[9 PM PST UPDATE: Added 20thCenturyFaux's post on the MYMU Brand direction!]
Today's red post collection includes the February early sales live through Feb 29th, DontHassleDaHoff on the upcoming store visual update, Meddler discussing the MYMU and Taric, 20thCenturyFaux's on the direction of Brand's mid year mage update, a new League Community Podcast discussing Mount Targon with Ant in Oz and Graham McNeil, and more!
- Red Post Collection: Flash on D or F, MYMU - Vel'Koz direction, Reav3 on Yorick & Champion Updates, and more!
- Patch 6.4 Notes
- 2/24 PBE Update: Elderwood LeBlanc, Hextech Annie, Cho'Gath icons, and ton of tentative balance changes!
Table of Contents
- February 25th Patch Update
- Mid Year Mage Updates- Brand Direction
- Store Visual Update Incoming
- February Early Sales
- LCP: Episode 11 - High Upon Mount Targon
- Meddler Grab Bag
- Elise SFX Bug in 6.4
- Patch Chat with Playtest - Patch 6.4
- [LAN/LAS] Fiesta de Máscaras
- Helmet Bro: The Animated Series - Garen
February 25th Patch Update
The official 6.4 patch notes have been updated to reflect a Fiora bug fix that went out to live on February 25th!
- OVERREACHINGFixed a bug that caused E - Bladework's cooldown to reset if Q - Lungewas cast during one of Bladework's empowered attacks"
Mid Year Mage Updates - Brand Direction
Following up on the Vel'Koz and Malzahar mid year mage update posts, here's 20thCenturyFaux discussing the planned direction for Brand's updates:
In keeping with the Vel’Koz and Malzahar posts, I’m here to talk about everyone’s favorite fire-haver, Brand! As with other mage update posts, this isn’t a changelist; there won’t be numbers or specific mechanics in here. This is about our thinking on the champ-- What we like about him, what we don’t, and what we’re hoping to accomplish with the update. For myself, I started playing Brand as he released -- the good ol days when his DoT had full return from spellvamp. Brand is the epitome of epic fire mage, and we mean to see him succeed in the modern faster-paced game.
We’ve been keeping an eye on Brand threads for a while and got a lot of extra discussion during the update post. Players seem to identify with two main souls in Brand—an explosive mage who burns people to the ground and a slow burn mage who eventually kills even the beefiest targets. Both of these work reasonably well on live -- there’s nothing in his kit that presents an unfulfilled fantasy as, say, Voidlings do on AP Malz. His core combo gameplay is fun and engaging.
Trouble is, Brand’s basic kit doesn’t have enough special stuff--he needs to have the best damage numbers to compete. Because of his lane dominance and difficulty surviving teamfights, if he’s not overtuned he has a hard time existing in a world of dashes and blinks. When he first came out, % max health damage was much more special than it is now. The Rylai’s + Liandry’s combo is the closest he gets; aside from those items, if there’s a reason to pick him, it’s typically because he currently deals the most damage. We feel the main thing he needs is a special contribution to the game, one that keeps with his theme of exploding enemies’ hitpoints.
Here’s where we think he’s at. Stuff that’s good:
Stuff that’s less good:
- Simple spells with room to express skill thanks to his combo system.
- % max health damage means he kills anything eventually -- an strength that goes well with his low mobility and moderate range.
- Twin souls – a burst mage with a respectable sustained damage pattern.
- Good counterplay and interaction -- Brand already has clear weaknesses that make room for epic strength, because his opponents have ways to act against him.
Here’s what we’re trying to get out of the Brand changes:
- Outside of Liandry/Rylai, there’s not much reason to pick Brand over other AoE mages unless he simply deals more damage than they do. Tough to balance.
- R acts like a violent slot machine, that unpredictability frustrates both Brand and his opponents. It tries to be controllable, but it often isn’t in practice.
- Great at obliterating individuals or pairs, but the fire fantasy could go farther—he doesn’t often get to burn everyone. Burning the world is a major thing for him.
- A bully in lane inherently due to passive and W, forcing him to fade into irrelevance unless he gets enormously fed.
That’s all the thoughts for the initial post. I’ll be away for a few hours – parents are here to visit, I’m showing them around the office – but I’ll be around to reply later today and off and on over the weekend.
- Brand should still play like Brand. He’s fun and surprisingly deep.
- Brand can still do Brand things—annihilates squishies when ahead, jungle ganks against him have big 1v2 turn potential, strong kill potential in lane (if less bullying).
