By Jason Parker (Ragachak)
I can’t help but be excited for the League of Legends Season 6 changes! Not all of them are terrific, but far and away, they’re big and interesting. Items, Masteries, hell, even the speed of the game is changing! I’m going to go over the big changes and whether I think they’re worth it or not. I love League of Legends, and I have to say, overall I’m pretty hyped; I hope you guys are too! Change is a good thing, as long as it’s not change for changes’ sake.
Anyone who paid attention to Season 5 of League of Legends probably found one thing: Not all lanes are equal in terms of importance. In fact, if you weren’t playing Tristana, Jinx or Vayne, you were probably not all that important as a marksman; many of them have been untouched since their release other than minor tweaks, nerfs or buffs and many more are quite old. They all kind of played the same; the same builds, the same auto attacks, even the abilities were kind of the same in some ways. Season 6 is going to be pretty wild in that regard! Quinn, Graves, Corki, Kog’Maw, Miss Fortune, and Caitlin received reworks and feel like brand new champions. The other adcs/marksmen got touchups, but nothing severe. Speaking of, I was disappointed that Sivir didn’t get a rework/someone off the new list wasn’t chosen for the Victorious skin reward. They missed an opportunity there I think, but it is what it is. The marksmen changes were a great thing, but I’m expecting to see them touched up over the next few patches to get it right. Here are some highlights:
- Quinn no longer has a blind, can drop “Vulnerable” easier, and her ult isn’t a murder machine anymore. Now it’s for mobility.
- Graves is probably the coolest/strongest adc now (in my opinion). New Destiny is his passive, and his shotgun has a bunch of cool abilities. His shotgun is ACTUALLY a shotgun now. He stores two shotgun shells that are expended when he attacks and now his Auto is an actual cone shotgun blast. Please see the patch notes, Graves has a bunch of changes.
- Corki’s now really a hybrid. Most of his abilities do hybrid magic/physical damage (even his autos!), and can go back to base at intervals to pick up “The Package” that buffs Valkyrie. (as Special Delivery)
- Kog is scarier than ever. Bio-Arcane Barrage can give attack speed up to 5.0 seconds, which is insane, and Living Artillery is basically an execute, doing double damage to champs between 25-50% health, and triple under that.
- Miss Fortune’s got a new passive, Love Tap. Each time she attacks a new target, they take physical bonus damage, with the exception of minions/buildings only feeling 50% damage. She loses impure shots, but gains an ult that can crit up to 120% damage and Strut is now activated. It instantly gives max possible move speed for it, and using Love Tap increases attack speed for 1 second (2 on champions). As long as you have targets to swap to, you can keep it moving!
- Caitlyn’s Headshot doesn’t penetrate bonus armor anymore, but now it’s easier than ever to headshot. Yordle Traps are stored as charges. If champions are caught in it, from up to 1300 units away they can be headshotted, same with 90 Caliber net. Headshots are going to be blasting away at bot lane.
As a whole, every Marksman got an increase in base attack damage, and had their attack damage growth lowered. It will make them stronger/more relevant in the early game while taking away some of their ability to be the only relevant level 18 at the end-game portion. In this vein, many champions received 50 more base mana and a slight nerf to their mana scaling. This has something to do with the Mana Pot disappearing (R.I.P.). Though notable while talking about mana is the support maga regen buff of +2.5. This is something I’ve kind of always wanted. While I’m sad to see Mana Pots go the way of the Philo Stone, Mana Potions could really be the difference between a lane winning or losing. We have refillable potions now, which, while a bit expensive, can save a lot of money through the mid game. Maybe. I still think they’re a bit damn expensive.
Speaking of items vanishing, we have a whole host of them going away this season. Some good (Poacher’s Knife/Ranger’s Trailblazer), some bad (Green Ward). Some confusing or indifferent (Avarice Blade, Sword of the Occult, Brutalizer, Zephyr). Tons of stuff disappearing. I’m ambivalent to the loss of stealth ward, because let’s face it, lots of people didn’t use them any damn way. I felt like some of these, like Brutalizer, filled weird roles, and Occult was too niche. Sad to see Avarice Blade go though. . . Also say goodbye to Clairvoyance and Clarity. Byebye!
There are also so many damn new items/item changes. I can’t even get into them all; I’d be here all day. So many items went up slightly in gold cost, but there are some notable new items/changes here. The third level support/gold item builds with Sightstone, so you have Sightstone, level 2 item, and then a new item at the top. They’re not gamebreaking, but they’re going to leave you an additional slot in your item as a support, combining your gold and support item buffs into one convenient place. Mejai’s now has a new item to build out of (Dark Seal), grants 200 mana, and grants Glory for kills/assists, up to 25. You lose 10 stacks on dying though, a much less harsh punishment than old Mejai’s. You receive 5 AP per stack of glory, and if you have at least 15 stacks you get a move speed buff. It’s even more risky, but I feel like the reward is better, and the early item gives more flexibility in your game plan. We have a new, bigger, beefier Executioner’s Calling in “Mortal Reminder” which has a passive of 40% bonus armor penetration. And it inflicts Grievous Wounds (which now only affects self-healing instead of all heals). You won’t be laughed at for building Essence Reaver anymore, Marksmen! Crits restore 3% of your mana, base crit strike chance of 20% as well as a BUNCH of CDR. Items are insane now, good lord! Spend some time getting to know them.
