Champion diversity. What a world.
Last patch we took a trip on the 5.6 buff barge sailing to the tune of Champion Diversity (can anyone find us some lyrics here?) and so far we've been pretty happy with the results. This patch, we're still sussing out the full landscape of the game but we already know it's not going to be a full-on party like previous occasions. That said, 5.7 could just be considered something of a change canoe (we're stretching this thing too far), drifting in the wake of the buff barge, picking up stragglers on both ends of the power spectrum.
How's that for imagery.
Anyway, this patch you'll see us bringing up a few dudes who've struggled to find their strategic niche within the game (oh dear Darius buffs), sharpening the strengths of others (tower-busting Tristana is totally a thing), or reducing the power of a few who've been on our radar for a while. Not much else to see here, especially as we tidy up a bit in the aftermath of Cinderhulk's tanky jungler rampage, so good luck out there on the Rift.
Chris "Pwyff" Tom & Patrick "Scarizard" Scarborough
When you're living in the future, the present is your past.
Just a quick note before we get started that the champion balance changes specifically called out in the U.R.F. patch notes are still in effect for the game mode, completely unchanged. Everything else has been graciously accepted by our manatee overlord.
Base AD and Armor up. Chimes grant more mana, and meeps respawn faster. Q damage up.
Bard's laning relies heavily on two core patterns to function: playing meep-away with basic attacks and lay on the harrassment, which then opens him up to fulfil his cosmic duties by roaming and powering up through the collection of chimes. This patch we're targeting both of these with changes to his passive and base stats, focused at fine-tuning his flute-smacking in lane and making his roams more rewarding when you're all out of cosmic energies.
W now gives a focused, high-speed burst that slows Blitzcrank after it's over.
Blitzcrank by nature is a champion all about risk vs. reward. Land Rocket Grab on a priority target and you've single (robot) handedly won an entire teamfight - miss, and you're out of a sizeable cooldown and inviting your opponents to a big ol' counter-attack party. For a champion so steeped in this mindset however, Overdrive's up-time mitigated Blitzcrank's risk a little too much, leaving enemies still fleeing in fear even after a grab gone wide. Shortening the windows 'Crank has to make his big plays while increasing his burst of speed pushes this dichotomy further, but beware running out of steam if you misplay the moment.
Dunking refunds mana. At max rank, R's cooldown resets on kill.
One of the most feared lane bullies of his day, Darius had only one natural predator: the late-game. As metas have shifted however, the once proud Hand of Noxus lost his luster amidst a sea of flighty assassins, tanky titans and mobile marksmen. Make no mistakes: his primary counters are still intact - a jumble of crowd control and sustained damage (often from range) will still shut him down - but now, failing to contain him using these tools will open him up to killing your entire team.
Hate Spike damage up.
5.6's changes saw Evelynn stealthily making waves as games went on, but still suffering in early skirmishes. To turn that suffering onto her opponents, we're returning some of her combat power.
Moving the execute damage back to W's passive DoT and putting the AP ratio back to W's active on-hit.
Back in 5.2 we made some changes to Fizz that reduced the amount of reliable damage he did with his in-and-out pattern, leaving him feeling a little less tricky (and certainly less playful) than usual. By switching the passive and active components once again, we're aiming to help Fizz's AP builds chum the waters of success by landing sharks and capitalizing at key moments. We'll continue to monitor Fizz's performance, but the hope is to have him back up to his old 'risky assassination tricks' and less 'building full tank and killing everybody'.
GAREN'S R IT'S HAPPENING
Garen's gonna need more than this change to hit the bar on strategic diversity we've set out with our champion work, but making his ultimate less restricted should give him the courage to stand up to the ruffians and scoundrels in top lane more easily.
Base health and mana regeneration down.
Compared against other toplaners, having access to a strong self-heal and low mana costs is a pretty sweet deal - so we're toning down some of his innate staying power so it's easier to send Hecarim back to the stables.
R's stack lockout decreased.
With Kassadin's functionality as a constantly blinking must-answer threat late game still intact, we're looking to facilitate earlier aggressive roams by pulling the lever back a little on Riftwalk's lockout mechanic.
Maokai's passive heal down at early levels.
