As the first major patch in March, the third patch of Season 5 will prepare us for the launch of Bard in version 5.5. Following our own path, we here at PowerLeveled base our tier list on a four tier, statistically-backed system. These ratings are driven by kill-death, win-loss and pick-ban ratios. During the transition from 5.4 we tested the inclusion of gold-earned statistics into our formula and found that there was virtually no variance in the tier list, so we’re sticking with the tried and true. Enjoy the list just after our full breakdown of the 5.5 patch notes below.
Click here to skip to the Nerf Tier
As of patch 5.5, here are the major changes that we’re looking at:
Through the addition of new items in patch 5.5 [detailed later] some of the weaker champions from previous weeks are going to make a comeback. We haven’t got any exact numbers, but you can expect champions that fell from grace to make a step up this patch while others take a back seat. Before we get into the intricacies of the items, let’s cover champion changes in patch 5.5 and how that’s going to effect the tier list.
Bard will be introduced in patch 5.5, but he will not be released as soon as you patch the client. Look for Bard at a later date, as Riot hot-fixes him into the game after they ensure stability. Azir in patch 5.5 will be modified so that his soldiers will not pierce units as severely, while simultaneously increasing their range. Totaling up to no changes at all for his range, a .25 base attack speed buff is the only true variance in fights outside of point blank range. Don’t expect much more from Azir than in 5.4.
Gangplank’s passive has been repaired to now effect slowed immune targets. Gragas will now enjoy a larger mana pool, improved by 33%. Graggy’s damage cap vs monsters will also improve in 5.5, making him a more proficient jungler. Karma was putting off a bug from her Defiance [E], now repaired from the inspiration buff back to 1/2 of defiance damage. Karthus’ Wall of Pain will now properly apply a slow to enemies who could dash through it. These two bugs shouldn’t impact either champion’s rating much.
As Kassadin was already statistically weak before patch 5.4 and continued in through the patch, Riot realized that they nerfed that which should not have been. Riftwalk will now cooldown on a 6/4/2 second scale per level, improving its range up to 500 and reducing mana costs to 50. Karthus was not super strong before his nerf, so we’ll evaluate his worth in the coming week. Lissandra is getting a drop to her safety net of abilities by nerfing her most defective poke. Ice Shard is getting a base damage drop of 5 damage per level.
Nautilus is feeling some core changes this patch as his Titan’s Wrath will drop in damage but raise in early health. In exchange, Riptide [E] will now have a lower cooldown and cheaper cost but will offer slightly less damage and a lesser slow duration. These changes overall will make Naut more of a utility in a team fight but will lower his single target DPS. This relates directly to worse ganks, but safer ganks early though if the lane is strong, you won’t see a difference. Nidalee had her trap weakened for jungling purposes as it now does not deal percent health damage, but rather flat AP. This will make creep farming harder, but shouldn’t change her lane ganks and team fights.
Rek’Sai gets a minor UI change as we will now know which tunnels get destroyed and how many we can cast before one is destroyed. Shyvanna picked up a 1/4 buff to her bonus damage percentage [up to 2.5%] on Flame Breath. Giving her more damage against marked targets, Shyv could get a tier bump from this, but we’ll reserve our opinions until that idea is supported by stats. Singed will now properly root players in which he flings into his “Mega Adhesive”. Sion will essentially reverse mana costs between his Q and E skills, resulting in slightly less mana cost overall and a damage buff in his Decimating Smash.
Skarner picks up a significant buff in patch 5.5 with a +2 physical damage at every level of his “Q” skill. In Addition, Skarner will add good amounts of damage to his skill shot in 5.5, allowing for a good jungle clear throughout and better in-fight targeting late. Sona’s passive will now no longer be used on blue trinket wards of Kalista’s vision sentinel. Sona will also save mana in reply to his debuff in 5.4 with a flat mana cost to her ultimate at all levels – 100 mana. Soraka has a bugfix in this patch with Starcall’s bonus damage “sweet spot” now properly multiplying bonus damage from Soraka’s AP.
Tristana will now be graced with a cooldown for Rapid Fire on her basic attacks. If the target has an Explosive Charge attached, she’ll gain a 1 second CD for every basic attack she hits that champ with. Hopefully this helps bring Trist somewhere in line with where she used to be, but people are still getting used to her new style in general so we don’t expect any big jumps. Trundle might feel a big jump now, given his significant early game boost. With a 1400 range over 1000 range buff to his passive and a flat 20% healing amplification at all ranks on Frozen Domain, Trundle is getting some end-game quality perks applied to level 1. It’s the patch of the troll, this time.
