Ever since Lost Chapter came on to the scene back in 2016, mages have had a strange relationship with mana. Early on, every spell must be chosen carefully or your mana reserves will run empty. But once you get your first back you can cast spells pretty freely for the rest of the game.
Thankfully, this is an issue that Riot is looking to fix with its changes from patch 8.9. Basically, Riot’s thinking was that the mana restrictions early were a little too strict and the mana restrictions late were way too lax, so they changed just about every mana item in the game to try to fix that.
The big changes
Players don’t often think about it, but Doran’s Ring was a strange item. It returned mana on minion kills, giving players way more of an incentive to clear wave than to actually play up against their opponent. While this wasn’t necessarily always a bad thing, it’s turned into one over the last few months or so, when mid has turned into nothing but a farm-fest where both players try to push the other into tower as fast as they can. In 8.9, Doran’s is losing the mana return, in favor of base mana regen. This should help players remember that they can use their spells against enemy champions and not just the wave.
The Lost Chapter changes are pretty simple, but they should still be enough to shift the balance of the stale mid meta. The cost of the item is moving from 1100 to 1300 and the AP is getting increased from 25 to 40. Mages are going to be getting their Lost Chapter a little bit later in the game, but what does that really mean?
The main reason for the change is that you can use the item’s level up passive fewer times in a game, because you’ll have fewer levels to gain. This was a huge source of Lost Chapter’s power, and the primary reason that mages could do whatever they wanted when the matches stretched into the mid game.
Tier of the Goddess
This one isn’t much different from Lost Chapter. The price is going up by 100 gold, and the mana refund is going down to 10 percent from 15. These aren’t massive changes, but once again, they should build towards the more meaningful late game mana that Riot is aiming for.
The smaller changes
As a means of making up for the big changes to two of the most core mage items, quite a few other AP items are getting tweaked or buffed. For the most part, these buffs are directly related to the item in questions ability power going up by five or 10. In this category are items like Rylai’s Crystal Scepter, Spellbinder, Twin Shadows, and Fiendish Codex. Meanwhile, items like Luden’s Echo and Hextech GLP-800 also got mana buffs to help compensate for the other changes.
As you can tell, there are a lot of changes here, but if you want more proof, just look at the patch notes. 30 mages had their base stats changed to help prepare them for these item tweaks. And unlike some of Riot’s other changes, most of these are directly numbers related — no new items, just some new math.
With all these changes in such a short amount of time, it’s hard to say whether or not patch 8.9 will accomplish Riot’s goal of making mana a more interesting resources throughout the game, or whether it was even necessary to begin with. But, as with all League of Legends changes, Riot is sure to revisit these in a few weeks to see what went wrong and what they can improve.