The Dark Child is getting strengthened, but will that be enough?
One of the most classic mid laners in League of Legends, Annie, is finally getting some buffs in the upcoming 13.2 patch.
The buffs will strengthen all of Annie’s active abilities, which rarely happens in League. Usually, champions receive tweaks to two or three abilities at maximum, since it’s enough to bring them back to regular play in the solo queue. This is a different case, though, and it’s easy to see why. Annie has been one of the worst mages in the mid lane for quite some time now, and she’s in dire need of some changes.
As of now, the champion has a poor 49.60 percent win rate in Platinum+ rankings, according to League stat site, U.GG. In the mid lane role, she ranks only 41st in terms of win rate. Furthermore, she has recorded a 1.1 percent pick rate and 0.8 percent ban rate, which prove that she’s not exactly a go-to champion for mid lane players.
On top of that, Annie hasn’t received any major changes last season apart from some minor buffs in Patches 12.12 and 12.10. Her last significant update went live with Patch 10.22 on Oct. 28, 2020. Back then, the developers boosted her Molten Shield (E) and Summon: Tibbers (R). Still, looking at how she’s been nowhere to be seen in the last few years, it’s obvious she still needs some tweaks to bring new life into her.
Annie will see a variety of balance changes in the upcoming update. Her passive will now be set to full stacks when the game starts and once she respawns. The mana cost of her W will be reduced from 90-110 to 70-110. Although the most important changes will be in Annie’s E and ultimate.
Her E will now deal damage when taking any damage, but only once per enemy per cast. Moreover, the value of the shield itself will be increased. Tibbers, on the other hand, will have much more health, as he will now also benefit from Annie’s ability power much more (+75 percent).
On paper, the upcoming update should shake up Annie’s position in the mid lane. With the changes to passive and W, she ought to have a bit more sustainability during the laning phase. At the same time, her strengthened E will grant her even more survivability in the laning phase and in teamfights alike, simultaneously allowing her to sneak in more damage. Since she’s an easy-to-catch, immobile champion, that buff to her shield could be a game-changer.
Moreover, summoning Tibbers was often seen as a strong play when landed on multiple enemies with stacked passive. Afterward, however, the big bear was never able to do much due to his low health and enemy team’s ability to simply lock him in place with crowd control. They will still be able to target him with CC, but with more health, he will be able to stay on the battlefield for much longer, protecting Annie or taking on enemy bruisers.
While these are quality changes, it’s tough to see Annie back on the Rift, at least in higher rankings and in competitive play. She still lacks mobility, which is essential in teamfights and survivability in today’s meta.
Her burst damage isn’t bad, but players need to land a perfect combo with Summon: Tibbers, stunning enemies, to make full use of her potential. Once that combo is unleashed, there’s hardly anything to do besides dealing damage with low-range Q and E, since Tibbers can be easily stopped. Compared to top mages in League’s season 13, like Kassadin, Anivia, Vex, and Cassiopeia, she simply looks far worse.
Frankly speaking, Annie looks like an outdated champion. Her kit isn’t that strong and relies too much on stunning opponents with her ultimate, which needs a fully-stacked passive to work. Without additional mobility and a relatively small burst, there are too many conditions to fulfill when it comes to picking Annie. A mid-scope update would be the best solution for herhowever, it doesn’t seem like that is in the devs’ current plans.
Patch 13.2 comes out this upcoming Wednesday, Jan. 25.