Patch 12.14 has finally hit the live servers. Given the history of the patches in League of Legends, it’s uncommon to see so many changes in the middle of the season. However, the durability patch in patch 12.10 has completely changed the flow of the meta in both solo queue and in pro play, so it’s understandable that Riot wants to smoothen out the creases from the previous patches.
Especially with enchanter items and champions being over-tuned since the durability patch, one of Riot’s goals for this patch was “to bring League’s hyper healers (and their items) to justice”. With so many champion, rune, and system changes, here’s my breakdown of the important balance changes in patch 12.14.
Potions and Runes
Potions and Biscuits now heal for less. Defensive runes [Bone plating, Conditioning, Guardian, Second Wind, and Unflinching] are all nerfed, while offensive runes [Scorch & Sudden Impact] were buffed. It’ll be easier to gain advantages for those that trade well in lane, while things will get more difficult for champions that have very weak laning phases [think about champions like Katarina and Qiyana]. Individually, these changes may not seem like much, but when combined, they will truly test the players on their ability to lane.
After the 12.10 durability patch, the value of enchanter champions like Yuumi and Soraka went up significantly. This is partially due to Grievous Wounds being nerfed across the board as well. Riot’s solution for balance to this was to nerf enchanter items across the board. With these nerfs, utility & tank support items will look to go up.
Recently, I wrote a piece on how Sunfire + Blade of the Ruined King is being popularized on certain AD champions. WIth these changes, the power of Sunfire + BORK will fall off, but tank champions will be more incentivized to build Sunfire Aegis.
Drakes + Herald
All the individual stat buffs that drakes gave were increased by 50% this patch. Furthermore, the gold gain from drakes and Rift Heralds also increased this patch. This incentivizes players to fight for such objectives around the map, which means that your ability to lane becomes even more important. The advantages that you gain from the laning phase will definitely transition into how fast you can rotate into fighting for objectives, as lane priority will determine how fast you can join your team to contest for drakes and Heralds.
No more bruiser GP, hello Critplank. Riot’s goal for these changes to Gangplank is to change the direction of his build from building bruiser items to crit items. These changes will not only change his build path, but also increase the difficulty of his laning phase and teamfighting, due to his early game nerfs. Seasoned players will still be able to dominate the Rift as Critplank, but overall, these changes are more of a nerf.
Gnar’s a champion that’s especially loved in pro play. The goal for these nerfs seems to be to leave Gnar more vulnerable inside the laning phase. While his win rate in solo queue may dwindle, I suspect Gnar will still be picked quite a bit inside pro play.
The buffs to her mana pool plus the damage increase on Leblanc will definitely bring smiles to Leblanc players. Not only does this help her trade inside the laning phase, the damage buffs to her W - Distortion will help with her waveclear. A challenger Leblanc main in NA by the name of ‘Bobqin’ thinks these buffs are huge, so I’ll leave it to him to explain the reasons why.
Bobqin thinks these Leblanc changes are game changing
Whenever a champion gets changed to be optimized in the jungle, there’s a lot of experimentation that happens in solo queue, especially at the top of the ladder. Thus, time will tell on whether or not Pantheon will be viable in the jungle, but due to him being a strong early-game jungler and laning phase becoming much harder, his influence will look to snowball leads much harder around the map.
F*ck Yuumi. I hope this champion gets deleted from League of Legends.
All jokes aside, the heal nerf on her E - Zoomies, plus the enchanter items nerfs will definitely make her less oppressive. With Yuumi being especially oppressive when paired with hyper-carry bot laners like Twitch [or any hyper-carry champions for that matter], these nerfs will definitely affect her win rate in both solo queue and in pro play.
Even if some champions may fall off from these changes, others will rise. How will these changes impact solo queue and pro play? Only time will tell in how the meta will shift.
Striving for perfection to achieve excellence in esports