This year in League of Legends, we didn’t have a massive mid-season patch. It was a departure from past years when big changes are often delivered to the game in the middle of the year.
It looks like Riot Games was just holding its collective breath, because the equivalent of a mid-season shift just dropped in the form of Patch 9.14. This patch will have broad-reaching implications specifically on pro play that will be difficult for players to adjust for so late into the Summer Split.
First, there’s the champions. Riot is taking aim at the pro meta with changes to Aatrox, Akali, Galio, Lux, Pyke, Ryze, Swain, Sylas, Tahm Kench, and Yuumi. Oh, and then there’s the ranged top-lane changes specifically focused on pro play that will nerf Jayce, Kennen, and Neeko.
And it’s not just the sheer number of champion balance changes either. Each of these champions is getting major tweaks to their kits, not just numbers moved around. Aatrox’s ultimate will no longer revive him but will give him more healing instead.
Akali is literally getting changes to every skill besides her passive along with an increase to her health growth and magic resist. And did we mention that you can see her with true sight through her shroud now? Somehow this ability went from complete and total invisibility to now just being well, like old Akali’s shroud. She’s getting a new AP ratio on her E, but in lane, she’ll be much, much worse.
The list of changes goes on and on. There are so many that we’ve turned to list form to show them all:
- Galio is being tweaked again to turn him from a mage into a tank. Nobody asked for this.
- Lux’s shield no longer doubles on return, so goodbye to support Lux. And her ultimate doesn’t reset anymore on a takedowns and her Q cooldown and cost was nerfed.
- Jungle Pyke might be viable now that his E stuns all targets, and though his ultimate is losing a fair bit of damage when it doesn’t execute, it will also grant Pyke a buttload of gold.
- Ryze is getting buffed but will probably need reworking again.
- Swain is basically turning into a new champion who can increase his maximum health into perpetuity by harvesting souls.
- Sylas is being taken out of the jungle but his E shield now shields against all magic damage for two seconds. His Q is getting a damage buff but his ultimate will now have a much longer cooldown, a welcome change.
- Tahm Kench’s Q will no longer apply a stacks of his passive. But hey, he might be a jungler now, too.
- Yuumi’s shield is getting nerfed and so is her Q though her E will heal more.
- Jayce, Kennen, and Neeko are all getting some form of early game damage and attack speed nerf, with better scaling to compensate.
And those are just the balance changes. We haven’t even touched on the fact that Riot is introducing four new mechanics in this patch. We’re getting anti-shield, anti-heal, anti-mobility, and anti-damage-over-time changes that came out of absolutely nowhere.
The shield breaking on Blitzcrank and Renekton and the boosted healing reduction given to Katarina and Kled will make their individual lane matchups much more interesting. We can already hear the Riven mains groaning. The anti-mobility tweaks are unlikely to do much in a game where mobility creep on new champions is a big issue. Nearly everyone has a dash these days, and trying to catch one in an Ahri E is pretty difficult.
Still, it’s weird that Riot is introducing new mechanics altogether so late in the season. We’re past the halfway point of the Summer Split in every major region except the LEC. It’s quite possible that Riot will be scrambling to figure out the long-term balance implications of this patch as the league playoffs start.
This hearkens back to past years where Riot didn’t have enough time to test changes for Worlds. The competitive schedule from now until the season-ending tournament does not give a lot of room for flexibility. Riot better hope it got these changes right, because chances are high that many of them will have an impact on the Worlds meta.