State of the Rift: Patch v8.3
League is always in a state of change. And change is good.
Here comes State of the Season, a comprehensive champion and strategy guide geared to help you get those wins on a patch-by-patch basis. From the now-live Swain rework to game-changing patch updates, we’ve got you covered on what to expect when you hit that ‘play’ button!
In Patch v8.3, we’ve seen the continuance of the ranked season and everyone is itching to taste those sweet, sweet promotions. Here’s what’s stylin’ in your friendly neighborhood solo queue.
Skarner! Skar! Skar!
The rise of Unsealed Spellbook has given way to the return of a famed Pokémon into the meta, ex-semi-pro IWDominate approved.
After making his way to the wild outskirts of competitive play, Skarner, the Crystal Vanguard has risen up the standings as a top-tier jungler. How?
Skarner has historically been easy to kite in previous seasons. With a minute earlier on his lethal flash-into-ult however, Skarner’s pickoff ability becomes increasingly fearsome to go up against in the mid-late setting. Besides that, Skarner’s previously lackluster early-game is made more bearable with Smite’s reduced cooldown.
In the presence of Crystal Spires, Skarner becomes better suited to duels and skirmishes and to take control of objectives by the River. Armed with a Trinity Force alongside his durable build path, the crystalline scorpion serves as a formidable tank that can threaten priority carries whilst protecting your team’s backline.
Skarner’s ability to single-handedly dictate the pace of the game through crucial pickoffs gives him the opportunity to carry no matter what elo he’s picked in.
In the words of gbay99: Camille, “The last good bruiser."
For the longest time, top lane’s been criticized as a role that commands little to no presence in influencing the outcome of a match. Out of all the picks that have fallen in and out of flavor, one stands out with the ability to carry when properly executed.
Camille is a bruiser with immense skill expression known for her dueling and splitpushing prowess. The Gray Lady shares a frail laning phase inherent to splitpushing bruisers; however, her exceptional synergy with Arcane Comet more than makes up for her laning weaknesses. In lane, Tactical Sweep serves as a remarkable poking and sustain tool whilst her passive, Adaptive Defenses provides favorable trades in the form of damage mitigation through shielding. Throughout the course of the laning phase, these advantages slowly add up until Camille can end up taking you down anywhere within a screen’s radius using Hookshot’s tremendous range.
Where Camille truly shines however is in her ability to influence the rest of the map. Given her all-in-one gapcloser and crowd control in Hookshot, Camille can travel long distances from the top side to secure the unlikeliest of kills. If that wasn’t enough, The Hextech Ultimatum is her surefire ability to lockdown priority targets and create leads for her team.
As Camille says,
"Precision is the difference between a butcher and a surgeon."
In this case however, precision will be the difference between a triumphant victory and a remorseful defeat. Therefore, if you’re comfortable with picking up the Steel Shadow and mastering her mechanically-heavy kit, she’s definitely worth the pick for your ranked journey.
The Emperor’s New Clothes: Swain.
Despite having a negative winrate across elos, Swain has a ridiculous ban rate appearing in almost 1 out of 4 matches; this oddity can be attributed to the community’s unfamiliarity with Swain’s reworked abilities and all-new playstyle. With the Noxian Grand General’s reanimation, now’s the all-important time to dive in the fray (for freelo).
Swain’s iteration presents the grand general as a calculating warlock that thrives in the midst of the battlefield. Given innate sustain and remarkable crowd control, Swain operates similarly to the Swain of old -- except this time he sees success when he can better stick to the fight with the help of the keystone, Phase Rush. Complimentarily, Swain plays the laning phase towards mid-late teamfights sustaining off Soul Fragments and waveclearing through Death’s Hand. To expedite his fearsome teamfight phase, Swain makes use of Transcendence, Gathering Storm, and even Future’s Market to help bridge his laning and endgame stages.
Moving forward to the later stages of the game, Swain succeeds in coordination with vital set-up from his allies. With Vision of Empire, Swain provides crucial slows for impending plays and vision and zone control to setup plays for and with his team. As his alias goes, Swain is at his prime when keenly utilizing timely Nevermoves and charged-up Demonflares to turn the tides of the clash to his favor.
Ranked Tier List
Now what’s a guide without a tier list, huh?
|Role||Top Lane||Jungle||Mid Lane||AD||Support|
|Champion||Camille, Gangplank, Sion||Kha'Zix, Skarner, Nunu, Warwick||Katarina, Zoe||Kog'Maw, Tristana, Varus||Alistar, Braum, Janna|
There you have it, a rundown on this patch’s top-of-the-top. Off you go to the Fields of Justice, summoner! May you not run into solo queue Yasuos and devilish Teemos on your blessed ranked journey.
FUN FACT: Patch v8.4 will be a patch to watch out for as its tentative list of changes already include pivotal balance changes to champions, runes, and items.
Images courtesy of Riot Games