Hyena Warwick on the way

Hyena Warwick.

I have to give credit where credit is due. Bloodybunny, who reads here and plays with us on Monday nights, scoped this story a few days before it hit the forums. He sent me a message the other day saying he expected a legendary Warwick skin, based on the remakes to Warwick’s animations. Wouldn’t you know, we’re now looking at a teaser for Hyena Warwick. Good call, Bunny.

It looks like Hyena Warwick is in the works. I know I say this every time we see a legendary release, but I still have trouble understanding why Riot continues to release legendary skins. I guess people are still buying them. The only problem I have with it is that Riot willfully devalues legendary skins by releasing skins of equal or higher quality for half the RP. Those skins eventually go on sale, cutting the price in half again. It gets pretty tough to justify spending the 1820 RP with that scenario.


How long before people start to ban Warwick?


A friend of mine has been playing a lot of Warwick recently and doing very well. That has served as a nice dose of interest for me, since I don’t play Warwick a ton. In the few games I have played him, I’ve been reminded of just how strong he is and how easily he can swing the tide of a game. So when will people start banning him?

A lot of people would say that there are simply better ban targets – Amumu, Morgana, even Twitch – but as I see it, Warwick should be banned over pretty much any of those for the low skill ceiling he has on the utilities he provides. Don’t get me wrong, I think Warwick is as nuanced as the next toon, but you don’t exactly have to know what you’re doing to jungle with him, and he has one of the absolute best lane-ganking abilities in the game. For a lot of players, Warwick is the only toon they know how to jungle, so taking him off the board forces less skilled decisions, and as we get more and more champions, I think that’s going to become the real purpose of the ban. There will be so many champions that players just won’t know how to play them. Take the ones they do, and you’ll have an interesting match.

If you aren’t sure who to take off your ban list to think about adding Warwick, consider Amumu. It sounds crazy, because Amumu is crazy strong. But Amumu really needs to jungle to get off to a good start, and a lot of people just aren’t very good at it. Also, Amumu is one of those toons that tends to get extremely low while jungling, at least early, which gives you a decent chance to kill him and steal his buffs. Amumu is also such a high priority ban these days that most players jump at the chance to play, even if they haven’t played him in a few months. They’re rusty, or just unfamiliar with his playstyle, and end up getting rocked.

I almost feel bad writing this because my friend is such an avid Warwick player, but Warwick causes me so many problems that I really want to see him banned more often.


Hextech Singed, Annie in Wonderland released today

Hextech Singed.

Singed players, rejoice! Your long wait for a great skin is finally over. Today, Riot released Hextech Singed, a steampunk version of your favorite mad chemist that looks like something straight out of the movie ‘9’ (as does the Hextech Galio). It’s an incredibly kick-ass skin.

Today we also get access to the legendary Annie in Wonderland skin. Once you see Tibbers in a bunny suit, replete with a cummerbund, I’m sure you’ll fall in love. That thing is just hilarious.

This new batch of skins also included Tundra Hunter Warwick. Let me just warn you, the loading screen is much cooler than the skin in game. In game he looks like a Warwick paint job, but damn if that loading screen isn’t cool.

The Warwick skin is 520 RP while the Singed and Annie skins are 975 and 1820 RP respectively.


Shurelia answers your burning questions


I’ve always respected Shurelia for her community presence. She’s highly active in the forums and willing to admit when the community has offered up suggestions the Riot staff hasn’t considered. She’s started a thread in the General Discussion forums answering questions that typically get posted after a patch (why is so-and-so OP now, wtf are these changes, are you kidding me Riot, etc.).

Among the most notable of her answers are that Pantheon is fine, it’s just that he does extremely well against unorganized teams. There is talk of making him into more of a Spear Shot champion over Heartseeker, but from the sound of the post Heartseeker would still remain strong. I can’t really disagree more here. I think Heartseeker does way to much damage and is entirely too hard to avoid. Yes, it makes Pantheon vulnerable, but the only way to get away from it is Cleanse/sidestep or Flash. Other than that, you’re getting hit for half your health or more. It’s infuriating to lane against if you don’t have a hard stun or a silence, and even then it can be easy to stun too soon or too late.

Malzahar is also having a new mechanic built into his ult called suppression. Suppression keeps you from doing anything, including casting summoner spells. Shurelia says it will no longer stun, but you can’t move, cast, attack, or use summoner abilities. Sounds like a stun to me. It also sounds really crappy. I know it’s not fun to see your ult cleansed but it’s also pretty lame to go from full to dead in one ability (see Pantheon…). Quicksilver Sash will be the only way to get out of the ult. The same mechanic is being considered for Warwick. If this goes live, I hope to god they remake Quicksilver. It’s a decent item, but it’s way too expensive to justify in most situations for what it provides. The people who really need the item will be carries, who already have trouble scaling if they don’t get a good early farm. They’ll have to do something to balance this thing.

Last, Kayle’s ult will likely be going to an even shorter cooldown, but with a shorter duration as well. The reasoning is that it’s easier to CC a target for three seconds versus five, which is true, but if a carry takes Cleanse and has Kayle it will still be infuriating to play against. I don’t buy that 3 seconds is an easy CC even if the target has Cleanse as Shurelia suggests.

The rest of her answers have much less significant impact on the game but would probably still be of interest to anyone who follows game balance closely.


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.


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