A new map? A new champ? Yes, it could all very well be true. The next League of Legends patch has the potential to be full of a lot of interesting goodies. While there is no guarantee that all of this content will make it into the patch, all of it is has been on the PBE for some time. So take a read if you don’t want to be too surprised by the sudden appearance of patch notes.
Did I say a new map? I sure did. The Howling Abyss promises to make sure that, win or lose, you’re playing all of your ARAMS on the nicest looking map in the game. It is said to come with a new shopkeeper, unique champion interactions with the shopkeepers, some fluffy looking sort of creature, a unique item and some cool sounding music. If all that does not convince you to try it out, check out this video tour.
Personally, I have always been a much bigger fan of the Twisted Treeline, and 3’s games in general. I admit I am a little bit disappointed to see them pumping so much effort into ARAMS and the Howling Abyss while the Twisted Treeline remains in flux. I mean, when you select the Twisted Treeline you are still clicking on an icon with the word “BETA” printed in big bold letters. I’m sure Howling Abyss will be great, but let’s hope that Riot hasn’t forgotten about good ole TT.
Speaking of work being put into ARAMs, Riot is hard at work putting together an ARAM que. I guess this makes sense. ARAM has become one of the quickest and most popular forms of this game. Personally, I won’t rest until there is a “protect the Teemo” que, but that’s just me. This ARAM que will likely function the same as any other que, except with one unique feature – the ability to reselect your champ. That’s right, if you are given a champ that you absolutely do not want to play, you can spend some reroll points and get a new champion. Points will be earned by playing games and, I believe, you get more for wins. If someone on your team dodges you will be refunded any points you have spent. It’s a neat little idea. It keeps it random, and hopefully, it keeps people a little bit happier.
With an official que now in existence, it makes you wonder if Riot is considering making ARAMs into something more competitive. I doubt that anything like that will happen in the short term, or else we would be playing ranked Dominion by now, but it might be something interesting to watch for down the road.
If you’re not a fan of new maps or ARAMs, how about a new champion? All signs indicate that Lissandra will be coming out with this patch. I must admit I haven’t had a chance to do my usual PBE scouting of her. It has been a lot harder to get on to the PBE lately, and as someone pointed out to me, they usually make a fair bit of changes to the end product anyways. Below is a review of her abilities, so you can take a look for yourself and start figuring out ways to play with and against her.
An article containing the video, a look at her champ art and the stats on her abilities can be found here. Apparently there will also be new in game quests involving Lissandra, Ashe and Sejuani. It sounds like these quests will work along similar lines to Kha Zix and Rengar’s duel for supremacy – kill the other one and some kind of victory is yours.
Zed: Living Shadow ‘s cooldown has been reduced slightly at all ranks, but its cooldown will now only be reduced when Zed attacks other champions, not minions. This will limit some of Zed’s juke potential in the laning phase, but should actually improve his mobility in teamfights. I see this change as being only a minor play style change, and I do not believe it will prevent Zed from blowing up at least one squishy in any given teamfight. It will take a few more substantial nerfs to slow this ninja down.
Karma: Wait, you mean that despite all of the changes, Karma still has the lowest win rate of all champions? Yup, it’s so low that even Olaf wins 3% more games. It looks like Riot is going to follow the Syndra protocol and buff almost all of Karma’s abilities in the hopes that some pro player will take her on and bring her to popularity. If you are an individual who has or had the patience to learn Karma you are going to be rewarded for it now or in a patch or two. Her early game damage on her Q is going up and her cooldowns on her mantra, W, and E are going down.
They have not tinkered with her ratios, or what the abilities do, which tells me that they either think Karma is close to being in a good spot or do not want to admit defeat and rework her again. It’s hard to say if Karma is actually that unplayable or the changes have not been great enough to overcome the stigma left behind by the old Karma. Either way, I firmly believe that Mid Lane Karma will quickly become very dangerous, in the right hands.
Quinn: The move speed bonuses on her Ult will now level up, instead of simply being a flat rate. I’m not sure if this, and any other minor changes they make, will be enough to overcome her short range. We will have to see.
