Citing a low win rate in solo queue, Neeko has been given some love in League of Legends patch 12.4, wrote Riot Games, as two of her abilities have been buffed.
In addition to these Neeko buffs, the game developers are also reducing her hitbox “to match those of similar characters” which means more dodging and less getting CCed.
Riot hopes that these changes will help her waveclear in mid lane, which incentives players to roam. However, these Neeko buffs might actually turn her into a better support instead in the current meta.
Neeko buffs in League of Legends patch 12.4
- Gameplay (hitbox) radius decreased from 80 to 65
Q – Blooming Burst
- Additional Bloom damage increased from 40/60/80/100/120 (+20% AP) to 40/65/90/115/140 (+20% AP)
W – Shapesplitter
- Cooldown decreased from 20/19/18/17/16 seconds to 16/15/14/13/12 seconds
Quality of life changes
- When playing as Neeko, your center HUD (i.e. the buff icons above your skills) will now always display your actual buffs, rather than the buffs of the ally you are disguised as if you’re using Passive – Inherent Glamour. Enemies who click on you will still see the buffs of the ally you are disguised as in the target UI at the top of their screen.
Why mid lane Neeko still won’t be meta even after these improvements
The current League of Legends meta, especially at the highest level of competitive play, favors wave clear mages such as Ryze, Orianna, Vex, and Viktor. Corki has also joined the ranks since his new AP Mythic item build makes him a monster in the late game.
The buffs to Blooming Burst however, only increase its base damage at level three and up, which means that Neeko will only start to benefit from level five onwards instead of earlier in the game.
Compared to meta mid laners, she’ll still face the same problems of getting outranged and poked down in the early levels. She also doesn’t have a point and click root like Ryze, so ganks from the jungler is not a guaranteed kill.
What’s more, mages in the current meta also scale well into the late game and provide high value in team fights, either through game-changing ultimates, or AoE zoning abilities. Neeko however, doesn’t scale as well, and only possesses one AoE–her ultimate–that requires her to commit and go all-in, which is a lot risker.
As such, these buffs might actually make her a better support than mid laner since her crowd control outweighs her damage. Even though AP supports like Brand, Zilean, and Vel’koz aren’t optimal in pro play, they are still very popular in solo queue.
In fact, Neeko functions very much like Zyra, where their goal is to root enemy champions, follow up with a burst spell, and chain them with their big AoE ultimate.
Since roaming supports are also a core part of this meta, Neeko’s camouflage passive, Inherent Glamour, and a buffed Shapeshifter (W) will help her to achieve that.
Read the full League of Legends patch 12.4 notes here.