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Welcome back to Rift Pulse, a weekly roundup of all things LoL eSports. This week follows the start of the LCS, the announcement of a Mid-Season Invitational, a brand new weekly show by Riot, and more.

 

Rift Pulse Jan 20 updated


North America


  • Team Liquid announced their foray into the Challenger Scene with Liquid Academy.
  • Alex Ich will be starting as the Mid Laner for Brawl, in addition to being a substitute for Team 8.

 

Europe


  • Soaz will be playing top for Origen, finalizing their roster.
  • Fnatic has announced the formation of “Fnatic Academy“, a secondary squad with the goal of participating the the Challenger Series that will also serve as practice partners.

 

China


  •  Fzzf has announced that he is retiring from competitive play.

 

Korea


 

Tournament and Scene updates

 

  • With LCS fast approaching, Riot has put out a promotional website packed with features, roster information, a full schedule, and more.
  • Riot has announced a new “Mid-Season Invitational”  a brand new international event held in May, between the Spring and Summer splits. The event will take place in NA, the venue is still TBA.
  • Riot has released an update detailing new plans for live events in NA. Most notably, the NA LCS Summer playoffs will not be hosted at PAX Prime this year.
  • Riot has also announced Primetime League“, a new weekly show hosted by Jatt and Riv that will air on Twitch starting on January 21st, at 3PM PST.

uolkikisfp

 

What is it like going from playing in Challenger Series to playing in international LAN tournaments? What is the hardest part to adjust to?

Kikis:  As for myself, I have a lot of experience of playing LAN events even before LCS was a thing, for example 2012 regionals at Gamescom, so it’s nothing new to me. But it’s a lot different and more exciting to play in front of huge live audience, when you can feel when they cheer and get hyped, instead of online at your sweet home. It’s definitely something I look forward to and will never get bored of.

 

What steps do you take to adapt to the newest patch? What is your approach to the current jungle?

Kikis: Well, the most important thing is to get used to it. And to do that, you just spam solo Queue games.. To get a feel of what’s strong I try a lot of champions that I think might be worth experimenting with. If I don’t see any potential in a champion, I’ll just drop it and move on. If I think something can work I’ll use it in a scrim to see how it works in a more competitive environment. I don’t look too hard though, I don’t put pressure on myself to deliver a new pick to the audience. I won’t put team in situation that we lose purely by trying too hard to make something work.

 

Who do you expect to give you the hardest time in the jungle?

Kikis: It’s hard to judge skill levels after new jungle patch came out and most of the junglers didn’t play competitive games on it. But if I had to choose, I respect Svenskeren as a player the most and I think he could give me the hardest time in the jungle with his aggressive playstyle. It doesn’t mean I would fall under his grace though, I will fight to the death with everyone I meet on Summoner’s rift.

 

What do you like or dislike about the current state of the jungle in the preseason and what changes would you like to see heading into Season 5?

Kikis: I like the way changes are going right now. Riot is doing their best to make this role balanced and fun. I actually really enjoy 2 stacks of smite and ability to change jungle items for free before enchanting. It gives better options for farming junglers that start with purple smite, and later on they can change it back to more useful smite in team fights.

 

What are your thoughts on ranged junglers and do you believe they require an advanced mechanical proficiency? What is their place on a team?

 

Kikis: I think ranged junglers are pretty strong, but it’s hard to fit them into a team comp. A lot of the times you have mid, ad and support ranged and you need some kind of front line. They require proper knowledge and practice about juggling the minions to not lose health and also don’t let them hard reset, which slows your jungle tremendously. Though with the recent nerfs on soft resets going down to 5 I am not so sure about them anymore. That might’ve killed their viability.

 

What was your mindset picking TF at IEM, was it intended to be a “cheese” or is it simply something you’ve practiced and had success with? What were your thoughts going into the matchup against TSM?

Kikis: We’ve practiced TF in scrims quite a bit. It worked pretty well. A lot of damage with great CC and map control with ult. I was confident in the champion, team was confident in me and we just went with it. Of course the part that we pick it in higher rotation to make enemies think it’s a mid-laner played a big part and that was intended, but it wasn’t the sole reason to use Twisted Fate. Everyone was super pumped against playing versus TSM and we were really motivated to win that and I’m really glad we actually did.

 

What did you gain most from playing at IEM? What are your overall thoughts on the event?

Kikis: Most people on the team doesn’t have a lot of LAN experience, especially in front of such a huge and wonderful audience, so it was a good thing for us. We played versus the best teams from NA and we learned a lot from C9 about vision control and team synergy. The event itself was really nice. We’ve met a lot of fans of the team, signed some stuff and took some photos. (which is pretty new to us by the way, it was overwhelming).

 

How are you preparing for the LCS? What are your goals going into the spring split?

Kikis: Well, mainly playing the game. 7 hours of scrim daily, 1-4 hours of solo Q and some analysis/team talk and watching replays. Every day we are getting better, we know our problems and we address them correctly. Everyone has a lot of trust into each other which is really great. We are not afraid to practice picks that we think are strong and we are motivated to put up a good show in the LCS and hopefully more.

 

Who are you looking forward to playing against most and who do you feel is your biggest threat in the EU LCS?

Kikis: It might sound lame but I look forward against playing every team. I am curious about overall strength of EU teams and on how we stand against them. The biggest threat will probably be Elements and SK. They look really good on paper, but we have to see if they stand up to their hype.

 

What players do you look up to? How would you define your playstyle and how do you feel it plays into your teams overall gameplay?

Kikis: The people I most look up to are the ones that give their heart and dedicate a lot of time to league. So from Europe it would mostly be Rekkles and Froggen. Also Faker, because he is a god, and Zefa. I really like Zefa’s playstyle and love watching him play.

 

What is your favorite lane to gank? 

Kikis: I don’t really have a favorite lane to gank. The only thing is that a lot of the times it’s hard to gank bot lane because they have more people percentage wise compared to other lanes and more defensive summoner spells.

 

Shout outs?

Kikis: I would like to thanks to everyone who is cheering for me or my team. The amount of support we are getting lately is huge and we are grateful for that. Also shout outs to our sponsors for helping us out and making living in gaming house possible!

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Authors Note: Due to a busy schedule and preparation for the upcoming LCS, the release of this interview was delayed and some of the information is late.

Categories: Esports, Original Content Tags: , , , , , ,

 

Reworks Urf and Dragons Banner

 

 Season 5 is fast approaching and we’ve been given some clues as to what we can expect. I’ve organized the major events in this article; note that while these are all confirmed, there’s no timeframe, so they might not happen in 2015.

 

 

Poppy Rework Banner

 

  Poppy is first on the gameplay update list and likely the high priority for the rework team right now. Morello has personally stated that Poppy is in a dire spot and needs a complete overhaul, one that would keep her theme of a hammer-wielding Yordle.

 Poppy is an example of Riot’s old design philosophies; making Champions that fit one purpose on the map and have clearly defined weaknesses. That was the intent. However, Poppy isn’t exactly handing out counterplay tips. Her main cons – an abysmally small mana pool and lack of wave-clear – don’t give enemies an opportunity to abuse; they just keep Poppy toned down so she doesn’t dominate. She’s more of an obstacle to play around rather than a Champion with interactive mechanics.

 The main offenders are her passive and ultimate. Blocking chunks of damage innately and constantly is just raw statistical power. The enemy gets hardly any feedback, visual or number-wise, when spells hit Poppy for halved damage. It’s not really a passive you can play around in a teamfight or even in lane, unless you’ve true damage or low-cooldown spells. Worse, still, this passive defines Poppy as a bruiser, meaning her appeal lies in bad design. Not the easiest Champion to rework.

Poppy Concept

 Diplomatic Immunity reminds me a bit of Magic The Gathering’s Black Lotus, in that almost every Champion can replace their ultimate with Poppy’s. It’s the best carry spell by miles, because it eliminates the threats that prevent a carry from carrying. In a game that’s focused around teamplay and Champion interactions, Poppy’s ultimate is deliberately made for zero interaction. And it’s another defining strength of Poppy’s; Diplomatic Immunity has existed for so long only because Poppy isn’t popular enough for it to be a considerable problem.

