Preseason 2017: Breaking Down the Changes to Masteries
For Preseason 2017, Riot has decided they will be sticking with the Keystone System for Masteries, but some tweaks and adjustments are being made to all three tiers, especially in the Ferocity Tree. Let’s have a look at them.
Other PBE Coverage Posts:
Fresh Blood is replacing Double Edged Sword in the 2nd tier, that is now moving down to Tier 4 of Ferocity.
A strong mastery that on a low cooldown, especially tailored towards ranged champions that want to and can trade frequently with their opponents.
For most damage dealers, the choice will now be between this mastery for more offensive purposes or Feast in case they’re playing a losing matchup where sustain is more important.
Expose Weakness is still a good option for supportive characters or junglers that don’t get to use the other two options frequently enough to benefit from them.
Battle Trance is the new tier 4 mastery and it’s clearly tailored towards sustained damage dealers. Most AD carries will want to pick this up as they will usually be able to stack up the full damage in fights and even early trades as their trade patterns are usually prolonged when compared to a mage’s or assassin’s.
Aside from AD Carries, expect this to be the mastery of choice for champions such as Teemo and Kayle who are similar to those mentioned above, some bruisers and mages that don't do upfront burst and prefer prolonged trades may also opt into this, such as Olaf, Irelia, Jax and perhaps even Aurelion Sol.
Double Edged Sword is now an even bigger risk for those that opt into it. The straight up 5% damage buff is extremely attractive for assassins and burst mages but taking 2.5% extra damage from everyone else is extremely risky and can be very punishing.
With that said, it is the best option for those looking to snowball from the get go.
Bounty Hunter remains as the safe option that is always good for any carry wanting to stack up damage. It now gives up to 7.5% extra damage after killing all enemy champions once, meaning that after 3 unique kills it will be close to matching Double Edged Sword, without the onus of taking extra damage.
Fervor of Battle is another mastery that is getting reworked quite heavily. In essence it works similarly to how it used to, attacking opponents with basic attacks will give you Fervor stacks. Stacks will only last for 4 seconds, 2 less than before, and it will take more time to stack it up as it goes up to 10 stacks.
The biggest change however is that you will no longer deal on hit physical damage. Instead, Fervor Stacks increase your AD. At level 1, 10 stacks will be 10 AD and at level 18, a fully stacked Fervor of Battle will mean 60 extra AD.
Is it a buff or a nerf?
The answer to this question is both and it heavily depends on the champion.
This is a huge nerf for champions that usually build rageblade such as Kayle, Jax, Master Yi and the occasional Teemo. When fully stacked, Rageblade’s passive doubles the on hit effects on every other attack and it would apply Fervor of Battle too. With the mastery granting AD, it will no longer give so much damage to these Rageblade users.
On the other hand, the extra AD will be huge for other champions. Auto attack based AD carries that build Critical Strike will benefit heavily from this mastery, especially those who pick up Infinity Edge. At level 18 the 60 AD would mean extra 150 damage from a critical strike for example.
The other factor that is worth mentioning is that gaining AD also means physical damage abilities will hit harder, so expect champions such as Renekton or Fiora to really pack a punch with their abilities and the reworked Keystone.
It's also worth mentioning that extra AD will obviously affect lifesteal, so that's another advantage of the new Fervor of Battle.
Greenfather’s Gift is a new mastery in the cunning tree and now players will have to choose between this new point, Bandit and Dangerous Game.
For ranged supports, this could actually be extremely strong for extra poke damage in lane, as well as ADC’s if they’re willing to give up on Dangerous Game for it. Expect it to also be quite popular in the top lane, where the three lane brushes make it easy to constantly use the mastery off cooldown, especially for ranged top laners such as Kayle, Quinn or Teemo.
The buff is active while in brush and active until 5 seconds after leaving a brush.
Not much worth mentioning here, the mastery is being tweaked to reflect the fact that Lethality is the new stat used to calculate Armor Penetration.
Siegemaster is the new Tier 2 Resolve point that will be the third option alongside Explorer and Tough Skin. Riot hasn’t given confirmation on the range but after testing we can confirm that it is around 750 range
This is mostly a niche mastery point for solo laners in losing matchups, where they expect to be under turret for most of the early game. Unless you're laning against an auto based champion that pushes you in, chances are Siegemaster will help you much more than Tough Skin in the early stages of the game.
The Maximum range of the Siegemaster Aura seems to be very similar to Xerath's minimum Arcanopulse range (750 units)
Fearless is the new Tier 4 mastery in the resolve tree and it looks pretty strong, especially for tankier champions. The issue is that it has to compete with Insight, the mastery point that reduces the cooldown on all your Summoner Spells.
Having Flash, Ghost and/or Teleport available earlier is key and at higher levels, the lack of Summoner Spells is often punished.
With that said, if you’re willing to give up on lower summoner spell cooldowns and want the extra defensive stats for laning and teamfights (especially as a tank) it’s worth taking it. By grabbing both Fearless and Siegemaster it might be enough to make it through laning.
Example: Nasus in a tough matchup early on
The other big change for keystone masteries is the introduction of Courage of the Colossus, and with it the removal of Strength of the Ages.
Simply put, SotA was boring, and a lot of junglers were forced to go into the resolve tree to gain the raw stats the mastery offered. Free Health is almost always a good to have.
By replacing it and changing the jungle, Riot intends to widen the options for junglers so they aren’t all forced to go for the same Keystone.
The new option, Courage of the Colossus is tailored towards initiators and tanky divers that want the extra stats to be able to be in the front line and survive for longer.
Despite the mastery being very powerful (granting up to 35% of a champion's maximum health as a shield) it has certain limitations that make it balanced. First off, only champions with hard CC can use it, making it essentially useless for some bruisers such as Trundle (unless you hit miraculous displacement pillars) or Illaoi.
Secondly, while it is a powerful shield, not being able to fully control when it’s activated means it won’t always serve its purpose. It’s not an ability or an active item like Locket of the Iron Solari where you can press a button when the damage comes in, so users won't always be able to get the shield as a reaction to incoming burst.