Karthus and Cassiopeia disabled


Both Karthus and Cassiopeia have been officially disabled, thanks to the AoE bug I mentioned earlier today. As I said in that post, those two champions in particular seem to benefit in big ways from the problem, though Riot wasn’t clear on how widespread the issue actually is.

Here’s the official post:

Due to a current bug affecting AOE damage spells, we are temporarily disabling Karthus and Cassiopeia. These champions are disproportionately affected by this issue and will be re-enabled when we release a hotfix. Rest assured that we have a dedicated team working to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.

This is one of few times that we’ve seen champions disabled thanks to bugs associated with their skills. I’m glad to see it, though. I was getting sick of Karthus hitting me from crazy range.


Current Affairs: Have you noticed the AoE bug?

If you’ve been on the forums lately, you’ve no doubt noticed the threads bemoaning an AoE bug. The bug, as far as I can tell, allows AoE spells to land at a larger radius than their animation. Among the top offenders are Mordekaiser’s Siphon of Destruction, Brand’s Pillar of Flame and Caitlyn’s Yordle Snap Trap. Riot has yet to respond, or at least yet to respond in a post that I can find, so it’s unclear whether the bug is official or not. I will say this – I seem to be getting snagged by farm more traps than I used to.

In my mind, this is a really tough bug to assess. It’s frustrating to get hit by more spells than I’m used to, but I can’t help but think that my paranoia about the bug feeds into my analysis of the bug. Still, I did have a Cassiopeia land seemingly every cast on me, even though I had boots at level one. It’s not totally inconceivable that she was just the best Cassiopeia player I have ever seen, but I’d bet it’s more likely that there is some sort of bug.

Have you noticed the AoE bug? Seen a prevalence of AoE casters like Karthus and Cassiopeia?


Champ of the Week: Brand Wrapup


This week got cut a bit short thanks to a certain hurricane, but I think I had plenty of time with Brand to assess his power level, play around with his build, and as with any Champ of the Week, lose enough games to see some of the champion’s downfalls. For Brand there are few, but they can make a game with him just as frustrating as any other character.

First, the good things. Really, the OP things. Brand’s lane harass is absolutely filthy – probably the best in the game. The range on his E skill, Conflagration, needs a nerf and has since day one. With the big burst and the passive proc, this skill alone can push an opponent off the lane. It’s also amazing when used with his passive effect. Missed your Pillar of Flame? No problem – just Conflag that caster minion and watch the damage bounce when your opponent gets too close. Brand is one of those characters that is such a huge threat that his presence is enough to push an opponent back. He doesn’t even have to be in position, just there and he’s terrifying.

I did have a little bit of trouble against Malzahar, really only because his Malefic Visions allowed him to keep me pushed, which meant I couldn’t exactly stand in the creeps and force him back. Obviously Brand’s ability to do that to most characters is pretty OP, but so is Malzahar’s ability to farm at my tower from his tower. It’s a mess.

Brand is sort of unique in that his passive doesn’t scale with AP. It does, however, scale with penetration, which poses something of a build problem. If I’m rocking early game I like to pick up a Haunting Guise, just to utterly dominate my opponent. With Guise and Sorc Boots, only the best casters in the game will be able to hold you down. Brand churns through creeps, freeing him up to go and gank other lanes.

Unfortunately, that build doesn’t scale particularly well into the late game if your opponents are building magic resist. Basically, there are two routes as I see it. If my team has plenty of sticking power, I go with a Rod of Ages, Deathcap, and then Rylais or Void Staff or Will of the Ancients. If my team is lacking that sticking power, I’ll opt for a Deathcap to Rylais rush, which usually means stacking a couple Doran’s Rings for early survivability. I’m much more comfortable with the RoA build, and I like the survivability and growth it provides into late game. The other build is still quite strong, though, and definitely worth it if your teamfights will be sprawling affairs.

If I could change one thing…

If I could change one thing with Brand it would be to reduce his cast range on just about everything. Brand is powerful because he can land his spells easily from a distance. He can harass well from a distance and use the massive range on his stun to secure the kill.

If Riot did reduce his range, though, I think they’d have to compensate with a little movespeed. Brand feels woefully slow and vulnerable once an opponent is stuck to you. I know every champion needs a weakness, but because his stun is a directional cast, it’s almost too punishing for someone to get in your face, especially if he got a range reduction.

On the whole, I have a blast playing Brand. He’s one of few champions that feels like he has some variety to his casting rotation, and as with most of my favorite champs, he rewards aggressive play early in the game. If you’re looking to expand your AP carry roster, definitely give Brand a shot.


Champ of the Week: Brand

Apocalypse Brand.

I’ve been trying to get one of my ranked ratings above 1485 for the Silver designation before the end of Season One. For me, that usually means playing an AP carry mid. It’s a position I always enjoy – it’s usually aggressive, which for me is a lot of fun. I’m usually a Malzahar guy, mostly because he’s crazy easy to dominate with, but I’ve been mixing it up lately with Brand and things have been going pretty well.

I feel like I’ve got some decent ideas about his build and his kit, but I want to spend some extra time with him, breaking down the mechanics that…light Brand’s fire. Yeah, I said it.

I’ll be trying out a few different builds this week, focusing on durability for comps that don’t have much peel and raw power for comps that bring plenty of CC. I’ll also be considering his matchups against champions like Orianna, Annie, and Malzahar. If you have any tips or…burning questions, drop them in the comments. Check back later in the week for more impressions of Brand.


Brand Impressions


I’ve been spending a lot of my LoL time on Brand, more than most of the recent champions and mostly because he’s a lot of fun to play. His combo system is an absolute blast – one of the best examples of a champions that forces you to make decisions when choosing your spells. For the most part, I also think he’s pretty balanced.

If I have one complaint about Brand it’s that the range on his E is just a little too long. He’s a fairly slow champion – he feels slow, anyway – so I understand that it’s a sizable radius, but coupled with his passive it deals an awful lot of damage from pretty huge distance. Other than that, I love the skill. The Blaze synergy is great for a little bounce damage off the caster minions if your opponent gets too close.

Pillar of Flame is probably my second favorite skill in Brand’s arsenal. The animation is great and the damage is impressive, especially if your target is ablaze. I do think the W->E combo might give him a little too much farming potential, but a simple mana tweak would address the problem.

As far as stuns go, I think Brand is in a good spot. His stun is not just a skillshot but a conditional skillshot at that. You miss it and you’re pretty much sunk if someone’s in your face. That kind of risk also makes it a lot of fun to land, especially when you snake it through a minion or two.

I have mixed feelings about his ult. If the circumstance is just right it feels pretty good, but the circumstance is rarely just right. In most cases I see it wipe out a few minions, dealing damage to a hero or two along the way. Though I do occasionally wish it dealt a bit more damage, I think erring on the low or unreliable side of damage is better than the alternative.

I’ve heard a lot of people complain that he’s OP, but I just haven’t seen it yet. He is very high burst, in much the same way that other casters can be, it’s just that his playstyle rewards skill more than many others.


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