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Welcome to Patch 5.17, the one after the Juggernaut one. We considered titling it something else, but with the incredible impact of the last update we thought it made sense to bring it up again.
While definitely strong (hey Skarner), the landscape of 5.16 is far less apocalyptic than its contents may have predicted. All of the new items have found homes among the rank-and-file fighters, people are playing Lucian, and Renekton’s entered a civil union with Titanic Hydra. Things seem pretty OK. As promised, we’ve stuck to the lighter side of things for 5.17 - there are definitely a good number of champion changes, but that’s about all there is. With Worlds just around the corner (5.18, don’t forget!) we’re putting the finishing touches on the game-state so everything’s polished and ready for the big stage. We even have Bard buffs.
That’s about all for us here as we dig a little deeper for the last batch of tuning and tweaking of outliers before hibernating a bit until preseason. For those of you wishing for us to hit the Mark on the various outliers running wild this patch, you won’t have to wait long - They Are Coming.
Check out the changes below and we’ll see you next patch!
Patrick "Scarizard" Scarborough
Passive gives less Movement and Attack Speed at early levels, but scale at end-game. Passive Mana Restore down.
Skarner's still over-performing after our hotfixes in 5.16, specifically in the early game. Our last set of changes drilled on the raw effectiveness when running at you, while these are more focused to give some agency back to players looking to push him off of his Crystal Spires without eating deadly scorpion claws to the face.
Movement speed down. Q no longer deals additional damage beyond the first soldier.
As you’ll see throughout this patch, we’re really buckling down on narrowing strengths and weaknesses for champions, leading to more fleshed-out identities and less extraneous power overall. Azir’s a good example of extraneous power, so let’s start with him (also because he’s alphabetically first. That too).
The emperor’s great at a few things, but chief among them are the persistent zones of threat he can manipulate from long range, often deciding fights on foreign fronts from behind the safety of his line of soldiers. Instead of trading off his safety for lack of mobility or sustained damage for a lack of burst, Azir’s having his cake and eating it too. In an effort to preserve his reach and damage output, we’re going harder on establishing weaknesses, making it easier to close on him or avoid his damage without proper command of his forces.
W cost and E cooldown lowered.
It’s in Bard’s nature to roam the cosmos, but for such a unique champion it feels like he’s wandered a little too far from viability for the depth of utility he brings to the table. We’re lifting his spirits and enabling his map-wide support abilities to better reward proactive playmaking with friends. ootay~~
W refunds cost and cooldown upon killing units.
D-Man’s already received a hotfix for his troubles during 5.16, so we’re adding some light support and watching to see if the dunk prophecies are true.
Draven now tells his team how great he is. Also gets bonus stacks for neat tricks.
As Draven himself would tell you, the only real objective in League of Legends is the bottom lane - especially when he’s in it. As a marksman with exceptional snowball potential, Draven wishes you’d focus on setting him up to dominate by helping him cash in Adoration stacks and rake in millions of gold in combat stats. Now Draven’s more communicative when he’s about to break the bank; maybe he’ll stop pinging for you to come gank (probably not).
Q and W AP ratios slightly up. W active on-hit damage down. R only amps magic damage.
We’ve covered this concept a number of times here in the Patch Notes, so let’s review: cool offbuilds are neat-o, provided that you aren’t completely covering your weaknesses while doing it. We actually talked about this extensively back in 5.15’s Ekko section, if you want to go read up on that. We’ll wait.
Like Ekko before him, Fizz having the luxury of building a heavy defense and focusing his damage output through basic attacks and cooldown reduction doesn’t really play well for a champion whose balance is derived from having downtime and tension between cooldowns. Cutting some of the free power ‘Bruiser Fizz’ was coasting on while nudging AP ratios means his assassin builds shouldn’t foot the bill for the changes made to keep his fighter side in line.
Barrels take slightly longer to place. E's armor penetration down.
