Tanks Score Big in the Preseason Item Changes

In Patch 12.22, Riot introduced several new items, brought back a few old favorites and reworked several staples. Let’s see how they have done.

Ornn-2011
Ornn has been busy | © Riot Games

With the new patch the Preseason is officially here and as usual, it is going shake the meta up. We have already seen a new champion in K’sante, new rules for the jungle and buffs and nerfs to a series of champions. We even saw the return of the controversial chemtech drake, which is now hopefully more balanced and here to stay. However, perhaps the biggest change is in tank items, which saw several new (and returning) Mythics and a touch up to several others. In fact, they were so meta-shifting that Riot quickly started working on a 12.22b, which quickly hit the Rift. The top lane is going to be a pretty wild place, so let’s check how things are shaping up.

The Newcomers

Jak’sho, the Protean: This item was supposed to be for the tanks who want to ramp up as the fight goes on, and it comes with the health, armor, magic resistance and cooldown reduction that we could expect. The initial resistances get augmented as you collect legendary items, as each completed one gets you a +5 to both. In combat, you get a stack of +3 armor and MR per second and at eight stacks you ascend, doing a damage burst and getting a 15% extra on your resistances until the end of the fight. This results in a lot of damage mitigation. Still, rushing it might not be the best move - Riot recently mentioned they think a legendary can be built first or second, and in this case we can definitely see getting a Bami’s Cinder or a Sunfire Aegis and then opting into this item if you expect long fights against a mixed damage team.


Radiant Virtue: While having the same base stats as Jak’Sho, Radiant Virtue is about the extra HP and healing during a fight. It gives you a +100 HP per completed legendary item. Its unique passive triggers off your ultimate - when you cast it, you get an extra 10% HP and give all allies within a wide radius 15% cooldown reduction on their base abilities and heal everyone for 2% of your max HP per second. This lasts 9 seconds but those nine seconds may well turn the teamfight. This ability accounts for a lot of the item’s power and it means it can shine in a team with good coordinations. Just don’t build this on a split-pusher.

Heartsteel: This one is for the health sponge tanks who want a ton of HP. It comes with a very nice amount on its own, with some extra HP regeneration and cooldown reduction. You get a percent HP and size increase with every completed legendary item. It’s true power, however, is in its unique passive - after three seconds close to an enemy champion you charge up an attack that does bonus physical damage equal to 125 + 6% of your max HP and it gives you 10% of that damage as permanent bonus health. This comes with a decent 30-seconds cooldown - but it is per champion, not universal. This scary max HP pool makes for some great synergy with items that scale with it like Demonic Embrace.

Welcome Back to Old Favorites

Rod of Ages: It’s been a while for one of LoL’s most iconic binned items.Scaling is still the name of the game here, as it comes with decent health, mana and AP, plus the effects of the returned Catalyst of Aeons where you get mana for taking damage and health for spending mana. However, the item adds more health, mana and AP for every minute after it is completed - capping at very decent 100 AP, 500 HP and 600 mana. On max stacks, you instantly get a level (as long as you aren’t already at 18) and your mana and health recovery from the catalyst passive improve by 50%. Its initial price of 3200 gold made it a very big investment on an item you had to get ASAP, but 12.22b reduced that to 2800 and its usual users like Kassadin, Swain or even Anivia are not doubt interested.

Spear of Shojin: Few items shook the meta quite like this one, which quickly turned AD casters like Lucian, Renekton and Riven into powerhouses. It comes with a very hefty price tag of 3400 gold, but in addition to its core stats gives base ability cooldown with bonus AD - 8+8% bonus AD for melee champions and 6+6% bonus AD for ranged ones, halved for immobilizing abilities like stuns or roots. In addition, champions get bonus movement speed that increases as their current health goes down. Renekton, Fiora and Jax mains are no doubt loving this already.

Old Staples Get an Extra Polish

The patch also changed several other items. Perhaps the biggest news is that Sunfire Aegis and Turbo Chemtank are no longer mythic items - while the Frostfire Gauntlet now proudly bears its old name as the Iceborn Gauntlet. All three now only give armor or magic resistance rather than a bit of both, and only the Sunfire Aegis is built off Bami's Cinder. Speaking of armor, Randuin’s Omen now gives less of it on its own but regained the passive where it reduced critical damage and again slows with its active. Those worrying about the enemy team’s AP damage, meanwhile, may love the reworked Abyssal Mask, which is now slightly more expensive but is built with the Catalyst of Aeons and alongside its passive has higher base stats.

It’s not just tanks who have had their toys reworked, however. Ravenous Hydra now has higher splash damage (coming from Tiamat) and gives damage and omnivamp stacks as you kill minions, monsters or champions, capping up at 24 AD and 4% omnivamp. However, you lose half of your stacks on death, so you will have to balance aggression and not dying. Finally, the Navori Quickblades have seen an update to their cooldown reduction, giving less ability haste up front but give percentage base damage scaling with your critical chance and 60% critical hit chance your base attacks reduce non-ultimate ability cooldown. They cannot be built if you already have Infinity Edge or Guinsoo’s Rageblade, but a cast-heavy AD carry might find them a good alternative.

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As with previous preseason patches, we expect that Riot will do a lot of tinkering with those items by the time Season 13 starts. However, we are pretty excited for those changes - it looks like both tanks and AD carries will see some serious changes!