League of Legends Patch 9.4 breakdown – death of a Conqueror

League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games.
League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games. /

The crit item reworks have settled in and the meta has shifted drastically to show a new batch of champions in the top tier. Which League of Legends champions is getting buffed and nerfed in Patch 9.4?

League of Legends Patch 9.4 promises to have a host of interesting changes to the meta. It features some nerfs to a few of the top-tier champions – Karthus, Urgot, and Thresh – along with buffs to champions who were desperately in need of them – like Gnar, Trundle, and Rek’Sai.

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Conqueror is getting a mini-rework in Patch 9.4 as well, and there are some slight item tunings that are unlikely to affect the meta. In all honesty, the champion changes reign in Patch 9.4, but who got the nerf-hammer in this most recent patch?



"Q – Lay WasteBASE DAMAGE: 50/70/90/110/130 >>> 45/65/85/105/125BASE DAMAGE ON SINGLE TARGET: 100/140/180/220/260 >>> 90/130/170/210/250BUGFIX: Now procs Runes more consistently"

Joy and hallelujah, Riot has FINALLY nerfed Karthus. A five damage nerf (and 10 to single-target damage) to Karthus’s Q doesn’t seem like a lot, but as Riot says since Karthus spams the ability this can add up. I doubt this will be enough to completely knock the Deathslinger out of the top of the meta, given his still-strong synergy between Dark Harvest and his ult, but we’ll have to see if this small nerf brings him back to Earth.


"W – Ardent BlazeCOST :: 50 mana >>> 70 manaBASE DAMAGE :: 85/125/165/205/245 >>> 75/110/145/180/215"

Apparently, a ton of Lucians are specing into Manaflow Band on the secondary Sorcery tree (along with Gathering Storm) and Riot is attempting to nerf this strength of his with the change to W here. I don’t think this is going to do much, considering Lucian can easily swap to Absolute Focus in Sorcery and be fine. I’d really have hoped that the Purifier would get hit a little more heavily given his continued presence at the top of the ADC food chain despite the crit item changes of the last patch.


"Passive – Fury of the Xer’SaiNOT ORANGE BUT: Fury Bar now changes color from yellow to red when charged to maxBurrowed Q – Prey SeekerFAST AND THE FURY-OUS: Now grants 25 Fury to match Rek’Sai’s other abilitiesUnburrowed Q – Queen’s WrathCALM DOWN: Effect now ends and goes on cooldown if Rek’Sai is burrowed for more than 1 secondUnburrowed W – BurrowTREMOR SENSE: Tracking visuals for nearby enemies brightened6 MORE WEEKS OF WINTER: Rek’Sai immediately burrows on respawn once she has at least one point in WR – Void RushGOTTA GO FAST: Enemies can now only dodge Void Rush by dashing or blinking massive distances away from Rek’Sai"

Nice quality of life changes to Rek’Sai, but she still suffers from the fact that she has a hard time level two ganking or contesting scuttle since she has to get level three before she has her tunnel. The changes will certainly bump her up a few percentage points in win rate, but I wouldn’t expect her to leap to the front of the meta.


"Q – Chain LashDETONATION RADIUS: 200 vs minions and monsters, 150 vs champions >>> 200 vs minions and monsters, 180 vs championsCAST RANGE INDICATOR: Now includes an indicator to show the detonation location and radiusW – KingslayerBASE HEAL: 50/85/120/155/190 >>> 50/80/110/140/170ICON: Icon border now glows when Sylas is within the max healing thresholdNUMBERS: Kingslayer’s damage displays as a crit if Sylas’ target was within the bonus damage thresholdR – HijackTURRET AGGRESSION: Sylas no longer draws turret aggro when stealing an enemy’s ultimate???: Hijack no longer fizzles if Sylas loses sight of his target before the cast finishes"

The quality of life changes to his R is nice, but I question why Riot would decide to buff his Q detonation radius. It’s not as if Sylas was having a lot of trouble in the laning phase or in duels.

The nerf to his W’s healing, however, is a godsend. Most pros are maxing W first on Sylas, meaning that he’s going to be losing 10 healing at his third rank (i.e. when he gets his ult). That’s fairly significant and could be the difference between him surviving an all-in or not.


"Q – Death SentenceCOST: 60 mana >>> 70 manaCOOLDOWN: 16/15/14/13/12 seconds >>> 20/18/16/14/12 seconds"

This is a revert of the buffs Thresh got back in Patch 8.19, and it makes sense given that he’s been an S tier support ever since. Maybe in the aftermath of Patch 9.4 the support tier list will be somewhat shaken up.


