Written in partnership with Gamer Sensei.
Dot Esports has teamed up with the big brains at Gamer Sensei to dissect League of Legends Patch 12.5, break down all of the major balance changes, and offer some extra insight on the meta.
Gamer Sensei is a service that offers remote coaching sessions for 18 different games, including League. For this week’s patch notes rundown, coaches Nicholas “NicoThePico” Korsgård, Michael “Veteran” Archer, Nikolay “Vethorm” Angelov, Justin “JalYt Justin” Robbins, and Tim “Coach Nalu” Hostnik put their heads together to discuss the changes hitting the live servers on Wednesday, March 2.
Here are the notes for League Patch 12.5.
W – Fox-Fire
- Damage: 60/85/110/135/160 (+30 percent AP) > 50/75/100/125/150 (+30 percent AP)
- Mana cost: 25 > 30
E – Charm
- Mana cost: 50 > 60
The Ahri changes will “definitely slow her down to not be such a reckless champion,” according to Vethorm. In Patch 12.5, players who pick Ahri will have to be “a bit more careful” when they engage because they’ll lack some damage. But Ahri will “still be viable for teamfights due to her pick-up ability and the reset she has.”
Veteran isn’t convinced that the changes will make a whole lot of difference, though. “The main effectiveness of Ahri is the charm in mid-late game, not really laning phase,” he said. “W change targets her laning phase, and by the time you need your charm (E, the second change) for fights, you’ll have mana items so mana costs aren’t the way to go to reduce her power.” These changes, according to the coach, are “unlikely to change her priority.”
Coach Nalu added that this is “a placebo nerf that doesn’t impact good Ahri players at all, and there has been the development of a new Ahri AD build which doesn’t get touched in this patch, which means she will still be top tier.”
Passive – Thousand Cuts
- Maximum damage against monsters: 10 (+25 percent AP) > 10 (+15 percent AP)
E – Skip ‘n Slash
- Bonus attack range: 100 > 50
The Gwen changes are specifically targeting pro play, where she has “quickly become one of the highest priority champions,” according to JalYt Justin. “Her draft flexibility, fast jungle clearing, and strong fighting ability in the mid and late-game have made her a staple in recent pro games,” he explained. “I believe these changes will go a long way in curbing Gwen’s pro play presence, and players at all levels will certainly be feeling the bonus attack range nerf on her E.”
Gwen will now have “a much harder time chasing targets down and will have to be more up close and personal,” JalYt Justin said. “Unfortunately, Gwen’s (already average) solo queue win rate and presence are also very likely to drop as a result of these changes.”
The changes, Veteran added, could also negate the advantages Gwen has over champions like Shen and Renekton in lane. “Shen has easier access to trades now and Renekton has easier access to all-ins,” he said. “Any kind of all-in or short trade that was prohibited before is now easier, but the range isn’t as big of an issue overall as her attack speed—and that was already targetted in a previous patch. She’ll still out-trade in extended scenarios. Until they nerf Gwen’s W, she’ll continue to be one of the most disgusting champions in the game.”
W – Electrical Surge
- Basic attack bonus magic damage at full stacks: 20/30/40/50/60 (+60/70/80/90/100 percent bonus AD) (+25 percent AP) > 35/45/55/65/75 (+80/90/100/110/120 percent bonus AD) (+35 percent AP)
The changes to Kennen’s W will not only increase the champion’s AP but also his AD. This, according to Vethorm, could lead to an “AD Kennen revival” and make him more “flexible to fill the need of AD or AP depending on the composition.”
This is a “really nice balance direction,” Veteran added. “I like this change because Kennen’s laning has been an issue for him, and this buffs that aspect while still making him put himself vulnerable due to having to stack his passive to get access to it,” he explained.
Q – Alpha Strike
- Damage: 25/60/95/130/165 (+90 percent AD), reduced by 75 percent for subsequent hits on the same target > 30/60/90/120/150 (+60 percent AD), reduced by 75 percent for subsequent hits on the same target
- Bonus damage from critical strikes: 60 percent (+ bonus critical strike damage percent) > 50 percent (+ bonus critical strike damage percent)
- [New] Each mark of Q – Alpha Strike now applies on-hit effects including his E – Wuju Style (on-hit effects from subsequent hits are also reduced by 75 percent)
- [Update] Q – Alpha Strike’s cooldown reduction upon attacks now scales down with Ability Haste. For example, if Master Yi has 100 ability haste, each on-hit now reduces its cooldown by 0.5 seconds (instead of one)
- [Update] Q – Alpha Strike’s cast time no longer counts against his E – Wuju Style and R – Highlander active durations (similar to W – Meditate)
- [Update] Master Yi can now activate E – Wuju Style and R – Highlander during his Q – Alpha Strike
E – Wuju Style
- True damage: 30/40/50/60/70 (+35 percent bonus AD) > 30/38/46/54/62 (+35 percent bonus AD)
These changes shift Master Yi away from his standard lethality build to focus more on on-hit items. The champion’s lethality build was giving him “good early pressure, even though he is meant to be stronger in the later stage of the game,” Veteran said.