Hell-bent on revenge for his humiliation in front of Bilgewater, Gangplank’s currently taking his frustrations out on anyone unlucky to be caught by his Powder Kegs. While they can be tricky to pull off, Gangplank (in true pirate fashion) can always ‘rig’ the game in duels, using the near-instant cast time to stack multiple kegs in a small area to ensure his opponent loses an enormous chunk of health no matter which keg they try to disarm. It’s still early to understand what effect GP has on the game at large, but shaving power from his Kegs is the first step to keeping his explosive potential in check.
Buncha bugfixes and cleanup.
Juggernauts are slow and deal a lot of damage. Garen does one of those real good, not so much the slow part. We’re still looking out for what’s in store for Demacia’s Loudest, but we tossed in a few other bugfixes and general cleanup as well.
Hey, one outta two ain’t bad.
W damage down.
Gragas has been a dominating jungle force in professional play with no real signs of slowing down. In a post 5.16 world where Cinderhulk’s mid-game spike is higher and health is more ever present as a defensive stat Gragas benefits doubly, bolstering his sustain while making his high damage from Drunken Rage even more effective against front-lines and fighters that might attempt to keep him off carries. While still potent for his gank pressure and (sometimes literal) fight-turning ultimate, hitting Gragas’ damage output makes sense for our goals of increasing diversity among picks in the jungle.
R's AP ratio lowered. Q's range lowered on initial cast.
If Janna’s about one thing, it’s disengage. Fighting tooth and nail to keep her team away from yours - frustrating though it may be - is her thing. So naturally when she starts to see ubiquitous play, even in situations and compositions where disengage isn’t even called for, we start to raise our brow a bit. Removing some of her extraneous power such as CC-chaining with quick-cast tornadoes or ulting solely for a team-heal are all about narrowing that ‘forever kiting’ identity even further. Can’t be good at everything, Janna - that’s a job for Draaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaven.
E cost down.
With strong endgame scaling, it makes sense that Jax’s laning should be a weakness - since taking a whack at his base stats last season however, the champ’s been a little too vulnerable when all he wants is to hit minions with his lamppost and buy a Trinity Force. We’re pretty keen to keeping Jax’s defenses tied to Counter Strike and Grandmaster’s Might, so amping the former should help big J suffer less for fighting back.
W's passive cooldown increased and damage lowered. R's cooldown increased.
Since her addition, Kalista’s had a split-identity; she’s both one of the more independent carries in the league (thanks to her passive’s mobility and Rend’s resets) as well as one of its more team-dependent (due to her Oathsworn damage procs and Fate’s Call’s flexible engage/disengage). We’ll spare you the song-and-dance; like Fizz’s changes this patch these identities are at constant odds, changing what might be an all-or-nothing risky marksman into one that has very few weaknesses to attack no matter the stage of the game.
The below changes reflect a commitment to her ‘solo-carry’ style, making most of her ally-empowered power excessive by contrast. Lowering the extraneous power in the frequency and impact of her Oathsworn interactions open windows for opponents looking to brute force their way through the sheer skirmish and kiting power Kalista presents.
W cooldown flattened.
Focused Resolve is a really powerful ability in the late-game when she has enough points into it (as well as Mantra) to hyper-scale its effectiveness, but often isn’t up enough early on for players to really feel its impact as a potent defense tool. Giving it more availability raises Karma’s stock as a peeling support, and ever so slightly bumps up her strengths as a terror to melee champions everywhere.
Q cost down. Has 100% effectiveness on secondary targets.
As one of the more fair champions in League of Legends, Lux was feeling a little left out to the midlane party when all these longer-range mages started showin’ up and controlling fights. Light Binding’s really aligned with what Lux is looking to do (that is, catch opponents off guard and blast them into the next season), so we’re upping the rewards for being successful, as well as enabling her to ‘fish’ with it more as a way to keep opponents on their toes.
R cooldown up.
