Assessing the impact of League of Legends' patch 6.7

LoL Irelia

Patch 6.7 is shaking up the League of Legends experience at all levels. We’ve got changes to champions, queues, specific game dynamics and much more. These changes going to have a huge effect on you no matter what tier of player you are. In this article, I'm going to outline the kinds of adjustments you should expect to make.

Death timers

The biggest change this patch is without doubt the shortened death timers in mid game. It doesn’t matter where you are on the League ladder, this is going to impact your matches.

How many times has this scenario played out for you? You’re trading kills with the enemy team, the game is tense as all hell, you’re each making good moves on the map and objectives are being split. Then, one teamfight goes wrong around the thirty-minute mark and you lose immediately. Shortened death timers mean that this is going to happen much less frequently, which is going to have a massive effect on the meta.

LoL Maokai

Changes to the meta

The meta champions will look very different this patch—the death timer change means the champions we’ll be picking are more likely to be late game powerhouses or champions who can stall out a game. Expect tanks, wave-clear and siege.

Even the champion changes in the patch are mostly oriented towards scaling—Nidalee, Poppy and Kindred all gained late game power of some sort while losing early effectiveness. It’s conceivable that we’ll go back to the season four style of play, where giant tanks ruled the top lane, wave-clearing mid laners stalled out the match, and bottom lane hypercarries dictated teamfights. As with anyone else who played at that time, I can be confident in saying that we don’t want it back. But it’s a distinct possibility even so.

On the other hand, the previously-established meta picks of season six are doing fine—but it's undeniable that games will be getting longer. This is why top laners like Maokai and Sion are looking better and better—their end game is just ridiculous, and the currently-overpowered tank items of Iceborn Gauntlet and Sunfire Cape are fantastic on both.

AD carries will have to change to champions that can shred through these gigantic tanks, such as Kog Maw and Vayne. However, this leaves vulnerability in the backline for meta picks like tank Ekko and the devourer junglers to capitalise on. This leaves bot lane with a couple of choices: run a hypercarry with a peeling support like Janna, Soraka or Lulu, or run a carry who can look after themselves and an engage support like Alistar, Thresh or Braum—you’d be looking at Ezreal, Lucian or Caitlyn in this case. It looks as though the playerbase in general has opted for the second option, since Ezreal and Lucian are the two most-picked champions in the game right now.

Premade problems

High-rated players will be rejoicing at the change being made to premade teams at the top of the ladder. It used to be the case that any player could play with any other player who was within one full rating (silver>gold>platinum) above or below them, and while this isn’t too overbearing at lower rankings, it was wreaking havoc at the top end.

As former pro player Marcus “Dyrus” Hill explained in a video about the state of dynamic queue, it was getting to the point where higher ranked players were having their friends play on low diamond accounts so that they could have easier games and climb quicker. The rating difference isn’t even the whole issue, since the matchmaking would often put a fully premade team of challenger players against a group of solo-queueing diamond players.

The change implemented this patch should help to balance matchmaking at the top end, as players can now only play with people who are within two divisions of them. This may not help with the premade vs. solo players issue, but it’ll help make sure that teams are around the same level in general.

Subtler changes

The change to Maw of Malmortius has been coming for a while, and I can’t help but be a little bit underwhelmed. It has lost 10 magic resist and 25% attack speed on its passive. It’s a step in the right direction, but Maw will still be almost a mandatory buy on a lot of AD carries and bruisers.

Speaking of bruisers, Irelia got buffed this patch. Where did “better nerf Irelia” go? In all honesty, the buff is nice, giving her a better AD ratio and mana cost on her dash, but it’s not huge. She’ll be slightly better, and her popularity will climb, but it won’t immediately make her the best champion in the game.

She is getting stronger, however, and I suspect this is to do with Riot’s fear of going back to the supertank meta that I mentioned earlier. Irelia deals with tanks well due to her strong laning phase and true damage. Riot are giving players the choice to not be a 5000-health Maokai by letting people shut down the Maokais and Sions of the world before they become too strong.


In the pro scene

The League pro scene will be influenced by the meta shifts without a doubt. We’ve already seen Maokai picked up in the NA LCS semi finals to mixed success, but the trend towards longer games is only going to make the tree and his tanky brethren stronger.

We’re still seeing a lot of Kalista, Lucian and Jhin in the pro scene, which you can expect to see continue, especially with the range nerfs to Poppy - she’s the main counter to two of the three. These safer carries will still find success after patch 6.7 but their builds may have to change in order to deal with the wall of tanks about to run them over. Expect more Blade of the Ruined King, Lord Dominik’s Regards, and Sterak’s Gage.

The patch hasn’t hit quite as hard as some expected, but there’s still time for another before the Mid-Season Invitational. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Iceborn Gauntlet, Sunfire Cape and Grasp of the Undying nerfed in that time. We can only hope.

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