How to Prepare for League of Legends Season 9

Everything You Need to Succeed in LoL Season 9

With Season 9’s start date officially launching on January 23rd,  it’s time to start getting rid of the rust and getting back into ranked climbing shape! Whether you’re a player who’s coming back from the Preaseason or you missed out on Season 8 (or more!) we’ll bring you up to speed.

In this article, we’ll give you everything you need to start your season off right (although it will still be useful if you’re reading this in the future with Season 9 already underway or even finished).

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1. Learn the new champs and reworks

League of Legends is like a fighting game in that understanding matchups is crucial to being able to play to the best of your ability. Not fully understanding what a champion does or wants to do can lead you to unfavorable trades or death.

In recent times, Riot has shifted towards slowing down on releasing new champions and instead, have focused on increasing the number of reworks toward their older champions. In this section, we’ll cover all the reworked and new champs that were released through all of 2018.

Reworked champions

Swain (8.3)

  • Swain’s look and feel were altered so that he’s less of an old man with a cane and pet raven, and more of a badass battlemage who wields a flock of demonic birds.
  • Kit-wise, he’s much different than his previous form so if you’re used to that version you’ll need to spend some time practicing his new abilities.
  • He was incredibly strong throughout Season 8 until he was nerfed, and helped lead the way for mages coming to the bot lane (more on that later).

Irelia (8.7)

  • The new Irelia still maintains a lot of her old kit identity (like dashing quickly by executing minions with her Q) but a lot has changed.
  • She’s overall more flashy in both play and presentation, and her abilities have given her a higher skill ceiling.
  • For example, her E, that was originally a point-and-click stun, has been changed to a skillshot that can stun multiple targets.

Aatrox (8.13)

  • Aatrox was one of those champions that Riot always had a tough time balancing – the goal of the rework was to make him more manageable from a balancing standpoint as well as help him be more viable in both pro-play and ladder.
  • He maintains a good amount of identity as a bruiser with a resurrection mechanic but he’s got some new tricks in terms of CC and mobility.
  • His kit rewards precision and decisiveness. It may take some time to get used to spacing and moving consistently to get the most out of his abilities.

Akali (8.15)

  • Think you hated Akali before? Her new version is even more dreaded (her new shroud allows her to avoid turret shots).
  • Her ultimate is no longer a point-and-click ability and instead, works like a skillshot dash through enemies.
  • To dive straight onto an opponent, she now has to land a ranged skillshot with her E and reactivate to get into assassination range.

Nunu & Willump (8.17)

  • Did you know that “Nunu” was actually the little boy on top of the Yeti? Now it’s more clear now as they’ve turned Nunu to be represented as two characters in one!
  • Gameplay-wise, the champion has a lot of the same bells and whistles, (Q and R) are basically the same. However, Blood Boil (formerly the W) has been replaced by one of the most fun abilities in the game (see the above video).
  • In combination with his new E, which requires you to aim his Snowball Barrage, Nunu and Willump are a bit harder to play than before but are overall, more fun and have higher impact potential.

New champions

Kai’Sa (8.5)

  • If you’re a returning player you may remember that Kassadin had a daughter. Well…she’s a champ now!
  • She’s an ADC but she’s inherited some assassin-like aspects from her father. She has incredible mobility and burst potential.
  • As the game goes on, she’s able to upgrade her abilities, sort of like Kha’zix..must be a void thing.

Pyke (8.11)

  • This champion was designed to be the first stealthy assassin for Support players since kills landed with his ultimate grant kill gold to an ally.
  • While its true that he fulfills this for Supports, players soon found out that he’s adept at other roles such as Top and Mid.
  • Riot is still figuring out how to balance Pyke so keep an eye on him patch to patch if you decide to pick him up.

Neeko (8.24)

  • Tricky champions like Shaco and LeBlanc have cause havoc in League, but Neeko takes the cake as the biggest trickers on Summoner’s Rift.
  • Her unique passive allows her to take the form of any of her allies at any time, split into multiple forms, and she has a bit of stealth to boot.
  • Beyond that, she has a good amount of utility in her crowd control and engage options as well as formidable poke potential.
  • If you’re interested in learning how to play Neeko, check out our recent guide!

2. Understand the tower changes and bounty system

Underneath all the fighting, League of Legends heavily involves understanding gold income and its relation to risk and reward. Towards the end of Season 8, this aspect of the game changed quite a bit in an attempt to improve the climate of the game. At the time, matches were snowballing consistently and resulted in matches ending under 20-25 minutes. Bot lane ending up seeing constant 4v2 dives to try to snowball early and the fast game pace denied many champions the late game scaling they needed in order to succeed, thus limiting the viable roster.

To address these problems, Riot changed turrets by giving them a new layer of plating. The plating gives turrets an additional level of survivability while still rewarding players who are able to dominate lane. It accomplishes this by granting bonus gold for removing segments of the plating but increases in tankiness for every champion hitting it. Plating lasts until the 14 minute mark before disappearing.

Turret PlatingOverall, Riot is trying to encourage a more predictable structure of laning phase lasting around 14-15 minutes before opening up the match toward a likely mid game. Although the meta is still leaning towards faster games (as of 9.1), tanks and slower-scaling champions have slowly begun to make their return.

Bounty System

The other major change related to game flow and gold income is the bounty system. We aren’t going to go too in-depth with the numbers (because we mightlose some of you along the way), but the TL;DR is that you’ll get more gold for taking down an opponent who is doing very well, whether it’s someone who has 4+ kills or someone who has 250+ more gold from minions and monsters than the rest of their team. Here’s a quote from Riot regarding their philosophy regarding the changes:

“The goal of our bounty changes is to help teams bounce back from slight to moderate deficits via higher rewards for successful comeback plays and lower payouts for dying when you’re the one keeping your team in the game. “

Author: ashmith

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