With League of Legends' Season 9 set to start in a couple of weeks, Riot Games has released the patch notes for the first update to give players a taste of what's to come.
Riot is known for shaking up the meta with the start of each new season, so player surely knew that the first patch of 2019 would be a big one.
Now that Riot has officially released the notes for the upcoming Patch 9.1, we have a good idea of just what will be changing prior to the new season.
The biggest focus of the upcoming is on Kalista, Ornn, and Sejuani who have all received significant updates.
Given the relative strength of these champions, along with their prevalent place in the previous meta, Riot has honed in the trio to rework their kits in the hopes of bringing some change for Season 9.
Along with those changes, many other champions also received important changes, with the ADC champions being given the most attention.
The patch is not expected to drop until January 9, with downtime schedule to begin at 3am PST / 6am EST / 11am GMT.
You can read the Patch 9.1 notes for all the major changes below:
Patch 9.1 notes
Welcome, one and all, to the first patch of 2019! We hope the holidays treated you well and you're rested up and ready for a fresh new year of League. Let's get into it!
At the top of the notes you'll see a special section for Kalista, Ornn, and Sejuani, all of whom have been much stronger in pro play than regular play. In all three cases, we're reducing the utility they offer to coordinated teams and offering them strength that's less tied to perfect timing, positioning, or communication. From there, we move into the bulk of our champion changes which feature direct buffs to a bunch of marksmen. In each case, we accentuated the unique strengths or highest moments they're picked for, but the impetus for all of them is the same: Marksmen on the whole ended 2018 in a rough spot. We've got some item work in the patches to come as well, so 9.1 isn't the end of the road to recovery. After that, the balance updates wrap up with rune adjustments, including a usability buff to Hail of Blades for champs with attack resets.
Best of luck in your matches on 9.1!
Base AD, AD growth, attack speed growth increased; W Oathsworn AD bonus removed. Q damage increased. E deals less damage to epic monsters.
When we say "Kalista", League vets immediately think "nerfed because of pro play". It's been a minute since we've tried to shift her strength toward less team-coordination-dependent power, but we're taking a fresh stab at it here. Kalista's offensive strength is no longer tied to being near her Oathsworn and her ability to turn Rend into a better Smite is greatly diminished. In return, she's gaining a bunch of personal power she can use in any situation.
BASE ATTACK DAMAGE: 62 ⇒ 67
ATTACK DAMAGE GROWTH: 3.6 ⇒ 4
ATTACK SPEED GROWTH: 3.5% ⇒ 4%
Q - Pierce
BASE DAMAGE: 10/70/130/190/250 ⇒ 20/85/150/215/280
W - Sentinel
REMOVED: OATHSWORN EMPOWERMENT - Kalista no longer gains 5/10/15/20/25 attack damage while her Oathsworn is nearby
E - Rend
NEW: WEAK GRIP - Rend now deals 50% damage to epic monsters
Base durability increased. Ornn's items upgrade at level 13 (2 max); he can upgrade one ally's item per level at level 14+. More upgrades added. Q cost, damage, slow decreased. W doesn't shield but makes Ornn unstoppable. R slow, knockup decreased.
While Ornn doesn't have as lengthy a track record of competitive problems as Kalista, he's similarly shown much stronger results in pro play. He has no losing matchups when strong, making him a safe choice in any comp, and his ult locks enemies down from a distance so allies can clean up the kill without Ornn actually having to do his job as a tank. We're reducing these strengths and investing that power into Ornn's passive. Switching to a free upgrade system gives Ornn a unique ability to jump-start the item scaling for both himself and his team: Rather than delaying progress toward full builds, upgrading an item is now pure upside.
