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Big changes are coming to League of Legends’ early game

Riot is targeting lane swaps in its pre-Worlds patch.

Riot Games

Nearly every year, before the annual Worlds championship, Riot Games announces pretty significant changes to the game. Last year, it was the introduction of the new Juggernaut class, resulting in a tournament with high priority on champions like Darius and Mordekaiser.

This year, Riot is taking on lane swaps, which have flourished in the competitive meta over the past year. The strategy, which involves teams eschewing fights in favor of trading objectives at the beginning of the game, often draws complaints of boredom from viewers.

To fight this, Riot is changing a few things about how towers and cannon minions work in League. The company announced the changes Wednesday afternoon.

Here they are!

New: "Turret First Blood" gold: +275 local, +25 global (400 total gold across the team)

New: Turret AI has been updated, and are better at defending allied champions (coming in 6.16)

Fortification (temporary damage reduction buff on turrets) changed

Duration: 7 minutes -> 5 minutes

Damage reduction: 35% -> 50%

Fortification removed from bot lane turrets (we’re investigating a more nuanced approach to this)

Outer turret HP: 3300 -> 3500

Cannon minions now spawn less frequently at the start of games (UPDATE: THIS IS NO LONGER HAPPENING)

tl;dr the first turret killed will give more gold (like the first champion killed), and it’s harder to kill turrets in the first five minutes (except for bot lane).

Basically, this is supposed to incentivize 2 vs. 2 laning at the beginning of the game, forcing each teams’ AD Carry and support to go head-to-head rather than avoiding each other to collect resources. Since this is already the standard strategy at the non-pro level, it’s hard to tell what will happen at lower levels of play.

So far, coaches don’t seem too happy about it: CLG’s Tony “Zikz” Gray and ROCCAT’s Fabian “GrabbZ” Lohmann weighed in.

Some players are more excited than others, like FC Schalke 04 jungler Berk “Gilius” Demir.

Even though it’s a big change for professional teams to adjust to, at least there’s plenty of time to prepare before Worlds. Last year, many teams weren’t able to play with the Juggernauts until the group stages at Worlds. While teams will have to adjust to these changes during the domestic playoffs, there will be plenty of time before Worlds.

These changes should roll out in the next two patches, which should be released over the course of the next month.