Nocturne preview release on IGN

Last night IGN released the first gameplay footage of Nocturne. The footage is basically a champion spotlight, without all the detail devoted to showing the champion’s individual skills. It’s a nice look at what he can do. I really love the fear tether idea. It’s not entirely new – just a remake of Leblanc’s Ethereal Chains – but it adds nice flavor to the character. Check the video and, as always, let me know what you think about Nocturne in the comments.


Is champion selection a barometer of balance?


There’s a post on the forums right now citing the champions that are “mained” by the top 50 players in ranked solo queue. It’s interesting to see what those players use most, but I’m not so sure what sort of conclusions we can reasonably draw from the information.

The most played champions among the top 50 players are Shaco, Pantheon, Kassadin, and Ezreal, each with four players who main the given character. You have to remember, these are just the characters those players play most often. Also, they don’t represent a huge majority over other characters. The original poster said this:

– Only 28 of the game’s 69 champions are represented in the Top 50 as someone’s Main.
– Only 2 tanks, Singed (3) and Alistar (1). I guess if you count Nunu (1) it’s three.
– Only 5 Ranged AD carries… and only 1 of those is high on the list. I guess six if you build AD Ez

The fact that 28 characters out of a possible 50 (remember, only the top 50 players were recorded) are represented actually seems really good. To me, that points to player skill as more important than champion choice, but even that is hard to qualify.

Zileas also posted in the thread, giving overall stats for champion choice. The window between the most played champion and least played champion is surprisingly small. Ashe is played in 3.8 percent of games while the least played champion is .4 percent of all picks. Again, this doesn’t really say much about balance. Riot has said that players over 1200 ELO make up roughly the top 25 percent of the player base. Basically, there are a lot of low-skill players affecting those numbers, players that don’t really factor in to the balance discussion.

Also, among all of this, it’s important to remember that not all champions are free. As Zileas pointed out, it’s not really surprising that Ashe is the number one pick. She’s 450 IP and very easy to play. When you consider the champion rotation and the way that players unlock different champions, it’s tough to say that the number of games played per champion mean a whole lot. It’s probably fair to assume that a crazy OP champion would be purchased right away, at least at the higher tiers, but I don’t know how much that matters to newer players. I would imagine that new players don’t see the full potential of a character very often, particularly if they’re new to the MOBA scene.

There are definitely some interesting stats in the thread, but I don’t think we can take much more from them than that free champion rotations keep more champions in play. Since players have limited access to champions, the free rotation makes us more likely to try someone new when they’re available, which is a good thing. Other than that, all I can say is that I wish Riot made more stats like this available. It’s a really interesting look at the player base and how all the different aspects of the game affect player choice.


Who do you use to carry?


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.


Pro Tips: Adjust your build to suit your opponent

Fiddle vs. Karthus.Last night I had my first chance to play in nearly a week and let me tell you, it was rough. Despite the fact that I was able to play Shaco in nearly every game, I just couldn’t seem to get any momentum. There was one bright spot, even if it was shining on an ugly black spot of mold.

I started a game as Xin, enjoying a little time in the jungle. The enemy team had tried to gank me at golem, but since they didn’t have a jungler I just left and took their golem instead. Nasus found me just as I hit smite, but he was low for some reason and with the help of mid and top lanes we got first blood. It was a solid start. It wouldn’t be a solid game.

I got back into the jungle, but our Zilean was having trouble 2v1 against an Annie/Garen combo. I went to gank and promptly got myself murdered. No big deal, but I was a little behind. Back to the jungle for farming. Zilean’s having trouble again, I go gank, get smashed. I’m 0-2-1 at this point and just barely on top of the leveling curve thanks to Zilean’s passive. I died two more times though, and I was sorely behind. A lot of the problem was that every lane was tanky with high damage. If it wasn’t Garen/Annie bot, it was Nasus and some other thick mofo top. A lot of pain without much potential for ganks.

Looking at their team, there was only one solution – build tanky and farm up. I spent the next 20 minutes killing creeps, controlling dragon, and sneaking the other team’s buffs whenever I could. It took a while, but eventually I had enough damage reduction to not only survive teamfights, but make use of my Bloodrazor as well. I went from an 0-4 start to legendary by focusing on a build to counter the enemy team.

This isn’t revolutionary. In fact, most “pro tips” aren’t. They’re simple things, but that’s what makes the difference between quality players and players who hit the skill wall. In a tough situation, the pro player finds a way to make his comp and his character work. People still, to this day, completely neglect the opponent in favor of a build they found on Leaguecraft or the forums or saw in a live stream, and they lose.

There are a lot of games, most games by my count, that get decided by how well a team builds. If you’re playing the same build over and over, consider switching things up according to who you’re facing. Build on your strengths, but patch the holes in your defenses as well.


LoL: What’s the Nidalee consensus?

Nidalee.Phreak dropped by the forums today to ask for a little feedback on Nidalee. I was pretty interested in the topic, mostly because I think Nidalee occupies a very weird spot in the LoL spread of champions. She’s definitely a support toon, but she’s capable of carrying a team to victory and utterly terrifying in any 1v1 situation. The most surprising part of the discussion? People think she’s balanced.

I don’t have huge gripes about Nidalee, just minor issues that I think could be tweaked. The real problem I see is that Nidalee can fill every gap a team may have. She heals (one of the most mana efficient in the game), has map awareness, provides a great pushing buff, has incredible escapability and, as such, is one of the best chasers in the game. Add to it all that cat form is excellent for farming with virtually zero consequence and you have a champion that feels far from balanced. It’s not that any of these in and of itself is OP, but that giving them all to a single character results in a team slot that heavily tips the scales. Consider a well played Nidalee versus a well played Nasus (support DPS) or Morgana (support DPS/CC) and I think you’ll find she offers most of the other’s benefits, with the exception of snare/slow, plus a whole lot more.

You can find the full contents of the post in the general discussion forums.


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