As the title says, this is a guide for players who are returning to League after a lengthy break. In this post you will find a summary of the current meta champions and a patch history listing all the important changes that have been added to the game within the past four years. Enjoy!
For runes, builds and skill orders go to websites like lolalytics and look up your champion.Initial disclaimer: Please remember that the meta is highly subjective. If you want raw win rates or pick rates, go look it up elsewhere on the internet. The following is simply my brief explanation of the positions and the viability of champions based on in-game experience and statistics. Top:
- The current top lane meta favors tanks and juggernauts. Picks such as Illaoi, Nasus, Malphite, Maokai and Gankplank are among the strongest in solo queue, but you should be able to make any tank or tank counter work.
- Quite a few junglers are currently viable, but Warwick, Shyvana, Jarvan IV, Evelynn, Kha'Zix and Kayn are the top performers. Lee Sin is still the most played jungler.
- A variety of jungle clearing routes are viable. The most common one is the level 3 fast clear:
Buff -> Camp -> Buff = level 3 and ready for ganks.
However, a new "level 4 at 3 minutes" clear has become possible with recent season 8 changes. Basically, you can do the following (somewhat odd) power-farming clear route and end up level 4 very quickly, although you sacrifice gank opportunities by doing so:
Big Wolf + 1 small Wolf -> Blue -> Gromp -> the other small Wolf --> Raptors --> Red = Level 4. [Explanation and video]
- Both mages and assassins are equally viable in the mid lane, although the flavors of the month are Malzahar and Katarina – and for good reason, because they are very strong this patch. Other high-tier mid lane picks include Anivia, Xerath, Yasuo and Twisted Fate.
- Vayne is arguably the best champion in the game right now, as the relic shield start + overheal rune strategyfrom Korea gives her a free ticket through her weak laning phase. Ezreal is very good as well, and so is Tristana.
- The weakest ADC’s right now are Lucian, Jhin and Caitlyn – consider avoiding them until the Vayne meta shifts.
- The strongest front-line supports are Leona, Alistar and Taric while the best “classic” utility supports are Janna, Lulu and Nami. Both types of supports are equal in terms of effectiveness.
If you struggle with itemization (as any role), I can highly recommend Championify – a little program that downloads all the recent builds from stats websites like KoreanBuilds.net and imports them into your League of Legends game as item sets! (download)
That’s it! However, remember that most champions are viable and considered meta even though they didn’t make my list. The ones mentioned above are simply the ones considered the strongest right now. If you disagree with anything or have a question, leave it as a comment – feedback is appreciated! :)
A summary of every major addition to the game since preseason 4 can be seen below.This is a great resource for anyone not up-to-date with recent patches, as anyone can quickly catch up on all the important changes made my Riot without having to read through all their minor stat tweaks.If you want to view all the changes for a specific champion, please visit the Patch List on that champion's League of Legends wiki page.
Season 8 begins in the early morning of January 16.
The in-game health bars have been visually updated.
Patch 7.22 (Preseason 8 Runes Update)
Preseason 8 Update!Runes and Masteries have been combined into a new system called Runes Reforged. IP/RP spent on runes and rune pages have been partially refunded.To compensate for the removal of runes, all champions have been granted base stats similar to the stats they used to gain from rune pages.You can now level up beyond level 30 for various extra rewards.IP is now called Blue Essence, and you acquire it by leveling up (finishing a game no longer grants IP/Blue Essence).Each jungle camp now counts as 4 CS on the scoreboard, regardless of the actual number of monsters. Also, jungle XP gains have been tweaked.Minions now spawn at 1:10. Jungle camps spawn at ~1:30.The Victorious Graves skin has been given as a ranked reward to players in Gold or higher.
Ability changes: Xin Zhao
- Ability Update
The weekly Free to Play rotation now contains 14 champions, up from 10.
Ability changes: Rek'Sai, Kindred and Malzahar
- Champion Patch NotesEach team can now ban 5 champions instead of 3.
You can now surrender at 15:00 if all 5 players vote yes.Pings can now be muted.Pulsefire Ezreal has received his long-awaited visual update.
Patch 7.9 (Mid-season Tank Update)
Ability changes: Maokai, Sejuani and Zac
- Mid-season Spotlight
- Patch NotesTwo new tank items (Adaptive Helm & Gargoyle Stoneplate) have been added! Banshee's Veil, Abyssal Scepter, Guardian Angel and Doran's shield have been reworked.The three base support items will now receive a unique passive effect after enough gold has been generated.Rift Herald's appearance, attacks and buff have been updated. When defeated, it can be re-summoned as an allied siege tool.
New Champions: Rakan, the Charmer & Xayah, the Rebel (Support/ADC duo)
- Champion Reveal
- Rakan Champion Spotlight
- Xayah Champion SpotlightVarious starter items have been removed from ARAM, and the healing relics now grant healing based on % missing HP.
