The League of Legends patch 9.8 came out on April 16. This balance update isn’t particularly large, however, many of its nerfs and buffs are so drastic that they’re almost guaranteed to alter the competitive meta. With that in mind, here’s a quick list of the top changes of patch 9.8!
Cassiopeia twin fang buff
Cassiopeia had the mana cost on her Twin Fang [E] decreased from 40/50/60/70/80 to 40/45/50/55/60. This might not seem like such a huge deal at first glance, however, Cass’s E was by the far the most spammable ability in her kit. In the past, this meant that Cassiopeia players had to be very careful about managing their resources, as—for example—using up all your mana to melt Baron would make you useless in the following teamfight. However, patch 9.8 changes give everyone’s favorite snake lady way more breathing room in the late game, and that’s a very scary prospect to consider.
Fiora gets more counterplay
It’s certainly true that Fiora hasn’t been that prominent in the top lane. This is likely to change, though, as the stun duration on Riposte [W] was increased from 1.5 seconds to 2 seconds. Moreover, the ability will now deal 20 more damage at all ranks, making it much more rewarding to successfully Riposte enemy spells. If that wasn’t enough, the mana cost on Bladework [E] was set at 40 mana at all ranks, so Fiora players will be even more oppressive in prolonged trades on patch 9.8.
Gnar gets a 30 second ult
That’s right, the cooldown on Gnar’s… GNAR! [R] was reduced from 120/100/80 to 90/60/30 seconds. Now, obviously Gnar also needs to fill up his rage bar to use it, but the fact that he’ll always have such a game-changing spell at his disposal is a massive buff to the prehistoric yordle. And if our read is correct, there’s a good chance Gnar will be a contested pick at the upcoming MSI 2019.
Kayle laning and scaling nerfs
Hell, it’s about time! Kayle’s rework turned her into a Solo Queue monster and a staple competitive pick, but it looks like Riot is finally fed up with this state of affairs. The angelic warrior received patch 9.8 nerfs to her base attack damage (down from 52 to 50), armor (down from 28 to 26), and attack speed ratio (down from 0.695 to 0.667). Moreover, Kayle’s ascension is now based on Kayle’s level and ultimate rank, so you will no longer get power spikes from Kleptomancy and Elixirs of Skill.
Shadow Assassin Kayn gains mobility
It’s no secret that Shadow Assassin Kayn has been phased out by Rhaast. Well, that might no longer be the case, as Shadow Assassin Kayn will have a flat 8-second Shadow Step [E] cooldown at all ranks. This grants Kayn ridiculous amounts of mobility, which, combined with his high burst, makes him a massive threat in the jungle. The only caveat is that he still needs to get to his transformation to stand up to other junglers—and a handicap like that is always a risk in pro play.
Nautilus keeps getting out of line
The Nautilus buffs just keep on coming! The root duration on his passive was increased by 0.25 seconds at levels 1, 6, and 11. Moreover, the Dredge Line [Q] damage was boosted from 80/120/160/200/240 (+0.75 AP scaling) to 100/145/190/235/280 (+0.90 AP scaling). These are sizeable buffs to the League’s anchorman—especially when you consider that mid lane Nautilus has already been making his presence known in the high end of Korean Solo Queue. And while more buffs aren’t likely to come, we can’t help wondering whether Nautilus is about to become a sleeper OP in pro play.
Ornn gets better upgrades
Ornn’s Living Forge passive was buffed! With that, Forgefire Cape will grant 750 health (up from 625) and 100 armor (up from 90), Frozen Fist will provide 125 armor (up from 95), and Infernal Mask will set you up with 750 health (up from 550) and 100 magic resist (up from 90). These are considerable patch 9.8 changes to Ornn’s scaling, so pro teams might consider integrating him into their drafts to get some late game insurance. That said, many games are decided by the 20-minute mark, so Ornn will still be a risky pick in competitive.
Renekton base stat and Q buffs
The Solo Queue terror is back! Well, sort of. Renekton received a string of minor buffs to his base health (up from 572.16 to 575), attack speed growth (up from 2.65% to 2.75%), and armor growth (up from 2.8 to 4). On top of that, Cull the Meek [Q] will now heal for 33% more against champions, which should make the crocodile more durable in trades and skirmishes.
Renekton was already in a decent spot in Solo Queue, but the real question is whether these buffs will make him viable in pro play. The answer is probably not. The stats buffs are insignificant, and while Renekton is a decent lane bully, he’s not oppressive enough to make up for his lacking late game.
Zed gets nerfed again
It looks like Riot has no clue what to do with Zed because most of his 9.4 buffs got reverted! With that, Razor Shuriken [Q] now deals 10 less damage at all ranks, and Living Shadow’s [W] cooldown is back at 22/20/18/16/14. The worst thing about this is that Zed is still missing the AD-stealing passive from his ultimate, so he’s even weaker than he was prior to the 9.4 changes.
Items, Runes, and Gameplay Changes
Cutlass, BotRK, and Gunblade cost changes
The combine cost (and total cost) of the Bilgewater Cutlass was increased by 100 gold. The Blade of the Ruined King was also affected by this change, and marksman players will have to wait a bit longer before they can hit their power spikes. It’s worth noting that Hextech Gunblade remains unaffected, as the combine cost on that item was reduced by 100 gold to make up for the change.
Coup de Grace deals damage to low-health targets only
Coup de Grace no longer provides its users with 9 AD or 15 AP for 10 seconds after a champion takedown, making it a much less reliable option on AD carries and other consistent damage dealers. However, this rune will now deal 8% (up from 7%) bonus damage to champions below 40% max health, which still makes it a decent choice on burst mages and assassins.
That’s it for the top changes of the League of Legends patch 9.8! You can check the complete patch notes here, and we’ll see you on the Summoner’s Rift!