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After a somewhat calm pre-season with only a few systems changes (compared to the item overhaul in 2020), Riot Games has nerfed most of the major changes in the first update of the new season, which arrives on Thursday. Both the Chemtech Drake soul buff and its corresponding Rift changes will be made weaker, along with the Hextech soul buff and Lethal Tempo keystone.

These three system updates, in particular, were seeing a lot of power that their counterparts couldn’t compete with. The large camouflage rings on the Chemtech Rift made it difficult to keep vision control, when ahead or behind, and it made fighting in the jungle a bit too unpredictable and frustrating. To combat that, Riot added a longer delay to the effect, so champions can’t easily disappear in the middle of a fight. (Riot had previously secretly micro-patched in a short delay, but increased it this patch.)

Riot also weakened the buff received upon collecting the Chemtech Soul. When you respawn into the brief Chemtech afterlife, you have a bit less health than previously (which was already less than normal). You are also capped out at three seconds of afterlife, rather than four seconds from the beginning of the season.

For the Hextech Soul nerfs, Riot lowered the damage on the Static Shiv-like chain lightning attacks. Instead of scaling from 25-75 damage from levels 1-18, it now only scales from 25-50, knocking off a decent chunk, especially considering the soul effect hits multiple targets.

The Lethal Tempo changes were a bit less direct, with an early game nerf that eventually shifts into better late-game scaling than before. Melee users now scale from 10% attack speed to 15% from levels 1-15, from a previous static 13%. Ranged users now scale from 5% to 9% from levels 1-12, from a previous static 7%. This change reduces power in early-game skirmishing that can sometimes snowball a game too hard to better balance the rune.

The first patch update of the new season brings a number of other notable changes, namely the addition of League of Legends’ 158th champion, Zeri. Zeri is a new marksman champion with yet another complicated kit.

After signing her contract with Riot, Velasquez couldn't tell anyone she was voicing Zeri and Neon until their trailers dropped.
Zeri is sliding onto the Rift Friday. | Provided by Riot Games

Along with Zeri, Riot is buffing a bunch of champions who were weakened due to the changes made this pre-season. Riot is also nerfing a few who have been a bit too strong (looking at all of you Attack Damage assassins out there). The wind brothers, Yasuo and Yone, got small buffs, along with small bumps to bot laners Senna, Samira and Tristana. Junglers and fighters, Volibear and Nocturne, also got a small love tap and the shortest yordle of them all, Veigar, rounded out the buff list.

League patch notes 12.2
The patch preview shows all of the new skins, as well as the changes coming Friday. | Provided by Riot Games

You can read the full patch notes directly on the site here, complete with upcoming skins, bug fixes and more. The patch hits the Rift Thursday. Good luck, Summoners.