'League of Legends' 9.4 Patch Notes: Karthus Nerfs, Essence Reaver Buff and ARURF Changes

League of Legends patch 9.4 is on the way, with big changes to Karthus, the Conqueror Rune and so much more. This patch is all about balancing the higher-tier champions and runes that have been dominating competitive play. Karthus jungle has become a staple of team compositions and his damage output is a bit too strong on his Skittles attacks. Urgot has damage and tanky stats, making him one of the most versatile top laners in the game. Nerfs to these champions and the Runes they take should tone down some of their ridiculous power and allow other champions a chance to shine.

Here are the League of Legends 9.4 patch notes straight from Riot Games:

Champions

league of legends 9.4 patch notes karthus arurf nerf buff
Kayle and her massive rework is hitting the PBE Riot Games

Karthus

Q damage decreased.

Preseason's changes to Dark Harvest and rune stats were more than "just a little" nice for Karthus. Now he's everywhere and ruining your life. Less damage on Lay Waste will help opponents have a chance at fighting back. Here's the caveat we'll add for our "5 damage lul" change—Karthus spams his Q more often than most champs cast their abilities, so the numbers definitely add up.

Q - Lay Waste

BASE DAMAGE :: 50/70/90/110/130 >>> 45/65/85/105/125

BASE DAMAGE ON SINGLE TARGET :: 100/140/180/220/260 >>> 90/130/170/210/250

BUGFIX :: Now procs Runes more consistently

Lucian

W cost increased; base damage decreased.

Ardent Blaze allows Lucian to rapidly max out Manaflow Band, trivializing the cost of spamming his abilities. We're forcing more of a tradeoff if Lucian goes the Manaflow optimization route by sapping his resources faster and weakening the strength of his all-in when he does.

W - Ardent Blaze

COST :: 50 mana >>> 70 mana

BASE DAMAGE :: 85/125/165/205/245 >>> 75/110/145/180/215

Rek'Sai

Burrowed Q now grants Fury. Unburrowed Q ends when burrowed for more than 1 second. Rek'Sai now burrows on respawn. Tremor Sense visuals brightened. R is undodgeable.

We took a quality-of-life pass at Rek'Sai's abilities, implementing smaller visual additions and kit revisions to help her feel better to play. Burrowing after clearing a camp lets Queen's Wrath come off cooldown earlier since Rek'Sai no longer has to wait out a buff she isn't using, and (a couple of very specific cases aside) Void Rush is no longer avoidable.

Passive - Fury of the Xer'Sai

NOT ORANGE BUT :: Fury Bar now changes color from yellow to red when charged to max

Burrowed Q - Prey Seeker

FAST AND THE FURY-OUS :: Now grants 25 Fury to match Rek'Sai's other abilities

Unburrowed Q - Queen's Wrath

CALM DOWN :: Effect now ends and goes on cooldown if Rek'Sai is burrowed for more than 1 second

Unburrowed W - Burrow

TREMOR SENSE :: Tracking visuals for nearby enemies brightened

6 MORE WEEKS OF WINTER :: Rek'Sai immediately burrows on respawn once she has at least one point in W

R - Void Rush

GOTTA GO FAST :: Enemies can now only dodge Void Rush by dashing or blinking massive distances away from Rek'Sai

Sylas

Q radius increased vs champions. W heal decreased. R no longer fizzles if Sylas loses vision of his target.

Sylas has landed in a pretty good spot since release, but there are a few usability issues on Chain Lash which we want to address. These fixes (plus a small Kingslayer nerf) will offer Sylas players a more meaningful choice between maxing Q or W first.

Q - Chain Lash

DETONATION RADIUS :: 200 vs minions and monsters, 150 vs champions >>> 200 vs minions and monsters, 180 vs champions

CAST RANGE INDICATOR :: Now includes an indicator to show the detonation location and radius

W - Kingslayer

BASE HEAL :: 50/85/120/155/190 >>> 50/80/110/140/170

ICON :: Icon border now glows when Sylas is within the max healing threshold

NUMBERS :: Kingslayer's damage displays as a crit if Sylas' target was within the bonus damage threshold

R - Hijack

TURRET AGGRESSION :: Sylas no longer draws turret aggro when stealing an enemy's ultimate

??? :: Hijack no longer fizzles if Sylas loses sight of his target before the cast finishes

Thresh

Q cost increased; cooldown increased early.

