I don’t know why it has taken me so long to remember to post this, but one of the unannounced skins this patch is called Lord Mordekaiser. It features the Master of Metal wearing, along with his typical metal duds, a giant metal strap-on.
I would love to meet the art director who saw this and said, “Yup – that’s just what we were going for. Nothing says metal like a huge, spikey penis of death strapped around your waist.”
For a brief moment I thought legendary skins might be on their way out. Several of the 975RP skins are close to or better than the legendary skins for a given champion (ahem, Corki), so it seems a little silly to keep marketing skins as “legendary.”
Riot has seen fit to keep moving with the legendary skin releases, this time in the form of Nunu Bot. Riot released a preview video of the new skin to its YouTube channel today. The skin looks awesome, but probably not $15 awesome, at least not for me. There have been a few champions in the past that I’ve played often enough that the legendary skins didn’t look half bad, especially when I already had some RP laying around. Now I split my time between so many different characters that it doesn’t really make sense to spend so much on one skin. For any serious Nunu player, though, I’d call it a must-have.
I feel like this post is particularly appropriate following my Gangplank discussion because the two characters occupy relatively the same position on a team. Both are meant to eat up carries, it’s just that Nocturne actually has the tools to do that and Gangplank doesn’t.
I understand he isn’t seen a lot in ranked games right now, but that’s only because he’s getting banned. Every time I see him in a normal game I cringe, knowing that it’s just a matter of time before his farm is too much to handle. Often that’s somewhere around level nine, which is just too damn early. The big problem is his kit, which is utterly ludicrous compared to a lot of the characters out there. I know I’ve given the breakdown before, but it is just dumbfounding to me that he remains in the game as he was released. He still has a fear, a spell shield, an attack speed boost, an attack damage boost, a slow, a movespeed buff, a dot, two scaling physical nukes, a self heal, a global vision reduction, and a nearly global dash. All of that from four skills.
Posts are going up unexpectedly late tonight – I’ve been working on two longer articles today and unfortunately they just aren’t done. Keep an eye out for those early next week. In the meantime, let’s talk about the Gangplank nerf.
Yes, I said nerf, because that’s just the most accurate term. Gangplank was already a bit of a niche character, occasionally effective in his ability to deny experience in his lane and set up jungle ganks. He struggled in teamfights from both an unreliable ultimate and his lack of mobility tools, especially when there weren’t creeps in the vicinity. His damage output was also typically unpredictable – occasionally through the roof but rarely consistent thanks to Parrrley. This rework did very little to address his biggest problems.
Raise Morale has lost its ability to deny creep experience, an admittedly broken mechanic when only one character in the game can do it. Removing that facet of the ability also meant Gangplank lost his ability to effectively lane. Because Parrrley grants bonus gold on kill, it’s best used every time it’s off cooldown, resulting in a lane push. Raise Morale gave Gangplank, who has low mobility compared to all the dashers in the game, the ability to lane against highly mobile teams by hanging back at his turret. For interested parties, Gangplank is one of three melee champions in the game to have neither a dash nor CC (slow/stun/fear – the terrible slow on his ult does not count). The other two champions are Mordekaiser and Garen, two of the most poorly designed characters in the game in my opinion. As far as laning goes, both these guys absolutely rock Gangplank, though Kaiser might push a little too hard.
The changes to Gangplank’s ult might be the most embarrassing part of his “rework.” The AoE is smaller, the slow is half as effective, and the random damage element is still there, though worse than before because the area of effect is so much smaller. Now, I’m no fan of global ults, but the fact that GP could blanket a lane with this bad boy every couple minutes was pretty nice. It could be fired quickly without a ton of regard for placement, a simplicity countered by the fact that it might not do so much damage. Now it has to be carefully placed, still does unreliable, often pathetic damage, and hardly slows the target. Gangplank has plenty of trouble getting to his intended target – he didn’t need a slow nerf to make things worse.
Gangplank needs a remake, not this rework crap. His ultimate is terrible, Parrrley is poorly conceived, and Raise Morale doesn’t give him the boost he needs when he needs it. His one good skill, Remove Scurvy, remains the only skill in the game that can break suppression, a feature that will likely be removed someday for the same reasons his deny was removed. I won’t be touching Gangplank again until he gets his remake.
