With nary a blood sacrifice in sight, the patch notes have reached their zenith and the power contained within has been sent back to the worshipers via an infinite prayer wheel. The wisdom of eternity is our’s for the taking. The insight of the cosmos is at hand. Come along and ride on a
fantastic Celestial Voyage.
This is a fairly extensive patch, with more god changes than expected. Sure, we all expected Cernunnos to get nerfed (let’s all be real), and I don’t think anyone is surprised Zhong Kui sees a change again after his semi-unsuccessful change last time around. Still, we get a smorgasbord of additional god changes, and some interesting item reworks that will likely see some unintended consequences. First, let’s talk about the new event!
4.4 Breakdown | 4.5 Breakdown
An Egyptian-themed event is headed our way. It’s…a mix of ideas. There are exclusive, not limited, skins for Anhur, Bastet, Khepri, and Neith. These are directly purchasable, and if you purchase all four, you get a limited Thoth skin. These skins are all Stargate-themed, in the vein of the already existing Stargazer Anubis thing. When you purchase these skins, you get one crafting point (this is important later). There are a number of bonus rewards – all limited – during the event, as well. There is a loading frame, a music theme, a pedestal, and – for the very first time – a loading screen background. You get these rewards by completing the twelve quests for the event, and using the hieroglyphs you unlock to solve a puzzle and unlock the bonus rewards. You also get favor, fantasy points, and Enigma Chest rolls for completing the quests, even if you don’t do anything with the hieroglyphs.
Why would you not do anything with the hieroglyphs? That’s where crafting points come in. You might notice how there are four skins (heh, foreskin) and four bonus rewards. Well, every exclusive skin you purchase gives you a crafting point. You have to use a crafting point along with solving the hieroglyphics puzzle in order to unlock the bonus rewards. So, while you can still get the favor, fantasy points, and Enigma chests without spending money, you absolutely cannot get the limited content without those purchases. I don’t have a problem with this – it’s all cosmetic stuff – but it’s a little obfuscated in their release. Burying the lede, so to speak.
This event would cost you a total of 1600 gems for five skins, a pedestal, a loading screen, a loading frame, and a new music theme. Honestly, it’s not that bad when you put it all together like that. The Celtic Event was 1000 gems for three skins, a pedestal, a loading frame, a cutesy avatar, and a music theme. Yes, you got chest rolls, but you are getting chest rolls for this, too. All things considered, you get two additional skins and a loading screen for 600 gems. Comparatively speaking, it’s not a bad deal. If this isn’t your thing I totally get that, but it’s a non-trivial amount of items for the price. At the very least, I have to get the Khepri skin. AS IF YOU COULDN’T TELL THAT FROM THIS SITE.
There are a lot of pure mechanical fixes that are taking place in this patch. This is a good thing for the sake of consistency and understanding the intricacies of game play. While many people will debate that a deeper mastery of the game should result in an advantage, this sort of stuff is the wrong area to place that burden. Non-obvious or easily investigated interactions aren’t the place for that knowledge to exist. Anyway, these are all solid changes.
- All items, gods, and abilities will follow slow stacking rules: simply put, the strongest slow from an item will win, all god slows stack, and relic slows behave like god slows (except for the fact that relics don’t stack with themselves). This is as straight forward as you are going to get, and makes that sort of math easier.
- More things announce to your team when you buy them: This is a great QoL change. People will still ignore it and buy two of the same relic or item, but it should happen unintentionally less often. While people will certainly still think of items or relics that should announce to the whole team, this is a good list and I would rather see a smaller list than a larger list so it doesn’t become too large for most people to read. The items and relics added are:
- Relics: Magic Shell, Meditation, Phantom Veil
- Rituals: Frenzied Ritual
- Items: Void Shield, Spiked Shield, Runic Shield
- Items removed from announcing: Sage’s Stone, Stone of Fal
- Clan Banning: Once you kick someone from a clan, you can ban them from rejoining the clan. Seems reasonable to me. I know nothing of clans, mind you.
- Gold and Experience earned while dead: This was bugged and not counting toward your team log. It does now. Hooray.
I like the approach here for changes this season. Rather than touching the gods directly when power seems out of whack, there is a lot of emphasis on changing the items these gods are succeeding with, and analyzing the trends around when they were picked up and why. Last patch saw changes around Heartseeker – a needed change – and this patch sees its saucy sister get a similar treatment. These are trends to continue to slow down the bursting, area meta that has emerged. There is also a change I consider ill-advised, but we will get to that.