Before Worlds, we gave Thresh some buffs that allowed him to throw his hook more often in the early game. We're partially reverting those changes since he's proving to be too oppressive in lane.

Q - Death Sentence

COST :: 60 mana >>> 70 mana

COOLDOWN :: 16/15/14/13/12 seconds >>> 20/18/16/14/12 seconds

Urgot

Q cost increased. W shield decreased, cost increased early.

We thought we had put Urgie in a good place after the last nerfs in 9.2. Alas, he's continued to be an unstoppable force in lane with help from his low-cost shield and canisters. Urgot players will now have to choose between poking from range or shielding up to duel when spending their mana.

Q - Corrosive Charge

COST :: 60 mana >>> 80 mana

W - Purge

COST :: 45/50/55/60/65 mana >>> 65 mana at all ranks

SHIELD :: 60/90/120/150/180 (+0.3 bonus health) >>> 30/70/110/150/190 (+0.15 bonus health)

Yasuo

Attack damage decreased. Q crit damage decreased.

We buffed Yasuo last midseason when Infinity Edge lost its critical strike chance and bonus crit damage. As of last patch, Infinity Edge once again has critical strike chance and bonus crit damage so we're mostly reverting his midseason buffs (Steel Tempest gets to keep some buff since IE didn't get all its bonus crit damage back).

Base Stats

ATTACK DAMAGE :: 63 >>> 60

Q - Steel Tempest

CRITICAL STRIKE DAMAGE :: +80 percent >>> +60 percent

Zed

Attack speed growth increased. Q damage increased. W recast range increased; cooldown decreased. R no longer grants attack damage on kill.

The theory behind Zed's R - Death Mark passive—kill high-AD threats to get stronger—breaks down in practice because the highest-AD target is often not the most important threat for Zed to go after. At the same time, buffs to make hunting the highest-AD target correct at all times would make Zed entirely reliant on Reaper of Shadows, preventing him from finding success in other ways. We're removing it and giving its power back to Zed in areas he's been struggling in, namely a better early lane and more powerful late-game splitpushing.

Base Stats

ATTACK SPEED GROWTH :: 2.1 percent >>> 3.3 percent

Q - Razor Shuriken

DAMAGE :: 80/115/150/185/220 (+0.9 bonus attack damage) >>> 90/125/160/195/230 (+1.0 bonus attack damage)

W - Living Shadow

RECAST RANGE :: 1300 range >>> 1950 range

COOLDOWN :: 22/20/18/16/14 seconds >>> 20/18.5/17/15.5/14 seconds

R - Death Mark

[REM] REAPER OF SHADOWS :: Zed no longer gains 5 (+5/10/15 percent target's attack damage) attack damage when Death Mark earns him a takedown on a target that would grant him a higher bonus than his current one

Runes

Conqueror

Grants stacking adaptive force on damaging enemy champions. At max stacks, converts a portion of damage vs champions to true damage and heals for that amount.

Conqueror was designed to help fighters in extended combat, but it offers too much immediate power since users can bypass its initial delay—the window where opponents should have the upper hand—by staying in combat against minions so Conqueror is prepped at all times. We're removing this workaround, meaning users will actually have to grapple with its ramp-up. They now gain Conqueror's bonus damage steadily over their first few hits in combat, so they won't be completely helpless when a fight breaks out. (Note: Conqueror gives adaptive force instead of attack damage now. Go wild, AP champs.)

In terms of Conqueror's "unlocked" state, we've turned half of its true damage conversion into healing. This gives tanks, who were previously melted by the conversion, a reasonable shot at standing against Conqueror champs while still giving fighters a tool to avoid being ground down in teamfights before reaching the enemy backline.

[REM] THE OLD THING :: After 4 seconds in combat, your first basic attack against an enemy champion grants 6-35 attack damage (levels 1-18) for 3 seconds and converts 20 percent of your damage against champions to true damage. Melee champions can refresh the duration by damaging an enemy champion.

