Vladimir champion spotlight impressions

Well, servers are down. Suprised? I’m not. In the meantime, I figure I’ll post some impressions regarding Vladimir. As I’ve said in every post since seeing his skillset, I’m pretty worried about how broken he appears. Take a look at the spotlight.

I think his skill set looks pretty cool, but consider what Phreak says about him.

“Vladimir excels at controlling the lane…At 500 health Sivir will die to Tides of Blood, Hemoplague, and Transfusion, even though I have nothing but a Doran’s Shield and runes (remember, health runes – not damage runes) for bonus damage.” Okay. That’s fine if he’s a caster with caster stats. But he gets health from his AP and vice versa, making him highly durable and highly threatening – bad mix.

“Gragas, Garen, and Sivir all try to kill me.” If you watch that point in the video (2:02), Phreak is way out of position, but he gets away easily because of Sanguine Pool. So far we have highly durable, highly damaging, excels at lane control, and has an escape mechanism. Got it?

“The invulnerability from the turret also makes diving a breeze.” Turret invulnerability…add it to the list.

“Vladimir really shines in team fights,” and, “My extreme damage output allows me to chop up Sivir very quickly,” and “Then as I take turret aggro, I use Sanguine Pool to dodge Sion’s Cryptic Gaze just before it hits me, allowing me to escape the turret.”

So here’s my question – where is Vladimir weak? He seems like the strongest 1v1 champion in the game, the best turret diver, a great farmer, probably a decent jungler, an absolute monster in team fights, and can escape anything you throw at him with a skill that is 1000 times better than Cleanse on a 20 second cooldown, you know, just in case you overextend.

This really makes me wonder how Riot selects an ability set for a champion. Is there some sort of matrix of skills/mechanics? If not, why not? If so, how did this guy get past the first stage of design without someone, anyone, saying “now hold on, guys, this is absurd.”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited to play him, but I’m just as unexcited about playing against him, and that’s not a good thing.


Xin Zhao Spotlight is here

Riot posted the Xin Zhao Spotlight early this go round, giving you time to think about whether or not you’ll be picking him up at the Season One launch this Tuesday. The video gives some much needed clarification on his skillset, though I don’t think it does a good job displaying Xin Zhao’s specific skillset.

Did anyone else feel like this was more of a tutorial on the basics than a display of the potential behind Xin Zhao. That first kill on Guinsoo looked like a damn bot (I’m guessing Guinsoo was typing?) and most of the teamfights played out such that I didn’t see Xin Zhao doing a whole lot – it was mostly his fed teammates dishing out the damage and pulling down triple kills. It’s kinda tough to get a good look at any champion when you have a power combo like Alistar/Annie for teamfights. The one helpful tip was the Malzahar kill top for which Phreak used Audacious Charge. That’s about all I learned. Use it like Kat/Akali to get close to people but with a bonus AOE slow.


Kog’Maw releases tomorrow

Kog'Maw, Mouth of the Abyss.

The champion spotlight video is officially up for Kog’Maw, as are the patch notes for a patch tomorrow morning. This one includes the new champion, a pretty large batch of skins, and some decent healing nerfs (though unfortunately Janna remains almost completely unchanged).

After watching the Kog’Maw video I can tell you my impressions about him were way off. He seems to be a hybrid caster with skills for armor penetration. It’s a weird mix, and I wonder if he won’t lose some damage in the confusion or just be too strong in one direction or the other. His ultimate actually looks pretty cool – it’s a mortar style spell, much like Veigar’s Dark Matter though it can be cast from a long ways off.

As always, I’ll have full impressions for you in the morning.


LoL: Are the spotlights helpful or misleading?

Phreak owns some noobs.Since Ezreal’s release, Phreak has been taking time out of his busy pwnage schedule to bring the community some Champion Spotlights, short videos aimed at increasing the understanding and visibility of certain, difficult champions. I really enjoyed the first – Ezreal was such a different playstyle that it seemed appropriate to highlight his strengths, particularly when played against good players. We’ve since had spotlights for Shen, Pantheon, Kennen, and now Anivia and I have to say, I’ve been less and less impressed with each subsequent spotlight.

To be fair, I think the Champion Spotlight accomplishes part of the goal – it does good job of detailing the basic mechanics for a hero and offers at least one perspective players can use to build the hero if they’re just learning. The problem, though, is that Phreak’s last several spotlights have been played against far less skilled players, which makes the champions seem godlike if you can just follow a few simple steps. Granted, he never says those words or even alludes to them, but he does talk about the relative “strength” of a champion when he’s sitting on an unstoppable streak or better.

As an example, this most recent Anivia spotlight included a kill montage in which Phreak takes down a Yi with little trouble (anyone surprised?). That Yi player has 179 wins, 159 of which are with Master Yi. That wouldn’t be a hard kill for 80% of the toons in the game. In another scene, Phreak gets an easy kill on a Shaco, who tries to jump him as he recalls. In Phreak’s words, Shaco couldn’t withstand Anivia’s “basic spell combo.” Look at the stats, though. At that point Phreak is legendary and four levels above his opponent. The “basic spell combo” far outranks anything Shaco has, not to mention the well-beyond-basic damage output of a legendary mage with 12 stacks on a Soulstealer.

Don’t get me wrong – I don’t have a problem with Phreak or his narration. My beef is that these spotlights are supposed to highlight a champion’s abilities for an average game, to display their place in a team. Any champion would looks appealing when they’re legendary and grossly outlevel the opponent.

The even bigger problem, for me anyway, is that I immediately write off any player who plays a toon Phreak has recently spotlighted, particularly if they use Phreak’s build. Is it fair? No, of course not. Is it possible these people are experienced with that given champion? Of course it is. Unfortunately, I keep getting burned and burned badly. I just got out of a game with a Flash/Ignite Anivia who was 2-5-0 and diving into packs of three enemies at a time. He claimed he played Anivia long before the spotlight. Right.


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