Table of Contents
Tencent just released patch notes for the patch set to hit May 24th. Included are a number of gameplay changes, new items, character tweaks, and a whole new game mode. Official notes can be found here.
Update: The patch’s release has been delayed to an unspecified date
Update 2: The patch will go live May 26
The long-awaited Death Match mode makes its debut. Rather than two teams fighting against one another, five teams of two players each will compete for kills on a small, circular map. This lacks many of the staples of the other game modes, with minions, monsters, and towers all absent. Players will just have their abilities and their partner to rely on as they fight for kills.
While some might compare this mode to battle royale modes which have exploded in popularity over the last year, it seems to more resemble the free-for-all modes of shooters like Halo or Call of Duty. Players will earn points with each enemy they kill and whoever has collected the most points at the end of an eight-minute timer will win the match. The anarchistic diplomacy that will need to take place between teams could prove to provide very interesting matches for players. Teams lagging behind in the match may need to band together in order to take down those dominating the field, all while knowing they will have to turn on each other soon after.
Main Menu Redesign
The cell-button format of the main menu dies in the new update, soon to be replaced by a new, more minimal menu. The feature image that had taken a prominent position as the casual match button now fills the entirety of the screen, a few smaller buttons placed at the bottom. Casual and Ranked match options set aside a new shortcut to the popular 5v5 casual match game mode. Below the play buttons sit options that had previously made up the bottom menu bar-links like Achievements, Chat, or Events. Rewards and quests have been moved to the top right corner of the image while special offers and prizes have moved to the top left. Speaking of rewards and prizes…
A number of new reward systems are being added to the game. This should help players pick up gold, gems, heroes, and even skins more easily.
Players will now be able to earn tokens with which they can obtain particular heroes or skins. These are obtained through things like events, chests, or log-in bonuses. This seems to resemble the shard system that is available on Garena servers in many ways. These tokens appear to be limited to a specific hero or skin, rather than open to any from a list, however.
A new calendar of prizes is being added to the game, supplementing the Daily Spin without replacing it. This new system appears to still provide a reward each day the player logs in, but what prize they receive is based on the day they log in rather than how many rewards they have previously received. For example, a player who wants a specific reward will need to make sure they log in on that specific day rather than keep logging in until they receive it.
A new quest system is being added to help new players. These quests can be completed for a number of rewards.
A new streaming system is being added to the game. Players can watch tournaments, check schedules, and view recordings or previous events.
A few, more minor changes are being added as well in order to improve general game performance.
14-Day New Player Log-In
The display for the new player log-in bonuses now pops-up in game, making it easier for players to claim their rewards.
Prompts in the event interface will now appear to players who already own the hero or skin.
The device’s mic can now be muted when recording so that only the game’s audio is recorded.
As with most major patches, Tencent is using the update as an opportunity to re-balance a number of heroes within the game.
- Cooldown reduced: 50/45/40 → 42/37/32
A minor buff, but nice to see all the same. Any mages outside of the current few power picks are in a difficult place. They aren’t useless, but fail to contribute the massive amounts that Tulen, Lauriel, Liliana, or The Flash are able to. Buffs like these are good ways to let the less popular mages shine more when picked.
- Added effect: Reduce the current cooldown of all abilities by 25% of the maximum cooldown time after a kill or assist.
Veera has a lot of damage at her disposal but dramatically falls off in power in team fights. This is due to her ultimate spreading out to multiple targets, lowering its destructive potential. While giving her this addition to her passive doesn’t necessarily improve her lethality, being able to cast more regularly should give her a bit more impact on fights. If nothing else, more guaranteed stuns will always be nice.
- Travel Speed Increased: 1000 units/second → 1250 units/second
A continuation of the projectile speed buffs she received last patch. As Natalya’s main flaw was how easy it is for people to dodge her skills, these speed ups are a great way to give her some extra popularity amongst mage players.
- Magic damage increased: 305/371/437/503/569/635 (+0.84 AP) → 350/420/490/560/630/700 (+0.85 AP)
- Can now store an additional two uses of her second ability. If you freeze the same target continuously within 5 seconds, the target will be frozen for 0.75 seconds.
