Garen ult range has a bit of a bug

If you’ve ever done any kind of work on a video game, you probably know how difficult it can be to track down bugs. Hell, just reproducing a bug can be a pain in the ass. That’s the beauty of the internet. With a game like LoL, Riot has a couple million people reproducing bugs every day, like this little gem from Jedidwag. In the video above you can see the magic behind one of the crazier ult bugs in the game: Garen’s Demacian Justice.

I’ve been hit by my share of questionable Garen ults, but I always chalked it up to lag or animation timing or whatever. If Jedidwag is right, though, Garen’s ult has a reproducible bug that dramatically increases the range. When Demacian Justice is cast while Garen is spinning it will land on the target even if that target moves out of range. There are some restrictions on the distance, but you’ll notice some truly insane distances in the video above.

How does tanky DPS feel now?

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This patch was supposed to address some of the issues with Tanky DPS characters. There were health nerfs and shield nerfs, but from my perspective the game doesn’t seem much different. Tanky teams are still able to drag out what appear to be landslide wins.

Does tanky DPS still need a nerf? Sound off in the comments.

Dreadknight Garen and Pharaoh Nidalee to appear as mid-cycle skins

garen_splash_4

As with every patch, this one includes a couple mid-cycle skins that should release early next week. As you can see above, we’ve got Dreadknight Garen. Nidalee players can also get excited about Pharaoh Nidalee, whose cat form is a Siamese cat, as pictured below.

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Personally, I would have liked to see Garen get a helmet of some kind for the whole ‘knight’ part of the skin. As it is, he kinda looks like a futuristic version of himself. The Nidalee skin looks pretty sweet, though.

Cassiopeia patch roundup: The times they are a-changing

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I realize this is a day or so behind, but I’ve been pretty busy with Spike stuff and pre-holiday stuff and frankly, so much changed in this patch it’s actually a little tough to keep up. I’ve finally been able to sit down and play a couple games, and I’ve read the patch notes enough times that I feel like I know what’s going on to a degree that I can put down a few coherent thoughts. Here goes.

I’m going to cover champions first, though that’s not really where the big changes are.

Cho’Gath, Ezreal, Fiddlesticks, Katarina, and Malzahar all got some incremental buffs that should help them out. Fiddle still needs a rework in my opinion, but I think Ezreal should be a bit more competitive, Katarina should feel more balanced between AD and AP, and Malzahar might deal a bit more damage.

Garen got smacked with the nerf bat. Seriously, I can’t tell you how happy I am about this one. It’s been so long overdue that I almost can’t believe it’s here. He actually got a scaling buff, but the fact that you can no longer stack Sunfires means Garen will have to work a LOT harder to get his job done. I’m glad to see him get a scaling buff, too. I’ve always been tempted by DPS Garen, and now maybe I’ll be able to give him a serious go.

Gragas got a significant Drunken Rage nerf, which was also likely overdue. Coupled with the removal of Innervating Locket, Gragas will be much easier to bring down, but could be frustrating to play as a tank.

I would love to be in on the meetings regarding LeBlanc because I just. don’t. get it. She starts so alarmingly broken that they have to hotfix nerf her, a move I haven’t seen since, well, I don’t even know when. Since then she’s been slowly buffed. She’s almost back to where she started. Give her a little more range and less CD scaling on her ult and, bingo! You have release LeBlanc. I know, she’s still a shade of her former self, but it’s funny that she got crushed by the hotfix and they’ve buffed her in every patch since. Also, the last thing I thought she needed buffed was her stun duration. Seriously, why?

Olaf got a much-needed scaling nerf. I remember saying when he launched that a) he’s overpowered when farmed, but b) he’s like a bad Mundo until he gets some farm. I still believe those things to be true, though the second to a lesser extent. Olaf’s obvious advantage over Mundo is that he’s excellent in the jungle. This nerf will make him slightly less scary late game, though he’ll still be brutal.

Twitch got a pretty big nerf, and though I originally thought it might be a bit of an early game buff, it might have brutalized him. I’m terrible with Twitch, in fact, I’m comfortable calling him my worst toon. There is something about his attack timing that I just fundamentally do not get, but I’ve tried building him every way I could think of since the patch and nothing has been all that impressive. It’s not so much the change to damage versus attack speed but the fact that his attacks are limited. You might blow your ult on one or two people just to have more show up, at which point you’re sorta screwed.

