League of Legends patch 8.5 was released on March 7. We take a look at the most impactful changes that are going to reshape the competitive meta!
Kai’Sa is out!
The new champion—Kai’Sa, Daughter of the Void—is going to be released this patch! You can check the complete list of her abilities here, but as a brief preview, she’s an assassination-focused marksman that has invisibility, burst damage, and a long-range dash. Most of her power comes from purchasing the right items to unlock various bonuses on her basic abilities. Also, her kit is quite versatile, so she won’t be confined to the bot lane.
Jhin gets massive!
It’s no secret that Jhin has been pushed out of the meta by hypercarries. Riot is addressing this by buffing… well, everything. His passive now scales better, and his Dancing Grenade [Q] grants a 70% total AD ratio (up from 60%) at max rank.
But the biggest changes happened to Deadly Flourish [W]. Now, you can root an enemy champion whenever they receive any damage from Jhin or his allies. This means that Dancing Grenade and Curtain Call [R] will set up your root, so expect the Virtuoso to have even more kill pressure.
Nocturne grows stronger
Nocturne also received some attention. Not only does his passive scale better throughout the game, but you can refresh its cooldown twice as fast when you strike enemy champions. Duskbringer [Q] projectile speed got quicker, and Shroud of Darkness [W] stays intact when you activated it before recasting your ultimate. Finally, Paranoia’s [R] duration was increased to 6 seconds, so Nocturne players will have a bigger window to look for opportunities.
Olaf becomes a carry
Olaf received more incentives to build damage. The cooldown on Reckless Swing [E] was reduced by 1 second at all ranks, and the damage ratio was increased to 0.5 from 0.4 total AD. More importantly, Ragnarok [R] lost a whopping 55 flat AD at max rank. To make up for the change, the ultimate now grants 30% of Olaf’s total AD as bonus attack damage. The Viking was already coming back into the meta, and these tweaks make him much more oppressive.
The jungle cat keeps getting stronger. The fall-off timer on his passive was increased by 2 seconds, so Rengar players will have more time use their stacks. Savagery [Q] received a small damage bump at all ranks. And while its total AD ratio was tuned down early on, it ramps up as the game progresses. Finally, Bola Strike [E] allows you to buffer other abilities during the cast animation, and Thrill of the Hunt [R] grants vision until Rengar completes his jump.
Ryze received a huge nerf to his wave clear! Now, Spell Flux [E] only deals 50% of its damage when it spreads, so it will be much harder to push in the enemy mid laner. To compensate for the nerf, Riot increased its base damage at early ranks, so the Rune Mage will have more power in all-ins. Still, the Realm Warp [R] cooldown increase from 120 seconds to 180 seconds is another hit to Ryze mains across the globe.
Swain gets overbuffed?
Many players viewed Swain’s rework as a complete failure. But even though the champion seemed underwhelming at first glance, the fact that he showed up in the LCK leads us to believe otherwise. And yet, he got a ton of buffs.
Death’s Hand [Q] had its cooldown reduced by 30% at early ranks. Meanwhile, the radius on Vision of Empire [W] and Nevermore [E] was increased, so it will be much easier to land these abilities. Also, Demonic Ascension [R] is no longer blocked by champions, making Swain’s ultimate a more consistent source of damage.
Tristana loses early game
Tristana, the most well-rounded AD carry in the game, finally received some changes. Her range was reduced to 525 at level 1, but the damage on Rocket Jump [W] was increased by 25 at all ranks. With that, Tristana has more incentives to look for all-ins instead of safely farming until the late game. It’s unlikely that these changes will push the Bandle gunner out of the meta, but there will definitely be more holes in her laning phase.
Zoe finds… buffs?
Riot just can’t let Zoe die. After getting gutted in the previous patch, the champion received emergency buffs. Now, Paddle Star [Q] deals more base damage (up to 150 from 105 at max rank) and has a better AP ratio (up to 0.6 from 0.2). Granted, the spell lost the synergy with Zoe’s passive, but it got a new effect that grants more damage with levels.
Spell Thief [W] also had its damage/AP ratio bumped up, so Zoe players will have more reasons to stick to their targets. Oh, and did we mention that her attack ranged was increased from 525 to 550? Of course, the champion won’t be as oppressive as she was before, but we fully expect her to come back to the meta.
Items, Runes & Game Mechanics
Banner of Command gets gutted
It was a glorious time, but the interaction between Baron and Banner of Command was removed. The item will no longer turn cannon minions into siege engines, although it will still boost their damage. We’ll see whether this change will push Banner of Command into obscurity, but for now, the defending team will have more windows for comebacks.
Cinderhulk scales worse
Most players would agree that Cinderhulk is the best jungle enchantment. It simply offers way too much for its price. Well, the value proposition is about to change because Cinderhulk’s bonus health modifier was decreased from 20% to 15%. With that, other jungle items might finally return to the meta.
Cloud Drake is relevant
Cloud Drake has long been considered the worst Elemental Dragons in the game. Riot is looking to change that by making its buff add 2% permanent movement speed per stack. This is massive for every champion that relies on speed and gap closers to be effective in teamfights. Also, the movement speed bonus is tripled out of combat, so Cloud Drake is still great for rotations.
Keystones get changes
The keystone balancing act continues! The damage buff from Press the Attack was increased to 8-12% (from 4-12%) to make it more competitive in the early game. Meanwhile, Fleet Footwork’s healing was reduced to 30% for ranged champions (down from 60%), so AD carries will have a harder time staying safe in the laning phase. Finally, Afterschock’s cooldown was increased by a whopping 15 seconds. And while tank supports will still use this rune, it will be less attractive to solo laners.
That’s it for our top changes of patch 8.5! You can check the complete patch notes here, and we’ll see you on the Rift!