Patch 7.17 will be here tomorrow, and it’s another big one. There aren’t any new champions or huge gameplay updates—but it’s filled with significant balance changes that should have a big impact on the current meta.
This patch aims to correct a ton of mistakes from previous patches. Some champions, like Fiora, were hit too hard by nerfs and desperately need a revival. Some of them weren’t nerfed enough in the last few patches, so more shots to their power are coming out of the woodwork. Others, like Sion and Vi, are simply way too weak—which sucks, because other champions like them fit right in the meta and they’ve been left out.
Sion is one of those champions that feels absolutely fantastic to play. Every one of his abilities has sound effects and animations that make them all feel outright badass. The thing is, even though the tank meta is back, and you’d imagine that Sion would fall into that category, Sion is particularly not so scary right now.
Riot wasn’t about to turn a blind eye on the poor Noxian zombie, so he’s finally getting some love—and a lot of it.
Soul Furnace’s passive will now grant him three health every time he kills a small minion or monster, up from two health. One health may not seem like a huge increase, but this will be a significant sum later in the game. For instance, when Sion hits 100 farm, he’ll now have a permanent boost of 300 health. In the game right now, it would only be 200. At 200 farm, we’re looking at 600 health, up from 400.
His ultimate, Unstoppable Onslaught—which sounds awesome by the way—is being buffed in a big way. It will now deal a lot more damage at max damage, but its minimum damage is the same, rewarding players that land good ults on him. At rank one, the damage is up by 100, and at max rank, it’s up by 300. Obviously a 300 damage increase is nothing to scoff at, and with Sion’s newfound health pool, he’s going to be a lot more powerful.
Caitlyn was nerfed quite a bit in Patch 7.11, taking hits to her attack speed and her synergy with Runaan’s Hurricane. That ended up plummeting her solo queue win rate. Needless to say, she isn’t terribly effect as a solo queue champion, especially when options like Draven and Tristana are so prevalent in the meta. You’d assume she’d get some buffs in this patch after you saw her name on this list—but no, she’s actually getting nerfed. A lot.
Before all of you Caitlyn mains explode, Riot’s angle on this makes a lot of sense. Despite her huge nerfs, she remains one of the most banned and most picked champions in the professional community, and her stranglehold on that meta needs to be loosened up. Unfortunately, Caitlyn suffers a similar fate to Azir. In the hands of someone that isn’t seasoned at her kit, she’s bad enough that she could be considered underpowered. But in the right hands, she can completely snuff you out of lane due to her headshot stacking mechanic.
This isn’t a good thing for a number of reasons. It makes her difficult to balance, because lowering her effectiveness in the hands of pros means making her solo queue strengths even lower. Her headshot mechanic makes her a bit broken. That doesn’t mean she’s OP, it means she’s broken mechanically. To get tons of damage out of her, players need to stack her headshots, and when they can’t do that, her sustained damage is much lower than most other ADCs. This makes her windows of power very unreliable, and she starts to fall behind the meta when compared to Tristana, Vayne, and Twitch, who can dish out tons of damage throughout a fight consistently.
That’s a much larger problem to address right now, though, so Riot is hitting her professional impact where it can. Her Q will now deal much less damage to all targets it hits after the first one struck, making her wave clear and team fight power significantly less scary. The AD ratio and base damage of her Yordle Snap Trap is also being dropped at all levels.
There was once a time where everyone could argue about Vi and Jarvan IV to figure out which one was stronger. Then there was a time where Vi was comparable to Lee Sin. Now, however, she’s nowhere to be found. No matter how many Jarvans, Warwicks, and Rek’Sais are picked, Vi has remained very weak over the past year. She’s had it pretty rough.
Her buff is very straightforward, and it injects a ton of power into the most momentous part of her kit—her ultimate. Assault and Battery’s cooldown is being lowered at all ranks. It will be 20 seconds shorter at rank one, and 10 seconds less as max rank. Her E, Excessive Force, can now no longer be cancelled once the auto attack animation begins. That also removes a bit of unreliable difficulty from her kit.
This will obviously make her early game much, much stronger, but late game, she’ll have the same shortcomings. That’s fine, though, because that’s sort of the point. Vi is one of the few champions in the game whose play style changes as the game goes on. When the enemy team has scaled up, it makes less sense to throw caution to the wind and ult into them. So make sure you’re saving that ability for whomever engages on your carries. Nothing peels much better than a Vi ultimate.
Out of all the champions on this list, we’re all the least surprised to find Maokai. The dude has been absolutely crushing the jungle for a few weeks now—and even though he was nerfed substantially in the last patch, he’s still running rampant. Time to tie on the training weights, Maokai, because you need to be slowed down.
Following Maokai’s rework in Patch 7.9, players realized that his Saplings scaled pretty high with AP, and they began building him with AP and using cheesy death-bush tactics, which is unhealthy for a vanguard tank. The AP scalings were dropped, destroying that fantasy, but that didn’t stop anyone from trying the same strategy with full tank Maokai, which still isn’t very balanced.
So his Saplings are being brought to heel, and we’re all very happy for that. Instead of starting the game dealing eight percent max health, they’ll now scale up to eight percent at max rank, starting now at six percent. Likewise, Saplings in bushes will start at 12 percent, scaling up to 16, since they deal double damage. This will hit Maokai’s jungle camp clear more than anything, but it probably won’t knock him out of the meta completely.
Fiora took a big hit in Patch 7.14 when her movement speed passive was nerfed and the boost to her passive from her ultimate was removed entirely. As it turns out, Fiora really, really needed that passive to stick to her targets, and she’s fallen down a little too hard as a result of the nerfs.
Because of that, Riot is helping her back onto her feet. Her ultimate ability won’t be regaining the boost to her passive, but her passive itself is being buffed back to a better state. It’s more of a late game buff to help her stick to carries in team fights. At level one, the passive will actually be the same. But by the time she hits level 16, it’ll give her a 45 percent movement speed boost, up from 30 percent at the same level. That’s a 15 percent increase, and that’s huge. Expect to see a lot more Fiora picks after tomorrow’s patch goes live.