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Published: 20/Nov/2019 13:05 Updated: 20/Nov/2019 13:14by Joe O'Brien
The League of Legends preseason update, patch 9.23, has arrived, introducing some huge changes to items, runes, and the rift itself.
Preseason is when Riot make their biggest changes to League of Legends, often introducing new elements or adjusting existing systems that can have a huge impact on the way the game plays.
The changes made in preseason will shape League of Legends for the coming year, and perhaps beyond, but players will have some time to get used to them before the new competitive season begins in January 2020.
Here’s everything you need to know about what’s being changed in the preseason patch.
The most obvious differences come to both the terrain and the various neutral objectives around Summoner’s Rift. In the side lanes, new ‘alcoves’ are being added that will give players more terrain to work around.
The biggest change, however, is being made to the dragon system. Each of the elemental buffs has been adjusted, while the Elder Dragon now offers a powerful execute mechanic – but only spawns after one team has secured four drakes. A new ‘Dragon Soul’ buff is also available to the team that collects four drakes.
Meanwhile, the dragons will also create a unique map state after the third dragon spawns, depending on the element of that drake. The ‘Infernal Rift’, for instance, will see some terrain demolished, while the ‘Ocean Rift’ creates new brushes around the map.
While changes are being made to a variety of items and runes that will have consequences in all roles, Riot have specifically focused on making adjustments to the way Junglers and Supports will play.
In the jungle, the experience and gold rates for various camps have been changed to make a farm-heavy style more viable. Going forward, players and champions who favor lots of ganks will be at greater risk of falling behind those who farm more consistently if their ganks don’t pay off.
Meanwhile, support items have been overhauled across the board, in an effort to both limit strategies that saw solo-lane players using them to their advantage – as seen in several cases during Season 9 – and give Support players more chance to focus on the rest of their item build.
Rather than buying upgrades, all Support items will be upgraded automatically as the player completes their quests, expanding the importance of quests while freeing up gold to be spent on other items.
There are obviously a lot more changes coming as part of the preseason update, and the full list can be seen in the patch notes below.
This preseason, we’re adding more game-to-game variety and opportunities for mastery to Summoner’s Rift. After the second Elemental Drake of the game dies, the map will permanently transform to one of four Elemental Rifts, each with unique terrain changes that’ll alter the way you take on teamfights, rotations, vision, and objective control.
Elemental Rifts don’t favor a specific team, so games are still in players’ hands regardless of which one takes shape. We also wanted to ensure the Rifts feel intuitive even in your first game, so they don’t introduce any new mechanics and terrain changes always occur in the same areas no matter which element spawns.
New paths make opportunities for a quick flank or sidestep that your opponent isn’t expecting.
Extra tight spaces give opportunities for big AOE wombos and create some interesting new hiding spots with fog of war.
Sneak around the jungle or look for a new ambush opportunity.
Dodge skillshots or make a swift collapse on your enemies trying to sneak a far away objective.
We’re adding two new lane alcoves to the Rift, one in each side lane. We don’t expect laning to fundamentally change as a result, but the extra terrain and its impact on line of sight should occasionally offer new playmaking opportunities through positioning, jukes, flanks, and ganks.
New brush patches near the blue buff ramps into river add new strategic and tactical options as teams approach and contest objectives.
Dragon Souls are a new end-game payoff for the team who wins the Elemental Drake game, a powerful reward that’s similar to an Epic objective. Dragon Souls don’t offer the same moment-to-moment strength as Baron or Elder buff, but they’re permanent and an additional bonus on top of the drake stacks their bearers already earned.
I GOT SOUL: The first team to slay four Elemental Drakes gains a Dragon Soul matching the Elemental Rift
EXCLUSIVITY: Elder Dragon begins spawning after one team gains a Dragon Soul, meaning only one team can have it.
DURATION: Like Elemental Drake buffs, Dragon Souls are permanent and persist through death
We’re updating the buffs to be more equal in power and excitement. Stack for stack, elemental buffs are weaker than before to avoid excessively power creeping SR’s buff ecosystem. With Dragon Souls adding new late game payout to Elemental Drakes, we’re switching from the current frontloaded buff stacks back to a linear model. Last note: You can now get four stacks of an element if the enemy team gets the first two or three drakes (always different elements), then you get the next four (always the same element).
