Here at RoG we're going to continue to survey the landscape on what Season 3 might bring to the metagame. Now that enough attention has been given to the effects of the penetration change, I'd like to survey the landscape for some potential minor changes. Today Riot is supposed to (or will have already) announced what some of those changes are in detail. I do not have the luxury of writing about that yet and must comment on what we know already. So if you're here for stuff announced today, wait 'til Thursday. It's deadlines, man!
Okay, so what we do know so far are that there will be jungle changes, support tree changes, Indomitable and the defense tree will probably be nerfed, defensive stats will "cost more" (not entirely sure what that means), and that penetration will go by % first and flat last instead of how it is now, which is the opposite.
The first point is not concrete and has been speculated and written on already by our illustrious Stonewall, and for the second two there's not much to say yet. The last two are more concrete. If you take the typical flat 6 / 10% from masteries (which might change), early game the penetration won't mean much. If someone have 35 armor, under the old system it's 35 - 6 = 29 * .9 = 26.1. Under the new, it's 35 - 3.5 = 31.5 - 6 = 25.5. That is not a large difference at all. With 70: 70-6 = 64 * .9 = 57.6 under old, 70 * .9 = 63 - 6 = 57. The penetration's basic idea is to make assassins viable. Penetration runes, Last Whisper, and Void Staff are stronger. Okay.
As for "defensive stats costing more", that could mean items, masteries, or runes. My money is on items, with masteries being less so and runes not at all.
The automatic takeaway here is twofold: champions with penetration abilities are now better, and champions with built-in defensive abilities have gotten stronger.
Magic Penetration / Reduction
Armor Penetration / Reduction
And our other list, champions with built-in defensive abilities. For this I basically mean champions with free armor/MR, damage reduction, combat heals (i.e., Cho and Grag heals don't matter much in burst or combat, but Soraka and Taric heals do), or shields.
This is a large list to draw from, and I can only choose so many. While every champion wins from these changes, some win more than others. Here are my picks to keep an eye on for champs that are already decent to great and will just get better due to kit survivability.
So, he's already strong. Reducing 15-35 MR on a target is even better now, obviously, AND he has that free damage reduction on Tantrum. At level 7, this guy is reducing MR by 25 and physical damage to himself by 8. The mastery tree and the items may be harder to bulk up on, but this guy is going to stay the same while most of the rest get weaker. This little dude's not going anywhere.
10-20 armor and MR for free, plus double when ulting, all for nothing. The new jungle likely won't affect her either, as she can just max Q instead of single-target is so focused. She may die a little easier but I doubt her place as a jungle bully will change.
He is decent right now but, I have a feeling he'll get better, because his W provides a great shield and free stats for minimal cost. If the meta is crazy enough that it changes to burst, that's okay. If you slow him, he'll just break it for free, silence you with Q, spin, then ult you in your face, making him tankier than the new crowd but just as ready to burst and pack in the damage. Get your penetration runes ready.
Armor reduction by % in a line, plus a shield, plus 10-22 armor. Similar to Garen, he will maintain tankiness despite tank nerfs but still be viable for the burst/damage buffs.
His ult means he will be doing the same things he's always done. And he sure doesn't lack for damage and burst in the early game, either.
Some suggest he actually may get weaker, but some Riot posts have suggested health will be a much better option now. If so this means his shield would be even better, and his shield is good in this meta (unless the trade meta goes away and all-in ends up dominating, but that is unlikely). He still has his attack-speed debuff and a great ult and passive--for him to go down means there'd need to be a drastic meta change and drastically different, poorer options in items. If Frozen Heart is still around, bully for him.
Shen's ultimate and his shield means he can just max W instead of Q. He might be weaker, but I doubt it will be by much, if at all. His abilities are just too good.
Singed just pops his ultimate and he goes onward and onward to troll land. A lot of Singed plays involves pushing and forcing it to late game. The real question is, can the viability of assassins and the damage increase make him weaker? Against AD carries with Last Whisper, definitely. Early and mid game general pain-in-the-butt'ery, no. 35 armor and MR plus all that regen will let him keep on chugging.
His nerf hit him hard but his ult, as that of all suppression moves, will be even better for burstier, higher-damaging teammates. His Q is still good vs. single targets. His shield got nerfed, but will still be a good defense. He will still be anti-assassin and it will still be a bad idea to focus him. It'd take a crazy item rearrangement to take Skarner out of play.
16 MR to everyone is still going to be great vs. Karthus and against assassin/burst mages. LeBlanc may come back into style, and Soraka will be a good counter. Plus, double heals to prevent those bursts. Plus, a silence vs. a burst/assassin while you have a burst/assassin teammate = assists. She has fallen out of favor due to nerfs and lack of mobility, but keep an eye on the meta--she might go back up again.
The easiest and most picked support. Tons of armor for free. And he reduces armor with his W. His popularity will not change in the slightest.
Wukong has to be in the lead so that he can just burst down your whole team. With the 30% being applied first, this is a big deal. If he has 30% and then say 15 flat, it's 55 under the new system instead of 59.5. He also gets tankier in teamfights for free, though this gain is modest. Still, the meta seems like it will fit him better. Maybe. It depends on his penetration options from items and masteries.
Wall got nerfed. But it's still very nice for team reduction in percentage. And his ult. I anticipate lots of void staffs in the future.
Apprehends % armor penetration is much more appealing now. But he is still kitable. I anticipate slightly more dunking.
If stacking health is a better idea, and he gets 10/20/30 armor pen from his ult (he does), then he's going to be a lot more appealing. He is going to hit even harder and even longer, the Olaf way, baby.
15% reduction and full of burst, and his ultimate will knock away pesky mages and assassins. Or anyone. He's not popular and he may not become popular, but I predict he'll go be a little better.
That's all for today. Can't wait to see what is going to change. On Thursday, I'll be referring to this article when I talk about health and why I think its role is about to change.
Old Man Eyebrows
This week's eyebrows: