It’s that time of year again. Worlds has arrived. Patch 7.18 will be here tomorrow, according to the official patch notes revealed today, and it will, in fact, be the patch that the 2017 League of Legends World Championship is played on.
That means that the meta caused from changes tomorrow will be the meta that is locked in for the most important tournament of the year. As you can imagine, none of the champion changes are particularly huge in an effort to keep things mostly stable, but they’re also nothing to scoff at.
There are buffs to many champions that were once top of the meta in their respective roles, but that have fallen to the wayside, like Lee Sin and Nautilus. Likewise, nerfs are being dished out to those on top of the meta right now, like Tristana, Gragas, and more. Riot will begin dishing out purchasable emotes to a select few regions tomorrow, as well, making this patch particularly exciting.
Here are the nine most important changes, new features, and fixes from Patch 7.18, the Worlds patch.
1) Emotes, a new kind of BM
We’ve had mastery emotes for a long time now, and let’s be honest, bm-ing opponents as you kill them with your mastery level seven emote has gotten a little stale. Fret not, purchasable emotes are on the way. Now, you’ll be able to visit the in-client shop and buy emotes to use in-game. Not mastery emotes, but others that are exclusively available through the shop.
For this patch, emotes will be rolling out to the Oceania server, and will become available in other regions at a later date. Just for being a part of the first roll-out of emotes, you’ll receive a free thumbs-up emote. And don’t worry, you’ll be able to mute player emotes in-game, just in case they become as annoying as ping spamming.
2) Mid lane mayhem
Tons of changes are coming to mid lane champions in Patch 7.18 in an attempt to stabilize the meta for Worlds.
One of the heaviest hitters of the role is being tweaked so her E, Twin Fang, deals less damage early, but more as the game goes on. Its base damage is being lowered, but its AP scaling is being increased. These changes will only affect the ability’s bonus damage towards poisoned targets.
The emperor of Shurima has fallen a long way from his days atop the mid lane meta many moons ago. He’s being buffed in this patch, though not by much. He has a major rework coming, so Riot is foregoing any major changes right now. That, and any buff to his damage seems to be amplified by his utter game dominance when in the hands of a pro. His ultimate ability’s base damage is being increased at all ranks, resulting in a buff 150 damage at max rank.
It feels odd to include Lucian in the mid lane category, but that’s the world we live in now. He’s been one of the most popular picks in both professional games and solo queue alike, and it’s time to drop him down a peg or two. His E, Relentless Pursuit, is getting a higher cooldown at early levels, making his ability to dodge harassing abilities from lane opponents a bit harder early on.
The rune mage has fallen dramatically short as of late, and it’s clear he’s in sore need of buffs. He has a similar issue to Azir, in that he’s very effective in the hands of pros on coordinated teams, but he’s not so great in solo queue. Even pros have been avoiding him lately though, so this damage buff comes at a good time. His W, Rune Prison, is getting a massive boost to AP scaling, bumping up from 20 percent to 60 percent of Ryze’s AP. This essentially makes this ability a part of Ryze’s damage burst rather than just a lockdown mechanism.
3) Jungle shakeup
The jungle has gone through more meta shifts than almost any role this year, and right now, it feels like a wave of smaller changes might stabilize it for Worlds, so that’s exactly what Riot is doing.
Rengar, Lee Sin, Ivern, and Nidalee buffs
These buffs are mostly just small stat increases, so they don’t warrant their own individual sections. They should, however, be enough to increase the weak spots of these champions to make them viable again without making their strengths too oppressive. Lee Sin, for instance, is getting a buff to his Safeguard (W), adding to his survivability without adding to his already oppressive damage.
The rest are very similar. The AP scaling on Nidalee’s heal, Primal Surge, is being increased, which will buff her utility without making her damage out of line. Rengar’s durability is getting an increase through a base armor buff, and Ivern’s shield is getting a damage buff, improving his dueling capabilities.
Gragas, Jarvan, and Elise nerfs
Just like the small set of buffs to bring attention to some long-lost junglers, these nerfs will be small, and they’ll hit these meta champions in ways that don’t necessarily harm their strengths and identities. This means that they should remain strong picks, but their stranglehold on the meta will loosen slightly.
