I have been playing League of Legends for about 8 years now. I have lived through AP Yi, instant triple kill Heimer W (Rip Afro), Darien forcing a Warwick ban in LCS, and all the other wild and nutty stuff that's weaved its way onto the live servers. I'm not over-exaggerating when I say that 9.14 might be the worst patch I've seen. Progressively Riot Games has developed a schizophrenic pattern of what to do with the game, they're completely splintered in terms of their approach to how the game should be/should move towards and this most recent patch is a stark reminder that Riot Games isn't a good game developer anymore.
Now of course it's all well and good being a cranky old man about how the better days are behind me, but it's much better to run through each change in the patch and explain why this patch was, except for a very limited few exceptions, redundant, anti-fun, and inherently schizophrenic.
**~~Our over tuning of shields was a mistake~~ Anti Shielding Effects:**
Blitzcrank's R now removes all shields, on top of the already present silence and AOE damage. You can see how Riot would play this off as something like "Ah well Janna is pretty strong and so are shields it would be interesting if we put an anti-shield ability on a support to try and even out our mistakes in the past with ardent sensor and our recent mistake with heavily over-tuning Karma, reverting that over-tuning, and then not realising that her continued popularity was due to the champions kit being too strong and that the brief over-tuning just brought her into the spotlight for being abused. In reality however Blitzcrank is an excellent support pick into the squishy shield givers already. Playing against a Yuumi, Janna, or Sona? Just hook them as Blitzcrank and they're too squishy to recover, but you can only hook them if they misplace themselves or you outplay them. This is good for the game because the champions don't dictate whether or not the lane is won, if the squishy support is good at positioning and can evade Blitzcrank hooks then he's subject to the squishy supports poke, perfectly fine. The issue comes in now where Blitzcrank can shutdown lanes and teamfights by flashing in (Which is relatively cheap as most Blitzcranks run hexflash) and pressing R to negate any defensive set up a shield-support or shield-user had when going into the fight. This Blitzcrank change is a punishment to shield-champion players through aggression, Riot wants to negate the power of shields and so produce a threat which can cancel all of the gameplay/mechanics surrounding shield-champions, rather than (The better option) of changing through passivity, in this I mean when Riot nerfs champion stats and so on to weaken a certain mechanic when it's over-tuned, this latter method has the benefit of not imposing certain playstyles onto champions by making them into threats against a specific mechanic, as well as not creating an environment where a whole host of champions have their abilities become redundant if the enemy team picks these "Anti Shielding Effects" champions, which I'm sure they have more planned in the woodworks. Blitzcranks identity is that he grabs an enemy, knocks them up and silences them (dealing damage in the process) and then their team cleans up the kill from the displaced enemy. The addition of a shield-breaker to this combo is completely redundant, shields aren't strong enough to fully tank a Blitzcrank combo, so when the shield-breaker aspect comes in it will likely never break a shield of any significance. A redundant addition which will only server to cause headaches in an already chaotic botlane.
Renekton is already a strong lane bully, any top lane player will tell you that when they're sitting in champ select and see the enemy instalock Renekton their will to live gets shaken. As a Singed main I know how destructive Renekton is in lane (Thanks for killing me at level 3 master this is your lane now please just let me passive XP), to add even more kill potential to a very powerful lane dominant champion by removing one of the anti-instakill mechanics (Shields) you're essentially saying "We want Renekton in pro play and we don't care how this affects solo queue/normal games" it's frankly disgraceful that Riot would have the audacity to spit in our faces like this. Ask the support players about why they're getting flamed by their adc for not helping when Renekton nukes them and destroy the support's main defence ability as part of his combo, ask the adc how they feel about having a Renekton flash/E onto them, stun them and destroy their shields, and then Q Tiamat for the instakill. Ask the midlaner how they feel about their top laner being stomped and having an ahead Renekton come into their lane and ruin the very careful lane they've been playing. Ask the top laner how he feels about hugging his tower for dear life. Ask the jungler how he feels about being flamed by the whole team for not shutting down the Renekton early, even though they couldn't do anything to support the top laner because Renekton's double E is too much mobility to escape ganks. Riot Games doesn't care about us anymore I sincerely believe this. Here is the kicker though, think of all of the champions with shielding abilities, from Shen to Janna, Riot stated in the blurb that they wanted "not-as-present champions to mix in all levels of play", but the first change makes so many champions weak and risky now. The pool of played champions will be lessened by this new mechanic, and if Riot has aims to increase inclusion of champions, it shows a clear fractured schizophrenic design mentality, they're trying to do A and B but A and B are contradictory.
This is going to be a long post considering this is just the first mechanic.