 At her core, Poppy is a fearless front-liner who smashes targets with a big hammer. That’s a cool concept, but it can definitely use less ridiculous mechanics to function. I’ll aim to cover her in a future Rework Forge article with ideas that might preserve her theme.

 

 

Ultimate Skin Banner 2

 

 2014 passed without an ultimate skin and I think it was a good decision. Why? Two things were clear; one, DJ Sona was meant to be the year’s ultimate skin and two, the community’s feedback on the concept was mostly negative. Riot could had gone forward and made the skin in 2014 and it would likely had sold very well, but they listened to what players thought.

 With DJ Sona possibly being remade into a legendary skin, we don’t yet know who will get the ultimate skin. Rioters have teased info before, like that the chosen Champion has few skins and some have narrowed down choices to Lux or Xerath.  Regardless, we won’t know for sure until the skin is patched onto the PBE. Maybe we’ll get Dragonmaster Swain after all.

 

 

Tristana Update Banner

 

Tristana is one of 16 Champions who were released during League’s Alpha in 2009. Her visuals are as outdated as they can be, so her being on the update list is great news.

Tristana RenderTristana’s kit may be 5-years-old, but it still holds up quite well in the meta, as we saw this year when itemization favored hyper-carries. Still, there are aging mechanics littered throughout. The obvious one is that Explosive Shot [ E ] is not a toggled spell. Since it can’t be disabled, it forces Tristana players to manage their last hits so one kill doesn’t ruin another. It also means a Trist player who has a point in E can’t freeze lanes. It’s certainly unique; no other Champion forces a player to think about last hitting ahead-of-time like that.

But this added difficulty isn’t essential for Tristana’s kit. It’s just there because you can’t have both a toggle and an active bound to a single key. It’s restricting game design, something Riot have gone past in recent years. If Tristana were released today, her E would, for example, make every X shot explode for bonus damage. It would certainly be streamlined to where players aren’t stuck with a passive they might not want.

There are technical issues to Tristana that the gameplay update will likely address. Her Rocket Jump is only visually a jump; it behaves like a dash, meaning it won’t go over Caitlyn’s traps, a Blitzcrank hook, a Bear Stance Udyr or any triggered stun. Speaking of stuns, those only affect Tristana after she’s landed, so if you Bandage Toss her as Amumu, you’ll stop at the point where you’ve landed the stun and not where Tristana will land at. Mechanically, the spell is inconsistent and just confusing for players who assume Rocket Jump interacts in certain ways, but it doesn’t.

Lastly, AP Trist. Although it’s most often a build for pub games, it will likely be gutted with the update. Riot have been adamant about multiple builds and Champions who are played in “unintended” ways usually get the short end of the stick when the patch hits. An AP build makes Tristana’s playstyle completely opposite to that of AD Trist which, in itself, is worth keeping.  But, given Riot’s history with alternative builds (Tryndamere, Rengar, Alistar, Lulu, Soraka, Katarina, and, most recently, AP Rek’Sai) they likely won’t be balancing Tristana for both options.

 

 

Urf Mode Banner

 

 U.R.F was a massive hit with the playerbase in April of 2014. It was the most popular featured mode and the most requested one. Its roots are in DotA’s WTF mode and it’s great fun, but was taken away just a short month after its release.

 To say U.R.F was imbalanced would be an understatement. For example, Sona had a 77% winrate on U.R.F. Alistar could play tennis with your mangled corpse, Yorick was a god, most AD bruisers who are otherwise gated by CDs were ridiculous and you could watch the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy while being chain-snared by Morgana.

 Looking back at it, we all agree U.R.F was great, but we can’t deny it was a love-hate relationship. Balance is part of the equation when playing a competitive game for fun and players naturally tunnel on what’ll let them win easier, since winning is fun for most.  Featured modes are imbalanced, which is why they’re rotated out. If we want U.R.F to stay, we should view it in long terms; unfair picks would burn us out on an otherwise great addition to League.

 When Riot pulled the plug on U.R.F, they did so to fix the issues the mode had. We’ll most likely see it return in 2015, if not as a permanent mode, then at least as a better, more refined version of the old crowd favorite.

 

 

New Tribunal Banner

 

It’s been 8 months since the Tribunal was brought down for an overhaul. In that time, we got Chat Restrictions, bans from Ranked, 2-week bans and bans for intentional feeding to handle the toxicity (of our city). Though reports are still handled by real people, the lack of players reviewing cases has slowed down punishment to a crawl. You could be a dick to someone and not learn of said dick behavior until a few weeks later.

justicereview

 

 The Tribunal will, above all, distribute punishments and rewards faster. It will only take a few days following a closed case for action to be taken. To contrast, punishments at the moment are handed out in “waves”, meaning negative players are clumped together and restricted at the same time. The “pardon period” will also be made a lot shorter – a punished player will only get one warning and two chances before they lose their account.

 The new Tribunal will also be reviewing positive players for rewards in addition to its older features. This change may give players a tangible reason to act decent and that puts a welcome spin on how community behavior is handled. Every year the best Tribunal contributors will receive in-game rewards for their work.

 

 This mix of punishments and rewards will, hopefully, cover all types of players. Those who want skins may, for example, receive an exclusive skin for positive behavior. Respectively, negative players may be denied the Season’s Victorious skin. Players who value in-game status may earn or lose loading screen borders, etc.  To sum up, neutral and positive players will have in-game goals to strive for and remain neutral or positive and negative players will have punishments to keep them in line.

 Justice Reviews will be easier to manage. These are, in essence, “scoreboards” for Tribunal users to track their contribution to solving cases. They’re a good incentive for the “jury” to remain active, so making them more accessible means more people will stick around to keep the Tribunal functional.

 What’s missing from the list of features is, still, pre- and post-game chat logs. I personally think most toxicity takes place in Champion Select and if that area of player communication isn’t monitored, then the Tribunal loses a lot of its evidence for a case. I hope Tribunal users will be given access to these.

 The new Tribunal is taking similar time to develop as an average game by EA. And, while relying on slow systems for months-on-end is a tad aggravating, we’ll be getting mostly every feature requested. Let’s hope we can instantly ban people whose chat logs include “X or feed”.

 

 

Fiora Rework Banner

 

Fiora’s rework was an update teased too early, akin to Yorick’s rework. We know she’ll be getting a complete overhaul, but she isn’t a priority for the moment so shooting for 2015 is perhaps wishful thinking.

It’s evident why Fiora needs changes; a condensed explanation would be that she’s meant to be a Melee DPS, when she’s really a glorified assassin. Outplaying Fiora is rarely an option, since she’s effectively a lump of stats and targeted dashes. Similarly, she can’t outplay enemies herself. Put the two together and you get a one-trick pony whose success depends mostly on the match-up and rarely on mechanics or strategy.

Personally, I don’t think Fiora is a balance issue, but I consider her a failed concept. She’s the Grand Duelist, but only on paper. A duelist would time her attacks and wait for a crack in the enemy’s guard, but Fiora mostly relies on her three steroids to win fights. Her rapier could be Xin Zhao’s spear and little would change.

FioraUltSample (1)

Game Designer Guinsoo has shared ideas for Fiora in the past and they’re in a similar ballpark – more mobility and opportunity to outplay, at the cost of burst damage. Her role would change from a top laner to a mid laner or a jungler; the latter is interesting, since Melee ADCs have never really been competitive junglers.

 The rework team seems to be leaning towards excessive mobility to make Fiora viable. Given the over-abundance of mobility that’s currently in the game, it may be the only solution to make a Melee ADC competitive. But will that mobility take from the Champion’s power budget or will it just be tacked on?

 The main problem with Fiora will be the problem of Melee ADs in League. The archetype is usually too risky to warrant picking over Ranged ADs and bruisers. It makes Fiora’s rework that much more important for the game, since it can be an example of how melee carries should be designed in the future.

