Since his emergence into the competitive scene at last year’s All-Star Event, Ornn has solidified himself as a staple in Professional League of Legends. With a 53% pick/ban presence across every region in the world, the Fire Below the Mountain has made for an excellent top lane pick throughout the course of the 2018 season. However, with Patch 8.12 around the corner, Riot could be shutting down the forge very soon.
On May 25, Riot’s Lead Game Designer Andrei “Meddler” van Roon gave the community a brief overview of what to expect regarding Patch 8.12, while making Ornn a focal point of the discussion. In the post, “Quick Gameplay Thoughts: May 25”, Meddler went on to explain that “we‘re potentially doing some work on Ornn. Goal there, rather than increasing or decreasing overall power, is to make him less of a safe pick when you don’t yet know who he’ll be facing in lane. That likely means giving him a clearer weakness enemy picks can capitalize on and giving him strength elsewhere.”
With this in mind, it’s important to note that Ornn has been on Riot’s radar for quite some time. After removing the Unstoppable feature from his W, Bellows Breath, in Patch 8.2, the cooldown on the ability was increased just 2 patches later. If Riot is going to nerf Ornn again, Bellows Breath will most likely be a point of interest, as well as his ultimate, Call of the Forge God.
With his W and Ultimate on cooldown, Ornn instantly becomes a shade of his full potential, and with those abilities potentially taking a hit in the next patch, the champion could be completely gutted.
Right now, Ornn as a whole is “too safe” of a pick for Riot, as he could potentially be slotted into nearly any lane matchup and come out on top, or at worst, even with his opposition. In a meta that heavily favors tanks in the top lane, Ornn is universally looked at as a top-tier option, putting him alongside top lane titans such as Camille, Gnar, and Gangplank.
However, with Patch 8.12 slated to drop before the first week of Summer play for most regions, it’s possible that Ornn could evaporate from the professional scene if Riot goes through with these significant nerfs to his kit. With less than 3 weeks to go before the NA LCS Summer Split kicks off, and just 12 days until competitive play as a whole begins in China, there’s a strong chance that Ornn’s fire could be out before then, driving a significant wrench into a top lane meta that has been trying to figure itself out since the start of the season.
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