Road to Pre-Season: Mastery Updates

By RiotAether

When we launched the 2017 Season Update site, we previewed just one Mastery change: swapping out Strength of the Ages for Courage of the Colossus, a new keystone mastery in the Resolve tree. This came down to having a billion things to talk about—between Assassins, Replays, and everything else, lower mastery tier changes had a hard time competing for space. So today we’ll be giving masteries their very own article, giving you an idea of what to expect in pre-season.

The 2017 mastery trees (icons in progress)

Before we begin, it’s worth mentioning that mastery trees share a general framework. As you progress down a tree, masteries become more targeted toward individual playstyles, both in terms of the benefits they grant and the requirements to access those benefits. Earlier masteries are often also geared toward laning phase or jungle clearing, whereas later masteries scale better with game time.

These ideas in mind, let’s jump into the changes!


Ferocity

The Ferocity tree caters to champions who prefer lengthier fights to quickly bursting opponents down. We’re adding a few new ways for them to customize how their fights play out.


Tier 2

Double-Edged Sword

Per the framework we just talked about, Double-Edged Sword’s nature as a scaling mastery makes it a bad fit for Tier 2’s early-game focus when compared to Feast. We’re moving it to Tier 4.

  • Moved to Tier 4

new Fresh Blood

For those who aren’t content to sit back and farm in lane.

  • Your first basic attack against a champion deals an additional 10 (+1 per level) damage (9 second cooldown)


Tier 4

Double-Edged Sword

Tier 4’s a better fit for Double-Edged Sword, making it the risk-reward option among three different forms of damage scaling. We’re amping the numbers up to give it appropriate impact for its new position in the tree.

  • Deal 5% additional damage and take 2.5% additional damage

removedOppressor

Champions either have crowd control abilities or they don’t, making Oppressor a pretty ‘yes or no’ mastery. How you play your champion makes little difference when the only question is whether you can do something or not, so we’re removing Oppressor in favor of something more flexible.

  • Removed

newBattle Trance

Safer than Double-Edged Sword, but takes time to ramp up.

  • Gain up to 5% increased damage over 5 seconds when in combat with enemy champions

Bounty Hunter

This is a straight-up buff!

  • Deal 1.5% increased damage for each unique enemy champion you have killed


Keystone

updatedFervor of Battle

Fervor of Battle has been an on-again, off-again balance challenge for us throughout 2016, mostly due to on-hit effects only working when attack speed and basic attacking are prioritized above all else. Many Fervor users might prefer to focus on crit chance for harder-hitting attacks or cooldown reduction for more spellcasting, but they can’t because neither approach optimizes on-hit damage. In other words, Fervor doesn’t just support the attack speed playstyle, it suppresses everything else in the ‘sustained physical damage’ space.

We’re switching Fervor’s bonus to raw attack damage, a stat that fits in multiple approaches toward extended fighting. If we’re being direct, this is a power-down for on-hit builds, but overall, that puts all flavors of Fervor users back on an even playing field.

  • Hitting champions with basic attacks and abilities generates a Fervor stack (2 for melee attacks, 2 second cooldown for abilities). Stacks of Fervor last 4 seconds (max 10 stacks) and increase your attack damage by 1-6 for each stack.


Cunning

Cunning’s in a reasonably stable place, offering choices for champs who favor burst or utility—in some cases both, such as Stormraider’s Surge. We’re filling the last gap in the tree.


Tier 4

newGreenfather's Gift

Extra oomph for champions who duck in and out of brush between combat.

  • Stepping into brush causes your next damaging attack or ability to deal 3% of your target's current health as bonus magic damage (9 second cooldown)


Tier 5

Precision

Just keeping this mastery consistent with the removal of flat armor penetration.

  • Gain 1.7 lethality and 0.6 (+0.06 per level) magic penetration per point. (At 5 points, gain 8.5 lethality and 3 (+0.3 per level) magic penetration.)


Resolve

The Resolve tree provides some solid options to make champions tankier, but ironically falls a bit flat in supporting the tank playstyle. We’re adding choices that reward tanks for actively doing their job rather than continuing to make them passively stronger.


Tier 2

newSiegemaster

If you spend the early game sitting under tower, Siegemaster helps you survive poke and live through dive attempts.

  • Gain 8 armor and magic resist when near an allied turret


Tier 4

newFearless

Extra mitigation at the start of a fight.

  • Gain 10% bonus armor and magic resist (+2 flat armor and magic resist per level) when damaged by an enemy champion for 2 seconds (9 second cooldown)


Keystone

removedStrength of the Ages

Strength of the Ages is the only keystone that’s become almost mandatory for an entire position, regardless of playstyle: the jungle. Health is useful for every class, so it stands to reason that champions who wouldn’t otherwise take Strength would still pick it in the jungle, where it can be stacked faster than any other position. The problem: most junglers now end up with 300 extra health, plus other survivability bonuses from the Resolve tree. This works for tanks, but when damage threats find success with defensive setups, opponents aren’t left with ways to fight back. We’re retiring Strength of the Ages so junglers gravitate toward keystones that enhance their playstyle, not their position—ensuring that damage dealers play like damage dealers, and tanks play like tanks.

Note: We know that Strength of the Ages was genuinely a good fit for some junglers. Removing it will be a hit to these core users, but with other pre-season changes taken into consideration, we don’t think anyone will be left without a keystone that fits their playstyle. Once the dust has settled, we’ll take a look and see if there are champs who’ve fallen far enough to warrant follow-up work.

newCourage of the Colossus

Giving initiators a survivability tool in the moment they need it most: diving into the enemy team.

  • Gain a shield for 7% (+7% for each nearby enemy champion) of your maximum health for 4 seconds after hitting an enemy champion with hard crowd control (30 second cooldown)

As with all our pre-season changes, masteries are subject to change while we continue testing on the PBE. Let us know what you think!


9 months ago