Welcome, one and all, to the first patch of 2019! We hope the holidays treated you well and you're rested up and ready for a fresh new year of League. Let's get into it!
At the top of the notes you'll see a special section for Kalista, Ornn, and Sejuani, all of whom have been much stronger in pro play than regular play. In all three cases, we're reducing the utility they offer to coordinated teams and offering them strength that's less tied to perfect timing, positioning, or communication. From there, we move into the bulk of our champion changes which feature direct buffs to a bunch of marksmen. In each case, we accentuated the unique strengths or highest moments they're picked for, but the impetus for all of them is the same: Marksmen on the whole ended 2018 in a rough spot. We've got some item work in the patches to come as well, so 9.1 isn't the end of the road to recovery. After that, the balance updates wrap up with rune adjustments, including a usability buff to Hail of Blades for champs with attack resets.
Best of luck in your matches on 9.1!
Base AD, AD growth, attack speed growth increased; W Oathsworn AD bonus removed. Q damage increased. E deals less damage to epic monsters.
When we say "Kalista," League vets immediately think "nerfed because of pro play." It's been a minute since we've tried to shift her strength toward less team-coordination-dependent power, but we're taking a fresh stab at it here. Kalista's offensive strength is no longer tied to being near her Oathsworn and her ability to turn Rend into a better Smite is greatly diminished. In return, she's gaining a bunch of personal power she can use in any situation.
Q - Pierce
W - Sentinel
E - Rend
Base durability increased. Ornn's items upgrade at level 13 (2 max); he can upgrade one ally's item per level at level 14+. More upgrades added. Q cost, damage, slow decreased. W doesn't shield but makes Ornn unstoppable. R slow, knockup decreased.
While Ornn doesn't have as lengthy a track record of competitive problems as Kalista, he's similarly shown much stronger results in pro play. He has no losing matchups when strong, making him a safe choice in any comp, and his ult locks enemies down from a distance so allies can clean up the kill without Ornn actually having to do his job as a tank. We're reducing these strengths and investing that power into Ornn's passive. Switching to a free upgrade system gives Ornn a unique ability to jump-start the item scaling for both himself and his team: Rather than delaying progress toward full builds, upgrading an item is now pure upside.
Passive - Living Forge
Might of the Ruined King
Q - Volcanic Rupture
W - Bellows Breath
E - Searing Charge
R - Call of the Forge God
Base durability increased. Passive grants fewer stats but lasts longer. Q damage increased. W2 damage increased but slow falls off immediately. E deals more damage but range and stun decreased.
Third in our "powerful in pro, weak in regular" lineup is Sejuani. The broad angle of approach for these changes is "reduce crowd control and increase damage" to make Sejuani's success less dependent on ally follow-up (or set-up in the case of melee allies priming E). We're also reducing Frost Armor's massive spike of defenses to extend its duration and give Sejuani more baseline durability. This ties Sejuani's responsibility of soaking damage less to perfectly coordinated teamfight initiation, enabling her to better tank for her team throughout extended combat.
Passive - Fury of the North
Q - Arctic Assault
W - Winter's Wrath
E - Permafrost
E grants assists if enemies were previously unseen.
We're adding some personal reward for Hawkshots that enable Ashe's team to lock down a kill. (The Q change is a quality of life improvement.)
Q - Ranger's Focus
E - Hawkshot
W cast time now scales with attack speed.
Helping Zap!'s cast time keep up with Jinx so casting it mid- or late-game doesn't feel like as much of a standstill.
W - Zap!
Q+E combo can now be buffered.
E - Acceleration Gate
E teleports immediately; cast time now entirely post-teleport. Hextech Gunblade's active can be buffered.
These changes make Katarina feel more responsive to play without stripping away her opponents' ability to react to her decisions.
E - Shunpo
Q stacks from large kills increased.
We're increasing the reward good Nasus players earn for prioritizing last-hits on big stuff. This doesn't affect stacks from smaller units, so the big dog's gotta land those cannons to make use of this buff. Plus 12!
