Welcome back to Patch Chat! We’re Riot’s Playtest Team, a group of high ranking League players whose job it is to play the hell out of things (lane tests, competitive testing, etc) and give actionable, objective feedback to designers.
Every two weeks (concurrent with the release of patch notes), we’re going to be hosting a discussion here on the state of balance on the current patch. Take this opportunity to ask us any questions about the state of the game because, as we said, it’s our job to analyze it from all angles.
Today, we’re here with Scott “Sickoscott” Hong, ex-professional jungler and top laner, S5 Challenger, and playtester to talk about the state of top lane and what it’s like to be a playtester at Riot.
In this patch, we have nerfs going through on Nautilus and Pantheon, two champions who have dominated top lane for two patches. On top of that, notorious lane bully Renekton is getting buffed. What do we expect the top lane landscape to look like going into patch 6.5?
_Nautilus and Pantheon both destroy other melee matchups in trades thanks to their superior threat range. On top of that, they have frequent windows to all-in squishy ranged champions. Even if they fall behind, they bring point-and-click CC for ganks.
_I expect more passive champions with short melee range to become stronger, especially Rammus and Shen. While they have lower threat ranges, they take more time to ramp up.
_Melee tanks who end up with decent damage in the late-game but still bring initiation and gank assistance shine in the current meta, but those two are the two likeliest standouts.
_Graves and Quinn should also surface as bully laners. They have fallen in win rate in recent patches thanks to the all-in threats of champions like Pantheon or Nautilus, in part due to the point-and-click CC which nullifies their range advantage and ability to dodge skillshots with their move-blocks. With those two out of the way, these ranged champions should have more room to breathe and start abusing the other top laners who don’t have the luxury of not having skillshots.
You’ve been playing League of Legends in Season 1; what has kept you interested so long? Do you have a favorite champion?
_I like playing champions who have a lot of room for skill expression, especially champions with “hidden” mechanics. Nidalee has so many tricks that you can play her in 1000 games and still do something better in the next game.
You’ve been at Riot for around a year; what is your favorite thing about your job?
_I’m surrounded by passionate LoL fans. I get to play the game everyday and talk with my coworkers about anything League related, from the LCS to my terrible solo queue games.
What do you find hardest about working in Playtest?
_Trying to stay impartial and not having your emotions get the better of you when you’re having a discussion with a teammate or a designer. Just because you hate playing against a champion doesn’t mean it needs a nerf; I try my hardest not to be biased.
If you’d never discovered League of Legends, what would you be doing?
_I’d probably be teaching English in a foreign country. I enjoy teaching/coaching people who are eager to learn, whether it’s English or League.
Do you have any questions about what it’s like to work as a Riot playtester? As usual, feel free to ask any questions about balance or what exactly our job is! We will be around for the next few hours and will try to answer as many questions as possible.
Adam "_Afic_" Cohen
Ben “_Cezium_” Burkhardt
Isaac “_Azael_” Cummings-Bentley
Shawn “_I Am The IRS_” Currie
Miles “_Daydreamin_” Hoard
Scott “_Sickoscott_” Hong
Mattias “_Gentleman Gustaf_” Lehman
Nicholas “_Drecker_” Shapiro
Nicholas “_Nickwu_” Smith
Blake “_Ex Shepherd_” Soberanis
Trevor “_ThEntropist_” Thernes
Link to [Patch 6.5 Notes](http://na.leagueoflegends.com/en/news/game-updates/patch/patch-65-notes)