Gragas’ base armor is being lowered, increasing the risk factor of clearing camps and ganking tough AD opponents early on in the game. Jarvan’s shield power is being lowered—both its base amount and percent health scaling are being taken down a notch. Jarvan’s strength lies in his ability to deal insane damage while building tanky, and by avoiding hurting that damage, Jarvan should still be more than viable.
Elise’s nerfs are more of a tweak than a flat nerf. Her human form W, Volatile Spiderling, will deal less damage early on, as its base damage is being nerfed. Its AP scaling is being raised from 80 to 95 percent, which is a significant buff, however. All this change should do is shift Elise’s early-game power more into the late game, rounding out her edges as a champion.
4) Top lane buffs
Unlike the change list for both mid and jungle, the top lane is being flat-out buffed in tomorrow’s patch. That is, except for Gnar, who’s receiving a very small nerf to his base health. Champions that once held the spotlight, and were then nerfed and fizzled into nothingness, are being shown some love in hopes that they can find some stage time at Worlds.
In Patch 7.14, the grand duelist’s mobility took a shattering blow when several nerfs were dished out to her passive and ultimate abilities. Those nerfs went entirely too far, and poor Fiora has been dealing with it ever since. Tomorrow, those nerfs are being entirely reverted. Welcome back to the meta, Fiora.
Engaging in fights has always been Nautilus’ forte, and for awhile at the start of the season, he was also a duelist thanks to the absolutely insane damage on his E. After a big nerf to that damage, Naut became utterly useless. Tomorrow, the mana cost on his Q won’t increase past rank one, and when you hit terrain with the anchor, half its mana cost is refunded. This increases Naut’s engage potential without turning him into a duelist tank again.
Ornn gets his own shiny section on this list, because his changes are far more than small tweaks. After what can only be described as one of the worst champion releases of the past couple seasons, Ornn is in dire need of some strength. He’s been floundering all the way at the bottom of not one, not two, but three separate roles since his release, with a mind-blowing 40 percent winrate after three weeks, according to League stats site OP.gg. That’s after a hotfix was administered to buff most of his base stats by a significant chunk.
His Q, Volcanic Rupture, is getting the first buff. More specifically, the pillar that the ability spawns is getting a buff. It will now erupt more quickly than before, and will slightly knock up enemies caught on top of it.
The next buff goes to Bellow’s Breath, his W. The range of the fire, as well as the width, is being increased to make it easier to actually hit targets. The self-slow is being lowered as well, by quite a bit. While casting, Ornn will now be slowed to 50 percent movement speed, down from 65. Finally, the cooldown on his ultimate is being lowered by quite a bit at all ranks.
6) ADC nerfs
The ADC meta is fairly diverse at the moment, with an equal window of opportunity open for the likes of several types of champions, from hyper carries like Kog’Maw to early game cheese like Jhin. There are, however, a couple of problem champions specifically in the professional meta.
Trist has been the most dominant pro ADC pick for a few weeks, dating back to the end of the regular season last month. Her playmaking capabilities are rivaled only by her late game shredding damage, making her the perfect pick into teams with tons of lockdown and crowd control. The nerfs coming tomorrow will lower the damage of her E, Explosive Charge, at all ranks. Specifically, the AD ratio of the ability is being dropped, hurting her lategame performance.
Although she hasn’t seen as much success in solo queue, Kalista’s professional impact has been massive lately. We’ve all seen what Kalista looks like when she’s weak, though, with almost zero pick priority no matter the situation, so Riot is taking care not to nerf her too much. The cooldown on her ultimate is being increased at all ranks, hurting her teamfight power without harming her ability to duel and dance around fights.
7) Support changes
Tons of changes are coming for the support meta in tomorrow’s patch. Mostly, support items will be affected, but there is also one champion that will see nerfs. The support meta is in mostly a good place, with tanks, enchanters, and playmakers surging in the meta recently. These changes will help out the one support archetype that hasn’t been seen in a few months—mages.
Spellthief’s Edge items
Mages have been nearly nonexistent in the support meta since the Spring Split, and that’s partly due to the fact that the Spellthief’s items, the flagship support mage item, is overshadowed by the power of the Relic Shield and Ancient Coin. Tomorrow, the Frostfang, which is the second item in the Spellthief’s line, will receive 10 percent cooldown reduction. Every item after the Frostfang in the rest of the item line will also have CDR, making it much more attractive to mages.
