Riot takes aim at ranged top laners with big nerfs in Patch 9.14

Jayce, Kennen, and Neeko are all going to feel the hurt.

Image via Riot Games

At the beginning of the League of Legends season, the solo lanes were dominated by aggressive, in-your-face flex picks. Champions like Aatrox, Irelia, and Akali ran the show while Ryze served as a relatively safe counter.

Players and teams sick of getting beat down by their champions eventually found a solution: Just out-range them. Ranged champions like Jayce, Kennen, and Neeko can bully lanes and then split push with the best of them. Per League stats site Games of Legends, Jayce and Neeko have been two of the best picks in professional play all year. Riot noticed and in Patch 9.14, each one is getting a big nerf.

The changes are aimed at professional play. According to Riot’s patch notes, “A handful of ranged top laners are the dominant picks in professional play because of a combination of their status as a safe early pick in the draft order and their potential to heavily punish unfavorable match-ups in the early game.” Riot singled out these three champions because of their mix of strong basic attacks as well as disengage mechanics. In each case, the aim is to make them weaker early but allow them to scale harder.

Jayce is simply getting a huge damage nerf. He’ll have four less starting AD, though his AD growth will go from 3.50 per level to 4.25. His Q is also losing 15 damage at rank one, though by rank four it will have made up the difference.

Kennen is losing a couple points of AD as well as some attack speed, though his attack speed growth will increase significantly. And his E will give him 10 percent extra attack speed at each rank. Late-game on-hit Kennen should still be strong, but he’s the weakest of the three champions to start.

Neeko is also losing four points of starting AD as well as a fair chunk of her base attack speed. Both will now scale better, but we’re not sure Neeko suits the role of a late-game hypercarry. Expect her priority to drop a lot because of this change, especially at the professional level.