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.


LoL: Patch impressions part 1

Desert Trooper Garen.It’s been a crazy week. My sister and brother-in-law were in town for the early week and I had a crazy workday today. Luckily I have the night in, so I’m going to be doing some serious testing with all the changes with the new patch. So far I’ve made some decent progress so I’ll start with those and make another post either late this evening or tomorrow.

First, Katarina. I have to say, I’m impressed by how much improved she feels. She is by no means dominant, but she’s plenty strong if you play smart and safe with a good lanemate. Her early game harass has been slightly improved with the change to KI and the added durability from KI -> Shunpo is really nice. Personally, I think damage is the way to go now. AP just doesn’t scale as well any more and the farm required to get damage to that scary level feels much lower than the AP threshold.

Next up is Nunu. I’ve never been a big Nunu fan, but he feels much stronger than he did. The Blood Boil change is enough to make him an excellent addition to most teams. I was also noticing the Visions change much more than I thought I would. Maybe it was just the team I was against, but I felt better about my contribution to the team than ever before with the Yeti Rider.

Of course I have to talk about Garen. After a few matches I remain on the fence. Building him as a tank can be fun; his W skill makes him next to unkillable in most situations. Unfortunately, tank Garen doesn’t do much damage, and other than the long cooldown on W he doesn’t really have any other tanking skills. I’d still much rather have Shen in the mix. He does deal excellent early game damage, but if you can’t get ahead he can be very frustrating. You pop Judgement waiting for big numbers that never come. There’s also a bit of a bug with his Decisive Strike wherein critical strikes don’t appear to apply the bonus damage from the skill and don’t benefit from critical damage bonuses. In one game I was critting for 500+ with normal strikes and just over 300 with Justice rank 5, which I believe is 120 bonus damage. Something is a little off there. His ult is fine, but it’s really a kill-stealer/finisher, a type of skill that has never impressed me. Mordekaiser’s ult is very similar and provides the added benefit of a pet to go tank towers or last hit creeps and champions.

That’s it for now folks. Feel free to add me at ‘The Wiggin Boy’ for some in-game madness.


LoL: Patch day (Garen)

Red Riding Annie and Grandma Warwick.The Garen patch is finally upon us and with it comes a load of changes to both the client and the game system. On the whole, I think this will be one of the better patches for the game, even if Garen is a bit underwhelming.

For starters, we obviously need to cover the new champion, Garen. He’s going to run you 3150 IP or 585 RP so I hope you saved up. It’s a long, slow crawl to 3k for most people. His skill list remains essentially unchanged, which leaves him in a weird sort of melee DPS/hybrid role with very low utility. He’s still highly susceptible to hard CC (stuns/snares) but he does have a slow immunity, which will be nice for chasing. Unfortunately, chasing is usually a bad thing, unless you’re running cleanup after a teamfight, in which case its usually best to just push.

Healing got some massive nerfs this patch. Alistar now has greater self healing by 20 percent at all levels, but his allies will now only receive half the heal value. Ouch. Taric got cooldown and value buffs to his heal, but radiance no longer heals allies. Radiance also costs more mana for both startup and upkeep so you’ll probably have to break out that mana regen rune page if you still want to play him. Rally also got its ally heal removed, though the cooldown came down a full 90 seconds.

Katarina caught a big rework, giving her more base health and some survivability in the form of new Killer Instincts mechanics. The active Shunpo effect now reduces incoming damage by scaling percentage per level, giving her the durability to jump into a fight and ult when it’s actually useful instead of waiting until it’s over like she’s basically had to recently. Killer Instincts now adds a persistent damage buff and the damage ratio on her ultimate got a 10 percent buff. Overall, she should be decent now, though I doubt she’ll be great.

Morgana got some nice cooldown and mana efficiency buffs for her skills as well as the addition of a stacking MR debuff from Tormented Soil. Having played as her and also against her on the TR I can tell you she is truly horrifying. Just pray she doesn’t ever catch you alone.

