League of Legends: How Patch 10.2 will affect competitive play

League of Legends. Photo courtesy of Riot Games.
League of Legends. Photo courtesy of Riot Games. /
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The second patch of 2020, Patch 10.2, will hit live League of Legends servers later this week. Here’s a look at how the changes will affect competitive play.

Professional League of Legends is getting back underway. China’s LPL started earlier in the month, European and North American leagues return this weekend, and Korea’s LCK is not far behind. Therefore Patch 10.2 will probably be used in each of these leagues at some point in the future, so how will it impact the meta?

Due to the fact that the LPL is the only major division that’s started so far in Season 10, the Chinese teams’ picks, bans, and play style will be used to analyze the 10.2 changes and their effect on the meta.

Needless to say, plenty of changes regularly bypass pro play and are targeted directly at solo queue. Nevertheless, there are a few changes in Patch 10.2 that will change the way competitive play looks in the future, and here they are:

Aphelios

"Calibrum, The Sniper RifleBasic Attack Mark Damage: 20/25/30/35/40 (+0.3 bonus AD) -> 15 (+0.2 bonus AD)Q Cooldown: 9/8.25/7.5/6.75/6 seconds -> 10/9.5/9/8.5/8 secondsCrescendum, The ChakramBasic Attack Damage: 130-264% total AD -> 130-223% total ADSeverum, The Scythe PistolQ Damage: 10/15/20/25/30 (+0.35 bonus AD) -> 10/15/20/25/30 (+0.3 bonus AD)"

Unsurprisingly, Aphelios has the highest presence of any AD Carry in pro play on Patch 10.1 (97% from 35 games). His incredibly high damage output, early game threat, and shocking burst damage all mean teams are forced to fight over him during champion select.

The balance team has attempted to address that in their Patch 10.2 changes, reducing his base or AD ratio damage on three of his five weapons. Add this to the cooldown increase on Calibrum, the Sniper Rifle, and it’s clear that these are significant nerfs for the Lunari marksman.

What do they mean? Well, they mean his damage output is lower.

Due to the fact that Aphelios is so far ahead of his ADC alternatives in the current meta, these changes won’t see him fade into irrelevancy on Patch 10.2 and beyond. However, they should reduce his presence in pro play by a decent amount and he might even drop below Miss Fortune in terms of the pro play tier list.

Nautilus

"Q – Dredge LineBase Damage: 80/130/180/230/280 -> 70/115/160/205/250"

Perhaps to many people’s surprise, Nautilus was not the most valued support champion in the first week of games. In fact, he didn’t even have the second-highest presence. Yes, Nautilus was only picked or banned in 54% of games in the first week of the LPL, behind both Leona and Braum in the support priority.

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That being said, he’s still a strong champion and is having a huge impact on both pro play and solo queue at the moment. As a result, his early damage is being reduced to prevent him from 100-0’ing enemy AD Carries in the early game with his monstrous damage output.

Obviously, the most important aspect of Dredge Line is its crowd control, but reducing its damage is impactful, particularly in the early levels. What this could lead to is Thresh overtaking Nautilus in the support tier list and Naut becoming the 4th best tank in the current tank-heavy support meta.

Qiyana

"W – TerrashapePassive Attack Speed: 20% -> 5/10/15/20/25%"

Equal to Aphelios, Qiyana is currently the joint 3rd highest prioritized champion (97%) on Patch 10.1 over in the LPL. This is mainly because of her ability to be used as a flex pick (jungle/mid), her high burst damage, and her incredible roaming potential with Boots of Mobility and Terrashape.

As a result, the Empress of the Elements has been hit by a significant -15% Attack Speed nerf on her W in an attempt to slow her DPS in skirmishes as well as reduce her excellent wave/jungle clear.

15% is a pretty large number, but probably not large enough to kick Qiyana out of the meta. In fact, she probably won’t even be kicked out of S tier, such is the overloaded and overpowered nature of her kit. Simply put, expect to see Elise a tad more and Qiyana a tad less on Patch 10.2.

Cloak of Agility

"Critical Strike Chance: 25% -> 20%"

Cloak of Agility became relevant during preseason as it had its critical strike chance increased to 25%. Unfortunately, this made the item too relevant and ADCs began to buy it whenever they had 800 gold and nothing else to purchase, often stacking Cloaks to get as close to 100% crit as possible for little investment.

Therefore, the item’s stats have been reverted and we’ll probably return to Doran’s Blades as “filler” items in the future.

Rift Herald

"Base StatsHealth 5500 (8250-16500 [level 6-12]) -> 4750 (7125-14250 [level 6-12])"

Despite their best efforts, the balance team have failed to make Rift Herald a valuable and sought after objective in the early game. Pros currently (and will probably always) value establishing vision control around Elemental Dragons much higher than potentially picking up a Rift Herald for a small amount of tower damage.

Now, Shelly has lower health meaning players need to invest less time to kill her which means it’s a more manageable objective and top laners/junglers don’t give up as much to take it down.

But, the trade-off of Herald for bot side control is still huge and we probably won’t see teams look for a Herald kill unless they’re in complete control or are forced into the trade by their opposition.

dark. Next. How to watch professional League of Legends in 2020

The LCS returns this Saturday 25 January! Catch Cloud9 vs. Team Liquid from 5PM EST on the Riot Games Twitch channel!