Orianna impressions

Gothic Orianna.

I’ve spent a decent number of games playing Orianna now, most of which have been really enjoyable. The playstyle of the ball pet is unique but more importantly, it’s a lot of fun. With enough mana and cooldown reduction, Orianna can utterly dominate a lane. The one problem is that it seems to take her quite a few casts to be able to do that, and very few other casters rely on that mechanic. It often results in her getting more than she gives in the lane, and in a duo lane she doesn’t seem to scale quickly enough to keep up with bruiser damage, which is really her downfall.

I realize this may be an odious comparison, but I laned against Vlad in a game early today and totally worked him. I was placing my ball deep in the field (yes, I know, but there isn’t another way to write this) and basically blocking him away from creeps, using Command: Attack and the occasional Dissonance for extra burst. I was up 30 kills at one point, and then he hit level 7. After a recall he had a revolver and it was all over. He caught back up on kills and ended up carrying the game.

Vlad is a special case, but there are other casters, and certainly other champions, with that kind of laning potential. I played as Vayne against an Orianna yesterday and smoked her. Her 60 damage at level one was no match for the 105 my Tumble was putting out.

I’m not going to call for buffs just yet, because I think Orianna has a very strong lane phase, which can help her get the farm she needs. I think her big problem is the design of the ball in combination with her passive. Orianna can harass just about anyone in a 1v1 situation, but to deal maximum damage she needs to get in a few auto attacks, which means soaking creeps, something she totally cannot afford to do. Her ball gives her excellent harass from a distance, but she has to be fairly close in order to get those auto attacks in, which don’t hit all that much harder than a normal attack, especially early in the game.

It gets a little easier once she has a couple hundred AP, but even then she doesn’t seem to hit as hard as Annie or Anivia. I’ve seen some math that suggests she has very high burst, and while I think that’s true against the squishy targets, she doesn’t really seem to hold up one the enemy has a little HP/MR.

For now, I think Orianna is a solid choice against a fairly soft team, and she’s a total blast to play, which helps a lot. I’m going to have to do some more testing on that passive to see what I think, but for now I think shifting some of her damage to her auto attacks makes her early game feel very lackluster.


Orianna released today

This morning, the servers came up, bringing Orianna to live play. I certainly wasn’t expecting a patch, though it didn’t include anything other than her release. I haven’t really had a chance to play her much, so I’ll give some basic impressions and instead point you to the spotlight above.

I think Riot did an amazing job with her animations. She looks good, her spells all look fairly different (though I wouldn’t mind a bit more fanfare for her shield), and the animations are spot on for her basic movement. The voice acting is also excellent (definitely a little Portal-esque as a friend pointed out). To this point, though, I haven’t seen a lot from her in terms of damage.

The problem mostly seems to be with the base damage on her abilities. Granted, a portion of her damage has been allocated to her passive, but even with a load of AP, her auto attacks don’t seem to hit particularly hard. I think a good point of comparison is Lux, who deals significant damage with her abilities and then procs a nice chunk of damage if she can land one auto attack. Orianna might be great in situations where she is overfarmed and can stand and auto attack an enemy to stack up her passive, but with just an attack or two, it doesn’t feel like it does much.

The real joy of Orianna is her support skills. Dissonance is an awesome speed buff for allies and adds a nice slow to opponents, and her ult has that perfect reward feeling when it’s played right. Hopefully I have the time for a few more games with her today. Check back either today or tomorrow for my full impressions.


Orianna skill list announced

Orianna’s “Champion Approaches” thread is up, which presumably means we’ll have another patch on Tuesday to bring her live. The thread also included the skill list, which looks significantly less like a pet class than may have been suggested in earlier threads. I’m actually glad for that. The other pet characters currently in League of Legends feel clumsy and unresponsive. Let’s put that aside for a moment and dig into the skills.

Passive – Clockwork Windup: Orianna’s autoattacks deal additional magic damage every hit, subsequent attacks on the same target within a few seconds will add more damage per hit. This bonus stacks up to three times.

Command – Attack: Orianna commands her ball to fly towards target location, dealing damage to targets hit but doing reduced damage for each additional target hit. Her ball remains behind at that location afterwards.

Command – Dissonance: Orianna commands her ball to emit a magnetic pulse, dealing damage to units around it. Afterwards, the ball leaves a field behind for a few seconds that speeds up allies and slows enemies.

Command – Protect
(Passive): The allied champion the ball is attached to gains bonus Armor and Magic Resistance.
(Active): Orianna commands her ball to fly to and attach onto an allied champion, dealing damage to enemies it passes through and shielding the allied champion when it arrives.

Command – Shockwave: Orianna commands her ball to emit a shockwave after a short delay, flinging affected enemies in the vicinity into the air a set distance towards, and possibly over, her ball.

I’ll start by saying I’m going to need a video to understand how her skills work. The Q is clear enough, and the W sounds like a version of Lux’s AoE slow, but in reverse – it slows after dealing damage. I’m not sure why her E is split into an active and passive component unless the ball just stays on the target indefinitely, which seems odd. Her ultimate sounds interesting, though I think its effectiveness will depend entirely on the size of the AoE and how easy it is to get the ball into position.

While I understand the idea behind her passive, I have to wonder how its going to work out. Few damage dealing passives really incentivize players to do things that are counterintuitive to the champion. Jarvan, for instance, has a damage modifier, but he also has a skillset designed around getting close to and staying close to the enemy. This passive sounds less like an imposed skill ceiling and more like a source of frustration. If it is too easy to use, she’ll have absolutely wild burst, but if it’s too tough there will be endless complaints that she is underpowered. Here’s hoping Riot struck a balance.


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