Speaking of items, Scrying Orb is going away! Instead, it’s being added as an alteration of the Yellow (Ward) trinket at level 9. The trinket slot got a few changes. Now the Ward trinket holds 2 wards at once, and can upgrade into the Scrying Alteration, which creates a scrying ward (1 hp, visible) at a larger range that does not count against your ward total. Sweeping Lens now also spawns warning particles over units it finds that you cannot locate, which is kind of cool. The upgrade, Oracle Alteration no longer has true vision, but increases the range the warning particles have. The trinkets grow stronger over the course of the game too, and I honestly kind of like this change. It is my sincere hope that it will help players ward more (though I’m not holding my breath. . . )
Now we come to the pace of the game. It’s faster than ever. Minions spawn at 1:15, while jungle camps appear at 1:40. Now you need to pay attention to the lanes earlier, and juggle getting level 2 versus a good leash for your jungler. The early game is pretty important all around now, thanks to Rift Herald, a mini-Baron Buff that shows up in the Baron Pit. The Rift Herald takes less damage from ranged, and has an eye on its back that occasionally opens to deal a pile of damage. And if struck from behind to lower it to 15% or less, it will do 15% of its max health in true damage, and stays open. So you can’t really be sneaky, face the Rift Herald like a man (or woman! Or Robot! Or. . .Blob creature)!
All told the game’s going to get faster, which is good in my opinion. All that waiting at the start was insane, and though I feel this might make invading a bit harder/stressful, there are other things to look at, like increased passive gold, and the two lowest members of a team (not pointing at anywhere, bot lane. . .) will receive even more passive gold to sort of help them out. There’s also a new system of Bounties, which should be looked at in the patch notes. Bounties give bonus gold to the whole team on a global scale which includes a tier system depending on the kills the person has accrued. You can see a little counter by their name and it becomes more and more elaborate the more they kill! Speaking of Gold, consecutive assists no longer give bonus gold, which is why I felt so damn poor in the games I’ve played. My first reaction is that this is a lousy idea. Though their logic is to prevent both bot lane opponents to become so fed that they terrorize you all through the lane phase. We’ll see if this change is best for business in the coming weeks.
More game changes are happening though; turrets no longer have shields! Thank God. But they changed how turrets take damage in quite a few ways (such as letting mages use their AP in the damage calculation!) that will make tower pushing a bit more frustrating. Towers that have no nearby minions will gain 200 armor and mr and slowly gain armor/mr up to a max of 30. What does this mean? No more Tryndamere, Master Yi, Trundle, or Xin Zhao pushing a tower with no minions nearby. At least, not in a few hits with no fear of reprisal. However, they have more health and give more gold! I honestly love the tower changes; it’ll make the laning phase just a bit more balanced and put a damper on split pushing.
The last thing to change as far as the pace goes are minions. If your team’s average level is higher than the enemies, your minions do more damage and push harder. They even gain some damage reduction! It gets even more insane though; if a lane has two towers pushed and your team average is 3 higher, your minions take 7 less damage from enemy minions. It doesn’t affect their damage to players, just other minions. The pushing is going to get more intense if you’re ahead. There are also a lot of number changes in the jungle, and I implore you again to read the patch notes to see just what happened there. You get more gold, less experience, but it’s easier to jungle now. Probably less need for a four man leash, and more time spent in the early lane. I like this change overall.
The final and possibly most potent changes are to the Mastery System. Instead of Tank/Damage/Support brackets, with a point per level, where you can put points anywhere you want, it works differently now. When presented with a tier that has two options with five ranks, (tier 1, 3, 5) you can split your five points at that level between the two, but you cannot come back and use 5 points in both. When faced with an option that has no ranks (2, 4, Keystone), you can pick only one of them. I love the new mastery system; it will lessen the amount of mastery pages I have perhaps, and the masteries themselves feel more important, and less about micromanaging bullshit. Some of the masteries feel kind of weak, but sound good on paper, such as the hp regen masteries. There are so many cool abilities going on, and it will let you build how you want, without just dumping all of your points into one tree. I feel like this mastery system is far more impactful than the old versions. But we’ll have to test them more in actual gameplay to confirm how they fit with all the other drastic changes happening around them.
I know there’s a lot of information here, but there’s a lot going on and some people simply aren’t going to read the patch notes and dive right in; I do not advise doing that. The purpose of this is to show you guys that things actually ARE changing, and it’s for the better. Marksmen matter, items are being shaken up, and the game is going to move faster! It’s a grand time to be alive for League of Legends players. I think Season 6 is going to be fast-paced and intense. It’s a lot to take in, and choices matter more than ever. Which marksman you pick matters more than simply picking the S-Tier Team-Murderer. Now you’re going to want to look at which one matters the most for your team comp. Riot’s shaking things up, and we have plenty of time to take it all in. New builds, team comps, new and bold decisions are going to be blowing up in Season 6; I hope you’re ready.