Welcome to patch 5.24, the last one of 2015. It’s been a wild ride with Cinderhulks, Juggernauts and Devourers in-between, but this is no time to get sentimental. It’s still preseason, there are still outliers to balance, systems to maintain and bad jokes to make.
Speaking of balance outliers, we’ve got a lot of balance changes below for champions you might not see often - let’s dive into that for a bit. Like preseasons past, we’ve traveled (via the diversity dirigible, naturally) to an entirely new ecosystem of champion balance, where many old “champion power” assumptions just don’t hold water. A moment of silence, please, for 4.20 Warwick and six-Cleaver everyone. New systems, masteries and items combine to make weak champions strong, strong champions weak, and Brand a god. So while it may shock you to see champions like Swain and Anivia nerfs, or Riven buffs (gasp!), keep in mind that we’re working off of as much objective data as we can.
Then there’s Soraka.
Don’t worry, we didn’t forget.
With that out of the way, what else is there? Poppy’s looking cuter and more imposing than ever, Snowdown’s back and brought the Legend of the Poro King game mode with it, and we’ve put the finishing touches on our item and champion tuning before taking a balance break to January.
So, from all of us at Riot Games: good luck, have fun, and we’ll see you in 2016.
Patrick "Scarizard" Scarborough
It's time for some icy awesomeness as Snowdown kicks off this patch! Bundle up with a ton of new Snowdown stuff coming your way!:
- The Legend of the Poro King game mode returns with a new PROJECT: Poro icon joining last year's lineup of icon-infused poro skins!
- Snowdown minions on Howling Abyss and Summoner's Rift
- A new Penguin Skier ward and a few new Snowdown icons, including IP icons that you can toss to your friends
- Your Snowdown Shop, offering skin and champ discounts unique to you
- Three new Snowdown skins:
Poppy, Keeper of the Hammer, will be updated with the launch of patch 5.24! To learn more, check the following links:
R’s leash range is shorter and chills for less.
Anivia’s synergies with the new Keystone Masteries are pushing her to pretty absurd levels of power, especially in a metagame where teams primarily rely on sieging towers to succeed. These changes are all about forcing Anivia to commit herself to danger if she wants to command the same level of respect in controlling and defending objectives.
R - Glacial Storm
Another patch, another set of bugfixes for Azir.
W - Arise!
E - Shifting Sands
W ratio up. Meeps recharge faster.
Bard’s the caretaker to call when you need to protect a dimension (or listen to some sweet tunes), but his early game struggles keep him from realising his destiny. Pretty straightforward buffs to access that early game fantasy.
Passive - Traveler's Call
W - Caretaker's Shrine
W cost up.
Brand’s flown under the radar for a long time, but preseason’s outed him as one of the highest damage champions in the game. Since Deathfire Touch (Brand’s go-to- Keystone) is also being nerfed, we’re going a little lighter here, choosing to instead tap his efficiency in harassment / waveclear.
W - Pillar of Flame
Headshot stacks faster at early levels.
Better access to early health regen, combined with Caitlyn's update have taken the bite out of her poke-based laning style. We think Caitlyn plays best when she's able to bully her opposition a bit more, so we're bumping up that early game at the small cost of her late.
Passive - Headshot
Q deals less damage to monsters. E requires more ranks to scale, and no longer works on towers.
Seasons change, teams rise and fall... and Mundo goes where he pleases. The introduction of Rift Herald’s made it clear that Cleaver’s damage was never appropriately tuned for the jungle, letting Mundo free to gleefully slaughter large monsters without a care in the world. Combine this strength with the raw power loaded into Masochism’s on-hit from 5.20, and you’ve got an unstoppable force. We’re addressing both of these to bring Mundo back to brink of sanity and off the edge of ‘banned every game.’
Q - Infected Cleaver
E - Masochism
A few savvy players (and one handsome patch-writer) found a slew of issues with Ekko’s passive not correctly applying on-hits. No more! Go forth and live your on-hit Ekko dreams, friends.
Passive - Z-Drive Resonance
Less health. Only ignores unit collision during E.
Hecarim’s engagement pattern is consistently oppressive, and preseason’s only amplified the terror he brings to any 1v1 encounter. We’re emphasising the value in striking back against him (especially when Spirit of Dread is down), and forcing him to play the same unit collision game as everyone else. No more free hits just because your opponent’s struggling through a blockade of enemy minions, buddy.