[NEW] THE NEW THING :: Damaging attacks and abilities grant 3-15 adaptive force (levels 1-18) for 3 seconds (8 seconds for melee), stacking up to 5 times to a max of 15-75. At 5 stacks, 10 percent of your damage against champions is converted to true damage and you heal for that amount.

ATTRITION :: Damage-over-time effects and ongoing sources of damage (ex. Yorick's R - Maiden of the Mist) can grant one stack every 5 seconds

Items

Essence Reaver

Attack damage increased. Cooldown reduction is now unique.

Essence Reaver was a little weak after the marksman item changes from the last patch. We're buffing it.

ATTACK DAMAGE :: 60 >>> 65

WHOOPS :: Cooldown reduction is now UNIQUE

SHOP :: Now appears in the correct shop categories

Mid-Patch 9.3 Item Updates

These changes went live last patch, but bear repeating for those who missed them. We took a heavy-handed approach to remove the "Frostmancy" strategy (harass your lane opponent with Tribute procs and maintain their income with Kleptomancy while ignoring last hitting) in top lane and are working on a more refined solution for the long-term.

Spellthief's Edge Line

[NEW] BUDDY SYSTEM :: Tribute procs now require an allied champion within 2000 range to grant gold, otherwise they only deal extra damage

TRIBUTE GOLD :: 10/20/20 gold (Spellthief's Edge/Frostfang/Remnant of the Watchers) >>> 11/22/22 gold (Spellthief's Edge/Frostfang/Remnant of the Watchers)

Ancient Coin Line

[NEW] BUDDY SYSTEM :: Favor procs now require an allied champion within 2000 range to drop gold coins, otherwise they only drop mana coins

FAVOR GOLD :: 25/45/45 gold (Ancient Coin/Nomad's Medallion/Remnant of the Ascended) >>> 28/50/50 gold (Ancient Coin/Nomad's Medallion/Remnant of the Ascended)

Simple Changes

Azir

Base attack speed growth increased.

Increasing Azir's late game damage.

Base Stats

ATTACK SPEED GROWTH :: 1.5 percent >>> 3 percent

Gnar

Mega Gnar's armor and magic resist increased.

Increasing Mega Gnar's ability to get in the middle of the ruckus and duke it out while transformed.

Base Stats

MEGA GNAR ARMOR GROWTH :: 4.5 >>> 5.5

MEGA GNAR MAGIC RESIST GROWTH :: 2 >>> 4

Hecarim

Q cost, E cooldown decreased.

We're giving Hecarim some light performance boosts in his early game to help him stirrup the competition against others.

Q - Rampage

COST :: 32/34/36/38/40 mana >>> 28/31/34/37/40 mana

E - Devastating Charge

COOLDOWN :: 24/22/20/18/16 seconds >>> 20/19/18/17/16 seconds

Rengar

Bugfixin'.

Fixed a bug where Q dealt more rank 1 damage than intended.

Q - Savagery

BASE DAMAGE :: 70/45/60/75/90 >>> 30/45/60/75/90

Sivir

Bugfixin'.

Fixed a bug where W dealt more damage than intended.

W - Ricochet

BOUNCE DAMAGE :: 0.55/0.6/0.65/0.7/0.75 total attack damage >>> 0.5/0.55/0.6/0.65/0.7 total attack damage

Varus

Bugfixin'.

Fixed a bug where Blight stacks dealt less damage than intended.

W - Blighted Quiver

BLIGHT STACK DAMAGE :: 2.5 percent (+2 percent per 100 ability power) target's max health per stack >>> 3/3.5/4/4.5/5 percent (+2 percent per 100 ability power) target's max health per stack

Kai'Sa

Removed Stormrazor from recommended items.

We changed Stormrazor. Stop building it first on Kai'Sa.

WE RECOMMEND... :: Stormrazor removed in favor of Infinity Edge and Runaan's Hurricane

Tryndamere

Removed Spear of Shojin from recommended items.

