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League of Legends’ patch 6.13 gives supports a helping hand

Life as a support in League of Legends can be hard. Nothing is more depressing than being a support to a half-baked potato masquerading as an AD carry. You try your best to keep your oblivious teammate away from danger by providing vision, shielding/sponging incoming attacks, giving heals or buffs to attack damage/movement speed, but it’s never enough. Soon the realisation kicks in that you’re on a sinking ship and it’s going down fast.

With all of these responsibilities, however, it can be hard for supports to feel appreciated. Their impact on the game isn’t celebrated as obviously as a killstreak, for example.

Patch 6.13 aims to bring supports out of the shadows and into the light, making the position feel more satisfying and rewarding, while also making their success easier to observe. Ranked 5s are also making a scheduled return, and general nerfs aim to tackle some of the more terrifying champions.

Experience changes

Snagging an early kill in lane has huge advantages for the victor. This is largely due to early minion waves granting more experience than kills, making it crucial for overall champion progression. The dead miss out on this experience and return to lane underleveled and woefully underpowered, while their opponent continues to capitalise on the early lane advantage. Riot aims to counter the effects of this snowballing by toning the advantages down. Champions are now worth less experience at level 1-9 and especially at level 1-3, meaning that the victor won’t be miles ahead.

Catch-up experience now scales with percent missing level, rather than remaining at a set value from level to level. You will now be granted with more catch-up experience at 2.5 levels behind than 2.3 levels behind, etc. This gives those that disconnected or struggled in laning phase a chance to comeback and still have an impact on the game, as opposed to feeling completely useless.  The catch-up experience kicks in earlier, but scales less strongly late game.

Post-death kill experience allows champions to gain experience from nearby champion kills for 10 seconds after death, even if they didn't participate. This is great for initiators whose job is to jump into the fray, locking down as many targets as possible, which often results in their death even when done successfully. Because of this initiators don’t get full teamfight experience, despite creating the very opportunities that net the team kills. Instead they are left underleveled for the next fight, making them even more likely to die in upcoming skirmishes. The post-death kill experience aims to put a stop to this vicious pattern, rewarding the sacrificial lambs of the team.

As mentioned above, patch 6.13 is also aimed at improving the overall player experience and quality of life when playing support. One of the ways Riot is bolstering the role is by making it easier to gain experience, as supports tend to lag behind the rest of the team in levels. This is largely due to the clearing and placement of wards around the map. Denying vision can often present a high risk/low reward aspect of the game, and losing out-of-combat bonuses just to clear a ward can make survivability harder. The changes in patch 6.13 allow champions to keep their out-of-combat bonuses while clearing wards, making it less punishing overall.

Wards now grant 30 experience when killed (15 for blue wards) making the placement of vision even more strategic. You don’t want to place wards in noticeable areas as you will be giving away free experience each time. Attacking wards will also no longer trigger in-combat status for the purpose of Boots of Mobility, Cloud Drake, or Taliyah's Rock Surfing. The above changes will help supports have a greater impact in the Rift, while making the role a more enjoyable experience.

Changes to champions

Tahm Kench is definitely in the spotlight this patch. The River King is a champion many people find frustrating to play against and love having on their team. Patch 6.13 has introduced a lot of changes to his abilities. His ultimate’s passive is now his passive and his basic attacks/abilities deal 1/1.25/1.5% (at levels 1/11/16) and scale off Tahm’s maximum health. This multiplies depending on how many stacks of Acquired Yaste he has on a champion. There is a minor damage increase to Tongue Lash, but the most notable change is to Thick Skin. The cooldown is now six seconds across all ranks and will convert 70% to 90% of the damage taken into Grey Health.

The duration of the shield is now three seconds as opposed to six seconds and no longer decays over the duration, but if that wasn’t enough there are also buffs to his ultimate. Abyssal Voyage’s range has been increased, while the channel duration has been decreased. These are some pretty big changes that will most likely lead to him becoming a popular pick this patch.

Historically, Lulu has not fared well from the nerfs to her solo game, leaving her ability to support underwhelming. However, the recent changes aim to offer solo and support lane Lulu value wherever she goes. Her base mana has been increased from 292 to 350 and her movement speed has been slightly increased from 325 to 330. Glitterlance now grants a slow for two seconds at all ranks rather than increasing up to two seconds at rank five, but enemies hit beyond Glitterlance’s first target will only take 70% of the damage. The most notable change is to Lulu’s ability Whimsy as it now grants bonus attack speed as well as bonus movement speed when cast on an ally. This does not scale with AP so it will remain at 15% to 35%, but the effects can last up to four seconds at rank five. This is a pretty big buff and is a solid ability for Lulu and her AD carry.

Thresh now receives two souls dropped from epic monsters instead of one. This benefits Dark Passage, which now scales based on souls collected as opposed to scaling off 50% of his AP. Casting Dark Passage at an out-of-range location also now throws the lantern at maximum range in the target direction, rather than causing Thresh to walk into cast range.

The recent changes to Trinity Force allowed Irelia to become an absolute monster in top lane. She had become a popular ban amongst higher divisions and was a champion people simply didn’t want to risk playing against. Riot has seemingly agreed that her presence in the game has been a little too impactful and have nerfed the cooldown on her ultimate. Originally, Irelia could use Transcendent Blades to kill her opponent, then proceed to wait for her laner to return and kill them a second time due to the cooldown reduction from Trinity Force. This nerf allows for some much-needed breathing space when playing against the Ionian, making her feel less impossible to kill. It will be interesting to see how she copes with these changes, after all the 40 second increase on her ultimate at rank one is quite a hefty increase.

Kindred remains in the sights of Riot’s nerf gun and is back again for another round of changes. Base armour has been lowered from 20 to 27 which is quite a big difference when it comes to taking the jungle camps. However, Kindred’s armour growth stat has increased very slightly, but the biggest change is to Wolf’s Frenzy as it no longer heals you. Instead wolf now maims jungle monsters, reducing their attack speed and movement speed by 50% for 2 seconds. These changes were made due Kindred’s dependency on learning how to kite jungle monsters—good Kindred players could take little to no damage while clearing the jungle. Given that Riot has made kiting easier with W, the reduction to base armour brings Kindred in line with other ranged champions.

Swain is receiving a small nerf, which is a little surprising considering his current impact in top and mid lane. His ultimate cooldown has been increased from 10 seconds to 20 seconds which is a fairly decent adjustment. I don’t think this will hurt Swain too much in teamfights, but in solo lane you may have to play a little safer, due to the larger window of time the enemy has to engage on you.

Changes to support items

The Ancient Coin line is now going to receive early cooldown reduction as well as some minor stat changes, particularly the Talisman of Ascension which now builds out of Raptor’s Cloak instead of Forbidden Idol. It costs 2500 gold and grants 45 armour, 150% health regen, 75% mana regen and builds up to 20% movement speed over two seconds while near turrets, fallen turrets, or void gates.

The Forbidden Idol item path is receiving 10% bonus healing and shielding power. The Ardent Censer looks like a good item to purchase if your team has a lot of auto attack-heavy champions. This item path would be a good match for supports like Janna, Karma Soraka etc.

Lastly, the Ruby Sightstone has had its cost decreased and active item cooldown reduction increased by 20%, a minor but a necessary change that creates a more distinct difference between the Eyestone and Sightstone routes.