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Patch 10.1 Review
Heyo! The new year is upon us and with it comes the first patch of 2020! It's a large patch with not just balance changes but also a fair amount of new things such as two new champions, Leona and Karma! Alongside them is a new trait, Lunar and a few new items. I'm here to break it down and speculate on the changes though keep in mind this is just speculation on my part. Next week we'll explore more about meta shifts but for now onto the patch review!

As always if you want to follow along with the patch notes here's the link! https://na.leagueoflegends.com/en/news/game-updates/patch/teamfight-tactics-patch-101-notes
Alright first off let's get into what's new! Two new champions, Leona and Karma, are coming into the game with a new trait, Lunar! It'll be interesting to see how these two meld into the meta considering the way the last three units did. Amumu became one of the most sought after units in the game while Senna and Lucian were more niche and almost nonexistent after awhile. First though let's look at Lunar.



An interesting trait because it gets stronger the longer a fight goes on but takes a lot of time to get there. It's likely Lunar will have more impact early and mid-game when fights last longer and fall off later when the pace of fights goes up. But it does depend on the meta.



For example in the meta where Zed was very common and fights would often end in a draw Lunar would have a lot of value there as it would reach full stacks. If the meta develops in that direction then Lunar is more valuable but otherwise it's something you're likely to play early in the game and drop later. I'm really excited to see where everyone tries to fit this new trait into compositions or if it'll end up being another niche like Soulbound.



Leona comes in as a one cost Warden along with the Lunar trait. While we did just get a new Warden with Amumu it is nice having another front-liner as set 2 the front-line is mainly meant to be Wardens. This addition makes the chance of hitting early game front-line easier though if she ends up not being that good it could end up being a bad thing if it's diluting the rest of the one cost options. Not much to say about her other than front-line is always welcome. Onto the more interesting of the two, Karma!



Karma, at least on paper, sounds like she is going to be really strong. Whether you use her for Lunar or not the fact she is Mystic makes her playable just as a splash unit but her ability also sounds quite good. Pair her with a carry unit in the back-line and give her a Tear item so she ults early on could be a potent combination. Shojin likely will be good on her since she has 100 maximum mana and will cast her ultimate early on getting value from Shojin very quickly.

Regardless of how the meta shifts in this patch giving a shield and attack-speed to a unit is going to be very valuable especially as an easily flexed in unit due to being Mystic. Again this is speculation but it's possible she's going to be a highly contested unit. Next up lets go over a few of the new items being added.



Coming in as a replacement item to Repeating Crossbow, Last Whisper sounds like a great addition to the game. A lot of the meta revolves around hard to kill front-liners for physical damage units because Warden is so armor heavy meaning this item will have a lot of value into them. Rangers, if they become more viable this patch, will do really well with this item at killing the front-line. Olaf possibly will also do well since he has to burn through the front-line before getting to the squishier back-line units.



Titan's Resolve is taking over for Phantom Dancer for Chain Vest & Bow. Not sure how this item will do as it depends how quickly the stacking bonus stacks. If it takes too long to become fully stacked then the value of the item drops a lot so when testing this item it'll be important to keep an eye on the stacking. If it's quick for a unit in the front-line it most likely will be most valuable to a Berserker unit as they make the most of the stacking damage bonus and the armor/MR when fully stacked. Other than that it's possible Kha'zix will utilize this item well since he gets guaranteed critical hits from his ultimate.



Next up is a fusion between Thornmail and Phantom Dancer, Bramble Vest. The effect of negating the bonus damage from critical hits makes this item on equal usefulness to PD but the additional effect makes it slightly more valuable. It'll be hard to say whether this item is going to be worth making because the Thornmail-like effect doesn't do a ton of damage and may just fodder mana to the enemy front-line if it's continually doing small bits of damage to them. On the plus side it'll make Assassins take a bit of damage if you have it on a unit in a corner which is most likely how it'll be utilized.

