In patch 8.13 Riot is not only releasing the new Aatrox rework, but is also introducing some balance changes to help make ADCs a bit more playable.
Aatrox, The Darkin Blade
Aatrox’s passive is called, Deathbringer Stance. When active, his next basic attack will have increased range and will do percent health damage while also briefly reducing healing and shielding on whoever he attacks. This passive cooldown can be reduced by activating other abilities and also by landing his Q on another champion.
Aatrox’s Q is called, The Darkin Blade. The animations of this particular ability look a lot like Riven’s Q, Broken Wings, as it has three separate activations of the attack. The difference is that with Aatrox’s attack there are certain spots on the attack indicator that when connected onto an enemy will knock them up. This can happen on all three casts, and they each have unique zones that have to be lined up properly in order to actually activate the knock up. Each cast, whether it connects or not, increases the damage of the next cast, stacking up damage for the third and final one.
Aatrox’s W is called, Infernal Chains. When cast, Aatrox slams his sword down onto the ground, causing an almost shockwave-like path that moves forward damaging and slowing the first enemy hit. If the enemy is a champion or large monster, a chain connects to them and if they don’t get out of the impact area in time, they will be pulled back to the center and will take another hit of damage.
Aatrox’s E is called, Umbral Dash. This ability passively heals in correspondence to the physical damage that Aatrox deals. When activated, his E dashes you forward and grants extra attack damage. While this dash only covers a short distance, it can also allow him to hop over lots of the thinner terrain.
Aatrox’s R is called, World Ender. This ability kind of feels like a mix of a bunch of other champion abilities all in one. When activated, all surrounding minions are feared, creating a clear path to charge in with the extra movement speed and attack damage that it grants. He has a bloodwell bar right below his health bar that continues to fill up the longer this ability has been activated. If Aatrox is dealt a fatal blow while his R is active, he will be revived and granted the amount of health from his bloodwell upon revival up to a maximum of half of his total health. This kit is going to make Aatrox amazing at tower dives. However if you treat this new ultimate like Zilean’s R, Chronoshift, and wait for the duration to end before killing him in team fights, you’ll have a more successful time against him.
What I’ve gathered from this entire rework is that Aatrox’s playstyle is going to basically be an upgraded version of Riven’s kit, so if you enjoy her then you’re going to love The New Darkin Blade.
In addition to the new Aatrox, a bunch of other game balancing changes are being introduced as well.
Who got nerfed?
Lucian is one of the main strongest all around ADCs at the moment, but Riot wanted to prioritize his lane strength over his late game strength, so they’ve decreased his base attack damage growth, and made his R, The Culling, do less damage to minions.
It looks like Riot is trying to make Master Yi slightly more difficult to snowball, but not immensely so. They’ve removed the ability for his Q, Alpha Strike, to proc bonus damage on minions, however they also reduced the mana cost to cast it.
Nunu is now being knocked down a bit so that he’s only going to be overly powerful if he’s actually built well. The bonus ability power and attack speed ratios on his W, Blood Boil, will now be dependent on the total amount of ability power that Nunu has available to him.
Now this one I’m honestly sad about because I absolutely love playing Taric, but it makes sense because he honestly has been quite overpowered as of late, especially when paired with a hyper carry. The base damage on Taric’s E, Dazzle, has been decreased significantly, and the cooldown on his R, Cosmic Radiance, has been increased.
Other champions who were just slightly nerfed in regards to their damage, cooldowns, or minor other tweaks: Camille, Dr. Mundo, Ornn, Singed, Vladimir, and Zoe
Who got buffed?
Honestly, I don’t know why they gave Pyke more damage. In Riot’s patch notes, they mention that they want to encourage a more aggressive and less safe path build for those playing Pyke, which is shown by them decreasing his health growth by 10, but they also added extra armor growth, magic resist growth, and increased the damage on his E, Phantom Undertow, and his R, Death From Below. If you haven’t already been perma-banning Pyke in your games, you might want to begin doing that now unless you believe your team has a way to punish him before he can punish you.
Jinx has been given a bit more damage as well as crit. Critical strikes with Jinx’s rockets from her Q, Switcheroo!, now also doubles the damage output. This will make Stormrazor a definite key item to her build for sure. The damage ratio on her W, Zap!, has also been increased,
Kalista’s E, Rend, has been given an increase in the damage ratio per spear. So her rend is going to be hitting much harder when activated. I love Kalista’s kit and while this is a mild buff, I do hope it helps get her into a more playable place in the competitive scene of League since she hasn’t really been very relevant for play in quite a while.
Due to the fact that Kassadin’s W, Nether Blade, didn’t cost any mana to cast before, it didn’t offer any help in stacking Tear. It has now been given a hilarious cost of only 1 mana per cast, and I believe the sole reason for adding that cost is so that people can now play Kassadin and keep up with the other champions who can stack their Tear so quickly. Nether Blade has also been given a small damage ratio buff as well as E, Force Pulse, and R, Rift Walk.
Other champions who just got slight damage or cooldown buffs: Jarvan IV, Gragas, Orianna, Riven, Tristana, Tryndamere, Twitch
Who got balanced?
Irelia’s passive got buffed in regards to her attack speed and on hit ratio damage, while some of her other abilities were toned down. She had gotten to a really strong place where a lot of people were thinking she was far too overpowered, so it looks like they’re just trying to make her a bit easier to handle and less of a daunting force to be reckoned with.
The only thing changed in Kindred’s kit was her W, Wolf’s frenzy, but I think it was a big enough change to make it worth mentioning. This ability doesn’t reduce monster attack speed anymore, however Kindred when kindred moves and attacks, Hunter’s Vigor charges up and grants her healing based on her missing health percentage.
As for rune changes, in regards to using Domination as your primary rune tree, the ability power and attack damage ratios given with the secondary tree have all been buffed. The very little used rune, Hail of Blades has been given a decreased cooldown and given a little bit more wiggle room between attacks in hopes that some more people may be a bit more encouraged to make use of it. Also Unsealed Spellbook now requires you to change between 6 summoner spells instead of 8 in order to reach max cooldown reduction quicker, and the cooldown reduction per summoner spell has been increased to 20 seconds.
General Gameplay Changes
Riot seems to believe that it has become far too easy to snowball a game right at the beginning to ensure victory for the team that is ahead. They’re hoping to make some minor changes in order to make it harder to get extremely far ahead, specifically in laning phase, so that you have to rely on the game as a whole rather than just the first 10-15 minutes to secure your win. These changes include decreasing death timers at early ranks so you can get right back into lane without missing out on too much gold or experience, introducing a 2-kill bounty with increased team gold rewards for the various other bounties, and a decrease in gold given for taking down the outer turrets.
The only change made to the jungle is that now non-buff large monsters can be killed by the AOE damage caused from items such as Bami Cinder/Cinderhulk and Hunter’s Talisman.
This is all just my own personal take and explanation of this new patch. If you want more precise details and exact numerical changes to each champion, you can find them here: