Hello LTG readers, this is Brett (Sentient Pulse) giving you a general update on this League of Legends patch and some general information regarding current lane trends. I just hit Platinum 5 after my placement games landed me in Gold 1 and I’ve noticed quite a few bans and picks across all my games in solo/team queue in ranked. This will be worded for those who are familiar with the lingo of League of Legends but I will try my best to explain for those who aren’t.
This patch (6.3) was pretty big in comparison to the last one (6.2) and a number of champs have received pretty substantial buffs (improvements) and nerfs (made weaker). If you want to read every single update in the patch, I would recommend the official patch notes that Riot has put on the League of Legends homepage. I am only going to cover the changes that I think will affect gameplay.
Lets start with buffs! The first champ to get a buff is the assassin Akali, she received two buffs that should help her laning and killing potential. She now gets more energy (resource used for her skills) back from hitting enemies after they have been marked with her Q, Mark of the Assassin, and a significant buff to the speed of her ult, Shadow Dance. Considering how strong she already is, these two buffs aren’t huge but will definitely make her more consistent when choosing her mid lane. Alistar is a very popular champ all around right now, and he has an interesting mechanic that hasn’t always been consistent to pull off. His W-Q (Headbutt and Pulverize) combo is now a THING. Before you had to carefully time it and even pros would miss this on occasion, but now you should be able to land this over and over again without any problem. His heal was slightly nerfed but it really won’t affect his playability at all. Gragas received some quality of life buffs to his Q, Barrel Roll, and W, Drunken Rage. His Q now has a constant slow during the duration of 2 seconds instead of diminishing like before. W has a shorter channel time and a small aoe on-hit (applies to next auto-attack). This will make his jungle clear better (how fast you can kill jungle monsters) and give him a small boost in team fights. Ziggs received a decent buff to his ult, Mega Inferno Bomb, and overall should do more damage with it in the center while keeping the same amount of damage pre-patch around the outer-radius. There is also a new indicator to clearly show the two zones.
Xin Zhao received a HUGE buff this patch so he gets his own paragraph. Xin has always been a strong champ, sometimes top lane but usually in the jungle. With the item changes of Season 6 boosting his strengths we now have some actual buffs to his kit (set of abilities). W, Battle Cry, now scales with bonus attack damage in addition to the ability power ratio it had previously and… causes every third attack to critically strike for reduced damage, instead of the usual 200% a crit would deal. This is going to be insane as Xin Zhao is already a high burst champ early/mid game and now with his three hit combo on his Q, Three Talon Strike, he is guaranteed a crit somewhere in there. There is also a new AD (attack damage) item this patch, which I will cover later, that will make this duelist very difficult to stop from killing you.
Now lets cover the nerfs this patch! Corki had some damage taken off of his Q, Phosphorus Bomb, and a recharge rate added to his R, Missile Barrage, late game to compensate for the burst he brings in team fights. Graves has been a huge deal since his last rework and will even be brought up later in this article, but has finally been balanced… slightly. His Q, End of the Line, had some damage shaved off and some of his animation cancelling has been changed. Overall Graves should be easier to deal with but will still be a strong pick, if he isn’t banned. Poppy is another champ that has been seeing a lot of play and for good reasons, she is tanky, has good crowd control (stuns/slows/snares/etc.) and great damage. Her Q, Hammer Shock, had some damage shaved but now does full damage to minions so farming will be easier. Her E, Heroic Charge, has a longer cooldown and her ult, Keeper’s Verdict, now knocks up opponents for a shorter duration. Nothing huge, but hopefully this balances her with some other common top and jungle picks. The last nerfee worth mentioning is Zed. Anyone who has played against Zed, or plays him, knows how annoying he can be in lane and later in the game. He does insane damage and has a huge skillcap that allows him to outplay most champs. This patch his ult was nerfed 5% overall, but honestly it’s in anticipation of how strong the new AD item is going to be.
Speaking of which, lets talk about the Duskblade of Draktharr and what it is going to do to the meta (how the game is played and what champs are picked) this patch. I say this patch because I’m assuming it will receive a nerf the following patch, yes it is that strong. Here is some nerdy info about the items stats, build path and unique passives.
Build Path: Serrated Dirk + B.F. Sword + 850 gold
Total Cost: 3250 gold
Attack Damage: 75
Bonus Movement Speed: 5%
Unique Passive: +10 Armor Penetration
Unique Passive: Basic attacks on an enemy champion apply Nightfall (120 second cooldown)
Nightfall: After 2 seconds, Nightfall deals physical damage equal to 90 + 25% of the target’s missing health. If you get a kill or assist on the target before Nightfall detonates, the cooldown is refunded.
So what does all that mean? To put it simply, duelists are going to have an easier time 1v1ing other champs. What does it mean in addition to that? Champs that already have high burst will have more burst, but more importantly, champs who have some burst but more utility will now have some limelight to shine! If you can already kill a target without the passive detonating, then this won’t really help you, but if you were missing that extra oomph (like quite a few off-meta AD champs) you will now be able to do what the others were able to as well. I expect to see Pantheon, Jarvan the 4th, and similar utility bruisers get more game time and pick priority because of the item. Where will everyone sit after the nerfs? I don’t know, but for now pick up an AD champ and have fun with this broken item.
There were some other updates to previous items and I’m just going to list them accordingly.
Buffs to a few armor items; Sunfire Cape, Warden’s Mail, Seeker’s Armgaurd, and Randuin’s Omen. Dead Man’s Plate was nerfed. The Zeal items have been rebalanced with Stattik Shiv getting a small buff, Rapid Firecannon a small nerf, and Phantom Dancer’s cost has gone down to make it on par with the aforementioned. The “utility boots” now cost 100g more. So Boots of Swiftness, Ionian Boots of Lucidity, and Boots of Mobility cost 900g total, putting them closer to the pricing of the “combat boots”. That’s it for item and balance changes!
In this last section I am going to cover some general trends I’ve seen in my solo/team ranked games. First off, I need to say that the new Champ Select is fantastic and I’ve had minimal issues with teammates not getting the roles they wanted. Keystones for Top Lane are going to be Grasp of the Undying or Thunderlords Decree, basically sustain vs burst. Mid lane is Deathfire’s Touch or Thunderlords Decree, sustained harass vs burst. In the Jungle the strongest pick is going to be Strength of the Ages which gives you 300 hit points at full stacks or Thunderlords Decree (again…) for burst if you don’t want to live longer in fights. I religiously don’t play bot lane anymore, but Fervor of Battle and Thunderlords Decree are going to be the biggest picks for ADCs. Supports have 3 options, Thunderlords Decree, Windspeaker’s Blessing, or Bond of Stone. Each has it’s unique properties and depending on the champion you are supporting with, each has it’s niche. For all of these picks, you are spec’ing into a different Mastery Tree and therefor receiving different perks because of that. For junglers (what I’ve been maining lately) the 18 points in Resolve is really strong in comparison to the Cunning tree. Try it out!
Some common bans from 6.2 are Dr. Mundo, Zed, Graves, Fiora, Jax, Malphite, and Morgana.
There will also be two new skins coming soon, just in time for Valentine’s Day! Heartseeker Orianna and Sweetheart Sona!
Thanks for reading, especially if you made it to the end!