Old champions have been given a recall animation.Exhaust no longer reduces the target's Attack Speed and Armor/MR.
Sandbox mode is here! Practice combos and test new builds in this custom game mode with a variety of game-altering commands.
An official replay system has been released.League of Legends 4th ultimate skin, Elementalist Lux, has been released.Autofill has been enabled in all draft queues at all times.
Patch 6.22 (Preseason 7 Assassin Update)
This patch is so big that it got its own spotlight
- Preseason 7 SpotlightKatarina, LeBlanc, Rengar and Talon have received major kit changes. Akali, Ekko, Fizz, Kha'Zix, Shaco and Zed have received smaller ability changes. Seriously, consider reading up on all of this if you play midlane.
- LeBlanc Spotlight
- Katarina Spotlight
- Rengar Spotlight
- Talon Spotlight
- Patch NotesAbility changes: Alistar
- Patch NotesInvisible champions can no longer be seen by pink wards (which are now called control wards). Rengar's and Twitch's stealth now work like Evelynn's (visible if too close to champions or control wards).Armor penetration is now called Lethality, and the updated math behind it makes it weaker early game but stronger late game.Aegis of the Legion/Locket of the Iron Solari no longer gives an MR aura for teammates!The jungle monsters have changed:
- The small monsters are gone from the buff camps.
- Two additional small raptors have been added.
- The krugs spawn smaller krugs on death.
- Gromps attack speed decreases after each attack.
- Gromp and Krugs spawn 10 seconds later than other camps.
- All jungle respawn timers have gone up from 100 seconds to 150 seconds.
- Camp-specific smite rewards are gone – now you just restore health and mana when smiting any camp.Plants have been added to the jungle. When attacked, they can heal you, knock nearby units away or grant vision in an area (depending on the plant type).The Victorious Maokai skin has been given as a ranked reward to players in Gold or higher.
A small spinning icon has been added to the loading screen. (The technology is finally here!)
The following information can now be pinged to generate a chat message:
- Ability cooldowns
- Dragon, Baron and Champion respawn timers
- Experience needed for next level
- Current gold and gold needed for an item purchase
When switching targets, turrets will now focus the closest enemy champion instead of a random one within range.
You can now gain First Blood on turrets for a 300 gold bonus.
Teleport's channel duration has been increased to 4.5 seconds (from 3.5), making TP plays a little harder to pull off.
/Remake has launched! Games that start 4v5 will now immediately end in a draw.The cooldown of all summoner spells in ARAM (except the snowball) has been reduced by 40%. Also, the health relics restore 50% less mana and their respawn timers have been increased to 60 seconds (from 40).Champion Mastery level 1-5 and Hextech Crafting chests and keys can now be earned on ARAM and Twisted Treeline.
Patch 6.9 (Mid-season Mage Update)
This patch is so big that it got its own spotlight.
- Midseason Spotlight
- Patch NotesPretty much every mage in the game have received gameplay changes to one or more of their abilities.Dragon will now spawn with a random elemental type, modifying its appearance and buff. A symbol on the wall will show what elemental type the next dragon is going to have.
- Fire Dragons grant 8% extra AD and AP to the team slaying it.
- Mountain Drakes grant 10% bonus true damage to Baron, Dragons and Turrets.
- Cloud drakes grant 25 bonus movement speed while out of combat.
- Water Dragons restore 4% of missing Health and Mana every 5 seconds while out of combat.
The much stronger Elder Dragon will spawn instead of regular dragons beyond 35:00. It awards a temporary buff when slain, increasing the effectiveness of all previous dragon buffs while also adding damage over time to all your attacks. It respawns every 10 minutes.Spell Vamp as a stat has been removed from all items.A new set of burst-oriented AP items called Hextech have been added.Quicksilver Sash & Mercurial Scimitar now only cleanse CC - not damage-related debuffs such as Zed or Fiora ults.Boot Enchantments have been removed.Blue trinkets recharge cooldown has been increased by around 50%. It's weaker, but still okay.Grievous Wounds now (once again) reduces the effectiveness of ALL healing on the target instead of just self-healing.Towers are a little tankier, and the extra damage they build up after repeatedly attacking a champion is no longer lost when switching target. This makes diving more difficult.The XP gained from killing jungle camps are now significantly lower if you don't have a jungle item. Also, jungle monsters now only grant experience to their killers - no more accidental XP-steal!
The Rotating Game Mode Queue has launched, featuring a game mode such as One for All, Hexakill or U.R.F every weekend.
A new social feature for you and your friends called Clubs has been added.The XP requirement for reaching level 1-30 has been reduced by half. This means getting an account to level 30 is now twice as fast compared to previously.Hextech Crafting is now live. It's a system that rewards you with keys and loot chests containing free rewards such as champions or skins. This video explains it pretty well.
The game mode Dominion has been permanently removed.
Team Builder has been removed.