Just a balance pass.
Extra damage to objectives was a subtle-yet-powerful snowballing effect that was often hard to appreciate outside of coordinated play. We’re switching Mountain to a more straightforward effect all players can play around.
We’re removing Ocean’s mana regen to even its power out among users regardless of resource type. That gives us room to allow Ocean’s healing to continue in combat, which is a buff for any user.
Cloud’s movement speed was powerful, but not all that exciting. We’re moving the speed boost to Cloud’s Elemental Rift (where we can support it with visuals) and adding a different kind of haste to Cloud’s buff.
With drake types going down to just one element after the Rift transforms, we’re ensuring the first few you see don’t double up on elements so you still experience a variety of drakes in each game.
Since the Elemental Drake buffs are a bit weaker, we’re dropping the health of the first two drakes. The battle over the Dragon Soul begins heating up after that, so drakes after the first two have more health to widen the opportunity for teams to contest.
Up until now, Elder Dragon massively favored the team that was already ahead due to scaling with drake stacks (and in super long games, itself). We’re removing that scaling to make room for power that’s equally rewarding whether you’re pressing a lead or making a comeback.
REMOVED – ELEMENTAL MULTIPLIER: Elder Dragon’s buff no longer increases the effects of Elemental Drake buffs by 50%
BURN DAMAGE: 45 (+45 per Elemental Drake stack) true damage over 3 seconds ⇒ 90-270 true damage over 3 seconds (at 25:00-45:00 game time)
REMOVED – BURNING BRIGHT: Elder Dragon’s burn no longer reveals enemies
REMOVED – ELDER MULTIPLIER: Taking Elder Dragon a second time no longer increases the Elemental buff multiplier to 100% or the burn damage to 135 (+90 per Elemental Drake stack)
We’re standardizing the duration of Elder and Baron to three minutes. Though they have different strategic strengths, both buffs should last long enough for attacking teams to gain real advantages off coordinated power plays but not so long that defenders are paralyzed for excessive lengths of time. If these duration changes make Elder too strong or Baron too weak, we’ll adjust their effects accordingly.
Visuals for Blue Buff, Red Buff, Red Buff’s burn effect, Hand of Baron, and Aspect of the Dragon (Elder Dragon buff) have all been updated. All monster buffs are now visually cohesive, including the new Dragon Souls.
With the increased importance on drakes on bot side, we’re spawning Rift Herald a bit earlier and letting her respawn once so teams don’t completely abandon their top laners in favor of bot lane presence. (Y’know…more than they already do.)
Rift Herald Fight
Summoned Rift Herald
We’re very lightly adjusting minion XP to slightly equalize the influence top and bot laners have on the game. Solo laners will level about 2% faster from minions, while duo laners (or solo laners getting non-stop jungler attention) will level about 2% slower. Put another way, every five waves adds up to an extra caster minion for solo laners and one fewer for bot.
Divide evenly among the champions sharing XP.
Slightly buffing Turret Plating durability to prevent group-and-push blowouts in the early game, especially with the Rift Herald changes in mind.
Melee regen increased, ranged regen decreased.
Buffing DShield’s regen to make it a stronger option in melee vs ranged matchups.
We’re incentivizing junglers to prioritize farming rather than just fitting camps in between ganks. Higher camp uptime ensures junglers have consistent access to gold and XP on their side of the map, and the removal of catchup XP steepens the cost of failed ganks. Since junglers will be able to clear their camps more frequently, we’re reducing the gold and experience a full clear grants so they don’t take over games. We’re also ensuring both sides of the jungle get junglers to level 3 in their first clear.
