Is LoL headed toward a Black King Bar?


With the rise of tanky DPS came another frustrating aspect of the metagame: chained crowd control. Many of the tanky characters in League of Legends are equipped with one or more CC abilities, be they slows, silences, knockups, snares, or stuns. I’ve played against many teams recently in which my deaths have felt like a one-shot, from 100 percent health to nothing without a chance to fire a single shot. That sort of stunlock mechanic is extremely frustrating in a MOBA, especially if you’ve chosen a champion with limited mobility (there are things from which even Flash can’t save you).

With the rise of tanky toons and the inherent rise of CC, I wonder if we won’t see some sort Black King Bar brought over from DotA. For those that don’t know, Black King Bar (BKB) was an item that granted the bearer magical immunity for a limited amount of time on activation. With BKB you couldn’t be stunned, slowed, feared – none of the CC options – but you also didn’t take any magic damage. Obviously this poses a balance problem for those one-and-done mages (Veigar comes to mind). With that type of item, we’d sort of be back to Flash breaking projectiles, which isn’t very fun.

Another option would be the introduction of some sort of diminishing returns on repeated CC on a target. Even giving Quicksilver Sash the Cleanse treatment – allowing it to reduce CC for for several seconds after use – would give players more options for dealing with the current metagame. Whatever the case, we need something to avoid the incredibly frustrating stunlock deaths.


Renekton impressions – maybe he really is related to Nasus

Galactic Renekton.

I wrote that title as 75 percent joke, and to be fair, most of his problems are melee related, not champion related. Let’s forget all that and talk about the good stuff for a minute, shall we?

Renekton has the hyperactive playstyle that I love. He’s regularly casting, has a fun little dash, and he flourishes his blade when he swings. Also, he’s a damn crocodile, in case you didn’t notice. Renekton also brings a decent stun to your team, and once the skill is at max rank, he can use the stun pretty often. His ult isn’t bad, and if you couple him with a stunner, you could have a decent lane.

That said, I am just now having my first runaway game with him, and I don’t really feel like I’m dominating all that hard. A big part of the problem is his cooldowns. They are long, to the point that you better have some cooldown reduction items with you. I understand they sort of have to be this way because of the fury system – too short and he’s constantly using furious abilities – but it limits the regularity with which you get to use his skills, which are all pretty cool. No doubt, part of the issue is that the resource system is new, and it’s still tough to know what the best use of all that fury is in the moment.

The other problem is that Renekton seems to be balanced around 1v1 fights where he is at or above his opponent’s level. In that situation he is very strong, much like Xin Zhao. His stun really cuts people up, especially if you’ve used a furious Dice, and a furious heal can be enough to keep you up against one target. Against multiple targets, though, you’re taking too much damage to even notice that heal.

It’s as though he was designed specifically to take second solo, which, when he can get it, is great. In the six or seven games I’ve played with him, though, I haven’t been solo. More often than not, I’ve been against strong ranged harass with another melee. When you’re the same level as multiple opponents and lower than the people ganking you, Renekton suffers like every melee toon. He’s easily kited despite his dash (the range is very short because he can do it twice if he hits someone) and often subjected to chain CC before he can even reach a target (or safety).

As for build, I’ve tried several things, but the thing I liked most so far is a Bloodthirster -> Trinity. Trinity is a little strange on him, but the added movespeed, health, and slow proc make a big difference for his gameplay. His cooldowns are long enough that you usually aren’t wasting the bonus damage procs, either.

I’m sure I’ll have more to say about him in a few days. I’ve been pretty busy with work and starting up a Minecraft server so I haven’t put quite as much time into studying him. This weekend I should be able to get a few more games and let you know how he feels.


