I sat down with analyst and colour-commentator Alex “Nymaera” Hapgood to parse through the patch and pull out some of the most impactful changes - buckle up, and we’ll get into it…
(Picture: Riot Games)
The Biggest Winners
If there’s a name that should strike the fear of Nagakabouros into LoL players by appearing on the buff list, Akali likely tops it. Ever since her rework in patch 8.15 two years ago, the Kinkou assassin has proved a tour-de-force from solo queue to the pro level with her extreme mobility, stealth and raw damage. In recent patches though, she’s been glaringly absent.
However, a relatively light buff to her Five Point Strike’s base damage and AP scalings may well push her over the top in terms of 1v1s and wave-clear - particularly in top. Watch for her being picked into Mordekaiser; Nymaera reckons an already good matchup for the ninja just got better.
Buffs to Akali’s Five Point Strike. (Picture: Riot Games)
Joining the glorious evolution never felt so good. Viktor has already been surviving lane and reaching his hexcore upgrades with little issue, adding in increased AP ratios to his damage and shielding on Siphon Power only adds to the control mage’s survivability. Expect him to hit those mid-game team fights he excels in with even more reliability.
He’s also one of the big winners of the new Ghost changes coming in this patch (we’ll delve deeper later). Nymaera thinks Viktor is going to run Teleport and Unsealed Spellbook and look to regularly switch summoner spells to Ghost, or run Flash/Ghost with Aery or Arcane Comet for better trading and massive team-fighting potential.
Siphon Power ramps up Viktor’s survivability. (Picture: Riot Games)
The Biggest Losers
10.12 is a rough one for Yasuo, who’s been hit with dual nerfs. The first is a straight stat check: -33hp at level 1. This is alleviated by buffs to his passive shield, which means Yasuo players are going to want to play more around when their shield is up, lest they end up with a dwindling HP bar. The second is a hefty increase in cooldown to his Windwall, which now sits at a monolithic 30 seconds - one of the longest basic ability cooldowns in the entire game - opening up bigger windows to trade against Yasuo without his prized defensive tool, especially when it is universally maxed last.
Nymaera and I agree that this is likely going to impact bot lane Yasuo the hardest, and Riot communicate that sentiment in the patch notes, too. With the HP buffs to marksmen in 10.11, the overall HP differential between Yasuo and his opponents is even more pronounced, and with double the opponents in bot lane there are double the amount of skillshots that he needs Windwall for and double the people capable of poking out his passive shield.
The Way of the Wanderer will likely be leading Yasuo away from bot lane. (Picture: Riot Games)
Varus has been a terror in solo-queue and pro of late (he has a 100% ban-rate in the LPL summer split 17 games in), in particular, his poke build. While his build flexibility has always been a strength, it has been his Lethality/Arcane Comet combo that has been eviscerating the competition and Riot has knocked a sizable chunk off his Piercing Arrow damage.
Hopefully, for all those against the Darkin archer, his arrows will feel a little less like ballistic missiles as of 10.12. Don’t expect this to mean the end of Varus being a strong pick, however: the sheer utility of his ultimate, varied build paths and still good damage numbers on his Q leave Varus weakened but still extremely capable.
Lethality is looking less… lethal for Varus post-nerf. (Picture: Riot Games)
Broader Changes: Summoner Spells and Terrain
We’ve returned to Season 6, ladies and gents - Ghost is back.
The Summoner Spell now comes with an instant speed-boost in place of its old ramp-up time, and gets increased duration whenever you get a takedown while using it. For champions that love speed, brawling, team fighting and relentless aggression this is a Summoner for you.
Huge Ghost buffs put the Summoner Spell back in competitive consideration. (Picture: Riot Games)
This provides a hefty buff to a great many champions who love that empowered mobility. To name a few: Olaf, Master Yi, Vladimir, and fresh off a Q buff, Hecarim, who can all benefit from the target accessibility, and look to weaponise the time extension on-takedown to run down fleeing opponents. There’s room for control mages and team fighters to think about picking up the spell, too. Viktor has already been discussed, but the likes of Orianna, Cassiopeia and other Phase Rush users can certainly consider it as well.
Elemental Rift Changes: Infernal and Cloud
The last changes we are going to cover, are the changes to both the Infernal Rift and Cloud Rift.
Looking to double down on the explosive nature of the Infernal Rift, Riot are planning to add in a number of mobility enhancing Blast Plants to the Rift by Wolves, Gromp tri-brush, sidelane alcoves and next to each base’s gates. Blast plants already add in a level of additional agency and mobility to players and champions, offering even more of them and even putting them next to base gates sets up some impressive creative opportunities - not least for back-doors!
The Infernal Rift blazes into existence. (Picture: Riot Games)
If the Infernal Rift changes are big, then the changes to Cloud Rift are going to raise more than a few eyebrows. There are no less than 6 additional Scryer’s Blooms added to the elemental rift, and a whopping 35% move-speed increase for champions in the terrain speed zones and out of combat, up from a 20% increase that happened regardless of combat situation. This is especially impactful for pro-play, where vision, vision denial and map rotations are all extremely influential and are going to be significantly affected by the changes.
Patch 8.12 is live as of 10/06/2020.