Jungle Item XP
REMOVED – CATCH-UP XP: Jungle items no longer grant additional XP on monster kill if you’re behind in levels (epic monsters still innately have catch-up XP though)
FIRST CAMP BONUS XP: 120 ⇒ 165
SMALL CAMP RESPAWN: 150 seconds ⇒ 120 seconds
NEWSMALL CAMP RESPAWN ICONS: If your team had vision of a small camp when it was killed, you’ll see a respawn icon on the minimap 15 seconds before respawn
BUFF CAMP RESPAWN ICONS: Buff camp respawn icons change from gray to yellow 20 seconds ⇒ 15 seconds before respawn
BASE XP: 247 (217 on first clear) ⇒ 160 (Ancient Krug’s first clear penalty removed)
BASE GOLD: 125 ⇒ 120
BASE XP: 115 ⇒ 95
BASE GOLD: 84 ⇒ 70
Though the item system currently has three Lethality options, AD assassins overwhelmingly favor Duskblade and Youmuu’s and typically skip Edge of Night. This leads to a lot of same-ness in terms of how one game feels relative to the next for them. We’re adding two new options and reworking Edge to give assassin players more ways to adapt their build to each game.
AD increased, Blackout removed.
We’re taking away Duskblade’s utility passive (Blackout) and giving it a bit more damage, making it the highest lethality and highest AD upgrade to Dirk.
Active ghosts users.
It’s literally the same except for one quality of life buff. Still buy it if you want to go fast. We’re only putting this here for ease of comparison.
Spell shield now works like Banshee’s Veil. Health increased, attack damage and lethality decreased. Cost decreased.
Edge of Night is the defensive Lethality option, but attaching that function to an active with a steep learning curve has made it ineffective for many aspiring assassins. We’re switching Edge of Night’s spell shield to a passive, making it more usable for a much wider skill range. This reliability incurs a damage cost: Edge of Night no longer grants extra AD or Lethality over its components, though we bumped its health to even things out overall.
Gain attack speed and lethality when near one or fewer enemies.
The first of our two new items. Sanguine Blade offers Duskblade-tier damage when you’re hunting a lone enemy, but drops closer to Edge of Night levels if you’re teamfighting. Go 1v1 somebody. Or 2v1 or 5v1, but where’s the honor in that?
New Blackout item.
The second Lethality addition, and the new home of the Blackout passive. Umbral Glaive’s stats aren’t too high, but it’s also the cheapest Lethality item. Pick it up if you want to black out the enemy’s map. That’s why the passive is called Blackout.
The item shop has a few component pieces whose passives disappear from their upgrades, and Serrated Dirk is one of them. These days we’re not huge fans of that, since disappearing passives ask you to play around an effect that you lose access to as the game progresses. Since the lethality line’s getting an overall power-up from the adaptability provided by new options, we’re nerfing it by removing the disappearing passive from Dirk.
We’re refreshing support items to be less poachable by solo laners and have an expanded quest system that provides free, automatic upgrades, letting supports start the rest of their build earlier. (This should also lead to more build diversity between champs that use the same starter.) As a trade-off, Tribute no longer damages and Spoils of War no longer heals, so supports will have less impact in the early lane phase.
At max tier, we’ve removed the Tribute/Spoils of War passives. Most of the gold these effects granted is still earned in the lower tiers and passive gold per 10 is up, so mid/late game economy is still buffed overall considering the gold made available by the free upgrades.
We’re also introducing AD equivalents of the items to broaden the cast of champs who can be played as support. At launch they’ll basically be the same as the AP versions, but that symmetry may break down the road as we balance each item line individually.
Ability power, health, and Tribute.
The magical-flavored aggressive line (with fancy new icons)! Tribute no longer deals damage, so Spellthief’s users won’t be contributing as much to early skirmishes. The new anti-poaching rule lets us rip out Tribute’s nearby ally requirement and charge rate CS penalty.
Tribute gold is buffed for Spellthief’s but nerfed for Frostfang to maintain the time at which supports gain access to wards (given they can’t pay to upgrade to Frostfang) but push the final upgrade later than when supports previously completed Remnant of the Watchers. Shard of True Ice’s stats on top of the items purchased with freed-up transformation gold would’ve been too much of a buff.
Attack damage, health, and Tribute.
The physical-flavored aggressive line!
Health, ability power, and Spoils of War.