- There’s a unique reason to pick Brand and it’s expressed in damage. Brand is a combo AoE fire man who explodes things. This will only become more true.
- The damage Brand deals should not require luck.
20thCenturyFaux"When asked about Brand's viability as a support, he noted:
"Quote:As for Brand's E, he commented:
Can we also acknowledge the brand support niche- it is viable and should be addresed in the update.Definitely. We're balancing for mid but ensuring support stays strong."
Are you looking at his E? It is probably the biggest contender for 'least interesting skill in the game' at the moment. It basically only exists so that you're not really giving anything up to set your passive up against a single target, and even if you do want to use E's bonus when the passive is up, you're probably gonna W first.
Also: What are your ideas for things he could do that other mages couldn't?
E's a tricky one. It's sort of a backup singer on Brand's kit--less exciting, but serves as glue to hold the rest together. On top of that, every time we try making E more awesome it gets mandatory to cast it in teamfights, which typically involves putting Brand way closer to danger than he'd prefer to be. We could just delete the spell and make a brand new one, but that'd take power budget--power that's got to come from somewhere else on the kit. Tricky!"
20thCenturyFaux also commented briefly on spell vamp changes as part of the MYMU:
Is spellvamp being reworked along with this mage rework?I think we're looking at the way you get spellvamp from items, but I'm not systems team so I can't shed much light on it."
Store Visual Update IncomingA visual update for the in client store will be hitting the PBE soon!
DontHassleDaHoff with more information from the PBE boards:
We're making some visual changes to the store and wanted to give you a heads up before everything goes live. We made the whole package visually match the client, Champ Select, and Hextech Crafting, which means a few buttons and bars got moved. Most notably, you’ll see that the navigation bar has moved from its old spot on the left side of the store to the top (see below).
Other changes include:
We hope you dig it. Let us know what you think. Thanks!"
- A more streamlined navigation bar
- A Gameplay menu featuring Runes and Boosts,
- An Accessories menu, including Wards, Icons, Chests and Keys
- A new Account Icon in the upper right, where name changes can be made
- A new RP button (ohhh fancy)
On under the hood changes, he added:
"We're definitely making some changes "underneath the hood." It's not final and the changes we've made will make it easier to continue to iterate more in the future. Having something that looks good, but isn't fast wouldn't be that great :/"
February Early Sales
The February early sales are here! Between now and February 29th, eight skins released over the last few months are available for a discounted price!
"The February Early Sale is officially here! To kick things off, the following non-Legacy skins from the past 4-6 months are going on sale from February 26 00:00 PST through February 29 23:59 PST!"
The March early sales have already been announced, look for them to hit the shop at the end of March!
LCP: Episode 11 - High Upon Mount Targon
Following the EXPLORE MOUNT TARGON and new champion stories, a new episode of the League Community podcast is out! Episode 11 sits down with two writers - Anthony "Ant in Oz" Reynolds and Graham McNeil to talk about the new story lines!
"Welcome to the latest installment of the League Community Podcast, a series in which we take you behind-the-scenes with the people who help make League possible. Expect new guests and new stories every couple of weeks or so, and make sure to hit us with those sweet comments and ratings so we can keep striving toward a Challenger tier podcast.
This week, Anthony “Ant in Oz” Reynolds (Foundations Lead)and Graham McNeil (Senior Writer) stop by to chat about the Targon stories and the team’s latest efforts."
Meddler has been bouncing around the boards discussing a number of champions and topics!
Meddler Grab Bag
Meddler noted again it would be after the next new champion but before the one after that:
"That's correct. Our current expectation is there'll be one new champion released before the Taric update based off current rate of progress on Taric."
When asked about the mid year mage update and how large the changes will be for the main six (Malzahar, Vel’Koz, Brand, Vladimir, Cassiopeia, and Zyra), Meddler commented:
"Still figuring that out, other pick mages/sustained damage mages are the most likely candidates however.
Also the changes to the core 6 won't all be enormous. They're the ones we're focused most on, and will involve some degree of art change (spell visual effects at least in each case). They won't all be 'big' updates though."
"Some item changes, almost certainly won't be as large as the marksman ones though."Meddler also briefly commented with some quick thoughts on Pantheon and his 6.5 PBE nerfs:
"Quick thoughts on Panth:
- He's currently too strong. We're looking at which spots we should remove power from as a result (ult CD refund being a likely target)
- He's a pretty distinctive dude gameplay wise, no need to add much extra distinction
- His pattern's pretty lacking in counterplay/interaction at times though (throw spears until low in lane, pretty set combo when going all in )
- Thematically he's a bit generic (he's a Spartan). His kit's reasonable cohesive with his theme and personality though."
