Heads up: This is a fat patch! If you're wondering why, we've made improvements to how we store art in the client (though you shouldn't notice a visual difference). Incidentally, that means we need to re-patch it all. So, if your patcher gets stuck on "applying patches", it's sorting through all the updated images. It'll take a while, so just let it do its thing!
Welcome to patch 6.3, the one where we finally make changes to Dragon and give assassins a shiny new toy. Shout-outs to Pwyff for covering in my absence - now let's dive in and get educational.
6.3, like the two patches before, can be thought of as the 'final chapter' in our preseason follow-up trilogy. While the rippling effects of the season's changes will be felt and dealt with throughout the year, we're getting everything nice and neat before we move on to tackle bigger and better things. This means putting out a warrant for Graves, remembering to feed the Kog'Maw, and recalling some of Corki's weapons to match balance regulations.
But despite the nerfs and buffs you're accustomed to, we've also got a big-ticket change coming below: the introduction of Duskblade of Draktharr. In addition to a seriously villainous name, this item seeks to be the answer to the age-old League question 'How will Riot ever balance assassins?' Over the years, we've seen assassins just opting in to whatever damage items they could get their hands on, even when they had inefficient stats (like when they used to stack Bloodthirsters and never use the lifesteal) - simply because itemization was that hard. By clearly calling out 'Hey, this one's for you!' we can start to set an expectation around how an assassin can act in fights, as well as the kinds of power-curves they should have long-term. Things may not be 100% balanced right at the start, but in most cases the advice remains the same: If an assassin has their sights on you, get out of the way.
Add in some changes to Dragon's stacking effects (more on that below) and an overhaul of some of our big-ticket armor items and you're looking at a patch aiming to deliver some big changes to the mid-late game of most matches. Do you contest a 2nd or 4th Dragon against a team with 3 split-pushing Sunfire Cape users? Or do you just hard-engage with your 5-Duskblade team? You don't have to answer now - I'm sure you'll have enough practice with both of these entirely realistic situations to become the expert in no time.
And that's it for us! Enjoy diving through the ocean of context and we'll see you on the other side. And by that I mean on the 'other side' of champion select. Probably building Duskblade.
And that's 6.2 wrapped up! We wish you the best of luck in your placement matches. If you're struggling, try finding some like-minded friends to rank up with - just make sure they don't owe you money or anything because if you start fighting over who threw the game at the 55 minute mark, feelings get hurt and Tyler will never pay you that $20 he owes unless you call him out publicly in the patch notes. FOR SHAME.
See you at the grey screen.
Patrick "Scarizard" Scarborough
Q returns more energy. R's speed increased.
When we set out to make Duskblade (the shiny new assassin item you can read all about below), we evaluated a lot of our assassins together to see if anyone was significantly ahead or behind the pack. When looking at those left behind, it's no surprise we found Akali in much need of some love.
Most assassins are measured on two major axis: time needed to kill a squishy, and what movement / utility is available to get to the next target (this cycles back and forth). On our current assessment, Akali's pretty good on the former, so we're looking into the latter.
Q - Mark of the Assassin
R - Shadow Dance
E cost and cooldown up. Q-W combo is finally consistent.
Alistar's got two very different things going on here, so let's tackle 'em separately.
First, Alistar's lane sustain is pretty out of line. For a champion who's supposed to be weak to poke and attrition, the strength of the Meditation mastery and the mana regeneration available to supports just means Alistar outlasts and then all-ins once you've exhausted your resources. Temporarily Ignoring towers and initiating are cool things we like the cow doing, given that he's not guaranteed to be at full health all the time.
Next, the combo. Alistar's Heabutt + Pulverize combo is one of the strongest interactions in the game, but also makes the champion incredibly tricky to balance. It's not the easiest thing to pull off 100% of the time (even in pro play), which means that whenever we have to buff or nerf Alistar, it disproportionately affects players that can hit the combo or not. Not anymore. After 6.3, It's now just a thing Alistar can do with regularity. Now your decisions should be around 'Do I want to use the combo in this situation?' instead of 'Can I do the combo?'
It's a scary world, I know - but we'll be there to hold your hand. Under the tower. While Alistar's diving us. (help)
W - Headbutt
Passive - Triumphant Roar
Q damage down. R recharge time up.
