In the next phase of post-preseason tuning, Patch 7.2 is still focusing around assassins, the jungle, and how they make some champions leaps and bounds better than others. Also, this is the patch where the long awaited remake of one of the oldest League of Legends champions goes live. Very exciting stuff.
There's something so essential to the mechanical balance for having quintessential champions who embody particular roles. Garen is the top lane made manifest. He might not have the highest win rate, but he has the tool set to cover all aspects of what's required of any top lane. He can deal long term, sustained damage, and he has the health and armor (and health regen) to stay alive long enough to do so. His Q both silences targets and provides him with a speed boost that can help you chase opponents or escape ganks. He's also beginner friendly, so he can teach newcomers all about these nuances when they enter the top lane for the first time.
Warwick has always been considered in that category of "quintessentials." His sustain was crazy high thanks to all the life steal built into his passive, his attack speed was high so he could clear camps quickly, and he was very good at single target damage for those quick and ruthless ganks. He was accessible, but he was old and just a teeny bit boring for the veteran League player. On the League Podcast Network, a story was told where the development team behind Warwick's remake actually contacted the world's best Warwick player to ask him about his early game jungle sequence. Turns out, the player's process of clearing jungles and waiting for level 6 to be effective was so autonomous that he would play another game while he was doing it.
Warwick's basic kit allowed him to be incredibly reliable in his role on the team. The problem was that he was one of the oldest characters in the game and felt very much like a character from a game from many years ago, in the same way Taric did. On the lore side, everyone knew what Warwick was - a berserk and ravenous werewolf - but no one knew WHY? Just like Ryze, his visual aesthetic has defined people's opinion of his alignment and motivations, but his back story remained un-refined. Riot saw the opportunity to make him something special, and man have they ever.
The Assassin rework did three pretty specific things. One, it turned AP assassins like Katarina and LeBlanc into fearsome killers. Two, in conjunction with the jungle changes, it turned jungling assassins like Rengar and Kha'zix into powerful predators. Three, it's left most other AD assassins out in the rain. Much of this has to do with Lethality, the new form of armor piercing that would take the Lethality value and apply a percentage of it as armor piercing - a percentage that would rise based on the level of the enemy.
The problem is in the timing in which this becomes effective. Gone are the mid-game damage spikes of the classic assassin; now, they are only truly effective late game, when everyone else is at their best as well. Riot is looking to make Lethality more effective earlier. Now, Lethality immediately grants 60% of its value, as opposed to 40%, and still scales based on level.
The example they use in their Patch Notes is as follows: "10 Lethality now grants 6 flat armor penetration up front plus 0.22 per enemy level, capping at the full 10 once enemies are level 18."
Some of the assassin items that feature Lethality have been buffed as well. Edge of Night and Duskblade of Draktharr have both gotten some love that will hopefully translate into early adoption rates.
Speaking of effective early games, Darius and Katarina are pretty much the King and Queen of First Blood right now. These two Noxian bloodspillers have a cold hard grip on the early moments of the laning phase. So much so that Riot decided to do something about it.
Darius's passive takes a hit in the early levels. Noxian Might damage bonuses have been scaled back between levels 1-14 in two groups. 40/40/45/45/45/45 attack damage to 30/30/35/35/35/35 attack damage between levels 1-6, and 50/60/70/80/90/100/110 attack damage to 40/50/60/70/80/90/100 attack damage from levels 7-13. From 14 to max, everything is the same. His Q, Decimate, does different damage based on the position the axe hits you in while in motion. Get hit by the blade and you take full damage. Get hit by the handle, and you used to take half. Now you'll take 35% and hopefully feel empowered to capitalize on making him miss.
Katarina has become the top level mid for those looking to go all in as soon as possible. The flashy amount of incredible damage she can inflict without having to fear too much early counterplay is down right mean. Riot determined that much of this comes from Shunpo, which combined with its new dagger teleportation feature has become the go-to faceroll combo that it very difficult to do anything about if you're not otherwise ahead. The only thing they touched is the AD ratio, lowering it from .65 to .5.
Jungle Tuning 2: Electric Boogaloo
Continuing the process of pruning the jungle and returning it to a place that isn't so apocalyptic for game balance, Riot made a series of further changes to the way we clear camps. Firstly, jungle camps spawn a few seconds later. Doesn't seem like a big deal, but for those generous teammates that leash for you long enough so you don't have to use Smite on the initial camp, this almost demands that you do, lest your marksman miss out of a few morsels of cs. Otherwise, this isn't sure a terrible change.
Secondly, the monsters do more damage. In the case of Gromp, though, his damage goes down when his attack speed does (since he gets tired and all). That said, Gromp and especially Krug may surprise you with how much they can chunk out of you if you're not careful.
Thirdly, Honeyfruit spawns significantly later. Like a full minute later. So lingering in the river and sticking around in jungles forever isn't possible for everyone within the first five minutes anymore. Also, when the Honeyfruit is burst open, wandering Scuttle Crabs will attempt to eat them! You will want to dispatch of them before you risk having to race crabs to the prize.
For more information on Patch 7.2, like Akali's buffs and Master Yi's new functionality, be sure to have a look at Riot's blog post on their website. And for all things pro-League of Legends related, drop by Leaguepedia.
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.