When Riot targeted assassins as the focus of 2017’s preseason class update, the goal was to differentiate the play patterns of assassins and allow for counterplay. Among the biggest problems were trying to find a place for AD assassins like Zed and Talon in a meta game that had largely left those kind of champions behind.
The assassin update succeeded in bringing some of those champions back, as AP mid lane assassins LeBlanc and Katarina have been present in pro play so far this year and jungle AD assassins Rengar and Kha’Zix have been top picks. But Zed and Talon are nowhere to be seen, even when picks that would favor an AD mid laner like Ziggs bot have popped up in the meta.
With the release of Patch 7.2, those champions have been targeted with some indirect buffs, as Riot has increased the early game power of Lethality (the stat that replaced armor penetration) and has buffed two items built for AD assassins.
For those that don’t remember (or aren’t familiar), Lethality replaced armor penetration in the preseason. Instead of a flat amount of armor penetration that would dictate how much of your attacks would ignore the enemy’s armor, Lethality scales based on your opponent’s level. Previously, if you had 10 Lethality, at the start of the game you would actually have four flat armor penetration (eventually scaling up to 10 once your opponents reached Level 18).
Lethality now immediately grants 60 percent of its value, instead of 40. The rest still scales based on enemy champion level, but with 10 Lethality, you now start with six flat armor penetration instead.
Also getting buffs in Patch 7.2 are Duskblade of Draktharr and Edge of Night, two items built for AD assassins that have not been getting much love lately. Duskblade’s passive gives bonus damage if you have not been seen by an enemy for a short period of time, and that damage has now been increased from 50 to 75. Edge of Night has a QSS-like active that allows you to block one incoming ability. The cooldown on that active has been decreased from 45 seconds to 30.
Besides Zed and Talon, these buffs should certainly help already-strong champions that benefit from Lethality and these items, like Kha’Zix, Rengar, Jayce and Pantheon.