Viktor Impressions

Viktor.

What better way to make my return to the MOBA field than with my impressions post for the newest champion in League of Legends? I’ll tell you. DotA 2. Yes, I’m finally in the beta, but more on that later. For now, let’s talk about the man-machine, Viktor.

You may remember Morello announcing that Riot had plans to introduce more complicated heroes and mechanics into League of Legends over the course of 2012. Viktor seems to be the first of that wave, adding a new item-based skill customization along with a somewhat complicated skillset. While I love the idea of adding more complexity to the game, the actual gameplay needs to support mechanically complex heroes. With Viktor, that just isn’t the case. Hopefully we’ll see more playstyle changes to League as a whole. If not, complex heroes will simply be outshined by champions like Annie and Brand, champs that deal huge damage through a simple set of skills.

Personally, I haven’t enjoyed my time with Viktor, pretty much for the reasons stated above. His skills are too complicated to use without enough benefit for using them well. I feel like I have to work twice as hard for kills that would be easier with many other champions. That’s not all bad – champions with a decent skill ceiling are usually enjoyable to play. In most cases, though, high skill ceiling means knowing when and how your skills should be used, not just that it’s difficult to land them. That’s Viktor. His beam can be very difficult to land in a chase situation – it’s certainly easy to avoid – and without augmenting his stun, he can be pretty easy to outrun.

That said, he has some insane burst. When all of his skills land, he hits hard. His ult works essentially like Tibbers, dealing a big burst in the beginning and a damage over time as it “churns.” With an augment on his beam, he’ll one-shot most any carry.

I don’t think Riot’s going to need to change him much unless a streamer unlocks a truly godlike build/playstyle. Viktor does things that a lot of other champions in the game do, it’s just that all of those things – his stun, his big damage, his AoE power – require a lot more effort than similar champions. He’s also just not all that exciting, which is why I think I haven’t seen him picked much. If I compare him to Fizz, I see one champion with an interesting skillset that adds a couple new mechanics and has a high risk/reward threshold, and one champion that plays like most AP casters. I’ll leave you to sort out which is which.

Viktor gameplay commentary is up at IGN

As I’m sure you know by now, Riot’s next champion for League of Legends is Viktor, the Machine Herald. We’ve had the sneak peek comic, we’ve had some leaked information about his skillset, but nothing comes close to this video from IGN. The guys doing commentary aren’t particularly clear on a few points about Viktor’s mechanics, but on the whole it’s a pretty nice look at the next LoL champion.

The most interesting part of Viktor’s kit is definitely his passive, which gives Viktor an item from level one. The item can be upgraded in the shop to augment one of his abilities. I think this could be a cool mechanic, particularly if Viktor fulfilled some interesting role on a team, but in this instance I think this will mostly be a matter of which augment is functionally best, not necessarily which augment the player likes best. As for his position on a team, Viktor seems to fall under the general tanky DPS/utility that many of the recent releases have seen. He does seem to lean a little more to the mage side of things, but with a shield and a speed boost, he seems like most Tanky DPS today.

I’ll have more thoughts about his kit tomorrow. For now, enjoy the video.

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