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LoL Patch 8.23 is out: buffs, nerfs and pre-season reworks

League of Legends has received its first major patch in the pre-season period, and although most of the changes are quite gradual, together they will significantly impact the game.

Champions & summoner spells

Only a few champions have been changed, and in most cases, the adjustments have been fairly minor. Aatrox’ ultimate had its duration reduced to 10 seconds, but the heal on revive maxes out faster. Ezreal got a buff that mostly affects his AP builds, as he has higher base damage and AP ratio on Essence Flux (W) and no fall-off damage on his ultimate, which instead just does 50% less damage to minions and non-epic monsters. Taliyah has lower damage after first shard on everything hit by her Q ability, not just champions, but the skill has lower cooldown, lower mana cost and the worked ground duration is reduced.

Note the “most cases” –Lissandra is the exception, she’s had some major rework done. She gets a new passive, and instead of having a free spell every X seconds, now makes zombies (Frozen Thralls, to be exact) from fallen enemies. The thralls seek out living enemies, slow them down and eventually explode, doing magic damage scaling with her AP. Her other abilities have been changed slightly to maintain her overall level of power:

  • Ice Shard (Q)’s mana cost goes down from 75 at all levels to 60/63/66/69/72 mana.
  • Ring of Frost (W) now costs 40 mana rather than 50, but its damage is lower – 70/100/130/160/190 + 0.3*ability power rather than 70/110/150/190/230 +4* ability power.
  • Glacial Path (E) has a starting speed of 1200, decelerating to 640 rather than a uniform speed of 850.
  • Frozen Tomb (R) damage scaling with ability power is down from 0.7 to 0.6.

The overall damage is lower, but the new passive could make a significant difference – especially in a teamfight. In addition, Taliyah has had some minor stat increases – higher base attack speed, more mana regeneration by level, and slightly faster auto attacks.

The summoner spells are mostly unchanged, except for Teleport. On the plus side, its channel duration is down from 4.5 seconds to 4, but now it can no longer be cancelled – so once you click, you are going there.

Items

The biggest change in your inventory will be the new Guinsoo’s Rageblade, which instead of granting AP and AD per stack gives armor and magic penetration (6.5-15% depending on the level), and its magic damage on hit is a flat 15 magic damage instead of mixed physical and magic that scales with bonus attack damage and ability power. This makes it weaker for champions looking forward to the late game, but the cost has been somewhat reduced as well, down from 3300 to 3100 gold.

Several other items have seen smaller changes, such as the Relic Shield upgrades having high execute thresholds to match the minion health increases, jungle items no longer reducing gold granted by lane minions, and the regeneration on Doran’s Shield scaling with missing health. Finally, vision items and trinkets have been nerfed, with the inventory cap on control wards reduced to 2 and ward duration from the yellow trinket (Warding Totem) scaling less with level, going from 90 to 120 seconds instead of from 90 to 180.

Map

As the previews indicated, outer turrets will receive additional protection in the early game with the new plating mechanic. They have more starting health and instead of “innate” armor and MR start with five temporary plates; each plate has 1000 health and, when broken, grants 160 local gold and ups the turret armor and MR by 30, as well as giving it a 20-second Bulwark buff, giving 25 armor and MR for each adjacent champion after the first. If enemies destroy another plate in these 20 seconds, the buff stacks up. Turret plating and buffs fall at 14 minutes and the outer turrets lose all armor and MR. In return for the extra gold available through the plates, the first turret bonus gold has been reduced from 300 to 150, and all turrets have better damage and give less global gold. However, the chance to get up to 800 gold from just plates should more than make up for it.

Meanwhile, minions are getting some buffs and better health, AD and movement speed scaling. To compensate, they do slightly less damage to turrets and champions. The baron buff effect has been changed slightly, with buffed minions no longer getting damage reduction from nearby turrets and melee, and ranged minions getting the same 70% damage reduction (instead of 75% for melee and 50% for ranged). Cannon minions will be more frequent and more dangerous to turrets in the mid-game: the thresholds for them to start spawning every second wave and later on – every single wave, have been moved from 20 minutes to 15 and from 35 minutes to 25. Cannon minions now also take less damage from inner, inhibitor and nexus turrets. Super minions have higher attack speed but lower base damage and do not increase minion damage any more.

