As the League of Legends community starts to gear up for Worlds in a few months, the first patch with focused changes for the major tournament has arrived. Patch 6.15 notes were released by Riot Monday, including changes to towers and siege minions meant to combat lane swaps that were already hinted at, as well as the arrival of the new round of PROJECT: skins and nerfs to some strong champions.
In this patch, there are also changes to Nidalee, increasing some of her numbers while taking away some aspects of her kit, as well as reworked splash art for the Prestigious LeBlanc and Spellthief Lux skins.
Riot will also be testing a feature in some regions that will give players an estimate of how much lower or higher queue times may be based on the positions selected. Ranked five queue times have also been extended to weekdays from 7 p.m. ET - 3 a.m. ET PDT and weekends from 5 p.m. ET - 3 a.m. ET.
You can read the full patch notes here, but here's the important stuff:
- There’s now a First Blood for towers (and other early-game changes)
While it hasn’t been problem at most ranked elos, in pro play there’s been a TON of games starting out with lane swaps. With Worlds and lots of new viewers coming up, concern for boring starts to games lead to some changes in an attempt to deincentivize this early game strategy.
Those changes are (put briefly): the first turret killed will now give more gold (like the first champion killed) and it’s harder to kill turrets in the first five minutes (except for bot lane).
This change brought varied reactions from pro coaches and players:
Main point, I don't like about lane swap changes are the draft implications... RIP bot lane matchups— Tony Gray (@Zikzlol) July 20, 2016
this means laneswaps are dead next patch— Berk Demir (@GiliusLoL) July 20, 2016
huge buff for me as a player :D https://t.co/646yC1EdVX
There probably still will be lane swaps in pro play, they’ll just likely be slightly different and less frequent. But with such a big change, at least it’s coming with plenty of time for teams to prepare for worlds.
2. Changes to Nidalee
Nidalee’s been one of the strongest junglers all season long, with one of the game’s fastest clear times paired with often lethal ganking potential. Instead of the usual nerfs, however, there have been some changes to her functionality.
Nidalee’s ultimate, which switches her between human form and cougar form, no longer resets her basic attack. That’s going to A) reduce the damage in her early clear pretty significantly and B) cause some problems for long-time Nidalee players, who are used to clearing jungle camps in a specific way.
Even though the changes come with buffs to her Q damage in both human and cougar form, there were still high-profile accusations from the community of Riot dumbing down the champion. Riot addressed that in the patch notes:
Right now, Nidalee’s R attack resets are literally free damage. Optimizing around them comes at the expense of other gameplay decisions - namely, form swapping for the abilities each form offers. Our attempt to balance around this optimization exacerbated the problem, since stripping power from Nidalee’s abilities made resets that much stronger by contrast. It also failed to get her to a balanced state.
To be clear, we’re not denouncing mechanical skill checks or high mastery ceilings for Nidalee or League overall. This specific mechanic has created deep-running problems for this specific champion, so we’re removing it. With that obstacle out of the way, we’ll be in a better position to balance Nidalee going forward.
3. Nerfs to top-performing champions
All season long in competitive play, the top two supports by far have been Braum and Karma. Braum’s passive and Q are getting nerfed, reducing the damage on both, while Karma’s E shields less and no longer shields minions. Both will probably still remain as constants at the high level due to the strength of their kits but have some reduced power — for Braum in the early game, and for Karma later on.
Recently, two other champions have also been climbing into the pro meta after weeks of dominance on the ranked ladder. Hecarim and Malzahar have risen from not being picked at all to being in or near the top tier at their respective positions.
Hecarim’s base attack damage has been reduced, as has the damage on his Q. Malzahar’s new passive, which gives him a shield that makes him immune to crowd control reduces damage taken by 90%, has a longer cooldown and falls off 0.25 seconds after taking damage rather than one second.
4. Kassadin back?
Kassadin hasn’t been a major factor in the mid lane for some time, but the champion has started to see some more play recently, especially in Europe as a counter to control mages like Azir and Vladimir.
Now there are buffs coming, which will make The Void Walker even more popular. The damage on his Q has been slightly reduced in the early game and buffed in the late game. while the mana cost of his E has been reduced in the early game.
5. PROJECT: Ashe, PROJECT: Ekko, PROJECT: Katarina released
It’s that time of year: new PROJECT: skins. Joining Master Yi, Leona, Lucian, Yasuo, Zed and Fiora are Ashe, Ekko and Katarina.
Here’s PROJECT: Ashe’s splash art:
And PROJECT: Katarina:
The skins will be available after Patch 6.15 goes live, which should be either Tuesday or Wednesday.