"We think the 6.1 changes worked pretty well and have been good for him. We're not planning on doing any work on Morde in the near future, he's performing reasonably in multiple positions and there are other champs in need of much more immediate work."Meddler also jumped in to a thread asking about Draven's old bleed passive (removed in July 2013 and replaced the current LEAGUE OF DRAVEN passive) and thoughts on his current passive:
"We don't feel Draven's bleed passive was good for the game so reintroducing it's not something we'd want to test. Draven's current passive isn't perfect, but it does shift some of his power to later in the game, provides some strong highs/lows depending on when he can/can't cash in and fits pretty well with Draven's showman nature. His old passive by contrast made him both more of an early bully and made it harder to appreciate his exact damage output. Certainly sad about the loss of the blood brothers connection with Darius, we felt that was a case where gameplay had to take priority over thematics though.
As a side note we're not seeing any drastic drops in Draven's perfomance. Statistics aren't everything of course, looking at them though he's pretty much exactly average in win rate for experienced players, at both high and low elo."He continued:
"Some passives, such as Zilean's and Draven's, will stop contributing if a game goes long enough. Few games get to level 18 or 6 items though, so we feel that's an acceptable cost that's more than outweighed by the extra design space that interactions with gold and XP allow.
In terms of snowball a passive that offers future gold, with some requirements to get it, is significantly less snowbally than simply starting with substantially higher raw power from level 1 in lane.
Dependence on kill does have some downsides, both in terms of player satisfaction/expectations of kill ownership and team interaction. It does give some great game to game variance though and allows for some positive teamplay moments as well, particularly since putting kills onto a marksman is usually the correct play regardless"
Elise SFX Bug in 6.4
6.4 out to live earlier this week, a bug has been discovered preventing Elise's sound effects from working properly. Over on the boards, Riot Ranger XIV noted:
"We are aware of the issue with Elise. This is not a problem with your client, this is something that is bugged. Thank you for taking the time to post this and we are trying to fix the situations as soon as we can."Pwyff also noted on Twitter:
"HEADS UP: Elise isn't playing most of her sound effects in spider form. We're fixing ASAP but opting NOT to disable (non-game warping bug)."
Patch Chat with Playtest - Patch 6.4
Welcome back to Patch Chat! We’re Riot’s Playtest Team, a group of high ranking League players whose job it is to play the hell out of things (lane tests, competitive testing, etc) and give actionable, objective feedback to designers.
Every two weeks (concurrent with the release of patch notes), we’re going to be hosting a discussion here on the state of balance on the current patch. Take this opportunity to ask us any questions about the state of the game because, as we said, it’s our job to analyze it from all angles.
Today, we’ve got a grab bag of topics for you, with a follow-up on our sleepers post from last patch, predictions on the jungle meta after the Runic Echoes nerfs, and what the hell is happening to all of our beautiful markspeople.
One More Sleeper
Last week we put top lane Nautilus front and center in our predicted sleepers, and it seems like many other players had the same idea, waking the Titan of the Depths from his slumber. His play rate spiked by 125%, and his win rate climbed another percent, to just above 54.5%. Did you pick up top lane Nautilus last week? Tell us about it in the comments!
But there’s another best-kept secret just on the horizon, and it’s more than just OK. How do you deal with a meta where ADCs can go top, jungle, and bot all at the same time? Rammus, of course! With all that AD, this armordillo has powerballed to the top and is poised to take on all comers.
With the exception of Malphite, Dr. Mundo, Nautilus, and Vladimir, 16 of the 20 most-played top laners are AD-based. And while a few of them have the potential to bully, the notorious trio of snowballers, Renekton, Darius, and Riven, are all sitting below 50% win rates.
Rammus may have a weak laning phase but, with no bullies around to punish him, he’s taking his lunch money and cashing it in for some serious armor that most top laners and ADC’s can’t crack.
Rumble in the Jungle
The jungle has been more than a little mercurial lately, with juggernauts, devourers, and mages - oh my! - dominating the top 10 in both win rates and play rates, leaving tanks and warriors out in the cold.
Udyr? Let’s not forget that he’s getting his own personal nerfs!
