Patch 8.21 arrived in League of Legends today, and it was mostly barren of any meaningful changes. Patch 8.22, however, is shaping up to be a big one. In the first PBE update for the 8.22 test cycle, a brand new rune was introduced called Shield Bash, and it’s a game-changer for tanks.
The rune essentially just gives you a big burst of damage on your next basic attack after you’ve received some sort of shield. That sounds like something that could be abused by marksmen, but its damage scales with bonus health, so it’s really only great for tanks. The damage also scales with the size of the shield, which is a first-of-its-kind mechanic in the game.
Obviously, this adds a significant and reliable bit of damage to beefy tanks with shields like Nautilus, Sion, and Jarvan. It’ll also do well for any support that runs the Guardian keystone rune. At least for now, at the very start of the testing cycle, it definitely seems strong enough to alter the meta in favor of self-shielders. There are also some interesting implications that the rune has on the bot lane meta.
For instance, although marksmen wouldn’t get much use out of it, it may open up the door for a bruiser bot lane meta, where there’s a high-damage, high-health champion paired up with an enchanter support. Every time the enchanter support shields their carry counterpart, they’d then get a nice little damage burst to help with trades. To assume it welcomes bruisers back into the bot lane meta might be a bit of a stretch, but it’s definitely possible.
As cool as the rune sounds, there’s also a drawback that may upset some players. This rune will replace Bone Plating, which is an extremely popular rune that adds survivability to champions that need it. So while the new Shield Bash will boost up a weak group of champions, it may knock another group of them out.
This patch of the PBE includes a massive list of pre-season changes coming within the next couple of months, so there’s a chance we won’t see this new rune until partway through the pre-season, but it could come out as early as the next patch.