The magical-flavored defensive line (also with new icons)! Spoils of War is losing its heal, meaning duos aren’t going to have the same staying power in lane as they do now. That, however, allows us to grant ranged champs access to the minion execute.
Like Tribute’s gold values, we’ve standardized Spoils of War’s charge rate to be slightly faster for Relic Shield but slower for Targon’s Buckler. This preserves supports’ access to wards at Tier 2 while maintaining the overall power progression of their item builds via a later Tier 3 upgrade.
Health, attack damage, and Spoils of War.
The physical-flavored defensive line!
Where Spellthief’s established itself as the aggressive support item line, Ancient Coin and Relic Shield overlapped in rewarding more defensive, attrition-based playstyles. With the switch toward allowing ranged champions to use Relic Shield, we’re retiring the Ancient Coin line.
Grants health/health regen/heal and shield power instead of ability power/movement speed. Range increased. Build path updated, cost decreased.
We’re sharpening Shurelya’s into an engage/disengage tool that’s specifically for enchanters—whose main function is buffing their allies—rather than leaving it as an ambiguous flex pick that mage supports can also spec into, given they’ve got items that help them peel for their team. (Tank supports have Righteous Glory, so all three support archetypes are covered.)
We’ve struggled in the past to differentiate Energized builds from traditional crit, given that Statikk Shiv and Rapid Firecannon occupy both spaces and the only other Energized item is Stormrazor. This time, we’re embracing the overlap and the goal of our changes is to make Energized a slightly more mid-game-oriented flavor of crit, rather than its own thing entirely. Energized is about the occasional massive hit rather than a non-stop barrage of consistently strong attacks. To that end, we’re lowering the gap between how many procs users get from moving versus attacking—attack speed was giving drastically more procs, making hit-and-run playstyles too ineffective by comparison.
One trend you’ll notice in the items below is a simplification of individual item passives, particularly the ones that change how Energize behaves. Each item now adds just one additional effect—Stormrazor’s slow, RFC’s range, and Shiv’s lightning—and proc damage has been standardized to a flat 120 on each item. All other mechanics changes have been removed or rolled into Energized’s baseline functionality so each item can stand on its own, rather than require other Energized items to become fully effective.
Energized damage increased. Slow is stronger but shorter. Now grants crit chance. Attack damage, attack speed decreased. Build path updated, cost increased.
The absence of crit chance on Stormrazor was the biggest impediment toward Energized working as a crit variant. Adding it in means players can go for Energized builds without having to trade away their crit progression. Per the simplification note above, we’ve removed Stormrazor’s amp on other Energized sources and sharpened its slow to a stronger, shorter effect that offers more play-around opportunities.
Energized damage higher early, lower late. No longer increases Energized charge rates.
We’re leaving RFC’s range increase as its defining feature and making its turret functionality baseline for Energized. Its charge rate increase is going away per our earlier comments on not wanting an Energized item’s strength to be tied to how many other items in the system you own.
Energized damage higher early, lower late. Lightning bounces increased. Lightning no longer crits.
Shiv still makes lightning, but we’re removing the ability for lightning to crit. This is partially for that crit-vs-Energized split we’ve talked about already, but also because fully stacking Energized items (360 damage) gets you more power IE Shiv crits did previously (325 damage). Since this is still an early-to-midgame nerf, we’re also folding Stormrazor’s old bounce increase into Shiv’s baseline. This is also a good time to remind you that Shiv no longer needs RFC to proc on turrets.
Energized damage increased, cost increased.
We’re making Kircheis Shard’s Energized proc more powerful so it feels more like you’re starting down the Energized path when you pick it up. It was already efficiently costed, though, so we had to bump its price up a bit.
We’re streamlining crit items down to one component. This is a slight nerf to build flexibility, particularly early-game, since Cloak requires more time spent farming before it can be picked up.
Crit chance increased.
The good news is we’re buffing Cloak. It now gives the same amount of crit as a completed item, so if you need to hit the crit cap in a hurry, just layer a few of these on! (Probably don’t do this, but the option’s here if you want to experiment)
Crit increased, attack speed decreased. Build path updated, cost increased.
