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Understanding the Preseason Mana Regen Changes


Regen Splash

Patch 4.20 brought with it a number of new changes to League of Legends entering the 2015 pre-season. Many of the changes were hotly discussed and analyzed, particularly in the jungle. You should start buff camp! You should start small camp! Is that a crab? Who cares, pick Warwick, and so on. Amidst all of the discussion of towers and jungles and new items, Riot slid in a subtle but important change to mana regeneration items, as well as to over 40 champions. I’m Eph289 and I’ve written this piece to provide an in-depth breakdown of what 4.20 (and subsequently 4.21) did to mana regen.

The changes

Taken straight from the patch notes:

The following champions had their base mana regen adjusted to 6 and mana growth per level changed to 0.8: Ahri, Alistar, Anivia, Annie, Azir, Blitzcrank, Braum, Cassiopeia, Diana, Elise, Fiddlesticks, Fizz, Galio, Gragas, Heimerdinger, Jayce, Karma, Karthus, Kassadin, Kayle, LeBlanc, Leona, Lulu, Lux, Malzahar, Morgana, Nidalee, Orianna, Ryze, Swain, Syndra, Taric, Thresh, Twisted Fate, Veigar, Vel’koz, Viktor, Xerath, Ziggs, Zilean, Zyra

The following champions had their base mana regen adjusted to 9 and mana growth per level changed to 0.4: Janna, Nami, Sona, and Soraka

Mana regen items were also changed significantly, except for Doran’s Ring, which still gives 3 flat mana regeneration per 5 seconds. The Meditation mastery in the utility tree also went unchanged, giving 1/2/3 mp5. Instead of giving flat mana regen per 5 seconds (mp5), most items now multiply your base mana regen by a %, stacking additively.

Items Old Mp5 New Mp5
Faerie Charm 3 25%
Ancient Coin 3 25%
Nomad’s Medallion 3 25%
Talisman of Ascension 15 100%
Chalice 7 50%
Athene’s 10 50%
Mikael’s 20 100%
Forbidden Idol 8 50%
Ardent Censer 10 100%
Morellonomicon 10 100%
Spellthief’s 2 25%
Frost Fang 5 50%
Frost Queen’s Claim 10 50%
Tear of the Goddess 6 25%
Seraph/Archangel 10 50%
Manamune 7 25%

Another note to consider, champions’ base stats now index starting at 1, rather than 0. This means that if a champion’s base mp5 and mp5/level went unchanged in 4.20, they still were slightly nerfed by losing out on one “level up” worth of mp5. This happened in a couple of cases, which I’ll discuss below.

Lastly, the Mana Font passive on Chalice, Athene’s Unholy Grail, and Mikael’s Crucible was changed from increasing your mana regen by 1% of every missing mana to restoring 1.5% of your missing mana every 5 seconds. This was later changed to restoring 2% of missing mana every 5 seconds in 4.21.

Now, if you’re like me when you first read those patch notes, you’re probably thinking what does all that actually mean?

That’s what I’m going to break down.

Champion Base Stats change

In this section, I’m going to talk about what changed in terms of base stats. Prior to the patch, champions had widely-varying mp5 and mp5/level stats. 4.20 standardized pretty much all of them if you’re a conventional backline support, a mana-using mid, an AP-using jungler, or a tanky support. Mana-using bruisers and fighters (e.g. Jarvan IV, Darius, Nocturne, Vi, Wukong, Pantheon, etc.) were unchanged, as were AD carries.

I’ve graphed the old and new mp5 base stats scaling for each champion. The blue lines show what the champion’s mp5 stat looked like at each level before patch 4.20 and the red lines show the post 4.20 values. The changes were not an across-the-board nerf. Some champions were nerfed early and buffed late. Some champions were just nerfed. And some champions were inexplicably buffed across the board.

There’s a graph for each champion that was changed, but I put a summary at the bottom of the graphs if you’d rather just scroll through it.

Ahri

AlistarAniviaAnnieAzirBlitzcrank

BraumCassiopeiaDianaElise

FiddlesticksFizzGalioGragasHeimerdinger

JannaJayceKarmaKarthus

KassadinKayleLeBlancLeonaLuluLux

MalzaharMorgana

Nami

NidaleeOriannaRyzeSonaSorakaSwainSyndraTaricThreshTwisted FateVeigarVel'KozViktorXerathZiggs

ZileanZyra

Overall, here’s a shorter breakdown of how champions fared:

Only nerfed: Braum, Cassiopeia, Galio, Heimerdinger, Janna, Jayce, Karthus, Leona, Swain, Zyra

Nerfed before 10-13: Elise, Fiddlesticks, Karma, Morgana, Zilean

Nerfed before 7-9, buffed after: Ahri, Anivia, Annie, Azir, Diana, Kassadin, LeBlanc, Malzahar, Ryze,   Syndra, Veigar, Vel’Koz, Ziggs,

Nerfed before 5-6, buffed after: Kayle, Nidalee, Orianna, Xerath

Nerfed before 4, buffed after: Alistar, Blitzcrank, Fizz, Gragas, Lux, Twisted Fate, Viktor

Nerfed LATEGAME: Nami (level 9), Sona (level 7), Soraka (level 3)

Only buffed: Lulu, Taric, Thresh

Two other champions worth noting. Talon and Lissandra both fall into the category of mana-using mids, but they weren’t changed. I’m not sure exactly why on either of them, but both of them have less than the new baseline mana regen. Lissandra has 5.67 mp5 and 0.4 per level, and Talon has 7.59 base mp5 and 0.5 mp per level. Lissandra should fare decently, though, because of her passive, and because she was unchanged while a lot of her counters (longer-ranged utility/poke mages) end up weaker after 4.20.

