Written in partnership with Gamer Sensei.
Dot Esports has teamed up with the incredibly capable coaches at Gamer Sensei to break down League of Legends Patch 12.8. We’ll go through the full list of champion changes with extra analysis on how the meta will be affected heading into the Mid-Season Invitational (MSI).
Gamer Sensei is a service that provides online coaching for 18 different games, including League. This week, we have comments from four coaches breaking down this laundry list of changes: Nicholas “NicoThePico” Korsgård, Michael “Veteran” Archer, Cody “Dftba” Gerard, and Justin “JalYt Justin” Robbins.
Here are the notes for League Patch 12.8, launching on Wednesday, April 27.
Passive – Ravenous Flock
- Healing From Soul Fragments: 4/5.5/7 percent of maximum health > 4/5.5/7/9 percent of maximum health (at levels 1/6/11/16)
- Maximum Health Increase Per Soul Fragment: five > 12
- [UPDATE]: Swain can no longer use Passive – Ravenous Flock to pull and rip out Soul Fragments from immobilized enemies (see E – Nevermove)
Q – Death’s Hand
- Damage: 55/75/95/115/135 (+40 percent AP) > 60/80/100/120/140 (+38 percent AP)
- Bonus Damage Per Additional Bolt: 8.25/15/23.75/34.5/47.25 (+6/8/10/12/14 percent AP) > 12/22/32/42/52 (+8 percent AP)
- Maximum Damage (5 Bolts): 88/135/190/253/324 (+64/72/80/88/96 percent AP) > 108/168/228/288/348 (+70 percent AP)
- Cooldown: 9/7.5/6/4.5/3 seconds > 7/6/5/4/3 seconds
- Mana Cost: 65/70/75/80/85 > 45/50/55/60/65
W – Vision of Empire
- Mana Cost: 70/80/90/100/110 > 60/65/70/75/80
- [NEW]: Pinging W – Vision of Empire now displays a list of visible enemies within range in team chat (similar to Twisted Fate and Nocturne ults)
E – Nevermove
- [NEW]: Can now be recast to pull all champions rooted by E – Nevermove, ripping out one Soul Fragment from each of them
- [REMOVED]: Swain’s pulls no longer deal damage
- [NEW]: Now grants vision of all rooted targets
- [NEW]: E – Nevermove’s cooldown is reduced by 20 percent during R – Demonic Ascension
R – Demonic Ascension
- Cooldown: 120 seconds > 100/80/60 seconds
- Drain Damage Per Second: 35/50/65 (+14 percent AP) > 20/40/60 (+10 percent AP)
- Drain Heal Per Second: 20/35/40 (+16 percent AP) > 15/40/65 (+25 percent AP)
- [REMOVED]: No longer grants Swain 125/200/275 bonus health
- [REMOVED]: ACTIVE DURATION: 12 seconds > Based on Demon Power
- [UPDATE]: Activating Demonic Ascension grants Swain 50 Demon Power, which decreases at an initial rate of 10 per second. After five seconds of Demonic Ascension, Swain’s Demon Power decreases faster at a rate of 15 per second
- [NEW]: Swain gains 20 Demon Power per second while draining enemy champions
- [UPDATE]: After 2 seconds of Demonic Ascension, Swain can recast his ultimate as R – Demonflare. R – Demonflare can only be cast once and does not end Demonic Ascension
R – Demonflare
- Damage: 100/150/200 (+50 percent AP) > 150/225/300 (+60 percent AP)
- [NEW]: Demonflare now slows enemies by 60 percent, decaying over 1.5 seconds
- [REMOVED]: Demonflare no longer deals additional damage based on health drained from enemies
Swain has received rework levels of updates, and most of them make him stronger. “Swain is OP now. Q changes are much better for lane, they honestly buffed everything but the ultimate for laning,” Veteran said. While Swain’s ultimate is weaker during the early game, the coach says that it is more than made up for with his newfound early laning strength. Expect Swain to “be a priority in support in this state,” according to Veteran.
Passive – Traveler’s Call
- Bonus Magic Damage On Attack: 30 (+12 per 5 chimes) (+30 percent AP) > 35 (+14 per 5 chimes) (+30 percent AP)
W – Caretaker’s Shrine
- Maximum Heal: 55/95/135/175/215 (+60 percent AP) > 60/105/150/195/240 (+60 percent AP)
Bard isn’t a pick you see too often, but he is incredibly good at what he does. “Bard is one of the most grossly underutilized and valued supports in solo queue,” NicoThePico said. “Roaming wins more games reliably than anything else, and Bard’s roaming potential as a support is unmatched.”
These changes may not seem groundbreaking, but they could awaken more players to the power of Bard at all levels. NicoThePico says that these changes “might be the little kick needed to bounce Bard back into flavor.”
