Hihi! Welcome to another patch review article this time on the latest patch, 11.4! There's a ton of changes introduced in this patch which I'll be doing my best to cover. Because there's so much here I apologize for the length of this article and forgive me for any mistakes made because phew, there's a lot to talk about. As always if you'd like to follow along with the patch notes you can find them here! With all that said let's go ahead and get started starting with system changes!
First up are changes to the Lucky Lantern. Lucky Lantern has had a relatively lukewarm reception so far since it was introduced in 4.5 with a lot of the criticism centered around the Loaded Dice consumable. The item made rerolling far too easy, especially if you received more than one in later stages of the game.
To address this they have made more than one Loaded Dice dropping in stage three and four no longer possible. In addition to that you will also only be getting, at most, one target dummy in those stages, assuming you receive a Lucky Lantern that game. Lastly they’ve reduced the amount of components you can get in stage four from a Lantern down to two from three. Overall these are good changes to help reduce the impact Lucky Lantern consumables have on the game. More than likely there is still going to be a lot of issues surrounding Loaded Dice so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see it changed, or removed, in future patches.
Now onto the Chosen changes! Before we get into the meta altering changes let’s first go over the nerfs to the stats a Chosen champion can get. The base health, which is 200, is being unchanged but the rest of the stats a unit gets are all being lowered. This includes bonus spell power, attack damage, mana reduction and additional health on top of the base 200. Spell power is going down to 15 from 30, attack damage down to 10 from 20, mana reduction from 25% to 15% and lastly bonus health is down to 300 from 400. Those are all fairly severe nerfs to the stats for Chosen units.
All in all it’s likely a good idea to lower the power level of Chosen as they can swing the game drastically if you high roll certain units. Plus this will help address the power levels of three star champions which has been an issue since 4.5 was released.
But it’s not all negatives for Chosen as they are all increasing the base odds of rolling a Chosen in your shop from 33% to 50%. This increase is meant to facilitate flexible play so that you don’t feel stuck with certain champions throughout the game. Now you can sell your Chosen and find a new one relatively quickly. The increased chance also makes low rolling less of an issue.
And the last Chosen change is directed at the rolling odds for one and two cost Chosen champions at level four. It’s going from 60/40% to 80/20% which will have a large impact on the meta since aggressively leveling to try and hit a four cost Chosen is common. On the downside it does mean that certain players may high-roll an early two cost Chosen which may cause snowballing.
Hopefully all of these changes make the game feel healthier and helps players that want to play more flexibly instead of just pressing D every game for three star units.
The general idea for the balance changes this patch focuses a lot on lowering the power level of vertical traits. Reducing the strength of high tier traits may help increase the variety of playable synergies. It also makes the game less one dimensional as slapping in six of one trait is fairly simple to do.
The first trait being nerfed is Assassin. The crit chance for six Assassin is going down to 50% from 55% and the bonus critical damage is down to 90 from 100. Four Assassin is also being nerfed as bonus damage is down to 55 from 60. In general it didn’t seem like the Assassin at higher tiers was that much of an issue but it’s in line with the other balance changes in this patch so it makes sense to nerf them.
Brawlers, on the other hand, definitely overperformed once you hit eight of the trait. That, plus Shyvana 3, made for a hard to deal with mid game composition that could easily top four most games. That means it’s nerf time! The bonus health is going down to 1400 from 1600 for eight Brawlers. As for the bonus attack damage, well, it’s getting a much harsher nerf as it’s going down to 40/80 from 60/120 for six and eight Brawler.
While these are good changes it does make the scaling of Brawlers much worse in the late game. This is not inherently a bad thing but worth keeping in mind if you’re running them during the mid game as you’ll likely need to transition into a different board later on.
Cultist is one of the few traits not being nerfed as the 9 Cultist Galio is getting a big increase to the bonus magic resistance as it’s going up to 60 from 20. Essentially the goal here is to help Galio against Dragonsoul as that trait absolutely wrecked him previously. Whether or not nine Cultists are any good we will have to see but it is nice having some love sent over to them as they’ve been struggling to be relevant for quite awhile.
Speaking of Dragonsoul, they originally dodged the nerf bat for 11.4 but upon further review of the 11.3 meta it was deemed that they also needed a bit of a nerf. While they weren’t oppressively strong at the end of 11.3 it did seem likely they’d be too strong in 11.4 if they weren’t addressed. So they lowered the Dragonsoul Blast damage down to 40% max health from 50% and lowered the bonus stats to 40/70/140% from 40/80/160%.
