Patch 6.8 Buffs, Nerfs, and Changes


Patch 6.8 Has Arrived! Riot Preps for Mid-Season and Says “Good Riddance” to Tank Ekko.

The ending of the LCS split heralds big changes to the game. In this round of patch notes, Riot Patrick “Scarizard” Scarborough gave us a preface that emphasized a careful approach to current balance changes. The mid-season mage update, which will include major rebalancing for a slew of champions as well as big changes to items, is coming but it’s not here yet. Scarizard jokes that instead this patch is “the one before mid-season (pre-mid-season?!)” That said, there are definitely some changes that will be making an impact on your games before Ryze’s inevitable still-OP rework.

Related Story: A Look at Upcoming Changes to AP Items

Patch 6.8 Buffs

taric splash
taric splash /

The rundown of buffs has to start with the release of the Taric rework. This change is technically a whole new suite of abilities rather than a balance adjustment, but new Taric looks extremely strong. We’ve

taken a look

at the Taric rework previously on BoL, but in brief: Taric’s new kit has an AOE heal, a piercing skillshot stun, and an ultimate that grants complete invulnerability to damage for allies in a moderate AOE. He also has a shield that can be cast on allies to cause Taric’s spells to be cast from their position as well, allowing Taric to cast all of his spells from two points at once, including his ultimate. He also got a big buff in the handsomeness department.

Next up are some buffs to AP Ekko. Excuse me? Ekko buffs? Well, yes. Tank Ekko was hit with a base damage reduction to Phase Dive (E) and lower base on-hit percentage dame on Parallel Convergence (W), as well as nerfs to Iceborn Gauntlet (more below). However, Riot has decided to mellow the mild pain of these much deserved nerfs with buffs to AP ratios on both changed abilities. Based on some quick math, it looks like Ekko can outscale his damage values from last patch starting at around 200 AP. It’s good to see Riot refraining from totally Olaf-ing Ekko for now, but it’s curious to see buffs to AP-focused Ekko builds when midlane Ekko is already seeing success with these kinds builds in competitive play in all regions.

Speaking of Olaf, he’s back again. Patch 6.8 has huge buffs for Olaf. Lifesteal on his W, Vicious Strikes, has been increased at all levels but particularly in the early game. Olaf can now gain access to 14% lifesteal from just one point in his W, more than 150% of the previous level one value. The Armor and Magic Resistance passively granted by his ultimate, Ragnarok, has been increased by 10 at each level. (That means Olaf at level 6 now gets twice as much free Armor and MR!) I like that these changes help restore Olaf’s right to dive the back line with terrifying ferocity, but I worry about more free tank stats being thrown around in the top lane.

Another buffed toplaner is Rumble. Rumble gets a reduced cooldown on his Equalizer, one of the game’s most infamous ultimates. His Q now does full damage to minions, up from his previous 50% reduction. This has the potential to make Rumble a pushing monster. The game now also has suggested item build for jungle Rumble, suggesting that Riot may want to shift the yordle in that direction in future updates.

Wrapping up those solidly in the buff camp are Galio and Miss Fortune. These are both champions that already have a positive winrate in pub games, but needed a little extra love to make them feel more effective. Miss Fortune’s Strut has had it’s bonus attack speed duration increased. Attacking a new target to apply her passive Love Tap will no longer extend Strut’s duration, but will instead decrease its cooldown. Galio was given a mana cost reduction on his E, Righteous Gust, as well as a re-scaled movement speed bonus from the tornado that makes it more potent at lower levels. If Galio ends up being OP this patch, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Patch 6.86 Nerfs

The nerfs that look like they will affect the game most aren’t to champions but to items. Iceborn Gauntlet has had it’s spellblade procs toned down to 100% base attack damage, down from 125% and now the same as the Sheen it builds out of.  Along with the changes to Ekko’s base damages, this will hopefully help curb the tanky time traveler plague, and discourage some of the more monotonous toplane builds we’ve seen lately. Riot also decreased the AD on Mercurial Scimitar, with a compensatory cost decrease, to make it a less slot-efficient item. Marksmen and AD champions looking to pick up the Quicksilver active will now have to make more of a damage tradeoff, which I think is a good decision for players to have to think about.

The most glaring champion nerf is to Graves, who has had the AD ratios on his passives reduced. Critical shots from Graves will now fire only six bullets, down from eight, but each individual bullet will do 140% damage (up to 160% with Infinity Edge). This change clearly still allows Graves to deal huge amounts of damage with a carry-focused build, but Riot is hoping it will keep him from getting out of control when building tankier, writing, “We’re retuning New Destiny’s specs so Graves has to make a choice between being critting people’s heads off or being the gritty, sustained cleanup crew.” I don’t even think this is a nerf to most Graves players in public matchmaking, but it may stop Graves from being such a go-to, safe pick in competitive play.

Master Yi and Kog’maw are both getting changes that overall look like nerfs but may prove more neutral. Yi’s Highlander ultimate has had its cooldown duration decreased, but the extended “reset” duration granted on kills has been almost doubled. This means you’ll be restricted from entering the Yi Zone as frequently, but if you get rolling you can be unstoppable for even longer. Kog’maw’s Caustic Spittle (Q) has been rescaled to apply more Armor and MR shred at early levels, but the base damage on his W, Bio-Arcane Barrage, has been decreased. This will make Kog’maw more potent in early fights, but less of an automatic hyper-carry without items. I like Kog’maw’s late game monster status, so I’m disappointed to see that toned down. I’m curious to see if Kog’maw will be able to survive the AP assault that’s sure to come next patch with the mage rework.

A couple of masteries have lost some free sustain. Feast will now activate only once per wave (30 second cooldown), and the omnipresent Grasp of the Undying now steals 2.5% of max health, rather than 3. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that is not the change Grasp of the Undying needed, and Riot seems to acknowledge this concern, clarifying, “This change probably won’t solve Grasp’s problems on its own, but we want to at least tone it down while we continue exploring our options.” Secret Stash’s biscuits and the Corrupting Potion item have also both been tweaked to regenerate less health but more mana. Riot wants us to trade more and sit in lane sustaining less, which sounds good to me.

Patch 6.8 Other Changes

A few “bugfixes” hidden in the patch look like they could have important balance impacts. Riot devotes a special section to Spell Shields, which no longer will allow spell effects to slip by on multi-hit abilities (with a shout-out to Corki’s missiles). Zed “no longer gains 20 extra attack damage when activating W – Living Shadow;” I have to admit some ignorance about this, but if the Zeds laning against me have been getting 20 free AD, it would explain a lot. Renekton’s Ruthless Predator (W) more consistently applies Black Cleaver stacks and Karthus’s Wall of Pain (W) provides vision more consistently, which are small but sure buffs for both champions. Urgot’s ultimate will no longer complete swaps if Urgot dies while channeling, which will be a bummer for all four Urgot players.

The UI is getting some buffs, too. The store is getting a visual update to keep it more in line with the updated looks other menus have received. Champion Select is getting some adjustments to show more information, including the return of the “More Stats” panel. This patch also brings new splash art for several champions and skins, some of which we’ve previewed on BoL.

Notes for patch 6.8 are available on the League of Legends website if you want to look over the numbers in detail. I think the changes in this patch should make the game better, unless you’re laning against an Ekko building AP. Like everyone else, I’m mostly looking forward to the much bigger mid-season patch to come.

What do you think of these changes? Who got robbed on buffs? What OP champion escaped the nerf bat?