The new Fiddlesticks


One of the big changes this patch was a minor Fiddlesticks rework. I say minor because he doesn’t play entirely differently, he just feels a lot better. I’ve played a few games with him so far and been impressed with the changes, mostly the difference in Dark Wind.

Prior to the changes, I had a really hard time prioritizing Fiddle’s skill levels. He needed the utility of a bouncing silence, the power of Drain, and the fear in order to really lock down a target. When Dark Wind only bounced twice, it was difficult to get all that out of a gank, especially early on. Now Dark Wind is strong enough early on that multiple ranks aren’t totally necessary.

As good as Dark Wind is for early game jungling and ganking, you can feel it start to slow down by the late game. As weak as Fiddle used to be in the early game, his late game has the same potential to fail if you don’t get an early start. Fiddle is now heavily reliant on high AP builds, so it’s important to keep your cash generation up.

On the whole, I think Fiddle just feels a whole lot better. I would like to see Dark Wind get a little AP boost so it’s a touch stronger in the late game, but for the most part he feels much better. I pulled a quad with him today – something I haven’t done in a long, long time.


Patch Preview shows off Alistar, Fiddlesticks, Gangplank reworks

The patch preview for next week is live, giving us a look at what’s in store for several of the game’s most neglected champions. Alistar, Fiddlesticks, and Gangplank are all due for reworks this week, all of which should be significant improvements on their respective playstyles.

If you follow Guinsoo on Twitter, you know the Alistar remake has been in the works for several months. A few times it even looked like it was patch ready and then got pulled. Basically the changes will give Alistar a lot more farming potential as well as a few more ways to use his skills that aren’t so Flash dependent. I’m really excited about this remake – Alistar was such a cornerstone of LoL at launch that it has been tough to see him slip into obscurity.

Fiddlesticks is basically having his damage normalized, which is exactly what he needs. His early healing has been nerfed a touch, but with an armor buff to keep his jungling strength. His Dark Wind bounces 5 times at all levels and now has scaling damage, which should improve his presence in both lane and coming from jungle, and Crowstorm has been rebalanced to account for the damage shift. Again, I’m really excited about the changes. I was a huge Fiddlesticks fan for a very long time. A little consistency will go a long way for him.

Lastly, there’s Gangplank. Plank has long been a problematic champion for Riot. He’s randomly bursty, has the only deny in the game (which is absolutely broken in some situations), and has a hugely unreliable ultimate. Pretty much all of that is being addressed with the patch, which I can only imagine will mean good things for the champion. He’ll be able to make better use of Raise Morale, his ult is much less of a guessing game, and his Parrrley shouldn’t be quite such a gamble. Again, excited to see this play out.


Fiddlesticks remake in the works


I used to be a huge Fiddlesticks fan, but lately he just hasn’t been doing it for me. He’s very susceptible to CC, he has a clumsy skill leveling path because Dark Wind is so bad at early ranks, and his damage can be wildly unreliable. With all that in mind, you can understand my excitement to see he’s getting a bit of a facelift.

From Morello:

Dark Wind: Bounces changed to 5 at all ranks. Silence duration 1.5 at all ranks. Leveling the skill increases base damage. Large increase to AP ratio.

Drain: Now heals for a % of damage as health. Begins at 50% and scales up with AP ratio (and can go over 100% with enough AP). Range slightly reduced. (Might increase CD if we have to).

Crowstorm: Base damage lowered, AP ratio increased.

Base Stats: Pretty sizable increase. His base armor was abysmal to make up for drain – with these fixes, he can have more normal base stats.

This sounds like essentially exactly what he needs. The Drain changes are a little strange, and mostly make sense so that he isn’t out of control in the lane (Dark Wind will be awesome now), but the rest of the changes are great. Dark Wind needed a big damage bump, especially with the number of tanky characters out there. It’s also good to see that Riot is trying to account for the Dark Wind damage increase by lowering the base on Crowstorm but increasing its scaling. Good stuff.


Cassiopeia patch roundup: The times they are a-changing


I realize this is a day or so behind, but I’ve been pretty busy with Spike stuff and pre-holiday stuff and frankly, so much changed in this patch it’s actually a little tough to keep up. I’ve finally been able to sit down and play a couple games, and I’ve read the patch notes enough times that I feel like I know what’s going on to a degree that I can put down a few coherent thoughts. Here goes.

I’m going to cover champions first, though that’s not really where the big changes are.

