Champ of the Week returns next week

Good News.

I’ve got some good news and some bad news regarding the Champ of the Week series. First, the good news. It’s coming back next week! I know I owe everyone a Talon video and a long overdue Veigar video, but that’s where the bad news comes in. All of the recordings I have from those games is buried somewhere on a corrupt and now very dead hard drive. I’ve since replaced that drive, but I lost my LoL Replay data along with all of my video footage from those games. Yes, it sucks very much.

Back to some good news, though – I should be able to get a game or two in over the next few days with both Talon and Veigar so I can at least upload a replay for those of you using LoL replays. If I have the time, I might even do a quick and dirty video, but that seems unlikely at the moment.

So, check back at the beginning of next week for the return of the champ of the week series. If you have suggestions for a character you’d like to see next week, let me know in the comments.

Champ of the Week: Playing a cutthroat

I thought it might be nice to give some mid-rotation thoughts on Talon while I’m working to gather footage for his wrapup video. I’m not sure if there are some high-ELO streamers playing him these days or if he just shines enough in Dominion to make him worth trying on Summoner’s Rift, but I’ve been seeing a lot of Talon lately. I’ve also been seeing him banned, and though I think there are better bans than Talon, I can understand why he’s on the list for some players.

Part of what makes Talon interesting is the way his ultimate works. He can use it to produce a lot of damage, but most of the Talon players I saw in the weeks after his release were using the skill to get out of a fight or run away before a fight even started. In my experience, though, it’s best to save his ult for when you’re already in the fight and the skill can hit both on its way out and on the way back in.

That’s a mechanic I didn’t really pick up on in the Champion Spotlight (even though Phreak said it) partly because the tooltip is a little unclear on just how the blades deal damage. Shadow Assault has the potential to deal damage twice: once when the blades expand and once when they collapse. In most cases, that means you want to ult while you’re standing right on top of someone. When the blade go out they hit and then even if your enemy flashes the blades will likely land on the return. It took me a while to figure that out, but now that I’ve got it I find it fairly easy to burst down a champion.

I’ll have more thoughts on Talon later in the week, including the wrapup video. Keep checking back and let me know if you have any questions.

No champ of the week this week

Dominion Quarry.

With the release of Dominion and a backlog of videos for both Trundle and Veigar, I won’t be playing a Champ of the Week this week as I typically do on Summoner’s Rift.

In the interest of transparency, allow me to explain the Veigar/Trundle delay. Two weeks ago my hard drive started acting screwy. It didn’t seem like a big deal, but when I started to cut together the Veigar video, several of my clips became corrupted and wouldn’t work. After trying to recapture those clips, I realized the partition of my hard drive that housed my Fraps recordings was corrupt and needed wiped.

I now have a new hard drive up and running, a fresh Fraps install, but sadly, no clips. I’ve been using LoLReplay, which means going through quite a few games and capturing important moments without the benefit of a replay feature, which is time consuming.

The good news is that I should have time to work on both Veigar and Trundle tomorrow. I’m also planning a new feature specifically focused on Dominion, though I’m not totally sure where that one will fit.

Keep an eye on the YouTube channel for the newest videos as I have them. If you haven’t seen it, check out my Dominion commentary video for some tips and basic information on the latest game mode in League of Legends.

Champ of the Week: Veigar

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I’ve been hesitant to pick Veigar as the Champ of the Week for a couple reasons. First, I love him. Love, love, love him, so I hate to use him and not have him later. Maybe I’ll just subject you all to more videos of him than could ever be necessary, regardless of this feature.

The other reason I hesitate is that Veigar reworks have been rumored for a while now, and I’d hate to do a video on him just to have him change shortly after. Then again, I see Veigar in one out of every 50 games or so, so he probably won’t be seeing changes any time soon.

Veigar holds sort of a unqiue position in the League. He’s the one champion with totally uncapped AP gain, similar to Sion’s uncapped health gain. Every time he kills a minion with his Q skill he picks up an extra AP and, once he has his ult, he gains another 1 for champion kills per level of Baleful Strike (max 5). Because of that, he can break 400 AP insanely fast.

The flipside is that his mana situation is pretty terrible, and understandably so. Make it too easy to farm and he becomes a one-shot wrecking ball by 15 minutes in. In some cases, that still happens, but more often than not, I find myself flitting around the outside of teamfights, trying to blow up an important target and provide the utility of his AoE stun. When played well, Veigar can be brutally effective in that role. He certainly doesn’t provide the team-killing power of an Annie or a Brand, but I usually find him much more rewarding to play than either of those two champions, and frankly most of the AP champions in the game.

This week I’ll be playing Veigar, focusing on his teamfighting skills and providing more utility than just the initial burst comp. I’m not going to be messing with jungle Veigar. I know it can be done, but it’s just not my thing.

Check back later in the week for more impressions of the tiny Master of Evil, and of course, the video wrapup at the end of the week. If you have any questions or suggestions, drop them in the comments.

Champ of the Week: Gragas Wrapup

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I spent most of my League of Legends time this week with Gragas, everyone’s favorite gigantically fat drunkard (to be fair to other fat drunkards, though, Gragas is our only option). It was a good week; as I mentioned in other posts, Gragas has great flavor, and some very unique tools for disrupting a fight.

It wasn’t all sunshine and flowing rivers of mead, though. Gragas has a very punishing kit compared to other casters in the game, and with so many skillshots, it’s easy to waste a few spells over the course of a game. This is actually where I think my proposed change comes in. I have to cheat a little, too. It’s not one thing, but I’ll call it one thing because, well, that’s what I’m supposed to do for this feature.

Gragas needs a responsiveness tuneup, across two mechanics in particular.

First, his auto attack animation needs to be cleaner and a little bit faster. I missed more than a few champion kills this week because I would Body Slam up to a target and get stunned, killed, or just start walking away before my auto attack animation had finished. That loping overhand swing just takes way too long to complete, and it costs Gragas a lot of damage, thanks to Drunken Rage.

His second tuneup skill is Body Slam. That skill seems to have the strangest hit conditions of any dash in the game. It also seems to suffer from variable speed depending on the distance of the cast, which can be extremely punishing if you miss your target. The animation also needs a cleanup, as it seems to lock you out depending on where the character stops along the animation path. It just feels a little too sloppy. Somewhat sloppy is okay for a drunk champ, but he feels painfully unresponsive at times.

There are some other things that I think could help Gragas out, like faster travel time on his ult, but the responsiveness changes would indirectly address some of his other issues. That feels like a fine fix to me.

If you haven’t played Gragas, I would highly recommend checking him out during a free week. He’s not for everyone, but he can be a lot of fun if you’re willing to spend your game time with an obese Scotsman with a drinking problem.

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