LoL: Live Ezreal impressions

Ezreal in his Nottingham garb.I’ve only had the chance to spend a few games on Ezreal but he’s driven a lot of discussion on the forums so I thought it would be appropriate to post some impressions. Ezreal is definitely strong, but he’s likely going to be queue dodge material for a lot of people due to a very high skill ceiling. That’s mostly because he has four skill shots, but he’s’ also a terrible farmer in the wrong hands.

Let’s talk farming first, actually. Ezreal has big problems farming early game because he has no AOE farm skill like many other carries. You rely primarily on Mystic Shot, which can be difficult to land on the right creep, especially in a crowded side lane. I’ve personally been maxing Arcane Shift and Mystic Shot first, though I’ll probably try an Essence Flux build today. In either case, you need Mystic to keep your farm up and some sort of mana regen to allow some spell spam. If you can master farming on Ezreal you’ll be able to play him quite well.

While Ezreal can be built like a physical carry, he should be played in a support role, much like Nidalee, though with less early killing power. You should never be initiating fights unless you feel supremely confident in the win. He’s best used at the back of a fight, buffing and debuffing his team and enemies and pushing damage through with little risk of getting hit. He is extremely squishy, and while Arcane Shift might get you out of a fight for a quick second, it has a short enough range that it probably won’t save you against any ranged toon unless you see the gank coming and use it preemptively.

One of the big benefits of Ezreal is that he falls into the mixed heal/DPS category shared only by Nidalee. Mix in a Soraka, Alistar, or Taric and you have a team that will be very difficult to bring down, especially considering the state of anti-healing in the game. Depending on your lane comp, Essence Flux might be the way to go.

Overall, I can appreciate Riot’s stance on nerfs and buffs for this toon. We likely won’t see him at his full potential for a few weeks, though I wouldn’t be surprised to hear the player base calling for nerfs when that happens.


Get 3 C&C games for free

C&C original logo.You might be excited about the upcoming release of the last in the Command & Conquer series, C&C: Tiberian Twilight, but things are about to get a whole lot better. As a promotion for the release, EA is offering up the original three Command & Conquer titles for free.

The free titles include Command & Conquer, Command & Conquer: Tiberiun Sun with the Firestorm xpac, and Red Alert. Did I mention they’re free? You’re just a download away from reliving your nostalgic RTS past. It’ll give you a chance to get caught up on that storyline (these games have a storyline, right?) before the final chapter releases on March 16th.

According to EA, C&C 4 will be the “epic conclusion to the Tiberium saga.”

Source: EA


LoL: Controlling the late-game

League of Legends tower.I couldn’t sleep last night so I decided to jump into a game of LoL to relax. I’ve been on a bit of a losing streak recently so I took my own advice, working the basics to try to sneak a win. Lo and behold, I was farming well, racking up some assists, and slowly turning my TF into a nuking machine.

And for once, it was a fairly even match. We had myself as TF, Malphite, Alistar, Veigar, and Annie – a little low on the phys dps side of things but we were playing well. The other side was Twitch, Blitzcrank, Katarina, Annie and one other I can’t seem to remember. My team struggled early, but we picked things up around 14 and starting pushing towers. For the most part we were fine – our Malphite and Alistar were coordinating well and DPS was focusing targets. We did have one problem, though: Twitch.

Despite my constant begging, our tanks just would notbuy an elixir. Sure, there was my ultimate, and I was blowing it for every team fight, but Twitch soon got wise, would flash in and invis out. By the end of the game we were all yelling at each other, everyone blamed for not focusing Twitch. Meanwhile, he continued to get double and triple kills and BD every tower we had.

The point of this story is that the late-game is completely dependent on how you play your opponent. By 45 minutes or so, you should be heavily farmed, so it really starts to come down to strategy versus the other team. Make sure you stop to think, “what else could I be doing to help win those team fights?” More often than not, it isn’t about DPS. It’s about controlling abilities – the enemies’ – saving stuns to interrupt ultimates, focusing targets that have big AOE damage, and shutting down the invis players that turn a 3v3 you could normally win into a massacre the other way.


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