The latest League patch introduces some huge changes to the laning phase and early game objectives, in what could be one of the biggest patches until Worlds. Let's take a look at some of the biggest talking points.
Early Game Healing
The recent durability patch made all champions take less damage. When combined with early game healing items/runes, this has resulted in much fewer kills during the laning phase. Not only is it more difficult to burst down a champion, but any favourable trades or poke damage can be nullified with pots and runes.
Consequently, a ton of healing runes and items have been nerfed:
- Health pot - healing reduced to 120, down from 150
- Refillable pot and Corrupting pot - healing reduced to 100, down from 125
- Biscuit delivery - health and mana restoration reduced to 8% of missing health/mana, down from 10%
- Increase to maximum mana reduced to 40, down from 50
- Bone Plating - cooldown increased to 55 seconds, up from 45 seconds
- Conditioning - base stats buff decreased to 8 armour/MR, down from 9
- Bonus stat buff decreased to 3% armour/MR, down from 4%
- Second Wind - heal reduced to 3 (+4% missing health), down from 6 (+4% missing health)
- Guardian - cooldown increased to 90-40 seconds, up from 70-40 seconds
- Unflinching - slow resist and tenacity reduced to 5-25% (based on missing health), down from 10-30%
These changes will have huge ramifications across the map. Poke champions or champions that dominate in certain matchups will be much stronger, as it's less viable to sustain through damage using pots and runes. The Resolve rune tree is now considerably weaker, while a couple of other runes have been buffed:
- Scorch - damage increased to 20-40 (based on level), up from 15-35
- Sudden Impact - lethaility increased to 9 and magic pen increased to 7, up from 7 and 6 respectively
These more aggressive runes are now stronger, and with nerfs to a slew of Resolve trees, some rune builds may change. For example, enchanters may switch from taking Guardian as their keystone to Summon Aery.
The other biggest change in patch 12.14 is buffs to objectives. With early games being much slower, teams were drafting scaling comps and simply ignoring Drakes and Rift Heralds. This has been most felt in pro play, as games have had much fewer kills in lane and fights around early game objectives.
Therefore, the individual Drake Buffs have been buffed to make them valuable:
- Hextech Drake - grants 9% attack speed and 9 ability haste, up from 6% attack speed and 6 ability haste
- Infernal Drake - grants 6% bonus attack damage and ability power, up from 4%
- Mountain Drake - grants 9% bonus armour and magic resist, up from 6%
- Ocean Drake buff - restores 3% missing health per 5 seconds, up from 2%
Cloud Drake is widely considered to be the worst drake given its lackluster buff and soul, so both have been buffed:
- Cloud Drake - grants 7% slow resist and out of combat movement speed, up from 3.5%
- Cloud Soul - grants 15% bonus move speed and 50% bonus move speed for 6 seconds after casting your ult, up from 10% bonus move speed
Not only is each individual Drake buff much stronger – making it more important than ever to contest each drake – but all drakes now have a lot more health. This has been balanced by a nerf to their damage output, but it does mean fights around the pit will last for a lot longer. Ultimately, this change will encourage more extended skirmishes aroud the drake pit in the early game.
Rift Herald has also been made more valuable in 12.14:
- Killing the Rift Herald now grants 200 gold locally to whichever team kills it
- The second summoned Rift Herald now has 75% more health
It's always been great to take the first Rift Herald, as it can be used to take turret plates or secure the first tower of the game. However, the second Herald has always felt much weaker due to its inability to destroy turret plates. By buffing its health, it can now take multiple turrets if the enemy team fails to kill it quickly.
In summary, it's now much more important to secure early game objectives, which will translate into more early game fights. This means early game champions will become much stronger in the meta.
Lastly, there have been some changes in the Jungle. Red Smite has been ridiculously strong for a while and essentially has 3 summoners in 1 on a 40 second CD. Therefore, its target damage reduction has been nerfed:
- Smite target damage reduction reduced to 10%, down from 20%
Now that the early game is much more important, several early game junglers have been buffed. After being pushed into a lane, Pantheon makes his glorious return to the jungle with a large buff to his Q:
- Q (Comet Spear) - now deals 70% damage to minions and 105% to monsters
Pantheon's jungle clear will now be much quicker, allowing him to gank more often and jump onto enemies with his point-and-click CC. Similarly, Jarvan has received a buff to his damage and utility:
- Q (Dragon Strike) - damage increased to 90/130/170/210/250 (+140% bonus AD), up from +120% bonus AD
- E (Demancian Standard) - cooldown reduced to 12/11.5/11/10.5/10 seconds, down from 12 seconds
Jarvan has always excelled in the early game but falls off hard in the late game once enemies can escape his combo. These buffs should smooth out his power level and help him stay relevant throughout the game.
12.14 is huge for the early game. Sustain during the laning phase is much weaker, and contesting each objective is considerably more important. Early game champions who can win these skirmishes and snowball these advantages to a victory will be much stronger, while scaling champions may not be able to reach their late game power spike as often.