Patch 7.18 brings a series of changes that are meant to shape the 2017 League of Legends World Championship meta. Let’s break them down!
Azir – Minor Buff
Emperor’s Divide [R] now deals 150 more damage at max rank. While this tweak won’t do much for Azir’s abysmal early game, you always have to be wary when buffing the champion. After all, no one wants to face an auto attacking mage that can chunk you out with a single right click.
Cassiopeia – Substantial Nerf
Cassiopeia’s Twin Fang [E] had its bonus damage against poisoned targets reduced by about 25%-33% at all ranks. To make up for the change, Riot bumped up the AP ratio from 0.4 to 0.5, but—rest assured—Cass is going to lose a ton of early game firepower before her scaling kicks in.
Elise – Substantial Nerfs
Elise had Volatile Spiderling [W] damage reduced by 45 at max rank and AP ratio increased by 0.15 (from 0.8 to 0.95). If that wasn’t enough, Rappel [E] will now have a slightly longer cooldown at higher ranks. These nerfs will definitely sting for Elise players out there, but the Queen of Spiders occupies an important niche of an early game jungler in a tank-heavy meta—and we don’t see that changing anytime soon.
Fior – Minor Buff
Well, it took us some time, but Fiora’s mobility nerfs were completely reverted. Now, the Grand Duelist has her passive movement speed back up to 50% at max rank and her Grand Challenge [R] circle once again grants her more mobility. And while Fiora is a fun champion to watch in pro play, we can’t help but wonder if she’s going to be back in her must-pick/ban status.
Gnar– Substantial Nerf
Mini Gnar’s base health was cut down from 540 to 510. This might seem trivial at first glance, but the change will definitely make Gnar riskier to play. Especially if he’s going against the likes of Irelia or Yasuo.
Gragas – Substantial Nerf
As soon as the tank meta hit, Gragas rose to prominence as the go-to jungle pick. With insane ganking potential and great late game durability, he was a little too good at doing his job. Riot’s fixing this by decreasing his base armor from 29.05 to 26.05 and nerfing Body Slam [E] collision detection radius (from 210 to 180) and hitbox offset radius (60 to 40). This means that Body Slam will be that much harder to hit and there will finally be some counterplay to his Flash combo.
Ivern – Minor Buff
Triggerseed [E] had its base explosion damage increased by 10 at all ranks and AP ratio bumped up by 0.1 (from 0.7 to 0.8). The buff is fairly negligible since Ivern was never known for stacking AP and dismantling foes with Triggerseeds, but it should still make him better in teamfights and skirmishes. And considering Ivern was already seeing some play, we expect this change to put him on pros’ radar.
Jarvan IV – Substantial Nerf
Jarvan’s Golden Aegis [W] had 5 points of shield removed from it at all ranks. The real kicker, though, is the loss of 1% maximum health scaling on the bonus shield per champion. The Demacian Prince was a little too good at combining offense with defense, so this change should keep him in line.
Kalista – Minor Nerf
Ever since most early game AD carries got nerfed, Kalista took their spot as the staple bot lane bully. Riot’s addressing this by increasing the cooldown on her main engage tool—Fate’s Call [R]—by 30 seconds at all ranks. Of course, people were never spamming her ultimate to begin with, and we doubt this change will discourage pros from picking the champion.
Lee Sin – Minor Buff
Lee Sin had his Safeguard Shield [W] increased at first ranks and slightly reduced at max rank. Ultimately, this is a buff because so much of Lee Sin’s gameplay revolves around the early game. That being said, the Blind Monk doesn’t feel comfortable in the current jungle, and we don’t foresee this changing anytime soon.
Lucian – Substantial Nerf
Relentless Pursuit [E] had its cooldown bumped up at early ranks. Every time a mobility spell is changed, it can make or break a champion. Lucian already relied on Relentless Pursuit to make his presence known in the mid lane, and now that he can’t spam it as liberally, he’ll have to be more careful about picking his battles.
