Sometimes you have to stick with what works

Tank-Ashe

I got to play quite a few games with Antiquus and some other readers here yesterday, but maybe the funniest game was one in which our opponent’s Ashe was building tank. Now granted, she had the best score on the team, and she even had a positive K/D ratio, but I can promise you, it wasn’t working.

I just said yesterday that sometimes you need to switch up your paradigm, but there are toons for which that doesn’t really work. Ashe is one of them.

LeBlanc is on release notice

It looks like LeBlanc is ready to go live early next week which means we finally have an official skill list for one of Riot’s best kept secrets to date.

Sigil of Silence: LeBlanc projects an orb towards her target, dealing magic damage and marking the target for 3.5 seconds. If the target takes damage from one of Leblanc’s abilities, the mark will trigger, dealing damage and silencing the target.

Distortion: LeBlanc rapidly moves to a target location, dealing magic damage to nearby units. In the following 3 seconds, she can activate Distortion again to return to her starting location.

Ethereal Chains: LeBlanc flings illusionary chains towards a target location. If it hits an enemy unit, it will deal initial magic damage and slow their movement speed by 25%. If the target remains shackled for 2 seconds, the target takes additional magic damage and is unable to move.

Mimic (Ultimate): LeBlanc can cast the previous spell she cast. The mimicked spell deals significantly increased damage. 30 second cooldown.

Mirror Image (Passive): When LeBlanc is brought below 40% health, she instantly becomes stealthed for half a second. When the stealth fades, she creates a Mirror Image that deals no damage and lasts for up to 8 seconds. This can only occur once per minute.

I’m always a little nervous when Riot introduces new mechanics. It seems like the total impact is much greater than can be fully realized by just a few games. Miss Fortune remains a great example. She has insane harass and a crazy strong laning phase, giving her the ability to farm without penalty in most cases. I’m hoping LeBlanc won’t be the same.

A new take on old champions

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If I had to pick the thing I love most about League of Legends, it would be the variety of champions, all of which are simple enough to understand that it’s possible to pick them up in just a couple games. Even with 62 champions it’s possible for things to get a little stale.

Take Udyr. I’ve never had much love for him, if only because he doesn’t have that wow factor. For whatever reason I decided to try him out in a few games, focusing on his Tiger Stance over the others for a change of pace. I loved it. I still love it. In fact, I think it gave him the wow factor I was missing.

I know a lot of people swear by tank Udyr, but it’s just not my thing. I really prefer to be a mix of of DPS and utility, and I like to be able to shred a tower or an enemy tank while blowing through the jungle. The point is, I changed up my own paradigm around him just a little bit and it’s made the game that much more fun.

If you’re getting a little bored, try building some of your lesser played characters differently (I’ve heard DPS Malphite is a blast). There’s a good chance it’ll work out in your favor. Of course the flip side of all this is that there are characters on which you just need to stick with what works. You’ll see a post on that very shortly (with a screenshot I promised I would use).

Why do Baron steals happen as often as they do?

Baron Nashor

A couple nights ago I got into one of the most enjoyable ranked games I have ever had. My teammates were competent, and better still, one of them offered up a vent. My duo queue partner and I jumped on for some solid communication.

The game started really well, but our opponents had almost all top-tier champions. We had a strong comp as well, but on paper, I would have guessed that we would lose. The highlight of the game, by far, was a point when all of our lanes were pushed, we all had to heal and our opponent started to Baron. Our Ashe ulted when he thought they might finish and somehow managed to steal it.

This happens in my games all the time. Seriously, it seems that if a team is doing Baron and the opponent drops in any damage whatsoever around the time of death, it’s the opponent who gets the kill. I really don’t understand how that works. Maybe it’s just that my teammates don’t save their nukes for that last hit, but even so, how do five damage sources miss out on the last hit to one person? I’ve seen a Heimer turret steal Baron before, which almost makes me think there’s something in the coding to benefit the “underdog.” I don’t really believe that, if only because it sounds both difficult and pointless to code.

Astronaut Teemo now available

Astronaut Teemo.

The mid-cycle skin is finally available, and it comes as part of a milestone. League of Legends is now officially one year old. I haven’t personally been a part of the LoL community for a full year – more like 10 months – but it’s definitely cool to see where the game has come from over the past year.

Oh, did I mention the Teemo skin is awesome? No? Well it is. He bounces like he’s in low gravity, plants satellite dishes for shrooms, has voiceovers that sound like he’s talking through a radio can, and shoots lasers. Yes, people. LAZERZ!

Well, happy birthday, LoL, and happy birthday Riot. I bought that skin, just for you guys.

LeBlanc sneak peek

LeBlanc concept art.Today, Riot gave us the first look at another new champion. Right on schedule, LeBlanc shows up as some sort of sorceress, looking both very reminiscent of Swain and an awful lot like the Sorceress class from Warhammer (seriously, google “warhammer sorceress” – you will be shocked by the lack of creativity).