Basically, if you got buffed before or around level 6, your champion got significantly stronger. I’m not sure why Riot made some of these changes, but if you’re wondering why Fizz is now banworthy despite not having any specific changes, he ends up with nearly 40% more mp5 at level 18, and since Fizz doesn’t itemize mp5 beyond Doran’s Rings, the item changes don’t affect him. Speaking of the item changes, let’s talk about those.

Items Change

Mana regeneration items saw a big change as well that ties into the champion base stats change. Instead of giving flat mp5, which is admittedly a pretty worthless stat lategame, they multiply a percentage of your base stats. Note that mana regeneration items do not multiply bonus flat mp5 from runes, items, or masteries.

Since there’s so many possible item builds across a number of champions, it’s not particularly helpful to graph all builds for all champions. There’s too much variation and you end up with too much noise. Instead, I’m going to construct informative representative cases from popular champions of each type to determine overall trends.

Let’s look at a tanky support (Thresh), a ranged support (Nami), a utility mage (Orianna), an assassin (Fizz), and a couple of Tear of the Goddess stackers (Jayce and Ryze). Note that for this section, I’m not going to talk about the Mana Font passive on Chalice and its upgrades. That deserves its own section.

Thresh

Thresh, like most other tanky supports like Braum, Leona, or Alistar, doesn’t itemize mp5. His only mp5 item would be a Mikael’s Crucible lategame. Let’s say that Thresh picks up Forbidden Idol at level 13 and then completes Crucible by level 15. I’m not saying this is always going to happen, but it’s a reasonable representative case. Recall that Thresh was buffed (slightly) in terms of base mp5.

ThreshItems

As you can see, there was very little change in Thresh’s mp5 curve between the two. This would also be true for Braum and Leona. Alistar, Blitzcrank, and especially Taric received considerable buffs to their mp5, so they would be overall buffed by the new patch. Tanky supports will be as good or better than they were prior to the 4.20 patch.

Nami

Nami starts with a Spellthief’s Edge and takes the Meditation mastery. She’ll build up to a Frostfang by level 8 and a Frost Queen’s Claim by level 12, since she’s probably prioritizing Sightstone and maybe components of an Aegis. She’ll finish her build with a Crucible by level 15 (in terms of mp5).

NamiItems

Nami’s mp5 curve ends up being fairly similar to her old one, with small nerfs lategame. She loses out on the mp5 spike when she completes Frost Queen’s Claim, and her pre-6 mp5 is slightly better, while her lategame isn’t quite as good. Nami and Janna, who had the least changes to their base stats, ended up about as good as they were before, or a little better prior to buying Chalice. Soraka and Sona, who were largely nerfed in their base stats, don’t recover mana as quickly in the lategame, especially with (spoiler alert) the Chalice nerfs.

Orianna

For our scenario, Orianna will start with a Doran’s Ring and the Meditation mastery. She will pick up a Chalice by level 6. She’ll complete Athene’s by level 10 and then not really itemize mana otherwise.

OriannaItems

Orianna’s mana regeneration, excluding the effects of Chalice, is slightly weaker until she reaches lategame. The end result is that Orianna ends up being nerfed until lategame, particularly in the midgame. We can surmise from looking at the base stats graphs that most other Chalice users were also nerfed slightly, so poke and utility mages are more blue-buff dependent and less able to spam. This is likely tied to Riot’s desire to reduce free wave clearing power. Note that Twisted Fate and Xerath, who aren’t necessarily tied to Chalice, will feel stronger since their midgame stats were buffed and they have a separate mana recovery mechanic.

Fizz

Fizz is not taking Meditation or itemizing mana beyond two Doran’s Rings, with the second purchased at level 5. His mp5 looks almost exactly the same until level 6, where he gets increasingly buffed thanks to his base stats change. Running OOM on Fizz should be quite a bit harder, and it makes him less blue buff dependent for mana. He still benefits greatly from blue buff’s CDR. Fizz and probably Akali, Zed, and Katarina (who were completely unaffected by these changes) stand to gain the most out of the assassins. Ahri, LeBlanc, and Diana have slight early-game nerfs to their mp5, but recover and are even buffed by midgame. It’s a good time to be an assassin (although Talon’s mp5 is still pretty horrid).

FizzItems

Jayce

Jayce will take Meditation and build Tear of the Goddess by level 5. He’ll complete Muramana by level 10 and otherwise not itemize mana regen.

