League of Legends Patch 8.18 finally nerfs Akali, auto-selects Smite for junglers, and more

Who's ready to beat up Kayn?

Image via Riot Games

League of Legends’ newest update, Patch 8.18, arrives tomorrow, and the official patch notes were just revealed by Riot today.

This patch has some significant balance changes that should definitely shift the meta, but don’t expect any wild meta flip-flopping like earlier this summer. These changes seem to be geared more toward pro play, but some of the champions are common enough that solo queue will be affected, too. On top of those changes, the auto-selection of the Smite spell arrives with this patch, too, which means you’ll already have Smite in a spell slot if you get into the pick/ban phase after queueing up as a jungler.

After you get used to all those changes, you’ll be able to dive into League’s new PvE game mode, Odyssey, which also features brand new skins and merch.

Here are the highlights from this week’s patch, for full patch details, please check out the official patch notes.

Big balance

Image via Riot Games

For the most part, the balance changes in this patch are pretty tame, but there are some larger, more heavy-handed ones coming for a few champions. Among those, Lucian is getting buffed, and the buff will make him noticeably stronger. At first rank, his Piercing Light (Q) will still deal the same amount of damage, but it scales up to 120 percent of his bonus AD at max rank now, up from 100 percent. That’s a hefty chunk of damage, and by the time he gets an item or two, he’ll pack a bigger punch.

Vayne’s Tumble is also dropping two seconds from its cooldown at rank one, which means she’ll be able to dodge more in lane, but that’s not quite as extreme as Lucian’s. Regardless, Vayne’s priority should spike a bit, too. Akali’s nerf isn’t as big as many players were hoping for, as it just trims some base damage from her ultimate, but hey, it’s something.

One balance change that may catch some players off-guard is Aatrox’s buff. Yeah, his buff, you read that correctly. We’re all used to Aatrox being one of the strongest top laners in the game, but the balance team feels the last round of nerfs was a little bit of overkill, so the pendulum is swinging back the other way now. Both the self-heal boost on his Umbral Dash and bonus AD percentage on his World Ender are going up.

Auto-Smite

Image via Riot Games

One of the more notable changes in this patch is the auto-selection of Smite. Now, if you get slotted into a game as a jungler, one of your spell slots will be auto-populated by Smite. This is mostly just a tool to help out forgetful junglers or players that don’t realize they were given the jungle role.

It isn’t intended to lock junglers into using Smite, which wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing anyway, because you’ll be able to switch off of Smite if you wish. Hopefully, this change reduces some jungle-focused solo queue rage.

Odyssey

Image via Riot Games

Odyssey, a new PvE event with skins galore, arrives with tomorrow’s patch, too. No, we’re not kidding, but we can see how you’d think that as the event was just revealed a couple of days ago.

The game mode itself involves heading to an alien planet to save Ziggs from the clutches of the evil Kayn and his forces. It functions similarly to last year’s Invasion game mode, in that you have to survive and defeat waves of enemies. This time, though, you’ll collect permanent augments, which are upgrades to your abilities, that carry over to every Odyssey game you play. This will allow you to amass more and more power to eventually take on the higher event difficulties.

There’s merch to buy, too, if that’s your thing. The patch arrives tomorrow morning.