- Mana cost reduced: 80/85/90/95/100/105 → 70/75/80/85/90/95
- New cooldown: 1 second
- Charge time: 9/8.6/8.2/7.8/7.4/7 seconds
Being able to stack stuns seems like a really good way to lock down opponents or trap several enemies at once. This doesn’t fully address the problems of Diao Chan’s abilities being rather easy to dodge, but it does make it more difficult, especially in the middle of a team fight.
- Damage reduced: 500/580/660/740/820/900 (+0.8 AP) → 500/560/620/680/740/800 (+0.7 AP)
- Range reduced: 900 units → 850 units
Liliana was in definite need of a nerf, she both exceptionally mobile and deadly. Shining Light was a particular problem, offering a rather devastating poke at very little risk to Liliana. Seeing it toned down will hopefully make her less oppressive in lane.
- Damage increased: 280/340/400/460/520/580 (+0.55 AP) → 300/360/420/480/540/600 (+0.55 AP)
- Slowdown rescaled: 50% → (30/34/38/42/46/50)%
- Slowdown duration increased: 0.5 seconds → 1 seconds
Ilumia is one of the most deserving of buffs on this list. She is a rather hard hero to use and still has troubles even in the hands of players who know what they’re doing. An increase in damage to her main ability is very nice, though more could be done to the slow. While increasing its duration is definitely a plus, she is still much more vulnerable than many other mages. This is especially true now that she has to build an item for Endure rather than taking it as a talent.
- New passive effect: Increases own ability power by 25/40/55/70/85/100 and movement speed by (2/3/4/5/6/7)%.
- Ability power increase after activation: 70/110/150/190/230/270 → 50/80/110/140/170/200.
- Movement speed increase after activation: (10/12.5/15/17.5/20/22.5)% → (7/9/11/13/15/17)%
- Passive and activation values stack
Having recently seen a dramatic rise in strength, Kahlii has become a much more popular mage recently. This can be considered a very minor buff in that it frees the mage from some reliance to Spiritual Blessing. Should an enemy break her protective shield, Kahlii loses a lot of her destructive potential and maneuverability. Moving some of that power away from the ability’s active effect into a new passive will ensure that Kahlii has some impact on fights even when her shield is down.
- Explosion damage raised: 130 (+0.4 AP) → 130 (+10 per level) (+0.4 AP)
- Cooldown reduced: 14/13/12/11/10/9 → 13/12.2/11.4/10.6/9.8/9
Matrix of Woe
- Cooldown reduced: 10 → 9
While able to do well in a coordinated team, Aleister needed some extra power. The additional passive damage is nice, though relatively minor. Cooldown reductions are also welcome, but again, these are very small changes. This will give Aleister a bit more impact in lane, but players won’t feel much stronger when using him.
- Magic damage increased: 40/45/50/55/60/65 (+0.16 AP) → 60/66/72/78/84/90 (+0.16 AP)
- Mganga can now store 2 uses of Toxic
- Cooldown reduced: 10/9.4/8.8/8.2/7.6/7 → 2 seconds
- Charge cooldown: 12/11.4/10.8/10.2/9.6/9
Another mage who had been forgotten with the arrival of so many strong new mages, Mganga gets a tidy buff here as well. Toxic will now start at rank 1 with the same damage that it previously held at rank 5, a huge jump in strength. In addition, being able to store an extra poison cloud will make him much better at harassing and attacking on a moving battlefield. Players should be careful not to blow through charges too quickly, however, as the time it takes to regain a charge is longer than it previously took for the ability to cool down. Mganga will be better suited to spaced out, short engagements than long battles now, and one wonders if that fits a harass mage.
- Base model updated to a spiffy new design
Sutra of Pain
- Cooldown reduced: 12/11/10/9/8/7 → 10/9.4/8.8/8.2/7.6/7
- Cooldown reduced: 36/32/28 → 35/30/25
If his previous string of buffs wasn’t enough, here are some more for you. Take some new clothes while you’re at it. Tencent seem to want Jinnar up with Raz in the almost-top-tier mage bracket with all of these buffs. The cooldown reductions will help him spam his abilities and thereby impact team fights all the more.
- Base armor increased: 89 → 95
- Armor growth increased: 17.7 → 19.5
- Magic damage increased: 440/535/630/725/820/915 (+0.96 AP) → 500/590/680/770/860/950 (+1.0 AP)
Raz has long been just out of reach of being amongst top tier mages, but this could push him into their ranks. His strong, spammable fireball will now hit enemies harder and thereby give the boxer a larger presence in lane. Furthermore, his needs as a melee mage are addressed as well with armor increases. Poor Ignis, someone must have guessed wrong when people asked to buff “the mage with the fireball.” Maybe next time, old man.