 

 

Warwick Rework banner


Warwick’s rework was teased several months ago on Reddit by Champion designer ZenonTheStoic. We already saw a preview of how unfun Warwick can be if left to his own devices in Patch 4.20. He’s a simple character with simple counterplay and that’s good to have for new players, but it’s hard to make the formula competitive and fair. The suggested rework has a lot of skillshots and requires proper positioning, which would make Warwick much easier to balance, since enemies can interact with him beyond buying QSS.

 

Eternal_ThirstEternal Thirst Passive ]

  • . AAs deal 2% of their target’s max HP as magic damage and heal Warwick for 5 flat + (0.9-1.8% bonus hp) (scales with champ level) Every time this passive is procced, WW gains a stack of Eternal Thirst (max 10). Each stack of ET increases the self-heal effect by 11%. Stacks fall off after 1.8s (just enough time to keep the buff alive at lowest AS + a fleeing enemy) (if you’re faster than them), they fall off one at a time at 4 stacks/second (sort of hyper-quick Jinx Q style).

 

Hungering_StrikeHungering Strikes [ Q ]

  • Double-attack a nearby enemy target. Deals a total of 80-200 + 0.6 AP magic damage, but does proc on-hits (and your passive) twice. Note: it’s super weird that we have a skill that procs your AAs but ignores your AD. I know. This is a tradeoff the kit needed. Additionally, passive healing from this spell is further increased by 60-100% (so at 10 stacks you’d get 220% base heal from each proc for a total of 440% of the stated value; at level 18 that would be 5 + 1.8% bonus hp–a good value to hit here is about 35 by end game. This works out to about 180 hp healed, before spirit visage.)

This Q is also super spammable (CD 9-5, mana cost 40-60 on a kit with better base mana and better mana regen) (these numbers will definitely change as we move into tuning later in the year)

 

Hunter's_CallHowl [ W ]

  • (all names placeholder, obviously). PBAOE terrify away from the center of the effect (NOT from WW; subtle distinction, but important for the E). 0.75s duration on the terrify and then a follow up slow, the duration of which scales with skill rank. This is how you gank pre-6 and why the enemy cannot ignore you in team fights. CD 12-8, mana cost 50 flat. Damage 70-190 + 0.6 AP.

 

Blood_ScentBlood Scent / Hamstring [ E ]

  • Passively this is still Blood Scent, with some tweaks (more range early on, shows an Orianna ball indicator under your feet toward the nearest revealed target, only gives MS when you move toward a revealed champ, also reveals big monsters at <50% hp (for the counter janglings), MS doesn’t all kick in at once but becomes stronger as revealed target gets lower.)
  • Active: Hamstring. This is the “boomerang move”. You’re standing at point A, click B, Warwick dashes A->B->A with no pause in between. He hurts all targets touched en route and puts a strong micro-slow on them (falls off almost immediately). You CAN use W and smite during this ability, but not Q (optimal use case became too micro intensive). The micro-slow BARELY allows you to catch a fleeing enemy, but if you E and they dodge, you’ll lose distance. Mana cost 50 flat, CD 16 flat, damage 140-220 + 0.6 AP total. Does not proc passive, but keeps stacks alive. Slow 95% for 0.25s.

 

Infinite_DuressFinite Duress [ R ]

  • Think Sejuani Q, but stun first enemy target hit for 2.5s while attacking them 6 times. Spell has its own base damage and AP ratio (180/240/300 + 0.9 AP), but also procs your passive 6 times, so it also does 18% of target max hp as magical damage.

 

 There’s no set date for when we’ll see Warwick’s rework and no evidence that the suggested rework is anything but an experiment. He isn’t on the gameplay update list (yet), but he’s being worked on and we’ll likely see him revamped this year.

 An interesting observation is that Warwick hasn’t received a texture rebalance. Given that his model and animations are outdated, it suggests a visual update is on its way to complement his gameplay rework. And it may happen way sooner than we expect.

 

 

Ao Shin Banner

 

Ao Shin was a hot topic in 2013 when he was teased, but since then there hasn’t been news on the Champion. The gist of the design is an Eastern-themed storm dragon that can both support allies and be a teamfight threat. He’s meant to fill concepts that aren’t already occupied by Shyvana (half-dragon) and Janna (storm sorceress). Being an interpretation of a Chinese dragon, he won’t be breathing fire; his powers will be based around controlling elements.

Ao-Shin-Sketches

From the teaser:

 “Ao Shin embodies this elemental duality, capable of raining good fortune on his allies and, in the very next breath, bringing stormy, thunderous ruin upon his foes.”

 Gameplay-wise, the direction seems to be a hybrid between a support character and an AoE mage. This may mean Ao Shin will have dual-effect spells that change depending on who they target, like Lulu. Also, given that most new Champions don’t use mana, he might have a completely new resource to fuel his hybrid kit.

 The teaser mentions that Ao Shin will come when Ionia is faced with its biggest crisis, so his release will likely be tied to a major lore event. Again, we may not see him this year, but if we do, we’ll get plenty of forewarning. For now, we’ve Champion Designer Meddler‘s explanation why we won’t be seeing Ao Shin for a while:

 

When will Ao Shin be released

Meddler Final PortraitTLDR: Ao Shin someday, won’t be soon.

Slightly longer version: We spent a bunch of time working on Ao Shin but ultimately concluded he wasn’t hitting the mark so put him on hold for a while in order to figure some things out. We still think his concept’s really cool, as is some of the stuff we were trying with him, so do intend to make him someday. Don’t expect to see him anytime soon though, we’d rather be slow, but do a better job of delivering on his potential, than quick.

That’s a process some other champs have also gone through (Lee Sin, Elise and Azir for example), where it took a few different takes to hit on what we felt was the right one (Lee Sin originally as Blind Monk way back pre launch, Elise originally as Priscilla the Spider Queen, Azir originally as Seth the sand mage), ultimately yielding better champs in the long run we feel.

[ Link to Post ]

 

 

Replays & East Coast Servers

Both will be available as DLC for Half Life 3.

 

 

If you have any questions, feel free to ask me at @NoL_Chefo or e-mail me at nolchefo@gmail.com.

 

 

Christmas Giveaway Banner

 

As part of the Solomid network, we’ll be doing a Christmas giveaway of Solomid gear. Want in? Here’s how to enter:

 

All you have to do is follow Chefo and Caymus and retweet either one of their posts:

 



We’ll be giving away five shirts from Solomid’s store and one jacket:

 

Solomid Jacket

 

[ Disclaimer ] The giveaway doesn’t include South America. Apologies! Every other region is eligible.

 

We’ll be announcing the winners on December 31st. Good luck and happy holidays!


Welcome to the second edition of Rift Pulse, a weekly roundup of all things LoL eSports. This week follows the end of the EU and NA expansion tournaments, the 2015 Challenger Series, the conclusion of IEM and much more.

 

Rift Pulse New Banner

North America

 

  • Shan “Chaox” Huang has officially joined a new Challenger team, Roar. The team has already begun bootcamping in China.
  • Team Liquid looks to take over Curse as title sponsor.

 

Europe

 

  • The first four players of xPeke’s new Challenger team Origen have been announced. http://na.lolesports.com/articles/origen-unveils-lineup – origen
  • Fnatic has announced that they are looking for a LoL coach and are holding open applications.
  • SoaZ looks to be parting ways with Fnatic and could potentially be joining former team mate xPeke in Origen.

 

Korea

 

  • SK Telecom T1 has released Impact from his contract and hints at a possible overseas plan.
  • Former CJ Entus Blaze top laner Flame will be joining Chinese organization LGD.

 

China

 

  • RooKie and KaKAO join Invictus Gaming.
  • Team DK picks up former KT Bullets top laner Limit and former VG.S AD carry ViigejBoBoBoBo. 

 

Tournament and Scene updates

 

  • Giants Gaming and H2K Gaming emerge at the top of the EU expansion tournament, joining the LCS in 2015.
  • Team Coast and Curse Academy earn their spots in the LCS in 2015 after strong performances in the NA expansion tournament.
  • Cloud 9 takes home their first ever IEM title at San Jose.
  • Gambit Gaming takes their sixth IEM trophy, taking down CLG in Cologne.
  • Riot announces format changes to the Challenger Series.

