Feb 3 2015 - 9:44 am

Patch 5.2 Breakdown: From Deathfire to Foxfire

Patch 5.2 Analysis by Kirito Kamui, 2014 Season Master Tier ~~~ Overview Champion Changes Item Changes Jungle Changes Final Thoughts ~~~ Overview RIP Deathfire Grasp 2009-2015.
Dot Esports

alt

Patch 5.2 Analysis

by Kirito Kamui, 2014 Season Master Tier

~~~

Overview

Champion Changes

Item Changes

Jungle Changes

Final Thoughts

~~~

   altaltaltaltalt

Overview

 

RIP Deathfire Grasp 2009-2015. This patch brought some high profile changes such as CC queue bugix, a Tristana rework, Zed and Rek'Sai nerfs, and the end of Deathfire Grasp. It's now one week since the beginning of the LCS and Riot is once again in firm balance mode and once again Azir receives a [range indicator] bugfix.

 

alt   Champion Changes   alt

 

alt

[Buff] Changes:

  • Orb of Deception now provides Ahri with a massive movement speed bonus while the orb is traveling
  • Charm no longer amplifies damage but has its damage increased from 60/90/120/150/180 (+.35 AP) to 60/95/130/165/200 (.5 AP)
  • Base damage increased from 40/65/90/115/140 (max: 224) to 50/80/110/140/170 (max: 272)

 

Analysis:

Personally, I believe the removal of Deathfire Grasp affects Ahri more than any other champion, hence the Ahri changes to go along with it. Despite that Ahri now has a harder time bursting down targets 100-0, she was buffed because 1) her damage is more consistent and 2) the movespeed boost from Q provides her with some newfound safety and utility. Whereas before she relied on either DFG or Charm to combo burst down someone, she now can deal more damage without the assistance from Charm and can roam or escape ganks easier. In addition, the W damage buff gave her a lot of "free" damage throughout the game -- Foxfire is now probably her most potent ability and it's nigh impossible to avoid it. She is rightfully getting nerfed next patch after jumping to the highest win rate champion this patch.

alt

[Nerf] Changes:

  • Range on ultimate reduced from 800 to 700
  • Crescent Slash no longer procs Mark of the Assassin.

 

Analysis:

While these are some much needed changes to curb some of Akali's frustrating low-counterplay kit, I feel like she will receive larger sets of changes in the future. For now, these nerfs will reduce the amount of opportunities she has to catch people. Squishier champions have more room to deal damage from a distance, but she still terrorizes anyone she catches and she is still more than viable.

alt 

[Neutral] Changes:

  • Molten Shield grants less resistances, from 20/30/40/50/60 to 10/20/30/40/50
  • Tibbers now gains Molten Shield and gains a fast-decaying 300 movement speed when Annie casts it

 

Analysis:

A significant buff to Tibbers in a short time window while a nerf to her overall reliability. Her viability is not affected by these changes; the net result is about neutral. The movespeed really helps Tibbers get onto people and rewards well used ults while less resistances means more windows for opponents to fight her when her ult is down. She is probably still too strong in this meta and might need some more nerfs.

alt

[Nerf] Changes:

  • Mana cost on Q increased to 40/50/60/70/80 from 40/45/50/55/60
  • Mana cost on E increased to 50/60/70/80/90 from 35/45/55/65/75

 

Analysis:

It's sad to see one of my favorites nerfed, but I agree that she needs nerfs. I personally think they should have kept the mana cost at later ranks and nerf only the earlier ranks (such as a flat 60 mana for Q for all ranks) because these nerfs hurts her mid game than her lane bullying, which is that Riot is trying to tackle. 90 mana for a spell that you'd want to spam twice for second is probably the highest mana drain in the game so these nerfs definitely narrowed down her windows for dishing out DPS. She took a power hit but she is probably still a good pick.

alt 

[Nerf] Changes:

  • Q now deals 10/25/40/55/70 (+.3 AP) from 10/40/70/100/130 (.6 AP)
  • W no longer applies grievous wounds and no longer scales with AP, but has higher base damage, from 10/15/20/25/30 to 10/20/30/40/50 + 4%/5%/6%/7%/8% missing HP
  • Fizz's subsequent spells used on the ult-locked target takes 20% more damage

 

Analysis:

The removal of DFG (even though DFG was not a core item on Fizz but still gave him snowballing power nonetheless) along with the damage cut of Q (in half) means Fizz now requires to land his ult to achieve similar damage on his target as he previously did. This is a pretty big nerf to his consistency in assassinations; now opponents have much wider windows of opportunities to stay safe. Fizz needed nerfs, but these might have been overkill. I expect him to be much less popular and to not see any competitive play.

alt 

[Buff] Changes:

  • Attack animation is now more smooth and faster (attack speed unchanged)
  • The hunt mechanic now applies to jungle monsters

 

Analysis:

I think it's unfortunate that Nidalee gets buffs even though these are minor changes (except to Jungle Nidalee, which will see more play now). While I don't think Jungle Nid will be top tier, I also don't think it should be viable. AP Nidalee is known to be a weak in mid lane and being viable in the jungle circumvents her early game weaknesses. 

alt 

[Rek't] Changes:

  • Unburrowed Q now deals 15/25/35/45/55 (total 165) per attack, down from 15/30/45/60/75 (total 225)
  • Unburrowing now deals 40/80/120/160/200, down from 60/110/160/210/260, but knockup uptime on targets increases with rank, with immunity timeframe down from 10 to 10/9.5/9/8.5/8

 

Analysis:

