Will Ashe catch the next nerf?

Alternate Ashe Splash.

Today’s patch included some widespread (and pretty severe, in some cases) nerfs for many of the champions we saw used and abused in the Season One Championship at Dreamhack. One champion was not only notably absent from the nerf list, but also notably present and incredibly victorious at the tourney: Ashe. Ashe played in a whopping 17 games at Dreamhack, only bested by Nunu and Janna at 18 a piece. Ashe’s team won 13 of the 17 games in which she appeared, boasting a 76 percent win percentage. I’d like to think we’re beyond the point that we call that luck. Is she overdue for a nerf?

My own opinion is yes. After the nerfs doled out to champions like Miss Fortune and Vayne and the Last Whisper changes that rocked Tristana, Ashe somehow retained an extremely powerful skillset. The majority of her strength is obviously caught up in Enchanted Crystal Arrow. That one skill allows her to contribute incredible utility long before the other ranged carries really start to shine. When you factor in the free CV she gets every 60 seconds, it’s tough to see how she’s escaped the nerf bat.

I actually think she remains unnerfed for the same reason she is so strong – most of her power is in her ult. Change that skill the wrong way and suddenly she’s below Tristana in terms of team utility – no escape mechanism, poor early game damage aside from her level 1 crit, and a fairly mediocre gold multiplier. I do think she could use a bit of a cooldown increase on her ult while they figure out something else to do with it.

In case you missed it, some friendly player made an awesome spreadsheet breaking down all of the Champions, Summoner Spells, players, and raw data from Dreamhack and shared it as a Google Document. Check it out when you have a chance – you might find someone on the list worth checking out.


Sometimes you have to stick with what works


I got to play quite a few games with Antiquus and some other readers here yesterday, but maybe the funniest game was one in which our opponent’s Ashe was building tank. Now granted, she had the best score on the team, and she even had a positive K/D ratio, but I can promise you, it wasn’t working.

I just said yesterday that sometimes you need to switch up your paradigm, but there are toons for which that doesn’t really work. Ashe is one of them.


Rise of the initiators [metagame]


The Kog’Maw patch brought with it two skills that make ganking much more difficult than it has been in the past – Hawkshot and Living Artillery. Both skills grant vision of nearby areas, including brush, making the bait-to-buff ganks much more difficult to pull off. As long as Kog’Maw is new, and Ashe is in basically every game, these skill will be so prevalent that they will tip the game to favor the teams with the best initiators.

Prior to the Hawkshot/Living Artillery, the only other skills that provided this utility were Twisted Fate’s ultimate and the summoner skill Clairvoyance. Now, though, you can bet those skills will be in every game. When Season One finally drops, I’ll be begging my teams to ban Ashe in every game, mostly for Hawkshot. To me it seems a little crazy that you would give one of the strongest carries in the game such a great skill. Kog’Maw’s is weaker, but still great for scouting before you rush into a dangerous situation.

I’ve already noticed the average length of my games going up because of these skills. Teams that are short on initiation are forced to the woods to try for ganks. The reveals start and both teams dance away from each other, waiting for the other to make a mistake. The standoff is insanely boring and prolongs what could otherwise be an exciting situation/game.

I do appreciate the attempt to move the game away from poking, but the move has taken the game beyond poking range to a standoff in which everyone waits for the reveals to wear off and the best initiator tends to win the fight.


LoL: Champion updates on the TR (AKA how they broke Eve)

Eve will be so OP.I’ve covered both Al’Zahar and the sweeping changes to the magic/armor penetration system, but this latest TR patch also includes a number of fairly serious champion changes. It’s also worth mentioning that Riot has removed base critical chance percentages from all champions, as well as their scaling chance to crit per level. It’s a small change toward reducing the RNG factor of early game fights, though I wonder if critical chance runes won’t become a whole lot more popular because of the change, especially since armor pen runes will be terrible for physical damage dealers. Compared to the penetration system changes, though, this is small potatoes. Let’s focus on the champion changes.

Ashe finally got the Plentiful Bounty rework in the form of a directional truesight shot called Hawkshot. For now the particle looks like Ezreal’s ult and casts in the same fashion, though it only covers 15-20 percent of the map in a straight line. It does grant vision to an area, so you can catch invisible targets. The spell kept its gold/kill passive, which is kinda nice, but I don’t think there’s great reason to take more than one rank . That’s not really a problem, since most characters encourage you to focus on two skills and then the ultimate, but it is kind of anticlimactic. Ashe also caught a long overdue volley nerf, bringing the number of arrows down to seven from nine. A lot of people are upset about it, but considering that Ashe is in almost every game and that building her for mana regen and CDR gave an almost unparalleled level of harass says to me it was time.