New Champion: Illaoi, the Kraken Priestess (Top)
- Champion Reveal
- Champion SpotlightThe homeguard speed boost is now available for free beyond 20:00.Promo Helper has launched. If you are below Gold 1, you will now start your promotion series with a win if you have previously attempted the promotion for that division.
Patch 5.22 (Preseason 6 Marksman Update)
This is the big preseason 6 patch.The marksman update have brought massive changes to Caitlyn, Corki, Graves, Kog’Maw, Miss Fortune and Quinn. The ADC items have been reworked.A monster called the Rift Herald will now chill in the baron pit from 10:00 to 19:55.Mana potions and green wards have been removed from the shop. Trinkets are now free to upgrade at level 9. Wards leave behind a corpse when they die, revealing the warding habits of your teammates and enemies.Support items and a Sightstone can now be combined into a single item.Champions on a killing streak will now have a small icon next to their health bar. Ending an enemy killing streak will give a small gold bonus to everyone on your team.Teleports cooldown is no longer reduced if cast on a turret.The summoner spells Clairvoyance and Clarity have been removed from Summoner’s Rift.The Victorious Sivir skin has been given as a ranked reward to players in Gold or higher.
Jungle monsters now have a resource called “patience” showing how close they are to resetting.
Patch 5.16 (Juggernaut Update)
Major changes have been made to Darius, Garen, Mordekaiser and Skarner.Three new items (Dead Man's Plate, Sterak's Gage and Titanic Hydra) for fighters/tanks have been added to the shop.
Full rework: Fiora, the Grand Duelist
- Champion UpdateThe in-game HUD has been updated.A new system to automatically detect in-game toxicity has been implemented. It can hand out punishments on its own, so avoid using profanity.
Twisted Treeline has been updated, including changes to altars, Vilemaw’s buff and the addition of an extra lane turret to each lane.
Ability changes: Ashe
- Champion UpdateAttack Move has been updated and will now prioritize the target closest to your cursor if multiple targets are within attack range.
Full rework: Ryze, the Rogue Mage (outdated, new rework in patch 6.14)
- Champion UpdateA new summoner spell (snowball toss) that works like a Lee Sin Q has been added to ARAM. Also, you can now pay a small amount of RP during champ select to give everyone on your team a free skin for the rest of the game.A new reward system called Champion Mastery can be earned for each champion. Good in-game performances are graded and will earn you points towards your next mastery level for that champion. Champion mastery can be used to earn rewards such as a loading screen ribbon or an in-game emote.
Ability changes: Zilean
- Champion Patch NotesThe summoner spell Revive has been removed from the game.League of Legends 3rd ultimate skin, DJ Sona, has been released.
Each base on Summoner’s Rift now has two gates on the base walls that only champions from that team can walk through.You can now store 2 charges of smite at a time.
Preseason 5 (4.21, 4.20 and 4.19)
New Champion: Rek’Sai, the Void Burrower (Jungle)
- Champion Reveal
- Champion SpotlightNew Champion: Kalista, the Spear of Vengeance (ADC)
- Champion Reveal
- Champion SpotlightSummoner’s Rift has received a full visual update.Jungle camps are tougher than in previous seasons. Only champions with a kit made for jungling can survive their first clear.Baron Nashor now spawns at 20:00 instead of 15:00, and its buff can temporarily affect minions.Dragons no longer give global gold. Instead, killing Dragon now gives a permanent, stacking buff to the team slaying it.There is now a monster in each river called the Rift Scuttler. Killing it grants vision and a speed boost in front of Dragon or Baron.Jungle items and Elixirs have been completely reworked.Punishments for AFK’ing or leaving are now stricter than previously, especially for ranked.The Victorious Morgana skin has been awarded to players who finished Season 4 in gold or higher.
A new ranked tier called Masters has been added to fill the gap between Diamond 1 and Challenger.
Jungle timers have been implemented, letting you see the current death timers of Dragon, Baron and the red and blue buff monsters above the scoreboard.
Ability changes: Nidalee
- Champion Patch Notes
Ability changes: Gragas
- Champion Patch NotesThe summoner spell Heal has been reworked. Instead of healing everyone, it now heals only you and the ally closest to your cursor. To compensate, the healing is now more effective and gives a small burst of movement speed.
Ability changes: Kassadin (97% banrate, never forget)
- Champion Patch Notes
Ability changes: Xerath
- Champion Patch Notes
Preseason 4 (3.15 and 3.14)
New Champion: Yasuo, the Unforgiven (Mid/Top)
- Champion Reveal
- Champion SpotlightA new free item for vision control called trinkets can now be purchased in a unique 7th item slot.Each player can now only have a maximum of three stealth wards (green wards) placed on the map at the same time.Vision wards (pink wards) are no longer invisible. They have 4 health and are limited to one placed on the map per player.Three new gold-generating starter items have been added for the support role, allowing supports to purchase combat stats instead of only vision-related items.
by BudoBoy07 , Reddit.
Read and approved as high quality content by multi season diamond and master player.