We’re officially halfway through League of Legends’ 2017 season, and so there’s a huge update landing on the PBE bringing many changes to kick off the 7.9 patch cycle. These include the much-anticipated tank updates, defensive item changes and the new Dark Star game mode (and skins). Overall, Riot aim to make three tanks more distinct in how they initiate fights, and to ensure that item builds feel more appropriate to the game's pacing and to the heroes who will use them.
Should you get into League, or one of its rivals? Consider your options in our guide to the best MOBA for you.
“More than ‘another really big patch’, [Midseason is] our second of two annual opportunities to make deeper improvements to the game,” say Riot in their Midseason 2017 update.
The Rift Herald is getting a few changes - since her buff could render an empowered champion "impossible to lane against" in Riot's words, it's being ditched. Instead, she'll drop 'the Herald's Eye', which enables you to summon her back for your team, "sending her down the nearest lane as a structure-smashing siege engine."
Riot are making deep changes to three tanks - Sejuani, Maokai and Zac - who they say struggled from their initiation abilities feeling too similar. “We’ve added unique mechanics to each, giving you reasons to master them separately or choose them specifically.” Sejuani’s Permafrost is getting a major redesign, and the rest of her kit is getting some attention so she’s not just defined by her ult. Maokai’s tools are getting sharpened so he’s the right pick in some situations, but not all, with a total redesign to his ult the highlight. Zac “runs out of cool stuff to do once he's used the exciting parts of his kit to make his entrance”, say Riot, so he's getting two new forms of crowd control in changes to Stretching Strikes and Let's Bounce!
Alongside the tank updates are a raft of changes to defensive items - “this means more than just tank items,” say Riot. “Every champion class has defensive needs.” We’ve seen many of the item changes and additions being trialled in the last PBE cycle already, so check out our 7.8 patch notes if you missed them. New items include Adaptive Helm and Gargoyle Stoneplate, nerfs to health and resistances on some items to enable damage dealers to keep pace, and changes to carries’ defensive items to make them more appropriate purchases (that is, less emphasis on baseline stat durability, and more on carries’ passive abilities).
Also coming to the PBE: the Dark Star game mode and skins. As ever, we’ll compile our 7.9 patch notes as the PBE is updated over the coming two weeks. Look out for the first draft to go up on-site later today, for a full rundown of the changes brought by Midseason 2017.