Upcoming sustain changes include serious Soraka nerfs

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Shurelia decided to lift the veil on the upcoming support/sustain changes this week, offering some of the numbers Riot is currently working with to reduce the passive farm-off in bottom lane. As with any change in LoL, it’s tough to say exactly how it will play out, but I think it’s pretty easy to see that Soraka is being hit hardest by the changes.

Soraka’s healing AP ratios have been cut roughly in half, she no longer receives double mana from Infuse, and the cooldown on Astral Blessing is up to 20 seconds from 10. To compensate, she’ll be getting bigger range on Starcall, a Shred bump, and a slight AP ratio bump. Honestly, I don’t know how Riot intends to keep her in game like this. A 20 second heal? Granted, that will help reduce sustain, but this seems like a push to remove Soraka from competitive play.

Weirdly enough, Sona seems like she’ll be hit the least hard, even though I consider her one of the primary culprits for too much sustain. She got a slight base heal nerf and an AP ratio nerf, but she now grants double her passive aura to herself and her target for 3 seconds after cast. That’s a pretty nice armor/MR boost, even if the heal is being cut down.

Taric caught the Soraka treatment with his heal. The AP ratio is down by nearly half and the cooldown was increased from 12 to 20 seconds at max rank, though attacks against enemy champions now reduce cooldowns by 4 seconds versus 2.

One of the big issues I see with these changes is the way it will affect squishy DPS. Healing, as toxic as it was to the game, was one way to keep squishy teammates in the fight. Without it, I think we’ll see the softer champions playing even more passively, the little that they may be seen. It’s hard for me to not see the changes as a slight tanky DPS buff, which they really didn’t need.

You can read the full list of potential changes at Shurelia’s forum thread. What do you think? Is this a good change for the League? Does healing just need completely overhauled?

  

Rumble Champion Spotlight is out

The Rumble spotlight went live last night and, though I really wanted to dump all of my impressions out at midnight, I decided to wait until today to hopefully give a more balanced look at the League’s new champion. I’m not sure it worked. Rumble seems like the worst parts of the tanky meta all rolled into one little bundle.

First of all, the shield thing has got to stop. Rumble not only gets a damage shield, which likely scales with AP, he also gets a movement speed boost with it, and it’s on a crazy short cooldown. At level 7 Phreak’s shield had a 5 second cooldown. Granted, it didn’t look like it shielded much, but 5 seconds? Yuck.

Rumble also appears to be able to abuse the minion aggro AI in lane because he can cast so often. Minions typically don’t aggro on champions if they’re using spells on one another, an issue typically balanced by the fact that lane casters are fairly squishy. Still, you already know some frustrating exceptions to this rule. Mordekaiser, for instance, can dish out a lot of champion damage without taking aggro from minions because he’s dealing spell damage. The same seems to be true for Rumble, which will be extremely frustrating for the softer characters in lane.

I’ll be interested to see how he actually plays in game. For right now, I’m worried Riot has added yet another bruiser class character to the game, even if he relies on spell damage to bring down opponents.

  

Zileas explains the upcoming mana regen/survivability changes

Twisted Treeline lane.

If you’ve seen the latest patch preview or been to the forums lately, you’ve no doubt heard about the upcoming changes to mana regeneration and the mana runes. It’s a controversial subject, and it looks like the drama finally prompted Zileas to step into the forums to try to clear things up.

His post is fairly long, so I’ll leave you to read it at your leisure. As far as mana regen is concerned, the basic issue development is trying to address is the disparity between level 1 and level 30 players. Riot wants the two to be closer, not further apart, which at first seemed kinda weird to me. Why have the leveling system if it won’t make a difference? Isn’t the whole point of tier 1, 2, and 3 runes so that you can see some sort of progression as you level up and (hopefully) improve?

It is, which is probably why they’re only nerfing mana regen runes. Zileas says they feel necessary on some characters, and I totally agree. The whole point of a mana system is to limit your ability to deal burst damage, not necessarily to limit your spellcasting over time. For that reason, I think this is an okay thing. It’s pretty easy to burn through a mana bar right now without any kind of regen runes. The change will shift some of the regen from runes to base character stats, meaning runes will still be good, but every character should be better. That’s not a bad thing.

The other change is to the Doran’s items, which gets a little more complicated. Riot has said in the past that the laning phase is too passive. To address that, this patch will increase the cost of Doran’s items so it’s no longer possible to buy Doran’s and a potion at level 1. Health quints are also getting a nerf. The hope is for a more active lane phase because of less regeneration. I’m not sure that’s actually how it will play out.

For one, players are passive now because jungling makes it very risky to be in lane with less than 50 percent health. With jungling remaining prominent, it seems unlikely that a shift like this will do much to create a more active lane phase. Also, a nerf to regeneration could be an inadvertent buff to strong harass. Think about laning against Caitlyn when you can’t buy some early HP with a potion. There’s a difference between making things active and crippling melee lanes. This is one of those wide-reaching changes, the effects of which we probably won’t totally understand for a couple weeks.

  

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