Passive - Warpath
E - Devastating Charge
Rockets root Jinx for less
Increasing Jinx’s attack frame when using Fishbones had the unintended side-effect of rooting her for longer than attacking in mini-gun, so we’re bringing it in line to make it feel like it did pre-preseason. Her attack speed is still slowed, mind you, but you’ll regain control of your movement much sooner.
Q - Switcheroo!
Wall of Pain’s slow now decays.
Another huge beneficiary of preseason, Karthus’s reliability with Wall of Pain makes the follow-up onslaught of Lay Wastes less ‘dodging and weaving’ and more of an inevitability. Karthus still retains his immediate catch potential, but now has to rely on some slick predictions (or follow-up from teammates) before dragging his prey with him to the great beyond.
W - Wall of Pain
W heal down. R cooldown up.
Kindred’s strengths have become pretty apparent as players continue mastering them, utilising their high damage and sustain to take even the slightest advantage and run rampant. These changes are about restricting access to their more powerful tools when they’re most likely to pull ahead while introducing more risk to their death-defying maneuvers.
W - Wolf's Frenzy
R - Lamb's Respite
W’s attack damage ratio is gone, but now has a base damage.
Kog’Maw’s the same vomit-happy hypercarry he’s always been, but the update went too far in removing base damages from his kit. What we end up with is a Kog that’s incredibly hard to stop once he gets going, but lacking in the tools to get there reliably. Removing the ratio and reinstating the base does trim Kog’s highs, but gives him an expected damage floor to tap into when he’s not consuming everything.
W - Bio-Arcane Barrage
W damage down.
Malzahar’s been sleeping just below the surface of too powerful for a long time, only just recently breaking through the top of Strong Mountain. Instead of taking away from his signature lane control and single-target lockdown, we’re opting to chip away at his unintended strengths, targeting incidental area damage instead.
W - Null Zone
Just a tooltip bug.
Making it abundantly clear that this is just a tooltip bug, and Yi's had this AP ratio since 2013. Tooltip.
W - Meditate
Early ranks of W’s attack speed and E’s slow down.
Miss Fortune’s still ruling the laning phase with an iron fist, so we’re taking a crack at draining early power. Specifically targeted at the initial ranks, these changes reduce her raw effectiveness in trades (unless making good use of Love Tap) while adding a level of choice as to which you’d want to max second.
W - Strut
E - Make It Rain
Q damage up.
Once queen of the jungle, Nidalee’s early game has been suffering when tossing spears at champions and monsters alike. So we’re making them hit harder. context.
Q - Javelin Toss
Attack damage down. Q damage and ratio decreased, and cost increased.
If you’ve played against Quinn this patch, you already know that Blinding Assault does too much damage for the utility it provides. Hitting her damage across the board cements proper use of Harrier and Blinding Assault’s smokescreen effect to win duels, rather than just clicking on them really hard.
Q - Blinding Assault
Q slow and champion-hit radius down.
When it comes to shutting down marksmen while stacking armor, Rammus runs rings around the competition. Rolling into lanes at the speed of sound, Rammus’ oppressive ganks layer a domineering amount of crowd control on top of anyone looking to have a normal laning phase. We’re tuning back some of the bite from his surprise attacks, but tossing a little quality-of-life his way for when he’s gotta go fast.
Q - Powerball
Health regen up.
You’re not dreaming - these are Riven buffs. Anyone playing attack-damage champions that don’t synergise with crit or attack speed is feeling a little sad these days. Just like last patch with Kha’Zix and Zed, this won’t improve heavily until we figure out some item-related solutions, but health regen should help her not lose her lane as often while we work it all out.
W ratio up.
Given marksmen have less attack damage in their builds, Sivir’s poor performance this preseason isn’t too surprising. She’s always scaled harder with pure attack damage than with any sort of crit synergies, so bumping her ratios a tad should help with her footing while we continue to monitor how she’s doing.
W - Ricochet
E always works, R’s ratio down.
Another gank-and-tank jungler, Skarner’s late-game revolves around a powerful mix of crowd control and durability. That said, Skarner’s also murdering everyone while being tanky, so we’re tuning that down. In exchange, he gets a buff for when we roll out 10v10 combat. Or waveclear. Very minor waveclear.
E - Fracture
R - Impale
Q range down, W cost up. R no longer removes Grievous Wounds.
