The wait is finally over. After months of testing on the PBE, the Midseason update and all of its huge changes will finally be here tomorrow.
The focus of this League of Legends update is the three vanguard tanks undergoing a large scale transformation, complete with new abilities, new animations, and even some new voice-over work. Outside of that, there are new items, item changes, map changes, and more. The list is long and intimidating, but don’t worry, we’ll break it down for you.
Here are the seven most important changes arriving with the tomorrow’s patch.
1) Long-forgotten tanks
Three vanguard tanks have been outdated for quite some time. Where Maokai and Zac’s kits were at least powerful, aside from being really stale and lacking depth, Sejuani was neither strong nor did she have a healthy kit. These three champions are receiving their own rework as the highlight of this patch, and expect them to be more fun, more challenging, and more powerful when played correctly.
Aesthetics: Maokai’s voice-over, ability icons, and spell animations have all been updated.
Passive – Sap magic: Maokai’s passive no longer has a stacking system, but instead works off of a cooldown. Each time Maokai is hit with an ability or uses an ability, the cooldown is lowered by a significant amount, capitalizing on the whole “Sapping magic” theme. Obviously, this means Maokai will be a better pick against magic-heavy teams or caster ADCs rather than duelists and basic-attack oriented ADCs like Fiora, Tryndamere, Vayne, and Twitch. It also heals for much more as the game extends.
Q – Bramble Smash: Enemies will now be knocked back more depending on how close they are to Maokai, and the slow on it has been increased to 99 percent (yikes), but the slow itself only lasts for 0.25 seconds. This will make his ganks a bit more powerful.
W – Twisted Advance: The damage on Mao’s root will deal flat damage rather than scale off of the target’s health.
E – Sapling Toss: The saplings now deal a percentage of the targets maximum health when they strike, and the slow they cause lasts two seconds rather than one. Oh, and they grow in size, deal double damage, and last longer if they’re thrown in a bush. This will let Maokai booby-trap his jungle to protect from invades, as well as help his own clear-speed.
R – Nature’s Grasp: Mao’s new ult is definitely his most frightening change, as it spawns lane-wide roots that crawl forward and root enemies that touch them. This will have game-changing team-fight potential, as well as an easy way to zone an entire team if you need to.
Aesthetics: The icy warlord’s icons, ability animations, and visual effects are being updated as well.
Passive – Fury of the North: After Sej doesn’t take damage for a while, she builds up bonus resistances as well as slow immunity. After she takes damage, there is a delay, and then the armor falls off. This delay grows to three seconds as Sejuani levels up.
Passive – Icebreaker: The second part of Sejuani’s passive causes her to deal massive damage to anyone that’s been stunned by her. It scales up to 20 percent of the target’s maximum health.
Q – Arctic Assault: Her Q no longer knocks up enemies near the first enemy champ she collides with, meaning this is now a single-target ability.
W – Winter’s Wrath: Sejuani’s W now swings her mace in a giant arc in front of her, followed by slamming it in a line straight forward. It’s a two-hit ability (think Rengar’s Q but gigantic), and each hit damages and applies Frost from Sejuani’s E (we’ll get to that). Both bits of damage scale off of Sejuani’s maximum health. Tank up, Bristles.
E – Permafrost: Sejuani and nearby melee allies apply stacks of Frost with their basic attacks. After the fourth stack pops, Sejuani can cast Permafrost as a point-and-click ability on the target to stun them and deal damage.
R – Glacial Prison: Sejuani’s ultimate is very different now. When she throws her bola, it stuns the enemy champions she hits for one second and deals some damage. If the bola travels a distance before impact, it deals a ton more damage and creates an icy storm zone at the point of impact, which slows all enemies caught in it for two seconds, and explodes to deal even more damage at the end.
Aesthetics: The blob’s ability and regular animations, and ability icons, are being updated. Oh, and now his voice gets more high-pitched as he loses health. Be honest, that’s all you really cared about.
Passive – Cell Divison: Zac’s passive is not being changed at all.
Q – Stretching Strike: Zac stretches an arm out that sticks to the first enemy he hits. Upon basic attacking another enemy, he slams them both together and stuns them.
W – Unstable Matter: Unchanged.