Here’s the official text:

If you’ve been looking to add a little bit of high society to your League of Legends lineup, this next patch is the one you’ve been waiting for. Allow me to introduce the talented and graceful Emilia LeBlanc, a stately sorceress ready to round out your champion selection. In addition to being extremely attractive, the Deceiver comes primed to fuel your most megalomaniacal of desires. If you’ve got a bit of mischievous thread to your personality, you’re definitely going to want to make sure to pick up LeBlanc in the upcoming patch. Would I lie?

I haven’t been able to find anything significant with regard to skillset. It seems Riot has put forth some serious effort to button down the early champion leaks, which is probably for the best.

I know this isn’t a blog about game art, but really Riot? This is about as uninspired as design gets. A tall, slender chick in a bondage suit with phallic headgear. Color me unimpressed.

I’m coming around on Swain

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My initial impressions about Swain were unflattering to say the least. He just didn’t “bring it” like other champions did. He caught a buff, though, and I have to say, I’m starting to like the guy. I almost bought a skin at full price for him!

The bottom line for me is that Swain does have a fun playstyle. He has a lot of control, the nice bonus of healing himself in lane for what sometimes feels like a lot of mana, but the mana comes back. Oh, he also does great damage. With an ignite it’s very easy to get some early kills in a side lane.

The biggest place Swain struggles is the big team fights. Yeah, sounds counterintuitive with his bird, but he just doesn’t heal enough to keep himself alive through a full-on, five-man explosion of AoE. He’s great against three, though (hmm, might have to try him on TT some time soon), and he only gets better as the numbers go down. The fact that he can slow you, stun you, then immediately slow you again means you better hope to god you have Flash and he doesn’t.

Though the current metagame seems to limit Swain, I don’t think it’s a stretch to do well with him in ranked games.

Jungle Eve just worked me

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This is not a joke. This is not a troll. My team just got legitimately smoked by jungle Eve. I don’t mean we fed, I mean we were warding, talking, moving together, everything, and we just got smashed.

I don’t really know what to say about it other than it was simply the best Eve I have ever seen. Her positioning was near perfect and she never overcommitted. Our Morgana wasn’t great, and that might have helped, but their team was meaty enough that four of them could fight and we’d be stuck either waiting for eve to pop out or watching her push a turret while we fought. It was…sort of sickening.

So what do you do against an invisible champion that is always mia? It’s very difficult to counter if done well and means you spend the majority of your time away from turrets, buying wards, and hoping she doesn’t choose you as a target. As Twitch, I was always the target.

The good news is that Eve still suffers as she always has. She’s very soft once you get to her and not much of a threat without the element of surprise. I’ll be interested to see how she progresses as more people learn to jungle with her, and what changes Riot will make to either help or hurt the endeavor.

FG LoL Mondays are on for tonight (9:30 PM EST)

We are on this week for FG LoL Mondays – 9:30 PM EST as usual. Try to log in about five minutes beforehand if possible. We have been generously offered a vent server, courtesy of Antiquus, so we’ll be able to chat it up while we own.

I’d like to get started as quickly as possible so we can get a few games in. I’ll be cutting off invites for the first game at 9:35. Hopefully it’s not just me online :)

How long before people start to ban Warwick?

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A friend of mine has been playing a lot of Warwick recently and doing very well. That has served as a nice dose of interest for me, since I don’t play Warwick a ton. In the few games I have played him, I’ve been reminded of just how strong he is and how easily he can swing the tide of a game. So when will people start banning him?

A lot of people would say that there are simply better ban targets – Amumu, Morgana, even Twitch – but as I see it, Warwick should be banned over pretty much any of those for the low skill ceiling he has on the utilities he provides. Don’t get me wrong, I think Warwick is as nuanced as the next toon, but you don’t exactly have to know what you’re doing to jungle with him, and he has one of the absolute best lane-ganking abilities in the game. For a lot of players, Warwick is the only toon they know how to jungle, so taking him off the board forces less skilled decisions, and as we get more and more champions, I think that’s going to become the real purpose of the ban. There will be so many champions that players just won’t know how to play them. Take the ones they do, and you’ll have an interesting match.

If you aren’t sure who to take off your ban list to think about adding Warwick, consider Amumu. It sounds crazy, because Amumu is crazy strong. But Amumu really needs to jungle to get off to a good start, and a lot of people just aren’t very good at it. Also, Amumu is one of those toons that tends to get extremely low while jungling, at least early, which gives you a decent chance to kill him and steal his buffs. Amumu is also such a high priority ban these days that most players jump at the chance to play, even if they haven’t played him in a few months. They’re rusty, or just unfamiliar with his playstyle, and end up getting rocked.

I almost feel bad writing this because my friend is such an avid Warwick player, but Warwick causes me so many problems that I really want to see him banned more often.

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