The tank jungle meta might be dead—nerfs to Cinderhulk, Warmog's, and Aftershock incoming
Ding dong, the tanks are dead.
After around eight months of complete and total control over the jungle meta, tank junglers might finally be on their way out the door. Big nerfs are coming next week with Patch 8.5 to Cinderhulk, Warmog's Armor, and the Aftershock rune, and combined, they might be enough to bring down the titans.
If it works, that would mean we'd finally see less Sejuani, Zac, Skarner, and maybe even Jarvan around the Rift—especially in pro games.
The first nerf comes for the Cinderhulk, and it's about as straightforward as they come. As any tank jungler's first completed item, any nerf to it will be felt more than nerfs to most other tanky items in their arsenal. The bonus health provided by the item is being dropped from 20 to 15 percent, making the item scale less into the lategame as the tank builds more health.
The Warmog's nerf almost seems like it was created with the Cinderhulk in mind. It really only affects champions that built it right after the token jungle item to get a quick boost to regeneration, thanks to triggering the Warmog's passive early. Now, in order to trip that passive, your champion will need 3,000 total health, up significantly from 2,750.
This, combined with the fact that the Cinderhulk boosts your health by five percent less, will make it impossible for champions like Sejuani and Zac to trigger the passive just by having those two items. This will drop Warmog's Armor into a lategame purchase rather than a second-item rush, making tanks much less healthy early on.
The final two changes are just as impactful, but they're entirely within the rune department, rather than toying with key items. First, Aftershock, the staple rune for any tank jungler, is being nerfed to have a much larger cooldown. Now, you'll only be able to trigger it once every 35 seconds, which nearly doubles the 20 second cooldown it has now.
Finally, the new rune called Conqueror is a rune designed to melt through tanks. Unlike every other change mentioned here, Conqueror isn't actually slated for release until Patch 8.6, about two weeks after 8.5's launch, but it's just as devastating. After four seconds in combat, your next attack will boost your AD and convert 20 percent of your outgoing damage into true damage. For context, true damage is damage that ignores all resistances—like armor, for instance.
With a new true-damage-dishing rune and fewer tanky tanks, the damage jungler meta may rise up again over the course of the next few weeks. For more details, be sure to check out our comprehensive list of changes arriving with Patch 8.5 next week.