Swain is on release notice

Swain, the master tactician.

In another early announcement, Riot’s given us the official “champion approaches” forum post before the weekend even got started. Swain is on his way, and like I guessed, that shapeshifting skill is indeed his ultimate.

Here’s the official skill list:
Decrepify: Swain sets his raven to cripple an enemy. Over the next three seconds, the target takes damage over time and is slowed.

Nevermove: Swain marks a target area. After a short delay, mighty talons grab hold of enemy units dealing damage and rooting them.

Torment: Swain afflicts his target, dealing damage over time. During this affliction, a percentage of all damage dealt by Swain is added to the periodic damage of this debuff.

Ravenous Flock (Ultimate): Toggle: Swain transforms into the form of a raven, during this time up to 3 lesser ravens strike out at nearby enemies each second. Swain is healed for half the damage dealt by the Ravens.

Again, pretty pumped about this guy. I like the synergy between his skills, and it’s cool to have another shapeshifter.

How do you respond to losing?

Defeat screen.

I’ve been spending less time than usual in ranked games since crossing the 1500 marker for the second time. It’s that “second time” part that’s really important, because it took me a while to make my way back up after dropping as low as 1410ish. Prior to that point, I usually jumped into a new game shortly after losing. I had this sense that I could “erase” the last match by winning another. Unfortunately, we all know the game doesn’t work that way, and more often than not the losses pile up along with the frustration.

I’ve taken a different approach lately. When I lose a game I back off, let myself chill out from the loss before I queue again. It keeps the rage down a bit and even better, it gets me new teammates. I often feel like a losing team tends to lose when they get paired together because a demoralizing defeat just carries over into the next game.

Occasionally I’ll play a few in a row, but it’s usually on nights that I know I’ll be okay dropping 40-50 ELO, but for the most part, I’m sticking to a one and done schedule for losing. How do you handle your losses?

The client bugs have got to go

Chat FailI’ve had a frustrating run of games recently – losses, droppers, feeders, the usual – but they’ve been made even more frustrating by the seemingly rampant client bugs.

First, check out that chat list. Looks normal, right? Except I have six friends on line but they are nowhere in my chat list. See how the arrows all point down? That means the lists are expanded, there’s just nothing in them. All last night this was happening, and I had talked to a few people (sorry, Sannu) about getting a game in. Occasionally my notification box would light up red, but when I would click it, it would just say “No recent notifications.” Neat.

Then there’s the lobby chat bug, wherein I don’t get to talk to my teammates about comp, to offer my services as a tank/jungler/carry/whatever, don’t get to beg the Gangplank who insisted he take mid at nearly 1600 ELO to not take it the second game I got stuck with him (and watched him feed, again). Or how about changes to your rune page not saving properly, masteries taking forever to load, champion skins not being selected properly (sorry, I want my Magnificent Twisted Fate, not PAX Fate), or the chat rooms I have set to load on start loading without a name and without me in them.

These things seem small, but they all happen frequently enough that, when piled onto the frustration of playing with feeders, make for a bad experience. I have just as many good experiences in this game, even more, but the bad ones feel so bad it can be hard to remember the good.

Anyone else having client issues?

Why have armor penetration runes gone unchanged?

Armor with a bullet hole.A while back, Riot was talking very seriously about nerfing all of the armor penetration runes in the game. The argument was pretty simple. They provide too good a benefit, mostly at the early stages of the game. So why have they gone unchanged?

It may seem strange to be asking this now, but I just had a game against a Miss Fortune where I got to feel the full brunt of her lane prowess. I was playing Kennen, and positioning myself well, but it just didn’t matter. She was getting lucky bounces, and I seemed to catch creep aggro if I looked at her wrong. With a champion like Miss Fortune, armor penetration runes are particularly effective because she’s given a mage-grade nuke that can be dealt as pure damage with proper runes.

