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With Worlds finished up and ranked concluded, the 2016 season has drawn to a close. Welcome to pre-season.
From revamping the Ranked system (again), to adding some much-overdue features in Replays and Practice Tool to finally moving the client update to open beta, it’s a year for leveling up all around. We’re hard at work to make a season worth remembering, and that starts right here.
So what else is on the agenda? The latest in our series of class updates - the Assassins - are prowling the rift, armed to the teeth and ready to parkour across any obstacle to reach their prey. While the Patch Notes have all the info below (and some sweet videos), let’s take a second to talk about the goals. Unlike a full-scale update (like Yorick or Poppy), class updates aren’t targeted at reinventing characters from the bottom up. They’re for taking a group of champions that feel a little too similar and making them more distinct while improving their overall game health.
While Assassins may receive top-billing, there are plenty of other gameplay changes in pre-season’s supporting cast. The notes are plenty long on their own, so we’ll let you scour the pages below to learn all about them. All in all, pre-season is a time of chaos and change. It’s a tumultuous period where innovators thrive and the only way out is through. So grab an Edge of Night, channel yourself a spell-shield and dive right in. We’ll be tossing daggers right next to you.
Like we always do about this time - good luck, have fun.
Paul "Aether" Perscheid
Mattias "Gentleman Gustaf" Lehman
Part of the challenge when undertaking a class update is finding a niche for each champion to fill in an ever-expanding roster, and Talon was no exception. For once in his life, ‘More Blades’ wasn’t an acceptable answer. Instead, we decided to take our cues from the most impressive Talon players out there and really focus on amping what had become an emergent strength of his: roaming. Roaming as a concept can be somewhat evergreen (technically every champion is a roaming champion if you put your mind to it), but when we saw the staggering amount of Talons purchasing Boots of Mobility and running to sidelanes for kills, we set out to embrace the style.
Enter Talon’s newfound obsession with parkour. Thanks to the new Assassin’s Path, we’re letting Talon be the assassin that’s never too far from the fray, providing some seriously impressive gank paths to catch his prey off guard. By giving Talon more opportunities to be at the right place at the right time, we can afford to slow his burst while keeping him an ever-present threat on the map. To the rock-climbers and free-runners of the Rift, this one’s for you.
Talon’s abilities wound champions and epic monsters for a short duration, stacking up to three times. When Talon basic attacks a fully wounded target, they bleed for a large amount of physical damage over time.
Talon leaps to a target, dealing physical damage. If cast within melee range, Talon does not leap but instead critically strikes his target for 150%. Whenever Noxian Diplomacy kills a unit, Talon restores health and refunds 50% of its cooldown.
W - Rake
Talon vaults over the nearest structure or terrain in a target direction. The vault’s speed is affected by Talon’s movement speed. Talon cannot vault over the same section of terrain for a period of time.
R - Shadow Assault
Kat’s truly the embodiment of the phrase ‘feast or famine’; crushing entire fights in a second of button mashing, or throwing limp daggers in a poor attempt to contribute from behind. This has led to a pretty tight leash for Kat’s balance - while you can succeed on her, we’ve had to fine tune every part of her laning to ensure she can’t reliably hit her penta-killing critical mass every game.
This update seeks to remove Kat’s harsh restrictions while also delivering on her lightning-speed high-skill fantasy. Armed with her new Dagger mechanic, Kat’s got the flexibility to orchestrate flashy fights (or smooth getaways) in a way that both she and her opponents can engage with. This lets us ease up on a lot of the base-stat restrictions needed to artificially keep her down, given that Katarina’s opponents always have a clue as to when and how she might move in for the kill.
As a result of the changes, it’s important to talk about one key line below: Katarina can no longer target wards with Shunpo. It’s not a decision that was taken lightly, but a large part of Kat’s update is centered around telegraphing her potential mobility to assailants. Ward-hopping breaks this at a fundamental level - giving her far too many easy outs in tense situations. Kat’s all about finding the right mix of premeditation and reaction in her playmaking, so you’ll have to think on your feet and use all of your tools to survive.
Katarina throws a dagger, dealing damage to her target and nearby enemies. Then, the dagger ricochets onto the ground behind her initial target . If Katarina picks up a dagger, she uses it to slash through all nearby enemies.
Katarina tosses a dagger into the air and gains movement speed for a short duration.
E - Shunpo
R - Death Lotus
When it comes to identity, Leblanc’s intended to be a fast-paced combo-oriented assassin that uses misdirection and deceit to make her opponent’s heads spin. In reality, however, things play out a little differently. While combos are certainly the name of Leblanc’s game, her largest issue is how little deceiving and misdirecting she actuallyends up doing. When your biggest mind-game ability is also the one you double-cast to blow someone up, something’s gotta give.
With her update, we’re letting Leblanc make more tricky plays than ever before. By utilizing Mimic either to create a split-second diversion in the heat of an all-in, or creating a global (!) distraction to fake out unsuspecting side-lanes, your success with LB will depend as much on your creativity as your mechanical skill.
