Welcome to patch 6.15, the one with our first mention of Worlds (man, where has the time gone?). With regional playoffs fast approaching, we're looking to get the meta as close to Worlds-ready as we can, so teams are qualifying under similar conditions to what Worlds itself will present.
This time around, our focus is on the early game, taking a deep look at the professional scene's laneswap-by-default meta. The gist of our changes is that we're reducing symmetry between structure defenses so top and bot aren't perfect mirrors of one another. Toss in a first blood mechanic for turrets, and trading outers is no longer an equivalent exchange. We'll tune these changes as warranted in the patches to come, but these'll be the last major changes you see until the season ends.
Early game aside, we're also taking stock of today's champion diversity, reining in a few of the outliers (Hecarim) and bringing up a few old friends who've been collecting dust (Kassadin?!). In case you were wondering, that does in fact include Corki buffs. Some memes never die.
That's it for us today! Go first-blood a turret, and we'll see you on the Rift.
Paul "Aether" Perscheid
Mattias "Gentleman Gustaf" Lehman
Passive damage down at early levels. Q damage down.
Getting tagged by Concussive Blows forces a tough choice on Braum’s opponents: risk the stun to keep up in minion kills, or fall behind in farm and live to fight another day. Braum’s early damage currently makes both options losing prospects, since enemies who aren’t instantly chunked by Concussive Blows are still eventually worn down by Winter’s Bite. We’re pulling the big man’s punches in lane to give opponents a chance for success.
Passive - Concussive Blows
Q - Winter's Bite
Passive cooldown lowered.
Compared to his consistent performances at the start of the year, Corki’s dragging behind the rest of the pack. More frequent Package deliveries will allow Corki extra opportunities to show off just how daring he can be.
Passive - Hextech Munitions
Attack damage and Q damage down.
For a sustain tank who scales hard into the late game, Hecarim is pretty strong from the get-go. Currently, he's farming up and scaling a bit too quickly, letting him burst targets without having to build much damage. Hecarim should have to trot before he can gallop - we're reining in his base damage to make him invest in damage if he wants to one-shot people.
Q - Rampage
Tentacles are visible in brush to enemies within vision radius.
When Illaoi's tentacles are hidden by brush, enemies have no way to accurately track how much damage she can do to them. Knowing is just half the battle, though - without vision of a tentacle, there's no way to kill it. Together, these changes help Illaoi’s opponents properly assess how much threat they’re under, and deal with tentacles accordingly.
Passive - Prophet of an Elder God
E attack speed up.
Jarvan's having trouble finishing his first jungle clears with enough health to hit the ground running. This is rough for a champion built for early ganking: Jarvan’s E+Q “flag-n-drag” combo is a powerful initiation tool, but drops him squarely in range of enemy retaliation.
We’re speeding up Jarvan’s clear time so he can exit the jungle with more reasonable amounts of health - after all, dead monsters don’t hit back. This gives Jarvan better opportunities to gank for his team without having to catch his breath first.
E - Demacian Standard
E shields less, and no longer shields minions. Mantra E's speed scales with E's rank.
Karma’s issue is simple - she’s doing the right things, but she’s just doing them a little too well. Namely, Inspire (and its Mantra’d form, Defiance) are providing too much safety and disengage from the get-go. Taking a swing at their potency should keep the Enlightened One’s supportive qualities from being too overbearing.
E - Inspire
E - Defiance
Q damage up, E cost down.
Picking Kassadin requires massive team support to get rolling, but rewards you with high damage and unparalleled mobility for your trouble. At present, however, Kassadin finds himself unable to even show up to lane versus some of the mages he should be favored against. Kassadin’s scaling potential will still be locked behind an uncertain early game, but tossing his lane some love should see more teams reap a return-on-investment for supporting their local Void Walker.
Q - Null Sphere
W - Nether Blade
E - Force Pulse
Passive cooldown up. Passive shield falls off faster.
Though Void Shift allows Malzahar to play aggressively without fearing every stray spell, opponents should be able to capitalize on his immobility after they poke his shield down. Right now his window of protection is simply too long, allowing him to retreat to a safer position in the time it takes for his passive to fall off.
Passive - Void Shift
Cougar and Human Q damage up. R no longer resets Nidalee's basic attack.
Functionality changes can be controversial, so we want to be clear on why Aspect of the Cougar no longer resets Nidalee’s basic attack. Straight up: the damage pattern of these resets is drowning out the unique aspects of Nidalee’s gameplay.
Right now, Nidalee’s R attack resets are literally free damage. Optimizing around them comes at the expense of other gameplay decisions - namely, form swapping for the abilities each form offers. Our attempt to balance around this optimization exacerbated the problem, since stripping power from Nidalee’s abilities made resets that much stronger by contrast. It also failed to get her to a balanced state.
