With the end of League of Legends’ season five comes the preseason;
a time of limbo before the start of the next ranked-ladder year where Riot implements massive changes to the game in order to alter its play-style, feel, and win conditions. Let’s take a look at the two major points of focus for this off-season’s patches: the marksman class and game speed.
Nearly every attack damage carry has seen tweaks of some kind, a few receiving kit overhauls and others having key stats adjusted. The intention, much like the creation of the “Juggernaut” class, is to make each marksmen feel unique to play. Riot’s way of approaching this is by bringing the auto-attacking champions’ abilities to the forefront, as they have mostly been afterthoughts or luxuries for most of League’s existence. For example, Caitlyn, considered by most to be the prototypical champion of the marksman class, used to solely rely on her long-range auto-attacks and the occasional 90-Caliber-Net into Piltover Peacemaker combo to harass her opponents. There was not much to her play-style to differentiate herself from the other attack damage carries. After the preseason changes, Caitlyn works around her amplified passive, which can now be triggered at double the normal range by her abilities. Combined with the capacity to lay up to five Yordle Snap Traps in quick succession, Riot has transformed the sheriff into a master of long-range zone control. Other champions have experienced similar treatments. Activating Kog’maw’s Bio-Arcane Barrage allows him to bypass the attack speed ceiling and reach up to five health-shredding autos per second. Quinn, once obtaining her ultimate, can call in Valor at will to swiftly traverse Summoner’s Rift. Each marksman now has a unique defining trait to help them stand apart from one another.
Coupled with the attack-damage carries’ makeover is a rework of their itemization. In an attempt to manage the luck factor of critical strikes, Riot has added the stat to new items, as well as existing ones that didn’t have it before. Marksman players can aim for 100% critical strike chance without neglecting other vital stats in their builds. They can focus on cooldown reduction with Essence Reaver or area of effect damage with Runaan’s Hurricane. Summoners are able to build around their play-style and what their team composition needs rather than being confined to the “Infinity Edge, Phantom Dancer, Blood Thirster, and Last Whisper” build of old.
If Summoner’s Rift matches during the preseason have been feeling faster paced and shorter length than normal, don’t fret. They are. There are numerous changes responsible for this: players receive increased passive gold, increased experience for kills, champion bounties no longer reset on death, and turrets are worth more and are easier to kill. On top of this, a new jungle monster, the Rift Herald, occupies the Baron’s pit up until twenty minutes. Whichever champion last-hits the creature will receive a singular Baron-buff allowing for powerful early pushes. Riot’s wants to reward objective-focused play centered on a winning team taking action instead of sitting around waiting for the enemy to slip up. However, some of the numbers concerning gold and experience gains might have been slightly over-tuned in the current state, which have led to some massively one-sided games. These will most likely be dialed back in the coming patches
There are so many other changes to League of Legends in the preface to season six. On top of what has already been said there are also new mastery skills, adjustments to vision control, and additional item modifications. Enjoy the chaos for what it is; test out new strategies, item builds, unorthodox champion roles, and have fun, while Riot furiously works on balancing the preseason patches.