League of Legends patches are normally relatively minor incremental things at this point—tweaking an item or two, rebalancing a handful of characters, maybe dropping a few new skins in. Not this week. Riot’s 5.16 patch notes make it sound like a patch on steroids.
There’s a lot of ground to cover here, so I’m going to break the updates down into several bulleted sections. You can also watch the TL;DR patch notes, which is a regular video series produced by the popular League-focused YouTuber Blakinola:
Here’s a quick rundown of my own.
As I previously reported, four different melee fighters in League are being reworked in an attempt to liven up their gameplay mechanics and make each of them feel unique and distinctive in their own special way. These changes to Garen, Darius, Skarner, and Mordekaiser were already live in League’s public beta, but now they’re stepping into the main game. Fans have been wary about some of the tweaks, many expressing particular concern with Mordekaiser’s rework. I suspect this won’t be the last time we hear from Riot about the new juggernauts.
You can read about the changes in more detail in my original post.
Alongside the juggernauts, 5.16 is adding four brand new in-game items, allegedly intended as “juggernaut itemization” tools. Saying that an item is only meant for one specific type of champion doesn’t usually work out well once League players get their hands on it, though—see Runeglaive Ezreal for a particularly famous example. So let’s just take a look at these new bad boys.
First, there’s “Dead Man’s Chest,” which technically already came into the game as part of the recent lore event that killed off and then promptly respawned the pirate champion Gangplank. It gives the wearer a big but temporary boost to mobility:
TOTAL COST 2750 gold
BUILD PATH Chain Vest + Giant’s Belt + 1000 gold
UNIQUE Passive - Dreadnought: You buildMomentum stacks while moving up to 100, granting up to 60 bonus Movement Speed. Momentum rapidly decays while under immobilizing crowd control effects, and decays slowly while slowed.
UNIQUE Passive - Crushing Blow: Basic attacks discharge all Momentum, dealing 1 bonus physical damage for every 2 Momentum. If 100 stacks are discharged, the damage is doubled; if this attack is Melee, the target will also be slowed for 75% (decaying over 1 second).
Sterak’s Gage gives a boost to health and attack damage, and also lets the wearer “hulk out” and go into a sort of defensive beast mode if they’re taking a heavy beating:
TOTAL COST 2550 gold
BUILD PATH Long Sword + Giant’s Belt + 1190 gold
BASE ATTACK DAMAGE+25%
UNIQUE Passive - Taking at least 400-1800 (based on level) damage within 5 seconds grants Primal Rage for 8 seconds. (45 second cooldown)
Primal Rage causes your champion to gain increased Size, +25% additional Base Attack Damage, and a rapidly decaying shield for 30% of your maximum Health.
Finally there’s Titanic Hydra, which gives extra health, attack damage, health regen, and even more stat boosts based on a champ’s current health:
TOTAL COST 3300 gold
BUILD PATH Tiamat + Giant’s Belt + 400 gold
ATTACK DAMAGE 50
BASE HEALTH REGEN+100%
UNIQUE Passive - Cleave: Basic attacks deal 5 + 1% of your maximum health to your primary target and 40 +2.5% of your maximum health as physical damage to enemies in a cone on-hit (your primary target does not take this damage).
UNIQUE Active - Crescent: Cleave’s damage to all targets is increased to 40 + 10% of your maximum health as bonus physical damage in a larger cone for your next basic attack (20 second cooldown).
Yeesh. These all sound like they’re going to pack a serious punch.
In their continued efforts to migrate farther and farther away from the beeftacular age beefiness dominated by super beefy tank champions, Riot is nerfing a number of popular defensive in-game items in League. These nerfs are mostly being countered by one or more additional tweaks, however. The damage-reflecting armor Thornmail, for instance, will now cost more and reflect less damage back to the person attacking whoever’s wearing it, but it will also scale with the wearer’s armor to become more powerful over the course of a match:
TOTAL COST 2100 gold ⇒ 2300 gold
REFLECT DAMAGE 30% of the attack ⇒ 15% of the attack
NEW: REFLECT RATIO Now scales with 0.25 bonus armor
Randuin’s Omen, meanwhile, costs less but also provides less health and armor:
TOTAL COST 2850 gold ⇒ 2700 gold
HEALTH 500 ⇒ 400
ARMOR 70 ⇒ 60
SLOW DURATION 2 (+0.5% bonus armor + 0.5% bonus magic resist) seconds ⇒ 4 seconds
NEW CRITICAL BLOCK Reduces incoming critical strike damage by 10%
The patch is also making a number of defensive items, namely magic resist items like Null-Magic Mantle and Spectre’s Cowl, a tad cheaper—likely to help counteract some of the effects of nerfing big-ticket armor items.
Speaking of counteracting the defensive item nerfs, the 5.16 patch is also boosting the base stats for characters who are most likely to suffer from the changes. Eight different characters are getting slightly better armor growth—i.e., the rate by which their armor increases each time they level up in-game:
- Tahm Kench
Alistar, Bard, and Thresh are all receiving similar boosts to their health growth as well.
There are a number of more robust character buffs than these small health and armor growth boosts, too. The popular but also very-hard-to-play-well blind monk warrior Lee Sin, for instance, now returns more energy than he already did when attacking bad guys thanks to a buff for his passive ability “flurry.” His super-powered kick “Dragon’s Rage” also deals an extra bit of damage based on a percentage (15, 18, then 21% as you level it up) of the target’s health.
Other buffs include:
- LeBlanc’s missile speed for her W and R is faster.
- Lissandra can now heal herself with her R.
- Nasus has more range with his Q
- Rammus deals more damage with his W.
- Teemo’s mushrooms reveal enemies that are poisoned by them (for the duration of the poison).
- Twitch’s Q costs less mana and his R does more damage late-game.
- Tahm Kench now stuns enemies after swallowing them and spitting them back out.
- Rumble’s R has a shorter cooldown.
- Volibear now “explodes in lightning upon casting R.”
- League’s resident gummy bear-esque creature Zac also got a big boost to his slingshot jump range, as seen here:
I should point out that there are also some minor nerfs in store for other champs. It wouldn’t be a League of Legends patch if there weren’t any nerfs!
- Alistar’s headbutt travels slower.
- Ahri’s passive heals for less.
- Elise’s Q deals less percentage-based damage.
- Kayle deals 5 less base attack damage.
Last but not least, there are some rad new champion skins coming into the game. My two favorites are Arcade Riven, which is part of a line of Arcade skins that transform characters into retro-themed video game versions of themselves:
...and Battle Boss Blitzcrank, which makes the notoriously-annoying-to-play against mech monster look sort of like Buzz Lightyear’s antagonists in Toy Story:
He even has a friggin’ cartridge on his back! Awsome.
The new gaming-themed skins also bring this excellent new login screen along with them:
Ah, League of Legends patches. Riot always knows how to offer up cool-looking champion skins as a chaser to the brutal shot players have to swallow whenever they see their favorite character is being nerfed or changed somehow.
There’s so much information to process in the 5.16 patch that I’d be lying if I tried to tell you that I knew what effect the update is going to have on the game once it goes live tomorrow. What’s particularly crazy is that Riot’s adding all these changes into the game with the World Championships barely two months away. Good luck adapting to all these changes in time, League of Legends pros. And remember to have fun, too!