Cho’Gath, Ezreal, Fiddlesticks, Katarina, and Malzahar all got some incremental buffs that should help them out. Fiddle still needs a rework in my opinion, but I think Ezreal should be a bit more competitive, Katarina should feel more balanced between AD and AP, and Malzahar might deal a bit more damage.

Garen got smacked with the nerf bat. Seriously, I can’t tell you how happy I am about this one. It’s been so long overdue that I almost can’t believe it’s here. He actually got a scaling buff, but the fact that you can no longer stack Sunfires means Garen will have to work a LOT harder to get his job done. I’m glad to see him get a scaling buff, too. I’ve always been tempted by DPS Garen, and now maybe I’ll be able to give him a serious go.

Gragas got a significant Drunken Rage nerf, which was also likely overdue. Coupled with the removal of Innervating Locket, Gragas will be much easier to bring down, but could be frustrating to play as a tank.

I would love to be in on the meetings regarding LeBlanc because I just. don’t. get it. She starts so alarmingly broken that they have to hotfix nerf her, a move I haven’t seen since, well, I don’t even know when. Since then she’s been slowly buffed. She’s almost back to where she started. Give her a little more range and less CD scaling on her ult and, bingo! You have release LeBlanc. I know, she’s still a shade of her former self, but it’s funny that she got crushed by the hotfix and they’ve buffed her in every patch since. Also, the last thing I thought she needed buffed was her stun duration. Seriously, why?

Olaf got a much-needed scaling nerf. I remember saying when he launched that a) he’s overpowered when farmed, but b) he’s like a bad Mundo until he gets some farm. I still believe those things to be true, though the second to a lesser extent. Olaf’s obvious advantage over Mundo is that he’s excellent in the jungle. This nerf will make him slightly less scary late game, though he’ll still be brutal.

Twitch got a pretty big nerf, and though I originally thought it might be a bit of an early game buff, it might have brutalized him. I’m terrible with Twitch, in fact, I’m comfortable calling him my worst toon. There is something about his attack timing that I just fundamentally do not get, but I’ve tried building him every way I could think of since the patch and nothing has been all that impressive. It’s not so much the change to damage versus attack speed but the fact that his attacks are limited. You might blow your ult on one or two people just to have more show up, at which point you’re sorta screwed.

Urgot caught a buff, but it’s a strange one. His poison became physical instead of magic (I actually like this, and it’s a perfect idea for Cassiopeia), he got a slight range buff, he got some scaling damage ratio buffs, and a shield buff. There’s definitely some creative problem solving with the physical change, but they might have gone a bit far with his other skills. We’ll see.

After writing all this I realize I just need to make another post for all the other changes that came with this patch. You’ll see that tomorrow.


The Fiddlesticks situation

Pumpkinhead Fiddlesticks

I still remember the game that made me unlock Fiddlesticks. I had just played against him and seen how devastating his ult could be against a team. I was still new to the game, probably no higher than level 14, but I knew from my time spent in DotA that any ultimate with that much team-slaying potential is worth having around.

Fast forward to today. Well, yesterday, actually. I decided to play Fiddle in a ranked match just to see how he would do. I was excited to see his name in the patch notes, but his changes may as well not have have happened. I’ve given up on my “rules for maintaining ELO” again, mostly because I really like the draft system versus the free for all rules in normal, so any champ is on the board for me. I started in the jungle like I normally do and all was well. I was farming fairly quickly, picked up dragon at level four, and all seemed well. Then the teamfights started.

At first it was okay – I was showing up just a little late so my ult could deal some real damage without much threat to my well being. We did lose one fight, though, and it was all downhill from there. Although Fiddle is a solid farmer in the jungle, he is terrible in lane, so once the laning phase is over, he’s pretty much screwed as far as cashflow is concerned. If you aren’t winning teamfights, you’re going to be hurting for some gold right when you need your damage to scale quickly.

I think he could be helped in a couple ways. One, change Dark Wind. It used to be his bread and butter damage spell, but it’s been nerfed beyond usefulness. Fiddle needs a solid nuke outside his ult. Something that can’t be as easily interrupted as Drain. Something to help him produce a little bit of cash in lane. Another thing that could help would be giving his fear some sort of secondary component, like passive cooldown reduction, and making it a static 1.5 or 2 second fear. That deprioritizes the skill as he levels, giving him room to build more points into his damage skills.

I’d really love to see Fiddle return to some form of viability as a caster, and I don’t think it would take much to get him there.


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