Welcome to 7.1, the one where we play a little bit of catch-up. With the long break behind us and a month’s worth of data to sift through, we're hard at work building out a multi-patch plan of action to tackle some of League’s largest offenders.
With ‘multi-patch’ being the operative word, let's focus on what's happening in this one. With so many high-powered threats running amok in the wake of pre-season’s yearly shake-up, 7.1’s a little more nerf-heavy than your average balance patch. These range from some of our more-recent outliers (Camille and the newfound strength of the jungle) to some older faces perhaps-wielding-a-mythical-hammer-you-know-who-you-are. Once these broader fires are put out with this first salvo, we’ll get more focused.
It's not all doom and gloom, however! Though marksmen (and botlaners of all stripes) are feeling a lack of the ‘oomph’ they've been accustomed to, we come bearing gifts for those lowest on the sharp-shooting totem pole. We'll continue to evaluate the class’s agency in the grand scheme of things in the patches to come, but making Lucian not an active detriment to your team’s success is probably a good start.
Toss in some tinkering for the League Client Update and some sweet Warring Kingdom skins and that about does it for us. Stay tuned for future updates (and future firefighting) as we continue to rein it all in, and we'll see you on the Rift, lobbing hexplosives in your bottom lanes.
R flashes when it finishes expanding. Fixed a bug with R’s expansion time.
Anivia’s changes in 6.23 greatly increased the importance of Glacial Storm’s expansion mechanic. We’re adding a visual cue to signal when the storm’s fully formed.
Health per level down. Passive shield duration down. R stun duration decreased.
Let's face it - Camille is pretty darn strong. As a diver, she needs the mobility to isolate a priority target and the dueling potential to kill them when she does. We think she’s hitting that mark pretty well. However, every champion needs room to fail, and for divers, that means being killable when they dive the backline, and lower on teamfight utility when they play it safer.
Camille needs to give opposing teams a chance to cut her legs out from under her before she cuts them up. With her legs. At the moment, she’s too durable for that to be a reliable response, so we’re dialing that back a bit. Camille’s teamfight utility is providing her too safe of a fallback, meaning she doesn’t need to do that much diving for a diver. With a little less utility, we hope to require Camille to play a bit more aggressively, opening her up to focused fire (which should be easier against the new, less tanky Camille).
Q now has base damage and scales off bonus, not total, attack damage. W mana cost down at higher ranks.
Draven is the cocky showoff for the marksman who wants to beat his opponent into the ground and keep them there through the midgame. Ever since Youmuu’s Ghostblade’s changes, Draven has been struggling to stay ahead when he’s off to a good start. We want to restore that go-hard feeling, so we’re giving Draven some extra power where (when?) his victims will feel it most.
Rend keeps stacking while it’s on cooldown and only requires one unit kill for its mana refund.
Kalista’s a difficult champion to learn - on top of her mechanical requirements (ever hopped into the enemy team by mistake?), her abilities sit on the higher end of the complexity spectrum. The changes here are buffs for any Kalista player, since she’s had a rough pre-season, but are especially meant to ease her learning process by making Rend more straightforward.
Mantra’d W damage only ticks twice. Mantra’d E shield lowered.
For almost a year, Karma’s enjoyed a slow build-up into becoming the go-to generalist support among League’s top players. This stems from a change made all the way back in 6.6, where we aimed to give her scaling a little more ‘oomph’ so Karma could feel appropriately rewarded for a strong performance. We’re happy with her scaling, but amping up Karma’s base shield in the very same patch led to a massive performance bump that few of her peers could step to. In light of her dominant laning strengths, we’re reverting Karma’s base shield to its previous effectiveness while keeping her growth throughout the game intact.
Quickly addressing the change to Focused Resolve, Karma’s tether actually ticked for damage more often than similar spells. This meant that your natural counterplay (running away) was less effective than it should have been, since Karma would usually get most of the damage before breaking anyways. It’s important to note that while the overall damage of Focused Resolve is staying the same, losing one tick does interfere with her passive’s interaction with Mantra’s cooldown. We still think it’s an appropriate power-down for the Enlightened One paired with the hit to her shield, but we’ll be watching to make sure she doesn’t drop too far as a result.
