One month ago, Megan Kay won our first Standout Student Writer competition. Her brilliant blend of writing flair and game knowledge saw her come out on top; now, you can check out the article that got her there!
On the 14th of June, we announced the inaugural Standout Student Writer competition in partnership with National Student Esports (NSE). The competition aimed to shine a light on emerging writing talent in the field of esports from universities across the United Kingdom. Five writers that made our shortlist each earned a 1-on-1 feedback session, where they had the chance to pick up some tips to take their writing talent even further.
Then, one month ago, we teamed up with Esports Insider to judge the top 5 entries and reveal the winner of the inaugural competition. That was Megan Kay, a student from the University of Liverpool, who took top spot for her Patch breakdown on the all the dramatic changes that Patch 9.12 brought. She won a ticket (worth £600) to ESI London, a cornerstone esports industry event, alongside the opportunity to meet the LVP team at our studios in London during a UKLC broadcast.
? Congratulations to the first ever Standout Student Writer…
The University of Liverpool student has earned herself a trip to the #UKLC studio and a ticket to ESI London!
— National Student Esports (@nse_gg) June 28, 2019
Since then, we’ve been wrapped up in the start of the UKLC Summer Split (alongside preparations for our first ever live finals). But now, we can finally share Megan’s article!
The analysis is obviously less relevant now that we’ve moved on from Patch 9.12, but we hope that you can all appreciate the quality of writing that has since helped land Megan a role with the UKEL, a community-run esports league in the UK.
Feel inspired to compete? Make sure you put your money where your mouth is and enter the next Standout Student Writer competition yourself!
Patch 9.12: the return of everyone’s favourite Iron Revenant, Mordekaiser, and a sigh of relief for everyone who was sick of seeing Ryze in every single professional game since MSI.
9.12 brings into focus some key nerfs aimed at diversifying the competitive scene, with some buffs to shielding supports potentially aimed at moving away from the Braum/Tahm Kench/Galio meta stalemate. With all three champions seeing an international pick/ban rate of over 50% during the Spring Split, and an equally strong presence in Solo Queue, it seems high time that some of the squishier, buff-oriented supports received a little love.
(Shout out to all the Lulu mains in Solo Queue—you guys are up there with Yasuo mains as some of the most easily-flamed members of the player base. You might not get flamed less, but at least you’ll win more.)
In true League of Legends fashion, Mordekaiser’s release came with an outcry of ‘This champion is broken! Riot please nerf!’, which seems to have become the universal standard since Zoe’s release in 2017. However, with a micropatch announced a few days after his release, mainly focused on taking some of the power out of his base stats and passive, are we going to be seeing any professional Mordekaiser taking to the stage across the Summer Split?
The answer, I am afraid to say, is probably ‘no’—at least in the major regions. Unless we see a return of funnel, and the Mordekaiser/Leona combination hypothesised by Drakos and Ender becomes the ultimate meta pick (Taric/Yi funnellers, I’m looking at you here), there simply isn’t a place for the armoured boy in the current meta. The current prevalence of top laners like Kennen and Ryze makes him far too easily kiteable at almost all stages of the game, and with the return of shielding supports with longer-range AD Carries like Caitlyn, Mordekaiser stands little-to-no chance of ever being able to get onto a useful target and condemn them to the Death Realm.
More importantly, he no longer has the viability of simply doing so much damage that he is useful no matter the situation, something which has drastically affected his Solo Queue win rate—which dropped from 56% to 51% almost overnight after the hotfix.
This prevalence of shielding supports began with the release of the magical cat everyone loves to hate, but has slowly become meta with the emergence of Lux as a viable professional pick, and the small buffs to other popular ranged bot laners like Lulu and Karma. Both have received buffs to their utility, with Karma seeing a slow increase on her Q and a 10-mana cost decrease on E at all ranks, and Lulu receiving a bonus 10 shielding at all ranks to her E.
Although these may not seem massively impactful, it has been a long time since shielding supports have seen any real love in either Solo Queue or pro play (‘too long,’ I would say, as one of the few people who was a fan of the Ardent meta). This could see a shift back into a tankier playstyle of traditional front-to-back compositions with hyper-scaling bottom lane picks.
Now, despite all the outcry of ‘BOOSTED SUPPORTS OMEGALUL’ from the Solo Queue players who think picking Thresh or Pyke somehow makes them morally superior, these buffs are not game-breakingly impactful. This simply appears to be an attempt to bring back a playstyle that has seen no real love since 2016, when Lulu was one of the top three picked/banned supports in competitive play, without directly nerfing the engage supports that are current dominating the bottom lane meta. So, if we could all calm down on the mindless hatred of any character with sparkly particles, then that would be lovely.
If there’s one champion style that loves a shield, then it’s a bruiser.
The release of Yuumi was coupled with the height of Sylas’s reign of terror, and a scary magic man with a cat on his shoulder was the terror of the Rift from her release on 9.10. However, 9.12 sees some changes to Sylas’s kit, most notably his shielding and wave clear, two core mechanics which make up a large part of his high-Elo viability. With nerfs to the area-of-effect minion damage on his passive and Q, and an adjustment to his E shield that now relies on the skill shot finding a target, it’s likely that Sylas’s overwhelming presence across 9.11 will be toned down a little over 9.12.
The buffs to his W healing will almost certainly keep him in meta, and his 1v1 potential is still insanely strong if the Abscond/Abduct lands, but overall, his kit has been moved into a more skill-reliant position rather than being a mindless button-mash for shielding and wave clear.
The other half of the ultimate bruiser/shielding combo has also received some significant changes—nerfs to the magical cat involve taking some power out of the adaptive force on her W, and allowing it to be interrupted by all forms of CC.
She has also seen some passive nerfs, with the mana refund and shield both being hit in an attempt to open up some weaknesses in a champ who had been seemingly unkillable for the majority of 9.11. Her reputation as the squishiest champion in the game still clings on by a scant 2.4 health behind Sona—despite not being targetable for the majority of lane phase, a mere 432 starting health was a little ridiculous and rendered her completely unable to ward for early ganks in the laning phase.
So, that’s it for this patch rundown. Overall, 9.12 is nothing revolutionary, but provides some steps in the right direction to changing a meta that has become a tad stale. Exactly how much these changes will affect the UKLC meta remains to be seen (but I’m definitely ready to play Lulu again).
You can follow Megan, ESI and NSE on Twitter, and you can catch up with more League of Legends action when the 2019 UKLC Summer Split kicks off next month. Make sure you’re ready by following our channel at twitch.tv/lvpuklol. And stay tuned to our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more updates and announcements as all the season’s drama unfolds!
NSE (National Student Esports), is the official body for university esports in the UK. It was established through partnership with British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS), the governing body for university sport, and operates the British University Esports Championship in which over 70 universities compete.