The League of Legends World Championships had hardly ended last month when gamers around the globe were introduced to Preseason 6 with Patch 5.22. League players (myself included) were clamoring with excitement about the updates that would come after the final week of League of Legend’s largest season yet. Not only had SK Telecom T1 just set a record with their second World Championship title (the only team to have done so), Season 6 was slated to have some of the biggest changes we have seen in League since the Summoner’s Rift visual update more than one year ago. Now that Patch 5.22 has been live for over a week, let’s take a look at what players are doing with the differences, and how the new itemization and build paths affects the meta.
First off we will take a look at the marksmen. This is decidedly the largest change we will be seeing this season, and boy are we excited for it! The AD Carries have been long overdue for a rework, especially after we saw how the Juggernaut patch caused certain champs that scaled with both health and damage to destroy anything in their paths. Now in Preseason 6 we see that the ADC’s are a bit more capable in dishing that damage back out when played strategically. The notes from Patch 5.22 explain exactly Riot’s reasoning behind the changes:
“One of the most important goals of these marksman updates is to give each updated champion a unique reason to be brought to a game, and we want each champion to feel different whether playing against, as, or with.”
We have had a bit of time now to really experiment with the new marksmen and it’s safe to say that Riot achieved what they were aiming for (get it?). Each game feels more unique as you and your team decides who to pick in champ select to best fit the composition. Do we pick Ashe with the hard engage and kiting capabilities? Or how about Quinn, or Lucian, for the mobility? Or Graves, for the raw damage and burst? Each ADC feels like a viable option as their kits have been redone to fit into the specific playstyle that each player is looking for. Not only have most of their movesets all been tweaked (either dramatically or slightly) but Riot has also vastly changed the itemization, as well as introduced completely new items into the mix. The new build paths provide more variety, away from the standard “Infinity Edge → Stattik Shiv/PD → Last Whisperer” builds that everyone knew and stuck to. Now it becomes a question of picking a build that has more survivability and sustain vs a build that provides greater DPS, but at a risk. Riot has given each player the ability to greater strategize, along with their team, a champion pick and build path that will resonate with their playstyle and the composition of the team as a whole.
New Jungle New Strategies
One of the other big changes we see is in the Jungle. Surprised? It wouldn’t be a new season without some changes in the Jungle! Players now have the option to start with one of two jungling items. The Hunter’s Machete, which we know and love, sees a slight difference in that it no longer provides regeneration and burn but rather a flat lifesteal of 8% vs monsters and a bonus 20 damage on hit. This is a great pick for auto-attack junglers as it provides great sustain and clearance. However this item never really made a lot of sense on junglers who didn’t rely on auto-attacks to clear their Jungle paths (Fiddle, Amumu, I’m looking at you), so instead those champs will have another starting item known as the Hunter’s Talisman. This is a great item for junglers who rely heavily on mana and lack sustain as it provides 150% mana regeneration while in the jungle (important to note that it is ONLY in the jungle) and a unique passive that steals 20 health over 5 seconds. From either one of these starting items players can continue the usual build paths into the Skirmisher’s Sabre, Stalker’s Blade, or Tracker’s Knife (formerly known as the Poacher’s Knife). The Tracker’s Knife is the unique change here as it doesn’t strengthen your Smite but instead gives a Sightstone of sorts which allows you to place up to two stealth wards on the map that last up to 150 seconds. Obviously this upgrade is a MUST on Lee Sin players everywhere, and I myself have seen no shortage of them in the last week since the update. Previously, Lee Sin players would traditionally buy a Sightstone immediately after their jungling item, as ward placement is essential to his kit. The Tracker’s Knife effectively removes that need and combines all into one item.
Truly a godsend.
Season 6 Meta
I wish I could go into all the details that Patch 5.22 gave us, as they are many and quite detailed, but I feel as though these changes to the marksmen and the jungle are the biggest and potentially most game-changing. Already in one week I have seen players take marksmen into the jungle and the top and mid lanes and see success with them in roles where they are not solely confined to the bot lane. It will be interesting to see even further how this affects the meta as the Preseason unfolds and as we head into Season 6. With All-Stars just around the corner I personally can’t wait to see what the professional teams will choose for their team compositions and item build paths.
The professional scene in League of Legends has a heavy influence on the meta and how the rest of us play the game, so make sure to tune in and take careful note!