TSM Welcomes Santorin

November 27th, 2014
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After an extended trial period, Team SoloMid would like to welcome Lucas “Santorin” Larsen as our new starting Jungler. With several weeks of practice together, Santorin said he was “excited to be able to play for TSM and ready to prove [himself] to be the right choice for the team.”

 

D5__OKOY

 

Santorin is no stranger to competition. Having served as Team Coast’s jungler for multiple challenger series victories, his high mechanics and playmaking ability stuck out among the best in the NA Challenger Scene. Ready to play on a professional stage at the upcoming IEM San Jose event, he joins TSM just in time to compete against some of the West’s finest competition, including Alliance and Cloud 9.

Owner Andy “Reginald” Dinh said he was “thankful that we could get Santorin in time for our team to compete.”

Santorin is already living at the TSM house and will be competing at IEM San Jose on December 6th-7th

 

You can follow Santorin on:

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/santorinlol

Twitchhttp://www.twitch.tv/santorinreborn

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/SantorinLoL

 

Current TSM starting roster:
Top – Marcus “Dyrus” Hill
Jungle – Lucas “Santorin” Larsen
Mid – Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg
AD – Jason “WildTurtle” Tran
Support – Jang-sik “Lustboy” Ham
Head Coach – Yoonsup “Locodoco” Choi
Analyst – Dylan (https://twitter.com/lolclashdylan)

 
A Long Way from Alpha Banner

Co-Founders of Riot Games Mark Merrill and Brandon Beck reflect on the new Rift, what it means for players and where it will take the game in the future.

 

 
BY RYZE AND TRYNDAMERE

When we first saw early concepts for the updated Summoner’s Rift, we were struck by how far League had come. A little over six years ago, we were in an office closet we called a conference room during the earliest days of Riot having started over from scratch on the game’s first map. Ryze had yet to learn how to grow a beard. Trynd still had his goatee. Neither of us were married, let alone with children.

SRAlpha_thumb


In the years since, we’ve celebrated a few birthdays, welcomed new family members, and said good-bye to standard definition television. We’ve brought on experienced and talented artists, engineers, and designers who’ve done more than just slap a fresh coat of paint on the Rift. They’ve continued to evolve it into an experience that’s clear, cohesive and compelling.

Because Summoner’s Rift is more than just the stage for our incredible comebacks and insane pentakills, for many of us it’s a second home. It’s where we laugh, cry, and tryhard with friends and with strangers. We’re excited to lay an updated foundation on the bedrock of League’s gameplay.

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The journey is still just beginning. With a community as large and passionate as the one we’re proud to be a part of, we’ll continue to refine, iterate, and update as we experience and share new epic moments on League’s main stage, together. See you on the Rift.

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If you have any questions, feel free to ask me at @NoL_Chefo or e-mail me at nolchefo@gmail.com.


 

Kespa Banner

 

 

 After months of collaboration, KeSPA, Riot Games and OnGameNet have announced the final version of their ’2015 Season LoL eSports League Reform Plan’. Key topics include switching formats to a league system in the vein of the Chinese LPL, renaming the NLB to League of Legends Challengers Korea, introduction of a 20 million Korean Won (KRW) minimum salary for professional players, and establishing a promotion/relegation system. The full press release is available below.

________________________________________________________________________________

Greetings.
Korean eSports Association (“KeSPA”), Riot Games, and OnGameNet (“3 Parties”) would like to announce the final version of the ‘2015 Season LoL eSports League Reform Plan’.

 During the past 3 months, the 3 Parties have been aware of the many issues inherent in the current LoL eSports system and tournament format, and have been trying to prepare a springboard for the Korean LoL eSports to leap one step further through the newly launching 2015 Season.

 While preparing the 2015 Season Reform Plan, we tried to collect various opinions from pro-players, teams, industry stakeholders, and our players, but some of our efforts were not entirely satisfactory. We assure you, however, that we placed utmost priority on the long-term growth of eSports and the protection of players’ rights and welfare when we finalized this 2015 Season Reform Plan. The 3 Parties will continue to heed to the voices of many fans who love and support eSports.

 We would like to ask for your continued support for the upcoming 2015 Season of LoL eSports.

Thank you.

 

2015 LoL Champions Korea League Reform Plan

 

New League Format

 2015 LoL Champions Korea will change from its previous tournament format to a full-league format. This change to the league format, which was adopted to help teams and players participate in competitions more consistently, will also help improve the welfare of pro-players. ‘2015 LoL Champions Korea – Spring Split’, which will launch in early January, will be run as a full-league for approximately 4 months.

 

Promotions/Relegations

 While the full-league format has the advantage of providing pro-teams and players a stable source of competitive activity, it also has the disadvantage of being less entertaining compared to the tournament format. In order to minimize this disadvantage and additionally offer an opportunity to players in the semi-pro tier who are aspiring to be promoted, the 3 Parties have agreed to adopt Promotions/Relegations immediately following the end of ‘2015 LoL Champions Korea – Spring Split’. When the Spring Split is finished, pro-teams and semi pro-teams will compete in Promotions/Relegations to secure their spot in the next ‘2015 LoL Champions Korea – Summer Split”.

 

Participants

 As we are transitioning to a full-league format, there are not many stable company-owned or club teams that can fully operate and manage their teams throughout the whole split. Thus, 2015 Season Spring Split will first kick off with 8 teams. 6 out of 8 teams (Samsung, KT, Najin, CJ, SKT and Jin Air) have been awarded spots for the Spring Split based on their past performance (accumulative circuit points in 2014) and history of stable team management. The remaining 2 teams will be determined through ‘Seed Qualifier Tournament’ (please refer to (6) below for details on Seed Qualifier Tournament).

 For 2015 Summer Split, we plan to increase the number of participating teams to 10 teams in order to expand opportunities for pro-players to participate.

 During the Promotions/Relegations following the 2015 Spring Split, bottom 2 teams from Champions Korea and top 4 teams from the semi-pro tier will compete to determine the final 4 teams that will join the 2015 Summer Split.

 

League Regulations

We would like to inform you of the following new regulations that will be newly implemented to protect the eSports pro-players and improve their welfare.

 

A) Mandatory Roster

 While first planning the launch of the league system, the 3 Parties became aware of the necessity for two corporate teams to be combined to one, so we reviewed the possibility of requesting corporate teams to incorporate a 10-person roster requirement to allow pro-players to stay in their original teams. However, having listened to many fans’ opinions and criticisms that the 10-person roster is not suitable for the current LoL eSports market, we decided not to forcefully adopt this policy. All LoL eSports teams may participate in the pro tier and semi-pro tier leagues if they can secure the roster of 5 players to play the game.

 

B) Minimum Salary Policy

 In the past, there have been many instances where eSports pro-players were inadequately compensated for their talent. The 3 Parties are planning to incorporate a “minimum salary of KRW 20 million” as a rule for teams participating in the league to follow, after having decided that the pro-players active in the pro field should be warranted a minimum level of welfare. Every pro-player entering a contract with pro-teams will earn a minimum salary of KRW 20 million (~$18,000) as income. This amount does not include profit generated through streaming or prize(s) from tournaments/league.

 

C) Mandatory Contract Term

 Similar to the minimum salary policy, “mandatory contract term of at least 1 year” will also be introduce. In other words, pro-teams will need to sign with pro-players for at least a one year in the future. This will help pro-players lead a stable professional career.

 However, teams may act as the principal agents of pro-players in transfer negotiations since they will possess the right for the said signed pro-player for the duration of the contract. If a team wishes to release a player against his will during the duration of the contract, the team is obligated to pay the remaining salary of the said player.

 

Supporting Measures

 

The 3 Parties will continuously invest beyond what we have invested and provided thus far for the advancement of LoL eSports to not only strengthen the league but to improve the welfare of pro-players.

