Brandon Sturak

Brandon Sturak

Brandon is a Niagara University graduate with a passion for esports. He writes about League of Legends and esports, with analysis and commentary on both. He is a founding member Niagara University Esports and the previous mid laner/coach for the NU Esports LoL team. Twitter @GhandiLoL

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League of Legends: Game Changing ARAM Updates

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League of Legends player rejoice! Riot Games is finally giving some love to the popular and fun ARAM game mode. ARAM, for anyone who doesn’t know, stands for All Random All Mid and is one of League’s permanent game modes. It is no where as popular as the competitive Summoner’s Rift but does have a strong player base and is a more fun, less stress environment.

Riot_Mort wrote a /DEV article on Tuesday to announce some big changes are coming to the game mode soon. All aspects of the game will be up for change as well as some new, exciting additions. The changes will all be implemented in a “mini-event” in patch 9.7, and after watching what’s successful and what’s not, Riot will add these changes to stay in the game for good. They’re even bringing back the gnarly Slaughter Docks map for this limited time!

Butcher’s Bridge concept art. Photo via Riot Games.

Game Changing Updates

The first major update is noticeable before the game even starts. This will be that now players can ban champions they just don’t want to play against in the pre-game lobby. ARAM matches are notorious for being decided by who gets the better champions. It’s all part of the fun, but now players can at least have a chance to ban away the OPs.

The next major change will help players close out games faster. ARAM games aren’t supposed to take as long as Summoner’s Rift ones, so they’re changing how fast teams can push after the 15 minute mark. Minion wave spawn rates will decrease, while their movement speed will increase gradually after that point. This will give players more gold, experience and pushing power. In addition champions will deal increasingly more damage to structures over time, capping at 30% by 25 minutes.  These changes are welcome, as it currently can be difficult to close out games even if a team gets an Ace if minions aren’t around.

Lastly, poke champions are losing some of their dominance in this game mode. Riot is implementing “built-in poke reduction,” which will decrease the amount of damage certain abilities will do to champions. If a champion takes damage from another champion over 900 units away, said damage is reduced by 15%. Importantly, it doesn’t apply to ultimate abilities, like Lux’s and Xerath’s, or damage over time abilities. It’s a relatively simple change that will give players more ability to outplay their opponents.

Champion and Rune Balance

Nexus Blitz, Riot’s more recent experimental game mode, received appropriate champions nerfs and buffs during its time on live. Many in the community criticized this, saying that ARAM is a permanent mode and doesn’t receive the same considerations. Riot Games listened, and there are a host of champions being buffed or nerfed specifically in and for ARAM.

There are currently 18 different champions up for nerfs. Riot_Mort made it clear that these champions are strong and will indeed remain strong, but just need to be dialed back a bit. Some champions are receiving nerfs to their damage. These can range anywhere from -5% or -15% damage dealt. On the flip side, some tankier or supportive champions will receive more damage, anywhere from -5% to 10%. Maokai is a recipient of both types of nerfs, while Sona is unique and losing 25% of her healing done on top of her decreased damage dealt.

Odyssey Sona splash art. Photo via Riot Games.

 

With nerfs come buffs, and these apply to 16 champions. These champions struggle in the team fighting, long range style of ARAM and are receiving the reverse of the aforementioned changes. Some will deal more damage, while others will take less. The percentages are the same, anywhere from 5% to 15%. Its noteworthy to mention that many, like Evelynn and Tryndamere, will be buffed in both aspects because their impact can be so low in these games.

Finally, Riot is balancing runes to better fit them into the shorter, more action packed game mode. There are a host of rune changes, but essentially the ones that take a while to scale up, like Gathering Storm or Grasp of the Undying, will do so faster. Team fighting runes, like Triumph or Presence of Mind, will be nerfed due to their overwhelming proficiency in an all-team fight focused game.

New Additions

Riot is pulling out all the stops this time and adding even more exciting things for ARAM players to enjoy. A new Summoner Spell named Backtrack is the first on this list. This unique spell will give the user a small shield, channels for three second, then drags them back towards their fountain. The distance is different depending on the type of champion though, as melee champions will go farther than ranged. It’s similar to an Ekko ultimate and will give assassins a much easier time and not force them to suicide every time they go in.

 

Secondly, a new item called Mariner’s Vengeance was created to replace Guardian Angel. Be warned, the passive on it is much scarier than it’s Summoner’s Rift variant. The user, upon death, becomes an invulnerable, ghostly version of themselves. They can move their champion and use abilities normally for the duration, which is four seconds. After this four seconds, the user dies for good. This essentially gives champions both Karthus’ and Sion’s passives, which is a terrifying, but extremely interesting, prospect.

There is another item being added, but isn’t technically new since it was added for a limited time during last year’s Curse of the Drowned event. Ghostwalkers, a very unique pair of boots that only melee champions can buy, allows the user the walk through the walls outside of the map. The user can’t use them if they’ve taken damage within three seconds. During this time the user also gains 250 extra movement speed. It’s a great option for those that want to get those big flank engages that normally aren’t possible in the single-lane map.


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Featured image via Riot Games.

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