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League of Legends Patch 6.3: Five things you need to know

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A new item, Dragon changes and nerfs to some popular champions.

This afternoon Riot released patch notes for the soon-to-hit Patch 6.3 for League of Legends. This big patch makes some noteworthy adjustments to League coming on the heels of big preseason changes. There's a new item, plenty of nerfs and buffs to champions and items alike and two new Dragon buffs.

You can read the full notes here, but let's sum up the important stuff:

1. There's a new item for AD assassins

It's called Duskblade of Draktharr, and it seems pretty freaking powerful. AD assassins didn't really have a core item since the Last Whisper changes, so it's a change that makes sense. Let's break this one down:

It's actually pretty comparable in gold to some of the other items currently being built on AD assassins, coming in at the same price as Maw of Malmortius and 50 gold more than Youmuu's Ghostblade. The attack damage given is more than either of those items, on par with Bloodthirster and Death's Dance, both more expensive items.

You also get the movement speed and armor penetration bonuses, which are great for assassins who want to move around the map and get some kills on folks who have armor. This'll include Zed and Talon, and likely some junglers like Graves and Jarvan IV.

The real seller on this is Nightfall, which basically acts as another Zed ultimate — speaking of which, that one had its damage nerfed in this patch so as to keep him from being too strong. But the build path is kind of awkward, requiring two 1100+ gold items. That could be an issue for heroes or players who struggle in the early game.

2. Two of the Dragon buffs have changed

Dragon's in a bit of a weird place right now, as teams have been frequently ignoring the objective in favor of others, especially with shorter game times lessening the chance of getting to the coveted fifth Dragon. Now, there's a little more reason to go for the objective.

Previously, a second Dragon would give your team extra damage against turrets and buildings. Now, it'll burn turrets for damage over two seconds.

The bigger change is on Dragon 4. Previously, you would gain 15% damage to monsters and minions, a pretty useless buff that late in the game. Now, you take 20% less damage from turrets, making late-game tower dives even more viable.

3. Nerfs for Corki, Graves, Ryze and Poppy, buffs for Xin Zhao and Ziggs

Four of the most popular and successful champions since the start of Season 6 got taken down a notch. Corki, Graves and Poppy had the damage on their respective Qs taken down (most notably Graves) while the cooldown for Poppy's E and the recharge time for Corki's ultimate were both increased.

A specific nerf to Graves jungle: his auto attacks no longer stun the scuttle crab. But the addition of Duskblade could keep him in a strong position there. Expect all three champions to remain strong.

Ryze, on the other hand, saw some pretty big changes. His passive is now capped at five spellcasts, which should probably cut down on players' ability to just spam everything in a row. On the positive side, the cooldown on his ultimate has been reduced significantly.

Meanwhile, Xin Zhao has some interesting new interactions on his W which should help him in the early game.

Over in the mid lane, Ziggs had his damage on his ultimate significantly increased, both in terms of flat AP and AP ratio. He's been mostly out of the meta this season, but poke compositions are very much a thing right now with the strength of Nidalee and Corki, so Ziggs could see some more high-level play.

4. Alistar's brutal combo can be executed consistently

A few patches ago, Riot slowed the travel speed on Alistar's Headbutt to try and allow lower skill players a better opportunity at dodging the devastating Headbutt-Pulverize combo. Then, a funny thing happened: Players who had previously been able to pull it off with regularity could no longer do so, even at the pro level. Muscle memory can be tricky.

So now, you can buffer your Pulverize during your Headbutt, without having to worry about the timing. Alistar did get a bit of a nerf, as well: Triumphant Roar's cooldown and mana cost were both increased.

5. The enemy team no longer gets to see your pick intent in champion select

Many of the new features in Dynamic Queue are great, but one of the best is the ability to coordinate a team composition before the pick and ban phase by selecting which champion you intend to play. One problem: when it came time to actually select your champ, the one you had selected was visible to the other team, too.

This may seem like a minor issue, because you're going to pick that champ anyway, right? But if you instead pick a champion for a teammate with the intent to trade later, now the other team knows which champion you had planned to play, and can either counter pick or take that away from you accordingly.

League of Legends patch 6.3 should be live either later today or later this week.