 Riot Games will provide the minimum salary for 5 players in each team’s minimum roster. In addition, non-corporate teams without sponsors will receive not only aid for player salaries, but also aid for cost related to team operation and management. Regardless of the changes to the number of players applicable for salary aid, the total amount that Riot Games will be providing for the support of pro-teams remains unchanged. Please kindly understand that specific amount of the support will not be disclosed

 

Schedule

 Please see below for the detailed schedule ahead of the launch of ‘LoL Champions Korea – Spring Split’. For more information on the Seed Qualifier tournament, please refer to future announcement on the Riot Games homepage (http://www.leagueoflegends.co.kr).

Competition Date Category Information
Seed Qualifier tournament (Preliminaries)
11/17~11/18
Eligibility Teams with at least 5 players with own accounts who are 17 years or older
Application 11/11~11/14 (4 days) / Online application*For details, please see the announcement on LoL official homepage
Format Single tournament with 4 groups / Best of 3
Location Yongsan eSports Stadium
(Finals)
11/21~11/22
Teams Top 4 teams to qualify in the preliminaries
Format 4-team full league / Single matches
(with tiebreakers if necessary)
Location Busan Bexco Auditorium

 

(Schedule subject to change pending future circumstances)

 There will also be a Preseason lasting approximately a month with a single-round full-league format starting late November. The final 8 teams that will participate in the 2015 Spring Split will be participating in this Preseason. In addition, full-league format ‘2015 LoL Champions Korea – Spring Split’ will start in early January for approximately 4 months. Once the Spring Split is over, Promotions/Relegations tournament will take place for approximately 1 week.

 

2015 Season Semi-Pro Tier Reform Plan

 

New Title – League of Legends Challengers Korea

 NLB, which has previously represented the LoL Semi-Pro tier in Korea, will evolve with the new title of ‘LoL Challengers Korea’. Challengers Korea will not only become the battle arena for aspiring pros, but also provide another chance for teams that have been demoted from Champions Korea to once again climb up the ladder.

 

Changes in Competition Format

 Two open tournaments will be held during the 2015 Spring Split. Any team with 5 players who have their own Korean accounts with Gold tier or higher may participate in these tournaments. ‘Challengers’ points will be awarded to teams according to their performance, and 4 teams with the highest Challengers points will advance to Promotions/Relegations tournament to compete against the bottom 2 teams from Champions Korea.

 Furthermore, Challengers Korea will also switch to a full-league format in the Summer Split, and teams with the highest Challengers points will be provided seeds to participate in this league. We decided to implement step-by-step changes to ensure the highest quality of games and reliable execution during the transition phase.

 Once Challengers Korea has transitioned to a full-league format in the Summer Split, Riot Games and NGTV will provide participating Challengers teams accommodations and sponsorship opportunities to help establish a stable practice environment for the semi-pro players

 Please refer to the announcement on the Riot Games website (http://www.leagueoflegends.co.kr) for more details.

Lustboy (4 of 10)

 

 

How have you been spending your offseason? Do you still play the game in your downtime?

Yes I do. I’ve been playing at least 3 to 8 games a day and hanging out with my friends. Nothing special.

 

With the conclusion of the 2014 World Championship, how do you feel about your overall performance?

I’m not satisfied that much because I know we could have done better if I did great and communicated better. I’ve been taking English classes and hope to do a lot next split.

 

Who was your favorite team to play against and why? Which bot lane gave you the most trouble? What did you learn most during your time boot camping and throughout the World Championship and how much do you think you improved?

My favorite team to play against is Cloud 9. They are really popular and are believed to be the best, and I want to prove that wrong. It won’t be easy because they are actually a very strong team.

I think the bot lane who gave me most trouble at worlds was Uzi/Zero. WildTurtle and I had never gotten into serious trouble in a 2v2 except against them.

I did learn how to take even just one scrim serious and what true supporting was. I think I improved a lot but I’m stuck in Korea for visa problem so I feel I’m gonna forget what I learned.

 

 The World Championship saw the rise of Janna, being picked or banned a total of 53 times and emerging with a 62% win rate. What do you think contributed most to her popularity and do you believe she will remain a contested pick moving into season 5?

Janna is actually a good champion, but she is simple. I think top 3 S tier supports were Thresh/Zilean/Alistar at the time, but Zilean and Alistar both were must bans or you were forced to play an unbalanced game.

So the next tier was Nami and Janna, though the meta was more fit to Janna. World Championship Season 4 was poke city meta.

 

IEM San Jose is fast approaching. How do you plan to prepare for the tournament? Where do you feel you need the most improvement?

I’m going to continue practicing in Korea with solo queue games or high elo premade matches. I feel I still need to get better at English and communication.

 

Piglet was recently announced as Team Curse’s new ADC. What are your thoughts on this move and how strong do you think the Xpecial/Piglet bot lane will be? Are they your biggest threat in the NA LCS?

I like both of them but I have heard a lot about Piglet’s personality and I don’t think him and Xpecial would make a good combination. I’m actually way more worried about Doublelift/Aphromoo.

 

When you initially made the move to NA, how was your English? Is it difficult playing a team game with a language barrier? What did you do to overcome any communication issues? How much has your English improved?

My English wasn’t that good and even now is not great. However it has improved a lot and I continue to improve it. My team and coaches are also helping me, and I am really glad to be here.

You and Locodoco were friends before joining TSM. Is it difficult to maintain both a professional and personal relationship with someone you’ve known for so long?

I’m pretty sure he doesn’t mind our friendship when he is coaching. I think that’s the right way of doing things and hope it will continue.

 

 You’ve been playing with TSM for several months now. What is the biggest difference playing in NA vs. Korea? Is there anything you would change about LCS or OGN format?

The biggest difference thing is people speaking English, kappa. Actually, people have so much fervor compared to Asia. They really enjoy playing the game. I don’t think format matters but LCS format gives me less stress.

 

What is your favorite food in the US?

In & Out Double Double burger. I like the seasoning.

 

 

Solomid would like to thank our fans and sponsors for supporting us. Shout out to Alienware, Logitech, and HyperX.


About the author: Tim Kimbirk is an eSports Journalist and writer with Solomid. Stay up to date on the latest interviews and features by following on twitter: @CaymusNoL 

 

Preseason for Dummies Banner

 

To help you be ready for Preseason, I’ve written a guide that covers every change it will include. Enjoy!

[ Note ] I’ll be keeping this guide up-to-date with all PBE changes that come before the next patch. Last updated on: November 15th.

 

Table of Contents Minibanner

Jungle Items

Jungle Camps

Jungle Strategy
Objectives

Other Items

In-game Icons

Additional Resources

 

 

Jungle Items Banner

Jungling again begins with Hunter’s Machete, which has been slightly altered.

 

Hunter's Machete New IconHunter’s Machete

Passive – Jungler: Deal 30 magic damage on hit to monsters over 2 seconds and gain 7 Health and 3 Mana per second while in combat with monsters.

 

First and foremost, all of Hunter’s Machete’s upgrades have been replaced. This means no more Feral Flare and Spirit Items. There are 4 new items that build out of Hunter’s Machete and each can be enchanted with one of four enchantments. More on that in a bit.

 Hunter’s Machete now costs 400 Gold, which means you can only get 2 Health pots initially. This is noticeable, but since sustain is now tied to Hunter’s Machete, including mana sustain, you can still get both buffs and have enough health to gank at level 3.

Smite’s cooldown is now 60 seconds, increased from 40. This is important, because Smite can now serve a lot more uses.

 

You can upgrade your Hunter’s Machete into four different items, much like you could previously upgrade it into Spirit Stone or Madred’s Razor (both of these items and their upgrades have been removed)

The upgrades will increase the passive on Hunter’s Machete to 45 magic damage over 2 seconds and the sustain to 10 HP and 5 Mana per second while fighting jungle monsters. They’ll also upgrade your Smite; this defines your role in the jungle:

 

Jungle Items

 

 

Each of these items serves a very specific purpose, depending on how you want to influence the game as a jungler. Note, I use “counterjungling” as a term for stealing the enemy’s jungle camps and “invading” as looking to kill the enemy jungler.