- Added effect: Zill’s normal attacks will deal 65 (+10/level) magic damage when they hit a monster.
A tiny buff to his clear speed in the jungle. Will help him out jungling, but only slightly.
- Damage on second hit on same target raised: 60% → 80%
- Mana cost lowered: 70/80/90/100/110/120 → 70/75/80/85/90/95
As Dust Devil is his most reliable harass, this is actually a rather nice buff to Azzen’ka. The mage will be much more capable of zoning people away from the minion wave and the lowered mana cost should allow him to spam abilities more readily.
- Added effect: Restore 3% of lost HP within 3 seconds of using Colossal Smash or Whirlwind.
This buff can be seen as both a blessing and a curse. On one hand it is a great way for Taara to sustain herself in lane early game and fights later game. On the other, it further spotlights her reliance on HP regeneration and will further encourage players to purchase Curse of Death or Tome of the Reaper when fighting against her.
- No longer reduces enemy movement speed.
- Bomb range increased: 100(0) units → 110(0) units
- Bomb duration increased: 5 seconds → 10 seconds
- Phase 1 collision radius increased: 100(0) units → 130(0) units
- Phase 2 explosion radius increased: 200(0) units → 240(0) units
- Added effect: Phase 2 explosion deals 60% damage to buildings.
The numbers within quotes are assumed typos made by Tencent. At the very least, a 2400 radius unit explosion would reach from one team’s high ground towers to enemy’s tier one tower. Wisp has the ability to do some considerable damage but has to make some awkward decisions with her abilities to be used most effectively. The improvements to Barrel Bomb will make it much easier to land as well as give Wisp some additional sieging capability. It isn’t the best mesh with her kit, necessarily, but still should improve her effectiveness in game.
- New effect: (5 + 0.15 AD + 0.08 AP) HP will be restored when the blue glaive hits a target.
- Magic damage increaed: 190/215/240/265/290/315 (+ 0.91 AD) (+ 0.8 AP) → 225/250/275/300/325/350 (+1.0 AD) (+0.8 AP)
- Cooldown decreased: 10/9.4/8.8/8.2/7.6/7 → 9/8.6/8.2/7.8/7.4/7
Valhein gets a well-needed buff, if only a small one. The curious blue glaive getting an effect (it used to only provide a tiny amount of mana) is the most notable change, as each glaive now provides a different desired effect rather than having one be clearly inferior.
Bloody Hunt gets a nice damage buff, helping the marksman keep a better pace with other marksmen. He still, unfortunately, will fall short of his peers, this not enough to really get him on par with others.
- Shield power increased: (150 + 1.5 AD) → (150 + 1.65 AD)
- The inability to move caused by this ability has been shortened by 0.1 seconds.
- The inability to move caused by this ability has been shortened by 0.1 seconds.
In their efforts to push her forward, Astrid receives a few more minor buffs. Her shield will be a bit thicker now to better make up for the lost burn damage that many players were lamenting last patch. Her combos should feel quite a bit smoother now as well with the reduced “self-stun.” This period is the brief moment that Astrid stands still when casting one of her abilities.
- Physical damage decreased: 250/500/750/1000/1250/1500 (+1.5 AD) → 215/430/645/860/1075/1290 (+1.27 AD)
- Slowdown percentage decreased: 50% → 30%
Now, this is a much better nerf than the last to head the Man of Steel’s way. Superman is tanky, mobile, disruptive, and can hit like a truck. Taking away a bit of damage and making his frost breath easier to escape from is a nice start but likely won’t be enough to drag him down from the very top of the tier list.
- Stun duration reduced: 1.5 seconds → 1.0 seconds
A team that picks Max will mean that the enemies have to either completely avoid marksmen altogether or play extremely carefully. Liftoff is just too good at picking squishy targets off in the back lines. The reduced stun should give carries a better chance of escaping when engaged and thereby making it less of a death sentence.
- Physical damage increased: 525/775/1025 (+1.35 AD) → 500/725/950 (+1.35 AD)
Tencent has caved to the raucous anger of the lower ranks and toned Butterfly down. While not a huge hit to her damage, it will make tank builds a bit less powerful on the assassin.