Let's be clear - Corki's doing a lot of damage. Too much, in fact. Preseason's magic damage conversion has done wonders for Corki's burst damage, especially on targets without the cash to invest toward significant defensive items. These two changes are slightly related in tuning down Corki's power, but they have two differing goals. On the topic of Phosphorus Bomb: when a spell has high base damage and a lot of additional damage per level, it means that a Corki who gets ahead in levels stays ahead (even without items). For Missile Barrage: its uptime was tuned around a previous season (and itemization), and with Essence Reaver being a core item, we're tapping down those oppressive missiles just a bit.
Q - Phosphorus Bomb
R - Missile Barrage
Q cooldown lowered at early levels.
As a midlaner, Ekko's potential is a little too limited by high cooldowns and melee range. Upping his ability to scrap with opponents (or even last-hit) early game levels the playing field against the long-range, crowd-controlling mages Ekko's often asked to tango with.
Q - Timewinder
Q's snap-cast slows for the full duration. W channels faster and deals AoE damage.
It hasn't been too long since Gragas was top dog of jungle, but these days he's sitting at the bottom of the barrel. Graggy's strategic niche as a disengage jungler is still there, so we're boosting his early reliability and clear speed to help compete against the rest of the lineup.
Q - Barrel Roll
W - Drunken Rage
Q damage down, and now has a brief delay upon colliding with terrain. Q/R no longer cancel his recoil animation.
Now that the dust has settled and builds are optimized, the results are in: Graves bursts you real fast, and he's not a fan of taking damage. We're cool with the G-man doin' his thing (as long as he's not smoking), but we're addressing his dominance in two ways.
First, we want to force Graves' to make a bigger tradeoff for his damage vs defenses, seeing as his baseline output is so high that he transitions into tank stats early while still managing to make heads roll. Next, we're targeting just how quickly he pumps lead into his targets - often obliterating challenges in a series of animation-cancelled spellcasts.
Graves being the slow-moving, burly guy makes sense for a shotgun-toting gritty outlaw, but introducing more counterplay to his patterns should help you settle the score.
Passive - New Destiny
Q - End of the Line
E - Quickdraw
Delay on missing E removed. E mana cost down. Vessels can now get 'assists' from allies.
Illaoi's a champion that suffers a few problems - not only is she pretty difficult to play for a melee champion, but being on the receiving end of a fight for your own soul can feel incredibly frustrating to play against. This patch, we're addressing both. A little bit of QoL for the Illaoi's that are just learning how to shatter their opponents souls, and a little bit of leeway for opponents hoping to break free of becoming a vessel. Now your team is actually helping when taking out Illaoi's tentacles. It's the thought that counts, right?
E - Test of Spirit
Q's attack speed passive shifted to W. W now has a minimum damage.
Now the definition of 'Glass Cannon' in League, Kog'Maw finds himself a little too brittle to get out of lane and into a state where he can aim for a high-scaling fantasy. The primary goal is to clean up Kog's rank-ups to feel less like a trap and help him smooth out that transition from 'free kill botlane' to 'hyper-vomit omnicarry' without just handing him a free pass. (Trivia: did You Know that previously ranking W gave you no increase in damage? Sorry about that.)
Q - Caustic Spittle
W - Bio-Arcane Barrage
Passive gives less attack speed per stack, but requires more stacks to reach the cap.
Surprise, he's back (we've made that joke before. Maybe even twice). Whether in the top lane or the jungle, Jax is a champion that's all about taking the time to ramp up before brutally smashing your face in with a lamppost. Traditionally that's been the case, but with powerful items like Rageblade and Devourer thrown into the mix, Jax's ramping threat has become more of a formality than a rule. We're installing speedbumps into Jax's powercurve to force him to commit a little longer in fights.
Passive - Relentless Assault
Q damage down, but ratio and minion damage increased. E cooldown increased.
Poppy's popularity has skyrocketed since her rework, and it's not hard to see why. Though it's taken a bit of getting used to, Poppy's proven to be one tough yordle, with massive damage and even bigger utility, no matter the position. Stopping dashes and ejecting threats out of a teamfight is all well and strategic, but Poppy's potential to chain-CC her opponents for 5+ seconds all while murdering them is a pretty big no-no from a counterplay perspective.
