non-crit builds and burst ADCs, the new Essence Reaver is truly, actually a powerful option for that sort of thing.

Rather than restoring mana on crits, it now restores missing mana on every basic attack, which is fantastic for all caster and burst ADCs. Gold star there, for sure. It only gets better, too. Its new passive causes you to get a massive power spike when you use your ultimate, increasing your attack speed and causing your basic attacks to refund 20 percent of your non-ultimate cooldowns for eight seconds. Less cooldowns means more burst damage for champions that can use it—a massive buff for Lucian if he chooses this item, and it isn't too shabby on Ezreal either.

Jhin, however, doesn't have an ultimate ability that allows him to use this very well, so it'll be restricted from him.

On top of all that, the item now costs 200 gold less, making it quite a cheap high AD item for marksmen. This is reliable, early(ish) power for non-crit builders, and its passive is even great as a late-game item on champions like Twitch and Vayne to throw into their crit builds.

The reason that this is so interesting is simply the fact that both this new Reaver and the new Bloodrazor/IE are very strong, while they accomplish almost the exact opposite goals. This means that, rather than opening up options for marksmen, it seems that the meta will simply shift in favor of whichever build is stronger. If the non-crit build with the Essence Reaver, Trinity Force, Manamune, and newly-buffed lifesteal items is stronger, non-crit ADCs will rise in power. If the Infinity Edge and Stormrazor crit build becomes meta, however, the hyper-carry crit builders will remain on top.

On paper, it seems like the crit build is still stronger, but with big cost increases on Zeal items and cost decreases on non-crit lifesteal marksmen items, we may be wrong. On top of that, the new Hail of Blades Keystone rune is phenomenal for non-crit builds, which is another point in that camp.

Hail of Blades

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This new Domination Keystone rune fills the same role as the new Essence Reaver—it's fantastic for non-crit, raw damage burst ADCs like Jhin and Lucian. There's a catch, though, it might possibly be even stronger on champions that it wasn't intended on, like crit ADCs and even some fighters and bruisers.

Essentially, for the first few attacks in combat, you get an absolutely massive boost to attack speed, which is obviously great for bursting damage. Jhin will get a hefty chunk of AD from the 100 percent attack speed boost, and other non-crit ADCs like Lucian will simply make good use of the attack speed. It also allows champions to exceed the attack speed cap.

Here's the catch. Wouldn't this be just as strong, if not even stronger, on hyper-carry crit ADCs?

If a champion has 100 percent crit from the new Infinity Edge on top of just one fully-built Zeal item, they basically get a massive boost to attack speed, allowing them to land an insane amount of guaranteed crit strikes when entering combat—crit strikes that also deal True Damage thanks to the new IE. This means that while this rune was intended to help burst ADCs, it might end up doing something very dangerous by turning hyper-carry ADCs into even stronger burst ADCs than their counterparts.

Imagine a Twitch coming out of stealth and annihilating you with a barrage of three guaranteed crits that also shred through your resistances, killing you before you even get the chance to move, and then he still has the sustained damage from crit chance and high attack speed to keep hitting you after the steroid ends. Seems like the best of both worlds to us. It could create a new meta of Domination runes on crit ADCs, and it could make them extremely unhealthy to play against, but we're not 100 percent sure yet. We'll be keeping a close eye on this rune for the next several weeks.

All of these changes arrive with Patch 8.11 tomorrow.

Update May 29 9:40pm CT: Ezreal's Q, Mystic Shot, is not allowed to critically strike, so the Stormrazor's passive wouldn't work on it.

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