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The winners and losers of League of Legends patch 6.15

With the regional playoffs fast approaching Riot is looking to get the League of Legends metagame as close to Worlds-ready as they can, and patch 6.15 aims to lay these foundations early. The focus of this patch is to delve into the early game, specifically looking at the professional scene's laneswap meta. Riot is hoping that the changes will reduce the symmetry between structural defenses so that top and bot aren’t identical to one another.

Patch 6.15 is also reining in a few of the more potent champions who have been wreaking more havoc than they should, like Hecarim, and shedding some much needed light onto some old friends who've been collecting dust in Riot’s basement (Kassadin). Let’s dive into the latest changes. 

A new early game

The most influential change is to turrets and minion waves. Turrets will now grant first blood bonuses to the team who destroys the first turret of the game, awarding them with 400 total bonus gold, 275 local gold, and 25 global gold. On top of this the fortification buff to turrets has been lowered to five minutes from seven minutes, with the damage reduction being increased to 50% from 35%. The biggest change though is to the bot lane turret, which no longer receives the damage reduction from fortification. So if you’re an AD carry or support main be prepared for a few unwanted guests trying to push your lane in order to snag an easy turret first blood.

Cannon minions now spawn differently, with each team receiving one cannon minion per wave, rotating lanes. Specifically, bot lane gets a cannon minion on wave 3, mid gets one at wave 4, and top at wave 5, this will repeat for 20 minutes.  After 20 minutes, mid gets a cannon minion on wave 40 then both bot and top lane get a cannon minion on wave 41 - this then repeats for 35 minutes. After 35 minutes, all lanes will have cannon minions in each wave. All in all these updates present a massive change to the overall laning phase and creates a considerable amount of pressure for bot lane players. 

 Changes to champions

Hecarim has been horsing around in the Rift for a long time. He's greatly benefited from the Trinity Force changes and has been able to farm up and scale very quickly, allowing him to burst targets without having to build much damage. Riot is now reining in his base attack damage, which has been lowered from 61.37 to 58 and the damage on Rampage (Q) has been lowered by ten at every single rank. It certainly doesn’t look like one of the biggest nerfs ever, but the base damage on his auto attacks has been lowered which means Trinity Force will be less effective, and his clear speed in the jungle will most definitely be hit by these changes. How much these changes will affect the spectral horse is hard to tell, but we shall find out in the weeks to come. 

Next up we have some Karma nerfs. The Enlightened One has been performing a little too well in both mid lane and when supporting in bot lane. Her shield value on Inspire (E) has been lowered by 10 at each rank and she can no longer shield friendly minions. If she were to use her E alongside Mantra for the Empowered shield it will now offer the exact same movement speed as her regular shield which will go from 40% to 60% rather than 60% at all ranks. This has nerfed Karma’s utility a bit and has stopped her from shielding minions, an ability which was always very annoying for those trying to CS. The nerf is not massive but we may see a drop in her play rate. 

This champion has seemingly been lost and forgotten by both Riot and the community. Finally, however, Kassadin is receiving some love. The Void Walker is getting buffs to both Null Sphere (Q) and Force Pulse (E). The damage changes to his Q are a little strange at a first glance as his damage at rank one has been lowered by five, but at rank two it remains unchanged and at rank three it starts to slowly increase, giving him an additional 15 bonus damage at rank five. His E mana cost has been lowered starting at 60 at rank one and going all the way up to 80 at rank five as opposed to being 80 mana at all ranks. These aren’t the biggest buffs, but the fact that our lost and forgotten friend is receiving some attention is a small miracle in itself. Hopefully, this will lead to further changes to Kassadin in the future.  

Malzahar is one of the strongest champions in the current meta. He’s been decimating his opponents on the Fields of Justice, and has enjoyed a very high win ratio and play rate. It certainly isn’t hard to see why Riot wanted to tone down the Prophet of the Void. The nerfs are mainly focused to his passive. The damage reduction of Void Shift only lasts 0.25 seconds rather than one full second, while the cooldown of his passive has been increased. It’s a nice nerf to his passive, but it’s still going to block and save him from being caught off-guard, working very similarly to the spell shield from Banshee’s Veil. However, the cooldown to his passive should now allow his opponents more opportunities capitalise on his immobility after they poke his shield down. 

The Bestial Huntress has been one of the higher skill cap junglers for a long time, but she has been out of action for quite a few patches. Riot has seemingly answered Nidalee’s prayers and buffed both her human and cougar form in the early to mid-stages of the game, helping with her jungle clear. In human form her Javelin Toss (Q) has had its maximum and minimum damage increased at the earlier ranks, but by rank five it will be the same. However, the maximum and minimum damage on her Q in cougar form has also been increased at the lower ranks, but decreased at the higher ranks. To compensate for this Riot has increased the AP ratio on her Q, which has gone from 36% to 40%, while damage to hunted targets has been increased from 33% to 40%. Nidalee’s Aspect of the Cougar (R) ability no longer resets her basic attack, which could be a slight issue for higher level players. These buffs will hopefully put Nidalee back on the map as a dominant jungler. 

Renekton is a bit of an anomaly in the fact that he has the ability to be very dominant in top lane and also very weak as well. Our reptilian friend is receiving a new effect to Dominus (R) where upon casting he will gain 20 Fury, while his AoE magic damage per second has been increased from 30/60/120 to 40/80/120. The instant Fury you get whenever you cast Dominus can really help Renekton set up plays and help with his overall kill pressure in lane, once again restoring everybody’s healthy fear of the croc in top. 

There’s been an important change to Vayne’s Tumble (Q) as it now has a new effect that allows her to deal bonus damage to structures, allowing her to push towers a little bit faster and more reliably. The Night Hunter has more critical consistency as Tumble's bonus damage and basic attacks no longer crit independently of one another. If one crits, so does the other. The really interesting part of this buff is that Vayne can now proc her Q ability on enemy turrets, giving her more options at her disposal. All in all it’s a small but significant buff that puts Vayne in a better place.

Finally, Vladimir has been very potent in the last couple of patches and he’s finally receiving some much needed nerfs. Traditionally the Crimson Reaper has relied on his Sanguine Pool to escape ganks and avoid incoming damage. The midseason update added a bunch of extra escape tools for him to utilise which made him even more slippery. Riot has now decreased his base movement speed from 335 to 330 and the cooldown on his Sanguine Pool (W) has been increased by a total of two seconds at every rank. Considering how strong Vladimir is at the moment any nerfs are appreciated at this point, but we shall have to see how he deals with these changes.