Kennen, Kha’Zix, and Galio have been stomping League of Legends for months now, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that Riot wants to nerf them. The changes that were pushed onto the PBE this week, however, aren’t exactly nerfs.
To say that these three are popular in the meta right now would be an understatement. Both in ranked solo queue and professional play, it seems like there isn’t a game that goes by without one of them making an appearance. Kha’zix less so than the top laners, but he certainly had a few months in the spotlight during the last professional split. That doesn’t mean he’s weak now, though—he still commands one of the highest playrates of all junglers and a steady 52 percent winrate, according to League stats site OP.gg. These strong champions need some extra attention, but each for different reasons.
Kennen used to be an AP powerhouse that could carry a team to victory with one well placed ultimate. With an emphasis on “used to be.” Something went wrong for the electric rat to turn him into the weird on-hit hybrid he is today.
It wasn’t one thing that caused Kennen’s AP style to derail, but instead it was a very gradual decline over the course of many months. His high AP damage became a bit too expensive to build after Hextech Protobelt’s big nerf towards the end of Season Six, and so he started to dwindle away. After Season Seven picked up, many attack speed items like Blade of the Ruined King and Zeal were made cheaper or stronger, so it became more logical to build him as an attack speed monster. This allowed him to build up his stun faster and just use his ultimate as a zoning tool or a multi-person stun rather than a big game changer.
And thus, boring on-hit Kennen was born. He doesn’t deal enough damage to be fun to play, and he’s used now as a splitpusher instead of a teamfight winner, which is basically the opposite of what he was designed to be. To discourage players from building Kennen as this boring attack speed shock rat, Riot is changing him to make that build weaker while simultaneously buffing his AP performance.
His attack speed growth is taking a significant hit, and will be lowered to three percent from the 3.5 percent it was previously. That may not seem like a lot, but as a growth stat, it will hinder his attack speed quite a bit the longer the game goes. The AP scaling on both his W and E, however, is being raised significantly. This means that Kennen will benefit more from building AP than attack speed items, but it may not solve all of Kennen’s problems. There is a reason he wasn’t a strong AP carry before, and that’s because his damage takes time and a lot of gold to ramp up. That being said, this may end up turning Kennen from an attack speed split pusher into a champion that isn’t really played at all.
The magic-devouring colossus is getting a similar treatment. In Galio’s past life (before his rework in March) he was an anti-mage, that could tank a lot of magic damage while also dealing a significant chunk himself. His large scale update turned him into one of the beefiest meat shields in the game. He still does a decent amount of damage for a tank, but it’s not nearly as much as he used to. Thematically speaking, his lore involves him absorbing magic nearby to give him power to crush anything that moves. But in the game he doesn’t really destroy things as much as he stands in front of his team to get hit by a lot of stuff.
A few patches ago, Riot actually tried to sway players to build him with a little bit of AP mixed into his tanky build to turn him into the bruiser they envisioned by lowering the base damage of his Q and raising its AP scaling. It didn’t really work at all. So now, Riot’s hitting him where it hurts the most—his defenses.
Galio’s base armor is being lowered by a small chunk, which will hurt him the most during his laning phase and in the earlier stages of the game. His number one counter is already high AD skirmishers like Fiora, so this will make that weakness all the more terrible for him. To encourage players to build a bit more damage on him (again), the AP scaling on his Q is being brought up even more to a whopping 60 percent, but only on the tornado phase. This will make items like Banshee’s Veil, Zhonya’s Hourglass, and the Abyssal Mask great on him. It may even be enough to convince people to build AP and health items like Liandry’s Torment or Hextech Protobelt, items typically reserved for champions like Rumble.
Overall this change won’t hurt Galio’s late game resistance much, so if you want to keep building him as you are now, you certainly can. With a huge 15 percent buff to the AP scaling on that Q though, you’d be hard pressed not to throw an AP item or two into the mix.
The void bug has one obvious problem—he’s really, really easy to play. That wouldn’t normally be a problem if he didn’t also deal more damage than most other junglers in the game. Champions like Rengar, Graves, and Lee Sin also deal a metric ton of AD damage, but they’re all pretty darn difficult and have interesting mechanics. The most difficult aspect of Kha’Zix’s kit is the cooldown reset on his evolved leap. Other than that, it’s mostly a walk in the park.
To address this, Riot is targeting his damage with some tweaks to promote more intelligent gameplay. Both the AD scaling and base damage of his Q is being brought down a little bit, but the damage amplifier against isolated targets is being raised significantly, by 15 percent to be specific. This means that if the Kha’Zix player knows how to skirt along the back of a teamfight to pick off stragglers or those that get into weird positions for kills, he’ll actually blow them up significantly faster. If you don’t take special care to hit the right targets, though, you’ll find yourself with some underwhelming numbers.
All of these changes are slated to arrive with Patch 7.13. The last patch was just pushed out last week, so we’re probably at least two weeks away from seeing any of this go live. If you’re one of the three people that actually enjoy attack speed Kennen, get your time in with it while you can.