On a secondary front, Poppy's got a lot of high base damage abilities, letting her put out serious numbers without actually buying the items. We're adjusting there.
Q - Hammer Shock
E - Heroic Charge
R - Keeper's Verdict
E cast time lowered. E now starts behind Rengar if cast midleap.
After analyzing Rengar's performance and listening to feedback on 6.2, we're pulling back a bit on exactly how easy it is to outplay his ganks. For instance, Rengar's delay on casting Bola Strike is high enough that running toward his leap causes the Bola to whizz right right over. We're in search of… not quite happy kitty time, but content kitty time for this change.
E - Bola Strike
Passive capped at 5 spellcasts. Ult cooldown lowered.
To put it lightly, the discrepancy between a new Ryze player and a Ryze veteran is staggering. Not unlike Alistar's changes above, Ryze is often balanced around what he's capable of doing rather than what he does realistically with those 5 seconds of Supercharge. With the long-term goal of finding a sustainable balance state for Ryze long-term, we're starting off by giving him a clearly defined and achievable 'best case' for Arcane Mastery. With a hard cap in place, we can follow-up by making the rest of Ryze's kit work within that band - like focusing Ryze's mastery around how many times you can enter (and optimize) Supercharge, instead of just cramming spell combos into onerotation. There's lots to adjust going forward, but this is a necessary first step if Ryze is ever to get off the wild balance rollercoaster he's been on for a while.
Passive - Arcane Mastery
R - Desperate Power
W scales with attack damage and crits on every third attack. E cooldown flattened.
Xin Zhao's been left in the dust as far as stabbin' folks goes, underperforming in every role across the board. One of our old-school 'melee carries', Xin's always had a lot of flexibility in builds - able to swap between 'max cooldown lockdown machine' or 'crit-fueled basic-attacking monster' based on his team's needs. That said, itemization changes in 2016 have impacted that flexibility pretty heavily. These changes are aimed at bringing back Xin's ability to opt-in to an early snowball rather than feeling pressured to always aim for the lategame (via Sated Devourer and Guinsoo's on-hit synergies).
A point of clarification: To those of you worried about Xin's new crit mechanic's getting out of control with the already-popular Sated Devourer builds, it's important to note that the crit occurs every third attack, not every third hit. This means Sated's Phantom Hit passive won't let him double down into more crits, so you're better off with regular ol' attack damage and attack speed to make the most of his new Battle Cry.
W - Battle Cry
E - Audacious Charge
R damage lowered.
Back in 5.23 we added a bit more Death into Zed's Death Mark, citing a lack of itemization and scaling for AD-assassins as a whole. Now that Duskblade's entering an item shop near you, we're partially reverting that change so that Zed doesn't spike and snowball too heavily off just a single item purchase.
R - Death Mark
R sweetspot damage increased.
Folks aren't contesting objectives like they used to, meaning Ziggs' poking and sieging strengths have gone largely unnoticed in 2016. We don't want thing to go back to the '1v1 Mid Ziggs Only 50 Minutes' stall-fests of the past, so we're ratcheting up his hexplosive power to punish teams out of position.
R - Mega Inferno Bomb
Duskblade of Draktharr
New item for assassins. Basic attacks give a mini-death mark on your target.
It's well known that many AD assassins who relied on attack damage items took a hit with the transition to 2016, especially with the changes to Last Whisper. These days the 'core' item build that feels good often only goes to 'build Ghostblade and Maw and hope that's enough to finish them off.' Balancing around core items is something we do for every class, but assassins have been left in the dust - forced to scrape by on whatever the best damage items happen to be, making our balancing points for them somewhat… very inconsistent. Duskblade means we can give those folks a core item that not only helps multiply damage in a full build, but also offers a clear expression of power for those with a gold lead. marksmen have Infinity Edge, mages have Deathcap - and now, assassins have Duskblade. Duskblade's passive, Nightfall, provides a different angle for assassins to contribute meaningfully in a teamfight. Missing health damage is unique in that it can be considered a damage amplification for your team - capitalizing on all the work your allies have done so far - allowing assassins to feel more capable on clean-up duty and less pressured to throw their lives away in pursuit of bopping a marksman.