LeBlanc’s abilities apply Sigil of Malice to her target. After a short duration, striking the target with LeBlanc’s abilities detonates the sigil, dealing magic damage.
Q - Shatter Orb
W - Distortion
E - Ethereal Chains
On cast, creates a copy of LeBlanc before both becoming invisible for a brief moment. Afterwards, both LeBlanc and her copy cast an empowered version of one of LeBlanc’s basic abilities. Only the real LeBlanc deals damage. Empowering Mimic itself creates a copy of LeBlanc at a target location with global range. Once conjured, the copy will walk towards the nearest visible enemy champion, casting a fake version of LeBlanc’s last used spell before disappearing. Empowering Mimic has its own cooldown.
For all of Rengar’s past history of being frustrated, let’s set one thing straight: we’re actually okay with him leaping on someone and then swiftly murdering them. Rengar’s issue hasn’t been that his assassinations are too effective, rather that his victims have almost no time to react to his attacks. This makes Rengar’s role a binary one - recklessly diving onto targets with no hope of retaliation, or recklessly diving and getting obliterated.
Rengar’s update is focused on leveling out these extremes on bothends of the spectrum. For opponents, this means better awareness of when Rengar’s on the hunt and who he’s got in his sights. For Rengar, this means giving him access to more potent defensive tools so he can live to fight leap another day when things go south. Rengar still rewards patience and awareness, and now he’s got more flexibility to boot.
While in brush, basic attacking causes Rengar to leap towards his target. Leaping to enter combat generates 1 Ferocity. At 4 Ferocity his next ability is empowered. Casting an empowered ability increases Rengar’s movement speed for a short duration. Killing unique champions grants Rengar their trophies, increasing the strength of his Bonetooth Necklace.
Rengar slashes enemies in an arc in front of him, followed by piercing in a line, generating 1 Ferocity. Both strikes deal physical damage. If used at 4 Ferocity, Savagery’s damage is significantly increased.
W - Battle Roar
E - Bola Strike
Rengar activates his predatory instincts, becoming camouflaged for the duration. While active, Rengar gains bonus movement speed and vision of the nearest enemy champion. Rengar can leap without being in brush during this time, and leaping to the revealed champion results in a critical strike. Attacking or using abilities ends Thrill of the Hunt.
R now grows as the fish travels along its path, resulting in different sizes of sharks.
As one of our more all-or-nothing assassins, Fizz occupies a tricky spot on the balance spectrum. On one hand, it’s easy for Fizz to feel shut out of a matchup due to his lack of laning tools. On the other, thanks to the effectiveness of using Chum the Waters up close, it’s pretty difficult to avoid Fizz’s all-in when he decides to get frisky. Our changes this patch are aimed at embracing what makes Fizz unique among assassins—best-in-class ranged initiation—while better telegraphing the moments when he’s able to go in for the kill.
Q - Urchin Strike
Passively, Fizz’s basic attacks cause his enemies to bleed for magic damage. When activated, Fizz’s next basic attack deals magic damage, increased by 300% if the target has bled for at least 2 seconds.
E - Playful / Trickster
R - Chum the Waters
- GUPPY SHARK : If Chum the Waters travels less than 455 units, it will summon a Guppy Shark after 2 seconds.
- GUPPY AREA OF EFFECT : 200
- DAMAGE : 150/250/350 (+0.6 ability power)
- SLOW : 40%
- KNOCKBACK : 150
- NORMAL SHARK : If Chum the Waters travels between 455 and 910 units, it will summon a normal (but still terrifying) shark.
- NORMAL AREA OF EFFECT : 325
- DAMAGE : 225/325/425 (+0.8 ability power)
- SLOW : 60%
- KNOCKBACK : 250
- GIGALODON SHARK : If Chum the Waters has traveled at least 910 units, it will summon a massive Gigalodon Shark
- GIGA AREA OF EFFECT : 450
- DAMAGE : 300/400/500 (+1.2 ability power)
- SLOW : 80%
- KNOCKBACK : 350
Evolved Q refunds Q’s cooldown when cast on Isolated targets, Evolved W heavily slows Isolated targets, and Evolved R stealths Kha’Zix when entering brush.
While Kha’Zix’s evolution mechanic promises the ability to tailor your decisions to the game at hand, the balance of power between options has made that promise a difficult one to keep. For pre-season, we’ve retooled KZ’s evolutions by playing up his other unique mechanic: Isolation. While you’re welcome to still just evolve wings first (because it’s sweet), we’re pushing more of Kha’Zix’s power into stalking Isolated targets rather than overwhelming them. This focuses his decisions less on which give Kha’Zix the most damage potential and instead on which will help him hunt his prey game to game.
Passive - Unseen Threat
Q - Taste Their Fear
W - Void Spike
R - Void Assault
Passive causes Akali’s next two attacks to heal and deal bonus damage. W teleports Akali to the cast location.