These aren’t too drastic of changes so Dragonsoul should still be fine, especially for certain champions like Olaf.
Divine has been doing well thanks to Kayle but eight Divine still wasn’t that appealing. Thus they’ve tweaked the numbers a bit so that two and four are a bit weaker, six is unchanged and eight is slightly stronger. While this does lower the value of splashing in Divine, it’s still going to be just fine for Kayle builds. But Nasus, along with his own nerfs that we’ll cover later, is probably not that viable anymore. Or if he is playable he'll be much harder to use consistently. As for eight Divine it may end up being a strong chase trait if you get a Spatula but likely not consistent enough to play every game due to that.
Ah Duelists, the quintessential reroll composition of set four. They have always been around mid tier, depending on the meta, but with some buffs that hit with set 4.5 and rerolling being meta they were doing quite well last meta. So they are getting hit with the nerf bat, along with a few of the champions. Likely they'll still be playable but much harder to use consistently and we may even see more of a shift towards a mid game Duelist composition instead of the early game power spike of Yasuo 3.
Interestingly Elderwood is being nerfed but again this is likely due to all of the nerfs hitting other traits. The armor and magic resistance is going down to 15/20/30 from 15/25/40 and the bonus attack damage plus spell power is going down to 5/10/15 from 5/10/20. Were these necessary nerfs? Potentially not but precautionary nerfs to avoid a hotfix patch is not a bad idea.
And the last trait getting nerfed is Warlords! Warlords were doing too well in the mid game and scaled insanely well late game with nine so they’ve lowered the bonus stats for those tiers. The health is going down to 250/400/700 from 250/500/850 and the bonus spell power is down to 25/40/70 from 25/50/85. These are substantial nerfs to Warlords in the late game so expect to see them mainly played as a mid game transition synergy like they have been in the past.
As we'll see in the champion section they also took Katarina down a few pegs in terms of strength -- and by a few, I mean quite a few. With Tryndamere still struggling as a primary carry this may spell doom for Warlords being usable past the mid game, barring extreme high-rolling of course.
Alright let’s move on to champion changes which has a lot of one cost nerfs across the board.
Diana is having her attack speed reduced to 0.65 from 0.7 but more important her ability is getting nerfed heavily at tier three. Basically they are nerfing all of the strong one star three cost units from 11.3, so they’ve lowered Diana’s power by a significant amount. This is a lot of nerfs for a one cost champion and likely will kill Diana being viable. For the most part she'll likely be used just as a trait bot for Spirit or Assassin and not much else. Generally I'm not one for overreacting to nerfs but.. those are pretty heavy handed nerfs!
Fiora somehow gets nerfed after finally being a usable champion for once. While it’s only her total mana which is going to 95 from 75, it’s still sad to see as she was finally doing well. Of course she's still playable during stage two but her impact on the game likely ends there.
Nasus is another unit getting gutted by nerfs as his mana is going up to 80 from 60, magic resistance down to 40 from 50 and his damage is lowered across all tiers for his ability. If he's still playable then it's only in situations where you're omega high-rolling early and naturally hit Nasus 3. Otherwise he's going to be an alright stage two champion and tossed aside unless needed for his traits later on.
To no one’s surprise we have nerfs coming to Nidalee, as well as a huge bug fix. The bug made it so the range calculation of her spear was adding one extra hex of distance so she’d still be doing decent damage to melee units. Now that it’s fixed she should do far less damage in close quarters.
As for the rest of her changes she’s having an overall reduction to her spears damage as it’s going down to 100/150/250 from 225/300/600. To compensate for these harsh nerfs they are leaning into her theme of doing more damage to further away targets by increasing the bonus damage per hex to 80% from 20%. It’s unlikely we’ll see three star Nidalee’s doing well in 11.4 but she should still be an okay champion during stage two.
Poor bonkykong didn't even really get to have his resurgence in the meta despite rerolling being all the rage. But they do know his potential as we've seen Wukong carry be quite effective in past metas so he gets lined up and knocked down with the nerf bat like everyone else. It is a bit odd to nerf his one and two star damage though since it's not like Wukong is overpowered in the early game, it may just be them trying to open the door for Nautilus and Braum to come in and take the early game Vanguard mantle away from Wukong.
Yasuo is also getting his three star damage reduced by a lot as his attack damage scaling is going down to 180/185/190% from 180/200/225%. These are pretty harsh number reductions, though he should still do fine in a Duelist reroll composition if you hit Yasuo 3 early enough. Just keep in mind he won’t scale well so you’re going to need Kalista or Yone to shore up the weaker late game.
