The big midseason update patch is live, and it's as consequential as promised. The major changes to six signature mages only marked the start of the epic mage makeover. Many signature mage items got a second look as well. The jungle has also received a big re-balance, and new dragons have been let loose on the Rift, complete with new bonuses. Let's check out the rest of 6.9.
1. Minor Mage Adjustments
Patch 6.9 featured very big overhauls of a selection of classic mages that changed the way the operate dramatically - which you can read about here. It also took a hard look at ten other mages and made some more nominal adjustments. Bigger than your average number sliding tweak, but not as large as giving them brand new abilities.
Of the changes, the most impact is felt in Annie and Veigar's kits. When summoning Tibbers, Annie now has a way more powerful offensive offering than simply teddy bear shaped AOE damage. Right when summoned, Tibbers is enraged, which allows him to move through units with an increased movement and attack speed for 3 seconds. Whenever Annie puts a stack of Pyromania on a target, Tibbers will become enraged again. When Annie dies, Tibbers gains 50% of his health back and becomes enraged. When not fighting, Tibbers gains a movement speed buff while returning to Annie and regenerates 6% health a second. When attacking, his damage scales with 15% of Annie's AP. All in all, Tibbers is now the twisted nightmare guardian Annie has always deserved.
The Tiny Master of Evil has had his focus narrowed a bit. Like Nasus, Veigar's power comes from the excessive force he can exert through last hitting minions with his Baleful Strike, which gives him bonus AP every time he kills something with it. It's mana cost has be dramatically lowered, but now it can never give more than 2 AP on a kill (you don't gain bonus AP for killing champions with it). Instead, Veigar's new passive, Phenomenal Evil, allows you to gain stacks of bonus AP simply by HITTING an opponent with an ability. Consistent pressure in lane pays dividends late game, with all the bonus AP you'll be getting by simply harassing your lane rival. His ult now does damage based on the target's missing health, which is par for the course with a lot of modern champions now-a-days.
Many mage items have been adjusted and re-balanced for this brave new mage world we live in. Some have disappeared entirely (RIP Will of the Ancients).
The focus of the new mage items is to provide the same sort of item diversity that auto attackers and tanks enjoy when it comes to build strategies. For the most part, mages simply bought what mitigated their mana costs the most, while still pumping up their AP to such great heights. Now the focus is to have multiple paths of viable options, so no mage build feels the same simply because of the lack of reasonable alternatives.
Lost Chapter emerges from the Black Market - remember the Bilgewater event some time ago? - and takes the place of Forbidden Idol in the build path to Morellonomicon. It helps the whole build feel like you're trying to create a killed mage, one who will have the mana and the low cooldowns to make sure the prey you're pouncing on doesn't make it out of your conflict alive. On the other hand, Athene's Unholy Grail, as well as demi-item Chalice of Harmony, has become more of a mage support/sustain item. Chalice's new passive, Harmony, grants mana regen if your health % is lower than your mana %. Grail's new passive, Aching Blood, gains charges based on damage done and heals targets that get shielded (or healed) by you based on those charges.
The Abyssal Scepter, the go-to dueling mage stick, has gotten its aura reworked a bit. The MR reduction now scales per level and no longer affects minions, so passively farming in lane with significantly more power can't be the unintended plan B for being cagey with your engages. Its granted AP has gone down, its MR has gone up, and it now gives a 10% cooldown reduction bonus, as if you needed anymore reason to build this on Diana.
Zhonya's Hourglass has gotten much cheaper, but its granted AP is also significantly lower. This puts a focus on its very cool stasis active ability that has saved many a Ziliean, even though the cooldown on it has risen a great deal. Its defensive qualities shine now that it doesn't grant crazy high AP anymore, but the duality still makes this a viable choice.
3. There Be Dragons
The Dragon is one of the most hotly contested objectives in the Rift for good reason. Its cumulative buffs are powerful, but only really useful up to a point. The Aspect of the Dragon buff is pretty much unattainable to anyone and everyone if an early dragon run was denied, and the early buffs were nice, but weren't so compelling that it was ALWAYS something worth fighting over. And by the end of the game, dragon would become an afterthought, as eyes would immediately raise to watch Baron.
Riot wanted to make the Dragon compelling again, so it replaced your friendly neighborhood drake with a rotating squad of elemental dragons. Every 6 minutes for the first 35, a dragon from one of three elements will spawn, each granting their own unique (and stack-able) buff upon its defeat. Of the four elements, only three will make it into any given game, and after 35 minutes, they're replaced by an Elder Dragon, with its own special buffs.
The craggy Mountain Drake grants bonus true damage to monsters and turrets, and it's the objective taking dragon of choice. The Infernal Drake grants attack damage and ability power buffs, making the team a more effective at killing champions. The Cloud Drake raises out-of-combat movement speed, and its perfect for out rotating and maneuvering the other team. The Ocean Drake grants mana and health regen to boost your sustain capabilities for better poking and sieges. The Elder Dragon buff makes attacks burn targets based on how many elemental dragon buff stacks the team has. It also increases the strength of buffs by 50%.
For more Patch information, like the brand new Hextech brand items and the tweaks to jungle objectives, check out the Patch Notes blog update on Riot's website. Also, be sure to keep up with the latest MSI scores and stats on our Leaguepedia, and tell us what you think about this massive Midseason change 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.