12.18: The final patch before Worlds 2022

The “Worlds 2022 patch” for League of Legends is officially released, and it contains some important changes. Aimed at the current meta after 12.17, this new patch will likely dictate some of the meta shifts in the jungle and in the bot lane. Let’s take a closer look at what Riot Games has prepared for us.

As always, 12.18 is a small patch note with a small amount of important changes. The major ones were introduced in earlier patches to give players an appropriate amount of time while they prepare for the biggest tournament in League of Legends esports. You can safely say that most changes aim for the professional arena, though.

What changed in patch 12.18?

Let’s start with buffs. We got used to seeing Ashe as a support but apparently Riot Games is not happy about it, giving a boost to her attack speed. A Worlds special, a “fan and pro favourite” claimed by Riot, Lee Sin got some help. With an increase to his W and his health growth, he should have an easier time killing jungle monsters. Finally, another favourite support champion, Thresh is pushed a bit to get a place in Worlds 2022 champion pool.

We have seen Mao’kai in the SoloQ meta after a long time, thanks to some life-saver tweaks Riot introduced in an earlier patch. However, they were not happy with the increasing win rate and domination from the champion, forcing them to tune down his passive and E damage a bit and increase his damage to jungle monsters instead.

Udyr also had a wide adjustment as his durability is hurt while he is given more tools to deal damage like lower mana costs and higher scaling except for his R, which was a no-brainer choice until now.

Hecarim looked like an amazing choice in SoloQ right before Worlds 2022, but according to Riot, he was a bit too strong. His damage is tuned down a bit, but I am not sure if that will affect his pick rate at Worlds. Just like Hecarim, Miss Fortune also dominated the Rift in 12.17, and she needed a second nerf after the mid-patch nerfs.

The perfect choice on the bot lane in 2022; Kalista also had a small amount of health decrease nerf at 12.18. Kayn lost some power which wasn’t aimed at pro play, Lulu’s power is tuned down a bit, paving the way for the tanks instead of enchanters on the bot lane. Finally, Nocturne’s attack damage growth is tuned down a bit.

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How could these changes affect the meta at Worlds?

For starters, we were expecting Hecarim to be a dominant choice in Worlds 2022 after his surprising rise in 12.17. While the changes look small, they might affect players’ perception of the champion and he may fall behind other popular choices like Wukong, Poppy and Trundle from earlier patches that were quite strong in the professional arena.

Image via Riot Games

The buffs should definitely affect the meta, we have some strong Ashe players like Viper and Ruler attending the tournament. Lee Sin is an all-time favourite, and when there are highly-skilled support players in a tournament and Thresh is buffed, he is destined to be one of the most played champions. Add the demise of the enchanters on the bot lane to that, and Thresh becomes a perfect pick.

Finally, we might see Kalista leaving her place as number one ADC that should always be banned. While we expected Miss Fortune to enter the meta, the nerfs might turn her into a pocket pick rather than an S-tier champion.

It is very hard to guess something about Udyr and Mao’kai: teams will try them out in scrims and decide if they are viable. We will probably see them in the play-in stage first, and if they look strong, these two might make it to the main event also.