Urgot caught a buff, but it’s a strange one. His poison became physical instead of magic (I actually like this, and it’s a perfect idea for Cassiopeia), he got a slight range buff, he got some scaling damage ratio buffs, and a shield buff. There’s definitely some creative problem solving with the physical change, but they might have gone a bit far with his other skills. We’ll see.

After writing all this I realize I just need to make another post for all the other changes that came with this patch. You’ll see that tomorrow.

The supermids aren’t always your best option

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First, I’d like to draw your attention to my awesome title for the champions introduced since season one launch who exceed most other champions at taking the solo lane: supermids. The reason I thought it up (I know, I’m so creative) was that I needed a way to talk about Vlad, Kog’Maw, Miss Fortune, etc. without typing that out every time I wanted to talk about the great carries in the game. Enough of that, though. On to the post.

I played two games tonight with a friend with hopes of breaking into the 1600s in ranked solo. I had been playing well all day and things just seemed to be going right. We lost. Both games. Hard. The biggest problem in both cases was our comp. In the first game my buddy was stuck in the mindset of 3s so he banned Singed. No biggie, still 3 bans, but we decided to joke around and ban Eve. That left a few strong toons on the board. Our opponent first picked Warwick so my buddy and I snagged Garen and Miss Fortune. Solid start for the team. Unfortunately, a teammate thought we couldn’t leave Kog’Maw on the board, so he picked him over some CC (Morgana was still available). Our fourth teammate chose Sona and I knew we were in trouble. Our fifth pick: Mordekaiser.

Sure, we had strong toons, but the sum of the parts was virtually nothing. Without crowd control to keep the enemy away from the carries, we got rocked. You can go too far in the other direction, too. For my next game I didn’t ban Amumu because frankly, a lot of people suck with him. The other team first picked Warwick again. I snagged Garen for a buddy and our second player picked Taric. We had said someone should get Amumu, but I was already thinking we were on the verge of being too tanky. With good DPS, though, we should have been fine. Our third player takes Shen and immediately locks him in, even though our fourth had said several times that he was picking Amumu, which he still did, leaving us with 4 tanks, short on damage. I had my friend pick TF in the hopes that we could stun them down. We couldn’t. Our outside lanes were getting worked and it was just a matter of time before our opponents had complete control of the map and we were too short on DPS to burn them down.

Even when the supermids are available, you have to focus on comp over individual toon strength. I asked everyone after the first game if they really thought we had a decent comp. The response was this: “You had Garen and Kog’Maw. Your comp was great.”

Sigh.

Patch Day 9/8 – Welcome to Rootstown

Waterloo Miss Fortune.

While we’re all patiently waiting for the servers to go live, I figure it’s time to cover the patch notes for today’s update. There are only a few serious character updates, and even those go out to mostly underplayed champions. The biggest change is the root mechanic update, which is why this post has the title it does (Rootstown is also a place near my hometown, so I chose it over Rootsville).

Mechanics
So let’s talk roots. Ever landed a Dark Binding on an Ezreal only to watch him Arcane Shift away the second it hits? Sure, he’s stuck for the duration, but he’s stuck off your Tormented Soil and closer to safety. It was a frustrating mechanic, but it can’t happen anymore. Every character with some sort of dash or self-hook (Bandage Toss, for instance) has been updated so that the skills cannot be cast when rooted. It’s not a huge nerf for those characters, but it is a fairly high-grade buff for characters like Morgana and, in particular, Amumu. He’s already at the top of most ban lists, due to his severe magic resist debuff and the strength of his ultimate in a team setting. That ult just got a little stronger, and when used in conjunction with an AOE like Tibbers or Kennen’s ult, or Miss Fortune’s wave of pain, you’re really going to feel that root buff.

