The pros and cons of 8.24b—Riot’s balance-only pre-season patch

This certainly isn't what we imagined, but it's better than nothing.

Image via Riot Games

The League of Legends pre-season is nearing its end as Riot released the patch notes for Patch 8.24b today.

The patch, just like last year’s Patch 7.24b, is smaller and solely focused on balancing out some of the pre-season’s outliers. Which champions are way too strong, which are too weak, and are there any positions that need to be tweaked as a whole? Riot answered all of these questions and more with 8.24b. And while we’re on board with most of the coming updates, there are some on the list that left us scratching our collective heads.

Here are the biggest changes from Patch 8.24b, as well as what we perceive to be good and bad for the meta.

Akali and Pyke: Missed the mark

Image via Riot Games

Both Akali and Pyke have been significant problem children of the pre-season so far, as they’ve both been unleashed onto Summoner’s Rift with the new rune combinations. Akali is a general menace to society, while Pyke has moved his shop to the mid lane, which is far different than what he’s known for. Both champions are undergoing heavy changes this patch, and while the intentions seem solid, we fear they may not be what these champions needed to chill out.

Akali’s changes are definitely the better of the two, so we’ll start with her. Her Twilight Shroud has been the point of contention within her kit for months, and Riot is attempting to whack that on the noggin for the time being. Now, when she enters and re-enters stealth, basic attacks and non-cancellable abilities will no longer be stopped.

She’ll also be briefly obscured when entering stealth now, showing her location but maintaining her untargetability (try typing that word five times fast). These are improvements, surely, but many players would have liked to see her waveclear and True Invisibility (which towers can’t even see her through) nerfed.

Pyke’s changes are the worse of the two. His primary damaging ability, Bone Skewer, will now do less damage to minions beyond the first one struck, which is only applicable when he doesn’t charge it. The execution threshold on his ultimate was also lowered, but not by much. First, Riot’s goal with the Q nerf seems to be to lower his ability to clear waves of minions. With how much base damage he has on his other damaging ability, that nerf probably won’t matter that much, especially given how easy it is for him to roam.

His ult’s nerf is the silliest of the two, in our opinion, because it doesn’t address the real reason his ultimate is OP right now—its lethality scaling. When Riot added lethality scaling to the ability, the goal was to move Pyke players away from the tank build and push them toward AD, but the same goal could have been accomplished in a much easier-to-balance way by increasing his bonus AD scalings and lowering base effectiveness.

Support item changes: Please, no. No, no, no, no, no. No.

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Remember the support meta of 2017, when every player and their mother ran shielding/healing champions and rushed Ardent Censer? Yeah, us too. We’re sure you’re aware of what we’re about to say, but we’re going to go ahead and say it anyway. There are buffs coming for all of those healing and shielding items, and many people fear the return of that excruciating meta.

Healing and shielding, as it stands in League right now, is one of the least skill-expressive ability types you can find. Heals and shields are all point-and-click, require zero effort, give out huge rewards, and overall are very bad for the game. The fact that play-makers and mages overshadow that type of champion right now is a very good thing, because it rewards fast-paced gameplay and good decision-making.

Buffing these items is, at best, a Band-Aid to the real problem: Whenever healing and shielding isn’t incredible, the other options will all be more attractive. Until Riot can figure out a way to redesign those abilities to be more fun, more interactive, and not a coffee stain on what otherwise is a fairly solid meta, we expect the ebb and flow (ha, Nami puns) of buffing and nerfing these items to continue into the foreseeable future. For better or for worse.

Marksman buffs: It’s about damn time.

Image via Riot Games

One of the major parts of this patch that we’re huge fans of is the fact that many fairly weak champions in the bot lane meta are getting some much-needed buffs. Tristana, Varus, Caitlyn, and Corki have all been left high and dry in the destructive wake left by Jhin and Lucian in their role, and it’s about time that they were shown some love. There are others we would have liked to see on this list, but hey, we’ll take what we can get.

We could go through their buffs and eyeball which are better than the rest, but honestly, if you want to understand the jist of it, their damage is going significantly up. Key abilities, including some ultimates, are receiving more damage, more range, you name it. These champions are going to feel more powerful through and through, and, frankly, there wasn’t much else we would have done to them ourselves.

The patch arrives this week.