Welcome to the first article of “Milking the Meta,” a series where I will be breaking down the League of Legends patch notes every few weeks, with the goal of explaining to YOU how to best take advantage of the changes. I’ll explain what will be OP, what will belong in a dumpster, and what you can do to climb in the meantime. First, there will be a basic changes breakdown, giving you the most important adjustments to champions, items, and general gameplay. Then, I’ll elaborate on how I expect that to affect the meta. Sound good? Let’s get started! (Disclaimer - While I like to think that I am infallible and omniscient, this is not the case! All of these things are opinions of one person and could be totally worthless. I am not liable if you lose your silver promos because I told you mixed damage battle-raka top lane would be OP.)
So, we’re hitting the Rift this time with patch 8.4, and boy is it a doozie. Lots of heavy-hitting changes, and I don’t have time to go over everything. So, this time, I’m going to focus on the mid lane and mage updates because I main mid lane. Also, mid lane is the lane that will likely change the most. Sorry, Darius! I love you, but we don’t have time today. (Seriously though, Darius is going to be op again. Everyone’s favorite Noxian is going to be dunking again in no time.) Now, for all you mid lane players out there, let’s get started!
Lots of changes happening to all things mage in this patch. Items are getting massively reworked, with more of an emphasis on expanding build path options. Builds will be altered drastically on basically every mage. CDR is easier to get, tank shred is more effective, and there’s a new crazy item called Spellbinder. For now, let’s get started on the biggest changes, and take note of how many of these items have more of a flat mana bonus or have one that didn’t even exist before, as well as how many items now give CDR.
Luden’s Echo - Losing 10 Ap, losing 10% movement speed passive, gaining 500 mana, 10% CDR, and unique passive Haste: 10% CDR. Gold cost increased to 3300 from 3200. Overall, I think this is a solid Luden’s buff. The slight decrease in damage is more than made up for with the gain in mana and CDR, and while the movement speed was nice, better options are available with the new Spellbinder item if you need movement speed.
Lost Chapter - Lost Chapter is getting changed to be a much more flexible item, with multiple build paths. It will build into GLP-800, Luden’s Echo, and Archangel’s Staff. It also increased 200 gold in price but will be bringing +10% cdr to the table. This is important, because it is part of the reason why CDR just became a lot more accessible, and CDR being more accessible means any mage who loves to get CDR (basically ALL OF THEM) just got a lot more options.
GLP-800 - This item isn’t really getting buffed or nerfed, just changed - altered quite a bit in an attempt to give it more of an identity as a chase item. It will give 100 more mana but lose the 300 bonus health and the eternity sustain passive. +20% CDR, frost bolts slow and damage only the first unit hit, slow duration doubled (from .5 seconds to 1 second) but slow percent lowered to 40% from 65%. Frost bolt speed lowered by 20%, but range increased by 200. These changes will likely make GLP-800 a viable option for any ap-champion who struggles to consistently get in close. It is definitely better for chasing down enemies. It could also be useful on champions like Veigar, who sometimes struggle to get into range to land their killer abilities. (I can see this new GLP-800 being very useful in helping to line up an Event Horizon, for instance.) This could potentially be a buff to AP junglers as well, like Diana and Ekko, but I’m not supposed to talk about that because I’ll run out of space. Shhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
Liandry’s Torment - They removed the 15 flat magic penetration, and changed the 2% current health burn damage to 1% of the target’s maximum health. They also added a new passive called “Madness”, which causes your damage to enemy champions to increase by 2% per second until exiting combat. These changes will ultimately make Liandry’s a much stronger item vs tanks and help to cement its spot as the go-to mage item for shredding those resistance-stacking big boys.
Haunting Guise - This guy is being changed to reflect the Liandry's Torment changes. No more flat armor pen, but +10 AP and the madness passive. Not much to see here, keep moving.
Morellonomicon - -20 AP, +300 health, -400 mana, -20% CDR, +15 flat magic pen, + “Cursed Strike” passive, which causes magic damage to inflict grievous wounds on enemies for 3 seconds. There will no longer be mana restored on takedown, and the old grievous wounds passive was removed. Riot is FINALLY making Morellonomicon more situational. Gone are the days where every single mid laner is rushing an item with grievous wounds! I definitely like these changes, it might actually be a buff to the item vs heavy healers (the grievous wounds no longer apply only to enemies below a certain health threshold, but to all enemies hit regardless of their health) but will be far more situational than we’re used to. There will be some variety of mid lane first items again!
NEW: Oblivion Orb - This item is kind of boring. Basically, it’s the old haunting guise except it doesn’t turn into Liandry’s Torment. Not too exciting.
NEW?: Twin Shadows - Welcome back, old friend!. 60 AP, 7% movement speed, 10% CDR. It also has what is basically the old Frost Queen’s Claim passive. To be honest, I can’t see it being good anywhere. There are far better options for most mid lane mages (most of whom will be wanting more than 60AP from a finished item), and it doesn’t give enough utility to be good as a support item. The price point is pretty nice though, you can pick this monster up from your local shopkeeper for only 2400 gold. I foresee buffs in the future!