E – Elastic Slingshot: His E is mostly just being tweaked. The knock-up doesn’t last quite as long, and the ability cancels automatically now after channeling for about a second, which won’t necessarily weaken his ganks, but it will certainly make them more difficult.
R – Let’s Bounce: Zac’s ultimate ability is quite different now. Instead of knocking people up as he bounces through them, he now flattens himself like a pancake, and after a brief cast time, he leaps into the air with all enemies that were on top of him as a pancake and carries them to his destination. He will still knock them up if the ultimate is released before the one second cast is complete.
2) Rift Herald is now truly a monster
On top of new visuals, a new fighting style, and new effects, the Herald now gives a much more potent reward that could change the course of the game or snowball a winning team to be unstoppable.
After she’s defeated, she grants one of her slayers a one-time-use activatable item that summons her back to the Rift to fight for the team that brought her down. She will trot to the nearest lane and greet the nearest tower with a charge attack that deals roughly half the turret’s health in a single hit. She only goes for structures, and she deals more damage depending on what her current health is, so if you find yourself facing off against one, tell your team to dump everything they have on her.
This update is a game-changer, and may even be more important than early dragons. Expect attention to shift from bot lane to top—and champions that can shove the top lane and give their team a chance to take the Herald will rise to the meta.
3) Guardian Angel and Banshee’s Veil are now for damage-dealers
Both the GA and BV are being converted to offensive items that grant their users a powerful defensive buff. GA will now grant its user a big chunk of AD, and the Magic Resist portion is being removed. BV is getting the same treatment, as it’s getting some big AP but is losing its health. Both items are going to give high-damage champions great opportunities to survive longer when fights break out. This will likely shift the item meta for both AD and AP champs.
4) More AD on big AD items
Some staple AD items are getting their damage cranked up. Ravenous Hydra, Death’s Dance, and the Bloodthirster are being buffed to 80 AD. These are great tools for survivability for AD champs, and now that they deal more damage, they just became a lot more attractive. Combine this with the new GA, and ADCs are going to be much harder to bring down.
5) More crit for less cash
Keeping in theme with the big item buffs for ADCs, both the Infinity Edge and the Zeal are now cheaper. Both of these items are necessities for crit-oriented marksmen, and their cost is partially what cripples those marksmen in the early stages of the game. Having access to these big items earlier on will bring a lot of power to marksmen like Caitlyn, Twitch, Draven, Ashe, and more.
6) Tank builds aren’t cookie-cutter anymore
A big switch to tank items is arriving as well. Armor and Magic Resist (MR) on most tank items are being buffed, but health on those items is being lowered. This will mean that if a tank builds armor items, it will protect them from ADCs even more, but with less health, champs dealing magic damage will shred right through them.
Tanks will have to pay attention to their builds and choose items depending on what each game requires of them. Also, two new tank items are being added. The Adaptive Helm is an MR and health item that lowers repeating incoming magic damage (Cass Qs, Ryze Qs, multiple hits from Kat’s R, etc). The Gargoyle Stoneplate provides some resistances that double when near multiple enemy champions, and it comes with an activatable ability that doubles the wearer’s health for a few seconds but lowers their outgoing damage (a lot).
Going along with that, armor penetration is being lowered on all Last Whisper items and the Black Cleaver, so AD champs are going to have a harder time chunking tanks that choose to build up more armor. Beware of going into a game with an all-AD team.
7) Support items and support stats are more rewarding
The core support items are receiving in-game quests to make them more engaging and rewarding to use.
Relic Shield: After using the Relic to farm so many minions, you will be granted a sizable shield that passively regenerates outside of combat.
Ancient Coin: Rather than granting gold for nearby slain minions, they will now drop coins that can be picked up for various benefits. After collecting so many, the user will be automatically granted a bonus skill point.
Spellthief’s Edge: After hitting so many enemy champions with the passive of Spellthief’s items, the item will grant a burst of movement speed each time the passive is used afterwards.
On top of some fun being added to support items, support players are also going to be recognized at the end of the game. There are new stats shown in the end-game screen, including scores on crowd control, warding, and damage to allies denied.
This definitely isn’t as important as the seven things on this list, but it’s worth mentioning. Teleport will now take you to the nearest minion or structure if you just point using the minimap or if you have trouble finding a ward in a teamfight. This quality-of-life change makes taking teleport worth even more.