That's it for the new but let's continue talking about items and go over the mini-reworks and item balancing for 10.1!
Alright with the new items out of the way let's get into the changes to existing items, of which there are quite a few. Let us start with the two ice themed items, Frozen Heart and Iceborn Gauntlet!



Notice that the effects of IBG are being changed now to be distinct from Frozen Heart as their effects were similar before. Frozen Heart is effectively the same although it can now stack the radius of the effect which is much healthier than it used to be in the past where it stacked the slowing effect. 40% is a lot, though the duration is still only one second so it shouldn't be too oppressive to play against. Assassins like Kha'zix or Zed may work well this this now since one of them is moving around a lot and the other has clones to spread the slow.



Iceborn went from a niche item on the Cloud map to a niche item for champions that cast their spell frequently. Most notably a Kindred or Ezreal though Ezreal can already have a freeze effect with Glacial so it may be a bit overkill to give him this item. I'm not sure how effective it will be and may still end up being an item you don't make often but I remain optimistic in that it'll have niche uses.



Ionic Spark is an interesting item. It's one of those hard to balance well items because if it's doing true damage it can't do a lot of damage but if it's not doing a lot of damage why make it? So they've changed it to be magic damage instead of true meaning they can add damage back into the item which they've done by making it do 200% of the units maximum mana. Whether this is enough to warrant making the item we'll have to see. My main concern is that since it's magic damage it's subject to magic resist thus lowering it's overall damage making it less valuable to play.



My favorite item change in 10.1 is to Quicksilver as they are making it a permanent immunity to CC. This item was already useful in certain scenarios but now it has even more application since it will prevent effects like silence from Hush or getting stunned by Glacial. If Nocturne is still a viable unit this patch I definitely would put this item on him as one of his strongest counters was CC. Other than him it may become common to have this item on your hyper-carry unit to make sure they don't get wrecked by any CC. Definitely a fan of this change.



Quick changes to these three items is they added scaling them. I'm not sure how much this is going to effect each item but it does make it so going for a three-star unit that uses these items more appealing than it did before. Primarily Kog'maw comes to mind as a unit that could use Shiv or Ludens with the new scaling. If Rangers become more viable this patch then Shiv is going to be interesting given it does less individual damage but scales to do more overall damage. I don't think you'll be going for three-star Ranger units but giving more AoE damage to them is definitely helpful.

Locket has become a staple defensive item to make for both certain compositions and just to utilize as an early defensive item so it being nerfed slightly for one and two-star units makes it's value early on less. I imagine this item will still have value though getting your Locket carrier two-starred will be more important than previously.



Next, a nerf to Hush! This item is definitely frustrating to play against and has received a few nerfs over time with the most recent prior to this lowering the chance to silence to 25%. This item is primarily seen in Blender (Nocturne/Blademaster) on Sivir and in Berserker compositions on Olaf so depending how the meta shifts it may be played less than it already is considering the nerfs. Personally I feel the chance to hit was fine as 25%, I just think the duration of the silence is a bit too long so we'll have to see how this change plays out on it.



Lastly we have a small nerf to Red Buff and Morellonomicon. While it does seem weird to nerf Red Buff which isn't that common of an item it does make sense they are nerfing Morellonomicon as it's currently one of the best items to make. I don't believe this is going to make either shift in their current popularity which makes me happy that it's not a heavy handed nerf that completely ruins their viability. Still, Morellonomicon is most likely going to continue to be popular and Red Buff is going to continue to be niche for certain champions.
Before we move on to the meat and potatoes of this patch with unit changes lets go over the trait balancing in 10.1. First up, Druid!



Druid, and by extension Woodland, are one of the better early game traits you can have currently. This change just makes them even better at doing that. Not much else to say as this change doesn't help them much later in the game so keep on playing them for a decent early game!



