Patch 6.9 was immensely consequential to League of Legends. Jam packed full of big changes, it was so big that we had to do TWO different Patch Notes! (Which you can read here and here.) Patch 6.10 tries to further narrow the course that 6.9 put us on. What that actually means is fixing what 6.9 might have broken, so many of the highlights of this patch were highlights of the last patch, too. Let's get to it.
The capstone feature of the big mid-season patch was the reordering of the mage class. By making major adjustments to six of the most wayward casters, minor adjustments to ten others, and tweaks, rebalances, and additions/subtractions to the mage-centric item list, the class itself would reach a greater sense of identity. At least, that's what Riot hoped.
For the most part, they were right. Yet, many of their mages were left wanting, even after massive power boosts and modernized kits. Cassiopeia, Vladimir, and Swain all needed booster shots this patch. The slippery snake assassin had the ranges on her Q and W raised, with the speed boost from Noxious Blast lasting longer and Miasma no longer getting clipped by terrain. It should help her execute her zone>poison>pursue strategy more frequently, as she was being very easily boxed out and kited when built and played as intended.
The whole relationship Vlad has with health and AP is supposed to embolden his tanky sustain package in a fun and unique way. With much of his power rooting in how much health he has (and vice versa), it only really pays to be a Blood Mage when you can get lots of health back as quickly as you spend it/lose it in combat. His Ultimate, Hemoplague, wasn't really hitting that mark after 6.9, so Riot is taking another look at it. Now, instead of just refunding half of the damage as health, Hemoplague heals on the same ratio that it does damage.
Swain is one of the few mages who play tanky. Like Vlad, the Bird Bro accomplishes this with his very competent sustain suite. The problem is, his Ultimate, Ravenous Flock, did a flat percentage of magic damage and heals, meaning anyone who built magic resist (the juggernauts and tanks on the opposite team that he was meant to feed on) would mitigate most of the damage he'd do. Now it does a flat amount per level plus scales with AP, so at least Swain can actively play against that strategy.
Fiddlesticks is a champ who has gotten a very present second wind after patch 6.9. hit. Suddenly, he can duel, control, zone, and be generally creepy with the added bonus of being effective. 6.10 hopes to not skew that effectiveness too much, but - in bringing down the number of bounces his crow makes during Dark Wind - his one-on-one potential may become less abusive. It's a pretty minor change, as nerfs go.
Malzahar, on the other hand, has been a naughty Void Mage. His passive, Void Shift, has become an integral part of his kit, as it allows him the time to be lethal without being immediately crushed on first contact. Fresh off of 6.9, Mal was too self sufficient. The time between his shifts was too low, meaning the window of time a lane opponent had to capitalize on a down passive was small. Engaging him alone in early levels was a poor way to waste time and mana, so the only good solid play was to sit and farm. Changing how his cooldown scales per level (adding checkpoint levels that lower his cooldown when he reaches them) should change the way you play against him for the better. And he won't be able to cheese his way to an early dragon anymore.
Space Dragon Aurelion Sol wasn't really tampered with last patch, but it might be the first patch since he launched that didn't involve him getting nerfed in some fashion. Riot's taken big steps to make him less oppressive in lane, but it's hard to stop a champion with so many useful utilities like him. Here, they raise the cooldown of Celestial Expansion at early levels in hopes to open more counterplay windows between activations when it's most important. His ultimate, Voice of Light, has its damage reeled in as well. Will it change the fact that he is still the best moving, zoning roamer in mid lane? Probably not.
The big new Rift objective, the Elemental Dragons, seem to be working as intended; it provides a more interesting gameplay option in the bottom lane that has clear, useful rewards. Like anything that works well, it may actually not be working to most people's preference.
Take the Mountain Drake, for example. It amplified true damage to large monsters and turrets, but there was a bit of an ethos issue with doing that. True damage's defining feature is that it is what it is, no matter what. It can't be mitigated or amplified. So, now the mountain drake buff no longer does so. Does that mean it just amplifies normal damage now? I don't know. The two games I played since haven't spawned a mountain dragon, and the notes aren't very clear on it.
The Ocean Drake is getting its regenerative properties reeled in. Most regen bonuses are inconspicuous components of a larger gradual healing mechanic that a lot of people take for granted. Outside someone like Garen, who regenerates health more rapidly than others naturally, most of bonus health regen's hard work goes unsung. This might be because a lot of passive health regen bonuses happen outside of combat. To regen in combat, you usually have to steal it from enemies by attacking them. This relationship was disrupted by the Ocean Drake, who amplified health regen to very noticeable heights. Like, people-getting-away-from-big-damage-combos-by-the-skin-of-their-teeth-because-they-just-got-12%-of-their-health-back-suddenly sort of heights. Now, the splash dragon's buff only applies when out of combat.
Want to know more about the newest patch, including the tweaks to a pair of under used summoner spells and how the newest jungle item just got bloodier? Check out the full patch notes on Riot's website. Don't forget to drop by the Leaguepedia to stay up-to-date with the latest Pro-League news (BIOFROST + TSM = EXCITE!). Finally, let us know what you think about the new patch on Facebook and Twitter.
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.