The only serious change Cho’Gath got was losing up to three Feast stacks on death instead of losing them all. It’s a decent solution to the death problem, though I think it could make him a little strong. Cho already snowballs pretty hard, and giving him the ability to die and be essentially right back at that massive level doesn’t seem like the right solution to his problems.

Teemo’s been the subject of the forum’s ire for a long time, though it took one of the PTR Fridays to get him onto Shurelia’s “list.” His camouflage now takes three seconds for fade instead of four and grants 40 percent attack speed buff for three seconds on stealth break. It’s a nice thought, but how often will you really take advantage of that change in a fight? Standing still for three seconds is a lot of wasted time. Move Quick has changed so that it only breaks on damage from enemy turrets and champions, which is nice. His poison was also changed to deal one tick of bonus damage on hit rather than after the first hit. It’s a minor tweak but should help him a bit with last-hitting.

I saved Eve for last because she received the most dramatic changes, changes that Riot has said aren’t complete. Her passive is now a 30% AOE damage reduction, which seems completely ridiculous compared to some of the other passives in the game. From a design perspective it seems to me that a champion has poorly designed engagement or disengagement if you have to give her an amazing damage reduction skill, particularly as a DPS toon. Hate Spike now has built in spell vamp and hits two additional targets (up from one), which gives her some extra lane stay. I don’t mind this change so much but coupled with her new passive it makes her difficult to kill. Her stealth now lasts 40 seconds at all ranks and grants a move speed buff. This was an obvious fix so that you only take one rank of stealth and focus the rest of your points on damage abilities. Ravage now grants the bonus MR/armor reduction regardless of your attack position, which again, coupled with the other buffs is over the top. To cap off the ridiculousness, her ultimate grants cooldown reduction along with 35% flat damage reduction for 15 seconds. Do you see where I’m going with this? They’ve turned her into an unstoppable machine of death with stealth, a two-second stun, massive damage reduction (almost on par with Alistar’s ultimate) and lifesteal. I saw her take down a level 18 Jax who was massively farmed with three elixirs while she was sporting a Rageblade, an 8-stack Mejais and a Gunblade. It was absurd. I’ll save much more criticism for later, but only because Riot said the ultimate is going away. Even with something different, though, I think they made her far too durable for a character that also has the benefit of stealth and a stun. Oracles is practically worthless against her because in all likelihood you won’t kill her, even if you have a couple people focus fire. But I’m criticizing and I said I wouldn’t. Just know that her changes might not go live with this patch, but if they do, you better be ready to see her in every game.

Other heroes got some small tweaks that won’t change much about the game. Rammus will be more mana efficient and a little better at farming. Janna won’t be quite so ridiculous at level one on TT. Zilean caught an early game nerf but a buff to his assists, and Ryze won’t burst quite as hard. I’m keeping a cautious eye out for the rest of the Eve changes.


LoL: PTR Fridays Q&A with Shurelia

Soraka.Shurelia hosted another PTR Friday earlier in the evening to give the TR players a chance to give feedback on the latest patch, which includes Garen, and participate in a Q&A session after the games. Though I didn’t get in on any games, I was around for the discussion and it went much better than the Garen reveal. There were still some pretty weak questions, but the smaller group made it easier to push some good ones through.

A lot of discussion focused on Katarina. The new changes look like a significant buff, though it doesn’t change her playstyle enough to make her truly interesting in my mind. It’s nice to have some damage reduction, but that doesn’t change the fact that her ult is incredibly easy to interrupt/avoid.

They are talking about reducing the damage Shen blocks with Feint to 150 or so. If you haven’t seen, the new Feint reduces all incoming damage from non turret sources by 200 at max level. That doesn’t mean it blocks 200 and wears off. It lasts two seconds and for those two seconds anything that hits Shen deals 200 less damage than it would have otherwise. If Ryze casts Overload for 350 and Ashe shoots him twice for 140 and a crit for 280, he’ll take 150 from Overload, zero damage from the normal shot and 80 damage from the crit. I think you can probably see why this might need nerfed.

Several people asked for new info about Akali. Here’s what Shurelia said – Akali spoiler: Akali is a ninja.

One player asked what Ashe’s E skill would be remade to and when we would see it. Shurelia said she would push for it in the next patch and that it will synergize with Enchanted Crystal Arrow in some way. Sounds at least interesting.

The last bit of news is that there will be another PTR Friday next week. I’d say that means its entirely possible that we’ll see Akali hit the PTR next week, but it could be to test out some additional tweaks, like the Katarina buffs.


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