Right, here are the Smite upgrades:

 

Poacher's Knife New IconPoacher’s Knife

Passive – Scavenging Smite: When you Smite and kill a large monster in the enemy jungle, the cooldown of Smite is halved, you gain +20 bonus Gold and you gain 175% increased Movement Speed decaying over 2 seconds.


Stalker's Blade New IconStalker’s Blade

Passive – Chilling Smite: Smite can be cast on enemy champions, dealing 10% of Smite’s current damage as true damage to them and reducing their movement speed by 50% for 2 seconds.

 

Skirmisher's Sabre New IconSkirmisher’s Sabre

Passive – Challenging Smite: Smite can be cast on enemy champions, marking them for 6 seconds. While marked, you deal bonus true damage to them on hit, equal to 6.25% of your Smite’s current damage, have vision of them, and reduce their damage to you by 20%.

 

Ranger's Trailblazer New IconRanger’s Trailblazer

Passive – Blasting Smite: The cooldown of Smite is reduced by 15 seconds. Smite also deals half damage to all monsters and enemy minions near the target and stuns them for 1.5 seconds. Casting Smite on a monster restores 15% of missing Health and Mana.

 

Let’s see what each of these items will help you do and when you should buy them.

 

 

Poachers Knife

Get Poacher’s Knife if:

  • You’ll spend most of your time denying the enemy jungle
  • You want to counterjungle the enemy’s large monsters and buffs;
  • You’ll be counterjungling, but you have no escape on your champion.

This will be your go-to counterjungle item. Poacher’s Knife is a great pick-up on all classic counter-junglers like Nunu,  Shaco, Lee Sin and others.

Poachers Knife Effect

  The halved CD on Smite and the massive movement speed burst helps you move between enemy camps and clear them faster than with any other item.  It’s the best upgrade you can get if you want to deny the enemy’s buffs and large monsters. The movement speed allows you to clear out quickly and with a 30 second cooldown on Smite, you can run circles in the enemy’s jungle.

 Note that you don’t have to Smite for the killing blow. If you Smite early, you’ll still get the MS buff when you’re done with the large monster. The reduced cooldown on Smite will take into account the time it took you to kill the monster after you’d Smited it.

 

 

Stalkers Blade

Get Stalker’s Blade if:

  • You’ll be ganking early on, but you don’t have a reliable gap-closer;
  • You want to be securing kills after the enemy has burned Flash, in the same gank;
  • You’re invading with a strong early jungler and you need to prevent the enemy running away;
  • You’ll be engaging teamfights and/or sticking to priority targets.

 Stalker’s Blade gives both a slow and a minor nuke. As such, its best use is during ganks. You can clear both buffs, one standard camp, recall, buy Stalker’s Blade and start ganking. A 50% slow will be enough to force a Flash most of the time. It allows champions who normally need level 6, like Vi, Warwick, Nocturne, Rengar, etc., to pull off ganks much earlier in the game. Because Smite has 760 cast range, it’s very easy to slow someone with Stalker’s Blade. It allows these champions to line up their gap-closers; for example, you can charge Vault Breaker with Vi, Smite during your channel and prevent any jukes or at least force a Flash.

 The item also works on champions who are already strong gankers early. If you buy it on, for example, Elise, Jarvan IV, Kha’Zix or Lee Sin, you can engage without it and wait for the enemy to blow Flash. Then you Smite them to catch up.

Slow Smite Screen

  For jungle invades, Stalker’s Blade gives you more CC to stick to the enemy jungler. It’s, again, great on duelists like Elise and Lee Sin, but also on Champions who can 1v1, but can’t stick to targets well, like Shaco, Udyr, Wukong and Pantheon.

 

 

Skirmisher’s Sabre

Get Skirmisher’s Sabre if:

  • You have a reliable gap closer and you want to do more damage when ganking;
  • You’ll be counterjungling a lot and you need extra dueling power;
  • Your champion has an Attack Speed buff and can chase down squishy targets.

Skirmisher’s Sabre is designed for, well… skirmishes. It offers you everything you need to come out on top in 1v1s: damage reduction, bonus true damage and vision.

Skirmisher Saber Ingame Vision

Get Skirmisher’s Sabre on champions who either have Attack Speed on their kit or benefit from Attack Speed items, like Udyr, Shyvana, Nocturne, Xin Zhao, Master Yi, etc. Since you’ll be Smiting mostly champions, you need a jungler who can farm quick without Smite and can also duel quite early.

 Skirmisher’s Sabre scales very well into late game. For 6 seconds you’re getting a 20% damage reduction against a target, which will most likely be the enemy Marksman. You’ll eventually be doing 63 true damage on-hit, which is also huge. If you can reliably stick to a target without needing Stalker’s Blade and you don’t need Smite for the jungle, then this is your best option.

 

 

Ranger’s Trailblazer

Get Ranger’s Trailblazer if:

  • Your champion can’t deal with the damage of jungle monsters;
  • You need a lot of mana to keep farming;
  • You don’t have the AoE damage to quickly clear camps;
  • You need level 6 as fast as possible to start ganking;
  • You’ll be helping tower pushes around the map;
  • You’re counterjungling with a safe champion and you want to clear the enemy’s camps faster.

 The two benefits of Ranger’s Trailblazer are sustain and quick clear speed. If you cannot sustain yourself in the jungle, this will be your only option. Ranger’s Trailblazer provides similar sustain as a Spirit of the Spectral Wraith, so you’ll never have to recall back for health if you’re using it to farm your jungle. It also stuns monsters, which is extra time before you start receiving damage.

 It’s a great pick-up on all champions who love to counterjungle and can get out quickly. A few examples would be Nunu, Elise, Shaco, Hecarim and Kha’Zix. These five also benefit from the mana restore on Ranger’s Trailblazer and can clear extremely fast with the 25% Cooldown Reduction on Smite.

Elise Ranger Traiblazer Counterjungle

 As Elise, for example, you can Rappel over the Raptors’ wall and instantly kill the whole camp with Human W, Blasting Smite and a Spider Q. If you want to stick to your jungle as, say, Warwick, then Ranger’s Trailblazer guarantees you can get to level 6 at the same pace as your top or mid laner.

 Tank junglers like Nautilus, Maokai, Sejuani and Amumu will love this item, both for its sustain and for the AoE Smite. Because Ranger’s Trailblazer does the highest damage to camps of all upgrades, it’s excellent on all junglers with slow clear speed.

 A side bonus of Ranger’s Trailblazer is the AoE Smite helps immensely with pushing towers. You can tank the enemy’s wave so the minions clump around you for a Smite. Note that the stun only works on minions and monsters;  if there’s an enemy champion near the wave you’re Smiting, he won’t be stunned.

 Lastly, you can get this item if you just want to have fun with a champion who normally can’t jungle. You won’t die in the jungle with a Ranger’s Trailblazer and you’ll maintain a decent clear speed, even if you’re jungling Ashe (you evil sod).

 A funny note, you can use Ranger’s Traiblazer to instantly kill all of Zac‘s blobs from his passive.

 

 

Jungle Item Enchantments

 Enchantments are very simple. They work the same with jungle items as they do with boots and pretty much give you late-game stats so you don’t end up with a lackluster jungle item wasting a slot. Let’s look through them:

Enchantments Graphic

 

All of them cost 2250 Gold. Here are the stats for each one individually:

 

Alacrity_item (1) Enchantment : Devourer

+ 50% Attack Speed

+40 Magic Damage on Hit

Passive – Devouring: Killing large monsters increases the magic damage of this item by +1. Champion kills or assists increases the magic damage of this item by +2.

 

Homeguard_item (1)Enchantment: Warrior

+ 45 Attack Damage

+ 10% Cooldown Reduction

+10 Armor Penetration

 

Captain_item (1)  Enchantment: Magus

+ 80 Ability Power

+20% Cooldown Reduction

 

Distortion_item (1)Enchantment: Juggernaut

+500 Health

+10% Cooldown Reduction

Unique Passive – Tenacity: Reduces the duration of stuns, slows, taunts, fears, silences, blinds, polymorphs and immobilizes by 35%.

