Riot Games wants to bring back Olaf to solo queue in League of Legends patch 12.9. He has been “one of the least-mained champions in League for a while now,” according to the developer, despite being a frequent pick in pro play.

The game developers went about doing this by first nerfing his clear speed in the jungle. To balance it out, they included new tools in his kit, such as a shield on the new W “Tough It Out”, to make players feel “stronger and in more control of Olaf’s survivability.”

Judging from the nerfs to his jungle clear and the current meta, it’s looking more and more likely that his new home on Summoner’s Rift will be in the top lane.

Olaf adjustments in mini-rework in League of Legends patch 12.9

Base Stats

  • AD growth increased from 3.5 to 4.7
  • AD at level 18 increased from 127.5 to 148
  • Health growth increased from 100 to 105
  • Mana growth increased from 42 to 50

Passive – Berserker Rage

  • Maximum attack speed granted lowered from 99% to 40-100% (levels 1-18)
  • (New) Fight on: Berserker’s Rage now provides 10-30% life steal (levels 1-18), based on Olaf’s missing health
  • (Updated) Mad math: Bonuses no longer max out at 0% Health, but instead at 30% Health

Q – Undertow

  • Cooldown decreased from 7 to 9 seconds
  • Damage decreased from 80/125/170/215/260 to 60/110/160/210/260
  • Minimum range increased from 300 to 425 units
  • Mana cost decreased from 60 at all ranks to 40/45/50/55/60
  • (New) Beatdown City Population – You: Undertow now shreds 20/22.5/25/27.5/30% armor for 4 seconds upon hitting an enemy champion. (Note: Subsequent axes will refresh the debuff duration.)
  • (Updated) Pro axe juggler: Picking up axes now fully refunds Q – Undertow’s cooldown, but axes can only be thrown a maximum of once every 3 seconds. (Note: The 3 second limit scales with Ability Haste.)
  • (Updated) Coming through: Included a quality of life buff to Olaf’s Q – Undertow so that it now grants ghosting more consistently to jungle monsters who he hits or are near him when Q is cast
Brolaf skin for Olaf in League of Legends
Credit: Riot Games

(New) W – Tough It Out

  • Cooldown decreased from 16 seconds at all ranks to 16/14.5/13/11.5/10 seconds
  • Attack speed decreased from 50/60/70/80/90% to 40/50/60/70/80%
  • Ability duration decreased from 6 to 4 seconds
  • (New) Just: W now resets Olaf’s basic attack timer
  • (New) Tough: On activation, Olaf now gains a 10/45/80/115/150 (+25% missing health, capped at 30% of his current HP) shield for 2.5 seconds
  • (Removed) In: No longer grants Life Steal
  • (Removed) Out: No longer amplifies Olaf’s healing based on missing health

R – Ragnarok

  • Bonus attack damage decreased from 15/20/25 (+30% AD) to 10/20/30 (+25% AD)
  • Duration decreased from 6 to 3 seconds
  • (Passive) Resists decreased from 20/30/40 to 10/25/40
  • (Removed) I am untethered: R – Ragnarok’s passive bonus resistances are no longer lost for the duration of the ability
  • (New) My rage knows no bounds: Hitting a champion with a basic attack or E – Reckless Swing extends the duration of Ragnarok to 2.5 seconds. Olaf can refresh Ragnarok indefinitely.

What these adjustments mean for League of Legends players

Olaf’s passive, Berserker Rage, defined his playstyle in the jungle, where his low HP was a steroid to his attack speed.

Previously, the maximum attack speed granted was up to 99%, which is huge in the early levels. In this patch, however, it’s been capped at 40% at level one, and up to 100% at level 18, inevitably reducing his jungle clear speed.

To make up for the big attack speed nerf, his passive now grants 10 to 30% lifesteal based on Olaf’s missing health, which softens the blow but does nothing for his clear.

Glacial Olaf skin official splash art wallpaper
Credit: Riot Games

Missing Undertow (Q) is now much more punishing too. Its cooldown has been increased to nine seconds, and damage lowered early. Its minimum range has also been increased to 425 units, which means Olaf players will have to walk further to pick up their axe.

The best buff to Undertow, however, is that it now shreds armor, something that was needed in his kit for him to function as a juggernaut on par with champions like Darius and Shyvanna. This allows him to make better target selections in team fights instead of simply turning on Ragnarok and making a beeline for the enemy’s backline.

The second notable buff is to his W, Tough It Out, which now grants Olaf a shield that lasts 2.5 seconds based on his missing health, but is capped at 30% of his current HP. According to David “Phreak” Turley’s patch rundown calculations, he estimates that this ability is best used when Olaf is at about 45% of his max HP.

The third buff you should take note of is to Ragnarok, which is similar to reworked Swain in that they both now have the potential to refresh their ultimate indefinitely. As long as Olaf hits a champion with a basic attack or Reckless Swing (E), Ragnarok’s duration will be extended by 2.5 seconds, which makes him more relentless in team fights. AD carries, watch out!

Overall, Olaf gained armor shred, a shield, and a potentially never-ending Ragnarok ultimate, and is much stronger in the late game. But in order to get there, he’ll first need to survive a weaker early game possibly in the top lane, or trudge through a much slower jungle clear.

Read the full patch 12.9 notes here.

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