Champ of the Week: Ragnarok


I titled this mid-week Olaf feature “Ragnarok” because it’s the skill that received his most significant buff in the last patch, but also because the change really didn’t do a whole lot for Olaf. I won’t lie, the Ragnarok change is nice, but realistically speaking, most Olaf players know when to ult and when to hold on to the skill. Now it basically serves as a way to soak a CC skill for teamfights or escapes.

Other than that, I really started to enjoy Olaf once I got out of the jungle. Olaf is a solid solo lane champion. He’s fairly durable, mostly because any respectable build involves some amount of health, he deals excellent damage with Reckless Swing, and 1v1 he is a pure terror, even for some ranged champions.

I will say this – Olaf does not get an exciting build. When I’ve taken him solo top this week, I’ve purchased two, sometimes three gold-per-5 items (Philo, HoG, Avarice). Those don’t make for massive damage increases, but they do allow for a huge late-game farm. During the early game I pretty much rely on Reckless Swing to carry me through.

I do wish Reckless Swing scaled into late game in some way. The true damage is amazing early on, but when I’m staring down a 3500 HP Jarvan, my 340 true damage looks pretty weak.

I’m an Olaf believer, provided he can get a solo lane. I’ve had a couple problematic matchups, but hopefully I can talk a little more about that in my final video. Check back this weekend for the wrapup!


Champ of the Week: Olaf


I usually try to avoid champions that are overdue for remakes and tweaks, but Olaf just got a small buff so I thought it might be a good week for him. For the return of the Champ of the Week series I’ll be playing Olaf.

A long time ago I mused that Olaf might be an underwhelming version of Mundo. I don’t think that’s completely true, but I can still see the similarities and, consequently, Olaf’s shortcomings. Olaf is a champion I’ve never spent much time with, mostly because it takes so much farm for him to be enjoyable. Olaf’s basic kit is designed around having enough health to be missing 30-40% and still stay with a fight. That’s a lot of health, and it takes time to amass that kind of resilience, which is why I’m willing to state the following: Olaf shouldn’t jungle.

I know he can jungle. I know he’s an incredibly fast jungle. But he doesn’t make the kind of cash necessary to reach his potential if he jungles. His ganks aren’t strong enough to guarantee kill/assist gold, he doesn’t have the mobility, crowd control, or killing power to counter jungle effectively, and he requires too much farm to drop a lot of money on wards.

This isn’t just theorycraft, either. I played a couple games with Olaf today and, despite one successful match, I spent the rest of my game time wondering when I’d finally be farmed enough to keep up with my opponents. Answer: never. Without significant farm, Olaf doesn’t bring anything the table that another champion with similar qualities couldn’t do better.

I’ll be focusing on moving Olaf out of the jungle this week as much as possible. Where it seems to make sense I’ll also jungle with him to see if there’s anything worth saving, but for the most part I think my instincts are right on this one.

If you have suggestions drop them in the comments. Don’t forget to check back throughout the week for more Olaf impressions.


Shyvana preview includes Shaco buffs, Graves nerfs


Riot posted the Shyvana patch preview, which includes a preview of the upcoming buffs and nerfs to League of Legends’ champions. The buffs seem to be targeted at bringing some of the melee fighters up to speed with other Tanky DPS and thankfully nerfing Graves.

I’m most excited for the changes to Shaco. I’ve been enjoying my games with Shaco recently and the upcoming buffs can only help that. Jack in the Box is getting a range increase and a decrease to the time before the trap is ‘armed.’ The range increase should allow Shaco players to utilize the crit bonus on Deceive while still making use of JitB for positioning opponents.

Olaf’s ultimate is getting a buff that makes him much more interesting. Now Olaf can use Ragnarok to break out of crowd control skills. This actually makes Olaf a lot more appealing to me. I had somewhat enjoyed him in the past, but his ultimate felt weak unless he was way ahead. Using it early was like putting up a beacon reminding people not to try to CC you, which is actually exactly what you want. You want the enemy to burn a couple CC spells on Olaf. With the buff he can take the spell and immediately break free, forcing the enemy to waste a stun or snare and allowing him to continue dealing damage. I might be giving Olaf a serious look after this patch.

Wukong is getting some usability buffs that are designed to bring him in line with other Tanky DPS. I’m not thrilled about this – good Wukong players are pretty hard to deal with as it is. More importantly, who needs another strong melee DPS? I don’t.

Lastly, we’re going to see some Graves nerfs. I think everyone saw this one coming. I’m a little worried it won’t quite be enough, but at least we’ll someone other than Caitlyn in our games. His passive is getting a slight resistance nerf and the damage on Buckshot’s multiple shell proc is getting reduced as well. I still think an 80% attack speed buff that can have 100% uptime is a little silly, and the fact that Buckshot can hit multiple times seems like overkill, but I’ll wait to pass judgement until the patch.

Are you looking forward to any of the champion changes? Thinking about picking up a new champ or two thanks to this patch? Let me know 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.


Where are all the patched champions?

new_champ_spreadOne of the great things about LoL is the endless possibility for expansion. There can always be new heroes, new maps, new game modes, etc. Those things need to fit well into the game to really serve as expanded material, though. If no one’s playing those modes/champions, they have virtually zero effect on the game.

That’s exactly what I’ve been seeing in the new champions. They get played for their launch week and the subsequent free week and then fall completely off the radar. I almost never see Olaf in game any more, and when I do I tend to smash him. Malzahar? Never. Akali? Less than never. Garen? Rarely. Kennen? Nope. Mordekaiser? Occasionally. The only patched champions I see on a regular basis are Shen (who is in nearly every game), Ezreal (same, almost every game), and Pantheon (only because Heartseeker is crazy broken right now).

If you take a look at the champion list at LoL Base, you’ll see that the only one of the champions I never see that has a positive win/loss ratio is Mordekaiser. The rest are negative, in some cases drastically so, which says to me a couple things. First, and most obviously, those characters suffer from some kind of serious design flaw. Though I think several of the champions I mentioned are solid (Kennen and Garen for the most part), the others have trouble providing serious support to a team. It could be that players just haven’t figured out how to play these new champions, but most of them are old enough that someone, somewhere should be playing them or singing their praises, and that’s not really the case.

It’s too early to say where Kog’Maw will fall, but if he follows the current trend, we’ll see him for two weeks and not much more.


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