 

Farming junglers would want to combine a Hunter’s Machete upgrade with, say, the Devourer enchantment. Tanks would want the Juggernaut enchantment to complement a Ranger’s Trailblazer and so on.

 The great thing here is these stats are separated from the Hunter’s Machete upgrades. So you pick whichever upgrade suits your playstyle, regardless of champion, and then you add to that item the stats your champion needs.

 I’ll show you an example. Here’s a finished jungle item. I got the Hunter’s Machete, upgraded it to a Skirmisher’s Sabre and then enchanted it with Devourer. You can see the end result below.

Example of Finished Jungle Item

 

 

Jungle Camps Banner

The main change to jungle camps is they each grant a different buff when Smited. Note that you don’t have to kill the camp to gain the buff, you only have to Smite the big monster in each camp.

 

 


The Murkwolves


Murkwolves replace the Wolves camp on the old map.

 

 

When you Smite the big Murkwolf, a green wolf spirit will leave him and head towards the blue buff area. The spirit lasts 90 seconds, as indicated above it. It provides vision around it and is invulnerable. If left alone, it will simply sit on the intersection between the blue buff and the Murkwolves camp.

 

Here is where the spirit stands when no one on the enemy team is around, right next to blue buff.

Wolf Camp Visuals

 

If an enemy Champion comes close, however, it will turn back into a wolf and chase them around the general area.

Wolf Spirit Chasing 2

Wolf Spirit Chasing 1

 Smiting the Murkwolf camp has two uses. First is protecting your own jungle. If you’re playing a jungler with a weak early game and you’re afraid someone will invade you while you’re doing blue, Smite the big Murkwolf and you get an invulnerable ward in the area. The spirit is great when not startled, since it covers the most common entrance to the blue buff area.

 Second is getting information when counterjungling. If you steal the enemy’s Murkwolves camp with Smite, you’ll know when the enemy jungler passes through the area. This alerts your laners where he is and it also lets you to counterjungle on the other side. Since the wolf is visible, it’s unlikely the enemy jungler will stick around, meaning he’ll likely give up on the Gromp camp or, even better, the blue buff.

 

The Krugs

The Krugs replace the Golem camp on the old map.

 

 

When you Smite the big Krug, you’ll get a buff that stuns jungle monsters every first and fifth attack. You can also end the duration by auto attacking an enemy tower, which will deal bonus true damage to it. Note that you’ll lose your buff that way.

Krug-Camp-Visuals2

Krug Camp Stun Effect

There’s really only one use for this buff: farm jungle monsters with it. If you’re struggling in the jungle, this is a good buff to pick up since monsters will be dealing less damage to you. Otherwise, avoid smiting Krugs.

 

 

Gromp

Gromp replaces the Wight camp on the old map.

 

 

Smiting the Gromp makes enemies who attack you take poison damage over-time. 

Gromp Poison Buff

 Another jungle buff with a very singular purpose: farm jungle monsters. The damage isn’t noticeable enough to work in duels with enemy champions and it’s not worth tanking an enemy’s minion wave just for the poison damage. It’s efficient on low-damage junglers like Sejuani, Amumu and Maokai who want to clear camps quicker, but those champions are usually focused on ganks and would prefer to Smite the Raptors camp.

 The Gromp camp is a double-edged sword. Because it has a lot of health and deals a lot of damage, a good incentive is to Smite it, but doing so grants the weakest buff of all camps. So pick your poison! Literally.

 



The Raptors


Raptors replace the Wraith camp on the old map.

 

 

Smite the big Raptor and you’ll get a warning the next time a ward spots you. You’ll also gain vision of that ward (will not detect stealth champions).

Raptor Camp Buff 1

Raptor Camp Buff 2

Getting the Raptor buff will be pretty much a pre-requisite for any gank. You get to clear a ward for free while your Sweeper Lens is on cooldown, which doubles your ward-clearing. The buff also works if you’re playing against an aggressive jungler and you need to know if your jungle has been warded.

Mids love taking the Raptors, which will most likely create quite a few quarrels between them and jungler, since the buff is really important for ganks.

 

Blue and Red Buff

 

Blue and Red buff have received minor tweaks. When you Smite the Red Brambleback (Red Lizard), you gain a bunch of health back. Respectively, when you Smite the Blue Sentinel (Blue Buff), you gain mana back. The Red buff, in addition to the on-hit slow and burn, also grants increased health regeneration.

Red Buff Heal

Blue Buff Mana Restore

 

 

Jungle Strategy Banner

And now let’s put everything together.

 

 

I want to clear my jungle quickly

 After you’ve done your initial clear, you’ll be getting Ranger’s Trailblazer. If you’re confident no one will try to stop you farming, Smite either the Krugs if you’re having difficulty in the jungle or Gromp if you just want to add more damage to your clear speed. If you fear your jungle has been warded, make sure you Smite the Raptors consistently or Smite the Murkwolves to get vision of your blue buff area.

 If you’re focused on farming the jungle, get the Devourer enchantment. Otherwise, get whichever enchantment works for your champion.

 

Ill be focused on counterjungling

 Get either Poacher’s Knife if you’re going to be stealing Blue, Red buff and large monsters consistently or Ranger’s Trailblazer if you just want to be clearing entire camps quickly. Smite the Murkwolves primarily to keep track of the enemy jungle, with the Raptors being second priority if you feel your counterjungling is getting risky.

Since successful counterjungling means you’ve denied the enemy jungler, you should establish control of the river. Kill the Scuttle Crab on Dragon’s side every time it’s up.

 

Ill be trying to kill the enemy jungler

 Upgrade Hunter’s Machete to a Stalker’s Blade if you know the enemy will try to avoid you in the jungle or Skirmisher’s Blade if you can easily stick to your target. Smite The Raptors to make sure you’re not walking over wards on your way and the Murkwolves to, again, keep track of the enemy jungler.

 

Ill be ganking all the time

 Get Stalker’s Blade, as it will consistently be getting you burned Flashes or kills. Always Smite The Raptors so you can clear lane wards. If you can close the gap and you just need more damage, consider Skirmisher’s Sabre, but it’ll most often be inferior to Stalker’s Blade.

 

My life is mostly Feral Flare

 Get Skirmisher’s Sabre if you want to scale even harder into late game or Ranger’s Trailblazer if you want to be done with your build quicker. Smite The Gromp for faster clear speed or The Murkwolves / The Raptors if you don’t feel safe farming non-stop. Get Devourer’s enchantment in the end and you have basically recreated Feral Flare.

 

 

Objectives Banner

 

 

Scuttle Crab

 

You’ll find these along both sides of the river.

Scuttle Crab 1

Scuttle Crab 2

 

 Scuttle Crabs are harmless and will only run away from you and occasionally teleport when they reach the end of their patrol route. When you kill them, they bury under the river and come out next to either the Dragon or Baron pits, creating speed shrines that last 90 seconds.

Scuttle Crab Vision 1

Scuttle Crab Vision 2

 

 Obviously, these grant speed to allies who pass through them. The buff is constantly refreshed while inside and wears off after a few seconds when leaving the speed shrine. This helps roamers gank lanes quicker. It also gives your team extra mobility when the dance around Dragon starts.

Scuttle Crab MS Buff

 Most importantly, these shrines provide uncounterable vision for the team that killed a Scuttle Crab. You cannot, for example, use Sweeper Lens to clear the shrine, you can only wait for it to time out. This is huge; it gives vision of the most important objectives on the map, Dragon and Baron. In that sense, the Scuttle Crabs also become valuable objectives. If you kill one, you have control of that side of the river for 90 seconds.

 Well, if they don’t fight back then what’s the problem just killing them?

 Scuttle Crabs have a ton of HP. They take bonus damage when they’re slowed or rooted (snared). On that note, champions like Lee Sin, Xin ZhaoNautilus, Maokai, etc., will have no problem killing the Scuttle Crabs and securing vision. Of course, bringing a Red Buff when killing them also works. If you have neither a slow nor a root, it can take you 15 seconds to take out a Scuttle Crab.

 Scuttle Crabs will respawn every 3 minutes.

