They're getting tagged again.
Ranged supports have been the highlight of League of Legends season 13 so far. From enchanter champions to Heimerdinger and, finally, to ADC supports, we have witnessed it all. In professional play, the meta is revolved around these picks to the point where they are far too present for Riot Games’ liking.
The balance team looked to nerf ranged support items, namely Spellthief’s Edge and Spectral Sickle, in Patch 13.4. They also buffed the rest of the support items, with the hopes of balancing the power between the two.
With ranged supports getting repeated nerfs in the last patches, will these changes be the final blow that will end the ranged support hegemony?
To understand what the latest changes will potentially mean to the ranged support class, it’s crucial to first understand how the item’s numbers were changed.
Spellthief’s Edge and Spectral Sickle will now have a lower mana regeneration (from 50 to 25 percent), as well as a tribute recharge timer. These nerfs are also applied to the upgraded versions of the two items Frostfang and Harrowing Crescent (mana regeneration is decreased by 25 percent, recharge timer unchanged).
Of the two, the most impactful is definitely the tribute change. While adding two seconds to the recharge time doesn’t seem like much, it will slow down ranged supports’ ability to generate gold. For this particular class of champions, they are able to consistently proc the item as soon as charges are ready.
Considering the items grant 20 gold per proc and the passive is lost upon hitting 1,000 gold, a support would usually need to activate the passive 50 times. While the number is slightly lower than that since it also generates passive gold (two gold per 10 seconds), a ranged support would need to proc the item around 40 times. By adding two seconds, the extra lowest amount of time with these nerfs is around one minute and 20 seconds.
This is considering that players are able to proc these stacks constantly, which is usually not possible in a normal game situation. Therefore, the extra time can potentially be much longer than forecast.
For ranged supports, this is quite a substantial hit. Paired with the lower mana regeneration, they won’t have as much early game trading power.
We will almost certainly have to wait some time before being sure that they will be fully gone. Players usually need to test, see, and feel whether the nerfs are going to be impactful enough to shift the support meta.
That being said, these changes, paired with the other support item buffs, as well as the experience nerfs will potentially shape up a new meta.
We have already started seeing the return of engage supports, with champions like Nautilus, Rakan, and Blitzcrank having great success and positive win rates (according to U.GG).
While ranged supports are not going to disappear completely, their presence is going to be much lower compared to previous patches.