Q - Siphoning Strike
Champion hits don't reduce Q's damage.
Buffing the dream Q that hits all five enemy champions in a teamfight.
Q - Boomerang Blade
Q cooldown reduced while R is active.
This is a spicy buff to Vayne's mid- and late-game teamfighting for players who can train enemies down during Final Hour without getting bopped in the process. To the Vaynes of the world: Vaynespotting is still a thing, so be careful not to roll yourself into an early grave. At the same time, don't be skittish—if you Tumble without attacking, you're barely going to get anything from this buff.
R - Final Hour
E root duration increased.
We're upping Xayah's unique ability among marksmen to keep enemies where she wants them as she tosses and recalls her feathers.
E - Bladecaller
Q+W and E+W combos can now be buffered.
W - Rampant Growth
Unenchanted jungle items reduce gold received from minions if their owner has too much minion gold.
When preseason shipped, we pulled out the Monster Hunter gold penalty to see if other changes would naturally discourage gold funneling (higher tradeoff via turret plating, higher risk via minion and monster bounties). Funneling's made a small comeback, so we're adding a new version of Monster Hunter that's more graceful than last season's check on who had the highest CS.
Hail of Blades
Attack speed bonus higher early; lower late. Attack resets no longer consume a stack.
Part of the reason Hail of Blades historically struggled to find a niche is that if you were a champion who cares about attack speed, you usually wanted to go Precision instead. Rune stats solved this tension but left a second unaddressed: Champions who want to open fights with quick bursts of attacks have reset abilities that overlap with one of Hail's empowered attacks. We're changing Hail of Blades to synergize—rather than compete—with attack resets.
Attack speed rune stat increased.
Even attack speed-focused champs have been taking adaptive force in their the offensive slot, so we're buffing the attack speed rune stat to be more appealing.
Local gold proximity radius on turret takedown increased. Additional radius for assists added.
The gist of these changes is that if you helped secure a turret takedown, you should get gold for doing so, even if you're not right next to it. This'll cover cases like a jungler going back to clearing or a low-health ally recalling in brush while their teammates finish the turret off. It also steepens the tradeoffs of funneling local gold into one player—allies will have to back off earlier to create sufficient distance, meaning the beneficiary will be left more vulnerable for a longer window as they try to solo the turret's remaining health down.
While we were adjusting the local gold ranges, we also slightly expanded the existing radius to handle instances where a teammate is posturing to keep enemies from jumping on the player burning the turret down, rather than damaging the turret themselves.
Pinging these abilities will now let your team know which targets are in range!
- Galio's R - Hero's Entrance
- Nocturne's R - Paranoia
- Pantheon's R - Grand Skyfall
- Yasuo's R - Last Breath
- Caitlyn's R - Ace in the Hole
- Lux's R - Final Spark
- Twisted Fate's R2 - Gate
- Jhin's W - Deadly Flourish and R - Curtain Call
- Ziggs' R - Mega Inferno Bomb
- Xerath's R - Rite of the Arcane
Abilities with Detailed Information
These frequently requested ping improvements give teammates more relevant information.
- Draven's Passive - Adoration: Current stacks
- Heimerdinger's Q - H-28G Evolution Turret: Number of turrets available or time until next turret if none are available
- Kassadin's R - Riftwalk: Time until stacks expire if Kassadin is unable to cast Riftwalk due to having too many stacks
- Kayn's Passive - The Darkin Scythe: Time until other form is available if Kayn's already unlocked a form
- Kog'Maw's R - Living Artillery: Time until stacks expire if Kog'Maw is unable to cast Living Artillery due to having too many stacks
- Mordekaiser's R - Children of the Grave: Remaining ghost duration
- Nasus's Q - Siphoning Strike: Current stacks
- Soraka's W - Astral Infusion: Now indicates when Soraka is unable to cast Astral Infusion due to having too little health
- Veigar's Passive - Phenomenal Evil Power: Current stacks
- Smite, Challenging Smite & Chilling Smite: Amount of damage dealt to monsters
We're improving the way the HUD communicates remaining duration for a bunch of abilities, which were previously tracked only via the little icons in your buff bar. The breakdown below was based more on what felt right than on immutable rules, but let us know if there are other abilities you think should get this treatment!