If you’ve been keeping up with the Assassin notes so far, you’re probably noticing a pattern - each update contain equal parts ‘how do we make this less frustrating?’ and ‘how do we make this feel cooler? Akali’s no different. On the subject of making her more unique, we’re playing up Akali’s ‘smoke bomb’ to feel like a more potent defensive tool, giving her more ninja-like ways to juke, dodge, and mindgame her opponents in combat. As for answering that first question, we’re focusing more of her damage in repeatable, telegraphed spikes, ala Mark of the Assassin. We’re not re-inventing the wheel, but Akali’s update should appeal to those patient enough to wait for the right moment to strike.
Akali’s first two attacks have bonus effects. Akali’s first basic attack heals her, while the second deals bonus damage. A few seconds after her first attack, this resets.
W - Twilight Shroud
E - Crescent Slash
R - Shadow Dance
Zed now gains a portion of the attack damage of champions killed with Death Mark for himself.
Among our assassins, Zed’s the generalist—some stabbing here, a bit of sidelane pressure there—the Master of Shadows does just about everything you want from the role. It’s because of this that he’s been such a balance headache: whenever assassins are good as a class, Zed’s right there to push his knife-wielding brethren out of the spotlight. We’re giving Zed some more differentiation to help inform when you should and shouldn’t consider picking him.
Given his ‘fondness’ for marksmen, we sought to hit two birds with one stone—reducing some of his general power while making him the blade in your arsenal when it comes to dealing with physical damage threats. While Zed will still be potent in the right hands against most team compositions, his true late-game scaling is now dependent not just on how he executes his foes, but who he chooses to mark for death. And how many BF Swords they have.
W - Living Shadow
E - Shadow Slash
R - Death Mark
Passive slow removed. R triggers Parallel Convergences that Ekko travels through while Chronobreaking.
Unlike many of the champions included in the Assassin Update, Ekko’s changes are just a continuation (albeit a bit more dramatic) of our narrative this season. While Tank Ekko’s been at varying levels of power all year, the key takeaway has been that his pattern, regardless of items, has enough risk that it will always be his best interest to mitigate it. So while these changes don’t aim (or claim) to ‘destroy Tank Ekko once and for all’, they do give damage-focused Ekko builds a more extreme degree of safety from Chronobreak. By allowing AP-focused builds to have a true reset we’re able to cut some of Ekko’s superfluous power and introduce more ways for Ekko to style on you rather than overwhelm you with force.
Passive - Z-Drive Resonance
Q - Timewinder
R - Chronobreak
R leaves a nest of Jack-in-the-boxes on death. W has more health.
While Shaco’s changelist may appear large, the goals are actually very simple: dialing back his extremes. Shaco’s well known for ending games quickly - either by dominating so hard one team surrenders, or failing to convert those beginning minutes and quickly diminishing in effectiveness. We’re reducing the power of Shaco’s frustrating early ganks and translating that power into more utility within skirmishes. By shifting when exactly Shaco can impact a game most, we’re making him more accessible to the average player while letting the trained Shaco mains out there display their dominance (without causing as many broken keyboards).
Upon attacking a unit from behind, Shaco critically strikes them. Shaco can’t backstab the same unit for a short duration.
Q - Deceive
W - Jack In The Box
E - Two-Shiv Poison
R - Hallucinate
Conceptually, stealth is easy to understand: “you can’t see me.” Mechanically, that means a few things. First, stealth is tied to the vision game: when you don’t know where someone is, there’s a chance they’re closing in on you. This creates both strategic and tactical advantages: for example, Evelynn roaming the map unseen or Wukong getting into initiation range. Second, stealth is a powerful (albeit unwieldy) form of in-combat defense, since stealthed champs can’t be targeted and skillshot aiming becomes rough guesswork.
Across League’s history, we haven’t done a great job of handling these traits separately. Case in point: Vision Wards are the one-size-fits all counter to stealth, regardless of what enemies are trying to do while unseen. To keep things generally balanced, we’ve had to give stealth champions more overall power to offset situations when pink wards shut them down, and that makes them overbearing when wards aren’t in play. There’s simply not enough middle ground.
Crafting a more refined approach to stealth has implications on multiple parts of the game, and pre-season’s the best time for us to adjust all those levers at once. Make sure to read both this and the Wards section for the complete story!
Longer duration ‘strategic’ stealth. Revealed by proximity, turrets, and Control Wards.
The longer duration of Camouflage effects make them ideal for roaming around lanes and the jungle unseen, moving from one victim to the next. Nearby enemies can see through Camouflage, however, making it less reliable in the middle of fights.
- Evelynn’s Passive - Shadow Walk
- Rengar’s R - Thrill of the Hunt
- Twitch’s Q - Ambush
Shorter duration ‘tactical’ stealth. Revealed only by turrets.
Invisibility effects don't last long enough for users to move from one lane to another, but are well-suited for maneuvering in combat (whether that's to start a fight or reposition within one). Turrets are the only entities that passively see through Invisibility, in line with their nature as safe havens.