Preseason brought lots of indirect help to healers, and with the dust having settled it’s time to begin following up on the balance outliers.
Rather than touching the raw health output of League’s premier healer (™), we’re hitting Raka’s safety to increase her vulnerability and cap just how much healing she can actually do in a fight without a significant build adjustment or masterful positioning.
Q - Starcall
W - Astral Infusion
R - Wish
W duration lowered at early ranks.
When Swain’s good, his dominance over the lane borders on abusive - and Swain’s pretty good right now, using Corrupting Potions and Deathfire Touches to terrorise the world. We’re making it so that Swain is priced into investing in Nevermove to get the same level of control on his prey.
W - Nevermove
W no longer gives movement speed running away.
Tahm Kench. River King. ‘Why didn’t you ban him?’ - whatever name you use, TK’s ability to save allies is the crux of his play-making potential and a cornerstone of his frustration when on the opposing team. We want to preserve Tahm’s clutch moments of supporting carries gone astray, but he should give up some of his personal safety to do so. Given his multiple health bars and massive size, making him slower while sheltering someone in his big ol’ gut makes sense as the first mechanic to send downriver.
R - Devour
Q damage down.
Like slow creeping fungus, Twisted Fate’s been an under-the-table force for a while and it’s not hard to see why. Unparalleled map presence and point-click stuns reign supreme when it comes to securing leads, and there’s no better time like preseason to take advantage of the chaos. Lowering TF’s mid-game spike and waveclear should buy teams enough time to withstand his pressure game while mounting a response.
Q - Wild Cards
Three Talon Strike actually works.
5.23 saw X to the Z’s Three Talon Strike refactored under-the-hood, which caused all sorts of unintended problems. We’ve patched him up so Xin’s better suited for the rage of war. Sorry!
Q - Three Talon Strike
Passive damage to structures up.
Ziggs is a champion whose performance is tied intrinsically to the pace of the game, blooming when late-game sieges are common and wilting against speedy tower pressure. We’re going easy on the changes as we suss out the systems surrounding game flow, but wanted to send him off with an extra boom for when he’s trying to push an advantage.
Passive - Short Fuse
Jungle Monster Tuning
Monsters have less effective health against magic damage.
The below changes are a little mathy, so let’s break it down. At present, Jungle Monsters get tougher solely through health scaling, making it harder for champions relying on magic damage and ability cooldowns to interact with them as the game gets later and later. We’re refactoring how that scaling works so that the attack-damage and on-hit junglers in the crowd have about the same effectiveness, but the Cinderhulks and Runeglaives out there have an easier time cutting a path.
Non-Epic Monsters (excluding Rift Scuttler)
It’s now easier to hand off Doom’s Eve.
We’re still seeing how Rift Herald fits into the grand scheme of things, so we’re making some improvements to make it easier to hand off the buff to the right person without risk of junglers ‘accidentally’ taking it, or dying to Herald in the process.
Just a bunch of fixes and refactoring for wards, as preseason introduced a fair bit of inconsistency between different types of wards (and which could see which at what ranges). Now wards should do what you expect them to, as long as you expect them to provide vision.
Dolla dolla bills, y'all.
Dead Man's Plate
Overall usage and data has pointed to Dead Man’s being far-and-away the health and armor purchase for a while now, but we wanted to see how preseason potentially shook things up before pulling the trigger. About a month in and Dead Man’s Plate is more ubiquitous than ever, even when it’s less situationally powerful than, say, Randuin’s or Sunfire - so we’re knocking off some hit points to let the other items compete.
AoE range down.
Guinsoo’s is intended to have the same area-of-effect as Ravenous Hydra and Tiamat, but was significantly larger due to a bug. So now it’s not larger!
Changed the critical strike to cooldown reduction conversation rate.
Essence Reaver’s providing a path for spell-casters as intended, but currently turning your next Zeal or Cloak of Agility into a cheap 20% cooldown reduction is a rate other items simply can’t compete with. The math below is a little wonky, but here’s the gist of it - at 20% crit (from say, Zeal), you’ll get 10% cooldown reduction. At 30% crit (from Zeal’s upgrades), you’ll get the same 20% cooldown reduction you’re used to. We’re digging the item’s path and what it does for carries mid-game, but we’re pushing back the ‘1.5 item power-spike’ to keep certain spell-slinging marksman in check.
