The League of Legends patch 9.4 came out on February 20, and it’s a big one! Riot Games is finally handing out some much-needed buffs to struggling champions while continuing to tune down the most dominant power picks. Let’s see how this affects Solo Queue and competitive meta in our patch 9.4 breakdown!
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LoL Champions Patch 9.4
Karthus Q Nerfs
It’s no secret that Karthus has been taking over the jungle. His clear speed is fast, and his skirmishing is surprisingly potent, so he has no issues keeping up with other junglers in the early game. Riot is trying to solve this by reducing the Lay Waster [Q] base damage by 5 at all ranks for multiple targets and by 10 at all ranks for single targets.
This might not seem like much, but the sheer amount of Qs Karthus spams means he will lose quite a bit of damage in the early stages of the game. That being said, his most powerful weapon—Requiem [R]—was left unchecked, so we don’t see this undead mage going out of the meta just yet.
Lucian’s W Gets Gutted
If you’ve been following pro play, you probably know that most Lucian mains started maxing Ardent Blaze [W]. Not only is this ability easy to land, but it deals a good chunk of damage while having innate synergy with the Manaflow Bandrune. Looks like Riot wants Lucian to go back to the Q maxing ways because they’ve increased Ardent Blaze’s mana cost by 20. On top of that, Lucian’s W will now deal 75/110/145/180/215 damage (down from 85/125/165/205/245), so it will no longer poke enemy champions as hard as it used to.
Rek’Sai Buffs & Changes
Rek’Sai is a name we haven’t heard in a while! This champion has been out of the meta for ages, but League of Legends patch 9.4 might very well change that. Prey Seeker [Burrowed Q] now grants 25 Fury, which should give Rek’Sai more oomph in jungle skirmishes. Meanwhile, Queen’s Wrath [Unburrowed Q] goes on cooldown if Rek’Sai is burrowed for more than 1 second, and Void Rush [R] is undodgeable by any means other than long-range blinks and dashes (i.e.Teleport or Lissandra E). These changes do provide Rek’Sai with more reliable ways of dealing damage, but they don’t solve enough of her problems to make the Void Burrower into a staple jungle pick.
Urgot Q and W Nerfs
After the nerfs to Akali and Irelia, Urgot has taken over the top lane. His reign is about to end, though, as Riot is bumping up the mana cost on his Corrosive Charge [Q] from 60 to 80. If that wasn’t enough, Purge [W] now costs 65 mana (up from 45/50/55/60/65) and applies 30/60/90/120/150 shield points (down from 60/90/120/150/180) at all ranks. With that, Urgot will have a much harder time trading and sustaining himself in lane, so we might finally see him leaving the 100% pick/ban zone.
Zed is Back!
Zed’s not dead, baby! Everyone’s favorite shadow assassin has already been creeping back into the meta, as evidenced by Origen’s game against G2 Esports, but now he’s set to become even stronger. His attack speed growth was increased from 3.1% to 3.3% per level, and his Razor Shuriken [Q] now scales a bit better and deals 10 more base damage at all rank.
Most importantly, the recast range on Living Shadow [W] was increased from 1300 range to 1950 range, and the cooldown was decreased from 22/20/18/16/14 seconds to 20/18.5/17/15.5/14 seconds. Granted, Zed did lose the passive part of his ultimate that gave him a percentage of his victim’s attack damage, but these are still sizeable buffs to his playmaking.
Azir Gets More Attack Speed
Azir is another pick that’s been exiled out of the meta. It seems like Riot isn’t ready to set the stage for his comeback yet, but he did get his attack speed growth stat bumped up from 1.5% to 3% per level. This might not seem impactful at first glance, but Azir is a champion that thrives in the late game, and the extra scaling will make him even more dominant if he finds a way to get through the laning phase.
Gnar Becomes Tankier
With Urgot’s departure, there’s an apparent void in the top lane, and Gnar might be the one to fill it! The pre-historic yordle received sizeable buffs to his mega form. Now, Mega Gnar will get 5.5 armor stat (up from 4.5) and 4 magic resist (up from 2) per level. And while base stats tweaks don’t seem very exciting, they will definitely make Gnar tankier in the later stages of the game.
Hecarim Early Game Buffs
Hecarim has always been a cut below meta junglers. The main reason behind this is that he needs way too much time to get going, and he’s way too easy to invade in the early game. Riot is looking to change that on patch 9.4 by reducing the mana cost of Rampage [Q] from 32/34/36/38/40 to 28/31/34/37/40. On top of that, the Devastating Charge [E] cooldown has been decreased from 24/22/20/18/16 to 20/19/18/17/16, so Hecarim will be able to exert more pressure in the early game.
Items, Runes, and Gameplay Changes
Conqueror became a staple rune for bruisers and carry top laners, but it also phased out most tanks. With that in mind, Riot decided to rework the rune into something less oppressive. The new Conqueror stacks up to 5 times and grants 3-15 adaptive force (scales with levels) per stack for 3 seconds for ranged champions and for 8 seconds for their melee counterparts.
Moreover, a fully stacked Conqueror converts 10% of your damage into true damage and heals you for the same amount. Naturally, this rune will be very powerful at max stacks, but it will also present a clear window of opportunity for other champions to trade against it.
Essence Reaver Gets AD
The new Essence Reaver turned out to be a bit underwhelming. Riot is looking to fix that by increasing its attack damage from 60 to 65 to make it more in line with other AD carry items. Of course, this won’t automatically turn Essence Reaver into the best item in the game, but it will make it a more attractive choice for all marksman players out there.
That’s it for the top changes of the League of Legends patch 9.4! You can check the complete patch notes here, and we’ll see you on the Summoner’s Rift!