Rakan’s been out for a few months now, but when he was released in April, no one assumed he’d ever be this strong. He came out of the gate a little weak, but it turns out that was only temporary while players figured out how to play him well. Now, he’s the undisputed king of the professional support meta, and nerfs are coming for him tomorrow.
His W, Grand Entrance, will now move much more slowly. The dash portion of the ability used to move at 1800 flat movement speed, with a boost equal to 100 percent of Rakan’s current movement speed. Now, it will have a base boost of 2050 movement speed, but the scaling portion is being reduced to only 30 percent of Rakan’s movement speed rather than 100 percent.
His ultimate, The Quickness, is also getting nerfed. It’s hit detection radius is being reduced from 200 units to 150, making it slightly harder to actually hit enemies to taunt them. The ability’s cooldown is being dropped at later levels, though, which makes it a little more forgiving if you miss or use the ability at the wrong time.
8) Tank item nerfs, and lots of them
The current meta for tanks has been far less balanced than any other type of champion, and the issues lie almost entirely around their items specifically. If you’ve played a game in the past few months, you know exactly what we’re talking about. The Cinderhulk, Gargoyle Stoneplate, and Knight’s Vow are a little too attractive for tanks right now, so it’s no surprise that nerfs are coming.
The nerf coming for the premier jungle tank item is possibly the least severe on this list, but it’s still a nerf to one of the most popular tank items in the game, so it’s worth mentioning. The health the item provides is being dropped from 325 to 300. The item will also now provide its bonus health after taking into account the boost from the Gargoyle Stoneplate, which means the combination of the two items will provide a much, much smaller health boost.
Speaking of the Stoneplate, it’s getting its own set of nerfs on top of the change to its synergy with Cinderhulk. The bonus health from the item’s active scales with 40 percent of the user’s base health and and bonus health (100 percent if near three or more enemies), and those bonuses will be applied separately rather than lumped into one. That means that if you activate the item, the boost will be equal to either 40 or 100 percent of your base health plus 40 or 100 percent of your bonus health rather than just adding both together and boosting that. It’s fairly confusing, so if you still need clarification, hop on over to the official patch notes.
On its own, that boost will actually come out to the same exact boost as before, but it will calculate health from Cho’Gath feast stacks, Nunu Q stacks, and Locket’s shield separately, making it much weaker in circumstances like that. Likewise, the Stoneplate will no longer multiply with Nunu’s Q stacks or the Stoneborn Pact mastery.
Knight’s Vow’s nerf is much more straightforward than the Stoneplate’s. It’s health is being dropped significantly from 350 all the way down to 250 health. Its cost is also dropping by 100 gold, but that 100 health overshadows it by quite a bit. This item will be much less effective on tanks after this nerf.
Almost every patch is chock-full of bugfixes dished out from Riot’s balance team, and this patch is no exception. Here are a few of them.
- Fixed a bug where Sivir’s E – Spell Shield could block Summoner Spells if they were cast at the same time as any ability
- Fizz’s R – Chum the Waters no longer attaches to spell-shielded champions at max range
- Xerath’s W – Eye of Destruction slow now correctly decays from 25% to 13% once, not twice
- Ornn’s Twisted Treeline starting recommended items are no longer more than starting gold
- Fixed a big where Ornn’s E – Searing Charge didn’t destroy Anivia’s W – Crystallize, merely made it invisible
- Fixed a bug where Fiora’s R – Grand Challenge particles were showing up when the spell had been blocked by Nocturne’s W – Shroud of Darkness
- Karma, Lulu, and Brand now correctly have recommended item pages for both mid and support
- Vi’s recommended items on Howling Abyss no longer include Dead Man’s Plate twice
- Preferred item slot functionality now correctly works in the first game that the custom item set page is used
- Fixed a Mac client bug where resizing the game window caused healthbars to become incorrectly offset
A lot of the changes introduced in this Worlds patch are smaller, but most of them should actually impact things significantly, and maybe even shift the meta. Whether or not the next patch, Patch 7.19, will be included in Worlds is currently unknown, but we know for a fact that this patch, Patch 7.18, will at the very least kick off the tournament, making it a very big deal.