As it turns out, Clayton “CaptainFlowers” Raines may not be the only one spitting hot fire when it comes to this Mid-Season Invitational. A single patch brought a slew of buffs to multiple champions, but none shot up in priority quite like everyone’s favorite Mechanized Menace. An attempt at bringing Rumble into line with other top lane champions has skyrocketed him up in priority across almost every position.
Let’s take a look at some of the changes, and what these mean for Rumble as a champion.
Prior to this most recent set of patches, the last set of changes that Rumble received saw his W - Scrap Shield - taken down a few notches in order to reduce his resilience in the midlane. After all, while Rumble is a melee champion, he has a fantastic early game relative to most of the meta midlane pool and was dominating most laning phases.
11.8 saw Riot’s balance team decide to bring Rumble out of his relatively new home in the midlane and put him back on top. His E - Electro Harpoon - received some Magic Resistance shred, which would help nullify the issues that a champion stacking flat Magic Penetration over raw Ability Power historically struggled with.
However, it was the adjustment to his Passive — Junkyard Titan — that truly turned Rumble in the Jungle into more than just a skin and a dream. When Overheated (Rumble’s passive silences him for a brief period after using multiple abilities, used strategically to trade even when all of your abilities are on cooldown), Rumble’s attacks now deal percentage health damage on top of their standard one-two AP-scaling magic-damage punch. On top of that, while Overheated, Rumble gains 50% Attack Speed - nothing too significant for a non-Azir AP champion in general, but for a champion whose auto attacks scale with his AP and deal percentage health bonus damage, this is a blessing.
Rumble’s early clear is excellent, and so is his dueling from level 3 onwards. This is partially due to his Passive (and ease of access to it once you have all three basic abilities unlocked for quick and easy heat generation), but also because his go-to ability Q — Flamespitter — is a powerful clearing and dueling tool.
Regardless of the buffs to his other abilities, Rumble’s R — The Equalizer — is and always will be the most iconic part of his kit. The notoriously difficult to smartcast ultimate is a line of slowing, searing flames that either forces a Flash or melts an entire team. The sheer power of this ability — combined with its high base damage and Rumble’s tendency to build Magic Penetration - means that teams with Rumble often have objective control from as early as first Drake.
Super Galaxy Heart Breaker
How does a single buff drive a champion from nearly entirely unplayable to straight to the top of the priority list? Rumble hadn’t been seeing much play in Season 11 until this patch, and this is due to a few things.
Despite packing a tremendous punch early, Rumble often suffered in lanes in which he couldn’t easily convert on a kill or pressure. The rise of ranged bullies such as Lucian and Tristana in either sololane meant that it was often a case of level 6 or bust for the Rumble player, and this wasn’t ideal when your champion is strongest at levels 3, 4, 5, 6, and 11 (multiple points in Q and two points in R is the sweet spot for Rumble before the enemy team can build much MR).
Even if top lane was oftentimes more forgiving match-up wise (Ornn, Sion, Gnar), it was even more difficult to convert on kills, especially given the shift in itemization that came with this season. Rumble could no longer rush the Liandry’s Torment of old in these matchups, and as a result of this, his ability to even impact a tank lane suffered, meaning he was once again relegated to slowly being outscaled.
A tendency to almost always push the lane is oftentimes considered a blessing, but with junglers like Hecarim, Udyr, and Taliyah at the top of the table, one quick shove could turn into a swift death. While some Rumble players could stack the wave and turn a 1v2, professional play tends to discourage a lot of risk-taking where possible.
Burning Brighter Than Ever
While being an occasional pick for top and mid laners for some time, Rumble was completely absent from the jungle until this set of buffs came through. His early clear being augmented means that he can now contest with some of the faster farming junglers for a Scuttle Crab, and while he lacks any hard CC his damage is top-tier. The addition of an AP threat to a team composition also unlocks more opportunities for AD midlaners such as the aforementioned Tristana or Lucian.
In terms of Rumble jungle, the hot tip right now seems to be starting with W at level 1 and taking an ability haste rune in order to build heat towards your passive from the get-go.
A great deal of Rumble’s strength at the moment also comes from his innate flexibility. As mentioned earlier, Rumble is very playable in both sololanes, as well as the jungle, but can also function as a competent support. Thanks to his high base damage and decent utility, consider Rumble to be similar to the Brand/Vel’koz supports of old without the whole “being terrible in every other position.”
Rumble is very likely to be seen in the jungle often this tournament (if he's not banned). That being said, while both An “Balls” Van Le and Jang “MaRin” Gyeong-hwan have retired and Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon was unable to make it back to the international stage, top lane has always been the place to be for the champion. Mid lane was the role of choice for the champion last year, and support has always been under the radar but an option if the opportunity arises.
Professionals and analysts alike have weighed in on the topic, with consensus being that Rumble is going to be a tremendous priority for almost every team this tournament. Long-time players should either be grateful that their favorite champion is finally getting some recognition or pray that he falls short and avoids any further nerfs.