Did Urgot become viable in 5.5? Not likely, though he may have improved with less base shield on his W and the addition of a mana ratio buff to the skill of 8%. Urgot’s relatively harmless positioning ult will now cooldown to as little as 80 seconds as well, but nothing feels profound enough here to bump him out of the Average tier. While touted as an insignificant change, Varus might be surprisingly buffed by the cooldown change to his Piercing Arrow. Now the arrow will cooldown at the beginning of the charge, rather than at the firing of the arrow. This ultimately means more arrows per second, leading to more harassment at very long range. I expect Riot to reel this one back or nerf the arrow in some other way in just one-two more patches.
Veigar fans will enjoy this patch with a lowering on the delay for event horizon, down 1/4 of a second to just .5 seconds before the wall pops. This means more significant chance of nailing the stuns and less anticipation from Viegar players. Missile speed on Viegar’s Q improved as well, but if anything this just helps secure buffs more than it does help in team fights. Vi catches another nerf this patch as expected. Her Ultimate will now deal less damage at early levels and she takes a minor movement speed nerf as well. Until we see her get put in line with other junglers, she’s going to stay up despite this early game action because her movement speed matters more in her utility than in her legs and her ultimate has always been more impactful at late levels – this didn’t change.
Volibear took on a new addition to his Frenzy, getting a 50% cooldown to the skill if used on a monster. This does NOT say “minions and monsters”, meaning that the skill should only apply the new cooldown when in the jungle. Xin Zhao could come screaming back into the picture with more sustain in the jungle. Base healing is up at early levels and Audacious Charge deals more damage in the late game. This plays right into his kit perfectly and might bring him back to his glory a few seasons ago. We’ll keep an eye out.
Zac has a few utility changes in the works with improved knockback and changes to his W skill. As one of the softest character in the League, Zac needs more than this to get going and he’s never been a particularly strong champion. Zilean will pick up a great cooldown to his Q in the patch following his new rework. As players haven’t reacted well to his new kit, Zilean needed this buff severely, but don’t expect people to acclimate to his new kit any faster as a result – people still don’t know how to play Tristana effectively.
We do not typically discuss items and item changes as a part of the tier list, but Deathfire Grasp has now been replaced, and we’re going to make the easy prediction that a few champs will go right back to the ceiling with these changes.
Luden’s Echo, the new item in 5.5 will add 120 AP to your kit with a 7% movement speed buff and a unique passive.
“Gains charges upon moving or casting. At 100 charges, the next spell hit expends all charges to deal 100 (+0.15 ability power) bonus magic damage to up to 4 targets on hit. Applies spell Effects (e.g., Spell Vamp, Rylai’s, etc).”
I can’t imagine another champion gaining more from this than the already top tier Annie, but anyone with or without decent AOE as a spell caster will love this item, as will those with low cooldowns. This item is the Static Shiv of AP carries, and it’s going to shake things up. Fizz will now be able to Q to a single target and effect an entire team fight BEFORE using his ultimate. Ahri can do the same with a charm. AP carry champions are going to love this item in their kit and will possibly be building this ahead of Rabadon’s Deathcap for a slow mid game. The item falls in line with Riot’s “no nuke” designs while adding significant power to existing kits. Junglers will enjoy the new Bami’s Cinder, but as it may not effect this tier list, we’re not going into too much detail here. Basically, it’s a “baby Sunfire Cape” and you can buy it for less money for an easier jungle.
We will not be rating Bard on the 5.5 tier list due to a lack of statistical support. He’s been played through in the PTE, but we don’t know how he plays in the hands of the average player just yet. This list may be updated if patch 5.6 does not come within two weeks to reflect Bard’s play.
As we get started in March, we’ve covered the details as to the how and why champions in Average Tier through Nerf got where they are in our full anthology of posts. New changes are bolded below.
