What Will the Top Lane Look Like After Patch 12.03? | RiftFeed
Top lane is in for some big changes this patch, let's check them out!

What Will the Top Lane Look Like After Patch 12.03?

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Lunar Beast Fiora Prestige Edition
Big changes coming to toplane. | © Riot Games

Ever since the Mythic Item Overhaul, fighter/bruiser itemization has been incredibly problematic and unhealthy for the game. Leading to several patches of successive nerfs to items like Divine Sunderer and Goredrinker. It got so bad that champions like Talon, Qiyana, or Katarina were buying these items instead of assassin items, because they were so much stronger.

After quite a few attempts at fixing this issue; Riot is deciding to take a more assertive approach by changing almost every single fighter item in the game. This will no doubt shake up the meta in a big way, and we're here to try and figure out how.

Fighter item changes
Deaths dance meta again? | © Riot Games

What is Changing?

Riot identified that a big problem in the bruiser items, is that they were giving too much health to a class that was supposed to be a lot squishier. Enabling fighters with high mobility and a lot of tools to weave in and out of fights to play as if they were a tank, made the game really unfun to play.

So to combat this, Riot is taking out a lot of the health in these items, and giving them AD instead. This change is to hopefully keep these champions strong in the sense that they do more damage, but to keep them balanced by making them a lot easier to kill.

A few items like Sterak's Gage and Death's Dance are receiving some big changes. Steraks is having it's shield scaling changed to bonus health so that champions who don't build health items will not be able to use it. Death's Dance on the other hand is having it's damage delay changed to all types of damage, making it a viable option in many more games.

Which Champions Will Be Impacted the Most?

It's hard to tell exactly how these changes will affect the meta, but it's pretty safe to say that champions that built Goredrinker and Sterak's every game like Sett or Darius or Aatrox will see a shift in playstyle. Probably a much more aggressive, coinflip style of gameplay.

It's also worth noting that Jungle will also heavily be impacted because some of the strongest jungler's right now such as Jarvan IV, Xin Zhao and Lee Sin will likely see a big change in their itemization after LoL Patch 12.03

Renata Glasc
Beauty is pain. | © Riot Games

Light Fighters Impacted

Riot emphasized in their Quick Gameplay Thoughts they wanted the 'Light Fighters' to be a lot more about "fighting with finesse". Essentially they want this class of champions to be much more high risk reward. They want them to be able to pull off these cool and flashy plays, but to be able to be punished for them just as hard.

Hopefully after these changes, champions like Fiora and Xin Zhao feel a lot better to play against, since they won't be having over 3K HP by the end of the game.

Juggernauts Impacted

While Riot is completely overhauling items that the light fighters have been using, in the process they are also making big changes to the juggernauts items. One of the reasons it has been so hard for Riot to find a solution to the homogenization of these items is because of how many champions are affected by them. It's definitely worth noting that Juggernauts are going to be impacted by these changes as well, and might be in need of some compensation buffs/nerfs depending on how strong they are.

Why did Riot Implement These Changes?

It's no secret that the meta has been in a pretty unstable and unhealthy spot ever since Season 11. We've covered a few reasons why it's been so hard for Riot to fix this, which is why they can justify a set of changes this big.

Don't expect this to be the end of the changes either though, it is very likely there will be follow up changes over the next few patches to help fix any champions that are too strong or weak as a result.

Ideally when Riot finally rests the Nerf Hammer, League will be in a much more balanced and enjoyable state. For now, we just have to be patient and wait until then.