One of the big changes this patch was a minor Fiddlesticks rework. I say minor because he doesn’t play entirely differently, he just feels a lot better. I’ve played a few games with him so far and been impressed with the changes, mostly the difference in Dark Wind.
Prior to the changes, I had a really hard time prioritizing Fiddle’s skill levels. He needed the utility of a bouncing silence, the power of Drain, and the fear in order to really lock down a target. When Dark Wind only bounced twice, it was difficult to get all that out of a gank, especially early on. Now Dark Wind is strong enough early on that multiple ranks aren’t totally necessary.
As good as Dark Wind is for early game jungling and ganking, you can feel it start to slow down by the late game. As weak as Fiddle used to be in the early game, his late game has the same potential to fail if you don’t get an early start. Fiddle is now heavily reliant on high AP builds, so it’s important to keep your cash generation up.
On the whole, I think Fiddle just feels a whole lot better. I would like to see Dark Wind get a little AP boost so it’s a touch stronger in the late game, but for the most part he feels much better. I pulled a quad with him today – something I haven’t done in a long, long time.
I got a chance to spend some decent time with Rumble today, as did many of my opponents, so I feel comfortable laying out my impressions a bit early. Though Rumble is certainly different than I expected, the end result is about the same. He’s yet another in a long list of champions best built as a pseudo-tank.
It’s getting kinda tough to asses these tanky characters because so many other people are playing tanky toons as well. When I’m in lane against Alistar/Taric, Rumble’s damage seems completely underwhelming, even if he can take a beating. Against Ryze, though, he seems perfectly fine (at least in the early game). This is one of the biggest problems with the tanky meta – it skews the balance of power in very big ways. Where I would typically expect tanks to be fairly low damage but high survivability against squishy champs, this new crop of tanky guys deals big damage on soft targets and remains difficult to bring down. I know you’re tired of reading that – trust me, I’m tired of writing it – but it’s important to keep in mind when thinking about a champion like Rumble.
Rumble’s lane presence against soft champions can be overwhelming in the early game. His Flame Spitter is nearly always up, giving him solid harass and the simple ability to push people off their own creeps. It is particularly effective with another CC in the lane. If I’m perfectly honest, I don’t like the way the skill functions. Skills that require facing frustrate the hell out of me, and Flame Spitter is no different.
Scrap Shield is just about as silly a skill concept as Riot has ever conceived. A shield with a decent AP ratio plus a speed boost on a short (5 second) cooldown. Give me a break. This skill saved my ass repeatedly in my Rumble games without requiring a millisecond of thought. If it was up, I was hitting it, and that seemed to work out just fine. The shield certainly isn’t huge, but it’s plenty when it runs on such a short cooldown.
Rumble’s harpoon is easily his worst skill. It seems to do nearly no damage and can be difficult to land at times. The slow is solid when you can land it, especially if you’re in the Danger Zone, but I never found myself thinking, ‘I’m so glad I just landed that harpoon.’
To say that Rumble’s ultimate is difficult to cast would be a huge understatement. I know it’s probably just going to take some getting used to, but the mouse movements required in a frantic gank situation are a little nutty. The damage on the skill is pretty awesome, though, which can be a lot of fun against squishier targets. The ult also has great range, giving you plenty of time to cast, shield boost your way into range, and tear down a target.
On the whole, I think Rumble’s balance is just fine in the current metagame, which is to say I think his design is terrible and that Riot needs to stop putting free damage shields on champions. I’m sure we’ll see some frustratingly good Rumble players over the next few days, but likely plenty more frustratingly bad ones. Expect some slight buffs on him next patch.
The Rumble spotlight went live last night and, though I really wanted to dump all of my impressions out at midnight, I decided to wait until today to hopefully give a more balanced look at the League’s new champion. I’m not sure it worked. Rumble seems like the worst parts of the tanky meta all rolled into one little bundle.
First of all, the shield thing has got to stop. Rumble not only gets a damage shield, which likely scales with AP, he also gets a movement speed boost with it, and it’s on a crazy short cooldown. At level 7 Phreak’s shield had a 5 second cooldown. Granted, it didn’t look like it shielded much, but 5 seconds? Yuck.