- Akali’s W - Twilight Shroud
- Kha’Zix’s R - Void Assault
- LeBlanc’s R - Mimic
- Shaco’s Q - Deceive
- Talon’s R - Shadow Assault
- Teemo’s Passive - Guerilla Warfare (formerly “Camouflage”)
- Vayne’s R - Final Hour
- Wukong’s W - Decoy
Hitting stealthed units briefly reveals their location.
This pre-season, we wanted to create a way to deal with stealth that isn’t just “turn it off.” This new shimmer mechanic is a means of scouting for—and reacting to—stealthed enemies without completely exposing them to retaliation.
Vision Ward update. Reveals Camouflage but not Invisibility. Disables nearby enemy wards.
With the addition of the shimmer mechanic as a close(ish)-quarters way to interact with stealth, we felt confident removing Vision Wards from the combat equation. That leaves us with an item that serves one purpose: vision control. (Hence the name change: Control Wards.) With power to spare, we doubled down on the control aspect, and the result is a tool that not only reveals nearby enemy vision, but actively denies it. Controlling indeed.
- Vision Wards are now Control Wards-see above!
Ward kills grant more experience. Attacking wards no longer proc lifesteal effects.
The warding game has always been an important part of League, and that’s only becoming more true this pre-season. From one perspective, this means hunting for wards is its own reward. In another light, however, players are punished for contesting vision as an ‘objective’ since they sacrifice experience and map presence to do so. We’re upping the payoff for ward kills to make it clearer that yes, vision clearing is a thing you should do.
- With Control Wards no longer nullifying stealth, wards are moving away from in-combat interactions. This change is in line with that direction.
Flat armor penetration has been replaced with Lethality, which scales with target level.
Assassins have a snowball problem. When ahead, they’re really ahead, but when behind, they’re pretty underwhelming. In part, this is the nature of a 1-on-1, outplay champion. But for physical assassins, flat armor penetration is exacerbating the problem. Mages and marksmen—the assassin’s natural prey—don’t typically build defenses early on, so the bulk of their armor in lane comes from levels (Zhonya’s Hourglass is the main exception). So, if assassins start snowballing, flat armor penetration punches through a significant portion of their target’s armor, continuing the snowball. But if assassins fall behind, their threat is mitigated by their targets’ innate stats alone. To give attack damage based assassins more consistency, we’re reworking armor penetration to be more consistently impactful late game without being overbearing early on.
Precision (Tier 5 Cunning mastery)
About the same amount of flat armor penetration, except now it’s lethality.
Flat Armor Penetration Runes
These now grant lethality instead of flat armor penetration, and they all break even at level 12.
Hybrid Penetration Runes
Only the armor penetration is changing (to lethality)! These also break even at level 12.
Attack damage up. On-hit damage after kill removed. Out of combat movement speed added.
Assassins are best when they have to find the right moment to all-in their opponents. The ability to whittle their opponents down simply isn’t a major class strength for them. In other words, Most assassins want better roaming and better burst out of their items, not better lane harass. So, we’re giving it to them.
Transforms into Serrated Dirk after killing three Large Monsters in the enemy jungle.
An item that rewards aggressive junglers and bird stealers mid laners for trespassing into enemy territory in the early game.
Edge of Night
New Serrated Dirk upgrade. Channel for a spellshield.
More than any other class, assassins are too easily shut down by stray or ambient crowd control. We’re giving them some ability to plan for—and avoid— interruption as they dive in, at the cost of some slot efficiency compared to other assassin items.
Duskblade of Draktharr
Mini-Death-Mark removed. Deal bonus damage after being unseen. Disable nearby enemy wards when spotted.
Roaming is core to the assassin playstyle, but their items could do more to enable them to gank efficiently. Duskblade of Draktharr now gives assassins a way to...detect… detection and be rewarded for catching champions by surprise.
Move faster. Active no longer grants attack speed.
The base stats attached to Youmuu’s Ghostblade were a bit of a grab-bag for physical damage, making it useful for basically every AD-focused champion. Most of its unintended users benefit too much from the active’s attack speed, so we’re removing it.
Maw of Malmortius
Builds out of Caulfield’s Warhammer instead of Serrated Dirk.
Like Youmuu’s Ghostblade, Maw of Malmortius is also a grab bag of damage stats; in designer talk, it isn’t really stat bound to class. Unlike Youmuu’s, Maw is warping what it means to be an assassin: assassins are bursty, while Maw supports an extended damage pattern. This wasn’t a problem while Maw of Malmortius was the only available defensive item for both classes, but with Edge of Night taking over as the go-to defensive item for assassins, we feel comfortable moving Maw into fighter territory. We’re cutting the Armor Penetration to make this a less attractive buy for assassins. If they’re opting into Maw for the shield, they will be paying a cost: weaker burst.
Introducing plants to the Rift.
Pre-season is here and with it are new things to explore in the jungle. We want to make Summoner’s Rift feel more alive and that’s where Plants come into play. Plants create new ways for teams to take control of the map and approach objectives, as well as how you engage in future fights. Different plants spawn in on the map during certain parts of the game in order to provide interesting combat situations and rewarding players who adapt to them.