Down from Effective Tier: Poppy, Pantheon, Lulu (AP)
- Top Lane: Morgana, Zac, Shen, Diana, Azir, Volibear, Gragas, Cassiopeia, Akali, Lulu, Talon, Olaf, Master Yi, Dr. Mundo, Mordekaiser, Shyvana, Kassadin, Quinn, Ryze, Vayne, Rammus, Jax, Alistar, Karma, Yasuo, Leblanc, Jayce, Nunu, Elise, Yorick, Soraka, Urgot, Darius, Trundle
- Jungle: Kha’Zix, Diana, Cho’Gath, Fizz, Olaf, Poppy, Gragas, Malphite, Nocturne, Shyvana, Fiora, Yorick, Master Yi, Dr. Mundo, Rengar, Elise, Zed, Malzahar, Leona, Shen, Darius, Nautilus, Riven, Tryndamere, Jax, Garen, Yasuo, Maokai, Zac
- Mid-Lane: Pantheon, Sejuani, Malphite, Tristana, Azir, Syndra, Orianna, Kassadin, Jarvan IV, Fiora, Yasuo, Sona, Ryze, Ziggs, Kha’Zix, Viktor, Kog’maw, Jayce, Zilean, Master Yi, Zed, Lulu (AP), Gragas, Riven, Fiddlesticks, Elise, Janna, Urgot, Soraka
- AD Carry: Quinn, Twisted Fate, Kennen, Twitch, Urgot, Vayne, Lucian, Tristana
- Support: Gragas, Maokai, Alistar, Nautilus, Lux, Karma, Anivia, Nunu, Volibear, Zilean, Kayle, Teemo, Lee Sin, Syndra, Gangplank, Elise, Orianna, Shen, Poppy, Nidalee, Lissandra, Galio, Lulu, Ashe, Yorick, Leblanc, Annie
Down from Strong Tier: Wukong, Kennen, Swain
Up to the Effective Tier: Xin Zhao, Garen, Fizz, Trundle, Volibear, Rammus, Fizz, Ezreal (AP), Akali
- Top Lane: Warwick, Xin Zhao, Rengar, Renekton, Kennen, Lissandra, Poppy, Gnar, Kayle, Cho’gath, Rumble, Lee Sin, Viktor, Kha’Zix, Swain, Fizz, Maokai, Aatrox, Riven, Garen, Udyr, Singed, Pantheon, Nidalee, Vi, Galio, Gangplank, Tryndamere, Teemo, Fiora, Karthus, Vladimir
- Jungle: Kayle, Warwick, Rek’Sai, Xin Zhao, Hecarim, Wukong, Gangplank, Trundle, Evelynn, Lee Sin, Aatrox, Skarner, Nidalee, Irelia, Volibear, Rammus, Nasus
- Mid-Lane: Cassiopeia, Talon, Fizz, Akali, Ezreal (AP), Lissandra, Leblanc, Galio, Teemo, Diana, Kayle, Vladimir, Nidalee (AP), Swain, Kennen, Twisted Fate, Cho’Gath, Mordekaiser
- AD Carry: Kog’Maw, Caitlyn, Kalista, Corki, Miss Fortune
- Support: Brand, Zyra, Braum, Morgana, Xerath, Karma, Vel’Koz, Veigar, Fiddlesticks, Malphite
Down from Nerf Tier: [None]
Up to the Strong Tier: Nasus, Udyr, Veigar, Zyra, Varus, Sona, Amumu
- Top Lane: Rek’Sai, Wukong, Irelia, Nasus, Heimerdinger, Hecarim
- Jungle: Nunu, Sion, Udyr, Pantheon, Shaco, Sejuani, Amumu
- Mid-Lane: Brand, Veigar, Zyra, Morgana, Malzahar, Vel’Koz, Wukong, Xerath, Karthus, Heimerdinger, Lux
- AD Carry: Ashe, Ezreal, Varus, Graves, Draven
- Support: Thresh, Soraka, Sona, Nami, Taric
Nerf Tier Champions
Up to the Nerf Tier: Ahri
- Top Lane Nerfs Required: Jarvan IV, Malphite, Sion
- Jungle Nerfs Required: Jarvan IV, Fiddlesticks, Vi
- Mid-Lane Nerfs Required: Katarina, Anivia, Annie, Ahri
- AD Carry Nerfs Required: Jinx, Sivir
- Support Nerfs Required: Leona, Janna, Blitzcrank
As with every patch we compare the latest figures against Riots coming direction for League of Legends. In patch 5.5 we see a strong push for mid lane focused champions who can fire out targeted spells, especially those who might not have the best lane clear. In the same light, we’re seeing strong momentum for junglers and top lane champions which may have already relied on or been emphasized by a Sunfire Cape. Unfortunately Riot only retained and possibly made stronger some of the already overpowered champions in League of Legends with this patch, giving Annie a distinctly strong item for her already excellent kit, and building further into a Sion that can dominate [and statistically is dominating] in the top lane. Champions that were put down near the bottom of the ranks in the wake of the Deathfire Grasp may find a revival with the new mid lane item, but until we see it in the numbers we’re not going to be bumping anyone up to the top ranks too quickly – and yes Fizz, that means you.
Look forward to more Nerf Tier with the next League of Legends update exclusively on PowerLeveled – created for those interested in statistically supported and battle tested tier listings.