But the changes make on-hit Master Yi “extremely broken,” according to the coach. From now on, the champion will lean toward items like Kraken Slayer, Blade of the Ruined King, Guinsoo’s Rageblade, and Wit’s End.
W – Strut
- [Update] Miss Fortune now spawns with the maximum amount of movement speed granted by Strut’s passive
While this change is on the smaller side of things, it could have a meaningful impact on the champion. “A lot of people didn’t know that you had to W out of base (came up almost every MF coaching session), so this will randomly give her a small WR boost,” Veteran explained.
- Health growth: 88 > 94
- Health at level 18: 2,026 > 2,128
- Armor growth: three > 3.5
- Armor at level 18: 77 > 85.5
R – Inferno Trigger
- Cooldown: eight seconds > five seconds
These changes could give Samira, who is traditionally known for being a “snowbally solo queue menace,” some extra “staying power” in fights where she would otherwise be burst down, according to JalYt Justin. “This, alongside her reduced ultimate cooldown, also will mean that she might actually get multiple ultimates off in a single teamfight, which will be extremely impactful for Samira players with good positioning and engage timing,” he said. “These aren’t the biggest buffs for Samira ever and they don’t address her core weaknesses, but she should feel a lot better in the hands of good Samira players.”
One of Samira’s issues is that she often loses too much HP before all-inning, making her a “lane bully that can’t actually lane,” Veteran added. “Ultimately, though, health growth/armor growth is a lazy way to fix this problem, he said. “Jinx is still the real problem that needs to be addressed, rather than incremental changes given to champs like Samira that lose too much HP against her before they can be useful.”
W – Surround Sound
- Mana cost: 50/70/90/110/130 > 50/60/70/80/90
- Cooldown: 26/25/24/23/22 seconds > 28/26/24/22/20 seconds
- Shield: 75 to 225 (levels one to 18) (+45 percent AP) > 60/80/100/120/140 (+40 percent AP)
- Ally Shields: 50 to 150 (levels one to 18) (+30 percent AP) > 60/80/100/120/140 (+40 percent AP) (Allies now receive the same shield amount as Seraphine)
- Healing (If already shielded): five percent (+1.125 percent per 100 AP) of missing health per ally in range > 5/5.5/6/6.5/7 percent (+0.75 percent per 100 AP) of missing health per ally in range
E – Beat Drop
- Cooldown: 13/12/11/10/9 seconds > 11/10.5/10/9.5/9 seconds
These changes should make Seraphine support strong, according to JalYt Justin. “Forty reduced mana and -two seconds on her max rank W cooldown is going to be very strong for skirmishes and teamfighting later in the game, and two percent extra healing alongside these buffs will skyrocket her usefulness as a mid-late game heal support,” he said. “The reduced E cooldown at rank one also means that she’ll have more peel and safety in the laning phase, which is where she’s traditionally the weakest.”
Personal shield (the only nerf to her kit in this patch) doesn’t make much of a difference in the mid lane, “especially if the healing is getting increased on top of it,” Veteran added. “Ally shields and cooldown buffs make this a strong win for Seraphine players in all roles.”
E – Audacious Charge
- Cooldown: 11 seconds > 12 seconds
R – Crescent Guard
- Invulnerability duration: five seconds > four seconds
A “monster to deal with” in both pro and amateur play, Xin Zhao has been “long overdue” for a nerf, according to NicoThePico. “We’re finally getting it, and it’s quite harsh,” he said. “Increasing cooldown on E – Audacious Charge by one second will be instantly felt by Xin players and affect sticking power in teamfights and skirmishes. The bigger game-changer, however, is the Invulnerability Duration of R – Crescent Guard… To put it simply, this means Xin dies faster in fights, and that Xin players have to be smarter about their ultimate usage.”
For a long time, players have been able to “pre-emptively” use their ultimate because of the long duration of invulnerability, “but this will very likely change and it is increasing the skill requirement for the champion,” NicoThePico added. “Overall I’ve not been a fan of the gradual increase of invulnerability and untargetability in the game, and it makes me quite happy that Riot is finally looking at ways to reduce this.”
Passive – Boarding Party
- Bonus armor and magic resist: 20 to 60 (levels one to 18) > 20 to 60 (levels one to 18) for melee / 10 to 30 (levels one to 18) for ranged
- Siege and super minion bonus armor and magic resist: 60 to 180 (levels one 18) > 60 to 180 (levels one to 18) for melee / 30 to 90 (levels one to 18) for ranged
Hullbreaker has quickly become a “big issue item” in the game, especially for ranged top laners, according to NicoThePico. This nerf essentially halves all bonuses for ranged champions, meaning the item “remains as strong as before for melee users while reducing strength for ranged users.” In terms of how this change will impact the meta, the coach strongly believes that “this will instantly have an impact on utilization in both pro and amateur play for ranged users, which also makes it more interesting when ranged players still choose to get it.”
The item is still “super gold efficient” and will continue to be bought by top laners, Coach Nalu added. “But the number of AD mids that take it will probably decrease. Players were buying it for the gold efficiency and it is still there as base stats didn’t get hit,” he said.
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