We thought Spear of Shojin would be ace on Tryndamere. Turns out, Ravenous Hydra is better. Build Ravenous Hydra.

WE RECOMMEND... :: Spear of Shojin removed in favor of Ravenous Hydra.

Nunu & Willump

Q - Consume

ICON :: Icon border now glows when Nunu & Willump are within the max healing threshold

Trundle

W cost decreased; attack speed increased.

We're helping Trundle cast W more liberally in lane and increasing his late game threat when opponents are in his domain.

W - Frozen Domain

COST :: 60 mana >>> 40 mana

BONUS ATTACK SPEED :: 20/35/50/65/80 percent >>> 20/40/60/80/100 percent

First Minion Spawn

First wave of top and bot lane minions are ghosted for longer after spawning.

This change addresses some edge cases and unintuitive interactions that (pro) players can use to interfere with the first minion wave of the game.

GHOSTED :: The first wave of top and bot lane minions are ghosted for ||| 18 >>> 28 seconds after spawning (mid lane minions unchanged at 18 seconds of ghosting)

ARURF Changes

Balance Changes & Fixes

Things have been stable on the ARURF balance front over the past few weeks. We've got one new nerf for Garen and an official heads-up on some changes that shipped earlier but got lost somewhere in the bucket of champion balance updates.

Garen

NERF :: -5 percent damage

Arcane Comet

This change went live a while back so this is just formal notice!

BUGFIX :: Proccing Arcane Comet while inside the Catapult of Champions no longer lets you right click to fire a second Arcane Comet like a skillshot

Elder Dragon

This change went live a while back so this is just formal notice!

NERF :: The first Elder Dragon buff is less tower-melty

ARURF Poro Pets

Once 9.4 drops, equip a poro pet summoner icon to bring a fluffy (or spiky or fiery or whatever) buddy along for the ride in your ARURF matches! These are the same icons that summoned poro pets in other modes like Legend of the Poro King and Nexus Blitz.

Champion VFX and SFX Updates

Kennen

Bringing Kennen's attacks and abilities up to current League quality and readability standards.

BASIC ATTACK :: Shuriken model and hit VFX updated for readability between basic attack, empowered attack, and Thundering Shuriken

Passive - Mark of the Storm :: Proc VFX updated to better indicate source of the stun. Passive marks on minions are dimmer.

Q - Thundering Shuriken :: Shuriken model and hit VFX updated for readability between basic attack, empowered attack, and Thundering Shuriken

W - Electrical Surge :: Surge VFX updated. Empowered attack shuriken model and hit VFX updated for readability between basic attack, empowered attack, and Thundering Shuriken.

E - Lightning Rush :: VFX updated to indicate area of effect and show Kennen's model during the animation

R - Slicing Maelstrom :: VFX updated to reduce visual noise

BLOOD MOON KENNEN :: Unique VFX updated based on the same principles as the above

SUPER KENNEN :: Does a superhero pose during Lightning Rush

SHURIKEN :: All other skins use Kennen's base VFX aside from changing the shape of their shuriken where applicable

Olaf

Bringing Olaf's attacks and abilities up to current League quality and readability standards.

BASIC ATTACK :: Now has swipe VFX. Hit VFX updated.

Q - Undertow :: Now has hitbox and pick-up range indicators. Pick-up VFX updated.

W - Vicious Strikes :: Buff and healing VFX updated. Floating runes removed.

E - Reckless Swing :: On-hit VFX updated

R - Ragnarok :: New lightning VFX on activation. Buff VFX updated.

BROLAF :: Has skin-specific Graggy VFX on Q, E, and R. Has the Graggy Ice logo on Q's pick-up indicator and a keg on E hit.

PENTAKILL OLAF :: Has firey VFX recoloring. Has the Pentakill logo on E hit and R activation.

BUTCHER OLAF :: Q hitbox indicator recolored to be meatier

SKT T1 OLAF :: Has golden VFX recoloring. SKT T1 logo added to Q pick-up indicator, E hit, and R activation.

Riven

Bringing Riven's attacks and abilities up to current League quality and readability standards.

