Lifesteal nerfs in League of Legends coming to battle sustain meta

Aatrox in League of LegendsRiot Games

Among all the complaints about League of Legends in the last couple of years, sustain has been one of the biggest. Champions can heal too much with the plethora of options now. However, Riot is toning it back in their biggest pass of lifesteal nerfs yet.

Sustain has only gone up and up in League of Legends. Omnivamp is more prevalent as champions balance out the game’s high-damage meta with high amounts of healing.

Riot has done passes before to try and fix systemic healing in League of Legends. Enchanter supports were buffed, while items like Goredrinker were nerfed. However, the latest changes coming in League patch 12.6 are arguably the biggest yet, hitting almost every champion in the game.

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The developers are taking a two-fold approach, targeting both items and runes to try and make sustain less prevalent on Summoner’s Rift.

Order of the Lotus Irelia Wild RiftRiot Games
Sustain is once again being hit with nerfs in League of Legends.

Lifesteal item nerfs increase “the cost of sustain”

The first prong of the lifesteal nerfs targets items. League of Legends staples like Vampiric Scepter and Blade of the Ruined King are having their lifesteal cut.

While initial changes shifted power into other stats like attack damage, they are now just being flat nerfs — outside of a shield buff for Immortal Shieldbow.

“As a general principle, sustain (like any other stat) should come at a cost,” developer ‘TheTruexy’ stated. “If you want to deal a ton of damage, you usually sacrifice durability. If you wanna itemize to be a drain tank, you shouldn’t also present a high damage threat.

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“Imagine this as a systemic pass at re-evaluating the cost of sustain.”

Runes Fleet Footwork and Legend: Bloodline are also being toned back to stop them scaling so well into the late game.

Firecracker Jinx in TFTRiot Games
The latest lifesteal nerfs will hurt a majority of AD carries in League of Legends.

New Treasure Hunter rune replaces Ravenous Hunter

The second prong is the rune changes. On top of the aforementioned ones in the Precision tree, Domination’s Ravenous Hunter is being replaced by Treasure Hunter. The new rune now gives players bonus gold for their first takedown on a target, maxing out at 150 gold.

The total bonus gold is 550 after five unique takedowns.

“The goal of the rune here is to provide a different mindset and option for the Hunter row,” TheTruexy explained. “Instead of a slowly stacking scaling rune, this one is about spiking early and hunting down your final stacks.”

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The new Treasure Hunter rune is meant to be taken on junglers, but other roaming champions in top lane, mid lane, and even support could benefit from the early gold injection. It will ensure you hit your power spikes earlier than your enemy so you can snowball leads.

“It’ll definitely be niche in comparison to Ravenous Hunter,” developer Ray ‘Ray Yonggi’ Williams added on March 23. “Our findings from testing was that Junglers who could get a strong first two clears slingshot ahead pretty potently with this rune, so it could fit a high tempo jungle/roam playstyle.

Arcane Ekko.Riot Games
Treasure Hunter will be a top pick on snowballing junglers like Ekko.

Riot will be keeping an eye on some champions who used Ravenous Hunter for Omnivamp ⁠— namely AP fighters like Ryze and Cassiopeia ⁠— and see if any adjustments are necessary following its removal.

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“AP champions as a generalization do not need sustain as a core stat as much as other classes,” TheTruexy admitted. “Obviously there are champs that break these normal standards and we will investigate them as needed.”

The lifesteal changes will be shipped as part of League of Legends patch 12.6 on March 30. However, they won’t be the last.

“This is our first step into our initiative of holistically improving the sustain and damage levels in League. No public ETA yet for the rest of this project, but I can at least say it’s something our teams are prioritizing highly and iterating on constantly as we believe the League experience can be better with these parts of the game retuned,” Ray Yonggi concluded.

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It will be subject to change between now and then, and we’ll keep you posted with all the updates as they drop on the PBE.