Nautilus – Minor Buff
Dredge Line [Q] now costs 60 mana at all ranks and has half of its mana cost refunded if Nautilus hits terrain with the hook. On paper, this sounds like a pretty big change, but the Titan of the Depths needs way more buffs to make him relevant. At the moment, his kit just doesn’t match up to other junglers and top laners, so the only place left for him to shine is the support position.
Nidalee – Minor Buff
Nidalee’s Primal Surge [E] heal had its AP ratio increased from 0.275 to 0.325 (minimum) and from 0.55 to 0.65 (maximum). The spear-wielding shapeshifter has already been creeping into the meta as a counter to tanks, and we expect this buff to make her even more dominant in the jungle.
Ornn – Substantial Buffs
Let’s face it, Ornn was pretty bad. Riot is introducing a bunch of buffs with the goal of making the champion viable. First, his item upgrades are locked down until Ornn reaches level 13. This might sound counterintuitive, but it should save less experienced players from falling into the trap of buying cost-inefficient upgrades as fast as humanly possible. Oh, and Ornn can now upgrade Zhonya’s Hourglass to grant 30 more AP and 15 more armor for a 1000-gold upgrade cost.
Second, Call of the Forge God [R] now moves even faster towards Ornn, making it harder for his enemies to dodge. Keep in mind that these changes are accompanied by the mid-patch 7.17 buffs to Ornn’s kit. We still think the champion could use more love, but these are definitely steps in the right direction.
Rakan – Substantial Nerfs
Despite his lackluster laning phase, Rakan became the most popular support pick for his ability to consistently force fights. Riot is taking away some of his late game engage potential by changing Grand Entrance [W] dash speed from 1800 + 100% movement speed to 2050 + 30% movement speed. Additionally, The Quickness [R] received a 25% decrease in its collision detection radius, so it will be harder to charm multiple opponents. To make up for the nerf, the ultimate now has a shorter cooldown at level 11 and level 16. Will this push Rakan out of the meta? Probably not. But you’ll need way more foresight if you want to pull off a great Rakan combo.
Rengar – Minor Buff
Rengar had his base armor increased from 22 to 25. This should help the jungle cat clear his camps and pull off better ganks in the early game. Still, he’ll always be a niche pick in the current tank-heavy meta.
Ryze – Minor Buff
Rune Prison [W] now has a 0.6 AP ratio (instead of 0.2). A nice change for Ryze enthusiasts out there, but not nearly enough to make the champion viable again.
Tristana – Substantial Nerf
Tristana’s Explosive Charge [E] had its bonus AD ratio reduced from 1.1 to 0.9 at max rank (from 2.42 to 1.98 for the 4-stack bomb). This is a pretty big hit to Tristana’s mid game, although the champion will still be fine later on.
Spellthief’s Edge Line – Substantial Buff
Last-hitting a minion now puts your Tribute charge generation on cooldown for 8 seconds (instead of 6). To make up for the change, Riot is throwing in a free 10% cooldown reduction to Frostfang! This is absolutely massive for spellcasting supports and should allow them to have a stronger presence in the laning phase.
Gargoyle Stoneplate – Minor Nerf
Gargoyle Stoneplate’s active was changed to take parts of base and bonus health into account. This means that Cinderhulk passive and Nunu’s Consume [Q] buff no longer scale with the item.
Knight’s Vow – Substantial Nerf
Somewhere down the line, Knight’s Vow turned from a strictly support item into a great tank purchase. Riot is addressing this by decreasing its cost to 2200 gold (from 2300 gold) and reducing its health value from 350 to 250. Losing so much health is bound to hurt, but—let’s face it—the item was a bit out of control.
That’s all for our patch 7.18 breakdown! We hope our analysis will make it easier for you to see the latest trends in the League of Legends meta. And as always, we’ll see you on the Rift!