Zoe and Talon have been at the top of the recent League of Legends meta for different reasons. That might not last much longer, according to the most recent PBE update, because Riot has some pretty massive late-game nerfs planned for the duo.
Talon’s nerf is the lesser of the two, but it’s still pretty large. He’s so strong that players have recently figured out you don’t even need a dueling Summoner Spell like Ignite. Instead, you should just take Smite to up the farm factor, and then you’re all set!
That’s mostly a joke, but players have actually been taking Smite on Talon for about a week now, and (at least) part of the reason he can get away with it is that he’s so strong in a duel. He’s probably the strongest assassin in the game right now, so it doesn’t surprise us that a nerf is coming, but we’re not entirely convinced that’s the right course of action. Part of the reason he’s at the top is because the game’s other assassins, barring an exception or two, are weak, and they should get some help, too.
Talon’s nerf targets his Rake, which is his primary damage-dealer throughout laning phase, and a significant team-fighting tool later on. At rank one, the ability will deal the same damage. By the time it hits max rank, however, its base damage will be a total 40 less—20 less for the initial damage and 20 down for its return, too. Simply put, this nerf means Talon’s late-game damage will be more reliant on his AD scaling through items, so the more he falls behind, the more he’ll feel this nerf.
Zoe’s is even more extreme, and that’s probably because she’s maintained a hold on the pro meta as well as in solo queue, unlike Talon who’s only really a threat in solo queue. Her nerf isn’t about base damage, and instead, includes a significant dip in her AP scalings on Paddle Star, her primary ability.
At minimum, the ability will now scale with 50 percent of her AP, down from 60, and at maximum, it’ll scale with 125 percent, which is down from 150. AP and AD scalings aren’t felt to the fullest until later in the game when you’ve had a chance to add a few items to your arsenal. These are large enough nerfs that Zoe will probably feel the pain earlier on, however, even though they’ll mostly only affect her late-game damage output.
Both nerfs are scheduled to launch with Patch 8.14 next week.