The second major patch since the start of Season five is upon us, and things are shaking up in anticipation for the all-new character announced by Riot. As with every patch, we’ve got the first and most complete tier list online, statistically backed with every ranked match and based on kill-death, win rate and pick-ban. In contrast to previous weeks, Nerf Tier now operates on a four tier basis. We did not feel as though the “bottom of the barrel” champions varied so far away from the second level to merit an entirely different tier as they performed averagely, and were certainly not completely unreliable.
Click here to skip to the Nerf Tier
As of patch 5.4, here are the major changes that we’re looking at:
Starting with Azir, Riot Games updated his passive so that Sun Disc will not improperly register while spectating as a tower kill. This is neither a nerf nor buff. Janna picked up major changes to her passive and “W” skill that will effect in-game action. Tailwind no longer gives Janna a speed buff, instead it applies a greater buff to champions on her team moving in her direction. Up to 8% from 5%, this makes Janna a better support, but degrades her self benefits. Leveling Janna’s “W” will now raise Janna’s base movement, effectively making her weaker in early game for selfish reasons, and a better champion in the late game for initiations and leaving fights.
Jarvan will no longer receive passive armor from his flag, resulting in a base armor bump to compensate. As most of his power came from that flag for late game fights after it reached level five, this might hurt him late, but we’ll reserve any changes for now. Kalista took a nerf to her wind-up time, resulting in 33% slower auto attacks as they relate to attack speed. This is expected to be a big deal for Kalista, effecting the top tier of players with the champion. Kassadin took a major, probably unwarranted debuff this week with Rift Walk having taken a huge chunk of range off the top at a reduced cost. This will likely not hurt Kassadin in a huge team fight – if anything help him with the reduced mana costs, but his one-on-one fighting is worse now, which may dig him in holes throughout the level 6-10 game.
As with last patch, Katarina took a change that technically qualifies as a nerf, but shouldn’t effect her game play. Katarina no longer resets her cooldowns after assists, but rather if the champion dies within 3 seconds of dealing damage. How is this different? She now can’t simply pop a heal on someone who is in the fight and get free cooldowns from the outside. A minor change to the visuals put Lissandra on the list, but keen players will understand that there was no actual damage change, so no tier change should apply. Sweeping changes came to Mordekaiser this week, with his base health regeneration being cut to less than half of the previous patch. Along with this health nerf, Morde now casts his “Q” spell from +75 range and at a lesser health cost. Creeping death, Morde’s “W” spell will now grant him and his ally effects, if cast on an ally. Enemies will not take double damage with both allies around, and the cost and damage have been reduced, but this allows for more distribution of Morde’s power to push lanes. His Ultimate has also changed in 5.4, with enslaved champions now granting 25% bonus health and 30% AP as damage. Enslave champs will also no longer gain 75% of Morde’s AP, now gaining flat AD per ultimate level.
On the minor touches side of things, Rengar’s Bonetooth Necklace is now a stacking buff. This is the result of some bugs with trinket upgrade paths, and allows Rengar to feed the Poros in ARAM matches now [YAY!]. Syndra’s “Scatter the Weak” spell will now be wider when used, likely resulting in more stuns. Riot tacks this as “more reliable”, we say it’s a small buff. Veigar had massive sweeping changes, possibly posting the biggest usable buffs, despite damage decreases. He is not the nuke he used to be, but this follows a trend in League of Legends as a whole and he will actually rise in DPS and CC ability with his changes. Here’s a quick look: “Q” is now a skill shot, with 200 more range. Q now passes through the first target to hit the second target and stop delivering the damage. His “W” costs less mana and can be cast more often – no damage changes. Veigar can stun more often and at lower mana costs from a greater range, but with 3/4 of a second delay on the cast from click time. His burst is now down using his ultimate, debuffing his damage to 1:1, rather than 1.2:1 AP damage. Mana costs are down again here after level 11, as well as cooldowns reduced straight away.
