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League of Legends plots third attempt to cut Maokai down to size

League of Legends developer Riot have unveiled their third attempt to nerf Maokai as the champion has been terrorizing bot lane all season.

If you’ve queued up for any League of Legends solo queue in the last two months, there’s a good chance you’ve played with, or against, Maokai in nearly every single game. The twisted treant has been dominating the meta, particularly as a support pick, all of Season 14 thus far. Riot pushed nerfs for the tree in patch 14.3, and then again in 14.4, but to no avail. As Maokai continues to sprout free LP like tree saplings, Riot has revealed for a third straight patch they’ll be trying to do some lumberjack work and toning down Maokai once and for all.

When League of Legends Season 14 launched, players scrambled to understand all the new items and map changes that came with the new season. Nearly all of the items were completely reworked, particularly for the support role, as all champions were funneled into buying the new and incredibly powerful World Atlas.

With the World Atlas, support players have the ability to evolve the item into a handful of different options with seriously game-impacting special abilities. One of these items in the popular MOBA is Solstice Sleigh, a tank-support item that heals a percentage of a champion’s health when slowing or immobilizing an enemy champion, as well as granting a burst of movement speed. Maokai synergizes the item with fellow newcomer Trailblazer, which has the unique effect of leaving a trail behind your champion to give allies 15% of your movement speed. As Maokai zips around the map and roots enemies, his teammates can fly across Summoner’s Rift just behind him.

His win rate for support champions has been the highest in the game all season long. Even after nerfs in patch 14.3, he remained at the top of the meta. Now, Riot devs tease that 14.5 will attempt to lower his effectiveness as a support once again while shifting him back to the jungle.

League’s lead gameplay developer Matt Leung-Harrison, AKA Riot Phroxzon, shared a preview of patch 14.5 which showed the specific changes to Maokai in the upcoming patch: Movement speed reduced from 335 to 330, Bramble Smash (Q) bonus monster damage increased from 80 – 160 to 120 – 160, and Twisted Advanced (W) cooldown increased from 13 – 9 seconds to 14 – 10.

Additionally, Solstice Sleigh is getting nerfed as well, as the item’s cooldown goes from 30 to 20 seconds, health healed changes from 7% to flat amounts of 50-230 (levels 6-18), and the movement speed goes from 30% down to 25%.

The targeted nerf to Maokai’s spells, coupled with the nerfs to the support item, could finally spell doom for the bot laner.

If you’re looking for a replacement for playing Maokai, be sure to take a look at our LoL tier list. Additionally, we’ve broken down all the LoL ranks.

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