HEALTH GROWTH 90 ⇒ 95
BASE HEALTH REGEN 1.4 ⇒ 1.8
HEALTH REGEN GROWTH 0.14 ⇒ 0.18
ARMOR GROWTH 3 ⇒ 4
BASE ATTACK DAMAGE 67 ⇒ 69
Passive - Living Forge
(NEW) CALLOUSED HANDS - Ornn now gains 10% additional armor and magic resist from items
(NEW) TRADE KNOWLEDGE - At level 13, any upgradable item Ornn owns or purchases for the rest of the game is upgraded for free (Ornn can have up to two upgraded items)
(NEW) BENEFACTOR - At each level from 14 onward, Ornn can upgrade one of his ally's upgradable items by getting within 600 range of them and clicking on them (allies can only have one upgraded item)
(REMOVED) PURCHASE ORDER - Ornn and his allies can no longer pay to upgrade their items
(NEW) ITEMS - Ornn can upgrade new items! Bonuses listed below:
ARMOR 65 ⇒ 95
MANA 500 ⇒ 700
ATTACK DAMAGE 55 ⇒ 75
LETHALITY 18 ⇒ 25
Might of the Ruined King
ATTACK DAMAGE 40 ⇒ 55
ATTACK SPEED 25% ⇒ 40%
ABILITY POWER 90 ⇒ 120
MANA 600 ⇒ 850
Q - Volcanic Rupture
COST 55 mana ⇒ 45 mana
BASE DAMAGE 20/50/80/110/140 ⇒ 20/45/70/95/120
SLOW 40/45/50/55/60% ⇒ 40% at all ranks
W - Bellows Breath
(REMOVED) SHIELD No longer shields Ornn for 80/125/170/215/260 (+0.4 bonus armor)(+0.4 bonus magic resist)
(NEW) UNSTOPPABLE Ornn is now unstoppable during W
COOLDOWN 14 seconds ⇒ 12 seconds
DURATION 1 second (ticks every 0.2 seconds ) ⇒ 0.75 seconds (ticks every 0.15 seconds)
SELF-SLOW 50% ⇒ 35%
BRITTLE PROC DAMAGE 7%-12% target's maximum health (levels 1-18) ⇒12%-20.5% target's maximum health (levels 1-18)
E - Searing Charge
COST 50 mana at all ranks ⇒ 35/40/45/50/55 mana
(NEW) JUST A LITTLE LONGERIf a Q pillar is about to expire when Ornn casts E, it now lasts until Ornn's dash completes
R - Call of the Forge God
FIRST CAST SLOW 40/60/80% ⇒ 10% scaling up to 40/60/80% based on distance traveled
SECOND CAST KNOCKUP 1.5 seconds on all enemies hit ⇒ 1 second on the first enemy hit, 0.5 seconds on enemies hit past the first
Base durability increased. Passive grants fewer stats but lasts longer. Q damage increased. W2 damage increased but slow falls off immediately. E deals more damage but range and stun decreased.
Third in our "powerful in pro, weak in regular" lineup is Sejuani. The broad angle of approach for these changes is "reduce crowd control and increase damage" to make Sejuani's success less dependent on ally follow-up (or set-up in the case of melee allies priming E). We're also reducing Frost Armor's massive spike of defenses to extend its duration and give Sejuani more baseline durability. This ties Sejuani's responsibility of soaking damage less to perfectly coordinated teamfight initiation, enabling her to better tank for her team throughout extended combat.
HEALTH GROWTH: 88 ⇒ 105
BASE ARMOR: 31 ⇒ 34
ARMOR GROWTH: 3 ⇒ 4.25
BASE MAGIC RESIST: 27.1 ⇒ 32.1
MAGIC RESIST GROWTH: 0.75 ⇒ 1.25
ATTACK DAMAGE GROWTH: 3 ⇒ 4
Passive - Fury of the North
FROST ARMOR RESISTANCES: 20/70/120 armor and magic resist (+100% total armor and magic resist) ⇒ 20 armor and magic resist (+25% bonus armor and magic resist)FROST ARMOR LINGER2 seconds ⇒ 3 seconds
Q - Arctic Assault
BASE DAMAGE: 60/90/120/150/180 ⇒80/120/160/200/240
W - Winter's Wrath
SECOND HIT BASE DAMAGE: 30/65/100/135/170 ⇒30/70/110/150/190
SECOND HIT SLOW DURATION: Normalized to 0.25 seconds (previously, could last slightly longer depending on server timing)
E - Permafrost
STUN DURATION: 1/1.1/1.2/1.3/1.4 seconds ⇒ 1 second at all ranks
RANGE: 850 ⇒ 600
DAMAGE: 20/35/50/65/80 ⇒ 40/80/120/160/200 (Icebreaker damage upon shattering a stunned target unchanged)
E grants assists if enemies were previously unseen.
We're adding some personal reward for Hawkshots that enable Ashe's team to lock down a kill. (The Q change is a quality of life improvement.)
Q - Ranger's Focus
HEY!: Ability icon border now flashes when Q is castable at max stacks
E - Hawkshot
I HELPED: Ashe now gains assist credit if a previously-unseen enemy is killed within 10 seconds of being revealed by Hawkshot
W cast time now scales with attack speed.
Helping Zap!'s cast time keep up with Jinx so casting it mid- or late-game doesn't feel like as much of a standstill.
W - Zap!
CAST TIME: 0.6 seconds ⇒ 0.6 - 0.4 seconds, based on attack speed (caps at 250% bonus attack speed, including bonus from Switcheroo!)
Q+E combo can now be buffered.
E - Acceleration Gate
BUFFERING: If Jayce casts Acceleration Gate during Shock Blast's cast time, he'll now ignore movement commands until both abilities have been cast
E teleports immediately; cast time now entirely post-teleport. Hextech Gunblade's active can be buffered.
These changes make Katarina feel more responsive to play without stripping away her opponents' ability to react to her decisions.
E - Shunpo
CAST TIME: 0.075 seconds before teleporting and 0.075 seconds after teleporting ⇒ 0.15 seconds after teleporting (Katarina now teleports immediately upon pressing E)
BUFFERING: Katarina can now buffer Hextech Gunblade's active to fire after Shunpo's cast time completes
Q stacks from large kills increased.