Shen got reworked a bit, which will hopefully bring him out of the godlike tier on TT. The feint damage block will be excellent, but I think the cooldown increase, duration nerf, and nerf to damage blocked (now 180 at max rank) will be enough to keep him in line. AP Shen may be a bit more viable though. I’ll have to check on his AP ratios and relay what I can after some testing. Stand United also caught a nerf, bringing down the shield value, duration, and removing the refund if the ult is cancelled for some reason.

Other than that most of the changes were fairly small. Nunu got some buffs. Mordekaiser received some shield tweaks. Fiddlesticks got a long overdue nerf. Sion and Rammus got some small efficiency buffs. Tryndamere got a bit of a buff and Jax caught another small nerf (which still isn’t enough).

As for the game on the whole, there are two new items – one for tanks, one for physical damage dealers – and the assist system got a rework for debuffs on the target and buffs to the attacker. It should give support some much needed love. Matchmaking also received some changes to make things a little more smooth. Players should now be matched more appropriately by both level and ELO (it scares me that this wasn’t always the case) and full premades should be facing other premades more often (again, why wasn’t this happening or being discussed?).

Last but not least we got some skins. Garen gets the typical duo treatment, while we have yet another silly skin for Warwick (Grandma), a corresponding Annie skin (Red Riding Hood), and a skin for Sivir. I have to say, I hate Sivir – I think she is one of the most poorly designed toons in the entire game – but the Warrior Princess skin makes her look hotter (yeah, bangs are hot) and the extra armor makes her look kinda badass. If it didn’t cost 975 RP I would totally buy it and potentially right click my way to a huge winning streak with her.


LoL: Still no Garen patch?

Garen looking scary.I’ve been keeping an eye on the announcements forum for a while now, wondering when we’d finally see the server maintenance for the Garen patch. As it turns out, it probably won’t be until next week. There’s still no word, and in case you’re unaware, it’s Friday people. You know they aren’t patching over the weekend.

I’m a little surprised to see such a long wait, but there is a little more to the story. Both Sion and Katarina have been up for remakes for a while now, and it seems both toons are getting at least a little love for this upcoming patch. Katarina’s had a fairly significant rework that should improve her quite a lot, while Sion got some small changes to improve his survivability and mana efficiency in the early game.

If you’re interested in giving the new changes a shot and have a Test Realm account, you should jump on for PTR Fridays tonight. Sadly, I’m out of town so I’m going to miss it. If any of you jump on for the Q&A following tonight’s play session, email me any significant updates and I’ll make sure to credit you in the post that details Shurelia’s responses. You can reach me at jmorgan2 at gmail dot com, or feel free to drop a comment here.


LoL: PTR Fridays Q&A with Shurelia

Soraka.Shurelia hosted another PTR Friday earlier in the evening to give the TR players a chance to give feedback on the latest patch, which includes Garen, and participate in a Q&A session after the games. Though I didn’t get in on any games, I was around for the discussion and it went much better than the Garen reveal. There were still some pretty weak questions, but the smaller group made it easier to push some good ones through.

A lot of discussion focused on Katarina. The new changes look like a significant buff, though it doesn’t change her playstyle enough to make her truly interesting in my mind. It’s nice to have some damage reduction, but that doesn’t change the fact that her ult is incredibly easy to interrupt/avoid.

They are talking about reducing the damage Shen blocks with Feint to 150 or so. If you haven’t seen, the new Feint reduces all incoming damage from non turret sources by 200 at max level. That doesn’t mean it blocks 200 and wears off. It lasts two seconds and for those two seconds anything that hits Shen deals 200 less damage than it would have otherwise. If Ryze casts Overload for 350 and Ashe shoots him twice for 140 and a crit for 280, he’ll take 150 from Overload, zero damage from the normal shot and 80 damage from the crit. I think you can probably see why this might need nerfed.

Several people asked for new info about Akali. Here’s what Shurelia said – Akali spoiler: Akali is a ninja.

One player asked what Ashe’s E skill would be remade to and when we would see it. Shurelia said she would push for it in the next patch and that it will synergize with Enchanted Crystal Arrow in some way. Sounds at least interesting.

The last bit of news is that there will be another PTR Friday next week. I’d say that means its entirely possible that we’ll see Akali hit the PTR next week, but it could be to test out some additional tweaks, like the Katarina buffs.


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