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.


Patch preview: Garen, Galio, and Caitlyn buffs


This week’s patch preview is up, giving us a quick peek at what we can expect on Tuesday. It looks like it’s going to be a pretty slim patch. Phreak did mention that the patch is going to be pretty light on champion changes because there are going to be some larger changes in the following patch to address the tanky problem we’re currently facing. Here’s hoping that stuff will be enough.

In the meantime, it looks like Galio, Garen, and Caitlyn will all be getting buffed. I’m surprised when people complain about viability for Galio and Garen. I saw those toons nonstop for like four months. I might actually be sad if they’re back in the regular rotation.

Caitlyn occupies sort of a strange space right now. I have a lot of really good games with her, but the bad ones I have are usually catastrophic failures. I think a big part of that is the slow cast time on her escape skill. That slight delay before she fires backward and the ensuing slow motion reverse dash make her pretty easy to catch up to. Compare that to Corki’s Valkyrie and I think you can see where she’s lacking.

My biggest concern is that the changes will make her even more frustrating to play against. She already ruins a lot of champions in lane. What will it be like with more attack speed and an extra trap for warding or lane control? I’d imagine things will get pretty messy around her.

All the same, I’m glad to see Riot buffing a ranged champion. I miss the days of the ranged carry.


Patch Day 08/10 – We can stop banning Soraka now

Enchanted Galio.

Today’s patch brings a new champion in the form of Galio, the great blue gargoyle. Aside from the new champion, the game hasn’t changed a ton. A few characters received some significant attention, but things remained largely the same.

The most notable change in my mind is Soraka, who received a string of small nerfs that should amount to a significant difference in her staying power. Her mana heal now has a longer cooldown and heals slightly less mana, and her global heal got a 20 second cooldown increase at all levels. That could be enough to bring her off some ban lists in favor of other champions (please start banning Amumu, people).

Heimer’s turrets caught a little nerf – they no longer increase damage based on number of hits and the AP coefficient was reduced. They do have slightly higher base damage, but definitely nothing on the order of the old hit method.

Malzahar got some nice tweaks, bumping his movement speed, increasing the range of his ult and Malefic Visions, and reducing the cooldown on Malefic Visions (which already felt very short to me).

Ryze got a little bit of a rework as well, adding a passive cooldown reduction to his Overload skill. To compensate, Desperate Power now has a longer CD. Rune Prison now lasts longer at early ranks and deals damage in DoT form. It’s basically Morgana’s old Dark Binding, which is odd.

Vladimir’s Sanguine Pool got a small CD nerf but his Tides of Blood now costs less HP, Blitzcrank got some CD reductions, Nunu got a Consume buff, and Garen got his attack timer reset on Decisive Strike back. Other than those small changes, there’s not a whole lot to report in the way of champions.

For items, the newer items all got buffs. Wriggle’s Lantern now costs less, which is just what it needed. The Gunblade and Cutlass got damage buffs without a cost increase.

Lots of little paragraphs in here, which should give you an idea of how many small changes came in this patch. I’ll have a Galio impression list up later today. Spoiler Alert: he’s underwhelming.


LoL: Patch Day 06/01 – Malzahar

Malzahar, Prophet of the Void.Patch Day is here once again, strangely enough the day after a national holiday, and with it comes the newest hero, Malzahar. As with many of the recent patches, this one also includes a load of tweaks for a number of heroes, the most significant of which is Teemo, but lacks any major reworks for the toons who most need it. This patch also added several new items to the game to help with the hybridization of many of the new heroes.

First up, let’s talk Malzahar. As mentioned in some previous, unsanctioned posts, Malzahar is a very strong caster, particularly in 1v1 situations. If your target doesn’t have cleanse, you can pretty much burn them down with a combination of your E skill, your Ultimate, and Ignite. You will find, though, that his damage output can be a little inconsistent if your targets aren’t under some sort of crowd control. Null Zone does great damage, but you need to pin your target on the spell to really maximize its potential. Even his silence can be a bit tough to land if your target knows it might be coming. That said, it’s probably a bit to earlier to judge his overall effectiveness for team situations. The fact that he has AOE silence makes him a great addition to a team, and being able to effectively shut down an enemy champion is pretty nice.

