The League of Legends patch 9.5 was released on March 6. This balance update comes with two champion reworks as well as a number of buffs and nerfs that will be sure to affect Solo Queue and competitive meta. Join us as we break down the top changes of patch 9.5!
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LoL Champions Patch 9.5
Kayle and Morgana Rework
Everyone’s favorite angelic duo finally got a rework! As far as we can tell, Morgana just received a visual update, and the only thing different about her is that her ultimate now grants a movement speed bonus towards affected enemies.
The new Kayle, however, provides a more distinct experience. The most important change here is her passive that slowly builds up Kayle’s power to the point where she becomes nigh unstoppable at level 16. Her other abilities are the slightly tweaked spell from her old kit, so, for example, Radiant Blast [Q] will now shred armor and deal splash damage in addition to applying a slow. Meanwhile, Celestials Blessing [W] will heal Kayle and her target, Starfire Spellblade [E] will deal way more ranged damage (albeit for a single auto attack), and Divine Judgement [R] will summon a damage dealing AoE around the invulnerable target.
Of course, the main goal of every Kayle player will be getting to that level 16 benchmark. That’s something easier said than done, though, as the divine being appears to be pretty weak in the early game. In the end, we can’t help wondering whether this is a healthy champion design, as Kayle will likely hover between utterly broken and niche counterpick territories.
Looks like Riot doesn’t want Akali to be out of the meta yet. The LoL patch 9.5 bumped up the edge of ring and outside of ring movement speed on her passive from 1.25 seconds to 2 seconds. Turrets will only reveal Akali in Twilight Shroud [W] if she enters their attack range (as opposed to sight range), giving Akali more room to pull off her stealthy outplays. On top of that, she only needs to exit and reenter her W once to extend the Twilight Shroud duration.
The Shuriken Flip [E] damage was increased from 60/90/120/150/180 to 70/105/140/175/210 on the first cast, but the second cast deals 10 less damage at all rank. Finally, the cooldown on Perfect Execution [R] was reduced from 120/100/80 seconds to 100/85/70 seconds. Now, none of these changes are game-breaking, but considering how oppressive Akali was several patches ago, we can’t help feeling that patch 9.5 might be bringing too much power back into her kit.
Rakan W Speed and Damage Buffs
There’s no denying that Rakan’s Grand Entrance [W] nerf was a huge hit to his playmaking abilities. Riot is trying to address this by increasing the W dash speed from 1400/1445/1480 to 1500 and bumping up the damage from 70/115/160/205/250 to 70/120/170/220/270. These buffs are a welcome nod to Rakan mains, but they don’t bring his playmaking potential anywhere close to how it used to be prior to the 9.2 nerf. Perhaps it’s for the better, as having a reliable R+W combo was completely broken at high levels of play.
Skarner Spire Range Increase
Skarner received a seemingly minor buff that increased the range of his spires from 1150 to 1600, but the implication behind it is huge. The new spires provide Skarner a buff at the Krugs and Wraiths camps, making for a much faster clear speed at all stages of the game. Another thing to consider is that capturing a river spire will make Skarner downright oppressive in early Rift Scuttler skirmishes—especially if he’s going against a melee jungler.
Vi Kit Changes
One of the most underrepresented junglers in the game—Vi—received some much-needed changes to her kit. Her base attack speed was reduced from 2.5% to 2%, but her passive Blast Shield was increased from 10% max health to 15% max health (although the cooldown is 4 seconds longer in the early game. Vault Breaker [Q] no longer deals a quarter less damage to minions and monster, but its ratio was bumped down from 1.6 bonus AD to 1.4 bonus AD.
Meanwhile, Denting Blows [W] grant 30/37.5/45/52.5/60% attack speed instead of 30/35/40/45/50% attack speed while also reducing the Blast Shield cooldown by 3 seconds with every proc. The AoE part of Excessive Force [E] can now critically strike, but the ratios were tweaked from 1.15 total AD and 0.7 AP to 1.1 total AD and 0.9 AP. Last but not least, Assault and Battery [R] had its knockback effect buffed from 250 range over 0.25 seconds to 350 range over 0.75 seconds. The ultimate also deals slightly more damage at higher ranks and to secondary targets, but this came at a cost of having a slightly longer cooldown.
The ult change is the big one, as Assault and Battery is the main weapon in Vi’s arsenal. Other changes seem to be focused on making the Piltover Enforcer deal more damage in extended skirmishes, although we can’t help thinking that Vi still lacks the ability to stick to her targets.
Dr. Mundo Becomes an MR Tank
Dr. Mundo’s Masochism [E] grants 1% more magic resist per stack than it used to. With that, the undead tank can now get up to 42% bonus magic resist at max E rank (as opposed to 30%), which makes him a great counter to AP-heavy team comps. Now, the only question is how to get him through the early game, but if someone can figure it out, we can very well see Mundo back in pro play.
The vengeful pirate might be finally back in the meta! Riot decided to put more power into his early game by increasing the damage on his Powder Kegs [E] from 60/90/120/150/180 to 80/105/130/155/180. Cannon Barrage [R] will also deal 40/70/100 damage per wave instead of 35/60/85 damage per wave, resulting in a roughly 15% total damage buff to GP’s ultimate. These changes don’t seem that big, but considering Gangplank is the definition ticking time bomb, any buffs to his early game can cause him to rise into the power pick category.
Items, Runes, and Gameplay Changes
Relic Shield Healing Nerfs
The Relic Shield item line keeps getting nerfed! The passive procs no longer heal for a percentage of target’s missing health. Instead, they heal for a flat amount that increases based on target’s missing health. This is a pretty big nerf considering your Relic Shield procs will now heal for 30 health max. Targon’s Brace healing is capped at 60, and Remnant of the Aspect healing doesn’t go further than 90.
Stormrazor Stats Buffs
The new Stormrazor looked like a great idea on paper, but its stats made the item way too shaky in practice. Patch 9.5 is trying to solve this by raising the attack damage value from 55 to 60. The attack speed bonus was also increased from 25% to 30%, so we might finally see Stormrazor in action.
Aftershock Duration Nerf
The rune everyone loves to hate—Aftershock—just received a nerf! Now, instead of sticking around for 3 seconds, the resistance bonus will only last for 2.5 seconds. This might not seem like a deal at first glance, however, the 16% duration reduction will provide a bigger window to punish Aftershock users, and that’s always a welcome change in our book.
Conqueror Gets Gutted
The new Conqueror rune is as dead as it gets! The adaptive force bonus was reduced from 2-10 per stack to 2-6 per stack, making for a 40% damage nerf in the late game. Combine that with the hotfix that decreased the ranged stack duration from 3 seconds to 2 seconds, and it’s hard to see which champions will benefit from the new Conqueror rune.
That’s it for the top changes of the League of Legends patch 9.5! You can check the complete patch notes here, and we’ll see you on the Summoner’s Rift!