This patch also added suppression, so you won’t be able to avoid the full brunt of Malzahar, Warwick, or Urgot when they ult you. Suppression prevents the target from casting or using Summoner Spells, which means your only recourse is a Quicksilver Sash or Black Shield/Banshee’s Veil. It’s a big buff for those toons, but could become a pain in the ass for everyone else. Is it fun to have your ult cleansed? No. But it’s equally unfun to feel like a character like Malzahar gets to one-shot a player of your team whenever his ult is up. I’ll wait to pass too much judgement on this, but for now I don’t like it.

Champions
Like I said above, there aren’t many champion changes, despite those for some of the underplayed characters. My guess is that Riot wants to see how the root change affects the game before messing with too many champions.

Corki caught a buff across the board. His attack range was increased 10 percent, his attack speed per level gains got a nice buff and the Missile Barrage reload time is down to 10 seconds from 14. It might not sound like much, but I’ve always maintained that Corki is strong (and super fun to play), so this should make him an excellent pick.

Dr. Mundo got some longevity buffs that could help him scale a bit better. His cleaver now costs more to cast but he heals half the cost when it lands. It’s basically pushing people away from free brush checker and forcing them to use it a little more wisely. Burning Agony costs slightly less to maintain and Masochism now costs more HP at low ranks and less at higher ranks. Sadism also got changed to return 40/55/70 percent health instead of a flat 50 percent at all levels. Again, nice late game buff.

The big news, though, is Ezreal. He received damage nerfs to nearly all of his skills and his base damage. It looks a little something like this:
-Base damage reduced to 45 from 47.6
-Damage per level reduced to 2.6 from 3
-Attack Speed per level reduced to 2.8 from 3.22
-Mystic Shot damage reduced to 35/55/75/95/115 from 40/65/90/115/140

Hopefully it brings him more in line with other carries, though the fact that he can still deal scaling damage to you while exhausted and has excellent escapability makes him very strong. Manamune will also be a great damage source for the emo cartographer.

Malzahar got buffed – Another range buff on his ult, up to 750. Null Zone is more mana efficient at lower ranks, Call of the Void got a slight CD buff and his Voidlings now attack his most recent Malefic Visions target. With all of these buffs, along with the suppression buff, Malzahar is going to be one annoying bastard on the field. I really think the ult buff is way out of hand if he gets suppression. He should at least be put at marginal risk when he casts it if it completely disables his target (I know, it does disable him too).

The rest of the changes are small, so I’ll leave you to read those for yourself. The one thing you may have noticed is that Garen isn’t on that list. I was expecting some significant changes for him, but all we got was a little reduction on the passive component of Courage. So he now gets slightly less amor and magic resistance from killing creeps but it still blocks big damage when activated, and his hybrid of magic and physical damage when wearing Sunfire Cape is still too high for me to feel comfortable with him as an opponent. You may have heard Phreak say in the Miss Fortune spotlight that Garen should never be focused. It’s true, but he doesn’t have any trouble rushing your carries/casters, and a Decisive Strike -> Judgement -> Ignite -> Demacian Justice is typically way more than a squishy toon can handle. Hopefully the next page will have a little more in store for Garen. Same for Kog’Maw – he remains unchanged and could use a slight nerf to either the damage from Bio-Arcane Barrage or the attack speed buff from Caustic Spittle.

That does it for the patch. I’ve written a short post covering the new item, Manamune, and I’ll be posting my Miss Fortune impressions as soon as I have a chance to play her.

Who do you use to carry?

Kog'Maw.

I had a pretty stellar game this afternoon as Kog’Maw. Granted, that’s not so tough these days, but I was rocking a significantly positive K/D/A ratio (22/7/7) in spite of a team of four negative K/D/As. I was playing with a friend who actually said over Skype, “You are the sole reason we are winning this game.” That’s a pretty great feeling, and it doesn’t happen very often.

More often my “carry” games are more subtle, and tell a small part of what can only be considered a team victory. I have been trying to pick champions that allow me to contribute in a big way, lately, and I think it has helped my rating. The key, to me anyway, is to pick someone that can really dish out the love. I am great at ganking, so playing gank toons allows me to maximize that part of my playstyle. I really like Vlad because he farms minions well for the entire game and his ultimate is a boon to any team. Kog’Maw is great if you have the space to farm (i.e. not laning against good harassment/stuns) and a team to distract people. Ezreal is an amazing comeback toon if your team starts down. I also like to play characters like Xin Zhao and Shaco, who can close the gap without risking too much in the process. As you all know, I’ve also been playing a lot of Master Yi recently, though I rarely feel like I carry with him. He’s often more like an annoying swarm of hornets – it hurts like hell and you can never pin them down enough to stop the pain.