In my particular case, I had no recourse against her as Kennen, because his magic damage doesn’t get through nearly as much resistance. As the game goes on, it becomes a bit less of an issue. Most champions have scaling armor, while their magic resist remains the same throughout. Armor penetration items tend to be significantly more useful than their magic pen counterparts. The 40 percent armor penetration item increases both the damage you deal and how frequently you deal it. The base armor penetration item grants you cooldown reduction and damage. The magic penetration equivalents only increase the magnitude of your damage (and in the case of Haunting Guise, give you a little health). Granted, part of that is a difference in playstyle, but there’s no denying the strength of physical damage as compared to magic. That’s why the physical damage dealers are considered “carries.”

The thing is, armor penetration runes wouldn’t be such an issue if there wasn’t such an abundance of skills that make use of them these days. When it was just auto attacks, it wasn’t as big a deal. With champions like Miss Fortune, Urgot, and even Pantheon in the game, the runes need a change.

Champion sneak peek: Jericho Swain

Jericho Swain.

Riot’s made the sneak peek announcement for Swain, the Master Tactician. It’s the usual backstory kind of stuff, but if you know how to use Google, it’s not hard to find a little more. I would like to say, this info was leaked elsewhere. Riot’s been issuing bans to people responsible for leaking information, but my test realm client hasn’t been working for a couple months. Let’s do the usual fluff, first:

Here at Riot Games, we’re making every attempted to ensure that we deliver exciting champions to even the most twisted and deviant of human minds. So if you’re a budding veterinarian or ornithologist, it’s now your turn to start getting excited. Meet Swain, the Master Tactician. In addition to being a distinguished Noxian gentleman of impeccable wealth and taste, Swain also just happens to be a fan of our feathered friends. And like some people who wind up at the League of Legends, well… let’s just say that he’s much more than meets the eye.

More than meets the eye, indeed. Here’s a tentative skill list:

Carrion Renewal.Passive: Carrion Renewal: Swain gains 150% increased mana regeneration for 5 seconds upon killing a unit. Note: This looks like another great passive

Decrepify.(Q)Decrepify – Swain sets his raven to cripple an enemy. Over the
next three seconds, the target of Decrepify takes damage over time and is slowed.

Nevermove.(W)Nevermove – Swain marks a target area. After a short delay, mighty talons grab hold of enemy units dealing damage and rooting them.

Ravenous Flock.(E) Ravenous Flock – Swain inspires dread in his enemies by temporarily taking the form of a raven. During this time ravens strike out at up to 3 nearby enemies. Each raven deals damage and heals Swain for the same amount.

Torment.(R)Torment – Swain afflicts his target, dealing damage over time. Each tick deals additional damage based on a percent of all damage taken from Swain during Torment (this includes the spell’s periodic damage).

Ravenous Flock.

Check out the picture of his Ravenous Flock. I am a little surprised that the shapeshift isn’t his ult, but that could be subject to change prior to release. I can’t say I’m crazy about his ult being a simple damage increase, but hopefully it turns out to be a little fun. I can’t wait for this guy to launch.

FG LoL Mondays are on for 9:30 PM EST

Monday again, and I’ll be organizing some games for anyone that’s interested. Just log on around 9:20 PM EST and join the chat room “Fearless Gamer.” Depending on the number of people we’ll be running either queues or some in-house games. Hope to see you there!

Passive Resistance: Part 2 (Nidalee – Zilean)

Soraka splash.

I liked this name for the feature much better so I’m sticking with it for part two. In the first part of Passive Resistance, I covered the toons from Alistar to Nasus that could use a passive rework. Today I’ll go ahead and finish that list, going from Nidalee to Zilean. There are fewer champions in this section, but I think all of them are deserving.

Nunu (Nunu can cast a spell for free upon attacking a unit 7 times) – Nunu probably needs a new passive the least out of this group, but giving him one might make him a little more fun to play. As it stands, Nunu is best suited to jungling for a team that has decent CC and against a team without much CC to counter him. His passive is nice for jungling, but most junglers have golem buff so you dont’ really need that extra mana efficiency. What about a passive that made him a slightly better tank, like a slow aura (granted, this would be REALLY strong) or something to synergize with his ult?

Rammus (Rammus gains additional damage as his shell becomes reinforced, converting 25% of his armor into damage) – There was talk a while back about giving him a boost from magic resist -> ability power as well, which would make this passive great. Rammus isn’t really an attacking toon. He’s more control and abilities, so he doesn’t get a ton from this.