Junglers may have to re-examine their priorities, as dragons give more gold (100, up from 25), more experience at all tiers, and the first two tiers of the Elemental Drake buffs are stronger. The first spawn is now delayed to the fifth minute, but on the other hand, every epic monster will respawn faster – elemental drakes every five minutes, and elder dragons and barons every six. On the down side, XP from jungle camps has been toned down, so junglers who don’t stay on the move can expect to quickly fall behind.

Runes

Finally, the patch will bring a long-expected change where the rune paths you select no longer determine your stat bonuses. Instead, you will choose three runes, each from a different row – one row will have offensive options, one will be mixed and one will be defensive.

There is a new rune called Shield Bash, which gives you extra resistances while shielded and empowers your next basic attack within two seconds. The auto attack deals adaptive damage equal to 4-21 + 8.5% of the shield strength to 1.5% of your bonus health. Chrysalis has been removed, however, and several existing runes have been changed as well:

  • Bone plating’s buff duration has been reduced from 3 seconds to 1.5 and the blocked amount is increased from 15-40 to 25-50.
  • Celerity now increases movement speed bonuses by 8% instead of increasing total movement speed by 1.5% and does not convert bonus MS to AD or AP.
  • Dark Harvest procs on any damage against champions, but they need to be under 50%. Its damage scales with bonus AD, AP and souls, and has a cooldown of 45 seconds, resetting to 1.5 seconds on a takedown. However, minions and monsters no longer give souls.
  • Demolish charge time has been decreased from 4 seconds to 3, and the damage has been lowered to 75 (from 175+0.3*max heath to 100+0.3*max health).
  • Fleet Footwork’s AP ratio has been nerfed from 0.5 to 0.3.
  • Kleptomancy now empowers your next two auto attacks, and they grant you 5 gold or an item. However, the item drop rate has been reduced, and wards will no longer drop after 20 minutes.
  • Overgrowth gives flat +3 health per 8 nearby minion and monster deaths, with a one-time 2.5% max health increase at 120 minion and monster deaths.
  • Ravenous hunter’s base healing has been reduced from 2.5% to 1.5%.

These changes should spice rune selection a bit, now that the runes do not determine your stat boosts.

Bounties

The rewards for ending longer kill streaks have been increased, and after the third kill, every consecutive one adds 100 to the bounty. Not only that, though – minion and monster gold can add to the bounties, and if a champion has earned at least 250 gold more from minions and monsters than the enemy’s average, this will further add to their bounty. The reward for the killed is capped at 1000, though, any gold in excess of that – as well as any bounty increases after the fight started – are counted for the next bounty. Meanwhile, the bounties against the losing team have been reduced, possibly by as much as 80%. This is intended to make any comeback a lot more meaningful, as both kill leads and map dominance (and thus starving the enemy from farm) increase your bounty. However, the minimum kill gold for players on 6+ deaths has been increased and is now at least 100 gold before the adjustments, so whatever else happens, a kill is worth more than a melee minion.

Skins

The patch notes confirmed the new visuals we can expect to see during this patch. It brings the first skin variants, new visuals that keep the theme of an existing skin: Leona gets two for her classical look called Solar Eclipse and Lunar Eclipse Leona, while the latest Star Guardians get a Pajama Guardian version if you want to look a bit more informal when saving the world. Unlike regular skins, variants will be cheaper if you own the skin they are based on – the other Eclipse skin for Leona and the respective Star Guardian for the Pajama Guardians. The new Coven skin line is also live, giving Camille and Lissandra a more occult look – to go with the new passive, in the Lissandra’s case.

The patch will also include several visual adjustments to the in-game stats panel and to game lobbies. It has also started introducing elements of the ranked armor (the banner that will show your highest rank from last season) and promises to fix several bugs and various issues.

So, harder to drop outer turrets which still reward early aggression, big comeback potential with the kill bounties, and a lot of changes to stabilize the game. It looks like things will get quite interesting in the pre-season.

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