LoL patch 14.8 has the potential to completely ruin MSI 2024

LoL patch 14.8 has the potential to completely ruin MSI 2024

League of Legends patch 14.8 is the last patch coming before MSI 2024, and the decisions made with this patch for what was (and wasn’t) changed have the potential to ruin this tournament.

Releasing patches around the year’s biggest pro tournaments is always risky business when it comes to League of Legends, and the patch coming before MSI 2024 promises a lot of change.

And, while some of the changes in League of Legends patch 14.8 are a step in the right direction on paper, there are a few adjustments in particular that are a recipe for disaster.

Big figures on the game design team like Phroxzon, Phreak, and August have a strong track record of being open with the community and discussing the reasoning behind changes, and it feels like they’re putting a lot of time and effort into being open about the direction they’re taking League of Legends.

However, that doesn’t absolve the game design team of criticism, and it’s impossible to deny that they’ve completely missed the mark with patch 14.8 on a fundamental level.

LoL patch 14.8 does (almost) nothing

There are a few good changes in here, particularly when it comes to Zeri, Zac, and Azir getting some nerfs. We aren’t too sure what those nerfs are going to be, but they push current meta champs out of their prominence in theory. This is the right way to switch things up before a tournament kicks off.

Or, at least it would be if their nerfs were anything but minor base stat changes that won’t do much to move the needle. The same could be said of most of the buffs that have been revealed so far, with some base stats or ability damage/scaling getting slightly adjusted across the board.

For the most part, this patch is extremely underwhelming and a bit of a nothing burger despite how large it looks with the change list. 8 base damage getting taken off of Azir’s W will surely keep him from being a first pick/ban champion at MSI, right?

LoL patch 14.8 has the potential to completely ruin MSI 2024

And then there are the adjustments to Mordekaiser & Void Grubs. If there’s one buff you’ve heard about before reading this, it’s the fact that Mordekaiser’s ult can’t be cleansed by QSS. It isn’t yet clear if this applies to other cleanses/CC immunities like Gangplank’s W or Olaf’s ult as well, but the vast majority of champions in the game won’t be able to cleanse his ultimate.


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In other words, Mordekaiser could ult a jungler late game and guarantee a Baron secure. He could ult a fed 20-0 ADC, take them out of the fight completely, pop Zhonya’s to stall them out, and give his team a chance to win the game where no other champion feasibly could. There’s no counterplay to him now, and he completely halts the pace of the game at the touch of a button.

Mord’s buffs entirely change the way the game is played, something that would be really interesting outside of it being a patch that comes right before MSI. There’s a good chance he becomes a first pick/ban option immediately based on this alone, something that could change the meta in untold ways even by the pure notion of freeing up a ban slot for an extra meta champ to get through.

This, combined with Void Grubs having significantly more impact this patch, could change the way that teams end up playing the map. Not to mention changes to Baron Nashor’s damage we don’t have the numbers for yet at the time of writing.

Again, this isn’t an inherently bad thing to explore from a balance perspective, but it’s downright irresponsible to change just before a high-stakes international between the world’s best teams.

It’s hard not to be reminded of nightmarish tournament patches like the one that spawned the Ardent Censer meta at Worlds 2017, and, while the Mord buffs aren’t nearly on that level, the idea of making huge changes and pointing the meta in a specific direction before an event like MSI is ill-advised at best.

It’s clear from this patch that Riot haven’t learned from their past mistakes, and that their philosophy around balancing before the year’s biggest tournaments is inherently flawed.

Facilitating the best part of League of Legends

There’s a very strong argument to be made that patches for big international tournaments shouldn’t have any buffs at all, and that it should be made up exclusively of nerfs. This may sound strange, but bear with me.

In recent years, League of Legends has become more balanced than its ever been outside of a few degenerate metas. New strategies and counters to those strategies are constantly discovered, and champions thought to be competitively non-viable have been shown to be game-changing in the right hands and situations.

There are several organic examples of teams and pro players discovering new metas, two of which come to mind as recent and relevant examples:

First up is Aurelion Sol’s recent rise to stardom. He’s become a pro play staple, seemingly overnight, with the character receiving minimal changes over the course of the months since his rework. People simply realized that the champion is incredibly strong and scales hard enough to be a consistent win condition.

However, the second is a bit more relevant to international play: BeryL’s 2022 Worlds run with DRX.

BeryL was arguably the driving force behind DRX’s underdog Worlds win, the X Factor the team needed to put themselves on top. He entirely changed the support meta by himself, pulling out picks like Heimerdinger and Ashe in support when neither champion was a popular choice beforehand. His ingenuity changed the way that every team played, with other teams being forced to adapt to a meta no one could have predicted before the event.

LoL patch 14.8 has the potential to completely ruin MSI 2024

BeryL’s ingenuity was a huge part of DRX’s legendary Worlds 2022 run.

Meanwhile, delivering major buffs champions and items takes away from this ingenuity. In a patch where some of the biggest pro play staples received slaps on the wrist at best and Mord got one of his biggest and most oppressive buffs in history, it feels like we’ll be seeing a meta that’s either the same as before with Mordekaiser being banned now, or him entirely changing the way teams have to play in the matches he gets picked.

And, while there’s a chance that some teams at MSI could come up with something that defines the way MSI 2024 is remembered, this patch does nothing to facilitate that growth.

If this tournament ends up being another scaling mid mage meta with Azir facing Orianna, Aurelion Sol, or Corki, there’s a good chance MSI’s meta stagnates fast. Azir can be fun to watch, but there’s no reason in this patch for people to play anything else. Why not deliver big enough nerfs to meta staples that pros have to think twice about picking what they’re comfortable with?

At a time where League of Legends has eyes on it all around the world, it feels like the only big MSI changes are those trying to drive the game in a direction that the developers want, artificially spicing up the meta with a huge change while keeping strong champs like Zeri and Azir at the top of the table. Having what’s strong put in front of you is just not nearly as interesting as a pro discovering the next meta-defining strategy themselves.

League of Legends’ biggest strength as a game is the sense of discovery that comes with its ocean of possibilities, and it’s become abundantly clear that pro players simultaneously have a great talent for adapting to new metas and that they rarely have any desire to try new things unless they’re forced to. All of those possible team comps and unique strategies left on the table.

It’s hard not to wonder what that meta could look like if prominent champs got nerfs worth mentioning and if we got to see what meta the players come up with in the aftermath of some actual, hefty nerfs to champs we’re all bored of seeing.

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