R – Trueshot Barrage
- Cooldown: 120 seconds at all ranks > 120/105/90 seconds
Ezreal was already a decent champion, and this is a nice quality-of-life change to help boost his pick rate in all formats. JalYt Justin believes that “both average and pro players will love these changes, as solo queue players can throw out more ultimates to secure kills and steal objectives, and pro players will be able to use it a lot more for clearing waves and longer range vision checking.”
W – Bountiful Harvest
- Heal Percentage Against Champions: 30/35/40/45/50 percent > 30/40/50/60/70 percent (still always 15 percent against minions)
W – Deadly Flourish
- Root Duration: 1/1.25/1.5/1.75/2 seconds > 1.25/1.5/1.75/2/2.25 seconds
- [REMOVED]: Damage against monsters no longer reduced by 25 percent (damage against minions and summons unchanged)
E – Captive Audience
- Trap Recharge Rate: 28/25/22/19/16 seconds > 24/21.5/19/16.5/14 seconds
- [REMOVED]: First Lotus Trap damage no longer reduced by 35 percent against monsters and summons (damage against minions and summons unchanged)
Jhin hasn’t seen nearly as much pro play recently, but that could change here. “A small buff to the duration of his root at all ranks should be a nice boost to his ability to combine with the most popular supports in the meta,” Dftba said.
While we are in an ADC-centric meta with picks like Jinx dominating, Jhin brings a lot to the table in his own right. “Jhin is a great enabling force from weakside with significantly stronger half-roams to mid as well, even more so with the root duration increase,” Veteran said.
Speaking of Jinx, she has received just a single change. Losing 50 HP does sting early, but Jinx’s power as a scaling monster is still the same. JalYt Justin said “this health decrease is essentially an auto attack’s difference at level 1, which is absolutely huge for Jinx matchups where she may already struggle.”
If Jinx can overcome her early moments of squishiness, she will be still able to pop off in the mid and late game. “I think Jinx will still retain her high presence in pro play and in solo queue,” JalYt Justin said.
Passive – Second Skin
- Bonus Magic Damage Upon Consuming Full Plasma Stacks: 15 percent (+2.5 percent per 100 AP) > 15 percent (+5 percent per 100 AP) of target’s missing health
W – Void Seeker
- Magic Damage: 30/55/80/105/130 (+ 130 percent AD) (+70 percent AP) > 30/55/80/105/130 (+130 percent AD) (+45 percent AP)
R – Killer Instinct
- Shield Strength: 75/100/125 (+100/150/200 percent AD) (+75 percent AP) > 75/100/125 (+100/150/200 percent AD) (+100 percent AP)
Kai’Sa’s AP W spam build has been present for a while now. These changes move some AP ratio out of her W and into her passive and R. “Kai’Sa’s W is no longer going to allow her to do her best season three and four Nidalee impression, but the buff to her passive’s AP ratio brings back a good amount of her tank shredding auto attacking glory,” Dftba said.
Kai’Sa’s build will likely be shifting back to scaling and on-hit with the potential for a single AP inclusion. Dftba expects Kai’Sa to “return to Kraken Slayer and Galeforce while adding in Nashor’s Tooth to her AD/Crit builds to capitalize on her buffed AP ratios.”
Q – Null Sphere
- Magic Shield: 40/70/100/130/160 (+30 percent AP) > 60/90/120/150/180 (+40 percent AP)
E – Force Pulse
- Magic Damage: 80/105/130/155/180 (+80 percent AP) > 80/105/130/155/180 (+85 percent AP)
Kassadin’s potency as a mid lane anti-mage has been increased with these buffs. The extra 20 flat shield plus 10 percent AP scaling buys him much more survivability and “eases his early laning dramatically in mage matchups when Q is used properly,” according to NicoThePico.
Although Kassadin isn’t a universal pick, having a situation where he can clearly shine will be great for his pick rate. Overall, NicoThePico believes that these buffs “quite heavily affect Kassadin’s viability as a countermage.”
Passive – Darkness Rise
- Bonus Move Speed: three percent at all levels > 3/6/9 percent at levels 1/6/11
W – Steadfast Presence
- Cooldown: 24/22/20/18/16 seconds > 20/18/16/14/12 seconds
R – Keeper’s Verdict
- Uncharged Knock Up Duration: 0.75 seconds > one second
- Charged Missile Speed: 2000 > 2500
- Charged Knock Back Distance: 2400 > 3400
- Cooldown Refund Upon Canceled Charge: 30 seconds > 15 seconds
Poppy received some nice quality of life on her ultimate, as well as four seconds off her W cooldown. Poppy was already a standout pick in certain situations, but this buff “takes her from being an extremely situationally good champion to more of an all-around champ versus dash-heavy comps,” according to NicoThePico. Expect to see more of Poppy on this patch.
