Welcome to 6.19, the one where we return to our normal programming. That means two things: first, we can tackle a few projects deemed too risky for patches hyper-focused on Worlds, and second, our balance focus has returned to standard calibration.
So, what’ve we got? The biggest change of the patch is a partial revert of last year’s update to Kog’Maw. The context there is twice as long as this foreword, so we’ll gloss over the topic here. Void doggos aside, we’re also looking at champs whose strengths or weaknesses are out of whack. We’ve got a few late-game champs who are taking over too early (Soraka, Cassiopeia) as well as a few champs who are falling off too hard as the game progresses (Corki, Mundo). That’s no bueno, so we’re taking steps to even things out.
Toss in a few quality-of-life and usability features and we’ve got ourselves a patch! May your HUD pings be plentiful, your item undos less painful, and your summoner spells safe from “user error” at the start of the game.
Good luck, have fun.
P.S. - you’ll notice Kog’Maw out of alphabetical order. We’re going to start using the top of the Champions list to ‘feature’ large or more contentious changes. We’ve dabbled with this before, but now it’s explicit. Top of the notes? It’s a Big Deal (™)
Paul "Aether" Perscheid
Q and W have been reverted to their pre-update paradigms.
Let’s start with the bottom line: Kog’Maw’s being partially reverted to his pre-2016 status. While we’ve had champions that take a couple of passes to get right (...Ryze), this is the first time we’ve actually gone back on a Champion Update. To understand how we got here, let’s take it all the way back to last year’s pre-season.
Our goal for the Marskman update was to create strategic identities for them outside of ‘who does the most damage’. What does each marksman do that their classmates don’t? Kog’Maw already had an answer to that question: be the glass cannon, demanding an entire team’s resources to support. So rather than create a distinct identity, we took a different approach: sharpen the one he already had. If ‘glass cannon’ was cool, could we push things further and make a ‘glass turret’?
10 months and 5 attacks per second later, how did that shake out? Well, Kog’s gameplay has actually moved away from the niche he previously filled. Transforming into an immobile turret is certainly unique, but it creates a ‘feast or famine’ situation. Kog can’t move between attacks in the late game, so either he mows down everyone in range, or enemies walk to safety since Kog can't keep pace. Compared to the consistent payoffs of old-school ‘Jugger-Maw’ comps, playing with today’s Kog’Maw feels too hit-or-miss.
As an aside, new Kog's created some warping effects on the items system. Specifically, on-hit items (Rageblade, Wit’s End, even Skirmisher’s Sabre) are balanced with the attack speed cap in mind, and Kog'Maw's pushing the strength of these effects past their designs. This puts heavy restrictions on the item system, all to support a single champ.
All said, we’re left with two choices - continue to make concessions toward Kog’Maw’s ‘glass turret’ ideal, or hit the reset switch to a stabler (though still imperfect) Kog. The updated kit's moved too far from what made Kog’Maw special, so we opted for the latter. This transition may be choppy, as many of League’s underlying systems have changed since Kog'Maw's update, but we’ll be monitoring how he readjusts and make any changes necessary to support him.
Q - Caustic Spittle
W no longer doubles Kog’s attack speed or the attack speed cap, but deals more max health per hit, has a higher range early, and lasts longer.
E damage lowered.
Anivia’s historically succeeded by establishing control over the battlefield through persistent threat of AoE lockdown. Frostbite is her follow-through when she lands a crowd control ability, but it hits so hard it’s single-handedly winning trades for her. We’re toning Frostbite’s damage down so Anivia has to utilize her entire kit to succeed, rather than leaning on a single ability.
E - Frostbite
Passive damage up, W damage down. W’s cost adjusted. E no longer requires build-up to cast.
Aurelion Sol is a sassy dragon who favors extended fights where he can pummel enemies with his stars. The catch is that, as an innately-squishy champ, Aurelion has to survive those encounters himself. Investing in defenses is the obvious solution to the problem, but comes at the tradeoff of deferring more damage-focused purchases. As it turns out, Aurelion doesn't need ability power to be a mid-game threat due to how much base damage he gets from Celestial Expansion rank-ups.
That said, Aurelion’s damage ends up in a reasonable spot once his build is balanced out in the late-game with a mix of offense and defense, and we don’t want to take that away. So, instead of a straight-up nerf, we’re moving base values around to smooth Aurelion’s damage progression over the game. If he wants to continue to be a mid-game damage threat, he'll now need to make riskier purchases early on.
On an entirely separate note, we've got a set of usability improvements for Comet of Legend. Removing Escape Velocity as a requirement to press E is a straight-up buff, but there are a few quality-of-life improvements bundled in as well. Fly high, Aurelion Sol.
Passive - Center of the Universe
W - Celestial Expansion
E - Comet of Legend
W cast range reduced. E healing down.
We’ve had this conversation a few times since mid-season, but to restate one of our beliefs: late-game characters like Cassiopeia need to have windows of interaction in the early game so opponents have a fair chance of winning. As Cass players learned to play around their bootless immobility, those windows have gradually closed. With finer mastery over their combat ranges, Cassiopeia players are now controlling too much of the battlefield from too far a distance, all the while sustaining through the damage opponents do manage to land. We’re heightening the risks Cassiopeia needs to take in lane to re-open those windows of interaction necessary to justify her late-game hyperscaling.
Passive - Serpentine Grace
W - Miasma
E - Twin Fang
Attack damage per level up.
Sheen buff? Sheen buff.
