Melany M. September 11, 2019
Patch 9.18 is going live on September 11, and it brings new skins and changes to a long list of champions. The highlights are the nerfs to Aatrox and Akali, the new Star Guardian skins, and surprisingly enough, Ekko's buff.
Heading to the 2019 LoL World Championship, Riot Games is tweaking and twisting a large number of champions. Despite the number of champions listed in the patch notes, the changes are not significant enough to throw the game off-balance.
The 2019 LoL World Championship will be played in Patch 9.19, scheduled to drop on September 25, just one week before the play-in stage.
New Star Guardians skins in patch 9.18
The highly anticipated Star Guardians skins are coming to the game in patch 9.18. Neeko, Xayah, Rakan, and Zoe are joining the Star Guardians. The new set of skins plus new icons and chromas will be available on September 12. Each skin will go for a price of 1,350 RP, equivalent to roughly $8.50 USD.
The new installment of the Star Guardians is adding more of a backstory to the colorful heroes. Zoe was revealed as the villain that corrupted Xayah and Rakan. Neeko saved herself and will look to get back to Lux and the others. Their new mission is to defeat the darkness and bring Xayah and Rakan back to the light.
Are Aatrox and Akali still strong in the new patch?
Through Season 9, Aatrox and Akali have proven to be almost impossible to balance. No matter what Riot Games does, these two continue to be some of the most oppressive picks in pro play. Akali and Aatrox will take over a game if they’re given the chance.
Aatrox’s healing is the main target in patch 9.18, as the champion will lose its ability to heal in team fights. At this point, Riot Games has removed nearly every skill and stat that gave Aatrox a unique identity.
The developers even tried to counter Aatrox with the anti-healing mechanic on Kled. Everything is failing, so the last resort seems to be to nerf Aatrox into oblivion. This might be the final nail in Aatrox’s coffin.
Akali is losing part of her early game strength and the stun on her R. In lane, Akali is a champion that junglers avoid because she has multiple tools to get out of a fight. Previously, players used her full power to get solo kills. Now, Akali doesn’t snowball as hard before level 11. She’s still viable in pro play and a reliable champion if she gets to that mid-game power spike.
Patch 9.18 revisits buffs from previous patches
Aurelion Sol and Kayle received major changes in Patch 9.17, and in the most recent update, the developers add a final touch to both champions.
The recent changes to Aurelion Sol made him an easy target in the early game. Adding more health to his basic stats will allow Aurelion to stay in lane and not be forced to recall if the first trade doesn’t go his way.
Before the changes in patch 9.17, Kayle was a late-game champion. She had to reach level 16 before she had any kind of relevance in a match. It made her unreliable at best and not that easy to execute. Now, Kayle has access to her true power at level 11 and only gets better through the game. The buff in patch 9.18 only adds to Kayle’s newly found strength.
Ekko will get stronger in patch 9.18 with another buff.
The changes in patch 9.16 put Ekko back in the pro player’s radar. A longer stun plus extra damage give Ekko more options to play aggressively. The champion first saw stage time in the hands of Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok, and now it has taken over Korea. Ekko has been played in the 2020 LCK Spring Promotion tournament and it’s likely that he will remain in the meta through Worlds.
The full patch notes are available on the League of Legends website.