Hey, look! It’s the League of Legends 6.9 patch! Hahaha, 6.9, get it? Sixty Nine? Right? Yeah. Bad joke, I know. But it seems like Riot have taken the fucking around thing and have REALLY messed things up this update. Patch 6.9, also known as the Mid year Mage update and the time that Ziggs destroyed every tower ever, went and shook up the mages, giving some of them some unique boosts, others some unneeded buffs and others some nerfs for no real reason.
Unlike the other updates, the Juggernaut and Marksman updates, the Mage update has worked me up because it messes with Vel’Koz, my favourite champion, and in general a better version of Hermaous Mora. Now, Vel’Koz wasn’t a particularly interesting champion, but he had his own little niche of being that mage who doesn’t build tons of ability power and instead relies on building magic penetration. Well, did. He still does all that, but Riot wanted to shift all his power onto his giant laser ultimate and onto his passive (which scales slightly with ability power now), so everything else was made weaker. Basically, if you want the same damage as BEFORE the 6.9 patch, you need to land at least two of your abilities consistently, and do the same before you use your ultimate. If you DO manage that, great! If you don’t… Well, there’s a lot less room for mistakes now. Also, there is pretty much no reason for his first ability to refund half its mana cost on kills, since it’s a low-mana spell with a low cooldown, and there’s better spells for clearing minions anyway. No one WANTED changes, but we got them anyway.
Vel’Koz aside, most of the champions changed seem to fall into two groups – amazingly good and need to be tweaked, or clunky and weird to play. The later group is somewhat smaller but still weird. Cassiopeia no longer needs to buy boots, but her poison does seem better, even if you still end up spamming Twin Fang. Viktor and Xerath both ended up in funny spots. Zyra got a nice passive that isn’t useless, but her controls just seem off and she still hasn’t found her niche. The former group though…
We have to start with Malzahar. In a lane, Malzahar is kinda the same, because he lost some of his burst damage, and Voidlings are stupid. But Malzahar can now clear the jungle, the entire jungle, with ease. Including the new elemental dragons AND the super-buffed Rift Herald. Which is insane. With jungle control ruling the game, Malzahar is terrifying, nearly an instant-ban. Not as bad as Xin Zhao, or the entirety of seasons 1, 2 and 3 for Kassadin, but still bad. Which wouldn’t be a problem if there weren’t so many other ban-worthy champions. When there’s over a hundred champions on the roster and only three bans per team, what can you do?
Another totally fucked up champion is Brand. While Vel’Koz does extra damage if he lands 3 abilities, Brand does 12% of your maximum health as damage if he lands three abilities, and some of his spells are AOE, meaning he can EASILY spread that damage to the rest of your team. Oh and he has better scalings than Vel’Koz.
Overall, a lot of the changes just seem overall really out of place. Annie is a champion who is good all over the place, easy to play, somewhat effective even at pro levels. Yet she got a huge buff to Tibbers (her second biggest threat after using Tibbers and her passive stun together), and now Tibbers gets pissed off and chases you down when you kill Annie. She didn’t NEED a buff, but she got one anyway. Ziggs wasn’t exactly in a good spot, but he wasn’t in any way bad, he could have just used a few number tweaks. But nooo, Riot had to make his tower destruction even easier, by allowing him to instantly kill towers at 25% health with one spell. Anivia ended up with a buff too, despite being very easy to play and not that unforgiving. Loads of mages got random buffs in places where they didn’t need them, rather than looking at their huge weak spots.
Items are up and down too. The fact that Magic Resistance was so easy to come by made Mages weak, but that’s not a problem any more. Mana regeneration has been lowered on a lot of items, and ability power has been lessened in exchange for more cooldown reduction. The weirdest change is the removal of the ability to cleanse debuffs from Mercurial Scepter, something that was key to getting champions like Zed off your back. With that gone, champions like, um, Zed, have made a comeback too. But at least Grievous Wounds now affects all healing, so Soraka can be put back in her place.
The elemental dragons are something new. A little bit of randomness to spice up the random monster that isn’t Baron or the Rift Herald. Rather than giving pure gold, or small buffs, there’s now four random dragons that may spawn and give you ‘more visible’ buffs, all of which are replaced at the 35 minute mark with a super strong dragon that vastly increases any dragon buffs you already have. Neat idea, but I feel bad hitting these dragons. Why couldn’t Aurelion Sol look as awesome as these guys?
It feels like change for the sake of change.
On the plus side, a joke thread I made on the LoL boards a year ago suddenly became relevant. A new item has been added that lets Mages (or anyone who buys it), do a mini dash every 40 seconds. So now Vel’Koz (who is slow as fuck) has mobility too. Yay.
Thing is, the 6.9 patch is right in the middle of Season 6, which has already been a bumpy ride. I don’t get why Riot insists on making HUGE changes to the game in the middle of a season. It’s as if Valve decided to completely rework a third of the weapons in Counter-Strike half way through a tournament or something, or randomly buff and nerf an entire class of hero in Dota 2.
What’s the point of having pre-seasons, specially put to one side for these gigantic changes, if you’re going to shake up the meta every patch anyway?