Light is getting a buff to the six and nine piece attack-speed bonus while three remains the same. A 10% increase is definitely a big change for six Light though we'll have to see if it's enough. There's a few other changes coming in for Light with a few of the champions receiving buffs that may help bring them to more of the forefront of the meta. Karma may also bring additional help to the Light composition with her ultimate buffing Vayne and giving Mystic alongside Soraka. Nine Light is still going to not be relevant though as nine piece bonuses of any trait is improbable to ever go for.



Small change to two Ocean as they go from 15 to 10. This is a decent change as splashing in two Ocean is easy to do with Thresh, Nautilus and Nami as it's very common late game to play two of those three. Overall this change won't do much as Thresh & Nautilus are still great to pair together in the mid-game for your front-line and playing Nami late game with one of them is likely to still be good.



Oof, poor Shadow got hit really hard in the last set of balance changes so it's nice to see them getting a bit of love this patch. 5% isn't a huge change but it may be enough to see three Shadow played more often. Six Shadow is still hard to run without a Shadow Lux so I'm not sure how relevant the buff will be but if you do manage to hit that particular Lux the six piece buff will definitely be quite strong.
Lastly we have a ton of balance changes to champions! Let's get right into it with one cost changes.



Ole Vayne is getting buffs to both her health and ability damage that is just a nice quality of life change for her as currently she's one of the worst units in the game to play standalone. This change may make her more appealing to play if you get her early game and definitely helps add to the value of Light. Because she is capable of being a hyper-carry in the right circumstances she may pair well with Karma.



Warwick definitely deserves some love and he's getting it this patch. He's not a terrible  unit but he really doesn't stand out much and only has use in Predator. These changes may do the same for him that it may do for Vayne in making him playable early game outside of just being played for Predator.



Let's dig into the two cost changes now. Out of the gate we have Jax receiving buffs which is another Light champion getting buffed as well as being Berserker. Berserkers are fairly stable in the meta currently so Jax getting a buff makes them slightly better though he isn't exactly an important unit for the composition. A common theme for the Light champions this patch is receiving health increases which definitely will help Light as one of the issues of that composition is most of the units were fairly squishy and these changes help alleviate that problem.



Malzahar minions are getting a small attack damage buff which is good for him as he is a bit weak at the moment. Alongside Shadow getting buffed he may become a more viable two cost unit to play. Senna is also getting a buff to her two and three-star variations which is much needed as she was definitely over-nerfed in 9.24. Whether she becomes viable or not it's hard to say but she definitely didn't deserve the harsh nerfs she received prior to this buff. Though if Light becomes viable this may see a return of the husband/wife duo as Lucian is one of the two potential carries for Lights.



Both Neeko and Syndra are getting a decrease in their maximum total mana so that they can cast earlier and more often. This does lower both of their value with Shojin though it does make Seraphs better on both. I don't think this is enough for Syndra as she is really underwhelming as a unit but perhaps this will make Neeko a more staple two cost carry unit for the early and mid-game that set two is currently lacking. She is also getting a small buff with the Druid health regen increase so these changes may make her more appealing to play over a Leblanc for Woodland/Druid.



Another potential two cost carry unit is Varus. He's not bad right now but definitely not as good as he was in set 1 as a mid-game carry. This buff is only to his three-star variation which is good if you happen to three-star him but it's hard to commit to him late game like that. There's a possibility of going three-star Varus for a Ranger build though again committing to three-star units isn't easy to do.



Lastly we have a buff to Skarner. Not much to say here other than it'll help him a bit but Skarner is in a weird place like Warwick where he's only viable in Predator compositions. Maybe with this change he'll be seen in a Crystal composition without Predator though Taric is still better at that than he is.



Getting into the three cost units we have another Light champion being buffed, Aatrox. Aatrox has definitely been under-performing in set 2 compared to set 1 so maybe with this round of buffs he'll be in a playable state. It does seem like Light will potentially be quite good this patch with a lot of the units getting changes so it'll be interesting to see how Aatrox does. He is also a piece of the Blender composition, albeit not that important, which may finally be weaker this patch so hopefully Aatrox finds use in a Light build.