The queen has been dethroned. The damage nerfs on Q total -120 damage across two patches, significantly decreasing her DPS. Damage on W is also nerfed again, but Rek'Sai received a bit of a late game buff since now she can knock up the same target more frequently. The damage nerfs are big and she is no longer a priority pick or ban, but she remains a good pick nonetheless.

alt 

[Buff] Change:

  • Scatter the Weak now has a slightly wider collision width 

 

Analysis:

Syndra has been nerfed almost out of orbit last patch and she's receiving a bit of a compensation this patch. The new width is somewhere between that of patch 5.1 and pre-nerf. She should be a bit more viable and consistent now.

alt 

[Rework / Neutral] Changes:

  • Base Armor and Health slightly reduced while attack speed growth stat is harshly reduced (from 2.5 to 1.5)
  • Range gain per level is now 7 from 9
  • Explosive Charge's (E) active is now a Zilean Bomb that, after 4 seconds, does 60/70/80/90/100 (+.5 AP & +.5/.65/.8/.95/1.1 bonus AD), increasing by 20% damage ult to 100% for each of Trist's autoattacks within the 4 seconds
  • Rocket Jump does less damage, 80/105/130/155/180 (+.5 AP), but does 20% more damage up to 100% for each of Trist's autoattacks on a target marked with Explosive Charge

 

Analysis:

The Tristana rework is like a cross between old AP Tristana and old AD Tristanta: it gave AD Tristana more burst potential at the cost of much lower attack speed scaling and it nerfed AP Tristana's reliability a lot (thank goodness). Trist's identity has been altered from the nightmarish late game DPS ADC to one with less scary scaling but more consistent damage throughout the game, especially if she takes risks with Rocket Jump for the burst damage. She is more viable now because of more consistency, but her raw power level is about net neutral.

alt

[Nerf] Changes:

  • Base attack speed decreased slightly and attack speed growth decreased from 2.1 from 3.1

 

Analysis:

These are good nerfs to Zed without going overboard. He has less opportunities to split push and has a bit less DPS. He can still do Zed things and pop someone due to his immense amount of burst, but targets have more room to fight back after his initial combo. He is still viable but builds might now favor Hydra slightly more.

 

alt   Item Changes   alt

 

alt

[Buff] Change:

  • Combine and total cost reduced by 100 (now costs 850)

 

Analysis:

Good change for an unpopular item. Its upgrades are slightly more attractive to buy with cheaper components but it won't cause any significant change. If anything, Twin Shadows might get picked up more by the likes of Vel'Koz or anyone else who can benefit from the movement speed.

alt

DELETION

Analysis:

While this change might upset some people, this is definitely a good change for the sake of balance. In addition to what Riot has said, the purpose of this item now is to delete someone off the map without giving that person even the time to react. This is in general an unhealthy playstyle and DFG enables such occurrences much more frequently than should be allowed. Another problem with this item is that for certain champions (cough*pre-change Ahri*cough) there is little downside for building this item. It provides 120 AP and some utility in the form of CDR to boot and it's the cheapest of the three 120 AP items. A lot of the time this item is bought to snowball the game and remove counterplay from opponents. With AP much more accessible these days, its removal will not have significant impacts on the vast majority of AP champions and there's already a replacement for it coming soon.

alt

[Buff] Change:

  • Now builds from Ruby Crystal

 

Analysis:

This is a really good change! Rylai's and friends are now a lot more attractive to buy. Before, Rylai's had to deal with the awkward separate purchases of Giant's Belt and Blasting Wand; now, you can, for instance, buy Blasting Wand and a Ruby Crystal with 1300 gold or just a Ruby Crystal for your first back if you had to back early.

alt

[Buff] Changes:

  • AP increased to 80 from 65
  • AD decreased to 40 from 45 and Lifesteal decreased to 10% from 12%

 

Analysis:

These changes are buffs to Gunblade because 1) the net value of the item is increased and 2) champions who already buy it benefit more from the AP than AD. This is a minor buff to Akali and Katarina (who might pick up this item again now that DFG is removed) and doesn't really cause any impact elsewhere (Kennen and TF maybe?).

alt

[Buff] Changes:

  • Portal now functions exactly like structures in relation to champion interactions
  • Voidspawns has more armor but less magic resist and health
  • Voidspawns deal more damage to minions but less to towers
  • Voidspawns gain more bonus damage from the champion's resistances and this applies to the first Voidspawn, at the cost of less Voidspawns with bonus later on

 

Analysis:

I consider these changes to be overall buffs because it makes the item less situational. Even though less Voidspawns gain the bonus damage, the first one now does and that's important for immediate use. In addition, more damage vs. minions mean more general pushing and not just worthwhile for tower destruction -- this is good tradeoff for less tower damage.

 

alt   Jungle Changes   alt

 

alt 

[Buff] Changes:

  • Range increased to 500 from 350
  • Attack speed increased slightly and damage decreased slightly (overall DPS remains net neutral)

 

Analysis:

Dragon is now slightly less kitable to punish unprepared stats and to reduce edge cases for easier Dragons. No major changes here.

 

alt   Final Thoughts   alt

 

This is a really good patch, mostly because a lot of frustrating assassins (Zed, Fizz, Akali) were nerfed. Deathfire Grasp removal and Tristana rework are well appreciated changes that help balance out the game in their respective ways. The Ahri changes are nice in theory but she was overbuffed in practice, but nerfs are expected next patch. Some items are smoothed out to be more attractive to buy, which is always nice for itemization. Some untackled problems, however, include the sheer number of overpowered champions right now in the competitive and high ranking scenes; those champions need to be addressed or else champion diversity will begin to take hits.