~~You think you can switch over to playing healers now that shields are ruined? Think again~~ Anti Healing Effects:**
Katarina receiving a buff surely raises eyebrows for even the iron 5 players who aren't really aware of what's going on. However, I am less concerned with the buff in itself (Ruining healing champs capacity to counteract a Katarina combo in the split second they get to react even further) but more the notion of needing an "Anti Healing Effect" as something established rather than being a niche item path or summoner spell choice (With executioners calling, Morellonomicon, or ignite) this branching out into extra cases of dampened healing act as an anti-fun mechanic. This will be contested so let me set out my stall. Healing in League of Legends is a basic mechanic which has been in the game always, it's a good mechanic because of how basic it is and how useful it can be in a plethora of situations. Think of those instances where triumph just about gives you the health to survive a tower shot, creating an environment where towerdiving is viable so long as you coordinate yourself with your teammates correctly. Take for example this same situation of coordinating a tower dive on a Katarina, she's a high priority extremely heavy snowball midlaner, suppose the jungler and support are ganking mid for a tower dive, regardless of how well they play it, if Katarina gets her ult of for even a split second and it hits them, her healing reduction remove almost all of the small health back from triumph as well as dampening any healing effects the support might bring. This would give the Katarina kills and so would punish the correctly played organised tower dive, and might even give Katarina the snowball potential to derail the game. This is completely insane. Healing abilities bring in a bit of leverage which is healthy for the game, it incentivises riskier plays which are organised, rather than playing out of sync with your teammates.
Kled is normally picked to bully the life out of the enemy laner and is a popular anti-Singed pick. Kled's pull-back now applying an Anti Healing Effect seems like an unnecessary executioner. Suppose a Kled uses his ult to jump onto an adc, the adc doesn't manage to escape the Q pull (As is common for a generally immobile role) and as soon as they are pulled back to Kled their support doesn't really have much they can do, the adc can't really use their heal to try and escape, and so by being pulled back they are essentially dead. As with the Anti Shielding Effects, I assume that Riot will try to push this mechanic onto other champions, which would be a dreadful mistake for the reasons above. Further, the joint Anti Healing/Shielding Effects will ruin the core defensive mechanics of the game and will push for a more "KILL KILL KILL" meta rather than one where you actually have to use your brain when deciding where to position and when to fight etc. as there aren't going to be any defensive mechanics to punish you.
**Flat Damage Reduction likely won't change anything, and most likely won't be enough to bring Leona back into regular play when her purpose of "Get in and lock down" is outdone by things such as Nautilus**
**True Sight buffs will likely create a lot of annoying scenarios where you try to outplay the tether's by hiding in a brush to give yourself that extra window of escape opportunity which will now be negated, reducing the potential counterplay of abilities which are inherently anti-counterplay (Point and click abiltiies, not Le Blanc's E which can be dodged)**
**~~Let's keep releasing champs with mobility whilst also removing the benefit of mobility~~ Anti Movement Effects:**
Cass and Ahri are already strong punishing champions, and to add/buff Anti Movement Effects into their kit will solidify them as anti-fun champions. Ahri will produce situations where people will want to smash their keyboards as they will most likely be using those movement abilities to try and evade the E Ahri is throwing out, so not only would it have been a bad time for them when they get charmed, but now their movement will be cancelled putting them in an even worse spot. Imagine if Singed W charmed too, that's what this buff has created in a more concentrated area. Cassiopeia will continue to be a headache to play against (And to listen to with her E spam), the issue now is that you're not even "Safe" when you're up close. With Cass the main aim was the get close to her so that you can use your mobility to get onto her, but now that she doesn't have a limited range for her W she can prevent you from fighting her even when you're on top of her which completely ruins that laning dynamic which favoured the more knowledgeable/skilled player that knew when they should try to get onto Cass. Now if someone tries to get onto her she cancels their escapes and so their mobility is useless even when they're playing the fight correctly.
Poppy might be a well thought-out attempt at Anti Mobility. Players already know how to play against a Poppy W and this addition doesn't change that gameplay dynamic, it actually reinforces players being smart and working around Poppy W or faking out her W etc. which adds a whole other level of depth to fighting Poppy because if you waste one of your mobility abilities and it's cancelled by Poppy W you're putting yourself in a bad spot most of the time.
