Riot to nerf Smite and reduce jungler impact in Patch 9.2

This is the first time Smite has been changed in a while.

Image via Riot Games

League of Legends Patch 9.2 is shaping up to be a very large balance-centric update. Over the last couple of days, loads of content have arrived on the PBE, including changes to many champions, items, and, of course, the new champion Sylas.

One of the more significant changes to appear on the test client is a nerf to Smite, which hasn’t been largely changed in a very long time. Even when Riot altered the jungle as heavily as it did during 2018’s midseason, Smite wasn’t affected. Yesterday’s PBE update, however, handed the Summoner Spell a pretty hefty nerf.

The damage that Smite does to monsters wasn’t affected, luckily. If Riot had tweaked that, it would probably take a while to get used to if you’re a jungler. The nerfs in question hit both of Smite’s variations, and they only changed how effective they are toward enemy champions. Total damage on both Chilling Smite and Challenging Smite was lowered considerably toward champions, and it didn’t stop there, at least for Challenging. It’s DoT duration and DoT damage were both lowered, too, and it now no longer applies vision to the target.

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Both of these nerfs should heavily impact the value of junglers across the board. Why? Well, it’s simple. Challenging and Chilling Smite are so effective that they’ve become a fifth ability in combat for junglers. They give them combat power in ganks early on and teamfights for the rest of the game. This is a very direct reduction in how much junglers can affect the game by hitting their impact on lanes and in big fights later.

Honestly, that’s not terrible, but it’s definitely a big change. The value of Smite toward monsters hasn’t been altered, which means your camp clear will remain the same, and you won’t have to change how you use the spell when competing for epic monsters. The sole intention of these nerfs is to lower the jungler’s impact elsewhere, and it definitely does that. Challenging Smite in particular, which reigns supreme in the meta, feels a lot weaker with these changes in place.

The key trait of Challenging Smite, its damage debuff, wasn’t removed like the vision was, though. That’s what really gives the spell its value, so it’s not like using it feels different, it just feels flat-out weaker. If these changes make it through the entire testing cycle, they should go live with 9.2 in about two weeks.