- Magic damage of third attack raised; disabled when activated 60/95/130/165/200/235 (+0.3 additional AD) → 60/100/140/180/220/260 (+0.3 additional AD).
- Magic damage when activated reduced 50/80/110/140/170/200 (+0.25 additional AD)
Similar to Kahlii’s changes making her less reliant on Spiritual Blessing, Kil’groth’s changes push some of his power away from when Enraged Spear is active. This should ensure that Kil’groth’s power is spread out along a fight rather than confined to quick bursts. If nothing else, this should not take him down from the power he received after last patch’s buffs.
- Movement distance increased: 450 units → 550 units
Wild Beast Fury
- Stun duration increased: 1 sec → 1.5 sec
Some minor changes that should make Skud players a bit more comfortable when engaging. The additional stun duration improves upon his already considerable strength in setting up fights.
- Damage on next attack rescaled: 0.43 AD → 100 (+0.8 additional AD)
- Base damage increased, scaling switched to additional attack damage: 250/280/310/340/370/400 (+1.0 AD) → 410/465/520/575/630/685 (+1.35 additional AD)
- Magic damage on mark trigger increased: 10% of Max HP → 10 (+0.01 additional AD)% of Max HP
- Base damage increased, scaling switched to additional attack damage: 180/220/260/300/340/380 (+1.0 AD) → 390/445/500/555/610/665 (+1.25 additional AD)
- Base HP Regeneration increased, scaling switched to additional attack damage: 150/200/250/300/350/400 (+0.2 AD) → 190/230/270/310/350/390 (+0.6 additional AD)
- Base damage increased, scaling switched to additional attack damage: 350/500/650 (+1.5 AD) → 690/920/1150 (+2.4 additional AD)
The numbers here can be a bit deceptive and make the buffs look much larger than they are. Keep in mind that all of Kriknak’s abilities now scale with additional attack damage rather than attack damage in general. This means that his base attack damage is not factored into the ability’s damage, only that he receives from items. That said, the numbers will still end with Kriknak generally dealing higher amounts of damage, at least early game. The main change here is that Kriknak will need some attack damage in his build in order to deal with foes rather than building completely tankily.
- Base attack speed growth increased: 2% → 3%
This should beef up Slimz’s late game potential and help him throw out empowered spears. A small buff, but one that should help Slimz rely a bit less on large amounts of gold for his power spike.
- Alice’s default skin updated
- Cooldown reduced: 10/9.2/8.4/7.6/6.8/6 → 9/8.4/7.8/7.2/6.6/6
- The ray of light appears 0.2 seconds earlier. The time from casting until it hits the target does not change.
- Cooldown reduced: 14.5/13.3/12.1/10.9/9.7/8.5 → 14/12.8/11.6/10.4/9.2/8
- Effect delay increased: 0.3 seconds → 0.5 seconds.
The Adorable Mystic received quite a few of adjustments here, almost all of them buffing her abilities. Her shields and stuns will be appearing more frequently if nothing else, and the frequency with which she can use them directly affects her ability to support her team. The increase in Hissy Fit’s delay will give the opponent’s a split second to defend themselves before the silence sets in.
- Movement speed bonus decreased: 8% → 6%
Being a Bro
- Cooldown increased: 70/60/50 → 70/65/60
TeeMee has been seeing a pick/ban rate up around 100% in the Valor Series, a testament to his mighty supporting potential. The movement speed buff is a big hit to his ability to disengage, he lacking any other natural escape mechanism. The cooldown extension to Being a Bro is minor, furthering its place in the game as an ultimate worth skipping rank two and three of until later in the game.
- Range increased: 750 units → 800 units
A small buff, but nice considering Lindis’ lack of a reliable movement ability. Lindis has been finding a lot of favor recently as players figure out how to play her, so this boost might lead to players seeing her in even more games.
Along with the slew of hero changes, a few tweaks are being made around the battlefield.
- Base gold reduced: 60 → 42
- Vision radius of scout sprite reduced: 600 units → 480 units
- Base experience reduced: 145 → 72
- Minion behavior, pathing, and model sizes tweaked to ensure more consistent waves.
- Monsters now prioritize the unit closest to them rather than the attacking unit when attacked.
- Last hit gold bonus increased: 20% → 30%
- Last hit sound and visual effects optimized.
- Endure removed from all game modes.
