On Tuesday evening Riot revealed details of the 9.19 patch which Worlds 2019 will be played on. With it, they might have revealed the meta of their World Championship event.
Patches shape the meta in League of Legends, and the patch before Worlds frequently helps create some of the most dramatic moments in the tournament. It looks like 9.19 will be no different. One frequent joke surrounding Worlds is that Orianna, Corki, and other control mages always get buffed just before the tournament – and as a result, they feature heavily in the event. And as if living up to the meme, Riot Game has done it again, buffing Twisted Fate, Orianna, Heimerdinger, Annie, Veigar and others besides.
Notably, the TF buff is an excellent boon to Fnatic, as the champion is one of Tim “Nemesis” Lipovšek’s comfort picks. However, the buff may also ensure that the champ sees almost constant bans for the entire tournament. The patch has also nerfed Sylas and Yuumi, freeing up two ban spots for teams that have had to deny these picks from their opponents permanently.
Blitz and Brawlers
Elsewhere, a host of the less complex melee brawler champions, such as Xin, Jax, and Mordekaiser have been nerfed, with comparative buffs to their more flashy counterparts such as Akali and Fiora. One thing this will ensure is that the tournament will have plenty of potential for split pushing action, with top laners given the tools to create and win in 1v2 situations.
Perhaps the most entertaining change of the patch has to be the increase to Blitzcrank’s hook range. The mechanical golem is rarely a candidate for buffs, as power is often overwhelming when the champion is meta. However, with this indirect addition to his power, Blitz now has the potential to be used in several ways.
Firstly, Blitzcrank can be picked up for early game cheese strategies. His hook now has enough distance to grab buffs from over incredibly large walls, giving him incredible power to deny early game leads. And while the hook length will most likely not affect his laning, as World Championship calibre players know better than to get caught by Blitz hooks, his roaming has been significantly improved by the change. Mid laners will have to be wary, as Blitz can now grab them from positions they’d never usually ward.
Overall, if you’re thinking cynically, you could reasonably say that the 9.19 patch wasn’t aimed at improving the balance of games, but rather increasing the entertainment value of League of Legends. However, hidden among the obligatory Orianna Worlds buffs, and nerfs on less exciting champions, this patch has elements which will promote split-pushing, 1v1 fights, and free up more interesting picks overall.