Patch 8.19 arrived about two weeks ago, and it was mostly full of helpful buffs that boosted some less-than-popular champions back into the pro meta. This week’s patch, however, is mostly directed at casual games and solo queue.
There is one change in the patch that will affect both the pro and casual meta, and we’re certainly not a fan. The nerf in question is for Dark Harvest, one of the keystone runes in the Domination rune path.
The nerf is a simple and straightforward one. The base bonus damage of the rune is being lowered at all levels. At level one, it’s being halved from 40 to 20, and by the time it hits level 18, its damage will be 20 lower—from 80 to 60. There’s no doubt that this lowers the rune’s effectiveness at a blanket level. The issue is just as simple as the nerf—we just don’t think it’s necessary or even wanted.
In most cases, we can come up with another nerf that better suits a champion or rune, but this time, we just don’t think there should be a nerf at all. Why? Because Electrocute was the only popular Domination rune before its big nerf a few patches ago. After its nerf, damage-dealing junglers were forced to choose between the two other burst damage runes left, and those were Dark Harvest and Predator.
Now, all of those champions use those runes, and it isn’t because they’re too strong, it’s because they’re what’s left. After Dark Harvest is nerfed, everyone will just flock to Predator, and then we assume Riot would nerf it a few weeks down the line. The Domination keystones, barring Hail of Blades on Jhin, are mostly lacking compared to the other rune paths. After this, the scale will tip away from Domination even more, and it seems largely unnecessary.
What’s more, this seems like a Band-Aid at most. During the pre-season, Riot will likely take a pass at all the runes, and judging by the utter unbalance in path power, we wouldn’t be surprised if the Domination path was gutted entirely to find and fix the big issues. To us, this nerf seems intended to just shake things up for a few weeks until the pre-season patch actually does what it needs to do. If it is actually a long-term fix, and we’re totally mistaken (which is possible), that’d be disappointing.