Armor up. Build path includes an extra Cloth Armor.
For those looking for buffs to Zhonya's Hourglass, it should be clear we're not doing that. Given how game-warping Zhonya's active can be - and how powerful a deterrent it is against dudes who want to blow you up - we're pretty firm on gating this active with a fair combine cost. That said, Seeker's. Even when it's the right situation to buy Seeker's, it feels wrong, so that's where we're making changes. Mixing in an extra armor item makes it more effective when you're looking to counter physical damage (read: Zed) in lane.
Similar to Seeker's, Warden's is a specialized item that feels bad to purchase when compared to more broad defensive components, like Chain Vest or Giant's Belt. Now it's cheaper.
Dead Man's Plate
Cost increased. Slow decreased.
If you've played League in the last month, chances are very high you've bought this item. That's not a crime in itself, but Dead Man's Plate brings so many strengths between its stat efficiency, bonus damage, and catch potential that even when you do want a Randuin's Omen (say, vs. a crit-heavy composition), it's hard to give up the value. We're tuning back the general power of DMP to make the decision a little more complex than 'buy this always no matter what'.
Passive aura deals more damage to non-champions.
Continuing from the Dead Man's Plate discussion above, Sunfire is an armor item that feels a little lost from an identity perspective. Increasing the potency of its waveclear potential should transform tanky folks without access to waveclear into split-pushing threats faster than you can type 'Shenpai.' (In case that wasn't clear, buy this on Shen. You're welcome.)
Cost down. Health increased.
Rounding out our talks on armor items, we're removing some of the tricky math comparisons between this, Dead Man's Plate, and Sunfire Cape, so you don't have the second guess yourself when buying this against the mythical all-marksmen, all-Infinity Edge team. So, in summary - Sunfire to push. Dead Man's to chase and engage. Randuin's to punish basic attacks and crits. But don't just take our word for it. Build what you like. Follow your dreams.
We'd like you to feel better about getting that early burst for lane.
Movement speed and damage down.
Welcome to Zeal items part 3. The re-rebalancing. Similar to Dead Man's Plate, Rapid Firecannon is the go-to Zeal upgrade. It's safe, it bursts, it picks, it slices, it dices - you get the idea. While these read like general nerfs, we're just trying to prioritize Firecannon as the 'safe' ranged option over its other counterparts.
With Rapid Firecannon's damage decreasing, Statikk Shiv's damage is going up to really push it as the one you get when you're looking to burst. Important reminder: Shiv's damage can crit (while RFC's cannot), meaning that in a heavy crit build, Shiv's ability to lay the smackdown on a close-knit group of units is nothing to sneeze at.
Phantom Dancer was supposed to be more expensive relative to the other Zeal upgrades because of its extreme dueling/damage potential. As it turns out, having to do the extra work to access that damage potential (unlike Statikk or RFC) on top of being harder to build ended being a pretty big miss. In light of this, we're pulling back on the cost so would-be duelists of all shapes and sizes can buy their item and use it too.
Boots of Swiftness
Simply put: the gap between the 'utility tier' of boots (Swiftness, Lucidity and Mobility) and 'combat boots' (Mercury Treads, Berserker Graves, Ninja Tabi and Sorceror's Shoes) is too big. We're digging all of the interest in utility-tier kicks, but they're so cheap that it makes everyone else feel left in the dust.
Ionian Boots of Lucidity
Same as the above section, bringing these in line with the alternatives.
Boots of Mobility
While the cost is increasing for Mobi's, we're off-setting that upgrade with a power boost to keep them worth the tradeoffs you make to take them. Unlike the others, Mobility's risk/reward paradigm stays constant throughout the whole game - so get out there and make the best of your zoom-zoom.
2nd Dragon now gives a tower burn. 4th Dragon now gives defense vs turrets.
Buckle up, dear readers. It's context time.
First up, let's talk about the state of Dragon as-is. We've been happy with how the build-up to Aspect provides some unique strategic value that doesn't really exist elsewhere, allowing teams an alternate path to success that isn't just 'be the best at fighting champions' or 'be the best at fighting turrets.' From that perspective Dragon's been a big success, even if many games end far before Aspect is ever achieved.
