Where are the mid-cycle skins? [UPDATED]


Since I’ve been away from my home gaming machine for nearly two weeks now, I wasn’t able to pull up the mid-cycle, unreleased skins as I have for the last several patches. They are there, though, I promise you. The real question is, why haven’t we seen them?

From what I’ve been able to find, Ezreal, Gangplank, and Twitch are all slated for some new duds this patch, and Shen and Heimer could be getting new skins next patch. I’m not sure what the delay is, though if I had to venture a guess I’d say it’s that Twitch is getting his legendary skin: Gangster Twitch. I only guess it’s his legendary because he has a tommy gun, which I’m assuming makes a different sound than his little bow. From the splash screen it also looks like he might be bipedal, which would be a really cool change.

The Ezreal skin shows up in game as Explorer Ezreal but what I’ll call Navy Gangplank doesn’t seem to be there. Could he be a prize skin, maybe for the Halloween contest?

UPDATE: The skins are now live. Navy Gangplank remains as yet unannounced.


Miss Fortune Impressions

Cowgirl Miss Fortune.

Miss Fortune joins Gangplank among the pirate champions of LoL, but after playing her, I feel like that cowgirl skin should be her default. Not only is it the hottest of the three skins, but she has a run-and-gun feel to her that makes me think of games like Sunset Riders. She’s a ton of fun to play, but that may be because she is so strong.

If you were ever into Gangplank, you’ll probably find Miss Fortune really enjoyable. She has all the great things about him – a cannon ball slow, a “wtf just hit me” shot, anti-healing, a fun ult, and very high move speed – and she has the added benefit of farming from range. She doesn’t have his free cleanse, but her range and her passive more than make up for it.

As far as build goes, it seems like AD is the way to be. I’ve personally been starting with Manamune and moving straight to Infinity because her farm is nearly unstoppable. Bloodthirster is also a good rush item, though I think you’ll realize how much she needs mana early on. The key, though, is keeping up that farm. With her movespeed you should always be near creeps, always last hitting everything you can see.

As far as playing against her, you better bring a lot of stuns. Because she has no inherent escape mechanism, I think you’ll see a lot of Miss Fortune players running Flash/Ghost for summoner skills, which means you need to lock her down fast. As a mid player, you may want to think about taking a cloth armor first with a bunch of health pots. It will mitigate some of her Double Up damage, which is where she gets most of her harass, and force her to use more mana to get you as low as she’d like, which means she won’t have tons of mana for that big ult. If you’re playing a carry, Flash is almost a must. Her ult hits so hard so fast that you need to get out of there within a half second. With a minimal farm she can hit you for 800 damage at level 16, which is a LOT on a carry. Add in a 300-400 damage Double Up and you’re looking at some fountain time.

I would not be surprised to see her nerfed next patch. Despite some of the posts in the forums calling her “useless” and “way underpowered,” she has that mix of magic and physical damage that both scale off of her attack damage. It allows her to provide a heavy mix of damage that is very difficult to build against. I would love to see Riot introduce another hybrid mitigation item like Aegis of the Legion. Players need an item to help against toons like Ezreal, Miss Fortune, and even Kog’Maw, who can all provide a mix of damage in huge waves.


Patch Day 9/8 – Welcome to Rootstown

Waterloo Miss Fortune.

While we’re all patiently waiting for the servers to go live, I figure it’s time to cover the patch notes for today’s update. There are only a few serious character updates, and even those go out to mostly underplayed champions. The biggest change is the root mechanic update, which is why this post has the title it does (Rootstown is also a place near my hometown, so I chose it over Rootsville).

So let’s talk roots. Ever landed a Dark Binding on an Ezreal only to watch him Arcane Shift away the second it hits? Sure, he’s stuck for the duration, but he’s stuck off your Tormented Soil and closer to safety. It was a frustrating mechanic, but it can’t happen anymore. Every character with some sort of dash or self-hook (Bandage Toss, for instance) has been updated so that the skills cannot be cast when rooted. It’s not a huge nerf for those characters, but it is a fairly high-grade buff for characters like Morgana and, in particular, Amumu. He’s already at the top of most ban lists, due to his severe magic resist debuff and the strength of his ultimate in a team setting. That ult just got a little stronger, and when used in conjunction with an AOE like Tibbers or Kennen’s ult, or Miss Fortune’s wave of pain, you’re really going to feel that root buff.

This patch also added suppression, so you won’t be able to avoid the full brunt of Malzahar, Warwick, or Urgot when they ult you. Suppression prevents the target from casting or using Summoner Spells, which means your only recourse is a Quicksilver Sash or Black Shield/Banshee’s Veil. It’s a big buff for those toons, but could become a pain in the ass for everyone else. Is it fun to have your ult cleansed? No. But it’s equally unfun to feel like a character like Malzahar gets to one-shot a player of your team whenever his ult is up. I’ll wait to pass too much judgement on this, but for now I don’t like it.

