The League of Legends patch 9.9 was released on April 30—and it might be the biggest one yet. Not only does it deliver a series of nerfs and buffs to some of the most dominant champions in the game, but it significantly alters the jungle meta to set the stage for the upcoming summer split. With that, here’s a short list of the top changes of patch 9.9 that you need to be aware of.
LoL Champions Patch 9.9
Major Aatrox changes
Aatrox has been in a tricky spot ever since his champion rework, and it looks like Riot wants to take him in a new direction. For starters, Aatrox’s passive no longer reduces healing and shielding effects. Instead, the Darkin deals bonus damage equal to 5-10% of target’s maximum health and heals for the same amount whenever he lands a spell or an auto attack. This effect can proc every 15 seconds by default, but you can reduce the cooldown by attacking champions or large monsters (the bonus damage is capped at 100 against monster).
The Darkin Blade [Q] cooldown was reduced from 16/15/14/13/12 to 14/12/10/8/6 seconds and its damage was increased by from 10/25/40/55/70 to 10/30/50/70/90. The flipside is that the cooldown timer will now start after the third Q cast (or after the Q window expires), so Aatrox players will need to spam the ability to make use of the CDR buff.
Meanwhile, the Infernal Chains [W] slow was set at 25% at all ranks. On top of that, the cooldown was increased from 18/17/16/15/14 seconds to 26/23/20/17/14 seconds, meaning that Aatrox mains will have to be more selective about the way they use their W at early ranks. Umbral Dash [E] didn’t go unnoticed either, as it no longer grants bonus attack damage for 1.5 seconds.
Finally, there’s the ultimate. World Ender [R] no longer revives the Darkin unless Aatrox scores a champion takedown while his ult is active. That being said, Aatrox will now receive 40/55/70% increased healing for the entire World Ender duration, making him more durable in teamfights and skirmishes. Another thing to note is that the Darkin will only heal for 30% of his maximum health (down from 10-50%) on revival. Furthermore, he will be slowed by a whopping 99% for the revive duration, so his opponents will have an easier time playing around the World Ender.
This is basically a mini-rework of Aatrox’s kit, so it’s hard to judge it before we see this champion in action. However, it’s clear that patch 9.9 lays the groundwork for jungle Aatrox. And while the ult revive will be harder to proc, Aatrox should still be a force to be reckoned with in 5v5 teamfights.
Blitzcrank passive and ult changes
Riot finally made some much-needed changes to Blitzcrank’s kit! First, the Steam Golem’s passive was adjusted to apply a shield equal to 30% of his maximum mana as opposed to 50% of his current mana. If that wasn’t enough, Static Field [R] no longer hits random targets with passive lightning procs when it’s off cooldown. Instead, Blitzcrank can tag a minion or a champion with his basic attacks and his R will automatically proc on the market target after a brief delay. Granted, the lightning damage will be 50% lower, but the fact that you can control it makes Blitzcrank more potent in bot lane skirmishes and eliminates the possibility of accidentally messing up last-hits for your lane partner.
Rakan gets an R nerf and stat buffs
It’s painfully obvious that Riot isn’t sure what to do with Rakan. The Charmer received a number of stat buffs to his base health (up from 480 to 540), armor (up from 29 to 32), magic resistance (up from 30 to 32.1), and magic resist growth (up from 0.5 to 1.25). In addition, Grand Entrance [W] dash speed was increased from 1500 to 1700.
It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, though. Rakan’s base attack damage was reduced from 70 to 62. To make matters worse, Rakan can no longer cast Grand Entrance of use Flash during the first 0.5 seconds of his ultimate, making his R + W combo into a very telegraphed initiation tool.
Soraka receives healing buffs and damage nerfs
It’s no secret that E max Soraka became the staple of the Solo Queue meta. Riot is addressing this by making a number of changes to her kit. For starters, Soraka’s Starcall [Q] procs will apply roughly 59% more healing to her and 27% more healing to allies at max rank. It will also come with a stronger decaying movement speed buff (up from 10% at all ranks to 14/80/22/26/30%).
