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: