How to Prepare for League of Legends Season 9

How to Prepare for League of Legends Season 9

Everything You Need to Succeed in LoL Season 9

With Season 9’s start date officially launching on January 23rd,  it’s time to start getting rid of the rust and getting back into ranked climbing shape! Whether you’re a player who’s coming back from the Preaseason or you missed out on Season 8 (or more!) we’ll bring you up to speed.

In this article, we’ll give you everything you need to start your season off right (although it will still be useful if you’re reading this in the future with Season 9 already underway or even finished).

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1. Learn the new champs and reworks

League of Legends is like a fighting game in that understanding matchups is crucial to being able to play to the best of your ability. Not fully understanding what a champion does or wants to do can lead you to unfavorable trades or death.

In recent times, Riot has shifted towards slowing down on releasing new champions and instead, have focused on increasing the number of reworks toward their older champions. In this section, we’ll cover all the reworked and new champs that were released through all of 2018.

Reworked champions

Swain (8.3)

  • Swain’s look and feel were altered so that he’s less of an old man with a cane and pet raven, and more of a badass battlemage who wields a flock of demonic birds.
  • Kit-wise, he’s much different than his previous form so if you’re used to that version you’ll need to spend some time practicing his new abilities.
  • He was incredibly strong throughout Season 8 until he was nerfed, and helped lead the way for mages coming to the bot lane (more on that later).

Irelia (8.7)

  • The new Irelia still maintains a lot of her old kit identity (like dashing quickly by executing minions with her Q) but a lot has changed.
  • She’s overall more flashy in both play and presentation, and her abilities have given her a higher skill ceiling.
  • For example, her E, that was originally a point-and-click stun, has been changed to a skillshot that can stun multiple targets.

Aatrox (8.13)

  • Aatrox was one of those champions that Riot always had a tough time balancing – the goal of the rework was to make him more manageable from a balancing standpoint as well as help him be more viable in both pro-play and ladder.
  • He maintains a good amount of identity as a bruiser with a resurrection mechanic but he’s got some new tricks in terms of CC and mobility.
  • His kit rewards precision and decisiveness. It may take some time to get used to spacing and moving consistently to get the most out of his abilities.

Akali (8.15)

  • Think you hated Akali before? Her new version is even more dreaded (her new shroud allows her to avoid turret shots).
  • Her ultimate is no longer a point-and-click ability and instead, works like a skillshot dash through enemies.
  • To dive straight onto an opponent, she now has to land a ranged skillshot with her E and reactivate to get into assassination range.

Nunu & Willump (8.17)

  • Did you know that “Nunu” was actually the little boy on top of the Yeti? Now it’s more clear now as they’ve turned Nunu to be represented as two characters in one!
  • Gameplay-wise, the champion has a lot of the same bells and whistles, (Q and R) are basically the same. However, Blood Boil (formerly the W) has been replaced by one of the most fun abilities in the game (see the above video).
  • In combination with his new E, which requires you to aim his Snowball Barrage, Nunu and Willump are a bit harder to play than before but are overall, more fun and have higher impact potential.

New champions

Kai’Sa (8.5)

  • If you’re a returning player you may remember that Kassadin had a daughter. Well…she’s a champ now!
  • She’s an ADC but she’s inherited some assassin-like aspects from her father. She has incredible mobility and burst potential.
  • As the game goes on, she’s able to upgrade her abilities, sort of like Kha’zix..must be a void thing.

Pyke (8.11)

  • This champion was designed to be the first stealthy assassin for Support players since kills landed with his ultimate grant kill gold to an ally.
  • While its true that he fulfills this for Supports, players soon found out that he’s adept at other roles such as Top and Mid.
  • Riot is still figuring out how to balance Pyke so keep an eye on him patch to patch if you decide to pick him up.

Neeko (8.24)

  • Tricky champions like Shaco and LeBlanc have cause havoc in League, but Neeko takes the cake as the biggest trickers on Summoner’s Rift.
  • Her unique passive allows her to take the form of any of her allies at any time, split into multiple forms, and she has a bit of stealth to boot.
  • Beyond that, she has a good amount of utility in her crowd control and engage options as well as formidable poke potential.
  • If you’re interested in learning how to play Neeko, check out our recent guide!

2. Understand the tower changes and bounty system

Underneath all the fighting, League of Legends heavily involves understanding gold income and its relation to risk and reward. Towards the end of Season 8, this aspect of the game changed quite a bit in an attempt to improve the climate of the game. At the time, matches were snowballing consistently and resulted in matches ending under 20-25 minutes. Bot lane ending up seeing constant 4v2 dives to try to snowball early and the fast game pace denied many champions the late game scaling they needed in order to succeed, thus limiting the viable roster.

To address these problems, Riot changed turrets by giving them a new layer of plating. The plating gives turrets an additional level of survivability while still rewarding players who are able to dominate lane. It accomplishes this by granting bonus gold for removing segments of the plating but increases in tankiness for every champion hitting it. Plating lasts until the 14 minute mark before disappearing.Turret Plating Overall, Riot is trying to encourage a more predictable structure of laning phase lasting around 14-15 minutes before opening up the match toward a likely mid game. Although the meta is still leaning towards faster games (as of 9.1), tanks and slower-scaling champions have slowly begun to make their return.

Bounty System

The other major change related to game flow and gold income is the bounty system. We aren’t going to go too in-depth with the numbers (because we might lose some of you along the way), but the TL;DR is that you’ll get more gold for taking down an opponent who is doing very well, whether it’s someone who has 4+ kills or someone who has 250+ more gold from minions and monsters than the rest of their team. Here’s a quote from Riot regarding their philosophy regarding the changes:

“The goal of our bounty changes is to help teams bounce back from slight to moderate deficits via higher rewards for successful comeback plays and lower payouts for dying when you’re the one keeping your team in the game. “Bounty imageThe coolest part of these changes is that bounties (above 150g) are now displayed when you look at the scoreboard. This adds an extra dynamic of tension in both ladder and pro-play since high-value targets will have to balance between exerting their advantage as much as they can while still staying relatively safe while their opposing team attempts to hunt them down. The bounty values are also ping-able so you can stay on the same page with your allies regarding either protecting someone on your team who’s doing well or coordinating to shut down a strong enemy.

3. Adjust to less vision control

As we mentioned in the previous tip, League became more bloody and snowball-heavy in Season 8 – this was partly due to Riot gradually reducing the amount of vision control in the overall game. This trend began in Patch 8.2 as Sightstone was removed as a standalone item and repurposed so the ward generating aspect could only be built from the Support starter items (Ancient Coin, Spellthief’s Edge, and Relic Shield).

At this point in time, the bulk of vision control was expected to be managed by Support’s but it was Riot’s first time making it nearly impossible for other roles to do so (sometimes you’d occasionally see Junglers take Sightstone in League’s history). Removing Sightstone didn’t have too much of an impact on the overall game, there really wasn’t a big shift until Tracker’s Knife was removed in Patch 8.4.Tracker's Knife removed Tracker’s Knife was an item that allowed Junglers to place wards, it’s removal meant that more ganks, roams, and picks could be made as areas that usually had vision would suddenly be warded much less. This change was so impactful that it changed the game at the World Championship level as Korea, the long-time reigning region, faced disappointing results because their traditional-style of play favored controlled macro-level decisions influenced by strong vision control.

Regions that were traditionally more aggressive and more comfortable with fighting often surged as a result and we saw a Chinese team versus a European team in the finals for the first time in League’s nearly decade-long history. The trend of decreasing the amount of vision in the game continued even after Worlds 2018 as the number of max Control Wards a player could carry was decreased from 3 to 2. Control Wards 3 to 2Time will tell if Riot is currently satisfied with vision or will continue to decrease the amount of vision in the game in Season 9. As players, we can adjust by being more opportunistic and looking to make action happen since we know that our opponents may be less likely to have roam and gank paths adequately warded. Luckily we’ve got you covered in our incredibly comprehensive warding guide which has warding maps and explanations for almost every situation in League to make sure every single one of your wards counts.

4. Get used to mages and melees in the bot lane

In regards to champions and the roles they’re played in, Season 8 was one of the most experimental since League’s very early days. At one point, we saw Supports likes Braum and Taric in the Jungle with Mid laners taking Smite with funnel comps but this was eventually discouraged through nerfs. If you’re returning after having skipped the entire year or more, you’ll likely see the biggest and most lasting changes in relation to bot lane.

The catalyst for these changes occurred in Patch 8.11, when a great amount of ADC Marksmen became much less viable. In a nutshell, the Marksman archetype saw nerfs to their base damage across the board and cpre Critical Strike items became much more expensive. The result was well…let’s take a look back at our tier list for 8.14.Mages bot lane Traditional carry ADCs like Caitlyn were abandoned in favor of dominant lane bullies like Draven and Lucian, mages like Heimerdinger and Swain, as well as melees like Yasuo and Mordekaiser. The reason for the rise of these champions was that they power spiked much earlier than their slower-scaling Marksman counterparts.

It seems almost unbelievable at first until you realize the impact Heimerdinger made at Worlds 2018 – nowadays, don’t be surprised if you see even the likes of Karthus and Vel’koz as the “AP Bot Carry”.  As a laner coming back to bot for Season 9, keep a close eye during the Champ Select screen for your potential matchup. If you’re going against a double mage bot lane (which combines an AP carry with a poke Support like Zyra or Brand), it’s probably in your best interest to take some magic resist in your rune choices. Likewise, don’t be discouraged from picking up a mage for your champion pool if you traditionally played Marksman as an ADC main.

5. Learn how to track your daily activity and stats each patch

Whether you have a specific rank as your Season’s end goal, or you just want to improve over time as a player and see where you end up, it’s incredibly helpful to track yourself regarding your activity and stats. It seems obvious but you’d be surprised at how many players don’t do this – if you’re reading this and realizing “Oops, that’s me”, that’s okay, we’ll teach you how to do it in this section!

So why should you track? Tracking is all about giving yourself feedback and seeing the bigger picture. You may perceive things in game one way but when you look at the numbers, you may realize that your viewpoint was biased or skewed at the time. For example, if you go on a diet but don’t really track your calories or weight changes, it’s hard to understand its effectiveness outside of looking in the mirror or what people tell you.

Understand your day-by-day performance

Our free Summoner Profile feature gives League players like you, everything you could ever want and more in regards to tracking your games throughout the entire Season 8. Just take a look at the Daily Activity Calendar below:Poder Daily Activity It may seem like quite a lot at first but you’ll find that it’s pretty easy to use. From this information, you can tell which days you tend to play well and which you tend to go on losing streaks. Now, we can’t really tell from our end what’s happening on those days, but you can usually understand from your daily life what’s going on. For instance, if you find that you tend to play poorly on Fridays, it may be that you’re tired from the week’s worth of work or school. The player above seems to play their worst on Wednesdays but tends to do well on Mondays and Fridays.

At the end of the day (no pun intended), it’s all about taking into account as many factors as you can and trying to find the most optimal time to play and climb for yourself. By the way, if you highlight a day, you’ll even be able to see the amount of time you played (in hours/minutes), your win rate, and the number of games you played – try it yourself to see!

Track your match history stats by champion and patch

As you probably already know, League changes often since patches are released every two to three weeks. That means that the meta shifts, champions can rise and fall, and certain playstyles can become more favorable. This is why it’s also important to be able to understand your performance with different champions and in regards to your match history for individual patches.Patch Filter Within your Summoner Profile, you can track all these things and much more. Let’s say that it’s Patch 9.5 – want to look back at how you did with your off-role Top Ornn back in Patch 9.1? You’d be able to see all your previous games in 9.1, access any of your Match Details or Pre Game analyses.

This is incredibly powerful because you can adapt faster than other players when the meta transformed. Is the meta going back to long grindy battles since tanks are powerful again? Now you can go back and see which champions you performed well with during a previous tanky patch.

The limits of what you can do are nearly endless and no other platform provides as much detailed information regarding your current and past play. If you want to learn more, check out our guide on How to Use the Mobalytics Summoner Profile Feature.

6. Understand the new ranked system for LoL

Finally, the last way to prepare for Season 9 is to bring yourself up to speed regarding the new ranked system. Times are changing as now there are only four divisions per tier (as opposed to climbing from V to I), and two new tiers (Iron below Bronze and Grandmaster below Challenger) have been added!

Season 9 Placement Matches

Placement matches will be handled differently as you will receive a “provisional rank” after your first placement match that only you will know about. Your LP rise and fall between your matches based on your performance and once you’ve completed your placements, you’ll receive your official (and public) starting rank.

Season 9 Splits and Rewards

Other significant changes related to ranked in Season 9 regard its reward system. In the past, a Season’s reward was solely determined by a player’s ranking at the end of the year. Now, the Season will be divided into three splits which will each provide its own set of aesthetic rewards.

This is a good way of keeping a mental check to pace yourself instead of trying to cram matches at the end of the season to achieve your goal. Now you can create more realistic and achievable milestones. For example, if you’re looking to go from Gold to Plat, you can look to get to Gold II in the first split, Gold I in the 2nd split, and then push for Platinum IV in the third split.

Final thoughts

When it comes to playing ranked and climbing, remember that although it’s important to set goals, it’s more about the journey than the result. Don’t tunnel too vision on the status of a rank and focus more on improving with each game and each day. As long as you’re consistently getting better, you’ll rank up as a byproduct. Best of luck summoners!

Thanks for reading! Let us know how you’re preparing for Season 9 in the comments below. As always you can find us in our Discord if you have any questions or feedback.