Riot’s League of Legends pre-Worlds patch is targeting lane-swapping, mixed reactions from pros

Darius New Splash

The League of Legends World Championship comes but once a year, and when it does it brings good cheer – oh, and patches aimed at changing up competitive-play and established tactics. Last year saw the introduction of the Juggernauts class, and with it an eminence of heroes like Darius and Mordekaiser during the tournament. This year however, Riot seem to have their sights set on discouraging lane-swapping.

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In case you didn’t know (and frankly, why wouldn’t you?) lane-swapping involves reversing your top and bottom lanes in order to get an advantage over a different lane or break a stalemate. The tactic has been incredibly popular in the game’s competitive sphere over the past couple of years and Riot are taking note, and attempting to cull it somewhat.

The changes were announced July 20 in a dev blog: “ Lane-swapping, while difficult to do successfully, is starting to feel pretty formulaic with few strategic tradeoffs. As it’s become more prevalent and teams do it more efficiently, it’s led to passive turret trading and less direct early conflict. When lane-swapping becomes a default opener, it creates a non-interactive early game. We’ll be making some changes in the upcoming patch to address this.

At a high level: we’re adding factors that heighten the risk of lane-swaps. Our goal is not to eliminate lane-swapping but to make it a strategic choice with actual tradeoffs.”

The first changes add incentive for attacking turrets:

  • “Turret First Blood” gold: +275 local, +25 global (400 total gold across the team).
  • Turret AI has been updated, and are better at defending allied champions (coming in 6.16).

Secondly, fortification changes:

  • Duration: 7 minutes – 5 minutes.
  • Damage reduction: 35% – 50%.
  • Fortification removed from bot lane turrets (we’re investigating a more nuanced approach to this).
  • Outer turret HP: 3300 – 3500.

Finally, spawn changes for cannon minions:

  • Each team gets one cannon minion per wave, rotating lanes.
  • Specifically, Bot gets a cannon minion in lane at wave 3, Mid at wave 4, and Top at wave 5. This then repeats.
  • Post-20 minutes, Mid has a cannon in wave 40 then both Bot and Top get one in wave 41. This then repeats.
  • Post-35 minutes, all lanes have cannons in each wave.

So, better rewards for killing the first turret, fewer cannon minions in the early stages of a game and greater difficulty taking turrets during the first five minutes. They’re slight changes, but could have a huge impact on how the pros play the game. A number of League professionals have already chimed in on the changes via Twitter, some happy:

Others less so:

Thanks, Rift Herald.