League of Legends patch 8.4 was released on February 21—and it’s a big one. Let’s see what are the most impactful changes that will affect the meta in Solo Queue and competitive play!
Gankplank went from the high-risk, high-reward champion to the ultimate carry top laner. Riot is addressing this by increasing the mana cost of Parrrley [Q] at early ranks and reducing the duration of his Powder Kegs [E] from 60 to 25 seconds. Additionally, barrels will no longer grant vision of surrounding enemies. This will make Gankplank much less oppressive in the early game, which is a welcome change for most top laners.
Even More Ornn Nerfs
Ornn remains incredibly well-rounded. The new nerfs increase the cooldown on Bellows Breath [W] at the first few ranks, although the ability deals more damage in the early game. Also, Brittle applies for 3 seconds (instead of 6), so Ornn players will have a smaller window to proc it. Finally, Searing Charge [E] deals twice as much damage up front, but the shockwave from colliding with terrain no longer adds more damage on top of that.
Overall, these changes don’t affect Ornn as much as it seems. He still has the same strengths and weakness, even though it will be slightly easier to play around them.
Kalista loses 5 base attack damage and 25 range. Ordinarily, this would destroy a marksman, but Riot made up for the nerf by increasing her base attack speed and attack speed growth stats. Moreover, Sentinel [W] grants bonus attack damage when she is next to her Oathsworn. Spamming Rend [E] will be harder, though, since it refunds less mana. In the end, Kalista got to keep her identity, but she might not be as strong of a pick into long-ranged marksmen like Ashe, Caitlyn or Varus.
The previous nerf hit Kog’Maw too hard. Riot is increasing the damage on Bio-Arcane Barrage [W] to 6% of the target’s max health at last rank. And while this doesn’t directly affect his kit, Wit’s End was changed to cost less gold, deal more on-hit damage and steal more magic resist. With that, expect to see Kog’Maw return to competitive play.
That’s right, Rengar received a mini-rework! His passive now grants more bonus damage per stack, but the big changes involve his basic abilities. Savagery [Q] was reverted to its pre-rework status, so now it acts as an auto attack reset that applies an attack speed buff. The cooldown on Battle Roar [W] was decreased by roughly 20%, and the spell is more spammable as a result.
Finally, Thrill of the Hunt [R] lost its customary critical strike. Instead, it gives more movement speed, deals 30% more damage and shreds a portion of the target’s armor. It’s also worth noting that the distance when enemies are alerted of Rengar’s presence was decreased, so you might actually get the jump on someone. For now, it’s hard to say whether this will be enough to return League’s apex predator to the jungle. But it’s clear that his kit will be much smoother.
If you didn’t know, Volibear was regarded as the clear-cut worst champion in the game. Riot is trying to turn this narrative by buffing most of his abilities. Rolling Thunder [Q] now grants more movement speed at higher ranks, and Frenzy’s [W] cooldown is reduced by 50% when it’s cast on minions. Additionally, Majestic Roar [E] knocks back surrounding enemies, and any foes that were dashing or already airborne receive bonus damage.
Despite the buffs, Volibear is an inherently flawed champion. And while he might not be LoL’s laughing stock anymore, champions like Shyvanna or Skarner are much better at doing his job.
The most annoying champion in the game—Zoe—finally got some overdue nerfs! Paddle Star [Q] now deals less damage at all ranks, barring the first one, and its scaling was cut by 50%. Not only that but Zoe’s passive no longer applies damage to anyone other than the first enemy hit. Also, Sleepy Trouble Bubble was changed to allow you to avoid getting CC’d if you remove the Drowsy debuff, so Cleanse and Quicksilver Sash will be more effective.
Don’t start celebrating, though, because the power didn’t simply disappear from Zoe’s kit. Instead, it was shifted to other abilities. First, her passive now deals more damage and scales better (0.325 AP scaling instead of 0.25). And while Spell Thief [W] no longer grants Teleport from minions, its movement speed bonus was increased at early ranks, and its AP ratio was bumped to 0.60 instead of 0.40. So even though Zoe is more manageable, she’ll still be a massive headache.
Items : AP Item Rework
Riot’s determined to shake up the mid lane with a major AP item rework! There’s a lot of ground to cover here, so we’ll present the most notable changes in the form of bullet points:
- Lost Chapter costs 200 more gold, grants 10% CDR and builds into Luden’s Echo, Hextech GLP-800, and Archangel’s Staff.
