I'm not going to go in depth about every single change but simply talk about the "big ones" and changes I'm making personally to adjust for the purposes of solo queue.
With the nerfs to his AP ratios and overall changes to his kit to make him more of a melee brawler and I think Gragas is no longer a must pick/ban champion in mid lane. I do however think his new kit is very conducive to jungling with a better instant heal, new auto attack augmentation, and slightly higher base damage on body slam, as well as buffs to certain jungle items you might end up seeing Gragas out of the jungle or as an "anti tank" in the top lane.
To be honest with you I don't play enough Rengar to really make too much of a judgement about the power level of these changes. I do think it makes Rengar's long fight potential significantly higher than it was before and makes counterplay more possible instead of him just appearing and stomping your ADC (or mid lane). We'll see how this affects things but since Rengar wasn't really picked or banned THAT often in platinum solo queue I'm not sure this change affects me that much.
Graves has historically had some mana issues and the slightly nerf to the cost of quickdraw and slight buffs to the damage on Collateral Damage's explosion damage, especially at rank 1 you might begin to see Graves appearing again in dedicated AOE comps and possibly in most comps. Not entirely sure if his matchups are currently too bad to make these changes worthwhile but this is a nice tweak.
Exactly as they say in the patch description, Heimer was a bit too powerful early in the game so they brought his turret damage slightly down and made his ultimate laser not start with a beam charge so you couldn't place is and effectively use it as "another spell." I don't think he's the high ban rate he was anymore with these changes as you can now possibly even solo kill him in lane without dying (though I wouldn't advise that).
They gave Khazix the "Ahri ult" change from last season where they increased the time between casts of his ultimate's charges. They also made his upgraded ultimate not reduce tower damage anymore. Overall I don't think this changes Khazix very much but it does prevent him from doing some absolutely stupid broken things. Still worth a ban in solo queue.
The Safeguard changes seem really threatening to Lee Sin's viability to me. While he wasn't the best champion in the hands of non-elite players, this does make his decision making significantly more difficult and while I don't think it really affects his overall power it will make him much more difficult to play optimally. Banned sometimes, probably not worth it at all except at the highest level.
People are freaking about this change. I don't think it changes what Leona does or how powerful she is at all. The people complaining about this are the people that are bad at Leona and bad at positioning anyway.
Thankfully this mid lane pest will fall out of popular favor. The enemy follow duration as well as overall base damage nerfs to her E will make it so that Lulu can't just instantly burst you dead WHILE BEING A TANKY UNKILLABLE NUISANCE. No longer worth a ban.
This is a significant buff to MF. Damage across the board, a slightly different ultimate that now stacks impure shots up make her an interesting option again. The test is going to be whether or not the damage makes it worth her lack of escape which is exactly the reason she wasn't played before. The difference this time is that these changes provide an INSANE amount of damage. I'll certainly be trying her as she used to be my go to ADC (because I suck at ADC I could just be an ult bot).
Slightly nerf to his ult at rank 1 doesn't really change just how dominant Renekton is right now but I do like the "nerf it a bit" over the "nerf to oblivion THEN buff". Some counterpicks (Ryze) are popping up but Renekton still seems to be king of the top lane. Still worth a ban!
Surprisingly relevant change and improves quality of life on TF players that aren't really really good at him (like me!)
Slight nerfs to his early damage and armor shred on the Q make him less of a threat when ganking but don't take away from his core impact on a game. He just won't be dealing stupid amounts of damage, just high amounts. Maybe worth a ban still? Monitor situation
Nerfed his attack range by 25 which doesn't really change that much except in certain matchups (to be decided)
Crazy quality of life change to Malzahar's voidling attack order that actually makes him a viable option against pushers like Ziggs, Morde, and Morgana.
His passive getting popped by a large monster or siege minion even if it doesnt hit the 40 threshold is kind of irrelevant and but will potentially make him take more damage during non-ult ganks (lol?). Overall still powerful. Still worth a ban.
Blue Trinket changes
I think with the change to 2 minutes people were going to invade more, which they did, but the counter to this is buying wards early not buying the blue trinket. I still think its the best trinket in the extreme late game and it gets a little better in that situation. Not much of a change here in my opinion.
Jungle Items: Elder Lizard and Feral Flare
SotEL slight nerf doesn't change it much. The real change is that FERAL FLARE IS STUPID BROKEN. It's just too damn powerful. You can have it as the only damage item and then go tank and you'll still beat the living hell out of squishies with little to no sacrifice. Interesting to see if this will help counteract the Lee Sin changes (read: nerfs). As it stands with limited sample size this item seems a bit too powerful and probably needs to be toned down.
Support Items: Forbidden Idol and Aether Wisp, and Face/Frost Queen buffs
I think Aether Wisp is an interesting option for cheap move speed but don't really know who will use it other than maybe Janna (maybe soraka/sona?). Forbidden Idol fills a nice little role for champs that wanted the CDR or Kindlegem but didn't want to spend money on the health necessarily (Zyra, Sona maybe, Janna?) and it provides cheap CDR which everyone likes! Frost Queens, Talisman, and Face all got slight buffs and slight upgrade cost increases to compensate. Face of the mountain now provides 500 health (o.O). That's a Rylais or a Randuin's. I read an interesting article on building it on non-supports vs AD assassins like Talon/Zed that you can find over on LoLPro (http://www.lolpro.com/articles/the-analysis-corner/1977-item-analysis-face-of-the-mountain-patch-4-5-a-new) Overall this won't change much although 200 more gold to get to my Talisman makes me a little sad :(
Aegis of the Legion/Locket
Made into more of an anti-mage item so they took the armor off and added more MR. An interesting change to make the item more specialized. This one may be more significant than it seems at first because double AP is already trending and this could either stop that or become a must buy.
