Hihi! While TFT is still on a bit of a break for the Holidays they have been releasing information about the upcoming update, Festival of Beasts. This will be just like last set where a big chunk of the champions and traits get removed and replaced with new ones. If we use set 3.5 as any indication then it's likely to change up the game in a lot of ways.
As of right now we don't have all of the information about set 4.5 but we do know what's being removed and most of what they are adding in. Plus there was a potential leak of the new champions and traits that we'll be using as speculation later on in this article. But for now my goal is to break down what's being removed and showcase the (confirmed) changes coming in 4.5!
1. What's Being Removed
To start off let's talk about what's going bye bye in 4.5. They are making pretty large changes with around twenty champions getting the boot along with six traits. That alone, not even taking into consideration the new additions, is going to alter the game a lot. So let's talk a look at what's going away!
Up first to discuss is Dusk. Dusk has been a top trait in set four since.. well, the start. The flexibility it provides added a lot of depth to mid and late game compositions. With it being removed there's definitely going to be a large hole to fill for the newly added synergies.
In particular, will there be additional spell power added to the set? Dusk was one of the reasons, among many, that Mystic has been such a necessary trait in set four since magic damage is so prevalent. Perhaps we'll see a bit less magic damage moving forward into set 4.5.
Onto the Dusk champions. Up first we have Vayne who never really had that important of a role in the meta. Mainly you'd use her as a stand-in for six Dusk. But there are cases where Vayne was actually necessary, such as with a Dusk Spatula Jhin you'd want Vayne to provide Sharpshooter. Or during the time that six Sharpshooter was meta, you'd definitely need a Vayne.
Of course if they are adding in additional Sharpshooters then Vayne being removed isn't too big of a deal. Mostly we'll be missing Dusk more so than Vayne.
Next, Thresh. Thresh is an interesting champion because he really does fit well into a lot of builds thanks to Dusk, but it's not like he's ever ultra important. That said he's definitely one of the better support champions because his shield can be massive. Maybe we'll be seeing less of a focus on shields in 4.5 which means things like Keeper or Janna will have more of a unique feel to them and thus become more important.
Cassiopeia being removed is going to really shake up the meta because she filled a lot of roles. One is, of course, being a Mystic. That's easily replaceable so not too big of a deal. Two, she provided CC. Again this is replaceable but the original set four has a lot of CC already. Perhaps removing her is a move forward in reducing the amount of CC. Third reason is that she actually does do a lot of damage, plus increases the damage to champions hit by her ultimate.
Combine all of those factors and you're mainly losing out on an easy to play Mystic with good CC. If there's not similar CC being added with the new champions we may see Sejuani become even more important since she'll be the best frontline CC with Cassiopeia being removed.
Another big removal is Riven. Riven has been a strong four cost carry for all of set four so her going away raises the question of who's going to replace her? And that question carries the earlier sentiment of, are they moving away from magic damage in 4.5? We'll have to wait and see but Riven was definitely a pivotal champion for the first half of set four.
And lastly for Dusk we have Lillia being removed. Honestly this isn't too big of a deal even though she's had more presence in the recent meta. A Mage with hard CC is always iffy when it comes to balance because if you go too far she's ridiculous so they always had to toe a line with making her playable but not too good. The biggest change I'm interested in is what Mage will be replacing her and will they make the trait playable in 4.5.
Moving onto the next synergy being removed we have Moonlight. Moonlight has been a problem child of set four since it initially came out on PBE. Either the trait was too damn good or too weak. In the last few metas it finally found a somewhat healthy balance but even then it still has needed tweaks. The idea of the synergy is great and unique even compared to the (likely) inspiration behind it from Auto-Chess, Druids. But increasing the star level for a few champions, especially up to four stars, has really limited the potential of this trait.
The largest reason for that is you can't really add in any champion that costs more than two. Imagine having a three cost four star unit, that'd be insanely strong. And you have to balance around that potential power spike so the champions will be weaker on lower star levels meaning they really need their trait to do well. How often do you ever see Diana, Lissandra, Aphelios or Sylas used outside of Moonlight? Maybe a little but for their secondary trait but they are never the focus.
So Moonlight being removed makes a lot of sense and is honestly a good thing for the set moving forward. Now let's look at the champions which, interestingly, Diana is not being removed, just the other three.