JayceItems

As the graph shows, Jayce (and probably most other Manamune champs) was appreciably nerfed since his base mp5 was also nerfed. Other Manamune users like Ezreal have even similar or less mp5 than Jayce.

Ryze

On the AP-side of the Tear of the Goddess builds, Ryze builds Tear of the Goddess by level 5 and finishes an Archangel’s Staff by level 13 since he’s building Rod of Ages also. As you can see, Ryze loses out considerably, and is heavily nerfed in terms of his ability to recover mana. Ryze’s base stats curve is pretty similar to how other tear-stackers like Karthus, Kassadin, Nidalee, and Anivia were changed, so if you’re building Tear of the Goddess on an AP caster, expect to recover less mana from it.

RyzeItems

Chalice

Let’s talk about Chalice, because it was nerfed, and hard in 4.20, only to regain most of its strength in 4.21. I’m going to use Orianna again, looking at her stats at levels 6, 9, 13, and 18. The old Chalice used to increase your mana regeneration by 1% for every 1% of missing mana. The new Chalice grants you 2% of your missing mana every 5 seconds, which is pretty different. Here’s how the graphs shake out:

OriannaL6ChaliceOriannaL9ChaliceOriannaL13ChaliceOriannaL16Chalice

OriannaL18Chalice

You’re seeing the results of an intentional nerf at Chalice users. When you’re missing more than 10% mana, Chalice is less effective at restoring mana in the early game. In the midgame, Chalice ends up being slightly stronger when you’re missing less than 20-25% mana (for all the good that does), but still remains being nerfed fairly significantly at lower mana levels.

Orianna was fairly lucky in terms of her mp5 base stats change and didn’t take too much of a hit, so she just experiences the Chalice changes, which after 4.21 aren’t too severe. Some other champions like Zyra or Galio who really like Chalice were nerfed in base stats for the entire game and had their Chalice build significantly weakened, so they didn’t fare as well.

Blue buff

Blue buff’s effect wasn’t changed. It still gives 25 flat mp5 and restores 0.5% of your missing mana per 5 seconds. Its duration was reduced by 30 seconds. Now, here’s the bad news. Because of the Chalice and Tear of the Goddess nerfs, if you wanted blue buff before, you really want it now. Defending and controlling blue buff is more important than ever for blue-buff dependent champions

Competitive Forecast

In competitive play, I suspect we’ll see considerably less Chalice-dependent champions, and less Tear of the Goddess play as well. Supports weren’t nerfed too much (and in the case of Blitzcrank, Alistar, Taric, and Lulu buffed), but the mana regen changes will definitely impact midlane.

Expect to see a lot more assassins, particularly of the manaless variety (i.e. Zed if somehow he’s not banned), in mid, along with Xerath and Twisted Fate. We’re already seeing some of this in the OGN Champions Preseason 2015 picks, with Ahri, LeBlanc, Lissandra, and Lulu dominating the midpicks in the few games we’ve seen thus far. While many of their builds include Athene’s, I wouldn’t describe any of those champions except Lulu as particularly dependent on it as a core item, and Lulu’s base mp5 stats were heavily buffed. Some Tear of the Goddess champs were banned out frequently (Jayce is a permaban in competitive play at least through 4.20), but only a pair of Ezreal picks (Faker mid and Zefa ADC) actually built it.

Orianna and Syndra still see picks, both in Korea and at IEM San Jose, with an occasional Kassadin, but aside from that, I wouldn’t expect to see many other Chalice/Tear-dependent champs in mid for the competitive scene. In the Champions Preason and IEM San Jose tournaments on 4.20, we didn’t see a lot of Athene’s built, though with 4.21, the item may make a bit of a comeback. The current competitive mid roster looks like Ahri, Jayce, Katarina, LeBlanc, Lissandra, Lulu, Orianna, Syndra, Zed, and Xerath, with the occasional AD mid (Ezreal or Corki). Of course, this is preseason, so we’ll have to see how things shake out as the pros adapt and as Riot continues to make changes.

Thanks for reading this far, and for your readership. If you have a question, comment, or correction, please leave it in the comments below!

Conclusion

What all this means is that:

  • Tank supports are the same or buffed
  • Ranged supports are slightly nerfed
  • Utility and poke mages are slightly weaker due to mana regen nerfs. Twisted Fate, Lissandra, and Xerath are excluded from this.
  • Assassins are the same or stronger
  • Tear of the Goddess builds are now considerably weaker
  • Chalice builds are now considerably weaker

Thanks for reading this far, and for your readership. If you have a question, comment, or correction, please leave it in the comments below!


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Eph289

Eph289 is a Platinum-ranked mid and support on NA and has been playing and writing about League of Legends since 2010. Formerly a Reign of Gaming guest contributor, he went by 'Sudunem' for his first few Cloth5 pieces until he fully transitioned over to Cloth5. He uses his mastery of the wizard arts of math, statistics, and theorycrafting to illuminate and explain the mysteries of League of Legends.

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