Riot releases a second Season One Blooper Reel

This is a strange bit of news, mostly because Season One is over and done with. Riot released a second Season One Blooper Reel today as a thank you for reaching 260,000 subscribers on YouTube. I had honestly all but forgotten about the first Blooper Reel, though they both made me chuckle. The Nasus gag at the end of this one is definitely cute.

I’m hoping this means there’s a boatload of content around the corner that Riot isn’t quite ready to tease. I can’t really think of another reason to revisit a cute and fun video that ultimately serves very little purpose for a second time. July looks like it will be a big month for LoL news. We should be hearing about Season Two in the very near future, and the August issue of PC Gamer promises a look at 12 upcoming champions. That’s right, 12 – as in six months worth of champion releases all in one place. If I had to guess, I’d say we’re right on the verge of some major changes to the game. Bring it on, Riot.

Champ of the Week: Pirate Power

Minute Man Gangplank.

I was pretty surprised by the number of comments and the magnitude of feeling about Gangplank with my initial Champ of the Week post. He is apparently quite the hot topic, so I’m going to try to handle this as delicately as possible. I want everyone to at least understand where I’m coming from on Gangplank’s design before we discuss the specifics of his changes and why he has suddenly vaulted into the spotlight.

I want to start by saying that Parley is just bad design, plain and simple. It is too spammable, too good for farming, and too random. No skill hits like a Parrrley crit – not even Nidalee’s spear – in the early-mid game and for good reason. That kind of damage output is just silly on such a low-cooldown, low-cost skill. Period.

That said, this patch didn’t make much of a change to Parley. Very little was changed other than his passive, which is certainly strong, but I don’t think that’s the problem. The basic issue, as I see it, is as follows. Gangplank used to suffer from the fact that he had a very strong harass but abysmal damage if you got in his face. His passive was next to worthless, only good against a subset of characters that rely on healing, and honestly, if he was close enough to apply the debuff he was probably dead. Now fighting Gangplank in the early game is basically a DPS race, and it’s one he can often win, thanks to poking harass he’ll have on his target from Parley. It all comes back to the low-cooldown, targeted harassment from Parley.

Enough hate. Gangplank is a blast to play, and it’s because he feels like it’s worth it to engage a target. I think that’s a really good thing. His damage needs some tweaking to be sure, but he’s gone from being a character that was useful every 5 seconds to a champion I actually enjoy trying to set up a kill with, which I consider a huge success. I actually think he is incredibly close to a perfect balance point. He’s still extremely soft, which makes up for his damage output in most cases. I just think Riot needs to tone down his laning against low armor targets a bit.

I’ve tried the jungle thing a few times now and been mostly unimpressed by Executioner’s Calling. I’m sure I’ll have more on that later, but for now, I think he has much better lane presence.

Is the gold-per-10 nerf working?

Jarvan dragon slayer

This latest patch saw a nerf to the gold-per-10 items in the game across the board. The items had become so core to several character builds and proved to be strong enough to merit making the passive gold gain unique to each item type. Does the nerf seem to be working?

In my experience, it’s not. While I see fewer champions taking gold-per-10 items, the champions for whom it was strongest still stack them. I think Jarvan is a perfect example, especially considering the nerf he caught this last patch. Despite the changes to both his skills and the items, I still see Jarvan totally control games, mostly because of the farm he can sustain all throughout the game. I still see him stack a Heart of Gold and a Philosopher’s Stone, too, which gives him incredible lanestay.

I’m not seeing the items on quite so many characters, which I guess is a good thing. Still, I’d like to see the nerfs targeted at the champions the items benefit most. This gets back to an idea that I’ve mentioned before – overpowered mechanics that only the best players can benefit from and overpowered mechanics that everyone makes use of. The gold-per-10 items seem to be that second type. What have you seen since the patch?

Riot previews Leona mechanics

We knew a little bit about Leona thanks to Riot’s presence at E3, but most of that information was speculative, pending some internal playtesting. It looks like the League’s first female tank is nearing completion, so Riot has released a preview of her mechanics.

It sounds like Leona is going to be a crowd control bot – she has a low cooldown stun, a skillshot gap closer, and a defensive stance. She doesn’t have a traditional taunt or positioning skill like Alistar or Rammus, but apparently uses fairly sizable damage to encourage players to either get out of her way or focus skills on her in a fight.

Here’s the official word from Morello:

Leona does this by providing a low-cooldown, low-duration, single-target stun with a skillshot gap-closer to start. After she closes the gap to the enemy, she’ll be performing regular single-target stuns that really disrupt the fight or peel off a target from an ally once a fight has begun. Additionally, she has a defensive stance that allows her to soak up punishment pretty effectively and also discharges a wave of sunlight outward that causes significant damage. This mechanic acts as a sort of “soft taunt” that causes her to have some threat when she’s about to unleash a big chunk of damage, and makes her an attractive target.

Finally, her passive, Sunlight, causes all of Leona’s spells to debuff the target, causing the next attack from an ally to do additional damage. This really encourages Leona to mark high-priority targets and let her set up opportunities for her teammates. Her power increases with the length of the fight, a common tank trait (like Singed’s Poison Trail or Amumu’s Despair, for example).

I’m guessing her ultimate has some sort of channel component, something sort of like a Nunu ult, though maybe more mobile. It would encourage players to save a stun for her or stay out of her range, which pretty much achieves the taunt function. I’m definitely glad to see a pure tank instead of the tanky DPS that has been filling the role. I just hope she doesn’t deal too much damage.

Champ of the Week: Gangplank

Spooky Gangplank.

The latest patch brought another change to Gangplank, a character who has seen more changes in the last month or so than he has in the probably the last year. I really miss the days of Spell Pen Gangplank, back when he used to deal magic damage with Parrrley. Obviously it was problematic in design, but oh so much fun to play.

I’m really happy to see him get a new passive with the latest patch, even if he’s probably a little OP in lane now. Okay, he’s a lot OP in lane, at least against your average matchup. Still, I think it will be cool to take a look at what needs tweaked about his design, why the passive changes make him problematic, and the types of builds he can use to maximize his damage output. I’m especially interested in the latter. A lot of people think it’s Infinity or bust, but I’m a strong believer in Sheen, especially if you’re up against a softer target like Ashe or Lux.

I might take him into the jungle if I have a chance for enough games, but I’m already seeing him banned in the ranked/custom games I’ve been playing, so Jungleplank may get pushed aside. Check back later in the week for more on everyone’s favorite pirate.

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