League of Legends: Previewing the item changes in Patch 9.23

League of Legends. Photo courtesy of Riot Games.
League of Legends. Photo courtesy of Riot Games. /
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Senna, League of Legends.
League of Legends. Photo courtesy of Riot Games. /

Patch 9.23 will go live for League of Legends next week with all the preseason changes. Today, we focus on the big item reworks that are coming.

Season 10’s preseason is fast approaching and when Patch 9.23 drops, the game of League of Legends will change dramatically. Of course, everyone is talking about the Elemental Rift which will change how Summoner’s Rift is shaped from game to game. But, flying under the radar, are some smaller system changes that will drastically impact the meta for Season 10.

In Patch 9.23, some items will be completely reworked or removed. With all the balancing changes that are coming, it’s a good time to take a look at what those upcoming changes are and which champions they might affect.

Support Items

Riot is reworking the support items with the goal of making support not only more fun to play by not pigeon-holing supports into a sightstone gold sink, but also making the role feel more balanced in the process. To that end, the support items will now automatically upgrade to give supports wards when they complete the support quest without needing to spend their meager gold on it. In exchange, though, supports will be losing a whole lot of stats.

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So, Spellthief’s Edge will function the same way in Patch 9.23 as it does currently but will upgrade to Frostfang once the first quest is complete. Then, Frostfang will upgrade to the complete item – Shard of True Ice – once the new Frostfang quest is complete. However, Shard of True Ice will lose the Tribute passive (granting gold for attacking champions or turrets) but will grant far more AP (60 vs Remnant of the Watchers’ 30) and gold per 10 (3 vs. 2).

On the other hand, Relic ShieldTargon’s Brace, and Remnant of the Aspect are remaining basically the same, but Targons will be renamed to Targon’s Buckler, which upgrades to Bulwark of the Mountain. Again, it will grant health and increased gold per ten, similar to Shard of True Ice.

However, the Relic Shield items will not be the only ones to have the Spoils of War passive, as it will also be the passive of Steel ShoulderguardsRunesteel Spaulders, and Pauldrons of Whiterock. The difference is that when fully upgraded Pauldrons of Whiterock will grant that 3 gold per 10 that Shard of True Ice does and it will grant 24 attack damage. That’s right, this will officially be the first AD support item for champions like Pyke.

Finally, the Spectral Sickle line, which includes Harrowing Crescent and Black Mist Scythe, will have the same Tribute passive as Spellthief’s Edge. However, they will grant AD when fully upgraded rather than AP, making this perfect for a ranged AD support like Senna.

In short, the new support items in Patch 9.23 are all going to be more damage-oriented (granting either AD or AP when fully completed) and give less income once completed (they will grant higher gold per ten but no passive gold from attacking or killing minions). I think this will likely be an overall nerf to supports because they will get more damage (which can also help a caster’s ratios) but skilled supports will be losing out on gold late game. However, without the need to invest most of their early gold into the support items, there may be a window for skilled supports to snowball the early game by roaming with early boots.

Who this helps: kill lane supports (Pyke, Thresh, Blitzcrank) and supports who can spike hard off one or two early items (Brand, Zyra).

Who this hurts: Enchanter supports and poke mages (Janna, Lulu, Soraka).