LoL: Akali skill list and impressions

Akali, the Fist of Shadow.If you’re keeping up with the announcement forums you know Akali is upon us. She’ll finally be joining her brothers, Shen and Kennen, for battle in the League of Legends. The Test Realm has been absolutely packed with players trying to get a look at her. I was lucky enough to get several games in so I thought it would only be fair to give you guys my impressions. As we now have the “new champion approaches” post from Riot, I can also offer the official skill list for your perusal.

Without further ado, the Akali skill list:

Mark of the Assassin: Akali throws her kama at an enemy, dealing damage and marking her target for several seconds. If she hits a marked target, the mark will deal additional damage. This is your bread and butter AP damage skill, even if it is inappropriately named (seriously, what assassin lets you know you’re marked?). It scales with ability power at a .4 ratio for both the initial strike and the secondary hit. This is what a fed Akali will use to cut you in half.

Twilight Shroud: Akali throws down a smoke bomb at a target area. While in the area, Akali becomes stealthed. Performing an action breaks stealth for a second. Enemies in the area have reduced movement speed and attack speed. This is the most “ninja” of Akali’s skills. It drops a circle on the ground about the radius of Nasus‘ Spirit Fire, visible to all players. When Akali is in the circle she cannot be seen for the duration that the circle is active (I believe it’s 6.5 seconds at rank 1). It also slows attack and movement speed of all enemy units in the circle. It’s not a bad skill, but it’s not great either. I haven’t played it much on 5v5 but on 3v3 I used it mostly as an escape mechanic, though occasionally the slow would get me a kill. I would love to see them give this a small (maybe 15%) movement speed boost for Akali as well. The slow improves along with the duration as you rank up.

Crescent Slash: Akali hits all units around her for damage scaling off both her attack damage and ability power. The bread and butter damage skill, this thing hits in about the radius of Malphite’s Ground Slam. It gains 60% of your AD and 30% of your AP along with a base damage modifier. It’s great for picking other Akali players off in the Shroud when they’re low.

Shadow Dance (ultimate): Akali moves through shadows to quickly strike her target, dealing damage and consuming an Essence of Shadow charge. Akali recharges Essence of Shadow charges periodically, max 3 stacks. This skill gives Akali all of her feel. It has great range, is up – typically with 3 stacks – every time you need it, and can be used for farming, harassment, whatever. Much like Ezreal, Akali can be tough to target when she’s using this skill. It’s only on a two second cooldown and it improves from there, making this your go-to skill for dishing out quick damage. Coupled with Mark, most targets won’t get away from Akali over 40% after a full combo.

Twin Disciplines (passive):
Discipline of Might – Upon obtaining 20 ability power, Akali’s melee attacks deal additional magic damage. The bonus magic damage is increased for every 5 ability power gained afterwards.
Discipline of Force – Upon obtaining 10 attack damage, Akali gains spell vamp. She gains additional spell vamp for every 20 attack damage gained afterwards.
I’m completely unimpressed by this aspect of Akali’s playstyle. Might only hits hard if you have high attack damage (it’s a percentage based increase on your AD). Force only heals well if you have high AP. This doesn’t encourage one build over the other, it encourages a strict hybrid to maximize both your damage dealing potential and your survivability. This is further emphasized with the damage scaling on Crescent Slash and the fact that Mark scales by AP only. If there was one thing I would change it would be her passive. The Mark/Slash issue just points to viability for both builds. Adding another level of dual-scaling encourages those weird hybrid builds the new champions seem destined for. It’s not that I’m opposed to hybrid builds, but that there aren’t enough items to support it. Guinsoo’s, sure, but what then? Until we have better itemization for true hybrids I’ll remain displeased with the effort to push players in that direction.

Despite my distaste for her passive, I think Akali will be a lot of fun She still has excellent damage output, and her twitchy playstyle is something I’ve really enjoyed on Kennen. In fact, I’ll probably build her a lot like I do Kennen – heavy magic penetration with enough early AP to completely carry a team. From just a few practice games I get the feeling that she’ll snowball fairly well as AP but has the farming capability to make AD viable. I still think AP is the spec, though. Ranged damage dealers far outshine their melee counterparts in most situation. Yes, even on TT. There are a select few melee toons that do well there – I don’t think Akali will be one of them. Not as AD, anyway.


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