Xerath players need to be aware of a reduced stun timer, down from 2.25 to 1.75 duration. Zilean rounded out this patch with a host of changes as well. Raising his base armor with reduced attack speed, the basics aren’t quite the same in 5.4. Zilean’s bomb is now a skill shot, with attaching traits similar to Fizz’ ultimate, sticking to enemies and allies near it. If Zilean can hit a double-bomb combo, the first bomb will notonly detonate immediately, but apply a stun for 1.5 seconds to enemies nearby. Time Bomb now deals less damage, with higher range and cheaper mana cost. Zilean’s “Rewind” skill will no longer reduce the ultimate ability cooldown. Rather than this, Zilean will now have a reduction to his ultimate cooldown based on ultimate level. Zilean’s Time Warp now has a flat 2.5 second duration, scaling the effect rather than the time length up to a ridiculous 99% slow for 2.5 seconds. That might as well be a stun.
Any remaining changes to the tier list this patch are, as usual, reflective of official win, kill-death and pick-ban statistics as of the end of patch 5.3. These are important factors to take note of with each patch, and unlike some other tier list communities, we will always consider solid statistics above our personal opinions for the sake of the players.
As we roll on through February, we’ve covered the details as to the where and why we rate champions in Average Tier through Nerf in our full anthology of posts. New changes are bolded below.
Down from Effective Tier: Alistar, Annie, Azir, Cassiopeia, Cho’Gath, Darius, Dr. Mundo, Garen, Jax, Jayce, Karma, Lucian, Lulu, Malphite, Maokai, Master Yi, Nautilus, Olaf, Rammus, Rengar, Shyvana, Tristana, Trundle, Vayne, Viktor, Volibear, Xin Zhao, Yorick, Zed, Ziggs
- Top Lane: Morgana, Zac, Shen, Diana, Azir, Volibear, Gragas, Cassiopeia, Akali, Lulu, Talon, Olaf, Master Yi, Dr. Mundo, Mordekaiser, Xin Zhao, Shyvana, Kassadin, Quinn, Ryze, Vayne, Rammus, Jax, Alistar, Karma, Yasuo, Leblanc, Jayce, Nunu, Elise, Yorick, Garen, Soraka, Fizz, Urgot, Darius, Trundle
- Jungle: Kha’Zix, Diana, Cho’Gath, Fizz, Olaf, Gragas, Malphite, Nocturne, Shyvana, Fiora, Yorick, Master Yi, Dr. Mundo, Rengar, Volibear, Xin Zhao, Elise, Rammus, Zed, Malzahar, Leona, Shen, Darius, Nautilus, Riven, Tryndamere, Jax, Garen, Yasuo, Maokai, Trundle, Zac
- Mid-Lane: Sejuani, Malphite, Tristana, Azir, Syndra, Orianna, Kassadin, Jarvan IV, Fiora, Yasuo, Sona, Akali, Ryze, Ziggs, Kha’Zix, Viktor, Kog’maw, Jayce, Fizz, Zilean, Master Yi, Zed, Ezreal (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: Amumu, Caitlyn, Cassiopeia, Corki, Hecarim, Kalista, Karma, Kennen, Lissandra, Miss Fortune, Morgana, Nasus, Pantheon, Rek’Sai, Riven, Rumble, Skarner, Swain, Talon, Teemo, Vladimir, Zyra
Up to the Effective Tier: Cho’Gath, Evelynn, Galio, Kayle, Lulu, Veigar
- Top Lane: Warwick, Rengar, Renekton, Kennen, Lissandra, Poppy, Gnar, Nasus, Kayle, Cho’gath, Rumble, Lee Sin, Viktor, Kha’Zix, Swain, Maokai, Aatrox, Riven, Udyr, Singed, Pantheon, Nidalee, Vi, Galio, Gangplank, Tryndamere, Teemo, Fiora, Karthus, Vladimir
- Jungle: Poppy, Kayle, Warwick, Rek’Sai, Hecarim, Gangplank, Udyr, Evelynn, Lee Sin, Aatrox, Skarner, Nidalee, Irelia, Nasus, Amumu
- Mid-Lane: Pantheon, Cassiopeia, Talon, Lissandra, Lulu (AP), Leblanc, Galio, Teemo, Diana, Kayle, Vladimir, Nidalee (AP), Twisted Fate, Cho’Gath, Veigar, Zyra, Mordekaiser