Aphelios has been the biggest issue when it comes to balance Moonlight. He's the only proper ranged carry (okay sure Lissandra was playable sometimes) which meant you needed to focus on playing him if you weren't going for a Diana composition. But his turrets, oh gosh his turrets, really made him awfully hard to balance. He got nerfed into oblivion for a long time because of that. His removal is again, like Moonlight, going to be good for the game and all that is needed to replace him is a more healthy and balanceable two cost ranged carry.
Next, Lissandra who... well, didn't do much. She had some fun in the sun as the carry for a few metas but she's basically just been the champion you three star to pair with either Diana or Aphelios and that's it. Even though she had Dazzler as a trait it was really hard to fit her into any composition besides Moonlight. The theme here is that really the Moonlight champions won't be that hard to replace nor will they be missed (maybe a bit of personal bias).
Ah Sylas on the other hand actually had use beyond Moonlight thanks to Brawler. And his ultimate had a lot of potential in those compositions. We'll have to see if they add any mana-reaver like abilities with the new champions or traits since we're losing Sylas. That's really the main thing that will be missed with him gone as adding in another Brawler shouldn't be that difficult.
Alright let's talk Shade then quickly Tormented. The theme of the traits being removed seems to be 'nightmares to balance' because yeah, Shade has that issue in spades. Really what made Shade so ridiculous is the combination of Zed being a good carry and the Shade invisibility would cause enemies attacking them to drop aggro. Which, by the way, was quite frustrating.
Now that effect could have been fixed or removed but taking out the trait entirely probably makes the most sense. Especially since it overlapped a lot with Assassin. Now with Shade being gone, assuming another trait doesn't have a similar theme, Assassin's should become much more unique and maybe a larger threat than they have been. As for the champions being removed, Zed is staying but both Evelynn and Kayn are getting the boot.
Evelynn hasn't done a whole lot so far in set four. Mainly you'd see her in one of three ways; a stand-in for Cultist, a stand-in for Shade or an okay mid game carry if you found a Chosen Evelynn. With Shade going away you won't need to replace that aspect of her and Cultist has never been reliant on her as a champion so it will be fine. The main thing needing to be added in will be another three cost champion which hopefully has more use in the meta than Evelynn did.
Now let's talk about both Kayn and Tormented. Kayn has had his ups and downs within the meta but overall he's always been a solid late game carry. Tormented really helped facilitate that by increasing his value after having him in for three fights. The issue with Kayn has always been that he had easy access to the enemy backline and did a boatload of damage, plus he'd increase the mana costs of champions he hit.
With him being removed they now have the chance to add in a healthier five cost carry that, hopefully, doesn't get such easy access to the backline. Yone already shared the ability to get into the back line except he has counter play. Kayn didn't really have counter play besides hoping he didn't get a good cast of his ability off. So really Kayn being gone should result in a healthier late game meta assuming the new five cost champions don't have similar issues.
Onto Hunter! Hunter was another somewhat hard to balance trait, mainly because it made champions like Aphelios and Ashe do an insane amount of burst damage when they were usually sustained DPS. Kindred is the only champion, in my opinion, that felt like Hunter was fitting since their whole shtick was being a somewhat bursty champion. Though I admit part of that is still thinking of Kindred as the insane damage dealer they were back in set two.
But Ashe and Aphelios already did plenty of sustained damage so.. giving them extra burst definitely made balancing the trait difficult. I do think the role that Hunter filled, that being increasing the damage of a ranged carry, should be kept. And maybe it is with traits like Slayer or Executioner, but toning down the overall burst damage would be ideal.
As for the champions going away well, say goodbye to all of them except Kindred. Since we've already talked about Aphelios let's focus on Ashe & Warwick.
Ashe being removed is a huge change since she has been the main sustained damage dealer for most of set four. It also means Elderwood loses out on a proper carry, although that very much depends on what's being added. Xayah has already been confirmed as an Elderwood so it's definitely possible that torch will be passed to her. With all of that said it's really not that hard to replace Ashe in the meta, just add in another sustained ranged damage dealer that can carry and that hole is filled.
Warwick, on the other hand, will be difficult to replace because he has three traits. Champions with three traits have a lot of importance in the meta because you can flex them into multiple compositions. Consider this; Warwick being gone reduces the value of Divine compositions and any composition using Brawler which usually means Elderwood. Hopefully they can find a satisfying way to replace him because I personally like champions with three traits a lot since they bring so much flexibility to the game.
