League of Legends Senior Game Designer Jeevun ‘Jag’ Sidhu has revealed that major changes are coming for Aatrox in Patch 9.9.
Riot have struggled in recent months to find a balance for Aatrox that they’re happy with. Either he’s been so strong that he’s been a must-pick at the professional level, even able to be moved around between top lane, mid lane, or jungle at times, or he’s been nerfed to the point that he’s no longer viable at all.
Balancing a game with over 100 champions for both professional and normal online play can be a tall order. Pro players are capable of exploiting champions’ strengths and weaknesses in ways that the vast majority of players can’t, as well as coordinating team-play to maximize effectiveness. Small adjustments in one realm can therefore have massive repercussions in the other.
In Patch 9.9, it seems Riot will be taking another shot at getting Aatrox where they want him to be, making some major adjustments with the intent of increasing his power in online matchmaking without making him overpowered at the professional level.
The main way Riot are looking to accomplish this is to reduce the power of the revive that Aatrox gets from his World Ender ultimate, which aims to “drop his ability to tower dive in coordinated environments and also prevent him from having so many safe matchups.”
The following changes are planned for Patch 9.9:
Riot haven’t yet announced when players should expect to see Patch 9.9 arrive, but it likely won’t be for some time as Patch 9.8 hasn’t hit the live servers yet. Riot have said that 9.8 will be the patch for the Mid-Season Invitational, which will take place May 1 to May 19, so Patch 9.9 likely won’t go live until near the end or after that.