Hello and welcome to the very last patch review of set four. We're finally at the end, and what a journey set four has been! I know everyone is looking at the new and shiny, but for anyone still interested in the last bit of set four this patch has quite a few fun changes that may pique your interest. As usual if you'd like to follow along you can find the patch notes here!
1. System Changes
Up first we have a system change to cover which makes the Lucky Lantern just a bit more… lucky!
As this is the last patch for set four it makes sense for them to tweak the lucky lantern system as it currently doesn’t look like it’s making a return in set five. Maybe down the line a similar system will be added but for those of you that enjoy this mechanic then these last two weeks should be a lot of fun for you.
First off they are increasing the gold drops from the Lucky Lantern to have more gold. Second is a significant increase in the drop rate for rare items like Neeko’s, Spatula and even Force of Nature. Gold increase aside, the second change is where the fun is really going to be as significantly increased implies it’s going to happen more often than not. So get ready for a lot of crazy games involving those items!
And the last change, which is arguably the craziest, is instead of there only being a 25% chance for a Lucky Lantern to not spawn there’s instead a 25% chance for a Lucky Lantern to drop in all three stages. Basically there’s likely going to be a Lucky Lantern in every game with the chance of there being multiple. Which on top of the other changes… Yeah, that’s going to shake up the game a lot.
Overall this is a great way to send off set 4.5 and the set as a whole by letting loose and having crazy games. Yes it does mess with the competitive integrity of the ladder but you’re still going to be able to climb if that’s your goal, there’s just going to be an increase in wild games.
2. Trait Changes
Next let’s move on to trait changes which mostly have to do with Fortune.
Before we talk about those Fortune changes let’s first talk about Spirit. Spirit is getting the shaft at the end of set 4.5 as it’s getting nerfed, somewhat harshly. The attack speed bonus of Spirit is going from 20/35% to 18/30% which doesn’t seem too drastic but likely wasn’t all that necessary. A few metas ago, yes, this may have been alright but it’s not like Spirit is running rampant through the meta. There’s a few builds that use it such as Spirit/Sharpshooter and Spirit/Assassin but they aren’t overpowered.
This nerf also hurts, albeit only slightly, splashing in two Spirit. A 2% difference may not seem that much but it does make two Spirit a bit weaker which was already relatively niche. All in all this nerf feels unnecessary for the last patch of the set, especially considering they are trying to make the patch about having fun rather than worrying as much about the competitive aspect of balance.
Now let’s move on to Fortune! Fortune getting tweaks for the final patch of the set makes a lot of sense. The first change is that they added a new drop possibility for a 12 loss streak when running three Fortune. This has a 40% chance of happening so don’t expect to see it all that often. Exactly what this mysterious new drop is, well, you’ll have to play to find out!
The other two changes for Fortune are potential downsides as there’s a 4% chance when running six Fortune that you’ll get a cold hearted new drop. While this likely alludes to a Frozen Heart dropping it could also just be nothing that drops, it depends on how cold hearted this change actually is. More than likely it means Frozen Heart as the other six Fortune changes are an increase to ‘the boot’ dropping in six Fortune.
The chance of it happening is going from 1% to 4%. Since the other change also mentions 4% it’s likely to be different from the boot dropping so that further points to the cold hearted drop being Frozen Heart. In any case the only way to know for sure is for players to go out and play a lot of Fortune!
Honestly they could have gone a bit deeper in on Fortune for this patch as it has certainly been the most volatile trait of the set. Of course if they go too far on making wild changes then everyone is going to run Fortune and the games will break down into chaos. Thus to save a semblance of competitive balance it does make sense to keep the Fortune status quo similar to previous patches.
3. Champion Changes
With that we can move on to champion changes!
There’s no one or two cost unit changes to cover so let’s begin with Darius! Over the course of set 4.5, Darius has been quite lackluster. Even as a Slayer he’s rarely ever used as players favored practically every other Slayer over him. In Fortune he was mostly used as a trait bot or skipped over entirely as Katarina was an overall better carry.
But we’ve finally seen Darius rise up in usage, particularly with Fortune being so popular these last few patches. Unfortunately they are nerfing poor Darius at the end of the set. The reason is that with the Lucky Lantern changes, the chance of hitting three star units is going up so they want to keep Darius in check by preemptively nerfing his damage fall off at tier three to go up to 15% from 10%. It’s not that drastic of a nerf but it is sad to see Darius get hit by the nerf bat at the end of the set.
Neeko is in a similar position as they want to make sure she’s not too strong with the Lucky Lantern changes. Unlikely Darius they are also toning down her damage at tier two as well as three. Neeko’s ability damage is going down to 325/425 from 350/450. Again these aren’t too harsh of nerfs but Neeko isn’t exactly that big of a problem, even if a player is able to three star her quicker with the Lantern changes. All in all the reasoning makes sense for both Neeko and Darius even if nerfing them likely isn’t necessary.