Plants have evolved pretty significantly during their time on PBE, and we’ll continue iterating on them throughout pre-season. We’re excited to see how you use them!
- Red = Blast Cone
- Blue = Scryer’s Bloom
- Green = Honeyfruit
Smite bonuses (the benefits you get from Smiting a camp) are a feature we actually think functions pretty well at giving junglers tools to contest objectives and control the map. However, we think we can do better, so we’re removing Smite bonuses to give us room to make improvements elsewhere. However, there is one important function of Smite bonuses that we haven’t reliably replicated elsewhere: sustain. Smite will continue to carry that burden whenever used on any camp.
On-hit damage up. Lifesteal up.
With Krug and Gromp Smite bonuses gone, we’re upping both the damage and sustain on Hunter’s Machete (and its upgrades) to compensate.
Monster Spawn & Reward Changes
Monster respawn times longer. Monster gold and experience rewards up.
The gap between fast-clearing and slow-clearing junglers is too high. Clearing is always going to be easier for power farmers and bursty clearers, but we think some aspects of the scaling of the jungle monsters is accentuating those differences out a bit too much.
First, junglers pay too much of an opportunity cost when ganking, thanks to how quickly jungle monsters respawn. Champions with high clear speeds can afford to sneak in a gank or invade while their camps are respawning, while champions with lower clear speeds are far too often just leaving their camps sitting whenever they try to do anything. We want more time in between spawns so that slower clearing junglers aren’t giving up so much if they clear their camps before ganking. To compensate, we’re upping the gold and experience rewards for killing camps.
Second, the way that monsters scale is disproportionately benefitting fast clears. The level of camps is based on the average level of the players in the game, which mean faster clearers end up fighting a weaker overall jungle (because they’re clearing it earlier). This is most notable early game, so we want to create brackets of levels that aren’t as sensitive to small variations in levels. These brackets should correspond approximately to “first buffs and first clear”, “second clear and second buffs”, and “next few clears”, but your mileage may vary depending on game pacing and jungle choices.
- Levels 1-3
- Levels 4-6
- Levels 7-9
- Levels 10+: scales linearly.
We like what camps like Gromp and Raptors have done for making different camps feel distinct to clear. This pre-season, we’re sharpening those distinctions even more.
Blue Sentinel & Red Brambleback
The Red and Blue Buff camps are like mini-bosses, and we wanted to make room for each buff to have unique character. The Sentinels weren’t adding much, and there were already plenty of three-monster camps anyway. Removing the Sentinels and pushing those stats back into the buff monster lets the Sentinel and Brambleback hold onto all of the strength of their camp. To distinguish the two camps from one another, Blue Brambleback is easier for magic damage dealers to take, while Red Brambleback dies more quickly to physical damage.
Raptors are the area of effect camp, so we’re adding even more raptors.
There’s no camp for the jungler who wants to sacrifice time spent on the map in exchange for more gold. We’re reimagining Krugs as a time sink for players who want to do just that.
Gromp is already serving its niche as the single-target camp quite well. However, for slower clearing champions, its persistent threat can serve as too much of a deterrent. We’re adjusting its damage profile so that it does less damage the longer you’re fighting it. If you can burst it, or if you can weather the initial storm, Gromp’s your boy.
- Murk Wolves are the every man camp, so we’re not going to do major changes here.
Rift Herald spawns later and hits less hard.
Rift Herald is supposed to be a threatening objective for split-pushers to contest. It’s high damage renders it too threatening to be worth taking, as it often turns into a trap for players who try to start it, especially early on. We’re pushing Rift Herald’s spawn back to a time more appropriate to such a strong objective, and dialing back on its damage so that players have clearer opportunities to secure it.
Elder Dragon is no longer more difficult for each drake you’ve taken. Aspect of the Dragon duration up.
Elder Dragon is supposed to be an epic late game objective that helps secure a win. The teams who should feel best about taking Elder Dragon are the ones who have already secured a few dragons. However, the more dragons you’ve already taken, the harder it is to take down. When Elder Dragon takes that long to kill, starting it can feel like a mistake, because it opens up baron to the other team. This is only compounded by the fact that Elder Dragon buff lasts half as long as Baron buff.
As the game scales past laning phase, some classes opt out of engaging with minions (hi, tanks and supports) while most others just steamroll through waves early on. We’re strengthening the differences between minion types in order to get a better picture of which champions are engaging with them and why they are doing so, creating more opportunities for other champions to interact with them as the game progresses.
Two years ago we made Inhibitors and Nexus turrets shoot laser beams instead of laser bullets. We're reverting that change from back then in order to streamline the way turrets attack across the board.
We’re standardizing the damage turrets deal to minions to ensure last hitting under turret isn’t changed with the minion health changes above. (Last-hit after one turret shot for casters, two for melees—in case you didn’t know.)
- MELEE : ~45% health per bullet
- RANGED : ~70% health per bullet
- SIEGE : ~14% health per bullet
- SUPER : ~5% health per bullet
Reducing minimap clutter and improving icon readability on important objectives.
