All in all, despite snags early, where the Thunderlord’s Decree meta reigned supreme, with games where EVERYONE on both teams had it as their Keystone, the new Masteries introduced before Season 6 was a success. Still, Riot thought that there were improvements to be made, so that’s what they did. Let’s go through all of them tree by tree.
In Tier 2, Double Edged Sword was moved to Tier 4 due to its general usefulness throughout the whole game, while the second Tier is for Masteries, which are good early, but fall of late. To replace Double Edged Sword, Riot introduced Fresh Blood, a Mastery, which deals an additional 10 (+18 at level 18) damage with your first basic attack against a champion with a 9 second CD.
Tier 4 has Double Edged Sword (it now increases damage by 5%, but you also take 2.5% more damage), buffed Bounty Hunter, which now increases your damage by 1.5% instead of 1%, and Battle Trance, which increases your damage by 5% over 5 seconds, if you manage to stay in combat for that long. Now, it’s actually a somewhat difficult choice. You have to evaluate before the game whether you’re likely to kill at least 4 unique champions to pull ahead of Double Edged Sword. If you’re playing Jinx against Poppy, Nocturne, and Fizz, you really don’t want Double Edged Sword. Battle Trance is a bad idea if your champion and team comp aren’t likely to fight in prolonged fights.
Finally, Fervor of Battle got changed once again. Now, it won’t boost on-hit champions, granting AD instead. You will be able to stack it up to 10, however, the stacks will last 4 seconds instead of 6. With Battle Trance, this Keystone could provide some decent ramp up damage.
The Cunning tree isn’t really changed that much, a new Tier 4 Mastery, Greenfather’s Gift, has been added. It will help the champions, which like to step into a bush before attacking, do 3% of their target’s current health as bonus magic damage on a 9 second cooldown. This Master seems to be made for ganking, huh? The only other change is to Precision. Flat ArPen was replaced with Lethality, nothing to see here, really.
The Resolve Mastery was changed a bit more than Cunning; however, it’s still not really that different from what it was before. According to Riot, the Resolve tree did a good job at making champions tankier, however, it didn’t really reward them for playing like a tank should instead of just being beefy and doing whatever the hell they wanted. The resolve changes are geared towards fixing this.
The first change towards Riot’s stated objectives is the introduction of a new Tier 2 Mastery, Siegebreaker, which should help players to survive when they are pushed in and getting poked under tower, by giving them 8 armor and magic resist when near an allied turret. While decent early, this won’t break the game in late game, just as a Tier 2 Mastery is supposed to do.
Then, going further down into Tier 4, a new Mastery, called Fearless is introduced. This Mastery will give you 10% bonus armor and magic resist when damaged by an enemy champion for 2 seconds, on a 9 second cooldown. The point of this Mastery is to mitigate the initial burst of damage under CC, when a tank engages and starts the fight.
The final, and most impactful, change to the Resolve tree is the removal of Strength of the Ages altogether. According to Riot, that Mastery was good when picked by Tank Junglers, however, when it was not okay, when damage dealing Junglers felt that they had to pick it as well. So, Strength of the Ages has been replaced by Courage of the Colossus. This Mastery will give you a shield of 7% maximum health for each nearby enemy champion for 4 seconds after hitting an enemy champion with hard CC on a 30s CD. For the purposes of Courage of the Colossus, stuns, roots, suppressions, taunts, charmas, fears, terrifies, knockups, and knockdowns count as hard CC.
All in all, the changes aren’t TOO different. While some champions will lose their favorite Masteries, they mostly have alternatives to replace them. Hopefully, this will turn out to be better for the game as a whole.