There was also a major announcement from Hi-Rez the day before the patch alerting everyone that rituals were no longer going to be available. This was not in the original patch notes, but was added after SPL play over the weekend which illustrated many of the issues with the current implementation. We might see them at a later date, and in a different form. Until then, no more rituals.
- Enchanted Spear: This whole line is getting an overhaul. Everyone is just building Obsidian Shard, so Hi-Rez is making changes to see some build diversity across gods that behave differently. This is an admirable goal. For this item, the cost decreases from 1450g to 1400g, making it hopefully more attractive as a small power spike against Spell Focus.
- Flickering Ritual: Whoops! This got double nerfed by accident, last time around. The ranged was reduced as part of an internal test that wasn’t supposed to move forward, but it was never reverted. However, it turns out that people liked the shortened range, and it required more strategic use. When it’s not a free escape, it’s much more risk/reward oriented. So, the unintended nerf is now intended. The range is now 40, enjoy!
- Hydra’s Lament: The saucy sister to Heartseeker. This item is part of the huge power spike that assassins have been able to enjoy this season. Rather than change the top end cost, the mid-tier build cost of Hydra’s Star has been increased. This should slow the damage ramping down, while also increasing the importance of the decision making around purchasing the item. Hydra’s Star increases from 1000g to 1200g to build, with Hydra’s Lament being unchanged. This might receive a small price increase in later patches (150g I would wager).
- Mantle of Discord: Mantle was just in an awkward spot with regards to cooldown reduction because it gave 15%. This meant you were always slightly under or slightly over the cap. This item was changed to now give 10% rather than 15%, but had the build cost reduced from 3100g to 2900g to compensate. This is a good streamlining change.
- Mark of the Vanguard: Ok, this is the change I don’t agree with. SPL teams have been running multiple guardians and even running tanky assassins. For the most part, these teams saw early success, but their comps have begun to fail as the season has progressed. This change reduces the health from 150 to 100, keeping everything else the same. It will definitely impact some starts and builds. I don’t think it’s a huge deal, but I do disagree with it.
- Masamune: This item doesn’t see a lot of use because it is hard to utilize well. It has a mix of power, health, and movement speed, and the passive gives you stacking protections for being around enemy gods. I’ve always loved this item because I want to be an initiator, but I also want to stick around in fights. However, I’m bad with it because I just am. The changes here move from 5 protections per stack to 7 protections per stack, still capping out at 5 stacks. This is a good change, but I don’t think the extra ten protections for each will make a significant difference in seeing the item picked up. I will say that I think it will be easier to see benefit from this item if it is purchased, making it less of a new player trap. So, good change even if it doesn’t affect the SPL.
- Spear of Desolation: For 500g more, you got 20 more power, 20 pen vs. 33% pen, and 10% cooldown reduction with the chance to break the cooldown reduction limit thanks to the passive over picking up the Obsidian Shard. This is a big investment for a relatively less impactful – or at least harder to consistently utilize on its own – item. Recognizing that, the cost is being decreased from 2800g to 2600g, making it only 300g more than the Obsidian Shard. This is cool, and it might slip into more builds now, but I’m not totally convinced yet.
- Spear of the Magus: Are you playing a magical god with an ability that ticks really quickly? Yeah, you’ll want this item now. The base stats remain the same, but the passive now stacks 5 times rather than 3, reducing the target’s magical protections by 50 for 5s. This is huge for gods like Poseidon and Kukulkan, for sure. You’ll start seeing this item without a doubt. It’s a big deal.
- Soul Trap: Reducing the cost from 1600g to 1400g is a good step for some mages/hybrids to start having a stronger middle game. This all points to the feeling that mages are in a semi-rough spot in the current meta, and the role is looking to be expanded a bit. This is particularly evident when you take into account the previous item changes from 4.4. All around good changes, in my opinion.
I am splitting this into two parts. One relic was really changed, the rest had their methodology changed. Those will be addressed in the next section.
- Heavenly Wings Upgrade: Basic Attack Penalty is always removed, even if the Movement Speed Buff is removed from the target. Good change, and it allows the relic use to not feel like a trap. It’s all about making the decision points a little more visible to players.