- Luden’s Echo became a poke item after losing 10% movement speed and gaining 20% CDR and 500 mana.
- Hextech GLP-800 loses 300 health and its health/mana replenishing passive. However, it benefits from having 20% more CDR and a slightly stronger active.
- Archangel’s Staff loses 30 AP but gains 20% CDR and a whopping 400 mana.
- Liandry’s Torment and Haunting Guise no longer grant magic penetration. Instead, they boost your damage by 2% (up to a maximum of 10%) every time you damage an enemy champion.
- Morellonomicon lost 20 AP, 400 mana, and 20% mana regeneration on takedowns. Instead, it gives you 300 health, 15 magic penetration, and applies Grievous Wounds to all enemy champions.
- A new item—Oblivion Orb—was introduced. It costs 1500 gold and grants a mix of AP, health, and magic pen, so it’s basically the old Haunting Guise. Also, it builds into Morellonomicon.
- Another new item, Spellbinder, was created for AP assassins. It costs 2800 and gives you 100 AP, 10% movement speed, and a unique active that grants a surge of movement speed for 4 seconds.
- Twin Shadows is back as an AP support item that costs 2400 gold. The updated version grants 60 AP, 7% movement speed, and 10% CDR as well as the old spooky ghost active.
- Void Staff, Rabadon’s Deathcap, and Rylai’s Crystal Scepter had minor stat tweaks.
As you can see, the rework is quite expansive. It seems like it’s geared towards providing diverse utility instead of raw offensive power. Also, champions like Malzahar, Rumble, and Brand will definitely appreciate the Liandry’s Torment changes.
Support Item Tweaks
Several support items received minor tweaks. The Ancient Coin line was buffed to grant bonus movement speed (5 MS for Ancient Coin, 10 MS for other upgrades). Meanwhile, the Relic Shield items were nerfed to provide less health (25 less for Relic Shield, 50 less for Tragon’s Brace, 150 less for Remnant of the Aspect). But even with these changes, we don’t see tank support getting pushed out of the meta anytime soon.
Tracker’s Knife Removal
That’s right, the Sightstone substitute for junglers is no longer in the game. This is a massive nerf to the likes of Lee Sin and Jax. Moreover, the change will greatly affect competitive play since teams relied on Tracker’s Knife to secure vision control. Expect to see more pros dying to ganks while desperately trying to light the map with yellow Trinkets.
The Precision rune tree was altered to split its stat bonus with Sorcery and Domination. So if you’re running Precision/Sorcery on your AD carry, you’ll get 9% AS and 5 AD/9 AP instead of 18% AS. Also, Press The Attack deals more upfront damage but doesn’t apply as big of a debuff at early levels.
The Resolve tree had several runes moved to different tiers to make room for its newest addition, Bone Plating. The rune grants 20-50 damage reduction for the next three spells or attacks whenever an enemy champion hits you. In short. a dream come true for any tank player.
As for Inspiration, Celestial Body was replaced by a new rune—Time Warp Tonic—that increases the duration of potions and elixirs while providing 5% more movement speed when those are active. Moreover, Commencing Stopwatch was finally changed to activate at the 10-minute mark.
Blast Cone Spawn Timers
Outer Blast Cones (the ones that are used to jump into the river) had their spawn timers changed. Now, the plants will appear 300-330 seconds into the game as opposed to 125-140 like before. This might seem minor, but it makes avoiding ganks much easier in the early game.
Baron & Elder Dragon Changes
Both objectives were altered to scale better in the late game. The buff from Baron Nashor now provides 48 AD and 80 AP (over 200% increase) when it’s taken past the 40-minute mark. Additionally, it empowers caster minions to take 50% less damage, making sieges much easier for the winning team.
But the real kicker is the Elder Dragon change. The respawn timer on the epic monster was reduced from 10 minutes to 8 minutes. And even though the first buff remains unchanged, the following buffs will last for 300 seconds instead of 150 seconds and apply 135 (+90 per drake killed) burn damage instead of 45 (+45 per drake killed).
The effectiveness of Elemental Drake stacks you will also be boosted by a whopping 100%, so any lineup that gets the second Elder Dragon will be practically unstoppable in teamfights. With that, Riot is adding a clear win condition for the later stages of the game. And the current trend of turtling and waiting for the enemy to commit mistakes will quickly go out of fashion.
That’s it for our top changes of patch 8.4! You can check the complete patch notes here, and we’ll see you on the Rift!