Onto two costs starting with buffs to both Braum and Nautilus. Braum is going up to 0.7 attack speed to make better use of the Dragonsoul buff and his mana is going down to 60 from 70 to make him more consistent. The increased attack speed buff is a neat way to make Braum better without going too crazy on his defensive stats, though he definitely feels far weaker than previous iterations in other sets.
Nautilus gets a buff to his magic resistance and armor but his damage reduction shield from Fabled is nerfed to 50% from 60%. Okay, I get it, they want Nautilus to stand on his own without needing to rely on Fabled. But is Fabled really that big of an issue, even with buffs to his defensive stats? Personally I don't agree with it but I can see them trying to get ahead of potential balance issues.
Overall these two Vanguards should be slightly more appealing to use throughout the early and mid game. Braum in particular should see more use thanks to Dragonsoul while Nautilus likely won't be as useful outside of the niche Vanguard/Mystic build.
Teemo gets a huge nerf as his target prioritization is being changed from the highest attack speed to current target. This really hurts his value, though Sharpshooter and clever positioning may be enough to overcome the nerf. That said it's not like anyone really enjoyed having their carry get constantly poisoned and blinded so this change is better for the overall health of the game.
Lastly is a nerf to Zed as his attack speed is going down to 0.75 from 0.8. It’s not too drastic but keep in mind scaling with attack speed matters a lot. Zed was already only played when high rolled at the end of 11.3 so don’t expect much to change in that regard.
Katarina is up first for three costs and she’s being wrecked by nerfs on top of the Warlord nerfs. The number of targets her ability hits is going down to 4/5/6 from 4/6/8 and the spell damage is down to 1500 from 1650 at tier three. Basically she’s still going to be good mid game but will have much weaker scaling late game, to the point that rerolling her may not be worth it. With that said, 1500 total damage is still a lot especially with crits and increased spell damage so hey, maybe she'll be okay. More importantly are the Warlord nerfs as a whole which is the likely reason for her being less valuable late game.
Yay, Kennen buffs! Kennen was always praised as being one of the top tier three cost units from set one but his legacy didn't quite make the same impact in set four. Are these enough to jump him to the top of the line for three cost champions? Probably not but buffs are nice, especially to three cost units as increasing the viable options there helps facilitate a healthier mid game meta.
Neeko basically doesn’t feel like a real champion without Fabled so they are buffing her abilities damage to 200/300/400 from 150/225/375. To compensate that change they’ve lowered her bonus damage with Fabled to 150% from 200%. Honestly she’s likely to still be an underwhelming champion, even more so with her Fabled damage being lowered. Still if you can three star her in the Vanguard/Mystic composition it will probably earn you a top four, just don't expect it to do much more than that.
Okay sure, Nunu 3 did a lot of damage with his ability. But it's not like Nunu 3 was oppressively too strong or anything, especially with Elderwood and Brawlers also getting nerfed. At least they compensated him with a minor damage increase at tier two, so that's nice. Overall this change doesn't really do much beyond making Nunu 3 not as worth chasing after.
Another champion doing too well at tier three is Shyvana. In addition to the Brawler and health nerfs her magic resistance is being lowered to 60 from 80 and her burn damage is going down to 125/250/500 from 150/300/600. With less health, magic resistance and attack damage, the carry potential of Shyvana is drastically lower. She should still be viable early game but will fall off in scaling really fast beyond stage three. The saving grace for Shyvana will be whether or not Dragonsoul remains a popular composition and even then she's probably not the ideal carry candidate over champions like Olaf, Swain and Aurelion.
The last three cost champion to talk about is Irelia and... well, sure, it's technically a buff. But if that's all they are going to give her why even bother?! Plus, who even chases after Irelia 3! Weird change but again a buff is a buff so thumbs up to you Irelia.
Oddly enough they are buffing Aatrox again as his abilities damage is going up to 400/600/2000 from 350/550/1500. The main issue with Aatrox is the counter-play you can do against his pull but honestly as a champion he’s really good, especially since they’ve continually buffed him.
Aurelion gets a bit of a nerf at tier three with the damage going down to 1500 from 1750. Three star champions should definitely be weaker since Loaded Dice exists so it’s a nice change although it won't matter for like 90% of games, if not a higher amount.