Passive – Fury of the North
- Frost Armor Timer: Sejuani receives Frost Armor after 12 seconds > 12-6 seconds (levels 1-18) of not taking damage from enemy champions or monsters
While Sejuani’s Frost Armor has gained some more availability, this change will do little to help her current standing in the meta. Even if Sejuani gets more tankiness in the late game, Dftba said “she’ll still struggle to duel and match the extremely strong early game skirmishers and gankers that dominate the current jungle meta both in solo queue and pro play.”
W – Astral Infusion
- Heal: 100/135/170/205/240 (+70 percent AP) > 100/130/160/190/220(+65 percent AP)
Soraka’s ability to quickly heal multiple teammates back to full HP is incredibly oppressive come mid game. This nerf to her maxed W’s base heal by 20 is significant. “Twenty doesn’t sound like much but it turns into 100, 200, really fast in later skirmishes,” Veteran said.
Still, Soraka will be able to output a ton of healing when picked in the right circumstances. Dftba believes that “Soraka will be a pick that works with or against the right compositions, but be much more vulnerable and easy to exploit if picked versus heavy engage or with minimal peel and frontline.”
R – Hijack
- Cooldown: 100/70/40 seconds > 80/55/30 seconds
Sylas had fallen by the wayside prior to this patch. But this 20-second cooldown reduction on the focal point of Sylas’ kit will be sure to breathe some life into him. Sylas already builds ability haste on his first item. Combined with this buff, “Sylas will be able to use an ultimate significantly more often, leaving his windows of punishment a lot shorter,” according to JalYt Justin.
This buff also has a huge impact later in the game. With a base cooldown of 30 seconds further reduced by haste, “Sylas will have multiple ultimates for extended fights very often,” NicoThePico said.
- AD Growth: 3.3 > 3.7
- AD at Level 18: 115.1 > 121.9
Q – Plasma Fission
- Magic Damage: 80/120/160/200/240 (+80 percent AP) > 80/120/160/200/240 (+90 percent AP)
W – Void Rift
- Initial Magic Damage: 30/50/70/90/110 (+15 percent AP) > 30/50/70/90/110 (+20 percent AP)
Vel’Koz’s Q and W AP ratios are up by 10 and five percent, respectively. If you assume he has around 100 AP at one item, that’s an extra 20 damage per rotation with two W casts. Vel’Koz’s spells are very spammable and JalYt Justin said that “the damage will add up to a big advantage over the course of a fight.”
Four armor on paper may not seem like too dramatic of a change, but this will greatly help Vladimir out in more ways than you’d think. JalYt Justin believes that “these changes help Vladimir’s durability a ton in the early game where he’s most likely to get punished, and allow him to scale more safely into the mid and late game.”
A more practical application of this idea comes with minion aggro. Since Vladimir’s Q always draws minion aggro, “this is a four damage change to every single minion hit he’d take. Significantly changes his ability to trade in early phases of the game,” according to Veteran. Overall, expect Vladimir to hit his scaling breakpoints more reliably.
Q – Double Daggers
- Damage Per Blade: 45/65/85/105/125 (+50 percent bonus AD) > 45/60/75/90/105 (+50 percent bonus AD)
- Cooldown: 10/9/8/7/6 seconds > 10/9.5/9/8.5/8 seconds
Lethality Xayah has been rising in popularity in both solo queue and pro play. These nerfs target her Q max, reducing the damage by 20 and cooldown by two seconds. The cooldown increase especially “will hinder Xayah’s ability to get as many feathers on the ground without her ultimate up, making it harder for her to nuke champions with her E,” according to Dftba.
Even so, NicoThePico believes that Lethality Xayah will still be stronger than her crit build. The caveat is that “Xayah players need to be less spammy especially in lane now with the higher cooldown, which makes it much less annoying to lane against her.”
E – Shocking Orb
- Stun Duration: 0.5-2 seconds (based on distance) > 0.75-2.25 seconds (based on distance)
Q – Paddle Star
- Mana Cost: 50/55/60/65/70 > 40/45/50/55/60
R – Portal Jump
Zoe was already a fairly strong champion in her own regard. She hasn’t had as much time in the sun as other meta mid laners, so this buff is nice to see. NicoThePico believes that “champs with too high mana costs are not as enjoyable to play for most players so this might be just what Zoe needs to see more playtime across the board.”
- [REMOVED]: Stopwatch will no longer be purchasable if you already own Guardian Angel or Zhonya’s Hourglass
Not a single coach disagreed with the sentiment that this change is healthy for League. The double stasis tech was incredibly oppressive when used properly, leading to some frustrating moments for players and viewers alike. Most coach comments were along the lines of “I’m glad it’s gone” and “I am very happy this is live before MSI.”
If you’re looking for some more League of Legends insights, make sure to check out Gamer Sensei and discover what personalized coaching can do for you.