Patch 5.4

Janna
Overall: This was actually one of my proposed nerfs to Janna as I was driving home from work a few days ago. I figured she might be in line for a nerf due to her popularity in LCS, even if she didn’t normally get banned (only picked a lot). Anyway the nerf still focuses on Janna making her allies faster/disengaging. As those are the primary components of her strategic identity, I’m totally on board with the change.
TL;DR: Good change. Increases identity.

Jarvan
Overall: It’s just a straight up nerf to Jarvan’s tankiness. He used to gain a lot more armour because of his standard, but no longer. It’s not a bad change, as it forces Jarvan to build tankiness if he wants tankiness, instead of being a little tankier when buying damage items. I also spent a little time thinking about Jarvan, and one of the things I noticed and thought was one of his weaknesses was that he had to build damage to deal damage and build tanky to be tanky. This change forces this issue even more, which is probably good. It directs the build style of Jarvan a little more, instead of gaining a little of everything through his kit.
TL;DR: J4 is pushed to choose what he wants his champion’s strength to be – if he wants to be tanky, he needs to build tanky, and if he wants to deal damage he needs to build damage. Increases decision making for the player.

Kalista
Overall: This is similar to one of my proposed nerfs to Kalista. It essentially gives enemies a slightly larger window of opportunity to get after her in between auto attacks.
TL;DR: Larger window of opportunity to take her down.

Kassadin
Overall: I’ve talked about Kassadin a little in my reworks, but this change wasn’t one of those I proposed. Reducing the range on his ultimate makes him much less about his ultimate’s mobility, but makes him significantly less oppressive later in the game. I’m pretty on the fence about this change – I think it hurts him far too much and doesn’t give him anything back. He still has extremely high damage and his mobility is still good, but a reduced range hurts a lot. I think it hurts his biggest strategic identity (R flash mobility), and I think he was balance-able with his old numbers. This doesn’t really open up larger windows to counter play Kassadin, he still has the same problems he’s always had. He just has less power with which to abuse them because of the range nerf.
TL;DR: I don’t like this change. Doesn’t fix either of Kassadin’s main problems and only hurts his identity (problems are feast or famine play style and distinct lack of counter play). This isn’t an easy champion to fix, but here are a few of my proposals.

Katarina
Overall: Just lowers Kat’s ability to get resets a little. It’s a good change that presses Katarina to be directly involved in the fight, and doesn’t change anything about her identity. Playing her the (healthier) way isn’t changed at all with this nerf, making it a good one.
TL;DR: Good nerf. Kat’s play style doesn’t change and gives opponents a little more breathing room if they can get away.

Mordekaiser
Q: Makes Morde a little better at applying his damage (not going to be kited quite as hard)
W: Presses Morde to use it supportively (good change), gives him a window to make him way less kite-able (good change).
R: Huge buffs all around. Makes it better for Morde to ult tanks and mages. Arguably makes it better to ult carries as well because of the enormous flat AD bonus provided to the ghost (imagine a late game carry walking around with an extra 100 AD. That’s like over 500 AD).
Overall: Directs Morde’s build path directly into ability power. Still an obnoxious unmovable brick in lane without ganks. Still extremely susceptible to ganks. Still gets kited pretty badly, even with a few things attempting to make it a little better. Overall utility is significantly better, which is good. He needs to bring something more than just damage. Champions bring one or more of three things: damage, mobility and utility (primarily CC, but shields and heals and buffs as well). A champion with solely the former is an absolute mess to balance because they can only bring one thing to the table. That means to be as useful as something like an Ahri or a Lissandra, for instance, they have to bring even more damage than those champions (who already have pretty significant damage), otherwise they’ll never be worth playing.
TT;DR: A good first step I think. Will not change his play rate as too many issues still exist. Still needs quite a bit of work.

Veigar
Q: Allows for double stacking, which is nice. Also allow him to him multiple enemy champs in a team fight.
W: Just some number buffs. Way harder to land with changes to E.
E: Makes it way harder to land on an enemy, so it functions more as a cage as opposed to a stun. Allows for a little more decision making on the part of the opponent, which is a net positive because of the lack of counter play inherent in Veigar’s old combo.
R: Loses a little damage late game, but it was always pretty overkill anyway. Cooldown and mana cost changes are nice.
Overall: Loses a lot of single target damage because of the changes to his ult and his ability to land W. Gains some nice bonuses because of the pass through of his Q. Mana cost and cooldown changes are all a net positive. Kit becomes easier to deal with (more counter play).
TL;DR: Healthier champion. Less single target burst. More counter play. Numbers might need a little adjustment because of so many changes making it hard to hit the jackpot on the first shot.

Xerath
Overall: Lets a player escape when hit with a max range stun. Doesn’t change much other than making Xerath not quite as good as catching squish-balls far away.

Zilean
Q: More counter play to Zilean’s absurd early game damage. Turning it into a skill shot means players can actually dodge his burst. Because of that, Zilean gains a little utility if he’s able to hit two bombs on the same player (super powerful in team fights, but also much harder to land). He can’t really follow up if he lands two bombs on someone in lane – all his damage is tied into those two bombs.
E: Reduced duration, increased power. Reduced range makes it a little harder to drop on someone. I believe it can still be cast on allies for the same numbers, which means he (or his allies) will have a pretty crazy speed up later in the game. Oh the Hecarim.
W/R: Making them not interact makes it a little easier to control from a balance standpoint. More important to land it correctly, makes it easier to wait out the duration of the mark.
Overall: Introduces some counter play to limit his early dominance. Gives him some stronger utility to make up for the lowered early dominance. It never really seemed to fit his identity of a time mage that his early game was his strongest phase – as time flowed, you’d think he’d get stronger. I feel like he fits the identity of a time mage a lot better with these changes, even if it messes with his power curve a little.
TL;DR: Good changes. More counter play. Healthier champion. Better power curve.