"Q – Corrosive ChargeCOST: 60 mana >>> 80 manaW – PurgeCOST: 45/50/55/60/65 mana >>> 65 mana at all ranksSHIELD: 60/90/120/150/180 (+0.3 bonus health) >>> 30/70/110/150/190 (+0.15 bonus health)"

As a top laner, the first thing I do every patch is control + f the term “Urgot” and today I did a dance of joy when I did so. These changes are HUGE, particularly the mana cost increases to Urgot’s Q and W. As of right now, most Urgots do not spec into either Manaflow Band (or the Sorcery tree at all) or build any sort of mana item other than his Righteous Glory, so these nerfs will either make him need to get more mana somewhere or force him to be more careful with his trades.

On top of that, his W shield – the bane of existence for all top laners who want to trade with Urgot in lane – is nerfed early. Although it is being compensated with a slight buff to the base shield late, halving the bonus health ratio (a stat Urgot doesn’t particularly stack that highly) makes him weaker at all phases of the game, but especially early.


"Base StatsATTACK DAMAGE: 63 >>> 60Q – Steel TempestCRITICAL STRIKE DAMAGE: +80% >>> +60%"

Very simply, Yasuo has ascended to S tier after the reworks to crit items, so it makes sense to nerf the damage he does from crits, given that he can get crit chance so easily now. The three base AD nerf is not significant enough to mention.


"Base StatsATTACK SPEED GROWTH :: 2.1% >>> 3.3%Q – Razor ShurikenDAMAGE :: 80/115/150/185/220 (+0.9 bonus attack damage) >>> 90/125/160/195/230 (+1.0 bonus attack damage)W – Living ShadowRECAST RANGE :: 1300 range >>> 1950 rangeCOOLDOWN :: 22/20/18/16/14 seconds >>> 20/18.5/17/15.5/14 secondsR – Death Mark[REMOVED] REAPER OF SHADOWS :: Zed no longer gains 5 (+5/10/15% target’s attack damage) attack damage when Death Mark earns him a takedown on a target that would grant him a higher bonus than his current one"

Even though Zed has been one of the top mid lane picks for a while now, but Riot seems to feel he’s been overly reliant on the scaling power of his R passive. Now, they’re getting rid of that because they feel Zed wasn’t utilizing it properly (ulting the high-AD targets). What’s most puzzling is that they’re electing to give him some power back in his Q (base and scaling damage) and W (range and cooldown), on top of his attack speed growth to allow him to duel and split-push much better.

I think a better option would have been to give him a one-time AD steal on that passive for unique takedowns (like the Precision tree’s Hunter runes) to spec into that identity of being the assassin. However, expect these new changes to really accelerate Zed’s priority and maybe bring him back into pro play (as LEC’s Nukeduck already showed).


"Base StatsATTACK SPEED GROWTH :: 1.5% >>> 3%"

A nice buff since the Emperor of Shurima has been struggling mightily for a few patches now. Unclear if the Patch 9.4 changes will raise him enough to snowball him into the late-game monster he used to be.



Another small buff to a top laner who has been towards the bottom of our tier lists consistently. It makes Gnar a lot tankier in Mega form, but unclear if that will allow him to rise in the meta that much.


"Q – RampageCOST: 32/34/36/38/40 mana >>> 28/31/34/37/40 manaE – Devastating ChargeCOOLDOWN: 24/22/20/18/16 seconds >>> 20/19/18/17/16 seconds"

Much like Rek’Sai, Hecarim will continue to struggle as long as the game is early-game gank focused and Scuttle Crab remains a priority. The changes are nice to let him power farm, but unfortunately, that strategy is increasingly unreliable.


"Q – SavageryBASE DAMAGE: 70/45/60/75/90 >>> 30/45/60/75/90"

Not a buff, just a quality of life change (Q’s first rank was dealing more damage than it should have). It’s doubtful these Patch 9.4 changes will affect Rengar’s status or win rate.


"W – RicochetBOUNCE DAMAGE: 0.55/0.6/0.65/0.7/0.75 total attack damage >>> 0.5/0.55/0.6/0.65/0.7 total attack damage"

Another bugfix here, that slightly boosted W’s bounce damage. Given how strong Sivir has become with the reworked crit items, however, this could prove significant.


