Playing an enchanter support in the top lane with Summoner Spell Smite has been all the rage lately.
This Smite top strategy was first popularized in solo queue about a month ago by a high Elo Master tier player using Janna. FlyQuest’s top laner Colin “Kumo” Zhao later debuted it in competitive play to great success against Counter Logic Gaming during the opening 2022 LCS Spring weekend.
Now, even Riot has taken notice. While Riot has said that it values creativity in League of Legends, it “believes this specific strategy goes over the line for what a healthy amount of early game roaming looks like”. Specifically, it denies lane opponents from utilizing their early game advantage (if any) in the laning phase, which the League of Legends developer considers “a core part of each game”.
In the short term, Riot is implementing system changes in League of Legends patch 12.4 targeting support gold income items. Moving forward, it’ll also be working on a more comprehensive long-term solution to address this.
Smite top has been indirectly nerfed by new systems changes to support gold income items in League of Legends patch 12.4
Spellthief’s Edge, Relic Shield, Steel Shoulderguards, and Spectral Sickle
Gold value bounties
- Gold value bounties (a.k.a. CS bounties) are now based on the number of support gold income items on each team, rather than the assumption that each team has one support gold income item
- Enemy gold leads are now significantly less likely to lead to Objective Bounties activating if there are two or more support gold income items on your team
Tribute/spoils of war (passive) – minion farming penalty
- Receive diminishing gold from excessive minion kills changed from [4 minions per minute] to [2 minions per minute until 5 minutes; 4 minions per minute thereafter]. This diminished gold penalty is now also more severe during the first 5 minutes of the game. (All else unchanged)
CS bounties would appear whenever a champion farms better than others. They were introduced to League of Legends to give the losing team a chance to mount a comeback by taking down farmed champions for extra gold.
More specifically, this player would have to be farming better than the average of the top four by a substantial amount, said David “Phreak” Turley in his patch 12.4 rundown. As such, CS bounties are most common on split push champions or AD carries.
If you’re a top laner facing a Janna Smite top who bought a support gold income item in addition to bot lane’s support, and you’re farming better because you’re staying in lane, you will not accrue a CS bounty on your head. This means there’s now less risk to top laners who choose to play out the standard laning phase.
In the same vein, this concept is also applied to objective bounties.
“If [the game] sees more than one Spellthief, [it’ll] heavily devalue what the gold lead means when putting objective bounties on,” explained Phreak.
He also added that to his understanding, objective bounties and the success of Smite top aren’t strongly correlated. But while objective bounties aren’t the key reason why roaming solo lane enchanters were successful, this change will nonetheless have an impact in solo queue.
Lastly, the minion farming penalty is even more strict now in League of Legends patch 12.4. Holding a support gold income item and farming just two minions per minute within the first five minutes will grant you less gold.
Read the full League of Legends patch 12.4 notes here.