League of Legends Patch 9.14 introduced five new mechanics that will impact the meta.
Season 9 can be described in two words, dynamic and flexible. Now, more than ever, it feels like the list of viable champions is long and the flexing options are endless. However, the professional side of the game still has a short list of champions that offer the mobility, sustainability, and viability in different lanes to be picked with any kind of frequency.
These champions are difficult to counter, have a high win rate, and seem to be immune to nerfs. Riot Games decided to change things up and introduced five mechanics in Patch 9.14 that target that list.
In the match between Clutch Gaming and Team Liquid in Week 7, Liquid’s Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng turned a flank around thanks to his shield. It gave him the extra seconds he needed to hit back and get kills for the team.
Lux and Yuumi are two supports that grant shields and both are prevalent in the meta. These two received nerfs in Patch 9.14 but also got a counter in the form of Blitzcrank. Static Field now removes all shields from the enemies before dealing damage and silencing.
A mid and top flex option in Renekton also got an anti-shield effect on its W. When empowered with 50 Fury Ruthless Predator destroys the shield on the targets.
It seems unlikely that Blitzcrank will make it to the professional stage, but this support is a strong pick in solo queue. At the moment, the Great Steam Golem has a 51.75% win rate and 9.66% pick rate.
Renekton is getting picked from time to time by the pros. This champion is a must-play for the top laners in solo queue, right now it has a 50.44% win rate.
Healing is amazing if you’re the one getting it. If you’re dealing with an enemy that can heal, it gets frustrating very quickly.
The permanent healing and sustain is what made the Sona and Taric duo so popular. In team fights, these champions can deal damage and heal the rest of the team at the same time and even after getting nerfed, Sona is still a threat.
To counter the constant healing, Katarina and Kled are getting a buff. Katarina’s Death Lotus healing reduction was increased to 60%. Kled’s Bear Trap on a Rope now reduces all healing on the enemy by 60% for 5 seconds.
These changes proved to be effective and both champions are top tier in the current patch with a win rate over 52%.
Fizz and Leona are getting changes that target some of the strongest damage patterns, on-hit and damage over time.
Funnily enough, Fizz and Leona both have on-hit damage. Fizz’s passive now applies damage reduction to all sources of damage based on his ability power. Leona’s W applies flat damage reduction that increases with the levels up to 50% reduction.
In solo queue, Fizz is making a comeback as a viable counter for Aatrox. Leona is a great counter for Janna, Taric, and Soraka with an average 52% win rate over these champions.
Vision makes all the difference in League, with a well-placed ward capable of scouting the enemy jungler and giving the team an advantage. This is one of the skills the players must develop if they want to climb in the ranks.
Wards provide true sight and in Patch 9.14, three champions will get vision from their abilities. Morgana, Karma, and Leblanc will benefit from this mechanic.
Leblanc’s Ethereal Chains, Karma’s W, and Morgana’s R will reveal any enemy that has been successfully rooted.
This extra vision can be utilized as an initiation tool in the case of Karma and Leblanc, who enjoy high win rates in both solo queue and professional play. In the case of Morgana, she might return to the spotlight now that champions like Lux and Yuumi are being nerfed in the early game.
Perhaps one of the most interesting mechanics in the list is new ways to deal with mobility. Poppy and Ahri got new effects while Cassiopeia’s anti-mobility mechanic was improved by removing the minimum cast range.
Mobility has long been an important tool for top-tier champions, especially in professional play. Ezreal, Jarvan IV, Sejuani and Lucian are some of the slippery champions that can move out of danger with a simple combo.
Ahri is one of those champions that is constantly getting buff and changes to improve her performance but the most recent update put her on the map and her popularity skyrocketed. Ahri’s Charm now cancels any in-progress dash, like Jarvan IV’s combo.
Last but not least, Poppy’s Steadfast Presence can now ground and slow the enemies when she interrupts a dash. The effect lasts two seconds and grants her movement speed.
Patch 9.14 will shape League of Legends the rest of 2019, for better or for worse, with the changes introduced set to to impact the meta in professional play and solo queue. These new mechanics on top of the buffs and nerfs change the approach to certain compositions.
Champions that were strong before and are getting strong will become prevalent in the meta, such as Leblanc, Poppy, and Karma. Others like Kled and Renekton might make a glorious return.
In theory, these counters should be effective against the current meta. However, it may all come down to the execution and the compositions around certain picks.
The leagues are slowly catching up to the live patch and as the competition progresses, the meta will evolve.