Zeal’s crit stats got a lot bigger from switching to Cloak of Agility. We dropped its attack speed a bit so we could avoid having to raise its cost too much to keep it balanced.
When wielded by its most synergistic users, Shojin’s unique passive reduced the downtime of their CC, mobility, and immunity spells beyond what we think leaves healthy room for counterplay.
Zz’Rot enables split push strategies that don’t involve enough champion interaction. We may revisit this type of strategic item in the future, but if we do it’ll require more risk for wielders to use.
Ohmwrecker’s been underused and underpowered for a long time. Turret disabling is an interesting mechanic we think could have a place in League, but not one that potentially shows up in every team’s toolkit, which is the risk a good version of Ohmwrecker presents.
With the removal of Zz’Rot and Ohmwrecker, Raptor Cloak doesn’t build into anything. Sorry, Darius.
While these items were technically “removed” when we turned their respective modes off, we’re removing them from the item set creator to make the tool easier to use.
Kleptomancy was designed as a rune that (a) allowed users to build a gold advantage over opponents at the cost of the immediate power other keystones provide, and (b) created moment-to-moment changes in laning dynamics depending on what you got from procs. The experience Klepto created for opponents, however—be farmed for gold by constant harass damage—has been rough, especially for ranged vs melee matchups. Removing gold as an incentive only left the moment-to-moment dynamic changes as Klepto’s design core, and League’s consumable item system isn’t deep enough to carry an entire keystone on its back. Sorry, Klepto—even for an Inspiration rune, you were too weird.
Periodically gain a single use of another random keystone.
Enter Omnistone, a keystone meant to be Kleptomancy’s spiritual successor. Like the elixir portion of Klepto’s design, Omnistone is about making use of what you’ve got in the moment. Relative to the individual keystones it offers, Omnistone’s advantage is that users can rapidly cycle through keystones that otherwise have much longer cooldowns.
True damage conversion removed. Healing is now post-mitigation. Max stacks increased; melee champions now gain double stacks. Ranged stacks no longer expire faster.
Conqueror has been too effective at allowing sustained-damage fighters to deal with tanks, who have lost their place in solo lanes as a result. We’re removing the true damage conversion and changing the heal to post-mitigation damage so Conqueror doesn’t hard-counter tanks, but buffing its adaptive force to keep it strong. We’re also changing up Conqueror’s ranged/melee split so ranged users are a bit less disadvantaged (though Conqueror remains a melee-focused rune).
Flat resistances decreased, percent bonus resistances increased. Flat damage decreased early. Damage now scales with bonus health rather than max health. Cooldown decreased.
Aftershock’s flat resistances were eliminating a primary weakness of several ranged champions, forcing us to either balance the rune around edge case users (making it weak for its main audiences), or balance those edge case users around Aftershock (whose mains might not even like Aftershock’s playstyle). We’re reshaping this keystone back toward tanks and fighters, and will keep an eye on how former(?) ranged users fare in preseason.
Increases mana or energy pool on takedown instead of refunding ult cooldown. Now restores energy in addition to mana.
This rune’s ult cooldown refund overlaps too much with Cloud Drake’s new buff. Admittedly, so does Ultimate Hunter, but Hunter is usable by more champions and has a clearer goal, so it’s the one that gets to stay. We’re changing Presence of Mind to finally open it up to energy users and grant a resource pool increase (big brain getting bigger) rather than a partial ult reset.
Procs off summoner spells instead of ults.
We turned Nimbus Cloak into Cloud Drake’s Dragon Soul, so we’re changing Nimbus Cloak to work off Summoner Spells instead.
No longer gains double stacks on ARAM.
Senna launched pretty close to balanced, and we’re waiting to see how she shapes up in the new preseason world before issuing buffs and nerfs. Alternate modes are the exception since most of our changes won’t cross over into other maps, and Senna’s definitely showing up too hard there.
Something different for your inbox. No distractions, no bs. Told as it is, as an unfiltered, irreverent beer talk with friends. Give it a go, it’s free.