Aegis of the Legion Items
Aegis of the Legion
Aura removed. Health removed. MR increased. Armor added.
There’s just no way around it: Aegis of the Legion is too strong. No amount of magic resist would feel impactful on one champion without being overpowered on five, so we’re removing the aura. With that out of the way, we need to give supports other ways to accomplish what Aegis of the Legion did: protect their team. To do that, we’re introducing
But what does Aegis look like without its aura? The Aegis line is for low-level champions who are at risk of deletion, yet are expected to roam and ward alone (supports and utility junglers, that’s you). With assassins running around, Aegis is the perfect buy to feel a bit safer straying into the Fog of War.
Locket of the Iron Solari
Aura and health removed. Shield and magic resist increased. Now has armor.
With the Aegis aura gone, we want to make sure Locket still feels impactful in fights, so we’re doubling the shield. It also brings more magic resist than you can shake a stick at, so don’t worry about getting bursted before you can drop the bass. And by the bass we mean shield.
Banner of Command
Redesigned. Now a tank item.
Unlike Locket, Banner’s being rebuilt from the ground up. Banner of Command previously built out of a tank item (Aegis of the Legion) and a mage item (Fiendish Codex). This felt fine for enchanters when Aegis was a must-buy, but made Banner inaccessible to tanks. With the number of caster support items already available, we felt it more appropriate to give tanks more options to build out of Aegis, rather than splitting the item’s functions between several classes (tanks and enchanters and the occasional burst mage).
Shrinking Forbidden Idol’s cost and effects so supports can pick it up faster.
Chalice of Harmony
Chalice of Harmony now duplicates bonus mana regen as bonus health regen.
Chalice’s old passive was confusing. Is extra mana regen really worth it if you spend it all healing back to full? For all that complexity, it wasn’t having enough of an impact on the game, so we’re updating it to be clearer. Healers who invest in mana regen now get to spend less of that mana topping their health bars off.
Redemption gives one more spell -- bringing both a heal and damage -- available even after death.
Are you an enchanter? Do you love healing and shielding your teammates so they don’t die? Do you hate dying, not because you’re dead, but because you know your carry doesn’t stand a chance without you? No problem! Redemption not only boosts your healing, but also gives you an additional ability that can even be used while dead. With Redemption, you can give your carry a second chance at life, even if yours is already over.
Grants less on-hit damage, but now grants an on-hit heal.
Ardent Censer embodies a simple concept—keep your carries alive and make them hit harder—but the on-hit buff was only doing one of those things. By shifting some of the damage to sustain, we’re giving supports the ability to enhance trades and duels by keeping their carries alive, not just giving them more damage.
No longer heals, but has no travel time and grants your target slow immunity. Successful cleanses also grant them movement speed.
Using Mikael’s Crucible correctly can be pretty difficult, and often goes unnoticed. We want to make sure Mikael’s Crucible fills the niche of crowd control removal in a more satisfying way. We’re removing the existing travel time to make it more consistent and making sure it’s clear when Mikael’s has been used successfully. That means trimming power from Mikael’s elsewhere, so we’re removing the heal from the active.
It’s just cheaper now.
Wardens have a lot of tools to control teamfights, throwing crowd control left and right. But when it comes to protecting a single target from damage, they often find themselves unable to help out (unless their name is Braum). We want to give those champions the ability to pick one single teammate and work overtime to keep them alive, even when their spells are on cooldown.
We’re giving this the Heal treatment: it targets the nearest low-health allied champion as well when self-cast. Get in the thick of things and know you can shield your ally while stile bailing yourself out!
Item Efficiency Pass
We’re bringing the costs down or the stats up. Everything must go!
Gameplay update for Alistar. Passive and E are conceptually swapping places.
Alistar’s been on our radar since our “support supports” work earlier in the season. He’s got powerful initiation and one of the best damage mitigation tools in the game, but also reliable healing opponents can’t really do anything about. It’s unclear how to win in lane against a tank that heals his team: poke damage doesn’t stick, burst damage isn’t enough to bring him down, and you can’t get past him to kill his carry instead. This means we’ve had to water down a lot of Alistar’s tools to keep him fair.
As a result, Alistar’s teamfight gameplay is marked by a lot of downtime. After initiating with W+Q, he doesn’t have much to do beyond pressing R and trying to block skillshots. Damage soaking is an important contribution, but as League’s mad cow, we think Alistar should do more to aggressively disrupt the enemy team once he dives into the fray. He’s losing some reliability in exchange (particularly in terms of his healing), but a greater risk of failure lets us give him greater rewards for success.
Q - Pulverize
R - Unbreakable Will
Ambush now Camouflages Twitch. W leaves a gas cloud.
