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League of Legends Patch 8.7 will arrive tomorrow on live servers, and despite supposedly being a smaller patch than 8.6 or 8.4, there’s quite a bit to chew on in the official patch notes.
Players will be facing some monumental changes this week to runes, items, champions, and even minions that will force them to adapt their gameplay, which, in turn, should also change the meta. Many of this week’s changes will force the meta away from favoring only champions that can clear minion waves the fastest, which will open the door for more single-target mages, assassins, and marksmen.
The new large-scale Irelia update is here, too, including all new abilities, a new design, new skins, and a new voiceover.
Here are five things you definitely need to know heading into this week’s patch.
The brand new, shiny Irelia will arrive in Patch 8.7, but not until a bit later, which most likely means either late this week or early next week. Just like Swain, Evelynn, Urgot, and the rest of 2017’s large-scale updates, Irelia’s update essentially completely redefines her character.
She’ll be getting all-new skins, abilities, and pretty much everything else. For complete details on every aspect of her new design, check out our complete and comprehensive list of changes coming in Patch 8.7.
Irelia is designed as a high-damage skirmisher or bruiser, much like Fiora in her current state. Some strange builds have cropped up throughout her time on the PBE, though, like on-hit AP Irelia, which is possible thanks to the high AP scalings on most of her abilities. She’s much more difficult than the old Irelia, but also a lot more fun, so be sure to give her a try.
Right now, the current meta of League is almost entirely dictated by which champions can clear waves of minions the fastest. You either need to clear waves to keep them off of your tower, to keep your lane opponent pressured into a splitpush, or you need to shove your waves to give yourself time to roam around the map making plays without losing too much experience. The best wave clearers are the strongest champions, in a lot of cases.
Riot wants to change this, however, to force champions to interact more in lane apart from just shoving minions and backing off or shoving minions and traipsing to another lane. The primary targets from this week’s minion changes are siege and super minions. Siege minions will now be worth significantly more gold, and they’ll be much harder to kill. This will force you to stay in lane to secure them, as they’ll be worth as much gold as a mini-objective.
You’ll also be inclined to interrupt your enemy from killing theirs, too, which incentivizes players to fight more in-lane. Halting an enemy from taking their siege minion while nabbing your own can give you a huge boost in pressure, as each siege minion will be worth 60 gold, increasing by three gold per three waves. Super minions will be worth the same. Gold and gold-per-wave on both melee and caster minions is being tweaked, too, but not nearly as much.
There are far more rune changes in this patch than there have been in a few patches, but the more significant updates are coming for Manaflow Band and Presence of Mind, which are being fundamentally and mechanically changed, as well as the entire Resolve path.
Manaflow Band will now increase your maximum mana by 25 each time you hit an enemy with an ability, up to a maximum of 10 times, sort of like another Tear of the Goddess. Upon landing 10 abilities and reaching 250 max mana, you’ll then regenerate one percent of your missing mana every five seconds. This means no more total mana refunds on abilities, but the rune will be much more reliable without sacrificing its impact on the game.
Presence of Mind will now restore mana on takedowns as well as reduce your ultimate’s cooldown by 10 percent, which is a brand new function. This will combine with Ultimate Hat to give champions with huge ultimate ability power spikes like Vi, Rengar, and Veigar, much more power in the current meta.
On top of all that, the Resolve path is being updated entirely. Now, rather than gaining a flat amount of health by taking the Resolve path either as your primary or secondary rune path, you’ll get a very small amount of health at the start that will scale up with your level. This means that you’ll be far squishier at the beginning of the game, but you’ll actually end up tankier at the end.
This patch was meant to be a small one to keep in line with Riot’s schedule of releasing one big update every other patch, seeing as Patch 8.6 was a big one. With the sheer amount of changes to champions, items, runes, and more, Patch 8.7 is definitely on the large side, however. Combined with the Irelia update, minion changes, and rune changes, these champion changes tip this patch into the realm of “big patch” despite not fitting in with the schedule.
Among the long list of balance changes are nerfs to a couple of problem champions, such as Shaco, Swain, and Olaf, as well as buffs to some underperforming junglers. For the total list of all champion changes, check out our detailed coverage of the upcoming patch.
5) Masterwork Chests
This week, Riot is adding a new type of lootbox into the game to go along with the usual Hextech Chests. These new Masterwork Chests are a little more expensive at 225 RP each, but they’re guaranteed to contain cosmetic items, which means no champion shards.
This doesn’t affect gameplay at all, but one of the largest gripes from the community about Hextech loot is that Hextech Chests, which are mostly rare, can sometimes contain a champion shard for a champion you already have, making it feel worthless and not meaningful. Chests that contain only cosmetics may possibly work to remedy that complaint, but the original Hextech Chests will still be in the game, so maybe not.