Will of the Ancients
Ever since they changed WotA last season it's been kind of in no-mans land. The champions that most want to buy it like Vladimir, Rumble, and Katarina didn't need the 10 mana per 5 on it so they were essentially wasting stats/gold leaving their only other upgrade to hextech the gunblade (bleck). 500 more gold for 30 ability power and the removal of the mana per 5 makes this a much more intriguing buy to replace something and make double AP comps a significant threat again. Potentially siginificant change.
This seems small but to me there are a lot of times where I just want the cloth and some wards. Now I can't do that. This might end up being more of a pain in the ass than it seems even though the cost doesn't change. It's kind of like investing in a DFG or Zhonya's where the needlessly large rod costs so much that you gotta decide to wait for it or save for it but less extreme.
Cheaper furor will make it an interesting earlier buy on ADC's potentially. Distortion now buffing Flash, Teleport, and Ghost (all of which are going to be more popular especially TP with recent changes) is really powerful and makes this the most intriguing of the changes. Captain buffs are also interesting but it remains to be seen who/when this gets used. Alacrity change means very little tbh. Homeguard will still be really good at what it does but the other enchants are more in line with it or better now.
The Rune Changes
Overall I think this makes flat armor almost always inferior to scaling health/flat health. If you're afraid of AD assassins early they usually start with armor pen and you'd be sacrificing the fact that you could have an extra chunk of health instead of some stuff that merely "reduces how bad you'll be murdered." Personally I changed almost all of my rune pages over to scaling health except for support where I'm running a couple pages with 4 armor seals. Health regen seals are going to be an interesting option that I'll have to experiment with as well as cooldown runes. The lifesteal nerfs made me switch back to just 2 ADC pages (1 with flat damage marks and quints, the other with 5x armor pen marks, 4x ad marks, and flat ad quints). CDR and health regen are still the most interesting secondary options to me but I think scaling health is superior to flat armor now MOST OF THE TIME. My rune page changes reflected this change with a complete revamp that you can see on my Lolking or whatever profile site you use.
Heal is ridiculously powerful now and will prolly be toned down. The one I want to talk more about is exhaust. Unlike many supports so far this season that are running ignite, I've been running exhaust most of the time still (maybe that's why I'm losing more on support this season?) as I just see it fitting my job description more often. More than half the game I'd rather have exhaust and ignite in lane "for kills" just didn't seem conducive to how you want to play support in general. It's about protecting the ADC and other teammates and Exhaust was still better at that to me. Now buffing it's range and damage reduction makes it much more powerful vs burst mages and assassins while still being very effective at stopping vayne/jax/other low range hyper carries.
What changes am I making?
1) Reworked Runes:
As I discussed briefly in the rune comments I've pretty much switched to health per level in MOST of the cases where I had flat armor. I left an AP page with half flat armor/half scaling health to deal with talon/zed's that play aggressively. I also left armor on my ADC page but I may change that to a hybrid as well. Armor pen is intriguing to me on ADC again but I don't do that role too often so I'll likely adapt to what others do until I get a better sample. Scaling health makes Scaling AP glyphs more appealing or a half ap/half mr page. I've changed my rune pages to adapt to the rune changes to the best of my ability.
2) Picks and Bans
I think Gragas and Lulu are now off of my ban list and possibly Wukong. I think the list for this patch looks something like: Yasuo, Renekton, Master Yi (feral flare...), Pantheon, Sivir, Khazix with maybe votes going to Wukong, Zed, and Thresh. Until I get a bigger sample size I think these bans seem appropriate based on my analysis of this patch.
3) Vladimir could be the top laner I needed to add
I said in my March 2014 Solo Queue Stat analysis video that I wanted to add a top laner to my repertoire for the cases when I needed to top lane. I've played Vladimir in the past and while he's typically not a very good solo queue champ because of his lack of CC you could play split push vlad with ghost/teleport and new distortion boots with the buffs to WotA and health per level seals (and increase to base armor by 4) making it so that you don't need to nerf his health with armor seals like you used to have to. He could be an interesting choice in top lane for me.
4) Champions to drop/Champions to play more
I think these changes remove Gragas from my pick list (good, I hated playing him and sucked at him anyway). It remains to be seen how the mid meta will develop but continuing to play Nidalee (she received no nerfs/buffs) to improve at her is an option for you. For supports you can continue to keep playing Leona as these changes are minimal and Zyra is more or less unchanged which is good as she was growing in popularity for bot lane anyway. Perhaps if people are afraid to play Leona (primary counterpick to Zyra) you could really start succeeding more with Zyra.
5) Checking prices to not misbuy during games
6) Boot enchantments are suddenly way more interesting.
It's going to be tough to figure out when to buy these new enchants but I think they're all pretty powerful. Monitor this situation closely but don't just default to homeguard anymore. Actually consider the options for the game at hand but don't forget that homeguard is still a powerful effect.
This patch will inevitably have a large impact on the professional playoffs for the season and many of the current staples (RIP Gragas/Lulu) will no longer be must pick/bans. I think it will improve the overall quality of things and I feel it will personally help me quite a bit as the changes are very natural to me while removing some of my weaker matchups. I always liked health/lvl seals but was sort of forced into using armor because it was just ruthlessly efficient. With more customization options in runes, and what I think will become a larger variety of champions (that I have better matchups against!) I will personally benefit a lot from this patch if I can transfer this sort of analysis into in game progress.
Til next time!