Malzahar: The mana costs on his Call of the Void and Null Zone are being decreased. It seems unlikely that this will lead to Malz being seen on a more regular basis, but lowering mana costs tend to be a precursor to a champ becoming popular. Eventually, they will lower them again, tweak something else, or a pro player will realize that the costs are low enough to make up for any other weaknesses that Malz has, and we will see more of him. For now, this will just be a nice treat for people who still play him. Cheers, mrbeatyourass, hope this helps you to wreck even more opponents.
Lulu: The early level costs of Glitterlance are being increased to 60/65/70/75/80 from 40/50/60/70/80 mana. I actually listed the numbers for this one because I want to make the point that, while the numbers might not seem all that impressive, this has the potential to really hurt early game Lulu. A lot of her pre level 6 power comes from her ability to wear her opponents down with auto attacks and Glitterlance. She will still be able to do this, but not quite at the same OP pace she used to be able to poke at. Lulu’s utility remains some of the best on any support character, but this weakening of her sustain might open the door for the strongest support label to be claimed by none other than…
Thresh: The damage on his E is being reduced at at all levels, the damage on his Q is being increased at later levels and his former Q passive is being switched over to his E.
These changes might be some of the most highly anticipated of the entire patch. Thresh has become one of the best, if not the strongest, supports. Interestingly, these changes will not slow him down, too much. Riot stated that they wanted to eliminate his ability to absolutely dominate the lane at level one, which he could do quite easily, and this should help that. Thresh players will now have to choose between controlling the lane with his hook (Q) or his poke damage. I believe most Thresh players will simply be content to change their skill order and max his E first and his Q second. Yes, he will not be able to use his hook as often, but when he does land a hook, his damage should actually be higher than before (assuming he lands his Flay (E)).
My belief is that Thresh’s power rests as much in his ability to trade damage with ADC’s as his ability to catch someone with a hook. Fewer hooks will not equate to a total loss of lane control, as long as he can continue to poke and tank damage from ADCs and supports alike. And, of course, any champion with a ranged position modifier (awesome way of talking about his hook) will always have pretty decent value. If you play support and still have not picked this guy up, do not let these changes stop you.
The costs of Ionian Boots of Lucidity and Boots of Swiftness are being decreased by 50 and 100 gold respectively. Both boots have solid situational uses, and this will make it easier to purchase them earlier in a game.
Health and Mana Pots will now be restricted to 5 per champ. This will have a significant impact on the early games of certain champs who need a ton of potions to survive their matchups. Riot is also tinkering with the idea of increasing the cost of Red Elixers to 350 gold. Riot is clearly looking for a more aggressive, and less sustain based, style of game. My belief is that these changes could bring cloth armor and 5 pots back in as one of the more popular starting item combinations. We may also see more summoners using the Utility Tree of masteries in the hopes of getting either increased starting gold or sustain.
Riot has always said that they would like to see a variety of starting builds, but sometimes it really seems like they will not be happy until we are all back to starting with a single Doran’s item. You never know, this might actually be Riot’s way to get people to go back to building Philosophers Stones. If you have stumbled upon the next great set of starting items you should definitely let us know what they are in the comments.
With that, I believe I have covered a lot of the major/interesting changes that could be coming out in the next patch. Again, there is no guarantee that all or any of these changes will be implemented in this patch, or that they will be exactly as I have described above. My experience with the PBE has taught me that most of the changes made there are the same as what we eventually see in the live version of the game. My hope is that a preview such as this will help prepare everyone for what is coming, and allow you to get those last few games in on champions who are about to get reworked.
Let me know what you think of any of these potential changes, or if you have any thoughts on Lissandra, new Sej or new Trundle. Otherwise, with all of the changes coming out in this patch, I am sure we will have plenty to discuss in the coming days, assuming we can actually get logged in to the game.
For those of you who are looking for them, the official patch notes and preview are here
It looks like most of what I wrote about above is pretty accurate. I think Nasus will be weaker than I predicted. It would not surprise me if we do not see all of the new skins released at once, but their release probably won’t be too far off.