"W – Blighted QuiverBLIGHT STACK DAMAGE: 2.5% (+2% per 100 ability power) target’s max health per stack >>> 3/3.5/4/4.5/5% (+2% per 100 ability power) target’s max health per stack"

On the other hand, Varus’s W was doing less damage than intended, so this bugfix will help boost his abysmal performance.


"W – Frozen DomainCOST: 60 mana >>> 40 manaBONUS ATTACK SPEED: 20/35/50/65/80% >>> 20/40/60/80/100%"

Oh hey Riot, thanks for reading my tier list and finally giving Trundle the buffs he’s desperately needed for about three months. Is this enough to bring the Troll King out of the basement? I certainly hope so, but he probably won’t jump to the top of the pack after these buffs.



"[REMOVED] THE OLD THING: After 4 seconds in combat, your first basic attack against an enemy champion grants 6-35 attack damage (levels 1-18) for 3 seconds and converts 20% of your damage against champions to true damage. Melee champions can refresh the duration by damaging an enemy champion.[NEW] THE NEW THING: Damaging attacks and abilities grant 3-15 adaptive force (levels 1-18) for 3 seconds (8 seconds for melee), stacking up to 5 times to a max of 15-75. At 5 stacks, 10% of your damage against champions is converted to true damage and you heal for that amount.ATTRITION: Damage-over-time effects and ongoing sources of damage (ex. Yorick’s R – Maiden of the Mist) can grant one stack every 5 seconds"

A very simple, and necessary, mini-rework to Conqueror coming in Patch 9.4, removing the ability to stack the benefit by attacking minions and priming yourself for an easy trade. Now, instead, you’ll only get the bonus after you’ve gone in against an enemy champion.

This means that champions who don’t “all-in” but relied on Conqueror to get that true damage burst in during short trades (Yorick, Fiora, Kled) won’t benefit as much. However, champions who do want to take extended trades (Jax, Riven, Darius) will get much more flat damage and use out of this rune. Additionally, halving the true damage and converting it to a heal not only gives tanks a better chance to survive against it but benefits some users who don’t have that healing mechanism in their kits (Jax).


Essence Reaver

"ATTACK DAMAGE: 60 >>> 65WHOOPS: Cooldown reduction is now UNIQUESHOP: Now appears in the correct shop categories"

Essence Reaver was being built mostly on champions that were stacking that passive, so this change eliminates that to make this more of a niche item in Patch 9.4. The classic “five AD” buff isn’t that critical.

Mid-Patch 9.3 Item Updates

"Spellthief’s Edge Line[NEW] BUDDY SYSTEM: Tribute procs now require an allied champion within 2000 range to grant gold, otherwise they only deal extra damageTRIBUTE GOLD: 10/20/20 gold (Spellthief’s Edge/Frostfang/Remnant of the Watchers) >>> 11/22/22 gold (Spellthief’s Edge/Frostfang/Remnant of the Watchers)Ancient Coin Line[NEW] BUDDY SYSTEM: Favor procs now require an allied champion within 2000 range to drop gold coins, otherwise they only drop mana coinsFAVOR GOLD: 25/45/45 gold (Ancient Coin/Nomad’s Medallion/Remnant of the Ascended) >>> 28/50/50 gold (Ancient Coin/Nomad’s Medallion/Remnant of the Ascended)"

We discussed these changes at length here, but the Patch 9.4 notes provide a more in-depth examination of the mechanics behind the nerf. TL;DR is that you need to be around an ally to proc the gold charges on Spellthief’s and Ancient Coin, making them slightly better at generating gold for supports but much worse for solo laners.


New to 9.4

"CHALLENGER :: Challenger opens on February 20SPLASH UP :: LP splashing can now put your off-positions into promotion seriesHEADS UP :: You now get decay warnings for your off-positionsRANKED EMOTES :: Once you’ve earned the Ranked emote, it’ll upgrade as you complete promo series and climb the ladderNAME DROP :: The animated celebrations for promoting into a new tier now includes your summoner namePAPER TRAIL :: Hovering over your split points now shows you how you earned those pointsAlready shippedGRANDMASTER :: Grandmaster opened on February 7SWAP STOP :: Ranked is better at preventing position swap abuseTOP HEAVY :: LP gains and losses at Diamond and above were adjusted due to too many players rapidly climbing into Master and above"

There have been a lot of complaints about the current state of position ranks, which we examine here.

Next. League of Legends - LCS power rankings Week 4. dark

What do you think about the changes in Patch 9.4? Let us know in the comments below.