Riven Patch Note Roundup

I haven’t done one of these in a couple weeks, mostly because the changes have been pretty lackluster. This week, though, Mordekaiser got nerfed, and it’s no secret that I loathe him like I loathe Seth Rogen, so let’s do a patch roundup, shall we?

Brand caught a range nerf on his Conflagration and a slight damage nerf on his Pillar of Flame. I think he was undernerfed on both accounts. Both spells will still be insanely easy to land, and it doesn’t change the fact that both skills proc his insane passive.

Garen caught a much-needed damage ratio nerf on his Decisive Strike and Judgement, as well as a damage-per-second nerf on Judgement. I’m not sure why he was buffed the way he was in the first place, but the forums seem to love him. I do love characters with high move speed, but I think we can all agree that Garen has had his day in the sun more than once. I was glad to see him knocked down a peg.

As Gameguy astutely pointed out, Garen’s AD scaling got buffed on Judgement, and for some reason I read “reduced from 1.5 to 1.1” instead of “1.5 to 1.4” This is an undernerf, plain and simple. Decisive hits way too hard early in the game, and Garen has that annoying mix of skills that make him way too easy to play well. Movespeed buff plus a silence at the end so that characters with a dash or even Flash can’t get away from the Judgement damage – it’s too much, especially with the way his damage is right now.

Kassadin got a pretty decent buff to his passive, which now soaks 15% of the magic damage he takes. He also got a damage buff to Nether Blade of all things. Will we see the rise of AD Kassadin as a result? No. No we won’t.

Mordekaiser. Oh, Mordekaiser. I’m so happy you won’t be the default pick for top solos everywhere. I’m so glad I’ll be seeing less of you. I’m so glad your shield generation got pounded this patch. Okay, enough gloating. Honestly, I can’t say that I think this is the right fix for Morde. I think the bigger problem is the ult that turns fights into 6v4s and is insanely easy to get a ghost from. I think there are other ways to balance him then making him quite so bad in lane. With no CC, he’s really going to fall off for a lot of players now.

Nidalee got some nice survivability buffs. I wouldn’t have minded waiting another patch or two on those, but since a certain top competitive player loves NIdalee, I suppose this was to be expected. I do think the stat change from dodge to resistances last patch is a very good one.

Orianna got a slight adjustment to her attack range and the mana cost and cast range on Command: Attack. I’m not sure it will solve all her problems. She’s still insanely survivable from mid to late game and she has a monstrous ult. Now, though, at least we’ll only be getting smashed by the good Orianna’s. The rest will just barely be beating us.

Rammus got some negligible adjustments and Shaco got some bug fixes. Shaco still needs quite a lot of help to be truly viable, but this is a step in the right direction.

Shen got some buffs to some very odd aspects of his gameplay. He now has better AP ratios, which makes very little sense to me. He’s not Amumu. The energy change to his ult is quite nice (it’s now free) but it certainly won’t save Shen. Vorpal Blade just isn’t a good skill in a world of tanks like Singed, Alistar, and Amumu.

Lastly, Sion got some tweaks that should make an AD build a bit easier for him. He also has a good bit more mana at level 1 and gains more mana per level, which should keep him in lane longer with more build varieties.

I’m going to be covering the Taric changes in another post, so that’ll do it for the patch. I’m sorry I didn’t have time to get a Riven post together today. I haven’t had enough time with her to do a proper writeup. Hopefully tomorrow.


Patch day 3/1: precious little to report


It’s patch day once again, bringing us Jarvan, the latest tanky “DPS” toon (yes, the quotes imply that he doesn’t deal much damage) to join the League. We’ve also got a list of changes, though none of them are terrible game changing. Let’s do the rundown, shall we?

Anivia got her nerf from last patch partially reverted. Mana cost on Glacial Storm is somewhere in between her original and nerfed numbers, which seems fine. I haven’t seen her in a couple weeks.

Caitlyn’s ult got a range, cast time, and projectile speed buff, all of which were necessary. I still don’t think she’ll be particularly effective in highly competitive matches, but at least her ult will feel less like a liability in the games that I do play her.