A lot here seems to be done to de-emphasize jungling, especially to those who would usually stay in the lane. Bounties of the Seagle and Spirit Sentinel are reduced, the two most accessible monsters to laners. Last hitting receives an emphasis as well, players who manage to be the minions’ killer rewarded more than those who don’t.
One of the most notable additions to come with this patch is the inclusion of three new items. These items uniquely feature active effects, granting the wielder an additional ability once purchased. A number of items are tweaked as well, passive effects and stats getting adjusted.
Bow of Slaughter
Attack damage +90
Life steal +10%
Critical chance +20%
Active effect: Life steal is increased by 90% for 3 seconds after activation (only effective at long distance). Cooldown: 60 seconds
This looks to be a very powerful item, offering both attack damage and critical chance. Activating it will raise a player to maximum life steal (assuming we’re interpreting the wording correctly), greatly improving their survivability in fights.
Magic Defense +150
Unique Active – Rock Shield: 3 seconds after activation, gain a shield equal to 30% of the damage taken within those 3 seconds + 10% of Max HP. The shield lasts for 3 seconds. The player’s damage output is reduced by 70% for 3 seconds after activation. Cooldown: 75 seconds
This is an interesting item that requires a bit of forethought to get the most out of it. The shield charges for a few seconds and increases in strength based on the damage that the wearer took in this period. As such, it is best to use this in the middle of a fight to maximize the amount shielded. This is of course only when dealing with heroes that put up longer fights; burst heroes are best blocked as soon as possible to avoid as much of their combo as possible.
Ability Power +200
Unique Active – Coagulate: Immune to all effects for 1.5 seconds. Unable to move, attack, or use abilities. Cooldown: 90 sec.
This is an interesting change to the Endure talent, previously very valuable to certain heroes like Lauriel. Its lack of defensive stats is a bit odd, especially since the active ability is inherently defensive. It not offering any stats but ability power can make it a bit lackluster, but skilled players will be able to put it to good use.
Price reduced: 760 → 690
Price reduced: 790 gold → 710 gold
Price reduced: 630 gold → 580 gold
Prince increased: 2220 gold → 2320 gold
Medallion of Troy was a fantastic value for the stats it provided, and that’s before even considering the passive. This makes it a bit less of an obvious choice and opens other items up as viable choices in builds.
HP Increased: +1100 → +1200
Magic defense increased: +180 → +240
Medallion of Troy previously outshone Gaia’s Standard in practically every way but HP regen. These buffs will make it more of an alternate pick to the medallion rather than a niche pick.
While no longer able to help push through enemy defenses, the extra ability power will help balance the change off. Given that most mages would take both this and Enchanted Kicks a majority of the time when building, other magic pierce items were a bit redundant.
Price increased: 2000 gold → 2250 gold
Attack damage decreased: +100 → +90
Critical chance decreased: +30% → +25%
New unique passive: Increase critical damage by 50%
Remember when this item only gave attack and critical chance? The passive stripped from Slikk’s Sting has been added right here, making Claves Sancti a wildly powerful item to physical carries. Marksmen will now be next to required to pick this up and to do so as quickly as possible.
Price increased: 2050 gold → 2000 gold
Recipe changed: Tempest Blades + Gloves → Tempest Blades + Gloves + Gloves
Attack speed increased: +30% → +35%
Critical chance increased: +20% → +25%
Movement speed increased: +5% → +7%
Unique passive removed: Hurricane: Increase critical damage by 50%
Unique passive added: Blessing of the Wind: Increase own resistance by 35 for 2 seconds after a critical hit
This looks crazy. Not only is the item’s offensive power enhanced, but it becomes the second item in the game to offer resistance. I’m tempted to try marksmen exclusively stacking this with Gilded Greaves now to hit that sweet 60% cap. Warriors who rely on their auto attacks like Omen or Kil’groth might find some use in the item now, even if it doesn’t provide them any of the attack damage they had previously been more concerned with.
Attack damage decreased: +90 → +80
Added life steal: +6%
Regaining some of its previously lost life steal, Soulreaver loses some of its immense damage. This seems most geared towards marksman junglers, as they will benefit the most from the additional life steal. This is curious, as Tencent have previously shown dislike for jungling marksmen, but perhaps they have had a change of heart.
A number of heroes’ running animations changed to match their movement speed.
Max banned from 3v3 and Death Match game modes due to being able to fly off the map.
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