That said, getting there isn't as rewarding as we'd like it to be. While there's always been inherent value in the 2nd and 4th stacks of dragon because they unlock Dragon's most desired buffs (team-wide movement speed and the threat of dragon 5), many just sort of lose interest. Mix in the higher value of split-pushing and turret-taking in 2016, and you have a whole lot of Dragons going un-hunted.
We spun on potential solutions for a while, but here's what we landed on: It's not necessary for every stack of Dragon to be so powerful that contesting it is necessary. Doing so creates a snowballing vortex where each Dragon buff ensures you get the next one, focusing the game too heavily on an early-game arm's race, rather than a match-long consideration. That said, each individual Dragon should provide an advantage that feels consequential - as an opponent, the decision to give up a stack of Dragon should be based around 'we will oppose with something equally valuable' rather than 'the power of that buff is so low I can't be bothered.'
That leads us to today. These changes attempt to find a happy medium, with the intermediary stacks of Dragon being desirable but not mandatory. By adding more viscerality and strategic power into the buffs themselves (and let's be real, 'everyone is mini-Alistar' is much cooler than 'oh boy minion damage'), we're looking to add some more relevance and urgency for teams that imagine dragons to be their ticket to victory.
Recall no longer interrupts certain charge abilities.
This is a really awkward, hidden mechanic that only interacts with a few abilities, so don't be surprised if you'd never heard of it. We want the skill expression of these abilities (and by extension, these champions) to be around landing your charge abilities - not gaming the system by recall-faking them out. The following abilities can no longer be interrupted by Recall or Teleport:
- Q - Piercing Arrow
- Q - Vault Breaker
- Q - Arcanopulse
New Champ Select
Expect us to be a regular presence on the patch notes as we polish up new champ select. Hopefully, you'll see some changes y'all suggested as we keep waxing on (and off).
Shipping with 6.3
Shipping during 6.3
In-Client Esports Notifications
LCS regions see notifications for both NA and EU matches.
Since we had NA LCS and EU LCS notifications we figured we'd just give both regions both sets.
- Champion clones now display elixir particle effects
- Brand's R - Pyroclasm no longer forgets to bounce to minions if cast on an Ablaze enemy champion with no other nearby enemy champions
- Rek'Sai no longer occasionally fails to go through a tunnel when trying to use a second tunnel as she exits a first one
- The Raptor smite buff can no longer be triggered while dead
- Fixed a bug where the 6% max health heal effect of the Strength of the Ages mastery was calculated based on the health of the siege minion or large monster that was killed, rather than the health of the user
- A number of missing audio issues have been fixed:
- Ward Skin sound effects for Warding Totem and Farsight Alteration
- Karthus's voiceover
- Elise's Spider form voiceover
- High Noon Yasuo's Q - Steel Tempest gunshot sound effect
- Mac players no longer see a false error message upon login
- Mac players can once again select ward skins in champion select
- Windowed Mode behaves properly again for the Mac client
- The 'Per-side offset' and 'Semi-locked' camera toggles have been fixed
- Fixed a bug where killing enemies in the fog of war sometimes caused your CS counter to decrease
- Similar to last patch's bugfix for Malphite, the following abilities no longer trigger their effects at the start position when interacting with displacement spells like Trundle's E - Pillar of Ice. Apologies in advance for the super-dense formatting here:
- Ahri's R - Essence Rush, Corki's W - Valkyrie, Fiora's Q - Lunge, Gragas's E - Body Slam, Hecarim's R - Onslaught of Shadows fear, Irelia's Q - Bladesurge, Jarvan IV's E - Demacian Standard/Q - Dragon Strike combo, Jax's Q - Leap Strike, Jayce's Hammer Form Q - To the Skies!, LeBlanc's W - Distortion, Maokai's W - Twisted Advance, Pantheon's W - Aegis of Zeonia, Poppy's E - Heroic Charge wall stun, Quinn's E - Vault, Renekton's E - Slice and Dice, Sejuani's Q - Arctic Assault, Shen's E - Shadow Dash, Shyvana's R - Dragon's Descent, Tryndamere's E - Spinning Slash, Zac's E - Elastic Slingshot