Remaining duration bar
- Alistar's E - Trample and R - Unbreakable Will
- Braum's E - Unbreakable
- Corki's E - Gatling Gun
- Dr. Mundo's R - Sadism
- Illaoi's R - Leap of Faith
- Jax's R - Grandmaster's Might
- Karthus's Passive - Death Defied
- Kayle's E - Righteous Fury
- Master Yi's R - Highlander
- Miss Fortune's W - Strut
- Mordekaiser's R - Children of the Grave ghost duration
- Nasus' R - Fury of the Sands
- Olaf's W - Vicious Strikes and R - Ragnarok
- Rammus' Q - Powerball, W - Defensive Ball Curl, and R - Tremors
- Renekton's R - Dominus
- Rengar's R - Thrill of the Hunt
- Shyvana's W - Burnout
- Singed's R - Insanity Potion
- Sivir's R - On the Hunt
- Tristana's Q - Rapid Fire
- Tryndamere's R - Undying Rage
- Twitch's Q - Ambush and R - Spray and Pray
- Vayne's Q - Tumble empowered attack window and R - Final Hour duration
- Viktor's R - Chaos Storm
- Volibear's R - Thunder Claws
Time to recast border
- Garen's Q - Decisive Strike empowered attack window and movement speed
- Gragas's Q - Barrel Roll
- Kassadin's W - Nether Blade empowered attack window
- Kha'Zix's R - Void Assault
- LeBlanc's W - Distortion and R - Mimic'd Distortion return window
- Lux's E - Lucent Singularity
- Nasus' Q - Siphoning Strike empowered attack window
- Renekton's E2 - Dice
- Riven's R2 - Wind Slash
- Twisted Fate's W - Pick a Card and R2 - Destiny
- Volibear's Q - Rolling Thunder empowered attack window and movement speed
- Yasuo's Q2 - Steel Tempest
- Zed's W - Living Shadow and R - Death Mark return window
- Xin Zhao's R - Crescent Guard no longer deals more damage than intended when Xin Zhao hits multiple enemies
- Neeko's minimap and announcement banner icons no longer gets stuck for enemies as the ally she transformed into if her Passive - Inherent Glamour breaks in fog of war
- Varus' E - Hail of Arrows slow zone VFX no longer fail to appear if Varus cast Hail of Arrows from fog of war
- Sterak's Gage's tooltip now shows the exact amount of damage required to trigger its shield as well as the exact shield granted
- Jarvan IV's Passive - Martial Cadence no longer deals damage through Pantheon's Passive - Aegis Protection
- Death's Dance no longer grants Urgot an excessive amount of healing against Tryndamere's R - Undying Rage or Anivia's Passive - Rebirth
- Rengar's hands once again glow when he reaches maximum Ferocity
- Fixed Q - Savagery activation and trail VFX for base, SSW, Headhunter, and Night Hunter Rengar
- Fixed Empowered Q - Savagery stab splash VFX for base, SSW, Headhunter, and Night Hunter Rengar
- Fixed R - Thrill of the Hunt activation VFX for Headhunter and Night Hunter Rengar
- Rengar's target once again glows during R - Thrill of the Hunt for base, SSW, Headhunter, and Night Hunter Rengar
- Zombie Brand's VO lines no longer overlap
- Battle Boss Ziggs' R - Mega Inferno Bomb no longer uses classic VFX for long-range casts
- Fixed an issue where Ranked Armor would occasionally appear blurry at some resolutions
- Fixed summoner icons not being properly centered in Ranked Armor
- Fixed the "Add Friend" button overlapping with the game header in lobby when looking for a match
- Fixed Ranked Armor hiding the speech indication from League Voice when looking for a match: The armor's faceplate will now be backlit when players are speaking