With Season 10 for League of Legends well underway with lots and lots of changes to the overall balance of the game. Patch 10.4 has been arguably the biggest so far with lots of changes in hopes of bringing a few champs here and there to the jungle role, as well as nerfing some off-meta champions to fit their role more. Let’s explore these changes together.
Aphelios – Change
Aphelios now displays his current weapons next to his HP bar in League of Legends patch 10.4. This will allow other players to see which weapon he currently has equipped, making it easier to play around him. Aphelios’ stats have been tweaked as well, with Calibrum’s mark attack resets becoming 1 instead of 2, and his turret attacks being decreased to 3 instead of 4.
Alongside this, his ultimate ability also has its range lowered to 1300 from 1600. Aside from his ultimate, I don’t believe these changes will change his win rate too much as Aphelios’ kit is revolved around his immense versatility.
His ultimate on the other hand will be quite the nerfed as originally he could cast it without much punishment. An example would be casting it over the dragon pit wall and hitting the enemy team near scuttle crab. The area it controlled was simply far too deadly for such a long-distance ability; especially since his basic abilities can amplify his ultimate to become even more deadly.
So while I don’t think his laning phase will be affected all that much, I believe his mid to late team fighting is more punishing and that’s good.
Akali – Buff
Akali got recently hotfixed with her ultimate’s first cast becoming a point and click ability. This does two things: it makes it easier for Akali to engage and all-in her target, especially coupled with her E, and she has a second guaranteed dash that is her ultimate’s first cast.
While this is the case, it also limits her mobility as previously Akali could use her ultimate to escape from unfavorable positions at no punishment since her ultimate has a relatively short cooldown. A decent and healthy change to her playstyle. But because of this recent change, it limits Akali slightly in her escaping options.
That’s why in League of Legends patch 10.4, Riot wants to focus more on Akali’s engaging and all-in potential, buffing both her third ability and her ultimate’s first cast. I think Riot is trying to focus more on making Akali feel similar to other assassins in the game. This is a good change as she hasn’t been performing that well in midlane for quite some time now.
Her second ability remains very strong and I think in a game like League of Legends, the way her shroud works right now has too much impact in the limitations of a MOBA. Compared to every other champion that uses energy.
This is pretty much an insult as Lee Sin, Shen, Zed, and Kennen recover their energy pool from strict limitations that are rewarded for performing well. Akali just gets it for free whenever she uses her second ability. It offers way too much with little to no punishment. The area it controls is far too large for freely poking and attacking while pretty much remaining stealthed.
I feel like Akali’s kit except for her second ability, is quite healthy and balanced.
Amumu – Buff
Amumu’s ultimate cooldown has been decreased at all ranks and can stop dashes mid dash. His dash speed has also been increased. I think this is quite the buff. Amumu is oppressive once he has his ultimate in-game, his ranks becoming that much deadlier. With the lower cooldown, it means he has it more often for fights. Couple this with the changes done to bami cinder (which stacks with his W), I think Amumu’s win rate is going to skyrocket in patch 10.4.
Aurelion Sol – Nerf
His second ability’s damage increase has been nerfed from 50% to 40%. I don’t think this is too game-changing, but a nerf is a nerf, especially since Aurelion Sol isn’t that popular of a pick in the first place. With picks like Ekko, Fizz, and Diana, Aurelion Sol requires a lot more macro thinking which is more seen in higher elo. So I don’t think this will affect the meta much as a whole.
Caitlyn – Buff
Caitlyn’s bonus attack speed has been increased from 10% to 20% in League of Legends patch 10.4. This just helps her out in the early stages of the game. I don’t think it changes too much in the meta.
Darius – Change
Darius is one of the few champions changed to try and fit a possible jungle play style. His passive bleed now does 120% damage to monsters, and his first ability can now heal on large monsters. I think for clearing this is a pretty strong change. It would allow Darius to clear jungles well, as well as offering more outplay potential in the jungle due to the fact he can heal off of large monsters now.
The problem I have with this idea of making Darius’ work in the jungle, is the simple fact that he can’t. The only immobilizing crowd control he offers is his third ability, as well as a slow on his second. But as a juggernaut, his mobility is non-existent. His ganks will rely too much on his team to set him up, and Darius’ himself can only do so much by running at the enemy. He is simply too easy to kite to make his ganks relevant.
