League Of Legends Preps For World Finals With Latest Patch

With The International fading into memory like so many forgotten creeps, MOBA-neutrals such as myself look forward to their next dose of hype. Riot will be the providers, with the League of Legends World Championship kicking off in September and the Grand Final on October 19th. In preperation for their season finale, Riot’s latest patch focuses on ‘strategic diversity’ within the game, ensuring enough characters are viable come the big day. They’re also introducing a new one, League’s 120th champion, Gnar.

First: the patch. It’s a biggie, by all accounts. The overarching theme is that Riot want a larger selection of their roster to be viable and are nerfing champions that prevent this. This includes particularly strong contenders for certain spots – such as supports Braum and Thresh – and whole playstyles – early aggression from the jungle – that are proving problematic to deal with. Riot are carefully nerfing a few champions rather than buffing the rest because they believe once these clear best choices are gone, it’ll open up a lot more options.

They’re also adding the best skin in the game.

The new champion is this lil’ cutie, Gnar. He doesn’t stay that way for long, his main gimmick being regular transformation into a much larger beast. He’s designed for top lane, the designated space for soloing in the early game. His smaller form is best at evading attacks and picking one-on-one fights, while transforming temporarily into Mega Gnar (video games!) boosts his stats to make him tankier. It also changes his active skills, mostly involving large disabling and damaging AoEs.

There’s many more changes listed on the patch page, including a full rework of Sona, a quite popular support. In news we kinda didn’t want to post but is so weird we’ll throw it in at the end here, Riot released a slightly gross cinematic trailer last week. But here’s a look at the patch:

24 Comments

  1. RedViv says:

    Debonair Vi is the best indeed. Sona needed a rework to finally make her a more actively playable support, lifting your own team and separating theirs. And Gnar is just the cutest bloody thing.

    • altum videtur says:

      Second best.
      The champ is Jaximus.

    • Zankmam says:

      I love Debonair Vi simply by virtue of it being unsexualized – I mean, it’s still Attractive Slim Female, but there is no moronic amount of sexualization about it.

      Hell, Debonair Ez is more sexualized than Vi!

    • Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

      You would think that, Viv. Or should I say… VIv.

  2. altum videtur says:

    never no love for Urgot
    dont nobody see he’s so kawaii?

  3. Koozer says:

    They actually design champions around mid/top/bottom now? That sucks all the fun out of trying new things doesn’t it?

    • Stormworm says:

      Reinforcing the current meta is one of the reasons why I dropped the game. That and I got tired of seeing the same 10 or so champions in every match. I checked the nerfs on Lee Sin, and he is still going to be a top tier character because of his mobility and ability to make plays. They did hit his top laning sustain though.

      • Philomelle says:

        Actually, Lee Sin has almost completely vanished from active play. Riot originally wanted to rework him, but fans rebelled and demanded that they keep his current kit’s ups and downs. My guess is that they decided to hammer the point in by proving that once his overbearing numbers are gone, he’s simply not particularly fun to play.

        • Stormworm says:

          What server do you play on? EU West I still see him regularly from Gold all the way up to Diamond 1 when I watch my friends play solo queue.

          • Philomelle says:

            I’m on NA servers due to most of my friends being there. Lee Sin fell out of favor almost completely there. Jungle has been taken over by heavy initiator like Gragas and Maokai, while Irelia is the queen of the top lane.

            He’s still played by people who mained him for a very long time and are comfortable with him, but most people argue that there are plenty of more interesting options in the game.

        • Hmm-Hmm. says:

          Well, he’s still seeing active play in the LCS. So.. I doubt he’s that bad.

          • Smoky_the_Bear says:

            Yep a quick glance over at the LCS currently shows Elise vs Lee Sin. Nothing new there, this has been the situation for about 6 months now.

          • Philomelle says:

            LCS doesn’t have the latest Lee Sin nerfs. The rule for championships and tournaments is that they run on the patch that was released about a month or so before the tourney’s start, not the current one, in order to not abruptly change up the playing field. A good example was how Kha’zix was absent from the 2012 season’s world championship despite being released before it because the patch he was included with was deemed as too recent and having balance changes nobody was used to yet.

            Lee will still be used by people who main him and thus have a very thorough knowledge of his mechanics, but he will no longer be constantly picked because of his overbearing base numbers.

    • Delodax says:

      It’s rather they see a champ being problematic in a role/lane -> changes are made.

    • Philomelle says:

      It doesn’t. The number of champions capable of functioning in top lane due to its unique structure and position on the map is so small that every new addition is a breath of fresh air.

    • Evilpigeon says:

      How do you effectively balance things apart from balancing the way the champion is played? It’s hard enough to do when you have solid data on how the champino performs.

  4. SakuKoivu says:

    Champion diversity is the only problem they’re addressing with this patch, however they didn’t adress the main problem for me: the anti-snowball mechanics. I watch LCS games every week, and lately there’s been too many games going on without kills before the 20th minute. It’s not a big deal for the hardcore fan, who can still appreciate the skills of the top players in the world, but for the average fan, there’s not enough interesting moment in a game. They need to add at least some incentives to go for kills, which in my opinion would create more interesting moments in the pro games

    • Smoky_the_Bear says:

      To me that’s a difficult one. Watching The International recently and it seemed to me that every kill was almost expected, no surprise or drama at all. Gank > Kill > back to lanes > zzzzzzzzzzz.
      It’s the same argument that people who are anti-football (mostly Americans) use. It’s boring because nobody scores. However to me Basketball is boring because of the opposite, people always score, hence each score creates no drama whatsoever until the last 2 minutes of the game. In Football a goal is such a game changing event that even the potential of a goal is far more exciting than any score in Basketball.

      Pro LoL seems to have a decent flow to the game at the moment. There are plenty of close games and even some comebacks (something which was rarely seen in the past, especially compared to Dota), their recent changes to limit snowballing are a big reason for this. Increased snowballing mechanics just mean a glut of kills near the beginning and one team is so far ahead it’s then 20 mins of inevitable victory for the team ahead, to me that’s far more boring.
      The only thing they need to do in my opinion is increase the viable champion pool, that is one area Dota has it beat, I think all but 9 heroes were seen at The International. LoL Worlds we will be lucky to see more than a third of the champion pool unless this patch changes things drastically.

      • SakuKoivu says:

        I think that there is a delicate balance between no kills early game and snowballing out of control. I agree that it is nice to see some team make a comeback after a 5vs5 at dragon despite a 5k gold advantage for the other team. I just on’t like being able to skip the first 5 minutes of every game, with the teams completely even in gold almost every time.

        • Smoky_the_Bear says:

          True good level one fights seem to have all but disappeared from professional play which is a shame.

      • Moraven says:

        Sports have been changed to intice more action and scoring. Hockey has been changed many times over the past 30 years to encourage more goals being scored and a fastest pace of action.

  5. Stephen Roberts says:

    Remarkable amount of work went into that cinematic trailer. Really is a shame that this kind of animation isn’t often used for a movie – I guess it costs loads per second. But say ‘The Painted Man’ in this animation style would be a damn enjoyable movie.

    Funny though that a great wealth of the movie was running from or two enemies, rather than fighting. I find it really odd that mobas as a genre have you looking at a map top down like an RTS but only controlling one character. I’d probably be more engaged with a third person view style. But then the game becomes World of Warcraft, almost. Just by changing a camera angle.

    • Ben Barrett says:

      Smite’s played from 3rd person. It works better than you might think, but the whole game is completely different.