Of course Warwick was also hard to balance so that may have been why he's going away. We all remember Warweek... and the almost Warweek 2.0. So really him being removed probably makes balancing a lot easier.
Onto the last trait being removed, Dazzler! Dazzler going away makes me think they really wanted to reduce the amount of CC in the game. Plus the combination of Dazzler and Adept has always been, well, a bit of overkill since it targeted champions that heavily relied on auto-attacks. But with Dazzler gone we may see the rise of more ranged carries in the meta, or at least carries that primarily do auto-attacks. We've already been teased about Tryndamere being added and Olaf was seen in the Dragonsoul teaser so we may end up with a lot of auto-attack carries in 4.5.
As for the champions well, we've already talked about Lissandra being removed but there's also Nami, Lux and Ezreal. Morgana is staying and will have her Dazzler trait replaced by Syphoner.
Nami is, like most one cost champions, not too important beyond the early stages of the game. Even during the height of the Enlightened meta she still wasn't that important. Really the only times that she had much of an impact on the meta was during the Nami 3 carry period where you'd give her Luden's Echo but that fell off relatively quickly after a few nerfs.
Removing Nami does open the door for additional Mages to be added. We've already talked about Lillia going away so now we have two CC Mages being removed which really begs the question of who's going to replace them. Will Mage switch over to more of a damage focus trait or will they add in different types of CC?
I really wish poor Lux wasn't being removed because she also got removed in set three but it does make sense as she really doesn't have that much use in Divine. Sure she has CC but the damage she dealt barely ever came into play with the true damage provided by Divine. She'd either cast too early or too late or only hit one champion so in terms of replacing her for a different Divine it makes sense.
Lux also didn't add too much value early on in the game as a three cost. She could do well sometimes but her ultimate was too unreliable. Moving forward I'd like to see them replace her with a more solid CC three cost champion that is maybe a Mage.
And then we have Ezreal. Ezreal, to me, has always been way too good. Yes he's never been openly broken like say Yone or Kayn but... come on, have you read his kit!? He slows attack speed, buffs attack speed, heals, does damage and applies Dazzler. That's way too much for a five cost! So I'm personally glad he's being removed because they can add in a less problematic five cost champion.
But Ezreal going away does mean Elderwood needs a bit of late game love. I'd assume one of the five costs will be an Elderwood, which was in the unconfirmed leaked picture, as Elderwood is a trait that should scale well into the late game. Without late game champions it makes the trait, especially if you go for nine Elderwood, kind of pointless. So definitely hoping the leak is true and they are adding in a five cost Elderwood.
Alright that's it for the synergies being removed, plus the champions they are taking out with those traits. Let's shift focus over to the rest of the champions being removed which are Ahri, Hecarim, Xin'Zhao, Jinx and Jhin.
Okay on one hand another Mage is being removed but on the other hand Ahri.. has had a lot of balance issues. Both as a carry and with Spirit. So with Ahri being gone they can add in an easier to balance Mage carry or maybe they'll try to push Mage towards utility instead of damage. It looks like Aurelion Sol is the replacement for Ahri so hopefully they balance him better than they did Ahri.
Spirit, though, does need some real love in 4.5. Ahri's mana pool made the trait too good until they made changes that caused that style of play to not work, but it's no secret that Spirit has always been way too reliant on Ahri. With her gone they can hopefully balance the trait better even if they don't end up adding another Spirit champion.
Next is another Elderwood change with Hecarim. Hecarim never really dominated the meta like players thought he might way back during the PBE but he's definitely had a solid place in the early game, especially in the current meta. That said he was overshadowed by the Brawler frontline of Elderwood. Elderwood also lacked CC so replacing Hecarim should be easy as they can just add in a champion with CC (which based on the current information looks like Rakan may be that champion!).
Let's be real for a moment, Xin'Zhao was kind of a failure as a champion. Both originally and his rework. That's okay though because removing him does open the door for another melee Warlord that can carry which looks like that will be Tryndamere. Honestly this is a good trade off and hopefully Tyrandamere is a proper carry to help make Warlord a more consistent trait.
Now for the two Sharpshooters, Jinx and Jhin. Jinx was great for awhile until they absolutely wrecked her by making her ultimate and auto-attacks interact poorly. Okay sure the amount of CC she could do while carrying was a bit too much but after that change she practically brought nothing to the table because you didn't want to itemize her. So with Jinx being gone they can either leave Sharpshooters without extra CC or add in someone with a bit more balanceable CC.