Kennen's ultimate damage now weighted towards the end, not the beginning.
Kennen excels at destroying a whole team with area of effect damage when they have no way to escape, and that’s a cool niche for him to fill. Right now, he’s pumping out most of his damage before anybody has even had time to run the other way. We’re weighting his ultimate damage toward its later ticks so that Kennen shines when he manages to keep opponents in the storm even after the stun wears off.
Modernization on E and toning down damage on R.
It doesn’t take an experienced analyst to understand that junglers are a little out of line in 7.1. While we’re seeking to address their strength and gank uptime (more on that below), Lee Sin has unsurprisingly found himself at the top of list when it comes to effectiveness. Lee’s R-Q-Q combo is a death sentence to all but the most durable of champions, and while it’s been around for a while, the Blind Monk wasn’t enough of a problem for us to take action. Now that he’s back on top, we’re taking the opportunity to reduce the strength of the interaction - maintaining Dragon’s Rage as a powerful displacement tool, but cutting its raw effectiveness as a pure finisher.
Passive damage up at early levels. Q damage scaling increased.
Like Draven, Lucian has historically had a strong mid-game, out-dueling and out-skirmishing more traditional marksman. However, the Fervor changes and the armor penetration rework have left him feeling pretty underwhelming. We’re raising Lucian’s power earlier in the game so he can hit his mid-game stride (and actually do something with it).
Passive shield duration down. Snapcast ultimate damage halved.
Tanks should excel when locking up multiple targets in a teamfights, not when smashing laners 1-on-1. Poppy has been doing both recently, and that’s not cool. Fighters sacrifice teamfight utility for dueling power, and thus need to be able to slowly win trades against tanks and eventually go for the kill. Poppy tends to win trades against even strong duelists, as she consistently has a shield available, between her passive and Courage of the Colossus. On the other hand, her snapcast ultimate brings enough base damage to create kill pressure of her own, and make it dangerous to go all in. We’re hitting her power in both places to give more champions an opportunity to fight her.
Less shield and movement speed on Q
One of the goals of Ryze’s 2016 update was to diversify his strengths beyond raw offensive threat. Adding defense- and utility-oriented tuning levers meant we’d have the means to balance around his damage, not just the damage itself. That brings us to today. Ryze has retained his historic late-game potential, but he’s not struggling nearly enough to get there. Overload’s shield and speed boost are too effective a safety net, especially early on while Ryze is still scaling up. Making him more vulnerable to unfavorable matchups gives opponents a window to hinder his progression toward late-game carry status, but if Ryze can navigate the added risk, his payoff is the same as it’s always been.
W no longer deals extra damage to monsters.
We’re happy to say Shyvana’s recent ability update has improved the gameplay issues we were targeting, though she’s been somewhat overbearing since then. To bring her back in line, we’re targeting less-interesting strengths that accumulated on her kit over time. In this case, that’s the jungling crutch we added to Burnout a few seasons back.
W damage and ratio down. Passive W bonus changed. R cooldown up at early ranks.
As a burst mage, Syndra should always be able to threaten high-priority targets with lethal damage at the requirement of some optimization and set-up to realize her murderous desires. If you’ve played League of Legends recently, you can probably see that’s not exactly the case these days. This is large part due to the changes that came with Syndra’s mage update last year - namely, the consistency at which she’s able to be effective, not the effectiveness itself.
The largest bump to Syndra’s consistency lies in Force of Will’s ability to grab (and refresh) multiple Dark Spheres. Where Syndra players previously had to carefully time and optimize their spellcasts to get the maximum damage from Unleashed Power, they’re instead getting 7-sphere ults without much effort. Rather than cut the ceiling of Syndra’s damage (what’s a burst mage without burst?), we’re killing Force of Will’s multi-sphere action to restore the skill requirement for huge damage ults. She’ll still be able to hurl massive damage onto a single target when she gets rolling, but Syndra going off is once again a thing teams can stop rather than a foregone conclusion.
Q sustain up. Mana regeneration per level up.