Aurelion Sol is next up to get hit by the nerf bat as his damage is going from 325/500/1400 to 300/475/1300. Aurelion is by far the best four cost carry so it’s not all that surprising to see him receive a nerf. Keep in mind that any damage nerf he does receive will affect his damage with the Mage trait as well. So a 25 damage decrease is more than that when you factor in the double cast from Mage.
Compared to the three cost units being nerfed, this change is fine. Aurelion has had plenty of time in the sun throughout set 4.5 and the relatively small nerf shouldn’t affect him too much in the last patch of the set.
Next is a buff to Kayle. Kayle’s damage is going up to 110/150 from 100/140. On one hand it’s an odd buff because Kayle is doing well enough in the meta. On the other hand when you look at how far in priority Kayle and builds using her have fallen it makes sense to see her receive a buff. All in all this is a good change to help create more options in the meta so that players can play what they want for the end of the set.
Now we have a lot of five cost changes that, for the most part, are for fun. This means a lot of numbers going up for three star five cost units. Keep in mind the chance of ever hitting a three star five cost is really low, though it may be higher with the changes to Lucky Lantern this patch.
First up is Azir who actually has needed a bit of a buff. Thankfully he’s receiving it as his damage is going up to 225/375/18,888 from 200/350/8888. Okay so it’s not much of a buff and as we said it’s best to ignore the three star change. Still, Azir has had it rough in set four where he did quite well in the first half and not so well in the second. Maybe these buffs will propel him to a status befitting his trait, Emperor.
Okay this one is almost not worth mentioning but Lee Sin is losing one health from 1000 to 999. But let’s take a moment to address Lee Sin as a champion. Lee Sin was an attempt to make an execute ability feel fair. But, ultimately, that was never the case as having your important change get kicked off the board never felt fair. Hopefully between Lee Sin and Urgot from set three they’ve learned how to either properly balance those types of abilities or know to stay away from them entirely in future sets.
Ornn finally gets a buff! Ornn has, for the most part, been relegated to the sidelines as a champion and only been used for his trait. The damage buffs are small though as his abilities damage is going up to 175/275 from 150/250 but hey, any buff to him is totally worth it. Artifacts have been great but it has come at the cost of Ornn being a mediocre champion on his own.
Samira takes a bit of a hit to her abilities' base damage as it’s going from 15/25 to 10/20. Big hit may be a bit of an overstatement but considering she’s been the best carry in the meta for some time, any nerf is going to be impactful. It’s a good change, though it likely needed to come one or two patches earlier.
Sadly, Sett has been underwhelming for a while. It mostly has to do with his ultimate just not being reliable enough, but also his lack of traits besides Brawler. It makes fitting him into any build rather difficult. And it looks like not much will change for The Boss in this last patch besides having his three star damage go up from 400% to 800% and the secondary damage going up to 400% from 200%. These are huge increases but again, as we’ve said multiple times, the chances of hitting a three star five cost is quite low.
Swain is another champion that could have used some balancing a few patches ago since he’s been one of the strongest five costs alongside Samira. But it’s better late than never as they are reducing his maximum health gained after transforming to 60/65% from 60/75%. This is a good change, especially considering how prominent Swain has been within the meta for builds like Mage when he has a Mage hat item. But again, it likely would have been better suited for the previous patch.
And lastly there’s a buff to Zilean. The revive delay of his ability is going from 3.5/3/1 to 3/2/0.5 seconds. Basically this means any champion he revives will come back sooner in the fight. It’s a nice change for him, though Zilean has been one of the most consistent champions of set four without too many drastic changes. Overall he’s definitely the best designed five cost of the set.
4. Item Changes
Before we go there’s one item change to talk about which is to Locket. Locket has been a key item for the early game for quite some time. Recently, as in a few metas ago, it has risen in value for Spirit compositions. Specifically reroll compositions since that’s where it provided the most value. The idea behind using Locket for those builds was to basically skip having a solid frontline, as the shields would protect the backline long enough to win the fight.
To reduce that a bit and make Locket go back to it’s early game roots they are lowering the shields it provides at tier three to 400 from 450. It will still be effective early game but any build rerolling with Locket will be slightly weaker. Overall this change won’t make too much of an impact because the builds rerolling with Locket were already falling off. This, mixed with the Spirit nerf, likely means we won’t be seeing many one cost reroll builds in this last meta for set four.
That’s all for today folks! There's a lot of fun changes for this last patch of set four, though there's some odd balancing being done such as nerfing Spirit. Personally I think they could have gone even wilder with some of the changes, especially since most of the champion adjustments were to five costs at three star. Still, it's likely for the best they aren't altering things too much, especially since the Lucky Lantern changes are quite wild on their own. I'll still have a few articles on set four but I'll also be sprinkling in a bit of set five content!
Thank you for reading and if you're looking for additional TFT content you can find it over on the GiantSlayerTFT YouTube here and twitter here! And if you'd like to you can follow me on twitter here!