New: Spellbinder - 100 AP, 10% movement speed. Unique Passive - nearby allied and enemy spellcasters charge Spellbinder up (to a maximum value of 100). Unique Active - gain up to 30% decaying movement speed and 100 ability power for 4 seconds, increases with charges. Oh, and it only costs 2800 gold. This item seems very overturned to me, and I expect most mages to be building this at some point in the game for awhile. We’ll have to wait and see what happens, but that’s an awful lot of AP for an item that doesn’t look like the Sorting Hat.
Void Staff - Nerfed slightly. Went from 80 AP to 70. Not a big change, will still be good for shredding tanks but will leave something to be desired if you’re trying to blow up Tristana.
Rabadon’s Deathcap - Cost decreased by 200 gold, passive changed to increase AP by 40% instead of 35%. This is a straight-up buff, Deathcap will be better overall and will be perfect for squashing the aforementioned Yordle.
Rylai’s Crystal Scepter - Went from 75 AP to 85 AP, slight buff, but don’t get Mordekaiser’s hopes up, this item will still be trash. The real thing holding Rylai’s back is the nerf it took to the slow a long time ago.
And with that, I believe we have concluded the “basic breakdown” portion of Milking the Meta. Oh, and one more thing; Zoe is trash now. Don’t play her. Seriously. Don’t. Everything that was good about her is gone. She is RKO’D. Moving on.
Speak Softly and Carry a Big Staff
So here comes the fun bit - Theorycrafting! (Insert maniacal laugh.) Now that we have the breakdown out of the way, I can tell you what’s going to be OP. So what is it? What items and champions are more broken than TSM without Doublelift? Well, the truly overturned item this patch is definitely going to be Archangel’s Staff. With all the new mana items, any mages that thrive with tear will be exceptionally strong late game, despite the nerf to the base AP of the item. Don’t believe me? How about we do some quick math. Let’s say you’re playing Anivia.
In 7.3, an average Anivia build, once finished, would likely look something like this: ROA, Seraph’s Embrace, Deathcap, Void Staff, Sorc Boots, and Liandry’s Torment. With that build on patch 8.3, in total, you would have a total of 2646 mana with everything fully stacked and Seraph’s Embrace complete. This would lead to a total of about 728 ability power, taking into account item passives. There would also be a total of 33 flat magic pen and the 40% magic resistance shred from void staff. Not too shabby.
Now let’s modify that build a bit with the new mage items. Using the new mage items, we’re going to up our mana pool quite a bit to try to jack our AP up as much as possible from Seraph’s. We’re really going to be taking advantage of Seraph’s Embrace and the buffed Deathcap passive. Let’s say we again grab ourselves Rod of Ages, Archangel’s Staff, Deathcap, and Sorc Boots, but instead of our Liandry’s and Void Staff we grab Luden’s Echo and the new Spellbinder item. Our total mana this time would be about 3546. This would bring our total AP to roughly 566.38 before we add the +40% from Deathcap, but we still have to account for Spellbinder. When Spellbinder is active we have another +100 AP to deal with, bumping it up to 666.38 AP. With the Deathcap bonus, you’re looking at a total of about 933 AP for a standard mage build. If you had to, you could definitely replace Luden’s echo with Liandry’s Torment for some tank shred, and even doing that you’d still be looking at a total of 898 AP, along with the damage to absolutely shred any tank in seconds with the new Liandry’s passive which causes magic damage to deal 1% of the target’s max health in bonus damage.
Not to mention, these numbers are BEFORE any other buffs from runes, baron, or elixirs. It would definitely be conceivable to get over 1000 AP with a standard mage build (just imagine if you were playing Veigar instead of Anivia :O). You’re losing out on some of that flat magic pen from the earlier build, but the only thing that’s really good for is shredding squishies anyway (and who needs a magic pen to do that if you’re rocking almost 1000 AP). Not to mention with the first build you’re sitting on 40% CDR if you take Transcendence over Celerity in your runes (and you don’t need Celerity any more thanks to the bonus movespeed from Spellbinder). Anivia’s E, Frostbite, at max rank, with 40% CDR, is on a 2.6-second cooldown. If you have someone trapped and stunlocked in your ultimate, it would be relatively easy to get at least two empowered e’s on a target in under 3 seconds. Now, each of those abilities is going to be doing 300 base damage plus 100% of your ap, which means you’re going to be doing 2466 damage with just those two abilities in under 3 seconds. This isn’t factoring in resistances, but it also isn’t factoring in the damage from her other abilities as well. Aside from her Frostbite, Anivia is also smacking you with Flash Frost and Glacial Storm. Flash Frost has a base damage of 160 with a scaling of 40%, but it can detonate twice, meaning it will be doing a total of 1066.4 damage. An enemy standing in Glacial Storm for 3 seconds will take a total of 1420 damage from just Glacial Storm. Combined, for just 3 seconds of combat, that’s a total of 4952 damage. If that doesn’t sound OP to you, I don’t know what will. That’s without baron buff and without elixirs, but also without taking into account resistances. Those are still some insane numbers though.
The best part is, similar results will be seen with other AP mid laners. Any mage capable of a build path similar to that one will see significantly better numbers late game and will be extremely difficult to deal with as a result. Personally, I don’t expect to see some of these items (I’m looking at you, Spellbinder) go more than a patch or two without getting nerfed. For now, though, sit back and enjoy the freelo! I hope you enjoyed the first article of “Milking the Meta”.