Speaking of Blender both Sivir and Nocturne are being nerfed. Sivir, on top of the Hush change, is going to have two less seconds on her ultimate meaning the bounce effect will be less oppressive to play against. Hopefully she is still viable as a unit as it's a shame when powerful meta builds get nerfed to the ground and units disappear. Speaking of nerfed to the ground, Nocturne is losing attack-speed and attack damage. The attack-speed change is fairly significant so we'll have to see how these changes to him, Sivir and Aatrox affect Blender. I'm not entirely convinced it's going to make Blender unplayable but we'll have to see!



Another piece of the Blender composition is Qiyana. Qiyana is one of the best mid-game units in the game at the moment so getting a small nerf to her stun duration is perfectly understandable. She will still be strong so don't worry about not being able to play her. While she did receive a buff to her three-star variation I'm not entirely sure it will be that relevant just because you often take Qiyana out late game and going for a three-star unit you usually replace doesn't seem that great.



Azir is the last of the three cost units getting changed and it's a bit of a buff to two-star and a big buff to three-star. He's currently one of the better mid-game carries so this change just makes him better at doing that. Azir 3 was already decent if you got him and with this change it may be a win condition late-game if you manage it.



Tibbers is being changed to be weaker when Annie is one-star and stronger as a two-star which makes sense considering Annie one-star and two-star were practically the same. This will just make it more balanced and push you to go for Annie 2. Her three-star variation also received a buff but it doesn't make much of a difference since three-star four cost units are really, really unlikely to ever get. All in all healthy changes to one of the most popular units in the game.



Next up is Twitch! Twitch has been another underwhelming unit in set 2 when he could have potentially been a hyper-carry so hopefully this change will push him more into that direction. Another unit that will also benefit from the addition of Karma as the attack-speed bonus from her shield may enable him to hyper-carry. I'm excited to see how Twitch, along with Ranger in general, play out on this patch as we've been lacking a ranged back-line hyper-carry in set 2.



Lastly we've got the five cost champion changes. Amumu is first up with a stun duration change, ability damage nerf and alteration to his starting/maximum mana. Basically this is making him a more balanced unit in general. Taking away .5 seconds as a one-star makes him less awful to play against though he does keep the three hex range. The change that makes the most impact is definitely the maximum mana change as he's going to ult the same speed initially but take longer for the next casts. It's a good quality of life change when playing against him and doesn't nerf him into an unplayable state.



Master Yi has been a bit weaker for a legendary champion so we'll see how extra bonus damage does for him. I'm not sure it's going to be enough but with this change and Shadow being buffed he may become more viable to play as a carry late game. Definitely needed some love so this is a good change.



Andddd NamiNami and Amumu were definitely the best two units in 9.24 so both of them being nerfed could change that. It's not a huge nerf to her, especially since she's played for her traits and CC, so likely she will remain on the top but between this damage nerf, two Ocean being nerfed and the Morellonomicon change it's possible she's seen a little less late game. In all likelihood though both her and Amumu will remain two of the stronger late game legendary units.

Thanks for reading! Definitely excited for this patch, in particular the addition of Karma and maybe the end of Blender. I won't count out Blender just yet though because it's proven to be a very nerf resilient composition. Light looks like it's going to be quite strong given all of the buffs to the champions and the trait itself. What predictions do y'all have for 10.1? Do you also think Light may be more viable or will it still be a meta dominated by Blender? I highly recommend checking out challenger streamers to see how they go about learning a new patch! Personally I watch Kurum, soju, Khroen, Rayditz and Grandvice but there are many others to check out!

Thanks to https://lolchess.gg/ for being a great TFT resource and if you want to check out my stream you can find it here and my twitter here! See y'all next week.
Tagged in: Teamfight Tactics
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