With the pre-season’s changes to stealth, it was only natural that we involved Twitch. Well-known for his powerful ambushing and late-game scaling, Twitch’s stealth is a uniquely aggressive trait among marksmen who typically favor range and safety. Where Twitch’s pattern breaks down is when he’s able to amass so much damage that popping out by enemies isn’t an actual drawback (since they’ll be dead anyways). Changing Twitch to use camouflage means the dirty rat gets to retain his razor-edge stealth plays, but also gives opponents a chance to catch him before he retreats into the shadows.
Twitch hurls a cask that adds a stack of Deadly Venom to all enemies struck, leaving behind a cloud of toxic gas. Enemies that remain in the cloud are slowed and gain Deadly Venom stacks over time.
R - Spray and Pray
Skin splash updates
Q cooldown decreased. Daisy has more health and is generally smarter.
Ivern’s still new to the Rift, taking his time to get acquainted with the local wildlife (and winning, for that matter). Experienced Iverns are getting a lot of mileage out of the Greenfather, but his first couple of games are posing too steep a challenge. We’re touching up Ivern’s experience by tackling some of his less-smooth interactions (specifically with Rootcaller and Daisy!), while tossing in some power-positive changes for good measure.
Q - Rootcaller
R - Daisy!
Remounts more quickly. W damage down.
Kled is a bloodthirsty little yordle who loves violence. He’s not having any issue starting fights, thanks to Chaaaaaaaarge!!! Once he’s in the thick of things, Kled brings both high damage and the ability to turn a fight around with a timely remount, and we think that’s left him at a pretty good power level. However, we think remounting is what makes Kled’s combat pattern unique, and we’d like it to be more consistently accessible. Kled is at a pretty good power right now, which means his sustained damage needs to dip to compensate.
Passive - Skaarl, the Cowardly Lizard
W - Violent Tendencies
Flat magic resist reduction replaced with magic damage amplification.
Abyssal Scepter is a must-rush item. When purchased before the opposing team can build magic resist, it provides (sigh) tons of damage. But once the other team builds into defenses, Scepter starts to fall off. This gave it a natural rivalry with Aegis of the Legion’s teamwide aura. Now that Aegis no longer beefs up carry resistances, Abyssal Scepter would run unchecked early and take too long to fall off. We’re pushing it away from that early power spike and making it feel useful at all stages of the game.
On-hit damage reduced.
For an early-game purchase, the damage on Revolver is too damn high.
Damage from multiple bolts down. AP scaling down.
Protobelt should give champions like Kennen the added mobility and initiation power they need to get in the face of their enemies. However, the damage its active deals is currently so high that it’s overshadowing that utility.
Last pre-season saw a ground-up rebuild of masteries with the goal of making mastery choices more about individual playstyle than numerical buffs. Though we’ve had a few balance challenges over the season, the basic premise has held up over time. We’re filling in the remaining holes in each tree with an eye toward further sharpening this ‘playstyle-first’ vision, and addressing two of the ‘problem children’ remaining in the system.
Side-note: we recently shipped an article sharing most of the information in this section, so if you get deja-vu, you’re not crazy (or psychic).
The Ferocity tree caters to champions who prefer lengthier fights over bursting opponents down. We’re adding a few new ways for these types to customize how their fights play out.
Double Edged Sword
- In general, lower mastery tiers are impactful early, but fall off later. This keeps decisionmaking reasonable. As a scaling mastery, Double Edged Sword isn’t a great fit for Tier 2, so we’re moving it higher.
- Impactful early, falls off late. Yeah.
Tier 4 offers three different flavors of damage scaling, making it a better fit for Double Edged Sword. Double Edged Sword
- Risk-reward incarnate. Remember: (most) dead people deal no damage.
- Provides the highest bonus if you can manage to stack it.
- Safe and guaranteed, but takes time to ramp up.
- Champions either have perma-crowd control or they don’t. How you play makes little difference when the only question is whether you can activate Oppressor or not, so we’re removing it in favor of more versatile options. See above.
- Fervor of Battle has been an on-again, off-again balance challenge for us throughout 2016, mostly due to on-hit effects only working when attack speed and basic attacking are prioritized above all else. Many Fervor users might prefer to focus on crit chance for harder-hitting attacks or cooldown reduction for more spellcasting, but can’t because neither approach optimizes on-hit damage. In other words, Fervor doesn’t just support the attack speed playstyle, it suppresses everything else in the ‘sustained physical damage’ space.
- We’re switching Fervor’s bonus to raw attack damage, a stat that fits in multiple approaches toward extended fighting. If we’re being direct, this is a power-down for on-hit builds, but ‘power-down’ doesn’t mean ‘unusable’. We want to put all flavors of Fervor users back on an even playing field, not kick the old ones out.
Cunning’s in a reasonably stable place, offering choices for champs who favor burst or utility—in some cases both, such as Stormraider’s Surge. We’re filling the last gap in the tree.
- Extra oomph for champions who duck in and out of brush between combat.
- We chatted about this earlier. Go read the lethality stuff.
The Resolve tree provides some solid options to make champions tankier, but ironically falls a bit flat in supporting the tank playstyle. We’re adding choices that reward tanks for actively doing their job rather than just making them passively beefier.
