Pantheon’s Season 9 League of Legends rework might have him more popular, but not in the role people were expecting. The Unbreakable Spear is being played in support more than anywhere else, and Riot wants that to change heading into Season 11.
The Pantheon rework in Patch 9.16 back in 2019 transformed the top lane bruiser into a behemoth. While he was a little bit underwhelming on release, he slowly started to dominate the meta.
Except, Pantheon wasn’t dominating the meta in top or mid like he was intended. He was being picked as a support. His new kit gave him a new lease on life as an aggressive support who could engage with ease, and then block a ton of damage to survive teamfights.
This was far from Riot’s intentions when they were designing Pantheon’s rework. Lead gameplay designer Mark Yetter said Riot “won’t be satisfied if Pantheon ends up as a support.”
However, with that reality now realized, Riot are looking at overhauling him in Season 11. While they’ve been focused on the item reworks, it’s at the top of their list once the new season gets underway.
“We have some work coming to shift Pantheon from support to solo lanes [but] it’s a few patches out,” Yetter added on October 31.
“It’s fine if he can be an interesting support pick but we want solo lanes to be [his] primary [role]. Pantheon has a long time following in top (and mid/jungle to a lesser extent). We want those players to still be able to play Pantheon in those roles primarily.”
It comes after Pantheon support has dominated the pro play meta across Season 10. At Worlds alone he had a 38.6% presence, making him one of the more popular picks. Of those 44 games he made an appearance, 26 games he was banned, and the other 18 he played in support.
We have some work coming to shift Pantheon from support to solo lanes. (it's a few patches out) It's fine if he can be an interesting support pick but we want solo lanes to be primary.
We're slower than we should have been on this follow up, I take responsibility for that.
— Mark Yetter (@MarkYetter) October 31, 2020
Exactly what changes are on the table is unknown though. It could be as simple as changing his numbers to make it worth building damage while removing some of his base power. However, there’s also concerns that the core identity of his kit is just too strong regardless.
There’s still plenty of time before it’ll drop though. League Patch 10.23 is around the corner with all the pre-season changes, and Riot have said they aren’t going to start work until after Season 11 kicks off.
By the time Worlds 2021 rolls around though, don’t expect to see Pantheon support be as contested as it was this year.