LoL Jungle Changes for Patch 8.10
Over the course of its history, no single facet in League of Legends has changed more than the jungle. Often times, this has contributed to an ever growing discontent between the developer and a very specific portion of its player base. Riot Games has keenly focused on changing the jungle in some way every season in hopes of changing the competitive integrity of games and the overall flow of the game. Recently, a few days before the conclusion of the Mid-Season Invitational, significant changes to the LoL Jungle were greenlit, and this has impacted the way junglers now approach the game.
Early Pressure is a Thing No More
With the jungle changes in patch 8.10, Riot Games wanted to create a state of the game where junglers had less early influence over the lanes and as a result would become more focused on skirmishing with the enemy jungler, whenever possible. To this end, jungle camp experience was brought down by a large margin. Prior to this patch, a jungler could attain level 3 after doing full clears of three separate camps. Having Q, W, and E enabled a jungler to attempt a gank on an overextended lane. With patch 8.10, that jungle pathing is no longer possible, with an exception.
Prior to this patch, there was 37.5% reduced EXP given by Gromp on its first clear and 25% by Medium Krugs, Small Krugs, and Large Razorbeak. Patch 8.10 removed these limitations. The Krugs camp is the exception. A jungler can still reach level 3 from three camps if Krugs is included in the equation. If not, four camps are now required which is a huge change when it comes to early game influence. However, the highlight of the patch was without a doubt the little crab that could.
A New Objective Appears
Rift Scuttler is a jungle crab monster that was added during Patch 4.20. Before the current patch, there were two of these monsters, one located in the middle of the river on each half of the map. Upon killing the Rift Scuttler, the team that killed it was rewarded with vision and increased movement speed in front of either Dragon or Baron Pit, depending on where it was killed. Hitting the Scuttler with crowd control significantly reduced its armor and magic resist, which was at the time an indirect nerf to junglers lacking CC.
Is Rift Scuttler the New Baron?
In order to increase jungler versus jungler fighting over the course of the game, Rift Scuttler was changed in a big way with patch 8.10. Instead of offering a flat amount of gold over the course of the entire game, killing the Scuttler know offers scaling gold between levels 1-9. Furthermore, the experience granted by the crab upon kill was changed in the exact same way, with a scaling amount over the smaller flat amount from before.
Whereas before two Scuttlers spawned at the same time on both halves of the map, with patch 8.10, only the first spawn will have two available at the same time. After both have been killed for the first time, a Scuttler will spawn at random in only one river, and mini-map icons have been added to indicate where that spawn will be. Riot believes that the old Rift Scuttler didn’t do enough to incentivize junglers to put their lives on the line to secure it. With increased gold and experience, Riot wants to increase not only team interaction, but fighting inside the jungle as well.
The Opposite Effect
These changes are incredibly frustrating for junglers at all levels. In the past, Riot has been vocal about expressing its distaste for farming junglers. Riot truly believes fighting is vital for a healthy state of the game and has made changes to discourage the farming playstyle such as removing the feral flare jungle item from the game. Ironically enough, these recent jungle changes only serve to bring farming junglers back into the limelight.
With the experience changes to the jungle camps, especially Rift Scuttler, there is harsh punishment for dying early. An early death on the current patch could spell doom for the jungler for the duration of the entire game. If the enemy jungler manages to secure both Rift Scuttlers and partially clear your camps, the experience and gold disadvantage mounts further and further pushing you into a desperate play style. A farming jungler is much less likely to be put into a desperate position, and for these reasons, I truly believe the jungle changes will have the complete opposite effect as to what Riot originally intended when implementing them.
Let’s Talk About Items
Perhaps the least talked about changes of patch 8.10 are those made to the jungle items. It is no secret to anyone that magic champions have not been viable in the jungle for quite some time, most notably because of sustain and clear speeds. Mage junglers don’t have the same luxury of staying within melee range of camps that most standard junglers enjoy. They are forced to kite camps in order to kill them. Kiting hurts their clear speed, an all too important metric for junglers.
In an attempt to make magic champions viable again, Riot decided to buff Hunter’s Talisman and change the magic jungle enchantment Runic Echoes. Both the damage and health restoration elements of the kindle passive on Hunter’s Talisman were increased. Mana restoration over time while in the river or jungle was also added. These are nice, healthy buffs for mana hungry junglers, however, what matters the most is the magic related enchantment.
With Runic Echoes, 7% movement speed was replaced with 300 mana and 10% cooldown reduction. With these changes, Riot failed to understand exactly how important the increased movement speed is for a jungler. Higher movement speed means you can not only kill camps faster, you can gank at a higher pace. The Runic Echoes changes are disguised as benefiting mages inside the jungle when in all reality they are happening to push the less early influence on lane agenda. Furthermore, the extra mana is not all that useful given the passive that the enchantment already has. Even more so than the other changes, Riot really missed the mark with Runic Echoes.
The Ever Changing Jungle
League of Legends has certainly never shied away from making changes. Despite past criticism, there has always been an effort to change the state of the game. With this particular patch, the changes are frustrating because it diminishes a role that has been seeking validation for quite some time. The worst feeling for any jungler is falling behind and being useless to the team. As the often seen scapegoats, junglers look for any chance to prove themselves. Patch 8.10 has made this more difficult than ever, and it will be interesting to see how this affects the professional scene with the summer split in each major region right around the corner.
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