With a holiday this week, the patch cycle is a little bit later than most for League of Legends. But the notes for Patch 7.4 were released Wednesday, which means we get to talk about them and what they mean for you, the player.
This patch, we’ve got more tweaks to Lethality and armor penetration, big changes to Cho’Gath, nerfs to some strong champions and plenty more. Here are the five things you really need to know before stepping onto the rift on Patch 7.4. For a list of all the changes, click here.
1. Armor penetration adjustments
If you’ve played League of Legends at all in the past few weeks, you’ve probably noticed the extremely strong new armor penetration statistic, Lethality. Lethality was introduced in the offseason as a way to, among other things, return some power to AD assassins like Zed and Talon, who did not have many items to choose from. Because Lethality scales with the enemy’s level, it was also intended to mitigate some of the previous problems with armor penetration: namely, that it most effective against targets without any armor.
Well, when Lethality was launched, it was a little underwhelming, especially in the early game. So in Patch 7.3, a huge Lethality buff came out, buffing not only Lethality’s raw power in the early game, but also buffing multiple Lethality items, especially Edge of Night.
This had a massive impact on the meta in both competitive and casual play, and it was not a rare sight to see teams with three Lethality builders on your roster. Once you see varied champions in different positions and roles going out of their way to build certain items (looking at you, Edge of Night), you know there’s a problem. Consider this: going by win rates on Champion.gg, the top four top lane champions, three of the top six junglers and four of the top seven AD Carries were all building Lethality on Patch 7.3.
Now, there’s no Edge of Night nerf this patch (although you can expect one soon), but there are a few nerfs to Lethality and the associated items. The only direct Lethality nerfs come to Youmuu’s Ghostblade (from 20 Lethality to 15) and the Precision mastery in the Cunning Tree (from 1.7 Lethality per rank to 1.2).
Instead, the balance team focused on three percent-penetration items: Black Cleaver, Last Whisper and Lord Dominik’s Regards. All have seen their fair share of play recently, but Black Cleaver has been the most dominant, especially when paired with the super strong lethality items.
It’s also Black Cleaver that is getting the biggest changes. It’s being tuned to be slightly more health-focused and less damage-focused, and will now build out of the health item Kindlegem instead of Caulfield’s Warhammer (both items still provide 10% CDR, so don’t worry about that). In total, Black Cleaver will cost 100 less gold and give 100 more health, but will give 10 less attack damage.
Last Whisper’s bonus armor penetration has been increased from 30 percent to 45 percent, but the attack damage has been lowered from 25 to 10. The build path has also been made simpler, swapping out the previously required Pickaxe for a Long Sword (a cheaper alternative, but the total cost remains 1300). Lord Dominik’s Regards, which gives bonus damage when attacking enemies with more health than you, now requires an even greater health difference between you and the enemy than before.
2. Major Cho’Gath changes
Ah, Cho’Gath. Everyone’s second favorite void monster has been mostly on the outside looking in recently, struggling to find a role to stick to and not finding much success no matter where he’s played. Cho is getting the biggest individual changes in Patch 7.4, pretty much all focused on reworking how his ultimate, Feast, works.
For those unfamiliar: Cho’Gath can use his ultimate to eat an enemy, doing a ton of damage, especially to minions. For each enemy eaten with his ultimate, Cho would gain a stack, growing in size and gaining health. These stacks used to cap at six, and he would lose half of them upon dying.
Now, not only will Cho no longer lose those stacks upon dying ... there’s now no limit to how many he can have. That’s right — Cho’Gath can now stack infinitely (although he can only get five total from minions and monsters), giving him significantly more late game power.
Now, if you’re not a Cho’Gath main, this may worry you. You probably don’t have to fret too much, because some power is being taken away from the ability as well. Feast will no longer heal Cho’Gath, and champions will now count as one stack, not two. The AP ratio has been reduced, as well, and he gets slightly less health per stack than before.
3. More help for supports and roamers
One of the most frustrating experiences in League, especially as a support (but it applies elsewhere), is when you roam from your lane either to control vision or help an ally, and when you get back you’re now a level or two behind in experience. Combatting this has been a recurring effort for Riot as it tries to make support a more desirable position, and in this patch there are a few changes designed for that impact.
For starters, revealing wards that are cleared now give gold to both the revealer and the clearer. That’ll help you feel less bad when you’re diligently working to clear a ward and your ADC comes up to steal the last hit.
The bigger difference will probably be seen in a boost to catch-up experience, which is an already existing mechanic in the game that gives bonus experience to champions behind in levels. That extra experience has been boosted, and you’ll now get even extra experience for being involved in a kill of an enemy that is a higher level than you.
4. Ryze, Corki nerfs
Two of the highest performing mid laners in both competitive and amateur play get taken down a notch in the damage department. Corki is one of the most consistent damage dealers in the game, able to shred down resistances with his E and then unload damage with Trinity Force and the rest of his abilities.
Corki’s ultimate is also somewhat unique in that he can use it pretty frequently to deal out tons of damage. But there hasn’t often felt like a huge difference between his normal missiles and the “Big One,” which is getting tweaked this patch. The normal missiles now do less damage, while the Big One will do more in the later game.
As for Ryze, the most potent part of his kit, damage-wise, is when he chains his E into his Q. Even without any ability power built it can feel oppressive, and by the time he gets to late-game Ryze it can feel nearly impossible to deal with. That damage has now been reduced, especially in the later game.
Oh, Katarina got nerfed too, but it almost doesn’t warrant a mention — her base magic resistance was accidentally two points too high, so that’s been reduced.
5. ARURF back and Festival Queen Anivia!
Hooray for content! Festival Queen Anivia, the Carnival-themed skin that definitely should be called Carnivia, arrives this week.
Also arriving this week is the return of ARURF to the Rotating Game Mode Queue. The fast-paced game mode with sped-up cooldowns, infinite mana and randomized champion select will return this weekend.