We’re sure you’ve probably noticed that the current bot lane meta isn’t too kind to traditional marksman-type champions. In fact, there are only a few marksmen left that can stand up to the craziness of the Yasuo, Vladimir, and Heimerdinger bot lanes.
One of those few is Kai’Sa, and after this week’s absolutely devastating nerf to the Guinsoo’s Rageblade, she’s going to be a lot weaker, too. Other champions that will feel the brunt of this nerf are Kayle, Master Yi, pre-update Aatrox, and Varus, but Kai’Sa will definitely feel it the most as the most popular go-to marksmen in pro play.
The nerf is a rather large hit to the item’s scaling AP and AD. Before this week’s patch, each basic attack stack would increase your AP and AD by four percent, capping out at six stacks and 24 percent each. After the nerf, it’ll give you 2.5 percent of each, capping at 15 percent. Let’s put that into perspective.
At level 18 and with the Rageblade, Nashor’s Tooth, Deathcap, Hourglass, and Void Staff (Kai’Sa’s most popular build in North America), Kai’Sa has around 530 AP. At max stacks of Guinsoo’s her AP shoots up to around 620. Keep in mind, the math is off here. If 530 AP were really boosted by 24 percent, she’d be around 657 AP, but it seems the Guinsoo’s Rageblade stacks do not take adaptive AP from runes into account when boosting.
Taking adaptive AP out of the equation, she’d have closer to 620 AP with the Rageblade capped, so we assume that’s the issue here, which may be a bug. Without adaptive AP, and after this patch’s change to the item, she’d cap out at around 563 AP, which is almost 60 less AP than she could reach prior to the nerf, and that’s a massive amount of AP to lose.
Of course, the Rageblade has another very powerful use on Kai’Sa specifically. When she triggers Guinsoo’s Rage, she applies two stacks of her passive with every other attack. At least that functionality won’t be removed, but her raw power outside of that is going to take a serious hit.
If it’s enough to hurt her that much, she may simply switch to a different starting item, like the Blade of the Ruined King (due to how cheap it is), or maybe she’ll rush Nashor’s and opt for another high AP item like the Lich Bane instead.
It isn’t terribly likely that she’ll be usurped at the top of the meta, but there’s at least a small chance. If that does happen, the bot lane’s marksman pool will be even more choked out in Patch 8.13 than it was before.