The last few weeks have been dominated by enchanters being run in the top lane, but with drastic changes to objective bounties and the support items, the meta should hopefully revert to a more stable place. Let’s break down the biggest changes from patch 12.4.
Support Items and Objective Bounties
One of the major reasons why enchanters top have been so successful is Spellthief’s Edge, as it allows these top laners to generate gold without farming in a lane. Consequently, these items have been changed to deter this strategy, though the changes are unlikely to affect the support role:
- Passive (Tribute/Spoils of War) - receive diminishing gold from excessive minion kills (2 minions per minute until 5 minutes; 4 minions per minute thereafter). This diminished gold penalty is now more severe during the first 5 minutes of the game
This will punish top laner enchanters in the first few minutes of the game as they will receive much less gold from the first top lane waves that are actually farmed before the enchanter starts roaming. Additionally, the calculations determining CS and objective bounties have been adjusted:
- CS bounties are now based on the number of support items on each team, rather than assuming each team has one each
- Objective bounties - enemy gold leads are now significantly less likely to lead to objective bounties activating if there are two or more support items on your team
Riot have acknowledged these are temporary fixes while they look into long term solutions, but these changes should nerf the strategy by making it have much less golf efficiency. Objective bounties have also received one additional change:
- Whenever objective bounties end because the losing team has caught up to the winning team, bounties now linger for 5 seconds (down from 15)
With a 15 second linger period, teams had enough time to chain together multiple objectives by continually attacking them, meaning they were gaining too much gold from objective bounties; this nerf should make this drastically more difficult to do so.
A number of bot lane champions have received some changes this patch, most notably Zeri who has been running rampant since her release:
- Uncharged basic attack - 10-25 (based on level) (+3% AP), down from 15-40 (based on level) (+4% AP)
- Damage increase - 500% against targets below 35% health (up from 300%)
- Charged basic attack - slow - 14/23/32/41/50% (based on Q rank), down from 20/25/30/35/40
- Slow duration - 1 second, down from 1.5 seconds
- Q (Burst Fire) - damage - 9/13/17/21/25 (+110% AD), down from 10/15/20/25/35
- Excess attack speed to AD conversion - 60%, up from 50%
- New - critical strikes now also multiply its base damage
- W (Ultrashock Laser) - slow - 30/40/50/60/70%, down from 50/55/60/65/70%
- Cooldown - 13/12/11/10/9 seconds, up from 10 seconds at all tanks
- E (Spark Surge) - cooldown - 23/22/21/20/19 seconds, up from 23/21.5/20/19.5/17 seconds
- Cooldown reduction - 1 second per champion hit, down from 1.5 seconds
- Ultimate (Lightning Crash) - bonus attack speed - 30% at all ranks, down from 30/35/40%
These changes are an overall nerf to Zeri’s power, as she will be dealing less damage, have fewer opportunities to use her E for mobility, and will be weaker during her powerful ultimate. However, the addition of crits multiplying Qs base damage has made crit builds much more viable on Zeri. Meanwhile, other ADCs have received some small buffs:
- Ashe - ultimate (Enchanted Crystal Arrow) - missile speed - 1500 (+200 per second of travel time) capping at 2100 (up from 1600)
- Kalista - base armour increased to 24 (up from 21)
- Lucian - Q (Piercing Light) - mana cost decreased to 48/56/64/72/80 (down from 50/60/70/80/90)
- Xayah - E (Bladecaller) - now deals 0.75% more damage per 1% critical strike chance (up from 0.5%)
The Ashe buff will make long range ultimates even more threatening and more difficult to dodge, while the Xayah buff will make crit builds more powerful. The Lucian buff isn’t too noteworthy, but the Lucian/Nami lane will be even more devastating as the damage on Nami’s E (Tidecaller’s Blessing) has also been buffed by 5.
Veigar and Neeko
Veigar has slow become a power pick in the mid and bot lane, with a 54% win rate in patch 12.3. Consequently, he has received an early game nerf to make him more vulnerable:
- Base stats - armour - 21, down from 23
- Armour growth - 4.0, up from 3.75
- Armour at level 18 - 89, up from 86.75
- E (Event Horizon) - cooldown increased to 20/18/16/14/12 seconds, up from 18/16.5/15/13.5/12 seconds
Finally, Neeko has received some large buffs after failing to find her place in recent metas:
- Hitbox radius - 65, down from 80
- Q (Blooming Burst) - additional bloom damage increased to 40/65/90/115/140 (+20% AP), up from 40/60/80/100/120/140
- W (Shapeshifter) - cooldown decreased to 16/15/14/13/12 seconds, down from 20/19/18/17/16 seconds
With a reduction to her hitbox radius, Neeko is able to dodge more skillshots and become much more difficult to hit, all while dealing more damage with her Q.
It will be interesting to see whether the support item and bounty changes are enough to deter the enchanter top lane strat, or whether larger systemic changes are needed. Meanwhile, a slew of changes in the bot lane may affect the best ADCs in the meta, though it may not be enough as Jinx and Aphelios continue to dodge nerfs.