Ezreal got a buff to his ultimate – it now scales off his bonus attack damage. Before you freak out, remember that a lot of Ezreal players start with a Sheen/Trinity these days. That’s not a lot of attack damage. Also the fact that it’s bonus damage, not flat attack damage, means you’ll see 10-20 percent damage boost on the high end but that’s really it. I wouldn’t worry about it too much.

Garen caught a small buff, Karma got some buffs across the board, Leblanc caught a tweak, Kaiser got a small buff, Singed got a twe…..oh, forget it. The changes made this patch are miniscule, so I’m going to let you read them for yourself. The really interesting stuff is the changes made to game pacing. Let’s look at those.

-Melee minion magic resist now increases 1.25 per 3 minutes (up from 0.5)
-Ranged minion armor now increases 1.25 per 3 minutes (up from 0.5)
-Cannon minion armor and magic resist now increase 3 per 3 minutes (up from 2)
-After 20 minutes, cannon minions now spawn every 2 waves (up from every 3 waves)
-Cannon minions and super minions now reduce turret damage by 65% (up from 50%)
-Fixed a tooltip bug “This unit receive…” with cannon minions and super minions
-Minions now deal about 50% more damage to turrets

While these changes look good on paper, I’m curious to see if they’ll actually affect the game. So far, my games have still been pretty long. The biggest thing I’ve noticed is that creeps don’t get blown up by attrition during teamfights quite as much. In fact, fights at towers when minions are present have been utter carnage in my experience so far. Another basic issue is that it now takes longer to push to a turret if you don’t have minions with you. In a way, these changes could actually slow the game. Teamfights these days tend to be sprawling, often stretching down a lane, outside the reach of minion fire. If a team has to then backtrack down lane in order to push, I’d hope they can push those minions quickly. That’s won’t be the case with the new minions, which actually surprised me with their durability.

There’s also the new death timers, which now range from 12 seconds to 50 versus the 25-50 of days gone by. Dead players are back to lane very quickly, which might not be a great thing. Yes, it sucks to sit around doing nothing while you’re dead, but that’s part of the penalty. It encourages players to not die. That penalty is now much less harsh, giving early victims the chance to get back to lane quickly to hopefully farm up and recover.

While Riot continues to work toward balance, I think there are still some major issues that need to be addressed. Jungling is still too necessary in my mind, which creates problematic matchups in the top lane. Some champions, like Renekton or Xin Zhao, seem to be designed to take that second solo and completely abuse their opponents. Will those things be addressed in the near future? I certainly hope so. The patch notes have been spartan affairs, lately.


Cassiopeia patch roundup: The times they are a-changing


I realize this is a day or so behind, but I’ve been pretty busy with Spike stuff and pre-holiday stuff and frankly, so much changed in this patch it’s actually a little tough to keep up. I’ve finally been able to sit down and play a couple games, and I’ve read the patch notes enough times that I feel like I know what’s going on to a degree that I can put down a few coherent thoughts. Here goes.

I’m going to cover champions first, though that’s not really where the big changes are.

Cho’Gath, Ezreal, Fiddlesticks, Katarina, and Malzahar all got some incremental buffs that should help them out. Fiddle still needs a rework in my opinion, but I think Ezreal should be a bit more competitive, Katarina should feel more balanced between AD and AP, and Malzahar might deal a bit more damage.

Garen got smacked with the nerf bat. Seriously, I can’t tell you how happy I am about this one. It’s been so long overdue that I almost can’t believe it’s here. He actually got a scaling buff, but the fact that you can no longer stack Sunfires means Garen will have to work a LOT harder to get his job done. I’m glad to see him get a scaling buff, too. I’ve always been tempted by DPS Garen, and now maybe I’ll be able to give him a serious go.

Gragas got a significant Drunken Rage nerf, which was also likely overdue. Coupled with the removal of Innervating Locket, Gragas will be much easier to bring down, but could be frustrating to play as a tank.

I would love to be in on the meetings regarding LeBlanc because I just. don’t. get it. She starts so alarmingly broken that they have to hotfix nerf her, a move I haven’t seen since, well, I don’t even know when. Since then she’s been slowly buffed. She’s almost back to where she started. Give her a little more range and less CD scaling on her ult and, bingo! You have release LeBlanc. I know, she’s still a shade of her former self, but it’s funny that she got crushed by the hotfix and they’ve buffed her in every patch since. Also, the last thing I thought she needed buffed was her stun duration. Seriously, why?