I’ll be covering the Teemo changes in a separate post, so let’s talk items. I was surprised to see the spell vamp removed from Haunting Guise, but the new item, Will of the Ancients, seems like a pretty nice (albeit expensive) replacement. I think it’s important to note, though, that Guise doesn’t make a lot of sense in most builds. Now you purchase it mainly for the spell penetration, which potentially opens up your boot selection. In most cases, though, you’d probably be better off going for a Void Staff. It’s no secret Riot wants to rethink the penetration system, particularly flat penetration, so discouraging flat pen items does make some sense.

As for the HexTech Gunblade, I think it’ll work well with quite a few heroes. I’m going to be giving it a shot on Shaco and Kennen this week as well as the obvious choice, Akali. Among the others that could benefit from a hybrid item, though, are Jax, Nidalee, Ezreal, Eve, TF, and Teemo. You might even start to see it on someone like Yi to improve his lanestay a bit.

All in all, I like this patch. No sweeping changes to the game, but some solid improvements and a cool new hero to add to the mix. Stay tuned for more impressions.


LoL: The latest Test Realm patch has me scared

Twisted Fate.Patch notes are up on the Test Realm forum for the Ezreal rollout and I’ll say it, I’m scared. I was mostly excited for the last patch, but the XP system blew chunks and that queue dodge penalty is the worst thing to happen to the game since Nidalee. There are a few diamonds in the rough, though, and I’m hoping they will be enough to carry me through.

First, Shaco is getting a massive nerf. Deceive damage is down 10% at all levels, Jack in the Box damage scales more slowly and has its AP ratio decreased, and, the whopper, throwing Two-Shiv while stealthed breaks you out. It’s not clear whether that removes your crit damage bonus – my hope is that it doesn’t – but it’s possible. You might notice that none of this makes him any more viable for the late game, which is most players’ complaint.

Then there’s Nidalee. I’m personally of the opinion that she needs the kind of nerf Shaco received. Unfortunately, Riot didn’t contact me regarding the matter, so she’s getting a tiny nerf and a little buff. Primal Surge now has its mana cost increased by 5 per level instead of the flat 50. Can I just say that this is in no way a nerf. By the time you reach the max rank, most players have more than enough mana to cover the difference, particularly if they’re going AP build. Which reminds me, AP Nidalee just got a fat buff. Javelin Toss AP ratio is up to 55% from 40%. The other change is reducing her passive to 15% move speed from 25%. Really, though, that’s not the issue with Nidalee’s escapability. It’s the fact that you can spam Pounce, which, when coupled with the brush bonus, makes her extremely difficult to kill. They could take it down to 8% and she would still probably get out of most situations.

Twisted Fate got enough changes to make him a lot less frustrating to play against and probably more overall fun. His new passive, Loaded Dice, grants TF’s team an extra 2 gold per kill. It’s actually worse than Second Sight in my mind, but not such a problem. Gate is gone. In its place is Stacked Deck, which is basically a built in Sword of the Divine. Every fourth attack deals magic damage that scales by level, affected by ability power. It also increases his attack speed and reduces cooldowns. He’s another in the latest string of toons that will benefit in big ways from Guinsoo’s. The new skill is obviously severely overpowered, but a slight nerf should bring it in line. Gate is now built into Destiny, allowing you to teleport anywhere on the map though it no longer slows. Overall, I think it’s a good change, and will actually make him a lot more fun.

There are some other minor changes, including a slight buff to the XP system (50% of a level’s XP for same level champion kills instead of 40%) , but most of them shouldn’t change the game much. The XP system will still likely too heavily prioritize farming, but it just might be enough to discourage a lot of 5-man while encouraging some push. Honestly, though, ganking is what makes the game fun. Almost no amount of XP nerfing will make me want to stop.


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