Kayle is getting a similar change with her damage at tier three going down to 400 from 500 but additionally her two star damage is going from 180 to 150. Kayle is one of the best, if not the best, carries in the game so it’s an overall necessary adjustment. The two star nerf likely won't make too much of a difference so expect to see Kayle remain as one of the top carries for 11.4.
Morgana doesn't escape the three star nerfs as her damage is being lowered at tier three. Maybe this was necessary because it does fall into the theme this patch has of nerfing three star stats but...
Why then are they buffing Xayah and Talon!? Sure they likely are on the weaker end of three star scaling but it just feels odd when considering the other changes this patch. It's not too big of a deal since any three star four cost is relatively rare, I'm just griping on it because the buffs felt out of place after nerfing so many other champions three star stats.
Moving on we are continuing the theme of buffing Fabled champions baseline, Cho’Gath is having his armor increased to 60 from 40. His targeting should also be improved to hit crowds more frequently. Cho’Gath was the least reliant on Fabled so these are just nice buffs and may make him a more common champion to toss in just for crowd control.
Apparently Olaf wasn’t doing that well, which is probably due to three star units overtaking the 11.3 meta. But he’s getting a buff to his cleave damage as it’ll be 50% across all tiers now and his abilities unstoppable will now block AD reduction. Somewhat nice buffs for Olaf, though he probably didn’t need them, especially with Dragonsouls doing alright at the end of the 11.3 meta.
Tryndamere, on the other hand, definitely needs buffs especially with nerfs to Warlords. But it’s mainly quality of life changes as the targeting for his spin is in a slightly larger range and the speed of the spin is being increased. Besides that his mana is going to 60/100 from 50/100 so he’ll get his improved spin off slightly earlier in fights.
Ornn is up next with two artifacts being changed. First is Eternal Winter which is definitely his best artifact by far as hits until frozen is going to 7 from 5. It’s a good change as this item was really good. Manazane has been doing the worst for Ornn so they are buffing the duration to four seconds instead of eight. Basically the second cast will happen much quicker which will increase the value of Manazane by a lot.
While the numbers look intimidating for Yone, the only substantial changes are a buff to his initial abilities damage as it’s going to 800 from 600 at tier one. At tier two the second part of his abilities damage is up to 750 from 600. They’ve buffed Yone so much he’s likely back to being the late game monster he once was.
And the last champion change is to Samira who is losing a bit of auto attack range as it’s going down to 420 from 660. Basically this makes her slightly harder to position and puts her in danger more often. Besides that it’s not too big of a deal, so expect her to still be good in 11.4.
First up for items is an interesting alteration to Deathblade as the starting stacks are now four from one with the increased AD per stat going from 20 to 10. This means it’s going to hit harder initially but scale slower but since the damage mainly matters initially it feels like an odd change. We’ll have to see how it plays out but starting with forty damage instead of twenty seems like a large buff.
Gargoyle Stoneplate needed some love so the bonus stats it gives is going to 20 from 15. Good change for an underutilized item and should help make situations where you have extra Chain Vests or Cloaks feel a bit less doomed.
Sunfire Cape is the opposite as it’s one of the most used items so they are nerfing it just a little bit by having the burn effect apply every 2.5 seconds instead of two. This should lower the overall damage the item does without making it worthless, so another good change.
Much like the Olaf change, Quicksilver will now also block the AD reduction buff. Not sure Quicksilver needed a buff but for consistency's sake it makes sense.
And lastly there’s another, yes another, rework to Statikk Shiv. It will no longer deal bonus damage to shields. Instead it can now critical strike which also lowers the magic resistance of targets hit by that critical strike by 60% for 6 seconds. Since this is a pretty powerful effect they’ve lowered the damage to 60 from 80 and removed the target hit scaling so now only hits four.
Perhaps this time Shiv will finally be in a healthy place, though these changes make it relatively niche. It’s definitely an interesting change that players will likely not fully explore for some time. I will say as a personal note that they may be better off just removing Shiv in set five because they've never really found a healthy place for the item. Either it does too well or it's borderline useless and finding that happy middle ground seems rather rare. Just scrap it and add a new item.
And that's all for the patch notes! There's a few bug fixes as well but you can read over them in the patch notes linked at the beginning of the article if you're interested enough in them. For the most part I'd say this is a good patch as it addresses the reroll meta which, and this is personal bias, was not very fun to play in. Keep in mind because there's been a lot of changes this patch that the meta is unlikely to be in a good spot until they can do additional tweaks in patch 11.5. We're not out of the woods just yet but hopefully this patch and the next one lead us towards a better meta in the future.
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