Looking Back and Ahead in League of Legends: End of Season Review Incheon Munhak Stadium during 2018’s biggest League of Legends showdown. Photo: Riot Games

The past year’s meta was one of the most unpredictable we’ve had so far. With unusual picks played all over the map, the League brought some fresh wind into the sails of the game. The World Championship was approaching quickly, so Riot Games decided to get game on its “standard” meta game. After a series of intense group stages in which the quarterfinalists were decided — some of them with tiebreakers — we were one step closer to the biggest event of the year, League of Legends Worlds Finals in Incheon, South Korea.

A Championship Full of Surprises

In an interesting turn of events that surprised everyone, three Western teams made it to the semifinals by defeating tournament favorites like RNG. Before the semifinals kicked off, we already knew that at least one Western team would be playing in the finals — a first after 7 years of Eastern domination. In the first semifinal match, Spanish G2 faced IG from China. The Chinese team wanted to get the final trophy they needed this year, so they swept G2 with a dominating performance in all three games. Next day was time for the most important game for European (EU) and American (NA) fans. NA’s last hope was in C9, who had already exceeded all expectations fans had for them, so they didn’t have as much pressure on them as their European rivals, Fnatic. Fnatic was thus the favorite to take home the trophy, as they already beat IG in the group stage. C9 unfortunately wasn’t able to compete with Fnatic, so a new 3:0 sweep was here.

Everything was set for the biggest League event of the year. Incheon Munhak Stadium was packed with screaming fans, with over 200 million viewers at home or at viewing parties waiting for the finals to begin. The Finale kicked off with a top-notch opening ceremony featuring a special performance debut of a Riot-produced single featuring Madison Beer, Miyeon and Siyeon, and Jaira Burns, thus joining the forces of both American and Korean artists to create a League-inspired №1 hit. Needless to say, it was quite the spectacle.

After the musical performances, it was time for the showdown. The stakes were high, and IG didn’t let Fnatic breathe for a single minute. With a high-pressure game style, the Chinese team had only one goal in mind: the Summoner’s Cup. In what was a surprise for many people, IG swept Fnatic away with a 3:0 win, confirming that China is the number one region in League of Legends this year.

Looking Back and Ahead in League of Legends: End of Season Review 2018 Worlds Champions, Invictus Gaming. Photo: Riot Games

For the first time, Riot also announced the regions where the next three world championships will be held. A yet unannounced city in Europe will host the championship in 2019, then the event will move back east to be hosted in China in 2020, and finally travel west again to take place in North America.

What’s Coming to League?

Like every year, next season will bring some changes to League of Legends. This time around, not many changes are coming to gameplay itself, but the ranked rewards system and season structure will be significantly revamped. Until now, a season lasted 9 months, but starting with 2019, one season will combine 3 splits over the course of the same nine months. Each split will take place over 3 months and will give players a “checkpoint” to see how well they’re doing and of course, earn rewards. Season rewards will stay the same, but playing in each split will bring players better rewards.

So how does the updated split system work? Players will earn split points by playing during each split. Split points may then be used to upgrade ranked armor, which will be visible both in-game and outside of it, for example in players’ profiles. To show your hard-earned rank and rewards, a banner will be displayed with your current rank and last season’s rank on your profile, hovercard, rank dashboard, loading screen, and lobby. Splits will not reset ranks, only the end of the season will.

Challenger recall is also coming, so players ranking Challenger will get a special gold recall. Another change in terms of the rank system is that players will get ranked separately for each position they play, so if you are a Platinum top lane but can’t play ADC, you will be queued with people of the same rank as you on that position. The position with the highest rank will count as your split final rank.

Divisions are getting an update as well. Riot is introducing a new Iron rank, which will be placed below Bronze, and Grandmaster, which will come between Master and Challenger. Divisions are now getting only 4 tiers, which means players will be able to climb the ranks faster and feel they’re improving quicker. Placement games will now show a provisional rank that only the player will be able to see until all 10 placement games are finished.

Looking Back and Ahead in League of Legends: End of Season Review Photo: Riot Games

The only notable change coming to gameplay will be some additions to outer turrets. Outer turrets will now have 5 plates that will add armor and magic resist. When a turret has all 5 plates, 40 armor and magic resist are added, and each destroyed plate increases armor and magic resist of the next plate by 30. Destroying a plate will grant gold to nearby Champions. Plates will fall off the turrets at 14 minutes, restoring the turret’s original stats. With this measure, Riot wants to extend the laning phase and stop early snowballing.

Looking Back and Ahead in League of Legends: End of Season Review Turret plates are coming to outer turrets. Photo: Riot Games

Next up are bounties. Each player’s bounty will be displayed on the scoreboard, with bounties limited to a maximum of 1000 gold. CS will now factor into bounties.

Small changes are also coming to dragons and Baron Nashor. Dragon will now respawn every 5 minutes, which means it will be possible to get 5 drakes instead of 4 in time before the Elder Dragon spawns. The Baron and Elder will now both respawn after 6 minutes.

Baron Buff changes:

  • No longer gives minion protect from turret damage
  • Minions no longer gain bonus stats based on your teams average level vs. the enemy team level.
  • Minions push harder.
  • Champion damage to minions from 75% for melee and 50% for caster are now both set to 65%.

Cannon minions will now spawn every 2 waves at 15 minutes, and every wave at 25 minutes. Max HP has changed to 3200 from 2300 so turrets will need more shots to kill them. Super minions are getting their damage lowered to 225 from 306, but their attack speed is increased and they will no longer give nearby minions 70% more damage.

Those are some of the biggest changes coming into 2019 League of Legends season. Riot has announced a new Champion release for 19 November, while all gameplay changes will be implemented in the preseason patch scheduled for release on 21 November. Ranked changes are due in patch 8.24, which will most likely come out two weeks later. After that, we can expect to get the first patch of the upcoming season, patch 9.1, with stability improvements based on feedback from the previous patch. Season 9 is predicted to kick off on 23 January 2019.

Looking Back and Ahead in League of Legends: End of Season Review #Worlds2019 is coming to the Old World. Photo: Riot Games

What’s Coming To Competitive League?

This year can be noted for the rise of Western teams, which managed to narrow the gap between them and the Eastern teams. Korean teams are coming into next season with big team changes after a disappointing performance this year. We can therefore definitely expect more transfers, team announcements and changes in the upcoming months across the board, so make sure to keep track of them. A new season of explosive and interesting games is waiting for all League fanatics in the coming year, with the World Championship hosted in Europe.