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Patch 7.18: The World Championship Edition

September 13, 2017 - Esports
Patch 7.18: The World Championship Edition

Today, on Sept. 13, Riot Games have released patch 7.18, which is going to be the one League of Legends World Championship is going to be played on. While some problematic areas were left untouched, Riot did fix some other things which should have a considerable impact to the meta of the upcoming Worlds, which is set to start with the Play-In stage on Sept. 23.
Going through the patch notes, the first thing that concerns the current competitive meta is a tweak of Cassiopeia’s Twin Fang. Its base bonus damage to poisoned targets was reduced to 10/30/50/70/90 from 15/40/65/90/115, while increasing the AP ratio by 0.1, to 0.5 ability power. This change is geared towards making the decision to buy Abyssal Mask instead of a damage item more difficult. By building damage, players will make up for the nerf but will face a more noticeable damage drop-off in situations where Abyssal Mask is necessary. Despite the change, the Abyssal Mask build path shouldn’t be completely eradicated because sometimes, the damage isn’t really required in competitive matches.
Next, Elise got her damage potential reduced when building off-tank. Her Volatile Spiderling base damage is now 55/95/135/175/215, down from 60/110/160/210/260, though scaling of the ability will be increased to 0.95 ability power from 0.8, seemingly to encourage people to build her more as an AP champion and less as a tank. Elise’s Rappel cooldown was also increased at higher ranks, to 26/24/22/20/18 seconds, which won’t be very impactful because you don’t see many Elise players Rappeling twice in a teamfight anyway, even before the cooldown was increased.
There’s a possibility that Fiora will come back to the competitive meta after a slight buff to her Passive’s bonus movement speed (it’s now 20/30/40/50%, up from 15/25/35/45%) and Riot’s decision to reverse a nerf that axed her bonus movement speed from the passive while in the circle of the Grand Challenge. With some other changes which brought tanks a bit more in line, which we will discuss later, the metagame might turn towards more damage threats instead of tanks, which would make Fiora a more attractive pick at Worlds.
Gnar also received a mini-nerf, reducing its base health from 540 to 510. While it might have an effect in Solo Queue, it shouldn’t be considerable enough to really affect the champion’s pick rate among the best players in the world, because they should be skilled enough to work around the 30 health difference.
Gragas got a slight nerf which might have a big impact. First, his base armor was decreased by 3, which can be compensated with runes. More importantly, the collision detection radius of his Body Slam was nerfed to 180, the hitbox offset radius to 40, and the indicator was modified accordingly. Gragas was one of the staple picks in the current meta, mostly due to the reliable engage his Body Slam provided. The same kind of thing will still be possible, it will just be slightly harder, so people should still be picking Gragas at Worlds.
Ivern might find a way back into the Worlds meta after the slight buff to its Triggerseed, which increased its base explosion damage to 60/80/100/120/140 and AP ratio to 0.8 ability power, up from 0.7. Jarvan IV received a slight nerf to its base shield from Golden Aegis and a more serious nerf to the bonus shield. It will now scale on 2/2.25/2.5/2.75/3% of the champion’s maximum health instead of 2-4%. Still, Jarvan IV wasn’t picked for his shield. His real power lies in the E + Q combo and the Ultimate, so it’s still a viable pick.
Kalista’s Ultimate cooldown was nerfed to 150/120/90 seconds, up from 120/90/60. This will have no effect to her early game and late game because true windows of opportunity to use the ult aggressively don’t come every 150 and 90 seconds, but the difference could be felt in the mid game, where skirmished break out often and all over the map. This might make Kalista get picked less often because the mid game is where she was always the strongest. Still, it’s not likely that she will simply disappear in competitive.
Lee Sin got a buff to his early game survivability while ganking due to the buff to his early game shield. The base shield will now be 55/110/165/220/275, when it used to be 40/100/160/220/280. Lucian’s Relentless Pursuit cooldown also got tweaked, increasing it in the early and midgame but leaving it the same when maxed out to give opponent mid laners and junglers more opportunities to take advantage of his early and in mid game. While this will be felt in Solo Queue, the best teams in the world should be able to work around it sufficiently to keep Lucian mid in the meta.
Nidalee is also receiving a slight buff to her utility in the form of ratio adjustments for Primal Surge. The minimum ratio will now be 0.325 ability power with 0.65 as the maximum. This might just bring back Nidalee in the competitive meta, especially if people start buying more Support-y items like Ardent Censer on her.
Next up, we have changes to two of the more dominant bot lane champions, Rakan and Tristana. Rakan has been one of the most reliable engaging supports in the game for a while now, but his late game engage prowess is getting nerfed. Grand Entrance will now dash at 2050 speed (up from 1800) but scale off of 30% movement speed instead of 100%, while the collision detection radius of The Quickness is down from 200 to 150, with its cooldown down to 120/100/80 seconds, which won’t really have that big of an effect.
Tristana has earned herself the title of one of the best AD Carries in the game with good laning phase due to the damage from Explosive Charge and almost unparalleled late game power due to the attack speed steroid, gap closer, and range. The bomb ratio was nerfed to 0.5/0.6/0.7/0.8/0.9 bonus attack damage and the 4-stack bomb ratio was also reduced to 1.1/1.32/1.54/1.76/1.98. This will make Tristana less stifling in lane while keeping most of her late game power. She will still be picked, but opponents will have more room to stand up to it.
Some items also received changes. Cinderhulk Enchantment’s health was reduced to 300, Frostfang will now give 10% cooldown reduction, which will make it a more attractive option for supports which can use either Ancient Coin or Spellthief’s Edge. Gargoyle Stoneplate will now grant base health equal to 40% (or 100%) base health and bonus health equal to 40% (or 100%) bonus health, its health won’t scale with Stoneborn Pact and Nunu’s Consume Well Fed buff and correctly interact with Cinderhul. The item will still be bought when appropriate.
Knight’s Vow was made a little bit less of a no-brainer item for tanky junglers. While it will cost 2200 gold instead of 2300 gold overall, the item will also give 100 less health, which makes it less worth it for the richer members of the team, while maintaining its position as an attractive item for tanky supports which want to protect someone on their team.
All of these changes should change the metagame a little bit, but not too drastically. Champions like Nidalee and Lee Sin should become a little bit more popular, especially with the less attractive jungle tank item path from the Cinderhulk and Knight’s Vow nerfs. Rakan might become a little bit less popular, the same is true for Tristana.