Season 9 is officially here, and that means it’s time for patch 9.2! The newest League of Legends balance update was released on January 23, and it’s absolutely stacked with nerfs and buffs that are going to reshape the competitive meta. Throw in a new champion release, and we’re in for a very explosive start of the season. So, without further ado, let’s break down the top changes of patch 9.2!
Have a look also to our esports tournaments calendar!
LoL Champions Patch 9.2
New Champion: Sylas
Sylas, the Unshackled, is ready to make his debut on the Rift! Our first impression is that he’s something of an AP bruiser that combines high spell damage with impressive survivability. The main thing that stands out about him is his ability to steal enemy ultimates with his R. Not only does this spell open up some insanely broken interactions, but the fact that it has a low cooldown means Sylas is set to become a team fighting monster. You can learn more about his kit in the official Sylas champion reveal.
Aatrox Damage and Mobility Nerfs
If you’ve recently tuned in to a pro game, you know Aatrox has been a menace. This champion simply does too much damage in lane and out of it, and his ridiculous mobility makes it difficult to punish him. Well, this might finally change on patch 9.2. The Darkin Blade [Q] received a nerf to its AD ratios, which amounts to an approximate 9% damage reduction on his full combo. More importantly, the recharge time on Umbral Dash [E] was increased by 2 seconds at all ranks, so Aatrox will have a much harder time landing his combo.
Galio Damage and Mana Cost Nerfs
It’s no secret that Galio is overtuned right now. Riot is addressing this by increasing the mana cost on Winds of War [Q] from 70/75/80/85/90 to 80/90/100/110/120. The devs have also reduced the initial Q damage by around 10% at later ranks and decreased the lingering tornado damage by 2% of target’s max health per 100 ability power. If that wasn’t enough, the AP scaling was bumped down from 0.90 to 0.75, so Galio will have a harder time clearing minion waves in the late game.
Last but not least, the damage on Justice Punch [E] was reduced from 100/120/160/190/220 to 80/115/150/185/220. This should give other mid laners more windows to pressure Galio in lane while simultaneously nerfing his presence in late game teamfights.
Irelia Utility Nerfs
The queen of solo lanes is finally getting some nerfs! Irelia’s passive—Ionian Fever—no longer deals bonus damage to shields at max stacks, making her weaker against tanks, bruisers, and enchanter supports. Additionally, Bladesurge [Q] had its 200% damage bonus against minions replaced with a flat AD bonus of 45/60/75/90/105.
Finally, Vanguard’s Edge [R] no longer disarms affected targets, but it does deal more damage (up from 75/125/175 to 125/200/275) and apply a stronger slow (up from 60% to 90%). It’s hard to tell if these patch 9.2 changes will force Irelia out of the meta, but they will definitely push her towards the mid-lane assassin playstyle.
Kassadin Base Stats Nerfs
Kassadin somehow slipped through the cracks to become one of the strongest Solo Queue picks in the game. Riot is trying to solve this by bumping down his base armor from 23.376 to 19. Moreover, his armor growth stat was reduced from 3.2 to 2.8, so Kassadin will be more vulnerable to bruisers and AD assassins.
Kayn Passive Changes
If there’s one thing to say about Kayn is that he’s unreliable. It’s simply too difficult to get the transformation you want while pressuring the right lanes, so picking Kayn is a gamble in and of itself. Luckily, Riot seems to be aware of this issue.
With patch 9.2, Kayn’s Darkin and Shadow Assassin forms share the same progress bar, although said progress bar takes 25% longer to fill. When the transformation becomes available, the unlocked form will be determined by which champion type Kayn damaged the most. Also, if the first form isn’t the one he wants, Kayn will be able to collect additional orbs to reduce the timer on his second form. There’s also a minor change to Shadow Assassin’s ultimate that lets Kayn dash for 300-500 range (up from 300 range) on the second cast of his Umbral Trespass [R].
Ornn Base Stats Buff
League’s favorite forge god didn’t look too hot after the patch 9.1 changes to his kit. To make up for this, Riot is buffing his base health from 565.64 to 590. They’re also increasing his armor from 33.04 to 36, which should give Ornn a nice boost in the early game. However, this doesn’t fix the core issue of Ornn a core element of his trading patterns—his W shield—so don’t expect him to return to the top lane.
Rakan Gets Gutted
Rakan has been receiving nerfs for several balance updates in a row—and this patch is no different. His base armor was reduced from 33 to 29, making him even squishier in lane. The worst change, though, is the nerf to Grand Entrance [W]. The dash speed was decreased from 2050 (+30% Rakan’s movement speed) to 1400 (+45/+80 depending on his boots tier), and while Riot tried to soften the blow by bumping down the knockup delay from 0.5 seconds to 0.35 seconds, this change still leads to slightly slower max-range Ws. And considering the Charmer’s usually initiatives from max range, it’s a massive hit to all Rakan players out there.