Once the runic echo nerf hits live, however, we expect those AP junglers to take a decent hit, which means that the devourer junglers that aren’t nerfed (sorry Xin Zhao) will probably take the throne. My top bets? Master Yi and Shyvana.
Those champions have proven harder to deal with than expected, thanks to massive mixed damage: physical (auto-attacks), magical (Devourer/Guinsoo’s), and even true (Master Yi). But if you can’t join ‘em, beat ‘em. Devourer junglers are weak gankers early on, and early pressure junglers have a chance at snowballing lanes out of control.
But one champion has been absolutely burning up the jungle: Rumble. Everybody’s favorite scrapper is getting some serious changes, so we sat down with playtester (and former LCS player) Nicholas “Nickwu” Smith for his opinions on the new and improved Rumble.
I think this should be a pretty big playstyle change; it’s definitely a buff, but his win rate may drop to start as people figure out how to play it.
Rumble has more leeway on heat. For example if he gets up to 80-heat or so, he no longer has to ult immediately or wait for his heat to go down; he can drop one E for the slow, then ult, then finish off with the second E.
Rumble’s poking game is also definitely stronger now, but it’s not as secure as other poke champions. Like, if I’m playing Nidalee, those spears have sick range; I can sit back and throw spears and if I hit a fatty one, that’s money. If not, I’m not at risk. Rumble's low-ranged poke leaves him open to picks, but the strength of his counter initiation with Equalizer gives him some serious options to punish opponents who think he's an easy kill.
Of course, he should also still find a place in top lane, and these changes should buff him up a few percent, but he probably still won’t be a top-tier top laner thanks to his steep mastery curve.
What do you think? What new junglers will rise to the top?
Hitting the Mark
Our ranged auto-attackers are getting some serious changes in this patch, but two champions’ changes really stand out.
Jhin, The Virtuoso
Jhin has struggled in solo queue, despite already seeing LCS play.
After his games on the champion, Nickwu thinks that Jhin should feel significantly better on 6.4, thanks to an underappreciated change:
The biggest change to me is probably the Movement Speed. Since every auto-attack matters, moving around and picking the right auto-attacks will feel more fluid. On a character that absolutely needs to hit his autos at the right time, Movement Speed cannot be underestimated.
Deathfire Touch already does big damage on Jhin, thanks to his ludicrous bonus AD. Making his ultimate single-target will allow him to cash in some huge snipe shots in the late game, but might not be relevant in teamfights if you’re already getting the Deathfire Touch off on earlier auto-attacks.
There’s some nice usability buffs in there two; traps and the root are both easier to use, which should ease some player frustration.
Finally, Jhin’s passive is brought into consistency on towers. You already expect your 4th shot to be a fatty crit, so this should make Jhin feel more consistent when taking towers.
Caitlyn - The Sheriff of Piltover
Thanks to her synergies with Hurricane, Statikk Shiv, and Rapidfire cannon, Caitlyn has been seeing success in mid game teamfights and turret sieges. Traps are already especially potent around turrets, and this trap change is a buff that exaggerates Caitlyn’s strengths. We should see her dominate in fights around turrets and epic monsters. Maxing W increases Caitlyn’s highs, and will make it much harder for teams to claw their way back into the game when Caitlyn abuses her early game strength to get a lead.
What do you think? Who are your sleepers for 6.4? Are AP junglers still going to be strong on 6.4? Is Jhin OP or situational? Tell us below in the comments and feel free to ask any questions you have for Playtest Team at Riot, whether they be about balance or what exactly our job is! We will be around for the next few hours and will try to answer as many questions as possible.
Ben “Cezium” BurkhardtCheck out the thread for more discussion and responses from the team!
Adam "Afic" Cohen
Isaac “Azael” Cummings-Bentley
Shawn “I Am The IRS” Currie
Miles “Daydreamin” Hoard
Scott “Sickoscott” Hong
Mattias “Gentleman Gustaf” Lehman
Nicholas “Drecker” Shapiro
Nicholas “Nickwu” Smith
Blake “Ex Shepherd” Soberanis
Trevor “ThEntropist” Thernes"
[LAN/LAS] Fiesta de MáscarasFiesta de Mascaras is starting over on the LAN and LAS servers! With lots for the LATAM community to do and prizes to earn over the event, here's a set of art for all to enjoy!
Helmet Bro: The Animated Series - Garen
Last up we have a new episode of the Helmet Bro series - this time featuring Garen!
Previous episodes of the series can be found here.