Now on its ninth season, League of Legends continues to be the biggest MOBA in the market, and its success is thanks in large part to the continuous updates released to keep the game fresh. While there are patches made by Riot from time to time, the biggest changes always happen at the start of every season, which happens roughly every start of the year.
For Season 9, LoL received a new hero, as well as a major change to the game’s ranked game mode. If you missed out on the news, or haven’t played LoL for quite some time now, here’s a quick list of the biggest changes to get you up to speed:
The New Champion – Sylas
Getting a new champion is always exciting for LoL fans, even more so with Season 9’s latest character. Named Sylas, this new champion packs an ultimate that lets him steal enemy ultimate abilities (think Rubick from Dota). Unlike his skill-stealing counterpart in Dota though, Sylas is more of an assassin thanks to his skill set.
Sylas’ passive ability is Petricite Burst which lets him deal additional basic attack damage after casting a spell. His active abilities include Chain Lash — a magic damage nuke and slow; Kingslayer, which lets him lunge toward an enemy while dealing magic damage; and Abscond/Abduct – a two-part skill that’s another gap closer with additional magic damage and a quick stun.
Finally, Sylas’ ultimate ability (and his most exciting ability at that) is Hijack. This skill lets Sylas steal a selected enemy champion’s ultimate ability, which he can then cast without cost. While this may seem like an overpowered ability, it’s balanced by the fact that Sylas can’t steal from the same champion again for a set duration.
With Sylas’ skill set, he should be a great match for players who love playing high mobility heroes that are flexible enough to be played in more than just one role. Though he’s an exciting champion, he should be one that’s hard to master.
The next big change in LoL Season 9 is the Positional Rank system, a major update to the game’s competitive mode. How it works is that each player will receive a rank for each of the game’s positions; this means that if a mainly mid player has a rank of Platinum IV, he/she might be given a lower Gold rank when playing a different position. With this, Riot hopes to let players experiment more without getting penalized for a lack of experience playing a different role.
As an incentive to play well even when in a different role, players will gain LP across all their positional ranks when winning, your other ranks will receive less LP gain as compared to what role you played as. Of course, the same is true in reverse.
Not a fan of the changes? Well,l, Riot announced that the new ranking system won’t be rolled out to all servers just yet. For Season 9, Positional Ranks will first be tested on the North American and Korean servers, meaning players in the Philippines will still play on the previous ranking system.
With a new LoL season comes new in-game skins, and for Season 9, Riot announced the Chinese New Year and Valentine’s day-themed champion skins. Check them out here:
- Firecracker Vayne
- Firecracker Sejuani
- Coin Emperor Tahm Kench
- Heartbreaker Vi
- Heartpiercer Fiora
Aside from the new skins, there will be more in-game content for this year’s Lunar Revel event which Riot will announce soon.
Finally, Season 9 brought a number of minor changes to improve the game’s balance. Some of the changes include nerfs and buffs to certain runes as well as item changes that should reduce the damage that champions take in each game.
Overall, the new updates should make for another exciting LoL season. Sylas is shaping up to be a helluva fun hero to play, and the positional ranking system seems like an interesting shake-up to the game’s competitive mode. And of course, new champions skins are always welcome!
For more information on LoL Season 9, check out the official League of Legends Website.