Now that Talon’s update has given opponents the opportunity to fight back against his kill pattern, it’s safe for us to give Talon better fallback opportunities to recover from an unfavorable matchup. We’re giving League’s free-runner more room to interact safely with minions in situations where he’s relegated to farming under turret.
We've heard feedback around the clarity of Elementalist Lux's visuals, and have a few changes to address those concerns.
Portal cooldown and duration reduced. Voidspawn health scaling down and decay rate up. Voidspawn structure damage up.
Zz’Rot Portal should be the go-to defensive item for tanks who want to opt into a pushing strategy. However, we also want ZZ’Rot to be an engaging item that informs a tank’s playstyle, not something they fire and forget. The high travel range of Voidspawn gives Zz’Rot too much pressure even when its owner isn’t around to curate or replace it. We’re sharpening Zz’Rot’s power as the go-to tower-sieging item for aggressive pushers, while toning down its ability to control a lane from afar.
New mechanics come with some growing pains, so we’re still clearing up a few odd interactions with plants. Right now we see some room to add clarity and consistency by introducing a few quality of life changes that make the effects of plants easier to predict and read.
First clear experience reduced. Some overall clear experience funneled into Raptors.
With camps spawning less frequently but granting higher rewards, pre-season buffed early jungling four-fold. Junglers leave clears with more health, experience, and gold - and a longer stretch of time to flex those advantages before camps respawn. We made these changes to reduce the tradeoffs of ganking, with the flip side being a reduction in late clear payouts. Junglers have to make an impact on the game with their early power, else that power dissipates over time. That said, many junglers end up so far ahead of laners for so long that they’re dictating the early game.
In order to curb this dominance, we reduced Smite’s sustain partway through 6.24 and are following up by reducing first-clear experience. First buff + two small camps will still net junglers level 3, but it’ll take six camps to hit level 4, rather than five. With sustain and experience toned down, jungler gold pools may naturally fall in line as well. We’ll continue monitoring as the first few patches of the year progress.
(Side-note: while Crimson Raptor grants less experience than a little Raptor on paper, it’s a large monster so jungle items add another 50. Math!)
Most of Treeline’s map-specific champion balancing has, over time, been overwritten by assorted buffs, nerfs, and updates. We’re removing the last two cases (Syndra and Wukong) this patch.
That may sound odd, considering we ended the year by giving Shyvana a Treeline-specific way to stack her passive by killing Vilemaw. The difference: Shyvana’s passive was literally un-stackable on a map without Elemental Drakes. We expect champions to be stronger or weaker from one map to the next - hence the two changes below - but we don’t want abilities to be crippled entirely outside of Summoner’s Rift. Moving forward, we’ll continue to evaluate changes in this vein as champs are added and updated, but the days of map-specific balancing for strength alone are behind us.
R cooldown reduced to match Summoner’s Rift.
Passive scaling increased to match Summoner’s Rift.
We’re continuing work on performance and bugs while rebuilding legacy client features. More details below! Champion select animations have been given a big performance boost, and we gave a huge buff to Low-spec mode. We strongly recommend trying out Low-spec mode if you’re still having performance issues.
For questions about the ongoing client update open beta, check out open beta FAQ.
If you’re having technical issues preventing you from enjoying the game experience, know that you still have access to your legacy client. Just click “Launch legacy client” before logging in. You can also find solutions to most common issues in the Known Issues section of our support site.
Below are the major features added to the League client update this patch.
For those of you who haven’t yet opted into the open beta, we’re releasing another chunk of files (~500 MB) later with this patch. This download (and similar downloads with our normal patches going forward) will split the updated client into smaller chunks, reducing the final download size when it’s time to deprecate the legacy client. If you’ve opted into open beta, you’ve already downloaded these files, so you’ll be pretty much unaffected.
As a reminder, Snowdown Crafting materials (Snowdown Sweets and Poro King's Treasure Chest Fragments) will disappear on January 16th at 23:59 PT. Winter Chests, Snowdown Chests, Legacy Chests, and Poro King's Treasure Chests will remain usable but will no longer drop expired materials after that date. Make sure to finish your crafting before then!