Maokai's enjoyed a lengthy reign as one of the top Tops in the competitive scene for a while, and for good reason - he's a healthy baseline for what we expect from our Tank class. Despite this, his level of sustain can make it an uphill battle to uproot this twisted treant, so we're chopping down his passive's early effectiveness to open some room for other picks to grow.
Base health and health per level down.
Though it's tough to say Nidalee's gone untouched with the rise of the incredible Cinderhulks, she's still at the forefront of any conversation concerning jungle dominance. To keep her claws sharp and her hunting skills intact, we're doubling-down on the natural weakness of any in-and-out skirmisher: durability. While not the easiest to pin down, cutting her defenses makes pouncing in even more of a risk, as well as actually putting her in danger when she's the one getting pounced on.
Blinds work intuitively.
Previously, Blinds would check your status when you began your attack. This meant that sometimes attacks that looked like they should have missed would land right on target. With this fix, you should feel a lot better about your tossing a bird into the eyes of enemy marksmen.
Q damage down. Rek'Sai can use tunnels more often
High clear speeds, high damage, and the best tool for hunting enemies through the Fog of War - Rek'Sai has many, if not all the tools you'd want in a jungler (or a hungry void predator). As we've done in previous patches, we're taking the edge off of her bite in exchange for more end-game usability and tunnel-enabled mobility.
SHEN'S R IT'S ALSO HAPPENING
Once hailed as the map presence pick in the toplane, Summoner Teleport steals some of Shen's identity when it comes to saving your teammates from the shadows (we never said he was a great ninja). Making Stand United more available for cross-map action, especially in the late-game should help Shen find his place among the Tanklords.
E's monster cap wasn't factoring in E's base damage.
Adding % damage to Fling last patch introduced a bug where the whole ability's damage was capped at 300 vs monsters instead of the %HP portion. Jungle Singed buffs!
Blinds work intuitively.
Previously, Blinds would check your status when you began your attack. This meant that sometimes attacks that looked like they should have missed would land right on target. With this fix, you should feel a lot better about your tossing poisonous darts into the eyes of enemy marksmen.
E cooldown slightly increased. Q reduces E's cooldown when basic attacking.
The nature of Tristana's reliance on Rapid Fire and Explosive Charge mean that she doesn't scale as well as you'd expect from the traditional marksman builds. Adding further incentives for Cooldown Reduction (hint: ghostblade, y'all) gives her a different angle on itemization that enables her explosive potential.
Health down, gold cost up to parity with other enchants.
Two nerfs, one very much intended (base health reduction), one technically a bug fix that's in line with what we want anyway (+50 gold cost). We don't think anyone should be surprised by these power reductions, but additional context goes like this: an item doesn't need to be a "one stop shop" of core stats for it to be ideal. It might seem counterintuitive that we're reducing Cinderhulk's tanky stats while saying we want to preserve its identity as a tanky jungler item, but that's because Cinderhulk incentivizes its wearers (users? holders?) to further itemize down an intended path (health for more scaling, tanky stats to stay in the battle longer, etc) so we can rely on those second, third, and fourth items to round out the build. Making an item that does everything just encourages off-role champions to pick it up because they get 'everything' they need rather than having to commit to a playstyle to support it.
This is a very long context to say that Cinderhulk doesn't kill champions, champions building the health to support Cinderhulk kill champions.
Tiamat's passive damage now scales linearly. Also affects Ravenous Hydra.
Previously, Tiamat's Cleave passive only had three 'stages' of damage based on whether you were 'close', 'close-ish', or 'kind of close' to the center of the proc. This led to some weird situations where targets that were visually farther away would still take damage as if they were closer. Now that Cleave scales linearly, you'll always take damage appropriate to how close/far you are from the target. Also affects Ravenous Hydra (we stole this part from the summary).
We know this is a pretty sizable damage reduction on Gromp buff for lategame tank junglers, but there were two reasons: first, this thing was getting a little bonkers against squishy auto-attacking marksmen (with little to no meaningful counterplay). Second - and more important - from a philosophical perspective no smite buff should be so insanely head and shoulders above any other, but Gromp buff was getting very close to that. We want all jungle buffs to have varying degrees of usefulness (based on the state of the game), but it's important there be at least some choice in the matter.
Minions are people too! ...Kind of.
Is there an echo in here...?
Is there an echo in here...?