Things Don’t Stack Weirdly Any More, Part Two
Just to keep this short and sweet, there was a concentrated effort this patch to make sure things don’t stack weirdly. We saw it with the slow changes mentioned above, and we are seeing relic and item clean-up, too. Upgraded Relics no longer stack with their basic versions, so you can’t Upgraded Sundering Spear someone and then someone else Basic Sundering Spear them. The same is true for Rod of Healing/Rod of Asclepius, which were enabling bonus healing stacking. Again, it’s all about making the decision-making points more obvious.
- Relics: Cursed Ankh, Heavenly Wings, Horrific Emblem, Magic Shell, Meditation Cloak Upgrade, Phantom Veil, Sundering Spear
- Items: Rod of Asclepius, Rod of Healing
A fair number of god changes are in this patch. This is mostly about nerfing Cernunnos and adjusting other gods upwards. There are also a few bug fixes, which is always encouraging to see. For the most part, I think these changes are pretty good, though a few might need to be monitored closely.
This is a simple bug fix mainly for interaction with the Morrigan.
- Kiss: If a target was kissed by two Aphrodites, the speed buff would be permanent. That’s fixed.
The conventional wisdom is Ares has bad clear, so he wasn’t all that viable as a support. Of course, he’s made a couple of appearances in the SPL, and I standby my belief that the snowballing isn’t as bad as people make it out to be. Regardless, the change is one in the right place, if something was going to be changed.
- Shackles: The minion damage dealt by shackles was increased by 25 base at every rank, for a flat increase of 25 power, going from 25/45/65/85/105 to 50/70/90/110/130. As this passes through minions to hit gods, it still makes a situation where Ares wasn’t to be smart about how he is tossing changes, trying to aggressively clear the wave while pressuring the opposing god. Good stuff, if you are going to do it.
The nerfs we see are pretty reasonable, to be honest. I wouldn’t say this is a series of nerfs that puts him in the garbage. Instead, it moves him down, gets rid of a little bit of his ridiculousness, and makes him a little more in line with some of the other hunters. Still too strong? Probably a touch. We will see.
- Base Power: Base damage is reduced from 40 to 37. Given just how strong his base damage could be with his seasonal shift being active, this is a good change. It makes you care a little more about how you are interacting with that skill, and doesn’t make you such a crazy auto-attack bot.
- Shifter of Seasons: The life drain portion of Spring was reduced. The numbers listed are incorrect, so hopefully this will get updated.
- Bramble Blast: The slow was removed from this ability. Thank goodness. This was crazy pants. The single target root is fine, as is the ticking zone damage.
I am on record saying this isn’t a god that is an issue really in the SPL in the traditional warrior role, but he is one that is powerful in the support role, go figure. I also understand that in ranked and casual play, it’s more of an issue. So, all things considered, this is a restrained touch. I am encouraged to see it.
- Mitigate Wounds: Cooldown increased from 15s to 17s. A reasonable change, and one that forces a bit more thought behind the decision to use the skill. It’s not a huge change, but a reasonable one to watch and see. I like it.
It’s nice to see Hi-Rez admit when they went overboard with tuning down a god. Jing Wei got hit in almost every area to the point where she was just a handicap for your team when compared to other hunters. Besides the passive and the fatalis-like effect, the other changes get reverted now.
- Base Stats: Base health reverts to 78 from 72, and base movement is reverted to 370 from 365.
- Explosive Bolts: The cooldown is back to 14s from 16s.
This is the change that I like lease. I don’t hate it, but I don’t like it. I understand that most players have been calling for it, but it’s more than a QoL change. This is a big deal, and it will make a difference. Get ready for Nemesis, folks.
- Swift Vengeance: Abilities and basic attacks can now be used between dashes, though it still goes on cooldown after 2s. It seems minor, but this is a major one.
Just bug fixes.
This is a frustration change, and I am not positive this is the right answer. This is really two changes, but it’s a package of one change as they both touch the ultimate. Briefly put, people didn’t like the constant on edge state of Thoth’s ultimate. So now Thoth is penalized for canceling his ult. I would like to have seen something different here, but we can see what happens.
- Final Judgement: Mana cost increased by 10 from 90 to 100. Also, canceling the ult now costs 30 mana.
Cosmetic changes to the ability icons. Whatevs.
This is a correction to the previous changes that seemed to be bugged. The Expose Evil change should now be live when this patch goes live.