League of Legends: Awaken for Ranked

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League of Legends: Awaken for Ranked

League of Legends, as an esport, has a very dedicated competitive player base. Each season, millions of Summoners from around the world fight for glory and juicy LP. After a long three-month preseason, the time for Season Nine ranked is nearly here. Riot Games wants to amp up their players in these last few days leading up to it, and they’re doing a great job of it.

Recent balance changes have helped to bring more champions to the forefront in Solo Queue. Some notable picks have been buffed to help players solo carry their games easier and climb the ranks. On top of this, Riot released some more creative projects to hype people up. Their preparation will certainly produce results when patch 9.2 releases and Season Nine ranked begins.

Balance Changes

A host of champions were buffed or altered to better prepare them for the upcoming ranked season. The major buffs were given to ADCs, who have notoriously suffered for months. Ashe, Jinx, Sivir and Xayah are the most recently buffed. But there is one champion’s buff that propelled her to the top.

season nine ranked
Project Vayne splash art. Photo via Riot Games.

Vayne is now a Solo Queue terror due to her buff. The cooldown on her Tumble (Q) was reduced to half when her Final Hour (R) is active. This buff was massive for her, as she now has a 51% win rate and a 22% play rate. Players are finding this buff enough to opt in to her weak laning phase because her ultimate is so strong now for kiting.

Nasus, the infamous stack machine, is another champion likely to help Summoners climb the ranks. He was buffed to gain more stacks on his Siphoning Strike (Q). Originally, he gained six stacks from killing large minions, monsters and champions; now he gains twelve. Top laners and junglers are using him because he can do insane damage with the extra stacks he can obtain. Though Nasus can have a rough laning phase, this buff gives him more power earlier – and much more later.

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Galio is the final champion changed to be stronger in Solo Queue as opposed to balanced around professional play. In patch 8.24, he received some changes that shifted his power from team fighting and utility to pure damage. These changed did the trick, as Galio now has a 53% win rate with a 13% play rate. He is likely to receive some nerfs but should still be a strong pick. He, along with the other two, are champions ready to help ranked players reach their ranked goals.

New Art and Animation

Balance changes can be subtler, so Riot has pulled out all the stops to get players pumped for ranked. The first thing they released was a new loading screen. It features incredible artwork of Blitzcrank, Yasuo, Karma, Irelia and Warwick. The fast-paced music makes anyone’s heart race as the champions, who represent different reasons to play ranked, flash across the screen. Seeing it every time one logs in is thrilling and makes it impossible to not get excited to fight for glory.

Their second way to garner enthusiasm was with a music video just released today. “Awaken” is the latest League cinematic and is a fantastic addition. Here, there are multiple different fights scenes between beloved League characters. Jhin fights Camille in a spectacular artistic show. Riven dukes it out with Draven in a brutal fight arena. Irelia, with a host of other Ionian champions, group together to defeated Sion and an invading Noxian army. All the while Valerie Broussard’s voice entrances viewers with a beautiful, fluid symphony.

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The title harkens players to follow in the footsteps of their favorite characters and awaken to fight for glory. The team work aspect of ranked is depicted clearly with the Ionian v Noxian battle, as Irelia is aided by the Kinkou Order. Draven embodies the awakened thrill that this new challenge brings for players. And Jhin demonstrates that fighting, and playing the game, can be much like an art form when executed well.

Ranked is Coming

There are new changes to the format of ranked too. The season, instead of being one long journey as it has been in the past, is now split up into three parts. There are also new tiers, Iron at the bottom and Grand Master between Master and Challenger. Along with this, there are only four divisions in each tier. Finally, there are separate ranks for each role a player plays. For instance, a Diamond mid lane main can be Gold in the support role. This change was to better judge players on their actual skill in each role but may cause problems and will be interesting to see develop.

season nine ranked
Icons for the new ranked tier system. Photo via Riot Games.

There are tons of things for players to look forward to with ranked in Season Nine. The climb is nearly here, with the first Season Nine ranked split starting up when patch 9.2 releases on Thursday the 24th. For those that haven’t seen “Awaken,” click this YouTube link to view the masterpiece. Patch 9.2 will bring a host of new balance changes, but as the changes are tentative, they are not discussed here.

Stay tuned here at ESTNN for more information on that when the patch officially arrives and follow us on Twitter for more League of Legends news, articles, opinions and more.

Statistics taken from op.gg.

Featured image via Riot Games.

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Brandon Sturak
Brandon is a writer and editor for ESTNN with a passion for esports. He writes about League of Legends and esports generally, providing analysis and commentary on both. He is a founding member of Niagara University Esports, while being the previous mid laner and Head Coach for the NU Esports LoL team as well. Twitter @GhandiLoL