Zeal and all of its items cost more.
We don’t want to delay marksmen from participating in the game for too long, but their ‘1.5 item power spike’ is presently pushing them over the edge. Zeal’s newfound cost-efficiency is one of the culprits of this early-midgame bump, so we’re taking a little off the top to keep the pacing and power-growth of marksmen one that all can keep up with.
Sike! Not all Zeal items are more expensive.
Used far less as a true marksman item, we didn’t want ol’ Tons of Damage to be negatively impacted when we were hitting Zeal. Carry on, Trinity Force.
Energized Attack Procs
Damage from Kircheis Shard, Statikk Shiv and Rapid Firecannon no longer stack (effects still do).
As sweet as it is to chain-lightning from a million range, it’s clear that the damage from that combination is too high for the safety. We’re keeping the ability for you to stack the effects (because long-range lightning is awesome), but it’ll only take the highest damage of your combined effects to reduce their surprise burst potential.
More attack speed.
Compared to its Zeal brethren, Phantom Dancer’s danced its way out of inventories in favor of newer, shinier Zeal items ever since preseason. While PD could stand to get more power, this is just a love tap - we’ve got more in store for the once-great crit item, but we’re waiting to see the effect of the Energized items not stacking damage before we get too hasty.
Longer cooldown, less vision.
The rock-paper-scissors of the trinket system is starting to catch on, but the widespread use of Farsight is providing too much long-term vision for teams to keep up with, turning most games into a constant spotlight-search of clairvoyance on both sides. We’re making the trinket less spammable and lowering the vision radius to make it less sufficient in multiples, especially when compared long-term to a few Warding Totems.
Relic Shield line
Spoils of War always had wonky interactions with executing clones, but with Illaoi’s introduction to the League (alongside all her spirit pullin’), we thought now would be the time to make the call on whether you should or shouldn’t be able to proc things. Given that the item’s intent is toward helping allies last-hit, and not surprise-destroying the dreams of champions with clones, we went with the latter.
Passive - Spoils of War
Enchantment - Devourer
where are my stacks, harold
Devourer users were pretty excited about a new Epic monster joining the Rift, ready to sink their teeth in and combine with their ghost dog for maximum wreckage - until they found out it was only giving 1 stack on assist. You may now Devour the Herald in peace.
Feast cooldown up. Fervor of Battle slightly reworked, and Deathfire Touch’s damage effectiveness is down.
Ferocity is definitely living up to the hype for fighters and mages looking to stay in combat, but provides certain champions too much power relative to the rest of the cast. Fervor of Battle is now about stacking damage against champions specifically, and Deathfire Touch is more focused about consistent applications of damage.
Fervor of Battle
Armor penetration and Thunderlord’s ratio increased. New assassin mastery for assassins. Windspeaker’s blessing changed to flat from percentage scaling.
Cunning, on the other hand, isn’t pulling its weight when it comes to assassins. To help address their woes (especially the attack-damage ones), we’ve added or boosted damage from the tree across the board to enable the flashy, risky dives and outplays their known for. On the other side of the tree, Windspeaker’s was doing too much lifting toward making end-game tanks unkillable, so we’ve changed it to a flat amount. This makes it more effective on targets with low defensive stats, but less effective on the dude (or dudette) with 400 armor and MR.
Less armor and magic resist, less health, and less bonds of stone.
The most robust of the new trees, Resolve’s multiplicative scaling for tanks is simply too high across the board. We’re reducing the effectiveness of the class at the mastery level while adding flat-health options for squishies who actually want some defense, even if they’re not stacking it.
Bond of Stone
Reverting the minion pathing changes made so far in preseason.
We've made a few changes to minion blocking this preseason, targeted at making creep block more intuitive. When you get stuck in a minion clump you should be able to understand what's happening, and your champ's attempts to escape (or avoid) it should make sense as well. While these changes technically worked, they caused problems when interacting with other systems. We're turning them off until those interactions are fixed.
First Minion Wave Equality
It’s easier to get to lane without losing a minion
We made some behavioural changes to minions in the very first wave of the game when no enemy champions have interacted with them. Left to their own devices, the minions will spread damage evenly and avoid randomly focus-firing a single soldier. The goal here is that you should be able to more predictably realise whether or not you’ll lose a minion when you get to lane late. This actually went out in 5.23, but we figured you’d like to know!