How the Patch 7.4 Keystone Mastery Changes Impact AD Carries



Wed 8th Mar 2017 - 11:03am

With the role of AD carries shifting away from glass cannon damage dealers to being more utility based, unusual champion picks like Varus soon became commonplace in the bottom lane. As League of Legends is tweaked and modified, the way that a team plays will change in order to adhere to the strategies of the best players. On Patch 7.4, several champions, items, and masteries were adjusted with the intent of balancing the game and creating a healthy environment for players. I will highlight and explore some of the champions that I believe will be most impacted by the changes made to Fervor of Battle and Warlord's Bloodlust.

What do each of these keystone masteries do?

Fervor of Battle - Each successful basic attack will reward the player with a stack of Fervor. Fervor provides the player with bonus physical damage. The amount of bonus physical damage that is gained will be determined by the champion's in-game level. This is what makes Fervor of Battle an excellent choice for picking champions that scale into the later stages of the game. Fervor of Battle functions as both a teamfighting and trading tool. 

Warlord's Bloodlust - Auto attacks will increase a champion's lifesteal based on the amount of health that they are missing. Ranged champions will earn half of the lifesteal melee champions gain when attacking minions. Warlord's Bloodlust is often taken when playing champions that mostly purchase items that provide increased critical strike. This is done to compensate for the lack of lifesteal that is incorporated in their item builds.

 So what's actually changed?

The period of time in which the player will benefit from Fervor of Battle has been increased from six seconds to eight seconds. In contrast, Warlord's Bloodlust will reward less of a lifesteal bonus overall. The lifesteal percentage has been lowered from twenty percent bonus lifesteal to only fifteen percent. 

Which AD carries will benefit the most from these changes?

Sivir - the Battle Mistress

Sivir has gone from having an 87% pick/ban rate in the 2015 North American LCS to being one of the least picked champs on the Rift. Her power and presence in Season 5 was honored by the creation of the Victorious Sivir skin, given to players who achieved gold rank or higher. Just like Varus and Jhin are picked for the crowd control they provide, Sivir was once picked for her strong initiation and the teamfighting presence provided by On The Hunt. In a meta where AD carries that provide utility are highly valued, a buff to her overall damage output may be enough to restore her place as one of the strongest picks in the bottom lane. Sivir's Ricochet does a huge amount of damage in teamfights because it can hit multiple targets and critically strike on every bounce. This alone can shred even the tankiest of teams and win key teamfights. Her excellent late game scaling makes her a great champion to pick when using Fervor of Battle. Bonus damage on her auto attacks and crossblade bounces will make her an extremely deadly treasure hunting mercenary.

Lucian - the Purifier

In 2016, Lucian dominated pro play and solo queue with an extremely oppressive laning phase, high versatility, and excellent mobility. He was able to repeatedly poke down his enemies with Piercing Light and escape from dangerous situations by using Relentless Pursuit after securing a kill. Low cooldowns made Lucian extremely mobile. When it came time to group up, Lucian could peel for himself and still dish out an outrageous amount of damage. Lucian's ultimate allowed him to secure kills that would otherwise be impossible to obtain and kite away from enemies. After many nerfs to his range, damage, and the "Korean Build", Lucian eventually fell out of the meta's favor. Lucian saw less and less play in the months following these adjustments. In Season 7, he's slowly been making a comeback with the rise of lethality. Lucian easily stacks Fervor with the double shots from Lightslinger. Lucian's low cooldowns allow him to quickly cycle through multiple spell rotations which will consequently activate his passive ability numerous times. This will help increase his damage output considerably and improve his win rate.

Kalista - the Spear of Vengeance

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Kalista was once the queen of the bottom lane during Season 5. She was a highly-contested champion and her strength was respected by professional players in all regions. Kalista was picked or banned in 97% of the games in the North American LCS Summer Split, 86% of the time in the European LCS Summer Split, and 74% of games in the 2015 World Championship. Her influence was commemorated with the Championship Kalista skin at the end of 2015 to celebrate the ranked season and SKT T1 Kalista to honor the 2015 world champions.

Kalista's success can be attributed to her high mechanical ceiling, superb laning, and remarkable teamfighting. Martial Poise makes repositioning and kiting effortless. Sentinel's Soul-Mark combined with Rend's mana refund and immediate cooldown reset let Kalista win most of the trades that she made with during the laning phase. Massive nerfs were administered to Kalista after Season 5 concluded. Following these revisions, she's struggled to find her place in the meta. The buffs administered to her earlier in Season 7 combined with the buff to Fervor of Battle could be what she needs in order to succeed in 2017. Kalista can easily stack Fervor since she is an auto attack focused champion. Bonus attack damage will also be applied to the bolts provided by Runnan's Hurricane, making her an even larger threat in mid game skirmishes. Like the more popular AD carries, Kalista also provides her team with utility. Fate's Call allows her to initiate teamfights, pick off opponents, and save her Oathsworn if they get into a dangerous situation.

Which AD carries will suffer from these changes?

Caitlyn - the Sheriff of Piltover

Caitlyn is best known for her early game power and zone of control. She boasts the title of having the highest natural range on Summoner's Rift. This gives her an inherent advantage over most AD carries, especially in the laning phase. Caitlyn players typically abuse her exceptional range by poking the opposition as much as possible whenever they attempt to farm minions. In addition, Caitlyn's laning is also very safe since she gains bonus lifesteal from Warlord's Bloodlust. Removing items that provide lifesteal from her item build in favor of critical strike items allows Caitlyn to have a significantly higher damage output. Warlord's Bloodlust is taken when playing Caitlyn to make up for her lack of lifesteal. With the reduction of Warlord's Bloodlust's maximum lifesteal bonus, Caitlyn becomes a less potent champion and a riskier pick overall.

Ashe - the Frost Archer

Similarly to Caitlyn, Ashe is a lane bully who will poke anyone that is out of position. She is picked mostly for the utility that she provides to her team. Ashe's passive, Frost Shot, slows targets that are hit by her auto attacks. If Ashe critically strikes, an empowered slow is applied to her target. This will make repositioning very difficult for her opponents and gives her teammates time to catch up to enemies that attempt to flee from a fight. Volley will always critically strike champions. For this reason, Ashe players will purchase items that will increase her critical strike chance. Hawkshot, being a global ability, is extremely useful for tracking the enemy jungler's position, avoiding potential ganks, and keeping track of neutral objectives. Enchanted Crystal Arrow is Ashe's signature ability. It serves as an initiation and a disengage tool. When used correctly, Ashe's ultimate can turn the tides of battle and win the game for your team. The drawback of picking Ashe is that she lacks mobility. This makes her susceptible to being picked off by champions like Kha'Zix or Zed. Warlord's Bloodlust makes playing Ashe safer since she is built like a glass cannon. As a result of the reduction of Warlord's Bloodlust's maximum bonus lifesteal, her laning phase will be less safe and teamfighting becomes even more risky.

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