Champ of the Week: Teemo Wrapup


The Teemo champ of the week has been one of the toughest yet. Teemo is missing a lot of the mobility and survivability that other champions have, not to mention that he has one of the weakest passives in the game. He can still have an excellent early game, though, as long as you’re willing to play carefully.

I started the week trying to tweak my typical Teemo build to take advantage of Trinity Force and Wit’s End. Unfortunately, that’s a lot of gold to put toward items that best augment a naturally high attack damage or a naturally higher attack speed. Teemo’s poison certainly gives him a lot of damage, but it adds magic damage to each shot, both when the attack lands and in the damage over time. For that reason, Malady/Bloodrazor seem to be the best way to go, with a little survivability as you need it. I’m not typically a fan of Frozen Mallet, but it really is a solid item for Teemo if you don’t need a Banshee’s Veil.

The strangest thing about Teemo is his secret taunt passive. For whatever reason, players love to kill Teemo. Even in fights in which I thought I was second or even third priority, I often found myself getting focused immediately. In a weird way, this can absolutely help your team. Teemo’s damage output is great once he’s farmed, but depending on map position, taking the priority off your carries can be effective.

For the most part, I think Teemo is in a pretty good place. He needs a team with enough crowd control/peel to help keep him alive, a favor he can return with the exceptional map control offered by his mushrooms. If I could change one thing about Teemo it would definitely be his passive. His passive has essentially one use and one use only: level 1 harassment. It can be helpful when setting up a teamfight, but unless you’re well ahead of your opponent, it usually doesn’t make sense to stand still long enough to take advantage of the passive. I’d like to see him get some sort of damage or utility, potentially giving him the survivability to make it into the jungle. My few attempts to counter jungle were met with almost immediate failure. Counter junglers really need to be able to control creeps, not champions, and Teemo just doesn’t have that power early in the game.

Stay tuned later today for this coming week’s Champ of the Week.


Champ of the Week: Kog’Maw wrapup


I usually save this post for Monday (though depending on my workload it has occasionally been later than that), but I think I’m ready to wrap the week of Kog’Maw and look ahead to my next champion.

Playing Kog’Maw this week served as a reminder of why I liked him so much at launch. He has a lot of flavor and a solid laning kit. He also scales well into late game but with enough weaknesses that he feels balanced. He performs well against a variety of champions, though I would suggest picking someone like Ashe or possibly Caitlyn if you’re up against a CC-heavy team comp.

I tried a few different builds over the course of the week, most of which relied on Bloodrazor for maximum damage output. Bloodrazor is ultimately a good item for Kog, but I think he’s actually more fun if you run with a Wit’s End/Malady build early in the game. The cost is only marginally higher and I felt like I gained better defensive stats from the Wit’s End stacks than just the cloth armor in Madred’s. Also, the build was just more fun. When I run Bloodrazor I feel like I have to max W first, and I don’t think that’s always the best option. Running Void Ooze and Caustic Spittle gives Kog’Maw a lot of early burst, though it is a bit mana intensive. It’s great when you’re laned up against a squishy opponent.

I think it’s tough to overstate the utility of Kog’Maw’s ultimate, too. If you’ve done a good job harassing your opponents you can shackle them to the lane by repeatedly breaking their recalls. I’m not usually one to break recalls but with Kog it feels like effort well spent.

If I could change one thing about Kog’Maw, I think I would change his W from magic damage to true damage. I know that sounds a little nutty – I’m not much of an advocate for true damage in most cases, but a little magic resistance goes a long way against Kog’Maw. The percentages on his W aren’t as high as Vayne’s, and they might need to drop a bit since it’s an activated skill. I don’t really think Kog’Maw needs much, and that would probably be enough to push him over the edge.


Champ of the Week: Damn that Kog’maw is slow


This may have been a bad week to try Kog’Maw as my champ of the week. I’ve actually had some enjoyable games with him but I’ve also been playing Vayne and, as far as anti-tanks go, she obviously has the upper hand. Let’s be honest, though, she’s more of an anti-anything-that-moves than she is anti-tank. Still, I’m forging ahead with the Kog’Maw testing so here are a few thoughts.

I had forgotten just how damn slow Kog’Maw feels. I’m playing with the amazing Monarch Kog’Maw skin, which may contribute to the slow feeling in part. When he’s hopping around flapping his wings he certainly doesn’t feel very fast, but in teamfights I always feel like it takes me longer to get any place than I would like.

The most common Kog’Maw build also lacks the burst that many other ranged carries build for. Since most of his damage is percentage based, he doesn’t feel much different from the point that you finish Madred’s Bloodrazor until the end of the game. It’s a unique mechanic, unlike any other champion currently in the game. It also translates strangely into his gameplay.

In my most successful Kog’Maw matches I regularly have a few fights in which I start out at half health and, at a time I would normally run on other ranged carries, I turn and fight whoever is in my face and often win that fight. The percentage based damage gives him the ability to do this fairly early in the game and continue to do it through the game’s duration. With other ranged carries I simply wouldn’t do that until I have a monster farm, if for no other reason than that so much of your damage comes from critical strikes. With Kog’Maw, though, it is usually a finite and unwavering number of attacks that will kill an individual target, affected only by the target’s purchase of magic resistance or your own build changes. In some ways that makes Kog’Maw very enjoyable to play, but it can be frustrating to think that just one simple crit could have meant a kill on a retreating carry.

My biggest problem with Kog’Maw right now is how much damage high magic resistance targets can absorb. Malady is really his only option for addressing that problem, and it doesn’t reduce MR by very much. The rest of the magic penetration items are AP based, which feels like a waste of money. You could get Sorcerer’s Boots, but Cloak and Dagger isn’t really designed for a champion like Kog’Maw. I’m going to have to try a few games with Cleanse to see if that would be enough.


Champ of the Week: Kog’Maw


I’ve done a couple AP champions and a melee assassin for this feature – I think it’s time for some ranged DPS. Looking at Kog’Maw’s kit it seems that, other than Vayne, he’s probably best suited for flat out tank killing. Ashe is likely still the best pick overall for a ranged DPS, but if Kog’Maw can get ahead, he can burn tanks like no other. That said, he’s very susceptible to crowd control effects and suffers from a fairly weak early lane presence.

Basically, I want to see how Kog’Maw performs against a variety of comps with an average farm. He is absolutely devastating if overfed, which also has me interested in seeing how well he can carry against tanky DPS teams. I think the changes to Wit’s End make it the perfect Kog’Maw item, so I’m going to try a few builds centered around a Wit’s End rush to see how well it scales.

Check back later in the week for more impressions. Hopefully I can get a few Vayne games in before the day’s end and have some impressions on her tomorrow as well.


Champion Sneak Peek: Vayne, the Night Hunter

Vayne concept.

I really thought the Monkey King would be our next champion, especially considering the amount of artwork that’s been done on him. I would imagine Riot is trying to avoid the Lee Sin situation – lots of hype, little conversion – so we’re getting a different champion next week.

That champion is Vayne, a sort of Van Helsing inspired vampire hunter it would seem. I’m guessing she/he/it (pretty sure it’s a she, but it could be a he with very delicate legs) is a ranged DPS champion, a class that is woefully underrepresented in the current metagame. Could Vayne mark the return of the ranged carry? Check back this weekend for the skill list.


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