At this point, we have a few options. Keep nerfing Nidalee’s kit, washing out the payoff of her risk-reward assassin gameplay. Attach significant costs/cooldowns to Aspect of the Cougar, limiting access to attack resets as well as everything else form swapping does. Rework her, tossing out a kit that might actually be healthy without R resets. Or remove the resets and put power back into Nidalee’s abilities. This is the option we’re moving forward with.
To be clear, we’re not denouncing mechanical skill checks or high mastery ceilings for Nidalee or League overall. This specific mechanic has created deep-running problems for this specific champion, so we’re removing it. With that obstacle out of the way, we’ll be in a better position to balance Nidalee going forward.
Q - Javelin Toss
Q - Takedown
W - Pounce
R - Aspect of the Cougar
Damage per second up at early levels. Gives fury on cast.
Historically, Renekton has served as a bar for top lane; if you can't handle his strong early game, you probably don't belong on the unforgiving island. However, Dominus isn't providing the level 6 power spike he needs to generate kill pressure or an enduring minion lead. We're pushing more power into Dominus's early ranks to restore everybody’s healthy fear of the crocodile.
R - Dominus
Health regen down.
Given how many defensive tools Shen has at his disposal, opponents that manage to crack his health bar should be rewarded with an actual chance of pushing him out of lane. Right now, that damage is too quickly erased as Shen’s health regen ticks in the background. Shen should be earning his stay in lane through careful rationing of his defensive cooldowns, rather than relying on base stats to bail him out of unfavorable situations.
R passively generates more fury.
Dragon’s Descent gives Shyvana the ability to make great initiation plays for her team, even from behind. This acts as a release valve, allowing us to keep Shyvana out of ‘feast or famine’ balance territory. We’re giving Dragon’s Descent better uptime in the early game to ensure Shyvana’s consistently contributing to her team.
R - Dragon's Descent
W heals less. E's self movement-speed boost down. Changes were implemented part-way through last patch.
We shipped two balance changes to Sona in between patches, and are copying those notes here so you’re aware. Beyond that, we’re also fixing a bug with Aria of Perseverance that was contributing to her recent rise to power.
W - Aria of Perseverance
Mid-patch 6.14 hotfix changes
- Just as a reminder.
- "We knew going into 6.14 that speeding up Sona's gameplay would be a significant buff. Though we threw in a few power-downs to compensate, it's clear at this point those adjustments weren't enough to keep Sona in line. We're making a few immediate changes to tone her back down, then see if we need to follow up again in 6.15.
- W - Aria of Perseverance
- Heal : [40/65/90/115/140] ⇒ 35/55/75/95/115
- E - Song of Celerity
- SELF MOVEMENT SPEED : [16/17/18/19/20%] ⇒ 13/14/15/16/17%
R cooldown up.
Even though 6.14 saw Taliyah losing some damage here and there, experienced Stoneweavers are still crushing their competition. Given her consistent laning strength, we’re looking to reduce the frequency with which Taliyah's using that strength across the map. While roaming (and rocksurfing) is core to Taliyah’s success, bringing Weaver’s Wall in line with other global effects puts less stress on sidelanes when she starts to stack her advantages.
R - Weaver's Wall
Q deals damage to turrets and inhibitors.
Vayne relies on attack speed for the brunt of her damage (via Silver Bolts and Blade of the Ruined King), making her remarkably good at killing champions but not so great at taking pot-shots against structures. Clear strengths and weaknesses are important to keep champions distinct, but in Vayne's case, her lack of structure damage makes her too unreliable. Given that markspeople are supposed to be turret-killers, we're giving the Night Hunter a bump to her combat prowess against inanimate objects.
While we were looking at Vayne, we also took the opportunity to make Tumble’s crits consistent with other empowered attacks - either both halves of the attack crit, or neither of them do. No more sad half-crits!
Q - Tumble
R only gains its return speed boost when Viktor targets himself.
For those not in the know, Chaos Storm always moves at max speed when moving toward Viktor, the idea being he can recall the storm to focus a target that’s gap-closed onto him. Currently, the definition of ‘toward’ is overly generous to Viktor, granting Chaos Storm max speed in any situation where it’s not moving away from him. We’re tightening up the mechanic so it only fires when Viktor explicitly calls for it.
R - Chaos Storm
Movement speed down. W cooldown up.
Vladimir’s traditionally relied on Sanguine Pool to escape ganks, but Midseason added a bunch of extra escape tools for him to play with (Crimson Rush movement speed, Protobelt, Ghost buffs). It makes sense for Vlad to become insanely slippery once he’s invested in these options, but having great escapability from the get-go is making it feel like there’s never an opportunity to punish him when caught out of position.
W - Sanguine Pool
Elastic Slingshot doesn’t zoom off in weird directions.
E - Elastic Slingshot
Q damage and AP ratio up.
