It's a light patch! We've got some bigger projects in the oven and they've taken up a lot of our time as we figure out the right approach to take. We'll keep you updated as we go.
Soraka's our highest visibility change in 4.8, who we've mentioned before as having an overbearing presence in solo lanes. You can read below for the full context, but we're always aware of champions who impose low interaction in lane without having meaningful weaknesses (and before anyone mentions Nidalee [who exemplifies this beyond the laning phase] or LeBlanc, they're both in the lab).
With a quiet patch we also saw the chance to "modernize" a few champions with low impact, high value changes (Blitz buffs yesssssss). This isn't, however, a strategy we can consistently take because there are a lot of design challenges involved. Given there are champions who are objectively strong but don't have a clear identity in the current competitive landscape, 'tinkering' with them could set off a larger negative chain reaction if someone (or something) without clear weaknesses became the new hottest thing on the block. It's not to say that'll happen with a small mana cost buff, but League evolves and shifts so quickly over time, it's something we need to be aware of!
Final note, we've also got some map changes for Twisted Treeline that are focused on turrets and the jungle. For fans of the map, make sure you stay up to date before queueing up!
Final, final note: as we mentioned last patch, we're continuing the process of patching out files for a new audio engine. The audio team recently dropped some knowledge on the forums - head to their thread for more info!
Chris "Pwyff" Tom
We made an error! These changes weren't intended to ship with the patch as we found a few inconsistencies with them so they're back to simmering in the kitchen. We'll keep you posted on these fixes in the future, but it could be a while.
We investigated a few cases where turret aggro was behaving inconsistently. These changes should address most issues.
Rocket Grab and Static Field cost less mana.
With popular utility champions providing additional utility beyond vision control and a body on the field, Blitzcrank needed some small upgrades to keep up. Given Blitz already has strong utility (gated by his long cooldowns), some mana cost reductions means he should be able to bring Amumu to your team more often.
Cho can eat things a little faster and from a little further away.
This is a change we've wanted to do for some time, given how sad Cho gets when his meals flash away. Basically this means Cho's Feast range will correctly match his attack range when he's at 6 Feast Stacks. Nom nom nom nom nom nom nom!
Evolved Wings' cooldown is now the same as Leap.
Kha'Zix is currently strong at all levels of play, but when we discovered this bug (heh), we felt the right thing would be to fix it to work as intended, even if it meant giving him a slight buff. Long term, we're still considering changes to Kha'Zix that allow him to retain his assassin playstyle without having the raw strength to brute force his way out of most situations.
Nether Grasp is cheaper. We probably don't need to summarize these.
We realize that high mobility mages are currently valued in the competitive landscape, but buffing Malz against his identity ends up flattening the role of a mage and inhibits other forms of role experimentation. Still, streamlining Nether Grasp's mana cost to be in line with other high cooldown ultimates was a change Malz could use, so we heeded the call (... of the void).
Last patch, we made a functional change to Pantheon without documenting the change (sorry!). Before the change, Pantheon's Grand Skyfall was dealing damage a full 0.5 seconds after he visually hit the ground, which was inconsistent (not to mention weird). Visually it's confusing that Pantheon can stun opponents before he's even finished landing from Grand Skyfall, so we made the change for Clarity purposes while also affecting his power. That said, we've heard a lot of your feedback that this hampers Pantheon's ability to use Grand Skyfall effectively (or at all), and we're going to keep a close eye on him in this patch.
Starcall does less damage and Infuse costs mana when used on an enemy.
Soraka's solo lane patterns are pretty obnoxious, as she can simply shove out opponents with Starcall while inhibiting their ability to fight back with her free Infuses. Soraka should be brought to a solo lane as someone who can consistently support her team, rather than dealing high ramping magic damage via Starcall.
Turrets deal more damage and ramping damage, as well as having more defenses.
Currently on TT, turrets simply aren't threatening enough to super-bruisers that stack armor and dive for their squishier teammates. While this change alone may not fix this, it's the start of us enforcing turrets as a meaningful safety zone for players on the losing team. We're also beefing up turret resists in the case of a siege - you can still 'chip' turrets over the course of a game before breaking them down in a big push, but we felt they could stay up a little longer.
Large Monsters have way more HP, small monsters have slightly less.
The low base health on the original jungle camps in TT cuts their threat scaling significantly, making jungling a little too easy for anyone with a small amount of Attack Damage (or in 120% of all cases, Ravenous Hydra). We'll be watching this closely as we don't want junglers to feel hyper-vulnerable, but with the recent buffs to scaling jungle experience, we felt increasing the risk/commitment of the jungle was appropriate.