We're increasing the reward good Nasus players earn for prioritizing last-hits on big stuff. This doesn't affect stacks from smaller units, so the big dog's gotta land those cannons to make use of this buff. Plus 12!
Q - Siphoning Strike
LARGE KILL STACKS: 6 per champion, large minion, or large monster kill ⇒ 12 per champion, large minion, or large monster kill
Champion hits don't reduce Q's damage.
Buffing the dream Q that hits all five enemy champions in a teamfight.
Q - Boomerang Blade
DAMAGE FALLOFF: Hitting an enemy champion no longer decreases Boomerang Blade's damage against subsequent targets (tooltip will be updated in 9.2)
Q cooldown reduced while R is active.
This is a spicy buff to Vayne's mid- and late-game teamfighting for players who can train enemies down during Final Hour without getting bopped in the process. To the Vaynes of the world: Vaynespotting is still a thing, so be careful not to roll yourself into an early grave. At the same time, don't be skittish—if you Tumble without attacking, you're barely going to get anything from this buff.
R - Final Hour
(NEW) KEEP ROLLIN: Tumble's cooldown is reduced by 50% while Final Hour is active (reminder: Tumble's cooldown doesn't start until Vayne fires the empowered attack)
E root duration increased.
We're upping Xayah's unique ability among marksmen to keep enemies where she wants them as she tosses and recalls her feathers.
E - Bladecaller
ROOT DURATION: 1 second ⇒ 1.25 seconds
Q+W and E+W combos can now be buffered.
W - Rampant Growth
BUFFERING: If Zyra casts Rampant Growth during Deadly Spines' or Grasping Roots' cast times, she'll now ignore movement commands until both abilities have been cast
Unenchanted jungle items reduce gold received from minions if their owner has too much minion gold.
When preseason shipped, we pulled out the Monster Hunter gold penalty to see if other changes would naturally discourage gold funneling (higher tradeoff via turret plating, higher risk via minion and monster bounties). Funneling's made a small comeback, so we're adding a new version of Monster Hunter that's more graceful than last season's check on who had the highest CS.
MONSTER HUNTER: Hunter's Machete, Hunter's Talisman, unenchanted Stalker's Blade, and unenchanted Skirmisher's Sabre now reduce minion gold earned by 10 per minion if their owner's gold from minions is greater than half their gold from monsters
Hail of Blades
Attack speed bonus higher early; lower late. Attack resets no longer consume a stack.
Part of the reason Hail of Blades historically struggled to find a niche is that if you were a champion who cares about attack speed, you usually wanted to go Precision instead. Rune stats solved this tension but left a second unaddressed: Champions who want to open fights with quick bursts of attacks have reset abilities that overlap with one of Hail's empowered attacks. We're changing Hail of Blades to synergize—rather than compete—with attack resets.
ATTACK SPEED BONUS: 75-125% (levels 1-18) ⇒ 110% at all levels
(NEW) HAILSTORM: Attacks that benefit from an attack reset (ex. Jax's W - Empower) no longer consume a Hail of Blades stack
Attack speed rune stat increased.
Even attack speed-focused champs have been taking adaptive force in their the offensive slot, so we're buffing the attack speed rune stat to be more appealing.
ATTACK SPEED RUNE STAT: 9% ⇒ 10%
Movement speed bonus multiplier increased.
Celerity's established a stable of frequent users post-update: Hecarim, obviously, but Sivir, Aurelion Sol, and about a dozen more too. A slight buff will help it see situational use in the hands of others.
MOVEMENT SPEED BONUS MULTIPLIER: 8% ⇒ 10%
Shield Bash is performing well for tanks thanks to its max health ratio, but we want it to be a good option for other shield users/recipients as well.
DAMAGE: 4-21 (levels 1-18) ⇒ 5-30 (levels 1-18)
Local gold proximity radius on turret takedown increased. Additional radius for assists added.
The gist of these changes is that if you helped secure a turret takedown, you should get gold for doing so, even if you're not right next to it. This'll cover cases like a jungler going back to clearing or a low-health ally recalling in brush while their teammates finish the turret off. It also steepens the tradeoffs of funneling local gold into one player—allies will have to back off earlier to create sufficient distance, meaning the beneficiary will be left more vulnerable for a longer window as they try to solo the turret's remaining health down.
While we were adjusting the local gold ranges, we also slightly expanded the existing radius to handle instances where a teammate is posturing to keep enemies from jumping on the player burning the turret down, rather than damaging the turret themselves.
(NEW) ASSIST RADIUS: Champions within 2500 range who assisted in a turret takedown now also count toward local turret gold distribution (including first turret bonus)
PROXIMITY RADIUS: Champions within 1000 ⇒ 1200 range of a turret are counted toward local turret gold distribution whether they assisted in the takedown or not
FUN FACT: Turret plating already worked like this!
REMINDER: Unlike champion takedowns, there's no "assist gold" pool created when a turret falls. Local gold is split evenly among eligible allies regardless of who got the takedown.
The full patch notes, including bug fixes and more, can be viewed on Riot's official website.