Before the 6.13 tweaks to plant AI, Zyra was getting too much consistent harass from her plants without even having to land spells. Now that she's getting less free plant damage, it’s clear her spells aren’t carrying their weight. As a squishy mage, Zyra should be rewarded for taking risks to play aggressively when her abilities hit.
Q - Deadly Spines
Skin Splash Updates
Two more of our older skin splashes are being updated in 6.15!
Heal/shield bonus no longer stacks across multiple Ardent Censers.
We're glad Enchanter-types are experimenting with the heal/shield bonus on Forbidden Idol and friends, but hoarding Censers (or Crucibles) isn't what we had in mind. The three different sources of the effect still stack with each other, but we're ensuring Censer users aren't abandoning the rest of the shop.
Heal/shield bonus no longer stacks across multiple Mikael's Crucibles.
Still stacks with Ardent Censer, but we’re not going to stack contexts. Go read Ardent Censer.
The first turret killed now gives bonus gold. Outer turret local gold decreased.
Laneswapping (while difficult to pull off) has become the formulaic ‘default’ strategy for teams in the professional scene. Having a go-to strategy isn’t wrong by any means, but the prevalence of laneswaps has all but removed direct conflict from the early stages of the game. We believe games of League should be won by interacting with your opponents, and while laneswapping is certainly a kind of interaction, its prevalence has removed almost all early-aggression strats from viability.
That said, we’re not looking to outright remove the ability to pull off swaps. We think they’re fine as a situational strategy (e.g. avoiding bad matchups); they just don’t have enough of a real cost for the team that swaps. These changes push teams to carefully consider whether it’s worth sacrificing gold and tempo if they want to opt for the path of least resistance, rather than defaulting to laneswapping in every situation.
Turret First Blood
Lord Van Damm's Pillager
We told you it'd be back.
As promised last patch, Lord Van Damm’s Pillager is back. We’ve repurposed it from a Treeline-sized Infinity Edge to a powerful end-game item for AD bruisers that taps into the unique gameplay Twisted Treeline offers.
Minimap Icon Cleanup
Various player-created objects and pets no longer generate minimap icons.
The minimap's looking pretty cluttered as of late. We took stock of every ability that generates an icon, and a bunch of them aren't actually adding useful information. For example, Thresh's lantern only really matters to champions close enough to click on it, and those are the exact champs who'll be watching Thresh on-screen, rather than through the minimap. (Sidenote: we checked, and you can't Teleport to the minimap icon.)
We aren't going to list all the removed icons here, since the premise is you aren't losing much with their removal. That said, we'll keep an eye out in case any of these icons are more sorely missed than we anticipated!
We’re testing a feature in some regions that shows how much lower or higher queue times may be based on the positions selected.
We know queue times can vary dramatically depending on the roles a player picks, so we’ve added queue time impact estimates to position select as an experiment in test regions. Now you can decide if you prefer getting into game or getting your primary. We’ll evaluate rolling out the feature to other servers based on the results of the test, but wanted to keep you updated on our efforts either way.
Ranked Team Queues
The windows for full-team Ranked play (Ranked 5s and 3s where available) will be expanded during this patch.
With the enthusiastic response to the return of Ranked 5s, we’re confident we can make Ranked team play windows even more accessible without hiking up queue times or lowering match quality. This should give Ranked teams some more wiggle room in coordinating climbing sessions.
- Battle Boosts have returned to Howling Abyss!
- Fixed a bug where the stun on Rammus's Q - Powerball was lasting longer than intended
- Annie's W - Incinerate and R - Summon: Tibbers now properly stun (but don’t damage) invulnerable targets when proccing Pyromania
- Classic Mordekaiser now has the same leash range for his Dragon Ghost as all his skins
- Cancelling Graves’s basic attack no longer fails to reset his basic attack timer
- Damaging trap abilities now properly grant a stack of Fervor of Battle when procced by an enemy
- Untargetable champions can no longer proc Caitlyn’s W - Yordle Snap Trap
- Twisted Treeline bots no longer purchase removed items
- PROJECT: First Strike loading screen borders are no longer covered up by ranked borders
- Dunkmaster Darius's health bar no longer overlaps with his head
- Pool Party Miss Fortune's level number no longer drifts out of the side of her health bar
- Improved visibility of Lunar Wraith Caitlyn's W - Yordle Snap Trap
- Koi Nami's chromas now properly use her ability particle effects, rather than Classic Nami's
- Fixed various splotchy spots on Safecracker Evelynn's outfit
- Pool Party Taric no longer briefly reappears after diving into the floor at the end his recall animation
- Arclight Vel'Koz's spawning portal no longer sits on top of his tentacles during his respawn animation
- Fixed a bug where some Nidalee skins could steal the Cougar form recall VFX from her Warring Kingdoms skin when in the same game together
- His Royal Crabbiness no longer sticks out of the ward skin selector when picking him as your ward skin in Champion Select
The following skins will be released during patch 6.15