Like I said above, there aren’t many champion changes, despite those for some of the underplayed characters. My guess is that Riot wants to see how the root change affects the game before messing with too many champions.

Corki caught a buff across the board. His attack range was increased 10 percent, his attack speed per level gains got a nice buff and the Missile Barrage reload time is down to 10 seconds from 14. It might not sound like much, but I’ve always maintained that Corki is strong (and super fun to play), so this should make him an excellent pick.

Dr. Mundo got some longevity buffs that could help him scale a bit better. His cleaver now costs more to cast but he heals half the cost when it lands. It’s basically pushing people away from free brush checker and forcing them to use it a little more wisely. Burning Agony costs slightly less to maintain and Masochism now costs more HP at low ranks and less at higher ranks. Sadism also got changed to return 40/55/70 percent health instead of a flat 50 percent at all levels. Again, nice late game buff.

The big news, though, is Ezreal. He received damage nerfs to nearly all of his skills and his base damage. It looks a little something like this:
-Base damage reduced to 45 from 47.6
-Damage per level reduced to 2.6 from 3
-Attack Speed per level reduced to 2.8 from 3.22
-Mystic Shot damage reduced to 35/55/75/95/115 from 40/65/90/115/140

Hopefully it brings him more in line with other carries, though the fact that he can still deal scaling damage to you while exhausted and has excellent escapability makes him very strong. Manamune will also be a great damage source for the emo cartographer.

Malzahar got buffed – Another range buff on his ult, up to 750. Null Zone is more mana efficient at lower ranks, Call of the Void got a slight CD buff and his Voidlings now attack his most recent Malefic Visions target. With all of these buffs, along with the suppression buff, Malzahar is going to be one annoying bastard on the field. I really think the ult buff is way out of hand if he gets suppression. He should at least be put at marginal risk when he casts it if it completely disables his target (I know, it does disable him too).

The rest of the changes are small, so I’ll leave you to read those for yourself. The one thing you may have noticed is that Garen isn’t on that list. I was expecting some significant changes for him, but all we got was a little reduction on the passive component of Courage. So he now gets slightly less amor and magic resistance from killing creeps but it still blocks big damage when activated, and his hybrid of magic and physical damage when wearing Sunfire Cape is still too high for me to feel comfortable with him as an opponent. You may have heard Phreak say in the Miss Fortune spotlight that Garen should never be focused. It’s true, but he doesn’t have any trouble rushing your carries/casters, and a Decisive Strike -> Judgement -> Ignite -> Demacian Justice is typically way more than a squishy toon can handle. Hopefully the next page will have a little more in store for Garen. Same for Kog’Maw – he remains unchanged and could use a slight nerf to either the damage from Bio-Arcane Barrage or the attack speed buff from Caustic Spittle.

That does it for the patch. I’ve written a short post covering the new item, Manamune, and I’ll be posting my Miss Fortune impressions as soon as I have a chance to play her.


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.


LoL: The Ezreal spotlight

Ezreal shooting his Trueshot Barrage.Ezreal has generated a lot of hate in the forums, mostly from those claiming that he’s too weak to be competitive. While I still think he has some farming trouble, I do think he’s incredibly strong against most heroes, particularly mages, and can carry a team to victory in the hands of a smart player. To help ease the learning curve, Phreak put together a tutorial video for Ezreal.

There are a couple things every beginning Ezreal player should notice. First, Phreak is never in the thick of the fight. He’s always floating behind his team, dropping mystic shot every couple seconds for big damage and healing as much as he can, focusing on physical damage toons for the attack speed buff. Ezreal is crazy squishy, so getting in the fight is something you really want to avoid.

Secondly, he takes one rank of each skill early to get his attack speed buff as high as possible, even in early fights. While you do miss some burst damage this way, it creates a bit of a surprise for the enemy when your attack speed is suddenly 60% higher. I recently laned against a Twitch in which this saved my life endless times. He would open up thinking he had an easy kill. Mystic shot, Essence Flux, and Arcane Shift and suddenly he was well below half health in terrible position. Ignite and another Mystic and that’s pretty much all she wrote.

Lastly, and this is something I didn’t realize until I had played him for some time, your Mystical Shot passive lowers the cooldown on your ultimate. That means you should be using your ultimate at every chance you get and then heading to farm to bring that CD down quickly. This thing alone will change the way you play. It rightly encourages you to use your ultimate instead of holding it and reinforces the fact that you should be farming with Mystical to help your ult refresh.

If you can take most of what Phreak says to heart you’ll find Ezreal to be a very strong toon with the potential to carry your team. Unfortunately, his skill ceiling is high enough that it takes a very skilled player to make the most of him, so most queue Ezreal players will be underwhelming.


Related Posts