- AD Carry: Kog’Maw, Varus, Caitlyn, Kalista, Corki, Miss Fortune
- Support: Brand, Zyra, Braum, Morgana, Xerath, Karma, Vel’Koz, Veigar, Fiddlesticks, Sona, Malphite
Down from Nerf Tier: Graves, Irelia, Sejuani
Up to the Strong Tier: Heimerdinger, Lux, Soraka, Morgana, Nunu, Pantheon, Shaco, Taric
- Top Lane: Rek’Sai, Wukong, Irelia, Heimerdinger, Hecarim
- Jungle: Wukong, Nunu, Sion, Pantheon, Shaco, Sejuani
- Mid-Lane: Swain, Brand, Kennen, Morgana, Malzahar, Vel’Koz, Wukong, Xerath, Karthus, Heimerdinger, Ahri, Lux
- AD Carry: Ashe, Ezreal, Graves, Draven
- Support: Thresh, Soraka, Nami, Taric
Nerf Tier Champions
Up to the Nerf Tier: Anivia, Annie, Sion, Sivir, Fiddlesticks
- Top Lane Nerfs Required: Jarvan IV, Malphite, Sion
- Jungle Nerfs Required: Jarvan IV, Fiddlesticks, Vi
- Mid-Lane Nerfs Required: Katarina, Anivia, Annie
- AD Carry Nerfs Required: Jinx, Sivir
- Support Nerfs Required: Leona, Janna, Blitzcrank
Summary: Fiddlesticks made moves with this patch as a result of no changes in patch 5.4. While we figured that Fiddle would turn down after the 5.3 nerf he picked up with some reduced range, the overall changes with items and his statistics allowed him to move in a positive direction while Jungling. Cassiopeia fell on our tier list this week in all roles as her stats fell in 5.3. In contrast to Fiddle, Cass took no buffs or debuffs, but she didn’t measure up against the competition across the last few weeks. With no changes in this patch, she is placed just as she has been rated. Cho’Gath became a more effective champion in the middle lane as a result of the Deathfire Grasp fallout, though we see him less in the jungle now as a result. Galio is now a more effective top since a 5.3 change in which the Spirit Visage was improved. While this effected a lot of AP champions negatively, Galio is built on resists at his core and took home the ranks as a result. Fizz continues to be feeling the effects of the Deathfire as well, with confirmed drops from last patch staying strong. While we had some evidence that he may fall this far, we weren’t jumping to any conclusions last week and now we simply can’t ignore it. He’s just not the fish he used to be. Kalista will fall in patch 5.4, not only from a nerf in effect but also from a small drop in her performance ratings. These performance ratings were on par with what we expected to happen to her after last patch, and it’s almost surprising to see her get nerfed again. Lulu is better in the mid lane among a group of upstarts taking Fizz’s and Akali’s place while Lux has much of the same effect. Sona rides the lightning between the “Effective” and “Strong” tiers. Falling just out of the Strong tier for the second week in a row, and considering her early game change in 5.3, we dropped her officially, though that could easily change on the next patch. Tristana is dropping on this patch as a result of her performance change, but don’t expect her to stay down there for long. Players are still getting accustomed to the new changes in her build. While there are surely more to cover in League of Legends’ ever-changing environment, we’ll keep updating you with the latest information as we receive it each week and maintain these highly detailed tier lists with more information in the coming 5.5 patch.
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.