Rumble also appears to be able to abuse the minion aggro AI in lane because he can cast so often. Minions typically don’t aggro on champions if they’re using spells on one another, an issue typically balanced by the fact that lane casters are fairly squishy. Still, you already know some frustrating exceptions to this rule. Mordekaiser, for instance, can dish out a lot of champion damage without taking aggro from minions because he’s dealing spell damage. The same seems to be true for Rumble, which will be extremely frustrating for the softer characters in lane.
I’ll be interested to see how he actually plays in game. For right now, I’m worried Riot has added yet another bruiser class character to the game, even if he relies on spell damage to bring down opponents.
It’s patch week for League of Legends, which means this week is a Minecraft` Monday. I’ll be rocking some Minecraft tonight, but on more friendly server than DarkTide. I talked to a couple people who tried to join DarkTide that were also fresh to the Minecraft experience and it was a little rough. Let’s try to play on Battlecraft, another multiplayer server that allows PvP but also has anti-griefing measures in place and isn’t so reliant on small towns across the server. Basically you can stretch your legs and build, which is what makes Minecraft fun, for me anyway.
If you want to play some Minecraft together, first, read the info at the Battlecraft home site and place an app. Their approval is the fastest I’ve seen from any server. Jump online around 9:00PM at pvp.thebattlecraft.net and we can build some stuff together. As always with Minecraft, I’m in game as “TheWuggler.” When you get onto the server, send me a message with /tell thewuggler and then your message and we can meet up and do some digging.
It’s Monday, which means it’s time for a new Champ of the Week. I was thinking about rolling with one of the remade champions from tomorrow’s patch, but I think I want to have a champion to play that won’t be getting picked quite as often as those champions are likely to. With that in mind, I’ve chosen Karthus as this week’s Champ of the Week.
Karthus currently holds a very strange position in the game – he’s one of few champions that can provide almost as much value dead as he can alive. In fact, I’ve seen some Karthus players use death as a viable carry strat. They allow themselves to be focused so that the teamfight happens on top of their dead body. Once dead, they cast like mad, dropping that humongous ult in the middle of five opponents. It can be seriously devastating.
I have a problem with the concept of global ults in general. So much of the game is knowing how to position yourself – when to run, when to fight, when it’s good to leave lane and help your teammates survive a gank. Global ults circumvent that knowledge requirement, allowing players to be more sloppy with their play.
With the advent of Deathcap, Karthus poses an even bigger threat. His ult has a pretty awesome AP ratio, which Deathcap obviously takes advantage of. Dealing 700-900 damage to an entire team before the fight starts can be catastrophic. If the teamfight then happens on top of Karthus, well, it’s probably game over.
I’ll be focusing on the ways Karthus affects the game, mostly at the early and middle game – I think we all know what he can do late game. I’ll also be taking a look at his best build. Is just rushing all out AP best for that big ult or is some sort of utility a better service to the team. At the very least, it’s going to take some time for me to get used to mouseover casting again.
The patch preview for next week is live, giving us a look at what’s in store for several of the game’s most neglected champions. Alistar, Fiddlesticks, and Gangplank are all due for reworks this week, all of which should be significant improvements on their respective playstyles.
If you follow Guinsoo on Twitter, you know the Alistar remake has been in the works for several months. A few times it even looked like it was patch ready and then got pulled. Basically the changes will give Alistar a lot more farming potential as well as a few more ways to use his skills that aren’t so Flash dependent. I’m really excited about this remake – Alistar was such a cornerstone of LoL at launch that it has been tough to see him slip into obscurity.
Fiddlesticks is basically having his damage normalized, which is exactly what he needs. His early healing has been nerfed a touch, but with an armor buff to keep his jungling strength. His Dark Wind bounces 5 times at all levels and now has scaling damage, which should improve his presence in both lane and coming from jungle, and Crowstorm has been rebalanced to account for the damage shift. Again, I’m really excited about the changes. I was a huge Fiddlesticks fan for a very long time. A little consistency will go a long way for him.
Lastly, there’s Gangplank. Plank has long been a problematic champion for Riot. He’s randomly bursty, has the only deny in the game (which is absolutely broken in some situations), and has a hugely unreliable ultimate. Pretty much all of that is being addressed with the patch, which I can only imagine will mean good things for the champion. He’ll be able to make better use of Raise Morale, his ult is much less of a guessing game, and his Parrrley shouldn’t be quite such a gamble. Again, excited to see this play out.