Urgot Laning Nerfs
Urgot has been at the forefront of the solo lane meta for a while now. He’s simply too good at soaking damage while returning a fair bit of DPS to his foes. Riot is looking to add more weaknesses to his kit by reducing his base armor from 39 to 36. Additionally, Corrosive Charge [Q] had its mana cost bumped up from 50 to 60, and Purge [W] had its cooldown increased from 13/12/11/10/9 seconds to 17/15/13/11/9 seconds. Granted, none of these patch 9.2 changes will push Urgot out of the meta, but they will make him less dominant in the laning phase.
Oblivion Orb and Morellonomicon Nerfs
The second magic pen item in every mage’s build—Oblivion Orb—had its cost increased from 1500 to 1600 gold. Now, this wouldn’t be huge deal since this item was already very cost-efficient prior to the nerf, but Riot also bumped down Oblivion Orb’s AP value from 25 to 20.
To make matters worse, Morellonomicon was affected by the AP nerf too, as it now grants 70 ability power instead of 80. Morellonomicon’s combine cost went down from 650 to 550 to make up for the Oblivion Orb change, but that’s a cold comfort to mage players. These items will still be popular among AP casters that rely on levels and base values to deal the bulk of their damage, but it’s still a sizeable nerf to all ability power users out there.
Sunfire Cape Gets Cheaper
Sunfire Cape’s gold cost was reduced from 2900 to 2750! With that, you effectively need one less cannon wave to purchase this item, so—in theory—you can hit your power spoke sooner. The problem is that only so many champions can make use of Sunfire Cape, and even then, they usually have much better alternatives at their disposal.
Overheal Rune Nerf
Overheal now provides a weaker shield for allied heals (down from 300% to 40-100% depending on level), and grants a stronger shield for self-heals (up from 40% to 40-100% depending on level). This is a welcome change for champions that rush lifesteal items (Bloodthirster, Blade of the Ruined King) or run Legend: Bloodline. However, AD carries will also lose out on survivability if they’re laning together with enchanters like Nami, Sona, and Soraka.
Legend: Bloodline Buff
It’s no secret that Legend: Bloodline was overshadowed by its Tenacity and Alacrity counterparts. Riot is trying to make this rune more attractive by increasing the total amount of Bloodline stacks from 10 to 20. Keep in mind that lifesteal per stack was reduced from 0.8% to 0.6% to make sure the rune isn’t overtuned, but that’s still a whopping 12% lifesteal at max stacks!
Absolute Focus Nerf
Absolute Focus grants less adaptive stats! If you’re an AD champion, this rune will now provide 1.8-18 attack damage as opposed to 3-24 attack damage (scales with levels). Meanwhile, AP users will only receive 3-30 ability power as opposed to 5-40 ability power (scales with levels). With that, more players will be looking to replace Absolute Focus with Transcendence, as the former simply doesn’t provide enough bang for the buck.
Ignite Damage Nerf
Ignite has been the go-to summoner spell for a while now, and it looks Riot is finally fed up with it. Ignite’s damage was reduced from 80-505 to 70-410 (scales with levels), making it harder to secure kills and all-in your opponents. Granted, the cooldown was decreased by 30 seconds, but that’s of little consolation to most champions since they don’t just Ignite their enemies as soon as the spell is up.
Baron Buff is Weaker in the Mid Game
You’ve heard it right! The Hand of Baron buff aka everyone’s primary way of taking the W is now weaker in the mid game. Its effectiveness was reduced by approximately 50% at the 20-minute mark, although it will ramp up towards the later stages of the game. This is a welcome change in the current meta, since the losing team will have more windows of opportunity to fight back, and the winning team will have to be more organized to pull off a good Baron power play.
Junglers have been dominating the meta for several months now, but it looks like patch 9.2 is going to change that. Jungle camps now scale every second level as opposed to every level, and their scaling was reduced from 50% to 25%. With that, junglers will receive approximately 17% less experience, making it much harder to keep up with solo laners in levels.
Rift Scuttlers have also become less valuable, as their scaling was bumped down from 100% to 80%. Last but not least, Challenging Smite now deals 48-125 damage instead of 60-162 damage, and no longer grants vision of the target while the effect is active. In short, aggressive junglers will have a harder time getting levels and hunting down their opponents.
That’s it for the top changes of the League of Legends patch 9.2! You can check the complete patch notes here, and we’ll see you on the Summoner’s Rift!