So who do you use when you want to carry? I know a couple of mean Udyr players who really seem to turn games, and it’s always fun to have a pro Zilean or Morgana on your team. Drop your best carries in the comments (with a fun story if you have one)!

PS – Thanks for the pic, Miku! Front page of Google Images for Kog’maw so I linked back to your post.

I can’t wait for the Garen nerf

Garen.

Despite early claims that Garen was balanced, just that people were finally learning to use him, Riot has admitted that Garen may be a little too strong at everything he does. It is just a tad ridiculous for him to be able to buy survivability items and completely melt an entire team. Also, the fact that his W has both a passive damage reduction buff and an active seems like overkill.

Lucky for us, he’s catching a nerf, and I can’t wait. It’s not the Garens that dominate games that are causing the problems. It’s the other Garens, the people who think they know how to play Garen, that are the issue. You’ve probably seen them trying to tank three people at level five, turret diving from level one, and stacking armor against completely magic based enemies.

It’s not a problem unique to Garen. Any time the community realizes a given champ is overpowered, players do anything they can to play him, even if they don’t know the champion. It’s already starting to happen with Kog’Maw. The little alien got a buff and now a lot of people who had previously ignored him are both picking and banning him. It’s a trend we’ll probably see nearly as often as there’s a significant patch. For now, though, I’m happy to wait on the Garen nerf, and when it becomes a problem with other champions, I’ll anxiously await their nerf patches as well.

Where are all the patched champions?

new_champ_spreadOne of the great things about LoL is the endless possibility for expansion. There can always be new heroes, new maps, new game modes, etc. Those things need to fit well into the game to really serve as expanded material, though. If no one’s playing those modes/champions, they have virtually zero effect on the game.

That’s exactly what I’ve been seeing in the new champions. They get played for their launch week and the subsequent free week and then fall completely off the radar. I almost never see Olaf in game any more, and when I do I tend to smash him. Malzahar? Never. Akali? Less than never. Garen? Rarely. Kennen? Nope. Mordekaiser? Occasionally. The only patched champions I see on a regular basis are Shen (who is in nearly every game), Ezreal (same, almost every game), and Pantheon (only because Heartseeker is crazy broken right now).

If you take a look at the champion list at LoL Base, you’ll see that the only one of the champions I never see that has a positive win/loss ratio is Mordekaiser. The rest are negative, in some cases drastically so, which says to me a couple things. First, and most obviously, those characters suffer from some kind of serious design flaw. Though I think several of the champions I mentioned are solid (Kennen and Garen for the most part), the others have trouble providing serious support to a team. It could be that players just haven’t figured out how to play these new champions, but most of them are old enough that someone, somewhere should be playing them or singing their praises, and that’s not really the case.

It’s too early to say where Kog’Maw will fall, but if he follows the current trend, we’ll see him for two weeks and not much more.

LoL: New skins are live (updated)

Bird of Prey AniviaI’ve been playing a few games with Garen recently and finally decided I would get him a skin. I’ve actually enjoyed him, though I wonder how good he’ll be once that silence only runs the proper 2.5 seconds (it’s currently bugged and sometimes hits for 5). I’m going with the Sanguine skin. I don’t really like the loading image – it makes him look like a goth punk – but it looks much cooler in game than Desert Trooper Garen.

Imagine my surprise when I logged in to the store and found Bird of Prey Anivia staring me in the face. Almost 1700 RP later and I’m the proud owner of Sanguine Garen, Bird of Prey Anivia, and Scuba Gragas. Hopefully I can get some screenshots posted here shortly.

UPDATE: I got a game in as Bird of Prey Anivia and Scuba Gragas and I really like both skins. The Anivia is a little black for my tastes – not sure why it isn’t more brown like the picture suggests. Gragas, though, is awesome. The tank on his belly wiggles with glee. If only they had changed the barrel skin to match the tank thing he’s holding. That would have been incredible.

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