Patch 5.5

Bard
Overall: I think his kit seems pretty interesting and could be extremely strong in a number of scenarios. I think he really emphasizes skillful decision making for the player which I always find enjoyable. Nothing in his kit seemed overboard/lacking extreme counter play. I don’t really see him being that powerful of a laner, but his roaming looks pretty strong. Honestly his kit seems pretty basic overall – one slow/stun, one heal, one mobility ability, one major Zhonya’s. I have a feeling most people will think he’s garbage and he’ll get some buffs, then people will figure out what to do with him and he’ll be overly strong and get a small nerf. That’s my guess, at least.

Azir
Overall: Last nerfs hit him pretty hard, now Riot’s just trying to make him not completely terrible. The base attack speed change is pretty big because bonus attack scales off of the base, essentially strengthening his late game. The soldier attack range is nice as well, strengthening his early game harass a little to make up for the enormous nerfs he got a few patches ago. Good change, still fits his new late game play style.

Gragas
Overall: Makes him slightly better in lane, but makes him damn good in the jungle. Fully expecting him to be broken in the jungle and needing nerfs because of the absurd amount of CC/damage he brings to the table. He’s good at just about everything in the jungle now because of this change. Debatable change, gonna be OP.

Kassadin
Overall: Well I ranted a little at Riot last patch when they changed him, but I’m glad they’ve come back to buff his identity a little more. He’s still going to have problems either way though until Riot comes up with some way to give opponents a little more counter play when fighting a Kassadin. Good change, although he still has all his problems.

Lissandra
Overall: My first thought about this was “Reduces her burst damage, giving opponents a little more room to work around her.” The change, of course, does this, but I don’t really care for Riot’s reasoning. Lissandra’s supposedly safe because of her wave clear, but that’s not true in the slightest. Mordekaiser has absurd wave clear and he is arguably one of the least safe champions in the game. What makes her safe is her ability to kite away from enemies so effectively as well as jump away with her E. I spoke about making her a little less safe in one of my LCS reworks, and I think there are better ways to target her safety other than nerfing her damage/wave clear. Honestly this doesn’t really change any of her problems and simply reduces her overall power level, meaning down the road she’s going to show up again with the exact same issues.

Nautilus
Overall: Reduce damage on W, increase damage on E. Basically splits up the strength of his primary skill (W). Overall it hurts a little because you gained so much power from maxing W, but it also means he’s not quite as binary if his shield gets broken because he can now bring a little more damage/cc to the equation with E’s buffs. I like the change.

Nidalee
Overall: Reduces her clear speed, more or less. It’s essentially what I proposed in my rework although the actual change is different. I was a little skeptical about changing this aspect because I was nervous about how much it would actually hit her jungle speed. I’ll simply defer to Riot on this one, though, because I’m sure they’ve played way more jungle Nid than me. Good change.

Sion
Overall: Basically removes some of the power in his E and places it in his Q. I’m not a Sion player (only played him once since the rework), but I’m pretty sure he would max his E first to bully the ever living crap out of opponents. It was extremely obnoxious, and not really the play style I think Riot was going for when they changed him. Essentially a kit re-balance, pushing players to max Q over E instead.

Skarner
Overall: Just damage buffs. Helps his jungle clear a lot and means his ganks got a little stronger. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him played a little more and could definitely see him making it into competitive play.

Tristana
Overall: Identity buff, good change. Synergizes her kit more.

Trundle
Overall: As someone who played Trundle a lot before his re-work (and a lot after), I just kind of feel extremely meh about the changes. His problem is the extreme amount of invisible power he has, meaning he has very limited “splash” plays. I mean it buffs his identity a little and makes him stronger overall, but he’ll never be in favor for long because he’s just a pretty bland champion for most people (imo). Side note, I don’t love how invisible his power is, so if he could receive a little more visible power that would probably go a long way to fixing his issues.

Urgot
Overall: Fits Urgot decently well, especially with his tear/frozen heart build that he normally goes. It’s a pretty nice buff for him, which makes me a little nervous. His laning phase is pretty good, with his lack of mobility and late game strength being the major things keeping him from being a major viable force with whom to be reckoned. He still has a lot of inherent weakness, which should keep him manageable. I like the buff to his ult, as it reinforces one of the coolest and most strategic abilities in the game. I don’t see him getting out of line, but the kit overall could probably use some work. He’s just kind of a mess.

Veigar
Overall: Meh. Small buffs, still not gonna be played much I think. His identity got hit pretty hard with the changes. I know he’s been played in LCS as a support (and this definitely makes him even more viable in that regard), but I just don’t see him bringing much in the way of a mid lane burst caster. Just sort of a meh change.

Vi
Overall: Riot realized that making Vi’s ganks post-6 less absurd was the way to go, not simply increasing the cooldown of her ult. Reducing her cooldown simply made it so she could do it less often – it was still as effective as ever. She needed to not have what amounted to like a 95% success rate on her ganks post-6 be less frequent, she needed to have them be less successful. This change actually targeted that. I wouldn’t mind her getting that increased ultimate cooldown reduced back to what it was before, not that the damage has been reduced.

Volibear
Overall: Better laner and jungler (especially jungler) now. Just farms a little better, meaning better clear speed, meaning more ganks and health when ganking. Probably a good change for him, although I don’t see him coming back anytime soon as a jungler even with the changes. I might be underrating the change a little though.

Xin Zhao
Overall: Better clear speed, more sustain. Just makes his first 10 minutes of the game so much better all around, making him a better jungler all around. Could definitely see Xin making a bit of a comeback now.

Zac
Overall: Good buff, change fits his identity and makes him feel a little better for players.

Zilean
Overall: Brought back the Q/W/Q combo he had before the re-work. Just keeps him true to his old identity a little better.

Luden’s Echo
Overall: I mean… meh. It’s like the Statikk Shiv for mages. It doesn’t really seem to do much of anything for burst mages (which I thought was the goal, as DFG was FOR burst mages) and is borderline insane on dps mages like Cass. Just doesn’t seem to make burst mages any better. There’s just no way in hell someone like Veigar (the quintessential burst mage) would even remotely consider an item like this. To me, this just seems like Riot pretending to attempt to make burst mages better, when in reality it’s really just an overall nerf to the entire class because they’re kind of innately obnoxious to balance. I just wish Riot would admit that, instead of trying to play it off as something else. To quote Riot about the DFG removal: “this also frees us up to give cool things for champions who’ve been shackled by their reliance on the item” and “we’ve got Ahri and Annie (no, we didn’t prioritize by alphabetical order), but you can expect some changes for champs like Veigar, Mordekaiser, and Katarina, along with new 120 AP item explorations in the near future.” Mordekaiser and maybe Katarina might like this item, while the other three couldn’t care less about it. I’m just super on the fence about the whole thing I guess. I don’t really like the reasoning behind the change, but I do think the item is neat and a good addition to the game. Just not a good addition for the burst mages hurt by the removal of DFG.

Cinderhulk
Overall: I love it. Basically makes it so jungling tanks have a better clear speed and a little more damage, without having to add in that damage through other items. Also just makes them all tanky as all hell. Can’t wait to use this on Rammus, cause he’s gonna have a party with it.