How the LoL meta could be impacted by Patch 13.3

Preseason part two continues.

Riot Games is keeping up its streak of major updates in League of Legends season 13. The previous Patch 13.1 saw important ADC and fighter item changes. Now, the balance team is setting its eyes on the support class while also fine-tuning the jungle meta. 

Paired with a long list of champion buffs and nerfs, many players are curious to find out which updates are going to be the most impactful and if new champions will rise in popularity.

Predicting exactly what will happen is a tough job. But by taking a look at the individual changes and connecting them all together, we might get an answer. These are our predictions on the League meta changes now that Patch 13.3 is live.

Engage support buffs in Patch 13.3

After revealing the ADC changes in the last patch, former shoutcaster and current game designer David Phreak Turley talked about the upcoming support buffs on his YouTube channel on Jan. 29. In particular, the buffs and changes are specifically targeting engage supports. Were not going to dive deep into all the changes, but were going to mention the champions that got the most out of the patch: Alistar, Nautilus, and Thresh. 

Aside from the increased AP ratios that dont make much of a difference on Alistar because he doesnt get as much ability power from his items, the big buffs for him are the lower mana costs. This will allow the cow to spam his combos and make possible misplays less forgiving during the laning phase. 

Image via Riot Games

Nautilus, on the other hand, has been the go-to support pick in the last few years when it comes to hard-engaging. The balance team isnt making such impactful changes to him, but at the same time, it is trying to push him back into the meta by giving some increased early damage and some more tankability with his W. Given his popularity despite being in a non-favorable meta (7.5 percent pick rate, according to U.GG), the balance team will have to keep an eye on Nautilus to see where he lands in the new patch.

Thresh was supposed to get the most interesting buffs among all the supports but they were pulled from the patch at the last minute. He was only able to get a small AP ratio increase on his Flay (E), which doesn’t really make much of a difference since Thresh doesn’t get access to a lot of ability power with his items. He’s probably going to be played more but his win rate might not go up as much as expected. In the right hands, however, the champion will still perform well.

Umbral Glaive meta dead?

The Umbral Glaive changes should nerf the ADC support meta and, most importantly, bring back the vision control game. The item’s passive is far too powerful and gives too much value because wards are essentially free extra gold and experience that Umbral Glaive users get throughout the game. 

The tentative balance change is going in a positive direction since it mainly nerfs ranged supports ward clearing ability without impacting melee champions like Pyke. That said, the higher cooldown, as well as the inability to kill traps with one auto attack, will leave more room for counterplay.   

Jungle clearing changes: more farming, less ganking?  

The jungle was one of the biggest updates during the preseason, with the implementation of pets and new gold and experience shared on the camps. The reduced gold, however, completely shifted the meta as farming junglers have almost disappeared across the board. Champions that excel at spam ganking are getting rewarded far too well and there arent many counters for it.

Riot is trying to swing the needle toward a healthier balance, giving more experience to jungle camps while nerfing the extra gold from treats. This should make farming slightly more rewarding and farming junglers should get hundreds of more experience during a game. In addition, towers will deal more damage early on, making dives harder to execute. That said, these changes alone likely wont be enough to remove the strong early-game junglers, especially given that champions like Elise and Maokai are not getting nerfed. 

Radiant Virtue: better on tanks, weaker on everyone else

Radiant Virtue has been a sleeper-OP item since its introduction during the preseason. While players didnt realize immediately how strong it was, the shift to a teamfighting meta made by front-to-back and kite-back comps has made the item valuable to the point where its too impactful.

Therefore, Riot is trying to tweak it and preserve part of its power and utility specifically for tanks, while nerfing the aura effect that made Radiant Virtue a must-build on many champions. The new version should be stronger for those who can build lots of health in their builds, but we will probably stop seeing champions like Karma building it. 

Most impactful champion buffs and nerfs

Aside from the item and system changes, Riot also tweaked a bunch of champions in this patch. While we wont dive into the numbers, we are going to mention the most impactful changes that might bring or remove specific champions from the meta.

Jarvan IV was supposed to get a substantial buff to his Golden Aegis, but the change was pulled from the patch. Regardless, Jarvan IV will still remain a great pick against immobile champions. If ranged supports and marksmen like Varus and Caitlyn are still going to be S-tier champions, then Jarvan IV will be one of the best picks to counter them.

Image via Riot Games

Lee Sin is another jungler that is getting major love from the balance team. Not only is he getting extra damage on his Sonic Wave/Resonating Strike (Q) but he is also getting more damage (at all times) and a stronger slow on his Tempest/Cripple (E). Based on these buffs, its inevitable that we will see Lee Sin mains start popping up again in solo queue and pro play.

Kassadin and Zac are getting slightly nerfed after being two of the strongest champions in Patch 13.1. Despite their nerfs, however, both are still going to be relevant in the meta. Kassadin shouldnt get hurt by the lower damage on his E and R while Zac will still be picked in situations where you need an engage tank with crowd control. 

How will all the changes shift the meta?

Patch 13.1B was considered the first big meta shift of the 2023 season and its looking like we might see another minor shift in Patch 13.3. It wont be big, though, and it will mainly depend on whether tank supports are strong enough to become meta again.

Players will need time to understand whether ranged supports are still stronger compared to melee ones and whether bully ADCs like Varus and Caitlyn will get overpowered by crit-based ADCs like Xayah, Draven, and Jhin.

If new bot lane duos are going to become prevalent, then we might see new meta picks across other roles. Otherwise, the solo lanes and jungle picks from the previous patch will continue to remain a high priority.

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