The reign of burst damage is over, patch 12.10 brought a new balance to the League of Legends world. Riot Games couldn’t turn a deaf ear to the complaints of the players anymore, as they admitted that things have gone out of their hands at some point. Which brings us to the new dynamics of League of Legends that is similar to the pre-2018 game.
After the terror of tanks in 2016-17, which ended up in team comps that had a single aim, protecting the ADC, Riot Games changed the course of the game drastically, which resulted in significantly shorter games and bruisers taking over the meta from tanks. Riot Games says they will now use extreme measures to change that and find a balance between the two after five years.
As mentioned before, the main goal behind this patch was to increase champion durability, nerfing heals, shields and sustain, making team fights and as a result, games, longer. It’s still a new patch but Riot’s aim is clear and they will keep introducing buffs/nerfs to maintain the balance, and for now, things seem to be going the way they intended to.
All champions start with more health and will gain more health, armor and magic resistance per level. Grievous Wounds, the mechanic that decreases heals, is significantly nerfed, just as every shield, heal and omnivamp mechanic in the game. Obviously, some champions suffered more from these changes and some didn’t, and Riot had to balance that.
They introduced mid-patch updates to get Diana, Draven, Kled, Renekton, Vladimir and Yuumi back into the game, while nerfing Anivia, Taliyah, Kayle, Vayne and Senna to tune them down a little.
Where could the meta shift in esports?
Longer team fights and more durability means that tanks will now have a better time in League of Legends. Although they came in and left from time to time, bruisers have been the better choice as they could bear more damage and deal more damage. The tanks that made their way into the meta were nerfed occasionally because it meant something was wrong. Or they were simply played because it was easier to make them work in professional play than SoloQ.
However, tanks having a better time means that the tank killers are also having a better time. With more durability which helps them stay alive during the laning phase and scale, and the opportunity to kill tanks while doing that, Vayne and Kayle prospered in the top lane. Following them are champions like Fiora, Olaf, Darius, and other tanks, obviously. Although we don’t see much Vayne or Kayle in top lane, players love to show their Fiora skills on professional settings.
With her “fasting” style, Senna also took over the meta, used with a variety of champions and there aren’t many counter picks that could stop her success. Aside from Renata Glasc and other enchanter supports, damage supports like Xerath also found their way into the meta, leaving the tank supports behind.
So, it turns out that improving overall durability didn’t automatically mean tanks ruling the world. If you don’t have many options in your team that could kill tanks like a hyper carry or a Fiora coming down from the top lane, you will struggle and you might even lose a game against a mid Garen. Still, that doesn’t mean tanks are unstoppable.
To get more damage from bot lane and threaten the enemy tanks, the meta will probably shift to Kraken Slayer - Lord Dominik’s Regards Jinx, Aphelios and obviously, Vayne. Even Kog’Maw could easily find a place in this meta. However, we still don’t know if there are some broken builds that need to be fixed by Riot Games. Keep your eyes open!
SoloQ is already showing signals
The new Olaf has already become a top choice for top lane and these new changes helped him a lot, but it isn’t just him. Fiora, Darius, Kayle and Mordekaiser stand out as great choices. They now have more tools to stay alive, scale and defeat their enemies while doing that.
Bruisers went back to the jungle as they did once with Wukong, Rengar and Kayn being the top choices. They can both take down the enemy marksman and take the bruiser route to show up at team fights. AP champions are also coming back, with Lillia, the newly-buffed Taliyah and Diana having more than 50% win rate.
Mid lane had their strong champions, Ahri and Veigar, and Taliyah entered the meta there too. Anivia and Kassadin followed them back, as they can go through the laning phase more easily.
Bot lane is now ruled by Senna, and if she is absent, the only choice seems to be enchanter/mage supports with Lucian, Kog’Maw, Vayne and Twitch. Jhin also survived the meta shift, as he deals significant damage with a lot of extra tools that makes him a perfect choice.
In short, the current situation in SoloQ tells us that Riot Games achieved what they aimed for now. Champions stay alive and scale better, so those who need time and resources to get stronger have more chances to do that, such as Kayle, Anivia or Kog’Maw.
About the overall game length, team fights duration and other stats, we will have to wait for Riot Games to make another announcement to have a definitive call for that.
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