More seriously, Corki’s been struggling ever since his Patch 6.3 nerf, but zooming out a bit brings us to a bigger question: what is Corki? Is he a mage who cares about his auto attacks? Is he a marksman who relies on spells? That tension is at the root of Corki’s unclear identity. Patch 6.3 framed Corki as the least marksman-y marksman, able to get by without reliance on his basic attacks. However, there is a threshold where that goes too far, and Corki has crossed it. Corki doesn’t need to be a carry who can get away with just standing and attacking, but his Trinity empowered autos between spells should be more explosive.
E damage up, cooldown reduced.
When we last visited Dr. Mundo, the early game sustain of Grasp of the Undying was making it difficult to punish his laning phase. At the time, we nerfed his early damage so that opponents could win trades and set him behind. With Grasp now significantly weaker, Mundo is missing out on damage at all stages of the game. When Mundo scales into the late game he still goes where he pleases, but without damage, his opponents don’t care.
E - Masochism
Kled does full damage to monsters and minions while dismounted. R’s range and duration decreased.
This is Kled’s first visit to the patch notes, so we’ll share our initial read on him. He’s hitting the fantasy of scrappy, aggressive insanity we envisioned, but is more feast-or-famine than we’d like in terms of overall performance.
Specifically, Kled runs away with even small leads due to how much power is packed into CHAAAAAAAARGE!!! Its giant range gives Kled a quick trip back top after recalling (often in the form of ganking his own lane), and regardless of where Kled’s headed, allies have an eternity to decide whether to come along for the ride or not. But if Kled falls behind, remounting Skaarl can feel like an impossible task. Farming to build courage is meant to be risky, but it’s also complicated since Kled’s last-hit threshold changes while dismounted. If he can’t tell which risks are worth taking, he just doesn’t take risks.
To even the Cantankerous Cavalier out, we’re asking Kled and his team put a little more footwork into making strong CHAAAAAAAARGE plays, while throwing him a bone when Skaarl’s abandoned him.
Passive - Skaarl, the Cowardly Lizard
R - Chaaaaaaaarge!!!
E - Zenith Blade
Poison ticks much faster but damage over time is unchanged.
This one’s pretty simple. A smoother tick rate makes Poison Trail’s payoff more consistently reflect how well Singed was able to outmaneuver his opponents (or how quickly opponents were able to escape).
Q - Poison Trail
W cooldown increased at early ranks.
Killing an opponent through Soraka’s barrage of heals can feel like an exercise in futility. We like her ability to sustain an ally through otherwise lethal damage in teamfights, where one positioning mistake can spell death for the squishy healer. But in lane - where she can hang way back and sustain - punishing Soraka without an aggressive support like Blitzcrank or Leona can be pretty frustrating. The low early cooldown on Soraka’s heal prevents opposing lanes from meaningfully trading with her carry, so we want the sustain train to start off slower before picking up steam.
W - Astral Infusion
Q attack speed down.
While not much has changed in recent history for Twitch himself, the game around him has become more favorable to the Plague Rat across the season. As a result, he’s steadily snuck his way to the top of the charts. Given how powerful Twitch’s assassination potential is when he ults out of stealth (Q attack speed times R bonus damage equals murder!) we’re giving opponents a bit more ground to stand on when Twitch doesn’t have Rat-ta-tat-tat to amplify his damage.
Q - Ambush
R’s cone proc deals more damage but its area-of-effect burn ticks one less time.
Udyr’s abilities each follow a similar pattern: an impactful activation followed by a smaller sustained effect. Skilled Udyr players are rewarded for managing their ability cooldowns well, maximizing the impact of these activations. For that ability management to feel good, it’s important that the active portions of the ability be strong - and feel satisfying - compared to the passives. Phoenix stance isn’t living up to that expectation, with the passive burn actually contributing more damage than the on-hit cone. Giving Udyr slightly more explosive damage - rather than a slow burn - should help Udyr players feel the impact of their abilities more clearly.
R - Phoenix Stance
Skin Splash Updates
Fiora’s Nightraven and Royal Guard and Cottontail Teemo skins are getting a splash update this patch!
Summoner spells have a 15-second cooldown on load-in.
This one goes out to all of you who’ve burned Flashed when trying to say hi in chat.
A bunch of quality of life and usability improvements!
Given how well-received the HUD pings were, we decided to spend some time giving a bit of love to the item shop as well.
- Undo Purchase
- "This one needs a bit context. Undoing a purchase subtracts health to avoid weird abuse cases around buying a regen-increasing item to heal faster, undoing the pickup, then buying something else. But, the time lost still sucks. Well, not anymore!
- Item Pings
- Fast Selling
A summary of pings added since 6.14.
We’ve quietly made a bunch of fixes and additions to the HUD pings feature since it launched in 6.14. So.. here, have some documentation.
Pings added post-launch
- Enemy/ally summoner spell cooldowns (via the scoreboard)
- Respawn timers
- Passives with cooldowns
- A bunch more items
- Current gold
- Gold needed for purchase (see above)
- Fixed a few cases where the Oppressor mastery wasn't amplifying the damage of abilities which applied movement-impairing effects
- Lee Sin's Q2 - Resonating Strike and W1 - Safeguard no longer cause him to dash directly on top of his target
- Zyra's plants now properly count as pets, rather than area-of-effect abilities, for the slow effect of Rylai's Crystal Scepter
- Fixed a bug that allowed Alistar to basic attack during W - Headbutt's animation
- Final Boss Veigar once again plays VO lines when casting R - Primordial Burst
- Captain Volibear's golden shoulderpad (did you know it's called an epaulet? High fashion!) no longer disappears into his shoulder during one of his idle animations
The following chromas will be released this patch!
For real this time. Look for Championship Zed to release as the World Championship draws closer!