On the cusp of a very big mid-season update, Riot has made less dramatic moves this patch regarding League of Legends. An old stalwart gets an ambush makeover, top lane gets harassed (again), and some outliers get much needed jolts to their kits. Lets' dive in, shall we?
1. Taric Rising
If there's been any champion who has desperately needed a rework more than Taric, then I've never heard of him (or his name is Urgot). Taric played like a character from a game that has long since passed away. He was rife with target abilities in a world full of skill shots. Easier to hit, but normally less powerful, offensive target abilities have been vanishing because the risk/reward equation surrounding them would get too muddy. Making a really strong CC or damage move something you can literally just hit someone with without working for it is unhealthy. Making an ability too weak makes it (and the champion) completely nonviable. Taric enjoyed a place in the middle - on one side he was flanked by the delicate balance of sliding numbers to make him worth playing, while on the other side was the diligent work of making a session with him interesting when playing at his optimal output. That last part was really hard.
Outside of gameplay, he looked like a hot mess from a sort of game that stopped being made a decade ago. His costume, though ornate, was over designed and hideously garish. He had space marine shooter bro shoulder pads and walked around on giant slices of some pretentious flavored pizza. And his personality was so over the top, that people began to like him ironically (eventually legitimately). We could accept that he was a strange cross between Fabio and Prince, but his lore and motivations were so muddy that it was almost impossible to really "invest" in him past chuckles.
Boy has that changed.
Firstly, just look at him. Not only does he look like a real character, he looks great! And Riot really doubled down on the artificial personality that the community sort of made for him, as this incredibly handsome, well groomed manly man. Maybe too handsome, as I'm finding myself compelled to look up Taric slash fiction as I type this.
His abilities have taken a more modern support approach, as well. Bravado, his new passive, soups up his next two auto attacks after he uses an ability. They swing faster, do bonus damage, and reduce the cooldowns of the rest of his abilities. Enhancing personal attack speed for a small number of basic attacks is so Season 5.
Bravado has extra potency when cooling down his Q, Starlight's Touch. His new heal now stacks points over time, and consumes them all at once when he heals. The more stacks (up to 3) the bigger the heal. Holding on to these stacks is more efficient than just spamming heal whenever someone stubs a toe, but coupled with the heavy cooldown reduction, it can become a super sustain tool when dueling.
He can still Dazzle opponents into a short coma thanks to his W, but it's no longer a target attack. As a skillshot, Dazzle gains some useful range, but most importantly, Dazzle can stun multiple enemies. That is awesome.
Also awesome: Taric's ultimate, Cosmic Radiance, which charges for a short time and then makes everyone around him invulnerable for a short time. Invulnerable to just damage, though. Crowd control and healing still affects you. He can move around freely during the charge, so if you want the benefit, you have to be near him.
Or do you? His W, Bastion, shields a targeted ally and creates a link with his partner. Partners that are linked become a SECONDARY SOURCE FOR ABILITIES! Starlight's Touch creates a healing zone over Taric AND his partner. Dazzle makes TWO skillshots (that can stun everyone in their paths) and Cosmic Radiance creates TWO invulnerable zones.
Now, this stuff doesn't stack. No double heals or double the stuns. But you're covering way more ground this way. Now you have room to bring a jungler along on the pain train, and he'll get equally as supported. This is a beautiful thing for a beautiful man, and I can't wait to try him.
2. Tank Ekko, Now Plain Ekko
Not really. Top Lane tank Ekko builds are still totally viable. They just won't be so outrageously so. Building him for bruising didn't have the drawbacks to damage in exchange for the survivablity that AP Ekko does the other way around. So the base damage on both Parallel Convergence and Phase Dive have been nerfed, while their scaling potential with AP has been upped. This should bring relative order back to top lane
His nerf sort of goes hand in hand with nerfs to top lane tank go-to item Iceborn Gauntlet and mastery Grasp of the Undying. As the cheapest Sheen upgrade, tanks found great return on investment thanks to its slow proc, AoE damage, and its Spell Blade feature. I know my Illaoi never leaves home without it. But maybe there was too much bang, so Riot brought the Spell Blade bonus down a notch. You can always build that AND Trinity Force, if you want to maintain being "That Guy," though.
Grasp is another super strong pick for tanks in any lane. It almost always comes in that Iceborn/Grasp combo up top, though. The health steal value was turned down a notch, to make tanks a little less super OP unkillable in lane. Which is fine. Now seems like the perfect time to try out Death's Dance/Grasp, anyhow...
3. Remember Galio?
I do. I don't see him very often anymore, though. Maybe he's out pitching for a Gargoyles reboot he can star in. When he comes back from Hollywood, he'll find that his Righteous Gust is a tiny bit more Righteous. Mana costs are down, and the movement speed buff in the trail he leaves behind has a more even, front heavy buff. Goliath would be proud.
Season 5 pro darling Rumble got a buff, as well. He hasn't been a staple this year in the LCS, and it's probably much to do with all the other, more viable options that have risen out of the Marksman rework, item re-balances, and mastery combinations now present after the season 6 debut. To try to put Rumble back to work, his Equalizer has its cooldown reduced, and his Flamespitter does its full damage to minions. Now it's good for something outside of nickle and dime-ing the enemy into a slow death, and roasting these:
Olaf got a good boost, which means he might see some serious play again. Warlord's Bloodlust really set his life in the right direction by granting him awesome lifesteal/sustain potential, and now his Vicious Strikes will gain more in the way of lifesteal. His ult will give him more MR and Armor as well, meaning he might get to stay alive long enough to do his job. Don't you just love when a plan comes together?
If you'd like to learn more about Patch 6.8, including the changes to Mercurial Saber and the sweet, sweet new splash art for a ton of characters, check out Riot's website for the blog post. Stop by our Leaguepedia for everything Pro League-related, and let us know what you think about this round of tweaks on Facebook and Twitter.