BASIC ATTACK :: Visual noise reduced

Passive - Runic Blade :: Riven's sword and hand now glow instead of creating a green energy ball with rune trails on top of her hand

Q - Broken Wings :: VFX updated to be less noise and unique per cast. Ground damage VFX added to indicate area of effect.

W - Ki Burst :: VFX updated to reduce visual noise on the ground symbol and better indicate area of effect

E - Valor :: Dash and shield VFX updated. Shield runes changed to be the pieces of Riven's sword.

R - Blade of the Exile :: Buff VFX surrounding Riven cleaned up; stronger buff VFX added to her sword. Other ability VFX properly indicates increased area of effect while R is active. Wind Slash VFX is clearer and now appears as a single strike.

BATTLE BUNNY RIVEN :: VFX infused with beta keratin (they're recolored orange). E shield runes are carrots.

DRAGONBLADE RIVEN :: Has skin-specific smokey/firey VFX. Passive VFX is a flame ring around her hand. E shield runes are dragon crests.

CHAMPIONSHIP, ARCADE, DAWNBRINGER, PULSEFIRE :: VFX unchanged

Wukong

Bringing Wukong's attacks and abilities up to current League quality and readability standards.

SFX UPDATES :: Base, Volcanic, General, Jade Dragon, and Underworld Wukong have received updated basic attack, Q, E, and R SFX

BASIC ATTACK :: Now has swipe VFX. Hit VFX added.

Q - Crushing Blow :: Buff and swing VFX updated to reduce visual noise. Hit VFX updated to be more impactful. Armor debuff icon now appears on target.

W - Decoy :: Cloud VFX on clone despawn updated to reduce visual noise

E - Nimbus Strike :: Cloud VFX on dash updated to be wispier and leave a slight trail

R - Cyclone :: VFX updated to be cloudier, less noisy, and easier to read. The tip of Wukong's staff now leaves a bright VFX trail to better indicate area of effect.

GENERAL WUKONG :: Has gray recoloring on basic attack swipe and R VFX

JADE WUKONG :: Has jade green recoloring on basic attack swipe, Q, and R VFX

UNDERWORLD WUKONG :: Has spectral green recoloring on all VFX

RADIANT WUKONG :: Q uses base's new swing and hit VFX. E dash and R VFX updated but still use skin-specific cloud effects.

Champion Animation Updates

Dr. Mundo

Q - Infected Cleaver :: Throwing animation updated

Gragas

ZOOMIN :: Base run animation updated

Katarina

ZOOMIN :: Base run animation updated

GO FAST :: Fast run animation updated

SKID :: Movement stop animation updated

Lux

ZOOMIN :: Base run animation updated

Quinn

ZOOMIN :: Base run animation updated

Shen

SAUNTER :: Bootless walk animation added

Twisted Fate

SAUNTER :: Bootless walk animation added

FLAPPY :: Twisted Fate's cape turns more realistically as he moves

Zyra

SAUNTER :: Bootless walk animation added

Ranked

We've been working on fixes and improvements to Ranked since the season started in 9.2. Here's a rundown of some changes coming this patch, as well as a quick summary of stuff we've already done that you might've missed!

New to 9.4

CHALLENGER :: Challenger opens on February 20

SPLASH UP :: LP splashing can now put your off-positions into promotion series

HEADS UP :: You now get decay warnings for your off-positions

RANKED EMOTES :: Once you've earned the Ranked emote, it'll upgrade as you complete promo series and climb the ladder

NAME DROP :: The animated celebrations for promoting into a new tier now includes your summoner name

PAPER TRAIL :: Hovering over your split points now shows you how you earned those points

Already shipped

GRANDMASTER :: Grandmaster opened on February 7

SWAP STOP :: Ranked is better at preventing position swap abuse

TOP HEAVY :: LP gains and losses at Diamond and above were adjusted due to too many players rapidly climbing into Master and above

This patch is huge and will impact the meta for the next few months. Players now have to figure out if Spellthief's Edge is worth buying or if it's better to try another support time. Zyra remains untouched this patch and will continue to rise in popularity over the coming weeks. It's a good time to be a support main.

What is your favorite (or least favorite) part of this patch? Tell us in the comments.