The metagame may shift, flavors may come and go, but no matter what the landscape Maokai’s remained the go-to professional toplaner for over a season. Able to peel or dive the backlines flexibly, much of Maokai’s dominance is owed to the consistency of Vengeful Maelstrom. A fight turner in its own right, the sheer uptime of the ultimate means Maokai’s always ready to scrap, leaving little room for opponents to make a move. Upping the cooldown means he’ll still have a high uptime relative to other ultimates, but teams that skirmish and disengage rapidly have more opportunity to catch him with his shields down.
true bug fixin'
With worlds just around the corner and teams getting better at the ever-evolving vision game, we figured there’s no better time to introduce a little darkness into the mix. Nocturne’s pretty compelling for the average jungler looking to climb, but for the professional scene struggles to break through due to the predictability of his ganks. Reverting our restriction on how far he can rocket forth and murder-torpedo your backline should give teams at all levels of play more reason to embrace the darkness.
Shout-outs to those who say we never revert anything. This one’s for y’all.
Base attack speed up
Back in preseason (4.21, to be exact), we drastically lowered Pantheon’s attack speed as a reaction to his extreme effectiveness within the new jungle. A lot of the things that put him overboard (Warrior Enchant, Stalker’s Blade, Blocking Dragon’s basic attacks) have either been tuned down or removed entirely, so it made sense to dial back the numbers.
Passive no longer provides bonus Fury.
Ever the professional staple, Rek’Sai is a character who feels desynced in terms of strength. What she provides to a team (unparalleled scouting, vision control and global mobility) are far harder to feel than gnawing your face off, giving her the nod over other junglers time and time again. Another powerful-yet-invisible mechanic is her passive’s bonus fury, giving her an edge in combat for repeatedly going underground - something that already rewards her with a fair bit of speed and CC as-is. We’re interested in finding ways to shift power around to make Rek’Sai feel more visceral, but for the moment pulling this makes her less powerful when it comes to skirmishing again and again where she’s already way ahead of the pack.
Q heals less.
We’ll shoot straight - we dig Shen’s strategic use as a global protector for your glass cannons or when teams utilize a ‘Shen-delivery system’ for reliable engage, but prefer to see him far less when he’s just ‘that immovable brick that happens to have a teleport’. He’ll scale just as well, but punching a hole into his basic sustain should give him less of a free pass in toplane.
Passive duration up. Range of spitting enemies is up.
Tahmas Kench has become a regular patron of the patch notes, and just like his previous visits we’re focusing more on appetizers than full-course meals. Tahm’s a weird one, we won’t lie - he sees niche use among a variety of roles at all levels of play (TK Jungle’s slowly becoming A Thing), but hasn’t hit a widely-adopted position or stable level of strength for us to deny him his cravings. We’re always watching Tahm to see how he continues to play out on the world stage, but for now we’re tossing him some cleanup to help him stay on his feet.
Passive cooldown lowered at earlier ranks
Straight up - we’re playing it safe with Vi this round (due to how volatile the champion can be to balance), but we’re normalizing Blast Shield to be less dependent on specific break-points and more about level advantages. Basically, Vi should be rewarded more for having a good early-game with better ability to scrap folks (and mitigate jungle damage) so she can worry less about asking questions and more about throat-punching midlaners. Follow your dreams, Vi.
IT'S REFACTORIN' TIME! part 2
Just like last patch, we’ve got the second round of Azir re-scripting and bugfixing. If you want more context on what that’s all about, you can read up on it in his section from 5.16 here.
The unseen spaghetti code is the deadliest.
Just like Azir and Syndra before him, Zed’s script complexity was high enough we took him on as a refactoring project to clean up some of the issues with his code.
New features! Bugfixes! Spectator is pretty!
For real this time.
We mentioned a while back that we were going to make a change to the landing page to allow you to read news articles in-client instead of being linked out to your web browser. A few unexpected rounds of guerrilla bug warfare later and we're almost ready to flip the switch! Expect this quality-of-life improvement the week after 5.17's launch. That's technically also still in the days following our initial announcement, right?