Diana – Change
Diana is also one of the few champions tweaked to try and fit in the jungle. Unlike almost every single change made in League of Legends patch 10.4, Diana can work in the jungle. She was originally very good in the jungle before her rework, and with her ability to dash at an enemy pre-level 6, she could pull it off. Her passive now deals 150% damage to all monsters, which increases her clear speed by quite a lot. I can see Diana taking a stand as a jungler in the upcoming patch.
Garen – Buff
Similar to Darius, Garen has some changes tweaked to make it easier for him to jungle and well as some buffs in general. But I want to focus on his jungle changes. His third ability does 150% damage to monsters. With his spin ability being the way it is, I can see it being an effective clear tool. It also allows him to freely stack his second ability’s passive, which got buffed to have a 10% increase in bonus armor and magic resist once it’s fully stacked. In theory, this is very rewarding.
But being a juggernaut, his ganking potential is also as lackluster as Darius. While he has a movement speed increase with his first ability, he is still susceptible to kiting as well as having no immobilizing crowd control to benefit these ganks. So overall I think it’s a better outcome than Darius’ jungle. But I don’t think Garen will be good as a jungler.
Gnar – Buff
Gnar hasn’t been seeing a lot of play recently, even though he used to be very popular and oppressive in his prime. Being able to poke and be a lane bully, whilst becoming a tank and having a very strong team fight ultimate makes Gnar’s versatility extremely beneficial to the team in theory. But for a while now, many champions have overshadowed him due to his stats.
Mega Gnar will now have his movement speed increased to 335, and his ultimate ad ratio increased. His normal mini Gnar form damage will have its maximum damage to monsters increased to 300 at all ranks, letting him farm far better in the early game.
I think these changes allow Gnar to be more oppressive as a solo-laner and as a poking bully in lane. I don’t expect him to suddenly become the best champion in the game, but I’m sure these buffs will at least let him see much more play.
Kayle – Change
Kayle’s ultimate ability has its cast time decreased to 0.25 seconds for allies while casting it on herself takes 1.5 seconds. It’s just a small change that benefits casting your ultimate over an ally rather than yourself. Not game-changing.
Lux – Buff
Her first ability’s base damage has been increased by 10 damage at all ranks and its cooldown has been decreased at earlier ranks. This will make Lux’s laning phase better in both mid lane and as a support. Especially as a support as it improves her poking and amount of snares she can cast during the laning phase.
Mordekaiser – Change
While not specifically stated, I believe the changes made to Mordekaiser show that Riot possibly wants him to be better in the jungle? His passive’s maximum damage against monsters has been increased to improve his clear speed. I think it’s a good change. Unlike Garen and Darius, Mordkaiser’s third ability is an immensely powerful crowd control ability that has a massive range, possibly making Mordekaiser jungle viable.
Rammus – Buff
Attack speed increased from .625 to .656. Improves his attack speed damage output with his third ability a bit. Not enough to be game-changing.
Sett – Buff
Base Health regen increased from 8 to 9.25 in League of Legends patch 10.4. With Sett’s passive increasing his regeneration based on his missing health, I don’t see this as a significant buff.
Sona – Nerf
Sona and Soraka have been two specific supports that have been able to solo lane. Due to their sustain and poking ability, they can safely farm and gather experience that solo laners get instead of the merger support role down at bot lane. This allows them to support their team earlier and better at mid-game. To make up for this, Sona’s abilities have their mana cost increased by quite a bit. However, both her first and third abilities now grant 30 mana back if their effects are granted to an ally.
This takes Sona away from the solo lanes due to the massive increases in mana consumption while forcing her to the role of support once more. I think this is a good change without overall gutting the champion entirely, but I will miss Sona top.
Soraka – Nerf
Soraka is also getting the same treatment as Sona in League of Legends patch 10.4. Her self-healing has been decreased, with her regeneration duration being cut from 5 seconds to 2.5. Soraka’s movement speed has been decreased from it, it’s mana cost increased as well to lessen its poke and ability to help Soraka kite.
Her second ability healing, however, has been buffed as well, allowing Soraka to heal allies with no cost if she is under the effects of her regeneration. Again like Sona, Riot is trying to severely nerf her capabilities as a solo-laner and puts Soraka entirely back in the support role. However since no changes have been done to her third ability, unlike Sona, Soraka still actually might have potential still as a solo-laner.