Olaf got a much-needed scaling nerf. I remember saying when he launched that a) he’s overpowered when farmed, but b) he’s like a bad Mundo until he gets some farm. I still believe those things to be true, though the second to a lesser extent. Olaf’s obvious advantage over Mundo is that he’s excellent in the jungle. This nerf will make him slightly less scary late game, though he’ll still be brutal.

Twitch got a pretty big nerf, and though I originally thought it might be a bit of an early game buff, it might have brutalized him. I’m terrible with Twitch, in fact, I’m comfortable calling him my worst toon. There is something about his attack timing that I just fundamentally do not get, but I’ve tried building him every way I could think of since the patch and nothing has been all that impressive. It’s not so much the change to damage versus attack speed but the fact that his attacks are limited. You might blow your ult on one or two people just to have more show up, at which point you’re sorta screwed.

Urgot caught a buff, but it’s a strange one. His poison became physical instead of magic (I actually like this, and it’s a perfect idea for Cassiopeia), he got a slight range buff, he got some scaling damage ratio buffs, and a shield buff. There’s definitely some creative problem solving with the physical change, but they might have gone a bit far with his other skills. We’ll see.

After writing all this I realize I just need to make another post for all the other changes that came with this patch. You’ll see that tomorrow.


Trundle patch thoughts and impressions (the nerfs that finally happened)

Junkyard Trundle

I’m ready to call today’s patch the biggest thing that has happened to the game since the release of Season One. Today, Riot finally took some steps the reds have been talking about on the forums for months, making changes that could have a significant impact on the metagame. It won’t change things entirely, but it will almost certainly start to shift things in a new direction.

This is one of the first patches for which we’ve seen Riot give overarching design notes along with the line by line changes. Let’s start with those.

This patch is focused upon the following main issues:

Area of Effect damage and disable spells being too powerful
Area of Effect is taking a pretty large hit this patch, especially to the damage on Galio’s Idol of Durand, Morgana’s Soul Shackles and Vladimir’s Hemoplague. After seeing its effect on the game over a longer period of time, we’ve found something more akin to Annie’s Summon: Tibbers is a proper mix of area size, damage, and disable. We have several area-effect skills in the game that have snuck past this and we’re looking to bring these back to acceptable levels.

Strong supports are able to protect powerful ranged carries too well, cancelling their fragility too easily
We’re starting with a duration nerf to Morgana’s Black Shield and Janna’s Eye of the Storm to reward better timing of the spell reactively and to raise the skill ceiling a bit on these spells. If this proves too little, we’ll evaluate the need for additional changes in a future patch.

Ranged carries, holistically, are too safe considering their damage output
While we predict bigger changes will be required, our first adjustments are to lower the movement speeds of ranged carry-style champions to provide more of a tradeoff, and nerf Blessing of the Lizard Elder when used on ranged champions. We’d like to keep ranged carries “safer” than melee, while beginning to provide more tradeoffs that both give melee a place in the game and differentiate the roles of melee and ranged characters.

I was thrilled when I read these. Read the rest of this entry »


No LoL patch today

Little Slugger Trundle.

I woke up this morning excited to get a look at the Trundle spotlight and then wait eagerly for servers to come back online. No such luck. It looks like today isn’t going to be patch day after all, and though I haven’t been able to confirm it personally, I’ve heard we won’t see the update until Thursday. UPDATE: Tamat confirmed the patch is coming tomorrow (Wednesday).

I’m pretty bummed out, if only because I think Trundle could be a bit of a return to sanity in the design department. Irelia was underwhelming, both in her skillset and her playstyle. She just doesn’t have the fun factor that makes some of the other reasonably powered champions a blast to play and she isn’t really strong enough to be fun to dominate games with. Trundle, on the other hand, sounds like he’ll be a lot of fun, even if he doesn’t crush, and I’ve been itching for something new to play outside the tanky dps metagame.

At any rate, we’ll be waiting a couple days to see the nifty new character as well as the next round of patch notes. Exercise that patience, folks.


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