Another week, another patch is rolled out for League of Legends. As is customary with patches that include a new champion or rework, patch 7.6 is a little light on actual balance changes. Worry not, there’s still plenty to talk about her, and I will be covering the highlights and talking about how I think the meta will be affected, if at all. As for Galio, fear not, I will be covering him in-depth in a separate article.
The first order of business I want to bring up is the changes to Aatrox included in this week’s patch notes. Technically, the changes Riot listed in patch 7.6 were hotfixed into the game mere days after patch 7.5 went live because, big surprise, Aatrox was practically unplayable. He was losing trades against virtually every top laner and was rarely able to reach the late game drain-tank dream that Riot was convinced he could become. It was so bad that Aatrox’s win rate dropped to a shocking thirty-five percent. Now, while win percentage doesn’t tell the whole story, this is still horribly low. To put it in perspective, the lowest win rate percentage ever recorded was Syndra on her release, at an abysmal twenty-seven percent. So while this wasn’t quite that bad, it was well on its way to becoming so, meaning that Riot had to act quickly. They upped Aatrox’s base health, lowered the cooldown on his Dark Flight and increased the damage part of his Blood Price. All of these changes were tilted towards Aatrox’s early game strength, which should hopefully allow Aatrox players to feel a little better about locking him in. Personally, I still don’t think Aatrox is in a great place right now. He wasn’t exactly an interesting champ before the changes, but at least he was playable. Now, he’s still not interesting, and even less playable. Hopefully Riot has a larger scale champion rework in store for the Darkin Blade further down the line.
There was a particular set of changes included in this patch that I think were very necessary, not for professional play, but for us poor solo queue players. With the rise of lethality items, there has been a steady increase of Quinn play over the past few patches. Generally taken in a solo lane, Quinn has good early game strength and quickly turns into a mobile assassin once she gets a few items. Now, this isn’t to say that Quinn has completely taken over solo queue, or that she’s broken by any means, but she was becoming frustrating to play against once she got ahead, and there aren’t many champs who can stop her from getting ahead during the laning phase. To combat some of her explosive power, Riot took a huge chunk out of the damage portion of her ultimate, dropping the total attack damage ratio from one hundred percent to just forty percent. To compensate, they greatly increased the late game bonus attack speed she gets from attacking one of Valor’s targets, in the hopes of making her a better duelist late game, and not someone who relies on blowing up one target and then dying shortly after. I would imagine that many Quinn players will be disappointed by these changes, as it will now be much harder to fly around the map, eviscerating any squishy target who happens to stray too far from their lane, but I think these changes are for the best. They’re more in line with her champion identity of a mobile duelist, and not a dive bomber.
Let’s be honest here: Fiddlesticks is a silly champion. Good Fiddlesticks players will have you running in terror, and the average player will Crowstorm into a fight and probably die. Skill level aside, part of Fiddlestick’s current problem is that he doesn’t really fit in anywhere. He’s a gimmicky support at best, he finds himself outranged by champions like Lux, Syndra and Cassiopeia in the mid lane and in his supposed “main” role in the jungle, Fiddlesticks is outclassed in almost every way by almost every other jungler. Fiddlesticks just doesn’t have the tools to farm the jungle quickly, and even tank champions like Sejuani and Amumu, who don’t have very fast clear speeds offset their weaknesses by bringing hard crowd control to the table. To help with this, Riot changed how Fiddlestick’s Drain works by having the remaining duration applied as cooldown reduction if Drain’s target dies. This is important as it greatly helps with his clear speed, allowing Fiddlesticks to chain his Drain against low health jungle monsters like the small Raptors and the mini Krugs. The other change that Riot gave the old scarecrow this patch is an increase to the range of Terrify. This is another good benefit to Fiddlesticks outside of the jungle, as it allows him to start fights from a little farther away, making him more useful in teamfights and a little less vulnerable in lane. While I don’t think that either of these changes will turn Fiddlesticks into a solo queue monster, I think they’re some nice quality of life improvements that regular players of the Harbinger of Doom will appreciate.
The last big changes that caught my eye this patch are a set of follow-up buffs after the big hit that Riot dealt to some of the top marksmen in patch 7.5. While Jhin is still holding strong, Miss Fortune and Varus have fallen off a bit more than Riot intended. The buffs to both of these champions aren’t huge, as Riot is still pretty nervous about enabling the Holy Trinity of lethality marksmen again, but they’re a nice gesture to fans of the champions. For Miss Fortune, they gave a little bit of the power they stripped away from Double Up back, although it’s still technically weaker than it was before Patch 7.5. This will allow Miss Fortune to hold her own a little better in lane and still be a threat to enemies early on before she has her big items. As for Varus, they took away the anti-cooldown scaling from his Piercing Arrow. What the heck even is anti-cooldown scaling you ask? So, in patch 7.5, Riot increased the base cooldown on Varus’ Piercing Arrow so that his poke wasn’t quite as oppressive. To compensate, they made it so that if Piercing Arrow detonated a Blight stack, which have to be applied by Varus’ auto attacks, then the cooldown would be reduced by four seconds. As Varus players built cooldown reduction however, the amount of time taken off Piercing Arrow when it hit a blighted champion went all the way down to less than two seconds. Riot decided that this was a little much, so they took away the anti-scaling, so now Varus players will get a flat four seconds off the cooldown of Piercing Arrow, a nice reward for weaving their auto attacks in between abilities. As mentioned earlier, neither of these changes are monumental, but I’m glad to see Riot giving a little love back to two champions who, before the advent of lethality, were pretty low down on the marksmen tier list. This is the first time in a while that either Varus or Miss Fortune have been able to shine in their primary role, and so it’s good to see that Riot isn’t completely abandoning them after they’ve spent so long gathering dust in the closet.
As I said earlier, this was not a big patch, especially compared to 7.5. Galio was the main part of this patch and I will have plenty to talk about with him soon, but for now, let me know what you think of the rest of patch 7.6! If you want to read through the full patch notes, they can be found here. Comments and thoughts are always appreciated, so get out there, test out the new patch and form an opinion of your own! Until next, see you later Summoners.