League of Legends Preseason 2021 Item Changes Announced

by in League of Legends | Aug, 10th 2020

The preseason is always an insanely exciting part of the year when Riot pushes out immense changes to League of Legends. These changes include the in-game economy, the jungle and all of its many twists and turns, the pacing of the game, certain champion groups, and everything in between. Riot is planning noticeable preseason 2021 item changes that are bound to leave a mark. These changes are incredibly nuanced, but they’re also what the game needs.

Before we delve deeper, keep in mind that most of what is below falls under the “work in progress” category. Because they’re still experimenting, Riot isn’t making any promises, nor is anything set in stone. With that out of the way, let’s begin!

This will be quite a lengthy post, so if you’re looking for something specific, make sure to use that nifty Ctrl+F function (or Cmd+F if you’re a Mac user)!

Stats and Effects

With healing becoming so prevalent in the game, buying Grievous Wounds has become an unavoidable part of most builds. Riot wants to nerf healing to a certain degree and therefore make items with Grievous Wounds more of an option than a necessity.

Grievous Wounds can be a bit too inconsequential when applied to an opponent who has already snowballed out of control. Therefore, Riot plans on giving these items a “sharper effect” that’ll function more like a concrete counter than just a slight de-buff.

Cooldown Reduction is becoming a thing of the past. Starting with the 2021 preseason, we’ll all be buying Ability Haste. CDR currently scales exponentially, meaning the more you buy it, the better it’ll be. Ability Haste, on the other hand, will be linear. For 10 Ability Haste, you’ll be able to cast 10% more abilities. This means that getting additional Ability Haste will be more noticeable than it currently is with CDR. It’s also worth noting that most in-game stats (like Armor and Magic Resist) already scale this way.

To make matters more interesting, Ability Haste will be uncapped. CDR is way too powerful right now, so it has to be capped at 40%. Ability Haste, on the other hand, doesn’t need such a restriction because of its linear scaling. The result of this should be new build paths that favor quick spell casting over sheer power.


Going forward, Tenacity will reduce the duration of knockups. This is huge, especially with knockups becoming so prevalent in the game these days. Champions that rely heavily on knockups will be compensated in one way or another to remain relevant.

Jungle Items

Junglers will now purchase a single starting item that’ll require no further investment. The point is to provide junglers with all the stats they need early on so that they can continue rounding out their builds as soon as possible.

Riot already did the same thing with support starting items last year and found a ton of success.

Marksman Items

Item builds for AD carries have always been fairly one-dimensional. There are certain items you have to purchase to leave a mark in-game. This means marksman itemization is quite a drag. Fortunately, Riot finally got the memo.

They plan to provide marksmen with “more strategic choices” while also giving them better tools to survive if they aren’t a part of a well-coordinated team. Riot will also shift the grunt of their power to the very first item they purchase. In other words, marksmen will still carry that well-known late-game potential. However, they’ll be a lot stronger early on. They also plan on shipping new items to provide AD carries with options that’ll serve as niche purchases for very specific in-game situations (like an AD Armor item, for instance).

Mage Items

Mages are versatile when it comes to item builds, but the way they start is severely limited to what’s strongest now meta-wise. Riot plans on fixing this by offering mages a broader set of items to choose from in the early game.

Artillery mages will have better options, i.e. items that synergize with their “unique range and skills.”

AP Fighters and AP Assassins

This very specific (and quite polarizing) group of champions will receive a new class of items. No longer will AP fighters and assassins “borrow” from the same mage items builds, but will instead have specific, tailored options, especially in the early game. Riot will also provide them with a more seamless transition into the late game, depending on how they want to round out their build.

AD Fighter Items

Fighters and marksmen suffer from a similar problem, with the former having must-buy core items like Black Cleaver and Trinity Force. In other words, there’s very little thought put into the whole itemization process, and that needs to change. To counteract this, Riot will ship a couple of enticing early-game options that’ll “compete for the crucial early slots.”

Furthermore, Riot plans on offering fighters more defensive options other than just Sterak’s Gage and Death’s Dance.

AD Assassin Items

Assassins generally have great options for the first two or three items, but after that point, they end up rounding out their builds with items that are “borrowed” from other classes. Riot wants to create a more diverse set of items for players to choose from. Most of which will allow assassins to tailor their builds in accordance with what’s going on in-game.

In short, expect more “specialized” options come preseason.

Tank Items

Tanks need to fill a very nuanced role. They’re not always equipped with the right tools for the job. Riot wants to offer new and exciting items that’ll allow tanks to adapt to what’s going on in the game.

This will include more Magic Resist-based options, enhanced tank utility, and “late-game capstone items” like the Rabadon’s Deathcap (but for tanks, of course).

Enchanter Items

Riot aims to create more build variety for enchanters by creating new items (and updating old ones), while also solving the “active overload” problem. If things pan out as expected, enchanters should end up with just one or two active items regardless of how they itemize — no more, no less.

Finally, most enchanter items provide a little bit of everything, which isn’t necessarily good, especially when it comes to champion and item balancing. Going forward, items will be a lot more focused with a clear purpose and goal behind each.

Closing Thoughts

Riot has some huge changes in the pipeline. They’ll inevitably affect the game in a myriad of ways. It seems as though they’ve thought of every single champion category and in-game role, which is commendable. Whether these preseason 2021 item changes will pan out as well as everyone expects remains to be seen, but the potential is certainly there.

Some of these changes might be a bit overdue, but at least they’re coming our way.

For a more official look at the 2021 preseason item changes, make sure to head over to Riot’s dev post. Finally, if you’re into competitive League, make sure to mark your calendar as the playoffs begin soon!


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