- Siegemaster helps you survive poke and live through dive attempts while sitting under tower.
- Extra mitigation at the start of a fight.
Strength of the Ages
- Strength of the Ages is the only keystone that’s become almost mandatory for an entire position, regardless of playstyle: the jungle. Health is useful for every class, so it stands to reason that champs who wouldn’t otherwise take Strength would still pick it in the jungle, where it stacks fastest. The problem: most junglers now end up with 300 extra health, plus other survivability bonuses from the Resolve tree. This works for tanks, but when damage threats find success with defensive setups, opponents have no means of fighting back. We’re retiring Strength of the Ages so junglers gravitate toward keystones that enhance playstyle, not their position—ensuring that damage dealers play like damage dealers, and tanks play like tanks.
- Note: We know that Strength of the Ages was a genuine fit for some junglers. Removing it will be a hit to these core users, but with other pre-season changes in the mix, we don’t think anyone will be left without a keystone for their playstyle. Once the dust has settled, we’ll see if anyone’s fallen far enough to warrant follow-up.
- Giving initiators a survivability tool in the moment they need it most: diving into the enemy team.
League Client Update
The changelog now lives in the patch notes. Open beta is coming for all regions during this patch!
Once the beta begins, the download will appear for everyone launching the game, and if you don't feel like upgrading right away, you'll still have the option to upgrade through your launcher at any point during the beta. For testing purposes, open beta will hit OCE slightly earlier during patch 6.22 than other regions.
We’ll be working out a few kinks and adding the remainder of the client’s missing features (like spectator mode) over the next few patches—it’s a beta, after all! To those of you who want to jump in right away: if you run into anything funky, be sure to hit us with that sweet, sweet feedback.
Check out the open beta FAQ for more details.
Below are the major updates for the League client update this patch. Bear in mind that this is not a complete list of everything that was added or changed.
We reorder the scoreboard so you don’t have to.
For real this time. This’ll be activated some time during the patch once pre-season is fully shipped and out in the world.
End of Season 2016
The 2016 ranked season has ended, and rewards will be distributed over the next few weeks! Head to the End of Season FAQ for a refresher on end of season rewards.
Players who finished the season in Gold tier or higher in any ranked queue will receive the Victorious Maokai skin!
Finally, to those who achieved Challenger: be sure to verify your email address! We’re currently vetting account eligibility, and will be sending instructions for ordering your physical rewards in the next few weeks.
2017 Ranked Updates
Testing for this season’s ranked queue changes will begin soon. In-depth explanations of those changes can be found here!
Starting next patch, the patch notes will include updates on the health of each ranked queue. (“Health” here refers to stuff like queue times and match quality.) Our goal is to keep you in the loop so that if we need to make queue adjustments, they won’t come as a surprise.
- We always fix more bugs than we list in the patch notes, but that's especially true this time around. Fun fact: this set of notes is 14 thousand words long.
- Gangplank's Q - Parrley! crits no longer travel faster than normal casts, fixing a bug that prevented him from chaining extra barrels during the travel time.
- Lucian's W - Ardent Blaze no longer auto-fires in the same direction as Passive - Lightslinger's second shot if cast between Lightslinger's shots
- Fixed a bug that allowed Thresh to cast W - Dark Passage globally under specific circumstances. No lantern was created, but Thresh gained vision of the target area.
- Illaoi's tentacles now normally swing at champions under the effects of Taric's R - Cosmic Radiance or Kindred's R - Lamb's Respite
- Jinx can no longer queue up Q - Switcheroo! during the cast time of R - Super Mega Death Rocket! This addresses a bug that sometimes caused the rocket to appear further ahead to enemies than it was.
- Master Yi's Q - Alpha Strike now properly charges Statikk Shiv's passive
- PROJECT: Fiora's Passive - Duelist's Dance Vitals indicators no longer visually disappear before the effect expires
- PROJECT: Yasuo's basic attack animations have been adjusted to visually slash the target at the same time damage is applied, rather than slightly after
- Blackfrost Anivia's W - Crystallize visuals have been widened to match her other skins (actual hitbox was never broken!)
- When cast on a turret, Star Guardian Janna's E - Eye of the Storm visuals now properly disappear if the shield is broken
- Ivern can no longer be flagged as AFK if he farms the jungle for too long without interacting with anyone else
- Wooglet's Witchcap's tooltip now properly indicates its active has a 120-second cooldown
- Lowered the volume of Creator Viktor's R - Chaos Storm churning
- Lulu's running animation has been restored on all skins
- Winter Wonder Lulu'x Pix attack VFX have been re-snow-ified
- Cassiopeia now properly plays VO lines when placing wards
- Star Guardian Jinx's corpse no longer gets stuck in a "T-pose" if she dued while casting Q - Switcheroo!
- Brolaf no longer plays two VO lines at once when activating R - Ragnarok
- Snow Day Gnar's E - Hop bouncing audio has been fixed when Gnar stomps on friendly targets
Upcoming Skins & Chromas
The following skins and chromas will be released during patch 6.22: .