The EU LCS has now transitioned to patch 8.4, one of the largest mid-season patches to come through in a while. After its launch during week seven’s games, we now have a better idea of what to expect during the final weeks of games during the 2018 EU LCS Spring Split.
Let’s look at some key changes to come out of patch 8.4, and what impact those changes will have on the EU LCS stage.
Changes to the Baron and Elder Dragon Buff
The Baron buff now grants increased ability power, and the effects of the buff increase the later the game goes on. Any empowered caster minions under the Baron buff will also take 50% less damage from champions.
These changes have already impacted the game as we are seeing more EU LCS take Banner of Command as part of their itemisation. Any Baron buffed minions with Banner of Command on them have huge siege potential, and will need to become priority targets for enemy teams, as evidenced during week seven, day one’s games with Misfits vs Fnatic and FC Schalke 04 vs Vitality.
With the Elder Dragon, its respawn timer has decreased, and the buffs it grants are increased for any subsequent Elder Dragon your team gets.
These changes mean that any EU LCS team that can take two or more Elder Dragons should have a big enough buff to ensure that team goes home the victor. Similarly, the game-ending potential of a Baron buff has now been increased, so expect even more focus and priority around both objectives, especially in the late game.
Goodbye to Zoe
There will be changes to champion priority in the mid lane now that patch 8.4 is live for the EU LCS, as Zoe has been massively nerfed. It’s highly unlikely that we will see her picked for the rest of the Spring Split.
Her Q, Paddle Star, has been nerfed. Her W, Spell Thief, no longer allows minions to drop teleport for her, and her E, Sleepy Trouble Bubble, can now be countered if a drowsy champion cleanses themselves before they fall asleep.
These changes mean that Zoe has been hugely nerfed, and won’t be a high priority champion in pick/ban phase or when drafting. Although it’s highly likely Zoe will receive a buff or two during later patches to make her more viable, we can safely say goodbye to the mage for the next three weeks.
In terms of what other champions will have priority in mid lane, expect EU LCS teams to heavily favour Ryze, although Azir also remains a viable pick after patch 8.4.
Vision changes in the jungle
Wards have been going through some changes over the past few patches, with patch 8.3 focusing on support itemisation and changing how supports earn their wards through quest completion.
In patch 8.4, junglers will have to adapt their vision game, as Tracker’s Knife has now been removed from the game. Tracker’s Knife gave junglers additional vision, which is crucial in professional play. By removing it, EU LCS teams will have to be extra vigilant during the early game, as they will likely have less vision to track where the enemy team’s jungler is.
Tweaks to the top lane
In a patch as huge as 8.4, it was inevitable that changes would also hit the top lane.
Changes have been made to several top lane champs, including Darius, Gangplank, Gnar, Ornn, Poppy, Renekton and Jax, however the main changes likely to impact the EU LCS would be those to Gangplank and Ornn.
In top lane, Gangplank has been slightly nerfed to counteract the benefits he has been enjoying on the Kleptomancy and Grasp of the Undying runes. The mana cost for his Q, Parrrley, has increased at earlier ranks, and his barrels under E, Powder Keg, now only last for 25 seconds instead of 60. Powder Keg also no longer grants vision of other nearby units.
Ornn has also seen a few tweaks, as his W, Bellow’s Breath, now delivers more damage in the early game but less in the late game. Ornn’s E, Searing Charge, has also been adjusted so that on average it deals out more damage.
It’s unlikely that the nerfs to Gangplank will stop him from being one of the top-tier picks for top lane, however it is likely that Camille will remain a higher-priority top lane champion during this patch, as she remains hugely impactful, and dodged the hits the pirate suffered.
We'll see how long it lasts.
Which teams do you think will benefit most from patch 8.4? Let us know in the comments below!