Sivir (Increases Sivir’s dodge chance by 10/15/20/25% while moving) – Dodge toons have been on the way out for a while now, and Sivir needs a lot more than just dodge to bring her back to serious viability. Once the supermid of all supermids, Sivir is now way too soft to stay competitive in a solo lane.

Soraka (Increases surrounding allies Magic Resistance by 16) – Again, the fact that this doesn’t scale means that it’s useful for all of six levels, after which it becomes completely worthless. Soraka’s been hit so hard by nerfs recently, both to her own healing power and the harassing metagame, that she could use a little boost. Sona’s introduction also makes Soraka the ugly stepsister to a healer with much greater…assets.

Teemo (If Teemo stands still for 3 seconds without taking damage, he becomes stealthed. (damage will break this effect). Moving or taking actions will break Teemo out of stealth. When Teemo breaks stealth, he gains “Element of Surprise”, increasing his attack speed by 40% for 3 seconds) – Everyone knows this. I’m sure Riot knows this. Teemo is arguably the worst ranged champion in the game. He has two skills that might as well not exist they scale so poorly, his ult is countered by Oracle’s Elixir, and his passive requires that you stand around doing nothing for three seconds, as though people would be willing to march into brush when Teemo is in the game. Teemo needs a complete rework, but a new passive would be a great start.

Twisted Fate (Twisted Fate and his allies receive an additional 2 gold per kill) – The Twisted Fate remake was one of the most complete overhauls we’ve seen in this game. While most of the changes seemed pretty cool, I really think they gave him a crappy passive. I currently average 134 creeps per game, which gives me a whopping 268 additional gold. That isn’t even enough to buy an elixir. Just give the guy a passive that will help his survivability and do away with this silly thing.

There you have it. There’s only one honorable mention from this group, and that’s Taric. I know, Taric is very strong, but he spends very little time attacking when the laning phase is up, so you don’t get a ton of benefit from the cooldown reduction. Still, it does synergize with his other skills, which is more than we can say for a lot of characters.

Sad Teemo = AP Teemo?

AP Teemo

I was looking for an image for my post on passive remakes earlier today and something hilarious happened. I searched for “sad Teemo” just to see if there was a funny picture to use. There wasn’t, but Google’s results did make me laugh pretty hard.

When I searched for “sad Teemo” Google asked if I meant “AP Teemo.” Priceless.

Passive Resistance: Part 1 (Alistar – Nasus)

Teemo.

Miss Fortune’s introduction to the League has caused a bit of an imbalance. She has one of the better passives in the game, and it’s a passive that vexes Teemo fans. Teemo has an entire skill dedicated to a passive movespeed buff, and Miss Fortune’s is just better. I went back through the existing champions to see who was in dire need of a passive rework and the list is long. So long, in fact, that I’ll be splitting this feature into parts to make it easier to follow.

Alistar (deals 20/40/60 percent additional damage to turrets) – Once the pinnacle of pure tank power, Alistar now appears in almost none of my ranked matches. The Sheen nerf hit him really hard, particularly in conjunction with his passive. With an excruciatingly slow base attack speed, his passive gives him almost nothing. Also, when you’re at a turret, either you’re taking it uncontested or, as Alistar, you should be disrupting your opponent, not whacking away at the turret.

Ashe (While out of combat, Ashe’s critical strike chance increases by 3/6/9/12/15/18% every 3 seconds, removed after next attack)- On the whole, Ashe is a pretty strong toon. She farms well, has a permaslow, a free CV, and a great ult. So why this crappy passive? It essentially allows you to open the fight with a crit, which is really not much of a damage increase for a carry. You’ll probably crit anyway quite a bit as a carry.

Fiddlesticks (Nearby enemy champions have their Magic Resist reduced by 10) – First thing you’ll notice is that it doesn’t scale. Granted, it reduces everyone’s MR, but not by nearly enough. Since the string of Fiddle nerfs, he could really use a new passive.