**~~We don't care about champion communities~~ Champion Balance:**
As a Singed 1 trick, Aatrox is a tough match up. And even though I struggle to lane against Aatrox players, you've killed the champion and you're severely damaging the Aatrox mains community. Aatrox has always had a revive mechanic and it has allowed for a wealth of playstyle options. When the rework came out the key feature was keeping the revive because that is a quintessential part of Aatrox's character. His entire kit is organised around pressing R and playing an all-or-nothing playstyle which will either reward you if you're good on the champion and know what you're doing and when you should be doing it, and punishing you when you're not good and when you get outplayed or you go in at the wrong time. These dynamics within the game's match ups are what make the game fresh and enjoyable, rather than the old tank metas where the exact same games were played out over and over again. Riot still hasn't realised that pro play and real play are separate things and should be patched accordingly. The pros should skrim and have tournaments on a pro-scene patch, whilst the rest of us who are a world apart from how the pros play have our own patch. Gutting Aatrox because of pro play doesn't affect the pro players, but it severely affects the communities who only enjoy your game because of a given champion. RIP Aatrox, my thoughts go out to the Aatrox Mains community.
**The Akali and Alistar changes are an example of how to correctly adjust champions. Alistar especially as they're changing him in relation to how those changes would be received in both regular play and pro play. Unfortunately this level of thinking isn't considered with each change.**
**Congratulations to the 50 Aurelion Sol mains who have been thrown a bone (Which likely won't see practical use in-game)**
**Galio is being gutted (Because of Pro Play), his bread and butter in support, top, and mid of flash taunting has been removed. The issue here is that by making it ground him as well as making it so easily interrupt-able, Galio players are going to find it extremely hard to actually use their W efficiently, if at all, unless someone else is doing the CCing for them. This completely ruins the strength of Galio as a support and top laner as in both roles he functions to engage and CC the enemy team. Now he will be expected to compete in mid if at all played (Which he likely won't be as if you're looking for a beefy AP mid you're just going to play Mordekaiser) **
**Jhin's changes are good for the game and reward his playstyle if pulled off correctly as well as Lux support's changes**
**Adding extra gold income to a snowballing assassin support is too much for the role, the support items giving gold as well as Pyke now receiving a cut is essentially Riot saying "Here, have a powerful AD assassin with an execute ability who will have 2 finished items before your first finished item, oh and he's support so you still have to deal with up to 4 other carries" Draven was notorious for his snowballing due to his passive giving him the gold to buff the life out of his Q. Now Pyke has taken that throne as the money maker which is far too much of an overtuning.**
**Remove Ryze from the game at this point it's obvious you guys can't figure him out whatsoever**
**WHY ADD AN ANTI-QUALITY OF LIFE EFFECT TO SINGED OF ALL CHAMPIONS**
This truly is a sick joke. The Riot employees who are oblivious to how Singed works (Because not a SINGLE person at Riot cares about Singed whatsoever and have made that very clear to all of us Singed mains) have decided to make a champion who is already struggling heavily (Hard losing 20+ meta lane matchups currently) extremely clunky. But beyond this they've completely removed the double-tap mechanic on Singed where you Q Q quickly to let out one unit (13 mana) of poison which has a whole host of uses in game. Now with this completely random and out of the blue 0.5 second addition it's nearly impossible to double-tap unless you break your Q key. Minishcap1 (A top tier Singed main) compared it to if Riot added a 0.5 second buffer inbetween Riven's Q's. It would not stand but because Riot doesn't care at all about Singed they think it's permissible to kick us in the teeth like this. The thing which has really pissed me off though, is the absolute audacity of the Riot team to call us Singed players idiots. Who in God's name do you think you are to question our mental capacity to know whether or not our Q is turned on? You think we don't realise when Singed is being followed by a trail of poison? I'm livid at how rude a supposedly professional company has been to a community of their game. It's disgraceful to suppose we're that incompetent that we DON'T KNOW WHEN OUR MAIN DAMAGE ABILITY IS TURNED ON OR OFF. I have decided, having seen this, along with the other mistakes of this patch, to quit the game until they are reverted. Many members of the Singed mains communities I participate in are doing the same.
The rest of the changes I would consider as being nice changes for Singed and other top laners, but considering how little respect Riot has for me and the champion I main, these changes are trivial taking a couple damage off AA's doesn't change the fact that ranged top laners are damaging for top laners through and through.
Back in season 3 we thought "Hey season 4 will bring about a lot of good changes", we were mistaken, we held out hoping for season 5 to bring the good changes, but we should have held our breath. Season 6, 7, 8, 9, it's all so tiresome. I just want to return to the days of playing Nautilus jungle with Heart of Gold. I want to go back to the OG Donger with his lock-on rockets, I want to watch an AP Yi absolutely destroy a game, I want to see people talking in /all chat freely, engaged, alive, and despite how unpolished the game was back then, having fun creating a community and home on the Summoners Rift.