However, the cooldown on Starcall was increased from 5 seconds at all ranks to 8/7/6/5/4 seconds. Moreover, Soraka’s Q will deal approximately 15% less damage at all ranks, so she will have a harder time taking over the laning phase without the help of her lane partner. But wait, there’s more! Equinox [E] will deal 15-35% less damage at higher ranks. And while the cooldown was slightly reduced to make up for the nerf, this patch 9.9 change still discourages Soraka mains from maxing their E.
Tahm Kench gets gutted
Tahm Kench has always been a problematic champion. At first glance, it seems that Riot wants to keep things this way. Tahm Kench received a number of stat tweaks to base health (up from 540 to 600), health growth (down from 102 to 100), and movement speed (up from 335 to 345).
His passive was changed to always deal bonus damage equal to 1.5% of Tahm’s maximum health, which is a welcome change for support mains that didn’t really benefit from the previous level scaling system. Tongue Lash [Q] also received buffs to its range (up from 800 to 900), slow duration (up from 1.5 to 2 seconds), and slow effect (up from 30-70% to 50-70%). On top of that, Thick Skin [E] applies slightly stronger healing and shielding effects and costs zero mana to cast.
Yet, this doesn’t even begin to make up for the nerfs. Devour/Regurgitate [W] now grounds and slows Tahm Kench by a whopping 95% whenever he eats up an allied champion. If that wasn’t enough, the ability costs 40 more mana and deals significantly less damage at higher ranks. Finally, Abyssal Voyage [R] had its range reduced by 2000 at first rank, which is a huge hit to Tahm’s ability to find cross-map plays and set up rotations.
Hecarim damage nerfs
Let’s face it: Hecarim is far too strong in the jungle. His scaling already makes him a massive threat in the late game, but it’s his early skirmishing that really pushes him into the power pick territory. Riot is looking to change that by reducing Rampage [Q] bonus damage from 10% to 5% per stack. Devastating Charge [E] also received a sizeable nerf that brought its damage numbers by approximately 12% at higher ranks.
Jarvan tank nerfs
Jarvan made a name for himself as one of the few tanks that can keep up with carry junglers. Most of it comes from the attack speed buffs he obtained in previous patches, but Riot Games doesn’t seem to share this sentiment.
Instead, Riot is looking to reduce his durability by applying a couple of base stat nerfs to his health (down from 571.2 to 570), mana (down from 302.3 to 300) and mana regen (down from 6.756 to 6.5). The League of Legends patch 9.9 also hit Golden Aegis [W] by setting the bonus shield at 1.5% of Jarvan’s maximum health at all ranks. Combine that with a one-second cooldown increase on Demacian Standard [E], and J4 will have a harder time getting through teamfights and skirmishes.
Manamune damage buff
Manamune (and Muramana) had their damage increased from 25 to 35! This change might not seem that impactful in isolation, but it will provide a stronger power spike to all the Ezreal mains out there. And considering the Prodigal Explorer is already a staple competitive pick, we expect patch 9.9 to make him even stronger.
Aftershock loses level scaling
Everyone’s favorite keystone to hate saw a change to its scaling! With that, Aftershock procs will now grant 70 armor and magic resistance that scale with defensive stats. This means that carries and other champions that don’t want to invest gold into bonus armor and magic resistance will struggle to use Aftershock to its fullest potential. And while patch 9.9 won’t remove Aftershock from the meta, it will definitely make it less prevalent.
Scuttlecrabs spawn later
It’s no secret that the current jungle meta revolves around killing a buff and contesting Rift Scuttlers (aka Scuttlecrabs). However, this is likely to change now that Scuttlecrabs will spawn 1 minute and 15 seconds later! This is huge for jungle mains, as they will no longer live and die by priority lanes and telegraphed river skirmishes. On top of that, junglers will be able to switch up their routes to get a bigger edge on their opponents, which is great for the overall direction of the game.
That’s it for the top changes of the League of Legends patch 9.9! You can check the complete patch notes here, and we’ll see you on the Summoner’s Rift!