Champ of the Week: Gragas Wrapup


I spent most of my League of Legends time this week with Gragas, everyone’s favorite gigantically fat drunkard (to be fair to other fat drunkards, though, Gragas is our only option). It was a good week; as I mentioned in other posts, Gragas has great flavor, and some very unique tools for disrupting a fight.

It wasn’t all sunshine and flowing rivers of mead, though. Gragas has a very punishing kit compared to other casters in the game, and with so many skillshots, it’s easy to waste a few spells over the course of a game. This is actually where I think my proposed change comes in. I have to cheat a little, too. It’s not one thing, but I’ll call it one thing because, well, that’s what I’m supposed to do for this feature.

Gragas needs a responsiveness tuneup, across two mechanics in particular.

First, his auto attack animation needs to be cleaner and a little bit faster. I missed more than a few champion kills this week because I would Body Slam up to a target and get stunned, killed, or just start walking away before my auto attack animation had finished. That loping overhand swing just takes way too long to complete, and it costs Gragas a lot of damage, thanks to Drunken Rage.

His second tuneup skill is Body Slam. That skill seems to have the strangest hit conditions of any dash in the game. It also seems to suffer from variable speed depending on the distance of the cast, which can be extremely punishing if you miss your target. The animation also needs a cleanup, as it seems to lock you out depending on where the character stops along the animation path. It just feels a little too sloppy. Somewhat sloppy is okay for a drunk champ, but he feels painfully unresponsive at times.

There are some other things that I think could help Gragas out, like faster travel time on his ult, but the responsiveness changes would indirectly address some of his other issues. That feels like a fine fix to me.

If you haven’t played Gragas, I would highly recommend checking him out during a free week. He’s not for everyone, but he can be a lot of fun if you’re willing to spend your game time with an obese Scotsman with a drinking problem.


Champ of the Week: Fat Man Slam

So far the Champ of the Week has been going well. I’ve always enjoyed Gragas, mostly because of his flavor. His skills just feel very…drunk, or something. Really, there’s something about his Fat Man Slam and then throwing a bunch of barrels and causing utter chaos that just seems to fit with the sloppy drunk.

He can be as frustrating as he is fun, though. Gragas really does tend to cause chaos, and he deals big enough damage that people will do all sorts of things to avoid you. Flash hurts Gragas Especially badly because his three damage dealing skills are all skillshots. Miss them and you’re stuck waiting on cooldowns. As Kad mentioned to me part of the way through the week, smartcasting helps Gragas a lot. He feels much more responsive than with the click-to-cast alternative. It makes me wish there was a checkbox or a hotkey to toggle smartcasting for individual characters. It would make things much easier than the current menu rebind you have to do.

I promised I’d write up my build this week, so here goes. I start with a Sapphire Crystal and two potions for a little extra sustain. I try to stay in lane until I can afford a Catalyst and my base boots, but going back at Catalyst never hurts. I then move on to Rod of Ages, my ranked boots, and then Deathcap. If I’m really hurting for defense or playing a heavy harass team I’ll grab a Glacial Shroud or Abyssal before Rabadon’s. After Deathcap it’s pretty much your prerogative. I tend to prefer heavy AP builds, with an Archangel’s or Zhonya’s to really pump his damage, but that requires a solid farm. Lichbane could definitely work on Gragas, and I could actually see Deathfire as a solid item. He’s very versatile.

The basics, though, are Rod of Ages, Deathcap, and some sort of defensive item, be that Abyssal, Glacial shroud, or even Banshee’s. From there, it’s up to you.

Check back later this weekend for the wrapup. I’m pretty sure I know what my one change would be already, but we’ll see if something else comes up later in the week.


Champ of the Week: Gragas


I’ve been sneaking some Gragas games in with the final Blitzcrank wrapup, so it only seems fair to make him this week’s Champ of the Week. As anyone who watched Dreamhack can attest, Gragas has the potential to be one of the most disruptive characters in the game. And who could refuse the love of a gigantically fat, barrel-wielding drunk guy? I couldn’t.

I used to play a good bit of Gragas way back when. I wasn’t very impressed with him when he first came out, but shortly thereafter I started taking him mid and playing him…as tanky DPS. I know, for shame, but it was before tanky DPS was a thing, I swear! Actually, this was back when Trinity Force was rarely purchased, but I absolutely loved that build.

Now, though, I’m really enjoying AP Gragas. I used to think AP Gragas could only be viable with a solo lane, but I just rocked a game with a Skarner lanemate (who also rocked and may have had a couple kills stolen). Gragas plays like a much tankier version of, well, I’m not really sure who. Gragas is sort of unique in the game, which is part of his appeal.

So this week, I’ll be giving the fat man his due. If you have build suggestions or questions you’d like answered, drop them in the comments. As always, you can catch a game with me by adding me at “The Wiggin Boy.”


How does tanky DPS feel now?


This patch was supposed to address some of the issues with Tanky DPS characters. There were health nerfs and shield nerfs, but from my perspective the game doesn’t seem much different. Tanky teams are still able to drag out what appear to be landslide wins.

Does tanky DPS still need a nerf? Sound off in the comments.


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.


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