Patch 6.18 is the last major patch to be released for League of Legends before the 2016 World Championships, and it will be the one that all of the games are played on. Thusly, almost all of the changes in the patch have an effect on the pro-meta in one way or another. Whether it's nerfing the scene's go-to pocket picks or giving some fringe champions much needed incentive, the goal is to widen the pool of viable picks to produce more diverse and surprising matches on the biggest stage of the game.
1. Lux and Miss Fortune Get Some Love
The rather sudden change in laning phase - from lane swapping back to static laning, has been getting trounced by some players, press, and fans alike. Patch 6.15 changed much of how the early game climate affects players. With turret health being higher, their Fortification buff reducing more damage, and the bottom lane not getting the buff at all, constantly swapping lanes to skirt conflict and press early sieging is becoming a thing of the past. The purpose? To reinforce direct conflict in the laning phase again. Technically, that's working, but it's exposing certain lane dwellers to new pressures that they really aren't equipped for.
A pair of bottom lane staples like Lux and Miss Fortune need a quick look before entering the World stage. Miss Fortune, though still pretty good at being a big lane bully and washing team fights with her ultimate, Bullet Time, is not so great at burning turrets down with her auto attacks. Turret takedowns are a pretty underappreciated role of Marksmen that is really one of their cardinal strengths. By increasing the amount of bonus damage Love Tap grants when attacking turrets, this may solve the problem. Now, when a turret is the new target of her autos, it takes 100% of Love Tap's bonus damage, not just 50%.
Of Lux's most brilliant traits, her late game nuking ability is the shining star of her kit. Secondarily, she is also an excellent kiter and controller, which tends to make her a more than suitable support. She's not uncatchable, though, and very much at a disadvantage when solo laning early on. A buff to the slowing capability of her Lucent Singularity from 20/24/28/32/36% to 25/30/35/40/45% should brighten up her early game.
2. Dulling Yasuo's Blade
When it comes to melee champs, they generally fall into two categories: the slow and beefy Juggernaut, and quick and lethal Slayers. Juggernauts are defined by their resilience and ability to moderate damage over extended periods of time. Slayers are squishy, mobile, and can kill quickly. Darius is probably the prime example of the former, while Yasuo has become the poster child for the latter.
The thing is, when one tries to be the other, it's supposed to come with large drawbacks. Juggernauts who are built solely for offense are almost always second tier versions of their standard approaches, or at the very least, they do so at tremendous risk. The trend hasn't been so punishing when it comes to making Slayers tankier. Like Fizz and Ekko before him, Tank Yasuo is an ugly example of why we can't have nice things.
Much of the reason that this happens to Slayers is because all of their elusiveness tends to be in their abilities, and how they dodge and juke is wildly unrelated to the items they buy. So on top of their lethality and their mobility, when they're finally caught, they can actually take more that a couple hits without melting, and that has consistently been no bueno.
Like with Fizz and Ekko before him, Yasuo needs to have his kit both enable unique and interesting builds and also reflect the risk of walking off the beaten path. As his base attack speed has gone up to .670 from .658, it only grows by 2.5% per level instead of 3.2%. At level 18, that's the difference between a base attack speed of 1.045 vs 1.16, so it's not a slouchy nerf. Maybe the better nerf lies in his Ultimate, Last Whisper, which now only applies bonus armor pen when Yasuo crits. This means, in order to take full advantage of Yas' outstanding damage output, you have to choose critical strike % items over tankier things. Since his passive doubles his crit %, it's not a huge commitment, but it's one you have to make now.
3. Top Lane Nerfs
The top lane of the Rift is often celebrated for its diversity of pick viability, and it's highly sought out for its heavy, 1-on-1 laning phase experience. Like wide receiver or point guard, top lane is often where the flashest single summoner playing is occurring.
It also tends to be the Boulevard of Broken Champions. More often than not, if a champion is scaling way above the meta, it's happening in top lane. This is no exception for Vladimir and Gnar, two of top lane's biggest bullies.
One of the biggest benefactors of the mid-season mage rework was Vlad, whose abilities cost more health, but his sustain capabilities shot through the roof. Nowadays, it's hard to maintain a lead on him for very long. If you can't kill him in a skirmish, he will be back to near full health in just a minion wave or two. It's become very difficult to tie him down, which makes him ever-present in the pro scene. His Transfusion will now do less bonus healing when under the effects of Crimson Rush, 30-200 from 40-240 (from level 1-18). The health cost/damage conversion has a slight buff, as now max damage will only cost 8% of your max HP instead of 10%. The cooldown is much longer at early levels, though, from 9/8/7/6/5 seconds to 13/11/9/7/5 seconds.
Gnar, another top lane bully, excels at trading with single opponents with little real risk to himself. Not that big of a deal when considering people didn't stay in one lane for very long in the pros, but with 6.15 changing all of that, some stronger champ tendencies have become very apparent. Hyper's bonus damage rewards Gnar for consistently attacking the same target in succession, something he gets almost an unchallenged opportunity to do against juggernauts who will never be able to do the kind of damage he can in such a short time. Couple that with Hop, which allows him to freely skate out of danger at any time, and Gnar is a problem for anyone who doesn't have ranged pressure. Maybe too much so.
Gnar is getting the bonus from Hyper snipped a bit from 15/25/35/45/55 to 10/20/30/40/50. The cooldown on Hop is getting inflated a pinch to 22/19.5/17/14.5/12 from 18/16.5/15/13.5/12. Hopefully this will let Juggernauts feel a bit less punished for doing their jobs against the primordial yordle.
4. Ranked Decay
Basically, as Ranked play stands now, you earn League points for every win, and the amount of those points determines your rank. Over time, they decay away naturally, so playing is imperative. You can lose them when you lose games, and you run the risk of losing them at a much larger rate this way than simple decay. So the common trend being developed at the highest of levels involves being way less active in order to safely defend your amassed points. There's just something not kosher about not having to work as hard to defend the more coveted ranks in the game. Riot intends to fix that by adding new rules regarding decay at the higher levels.
Firstly, Challenger and Master ranked players can bank up to 10 games in a pool for decay immunity. Each day, one game is removed from this pool. When there are no more games to remove, the player will lose 100 LP a day until more games are added into the bank. This is much more than the old decay rules, which would chop off 250 LP every 10 days of inactivity. Things remain the same for every tier under it, though.
5. Champ Zed and Baker Pantheon
Championship Zed is available to purchase for everyone. Gold tier and up players will get the skin for free, plus extra particle effects and a special border. It looks incredible.
If you want to know more about "The World's Patch," check out Riot's blog post. Be sure to bookmark the Leaguepedia to stay up to date on all of the happenings on the big stage, and be sure to let us know how the patch affects you on Twitter and Facebook.
Jarrett shares his love of video games and geek culture through feature articles on Gamepedia. He prides himself on his deep attraction to Japanese beat-em ups and his god-like Bushido Blade talents.