Jhin, on the other hand, is a huge loss to Sharpshooters. He's the proper carry for the trait so it's going to be a tall order to replace him. Based on current information and the leak, it does look like Sivir is going to be a Sharpshooter. Along with her they may be adding in Samira as a five cost. So combining those two together it should make Sharpshooter scale better without being entirely reliant on Jhin, plus both of those champions seem to be more sustained damage than the burst that Jhin did. This all around fits better with the theme of Sharpshooter.
All in all the champions and synergies being removed should shake up the meta quite a bit. It's also going to be a lot easier for them to balance with the removal of Dusk and Dazzler no longer overlapping CC with Adept on auto-attack champions.
2. What's Being Added?
Time to talk about what's being added! Since they are still releasing information we won't get too far into this, and likely will come back to this topic in a future article when all of the information is out. For now let's list what we know so far.
The traits we have confirmed as of now are Slayer, Executioner, Syphoner, Fabled and Dragonsoul. There may be more added later but for now this is what we know. From the information given it sounds like Slayer and Executioner are going to focus more on damage dealing as Slayers will deal more damage to low health champions and Executioners attacks (and spells) will critically strike against low health enemies.
Syphoner on the other hand is focused towards abilities since the trait will provide some type of life-steal via spells. Fabled we aren't entirely sure of yet what it does but based on the leaked image it seems the spells of those champions (currently Neeko, Cho'gath and Nautilus) will gain an additional effect. And the last trait, Dragonsoul, seems to be another buff-based synergy that also gives them the ability to do a 'powerful dragon breath attack'. Again not all of the information is out yet so we'll have to wait for full details!
As for champions, well the ones we know of for sure are Sivir, Kayle, Nasus, Rakan, Xayah, Darius, Tyrandamere, Neeko, Nautilus, Cho'gath, Aurelion Sol, Tristana, Braum, Shyvana, Olaf, Swain and Brand. This is based on tweets posted by the official TFT twitter. The leaked image also shows Samira and Orn, both of which are five cost champions but again keep in mind that may not be 100% true.
Sivir seems to be the replacement for Jhin as she is both a Cultist and Sharpshooter. What her ultimate is we'll have to see but if it's her ability from set two it would make a lot of sense with Sharpshooter. As mentioned earlier it seems Samira may be a five cost Sharpshooter and Tristana is likely to be a one cost replacement for Vayne.
Kayle and Nasus come in as Divine champions with Kayle also having Executioner and Nasus having Syphoner. Kayle most likely will be a carry type champion which is great for Divine since she's ranged, meaning Divine will have a replacement carry for Warwick.
Rakan and Xayah are back and share the Elderwood trait. Most likely Xayah is going to be the replacement carry for Ashe and Rakan will hopefully have CC. Interestingly Rakan is also a Keeper which will add an interesting twist to Elderwood builds.
Darius is returning but this time as a Fortune champion. This likely means he's replacing Jinx and maybe will be an actual carry for the synergy so we may see more of Fortune as a consistent composition in 4.5. We've mentioned him earlier but Tryndamere is being added as a Warlord (and Slayer) which means he's hopefully a proper carry for Warlord builds.
As of yet we won't know what Fabled does for sure but we do know Cho'gath, Nautilus and Neeko are part of that synergy. What any of them do... we don't know, but I'd assume some of them will have some type of CC.
The last synergy we've been provided champions for is Dragonsoul which has Tristana, Brand, Braum, Shyvana, Olaf, Aurelion Sol and Swain. Of those we know Aurelion Sol is a four cost Mage, meaning he's replacing Ahri. The rest we don't know for sure but Brand is probably another Mage and Tristana is likely a Sharpshooter.
Braum, being a front-liner, makes sense to replace Hecarim/Thresh as a Vanguard. Shyvana probably will be like set one Shyvana meaning she'll transform and Swain likely will transform as well. Olaf is hopefully a proper carry though how exactly we don't know yet!
And that covers what we know so far. We'll have more information over time and as I mentioned I'll like revisit this topic in another article where I cover all of the new champions and traits properly. I'm definitely looking forward to the changes coming in 4.5 as the meta shakeup should be a lot of fun.
Also I will still be covering the meta for the last patch of the set before 4.5 releases. Be sure to follow GiantSlayerTFT on Twitter and YouTube as those are the places to find information for when new videos and articles go live. You can also follow me on twitter here! Thank you for reading and I hope everyone has a good new years!
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