Before the huge durability patch drastically changes the game in Patch 12.10, the latest patch addresses some frustrating playstyles and a few of the strongest champions in the meta; let’s break down some of the most notable changes.
Sion and Hullbreaker
Sion’s unique playstyle has received a lot of criticism by the community over the last few months. His zombie passive allows him to become a real split push threat with Hullbreaker, undermining one of the game’s core principles by rewarding somebody for continuously dying. Consequently, his zombie form has been nerfed:
- Sion now deals 60% less damage to structures while in his zombie form (includes runes and items)
This nerf is pretty harsh, and how it affects Sion’s win rate will reveal just how important his zombie form was to his overall power. It won’t affect the tankier Sion build as much, which may make a resurgence and replace the popular damage build. Hullbreaker was a major reason why Sion was able to excel with this strategy, and has also been nerfed:
- Bonus resists while alone (melee) - 10 (levels 1-11) then 20/35/43/51/59/67/75 (levels 12-18), changed from 20-60 (levels 1-18)
- Bonus resists while alone (ranged) 5 (levels 1-11), then 10/17.5/21.5/25.5/29.5/33.5/37.5 (levels 12-18), changed from 10-30 (levels 1-18)
- Passive - basic attacks deal 20% bonus damage against structures, changed from all sources of damage
Hullbreaker is now much weaker in the early game, and champions will have to be at least level 11 before it truly comes online. This nerf feels appropriate, as Hullbreaker was being rushed as a first item when split pushing should be a late game strategy once the map has opened up and key objectives have spawned.
Pyke’s been a great pick in solo queue for a while now, but Riot are unhappy with his flex potential considering he can be played in top, mid or support. Consequently, Pyke has received some nerfs to push him solely back into support:
- Passive (Gift of the Drowned Ones) - damage converted to grey health when near two or more enemies - 45% (+0.5% per Lethality), up from 40%
- Q (Bone Skewer) - new effect - now refunds mana upon hitting an enemy champion
- Mana cost - 74/78/82/86/90, up from 50/55/60/65/70
- Mana refund - 75%, up from 50%
- Ultimate (Death From Below) - cooldown decreased to 100/85/70 seconds, down from 120/100/80 seconds
- Removed effect - Pyke no longer receives ‘Your Cut’ gold upon successfully executing enemy champions with his ult (last assisting ally still receives this gold)
- Removed effect - Pyke no longer receives additional ‘Your Cut’ gold when allies kill enemies within Death From Below’s execution area
In the bot lane, Pyke will now be more durable and slippery thanks to the increased grey health from his passive, and hitting Qs will be more important due to the increased mana cost and mana refund. The fact Pyke will be receiving less gold from his passive is noteworthy, given how securing kills and having more gold than the average gold is a pillar of Pyke’s identity. However, this is mitigated by how cheap Pyke’s build as become with items like Umbral Glaive and Duskblade.
Other supports have received some changes this patch. Renata Glasc has been an excellent pick since her debut on the Rift, so has received a small nerf to her armour and passive damage. This will make her slightly more vulnerable in the early game, and slightly reduce her overall damage. Meanwhile, Braum has been buffed after struggling in the meta for a while:
- Passive (Concussive Blows) - per-target CD reduced to 8/6/4 seconds, down from 8/7/6
- E (Unbreakable) - damage reduction increased to 35/40/45/50/55%, up from 30/32.5/35/37.5/40
Braum’s passive has always been incredibly strong during the laning phase, but falls off in later stages of the game once he has fewer opportunities to basic attack the enemy. The passive buff will make it easier to stun targets multiple times in team fights and lock them down. Additionally, Braum will now be much tankier whenever his E is up. The final support to receive changes is Thresh:
- Passive (Damnation) - ability power and bonus armour per soul increased to 1, up from 0.75
- W (Dark Passage) - shield strength increased to 60/90/120/150/180 (+2 per soul), up from +1 per soul
These buffs are pretty noteworthy, as Thresh will be more durable, dealing more damage, and be providing a much stronger shield with his W. It will be more important than ever to collect souls, so Thresh players may have to adapt and endeavour to collect more souls from minion waves and jungle camps.
Patch 12.9 has the potential to shake up the support meta, with buffs to Thresh and Braum and some nerfs to Pyke. Meanwhile, the frustrating split-push Sion may have come to an end in the top lane, but time will tell whether the nerfs are enough to put a stop to this unique playstyle.