Talon – Change
Talon is one of the champions that riot is trying to make into a possible jungler. His passive now does 120% extra damage to monsters. I think with the amount of clear Talon’s second ability gives as well as his first’s sustain, Talon might be viable in the jungle. With fast clear speeds now, and the ability to traverse the map using his third ability, he has a lot of potential to be one of the better junglers in the game.
Zed – Change
Zed is one of the champions Riot is trying to make into a jungler. And I’m going to outright say I have no faith in Zed jungle being a thing, despite being a Zed main myself. His passive now deals 100% extra damage to monsters, capping out at 200 at level 1, 350 at level 7, and 500 at level 17.
Now as for why I don’t think Zed jungle will work. It’s simply because the rest of his kit doesn’t have extra damage to monsters like other junglers. It’s just his passive, which requires monsters to be half health, and can only proc once. With Zed’s slow attack speed and lackluster damage early game, I can see Zed having a lot of trouble clearing jungle camps quickly. His ganks don’t seem the worst as he’s able to shadow in as a gap closer. So while it might make Zed jungle possible, I don’t think it’ll ever come close to ever being viable in the meta.
Bami Cinder/Sunfire Cape/Cinderhulk
The Unique Passive: Immolate is being buffed in the upcoming patch. Once every 10 seconds, the next immobilizing spell deals Immolate damage plus an additional small percent of your bonus health as magic damage. This effect also releases a small fire nova around you, dealing the same damage.
Currently, on the live servers, a lot of champions that build these items aren’t in a favorable spot in the meta. Tank junglers especially have been left in the dust. With this updated passive, not only will their clear speed be that much more efficient, but engages and ganks are going to be more dangerous for the enemy. This is highly favorable to tank junglers such as Sejuani and Zac, and might even shift the meta favorable towards ganking tank junglers.
Sunfire Cape itself, while being a core item in with a decent amount of champions, was quite weak compared to its other counterparts like Thornmail and Randuins. Despite the decent stats, it’s passive was simply far too weak. Now with these new changes dealing 5% extra damage every 10 seconds from two different damage outputs, this gives tanks extra burst and trading potential in the top lane.
I believe while these changes have been added with the best intentions, it is quite sudden and very strong to the point where it’ll shift the meta.
Stopwatch/Gargoyle Stoneplate/Guardian Angel/Zhonyas
Stopwatch is such a strong item due to its low cost and its one-time invincibility active ability. It is also able to build into viable items for every champion. Because of this, Riot wants to make Stopwatch less accessible by increasing its cost by 50 gold. As the other items are quite balanced, to offset these changes their combine costs have been lowered to match. I don’t think this will change how strong stopwatch will be.
This rune now gives a free stopwatch to the user after 14 minutes in League of Legends patch 10.4. The timer is reduced by 120 seconds (2 minutes) for every takedown you get. Perfect timing however no longer reduces the cooldown of Zhonyas Hourglass, Guardian Angel, and Gargoyles Stoneplate’s by 15%.
Overall this is a very good change due to the power of this rune. It literally gives a free 650 item after some time, however, what’s more; it rewards players for snowballing and winning their lane by achieving their stopwatch much earlier. Though due to the potential strength of this rune, I don’t think two minutes per takedown is a good idea.
The time frame to carry out three attacks or spells has been increased to four seconds. This rune also increases movement speed by 30% to 50% for melee champions.
Phase Rush is such a niche rune that only a few champions can truly abuse it for what it’s worth. Vladimir and Ryze, for example, can abuse this rune well. Even if this rune is buffed, I don’t see a lot of players choosing it over damage output increases. I think Phase Rush as potential though, it just needs more attention from players first.
Hail of Blades
The time frame between attacks is increased to three seconds in League of Legends patch 10.4. The cooldown of this rune has been changed to four seconds out of combat, and eight seconds if it was against an enemy champion. Hail of Blades is also a niche rune that a few champions can truly abuse. Nocturne is a prime example. I think Electrocute and Dark Harvest are much better Runes for early and late games respectively. Hail of Blades is just a rune that I can’t see being viable without some maybe changes and buffs.