Heimerdinger (Heimerdinger gives nearby allied Turrets and Champions 6 / 12 / 16 / 22 health regen per 5) – Heimer has officially been nerfed off most ban lists, and as such, I think it’s time he gets a new passive. The regen is nice for turrets, but since the Heimer nerf, very few teams stand and poke a turret down slowly, so this isn’t really relevant. It won’t ever serve to save you or your allies or even your greatly nerfed turrets.

Janna (Increases the Movement Speed of all allied champions by 3%) – I’ve never liked Janna’s passive and I may be one of the few. Three percent movespeed is hardly noticeable, especially when so many toons these days have their own speed boost or a gap closer of some kind.

Kassadin (Kassadin takes 15% reduced damage from abilities and transforms this damage into bonus attack speed) – The damage reduction is nice, but transforms it to attack speed? There’s a reason you don’t see people playing attack damage Kassadin. He’s also so soft that even the 15 percent reduction rarely saves him.

Nasus (Nasus drains his foe’s spiritual energy, giving him a natural 10/15/20% Lifesteal) – Lifesteal on a tank toon – need I say more? If it scaled in some way with his HP gain, this might be a different story, but most of Nasus’ damage comes from his ult in combination with Spirit Fire. Very few players play Nasus for Siphoning Strike, and even if they do, this passive relies heavily on players staying close to you. You know what happens when Nasus ults, I know you do. People scatter. Goodbye, passive.

There are a few runners-up from this category that I’ll just mention briefly. Eve takes 50 percent reduced damage from minions but she needs remade in full, so she didn’t make the list. Gangplank’s passive (a healing debuff/slight poison) isn’t great, and makes no use of his primary skills – Parrley and his ult – but it is a healing debuff, which puts him well above the others on this list. I think Karthus could use a rework in full. His ult is cool, and his passive allows you to get the ult off when you otherwise didn’t, but any passive based on dying first seems a little dumb to me. Still, there are far worse, and his passive at least synergizes with his skill set to a degree.

Stay tuned for more passive remake candidates. I thought up a better name for this feature just after posting so I renamed it.

The supermids aren’t always your best option

KogMaw_Splash_2

First, I’d like to draw your attention to my awesome title for the champions introduced since season one launch who exceed most other champions at taking the solo lane: supermids. The reason I thought it up (I know, I’m so creative) was that I needed a way to talk about Vlad, Kog’Maw, Miss Fortune, etc. without typing that out every time I wanted to talk about the great carries in the game. Enough of that, though. On to the post.

I played two games tonight with a friend with hopes of breaking into the 1600s in ranked solo. I had been playing well all day and things just seemed to be going right. We lost. Both games. Hard. The biggest problem in both cases was our comp. In the first game my buddy was stuck in the mindset of 3s so he banned Singed. No biggie, still 3 bans, but we decided to joke around and ban Eve. That left a few strong toons on the board. Our opponent first picked Warwick so my buddy and I snagged Garen and Miss Fortune. Solid start for the team. Unfortunately, a teammate thought we couldn’t leave Kog’Maw on the board, so he picked him over some CC (Morgana was still available). Our fourth teammate chose Sona and I knew we were in trouble. Our fifth pick: Mordekaiser.

Sure, we had strong toons, but the sum of the parts was virtually nothing. Without crowd control to keep the enemy away from the carries, we got rocked. You can go too far in the other direction, too. For my next game I didn’t ban Amumu because frankly, a lot of people suck with him. The other team first picked Warwick again. I snagged Garen for a buddy and our second player picked Taric. We had said someone should get Amumu, but I was already thinking we were on the verge of being too tanky. With good DPS, though, we should have been fine. Our third player takes Shen and immediately locks him in, even though our fourth had said several times that he was picking Amumu, which he still did, leaving us with 4 tanks, short on damage. I had my friend pick TF in the hopes that we could stun them down. We couldn’t. Our outside lanes were getting worked and it was just a matter of time before our opponents had complete control of the map and we were too short on DPS to burn them down.

Even when the supermids are available, you have to focus on comp over individual toon strength. I asked everyone after the first game if they really thought we had a decent comp. The response was this: “You had Garen and Kog’Maw. Your comp was great.”

Sigh.

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