 

 

Dragon

 

Instead of global gold, Dragon now grants a buff each time he’s killed. Also, he hits for AoE now; his new attack is a cone-shaped fire breath in front of him, very similar to Shyvana’s Dragon Form E.

[ x1 ] Dragon’s Might: +8% Attack Damage and Ability Power

[ x2 ] Dragon’s Dominance: +15% damage to Minions and Monsters

[ x3 ] Dragon’s Flight: +5% Movement Speed

[ x4 ] Dragon’s Wrath: +15% damage to Towers and Buildings

[ x5 ] Aspect of the Dragon: Doubles other bonuses and your attacks burn enemies for 150 true damage over 3 seconds. Lasts 180 seconds.

Dragon 5 Stacks Screen

 Note, every time you kill Dragon, he will be dealing 20% increased damage against your team and will be receiving 7% less damage. Both of these are quite relevant; when going for a level 5 buff, your team will be taking 400 damage to the face every few seconds and will also be dealing with a 28% tankier Dragon.

 The stats a team gets from killing Dragon are relevant to the stages of the game. For example, an early Dragon grants AD and AP, which is huge in laning. The next stage three stages all benefit split-pushing and team pushing. The 5th stage effectively grants your team a Baron buff on top of bonkers pushing strength. Aspect of the Dragon is actually much more important than the Baron buff.

 This is a good place to point out that if your team has a level 2 Dragon buff, they’ll be dealing 15% increased damage to Baron. If they’re at level 5, that’s 30% bonus damage.

 Oh and you get awesome-looking particles around your champion when you get the last buff.

Dragon 5 Stacks Effect

 

 

Baron

Baron buff has received a complete overhaul:

  • No longer regenerates 3% of Max HP every 5 seconds
  • No longer regenerates 1% of Max Mana every 5 seconds
  • Still grants up to 40 AP and 40 AD
  • Grants Empowered Recall, reducing your recall time from 8 seconds (7 with Mastery) to 4 seconds (3.5 with Mastery).
  • Nearby ally minions gain 90% of your Movement Speed and specific bonuses based on their type:

Melee Minions: Gain 80% damage reduction from almost all damage types
Ranged Minions: Gain increased damage and a minor increase in range.
Siege Minions: Gain massive increases to range – such that they outrange towers. Their attacks are 50% slower but are AoE and deal 4x damage to towers.
Super Minions: Gains 75% Movement Speed when nearby enemies as well as 25% Attack Speed.

 

AD and AP aside, the minion buffs are what makes the new Baron buff valuable.

Baron Buff on Minions

 

 With the Baron buff, you can approach a friendly minion wave and all your dudes will turn Duke Nukem until either you leave a certain distance or the Baron buff on you expires. The increased damage here is important, but what’s more important is that melee minions gain 80% damage reduction. This means your minion wave won’t be instantly wiped when you start pushing down a tower. Siege minions effectively become invulnerable to towers, so you can focus on protecting one and let him deal with the tower.

 The minion buff doesn’t stack. If you decide to push a single lane with your team, your minions will receive the buff only once. If you spread and start split-pushing, however, you can get more lanes buffed and shoving. This becomes especially potent when an inhibitor is down, since you’ll make Siege Minions near you extremely hard to deal with.

Baron Buff Range Off

Baron Buff Range On

 Lastly, although the range of disabling the buff is large, to buff your minions back up you need to get in quite close.

 

Towers

Towers have received several tweaks. Each Tower has a 4th passive that depends on what layer that Tower is part of.

 

Outer Towers take 30 damage less from champion basic attacks for 7 minutes. It’s the passive they’ve had since Patch 4.7 six months ago, so no changes here.

Outer Tower Preview

 

 The second layer of outer Towers have a 200 Health shield that regenerates every 30 seconds if no damage was taken in that time. While a Tower has a shield, it will grant nearby ally champions a 30 Health-per-second regenerating shield. So long as you’re standing under a Tower and you aren’t taking damage, you’ll be receiving an increasing shield every second, up to a cap of 300. If you start taking damage, the regeneration will stop.

 This makes the second ring of Towers much easier to defend. Rather than just abandoning them to defend inhibitor Towers, teams can now choose to stay under these for a sizeable shield which would prevent dives.

 Keep in mind that if you move away from the Tower, your shield will start to decay.

Inner-Turret-Shield-2

Outer Turret Layer 2

 

Inhibitor Towers and Nexus Towers fire a continuous laser instead of regular shots. This laser decreases the target’s damage and slows it continuously. This change lessens the effect of both backdoors and diving, since those Towers are now extremely strong against single targets. In a late-game scenario, a dive would mean one member is having both his damage and movement speed decreased while taking tons of damage. These Towers also clear minions faster since they’re not overkilling them with slow shots.

Nexus Towers Attack

 

 

Other Items Banner

 

 

Elixirs

These cost 400 Gold each and replace the current 250 Gold elixirs. You can only have one elixir active at any time.

 

Elixir of Wrath New IconElixir of Wrath

Level 9 required to purchase.

Click to consume: Grants +25 Attack Damage and Bloodlust for 3 minutes.

Bloodlust: Dealing physical damage to champions heals for 10% of the damage dealt. Scoring a Kill or Assist extends the duration of this flask for 30 seconds.

 

Elixir of Sorcery New IconElixir of Sorcery

Level 9 required to purchase.

Click to consume: Grants +25 Ability Power, 15 bonus Mana Regen per 5 seconds and Sorcery for 3 minutes.

Sorcery: Dealing damage to a champion or tower deals 40 bonus True Damage. This effect has a 5 second cooldown versus champions but no cooldown versus towers.

 

Elixir of Iron New IconElixir of Iron

Level 9 required to purchase.

Click to consume: Grants 25% increased Size, Slow Resistance, Tenacity and Path of Iron for 3 minutes.

Path of Iron: Moving leaves a path behind that boosts allied champion’s Movement Speed by 15%.

 

Elixir of Ruin New IconElixir of Ruin

Level 9 required to purchase.

Click to consume: Grants +250 Health, 15% bonus Damage to Towers and Siege Commander for 3 minutes.

Siege Commander: Nearby minions gain 15% bonus Damage to Towers and gain Movement speed based on champion’s movement speed.

 

All Elixirs Preview

 

Non-jungle Items

There are three new non-jungle items coming with Preseason:

 

Righteous Glory Crystaline Bracer

Raptor Cloak

 

Ohmwrecker now builds out of the Raptor Cloak mentioned above.

Ohmwrecker

 

Health-per-5 has been replaced by Base Health Regen and Mana-per-5 with Base Mana regen, respectively. This means that the regeneration on items now scales off your champion’s stats rather than it being a flat value. This affects the follow items:

  • Aegis of the Legion: +75% Base Health Regen (Legion Aura)
  • Ancient Coin: +25% Base Mana Regen
  • Archangel’s Staff: +50% Base Mana Regen
  • Ardent Censer: +50% Base Mana Regen
  • Athene’s Unholy Grail: +25% Base Mana Regen
  • Chalice of Harmony: + 50% Base Mana Regen
  • Face of the Mountain: +100% Base Health Regen
  • Forbidden Idol: +50% Base Mana Regen
  • Frost Queen’s Claim: +50% Base Mana Regen
  • Frostfang: +50% Base Mana Regen
  • Locket of the Iron Solari: +75% Base Health Regen (Legion Aura)
  • Manamune: +25% Base Mana Regen
  • Mikael’s Crucible: +100% Base Mana Regen
  • Muramana: +25% Base Mana Regen
  • Negatron Cloak: +100% Base Health Regen
  • Nomad’s Medallion: +25% Base Health Regen and +25% Base Mana Regen
  • Ravenous Hydra: +100% Base Health Regen
  • Rejuvenation Bead:+50% Base Health Regen
  • Seraph’s Embrace: +50% Base Mana Regen
  • Spectre’s Cowl: Passive gives 100% Base Health Regen
  • Spellthief’s Edge: +25% Base Mana Regen
  • Spirit Visage: +100% Base Health Regen
  • Talisman of Ascension: +75% Base Health Regen and +75% Base Mana Regen
  • Targon’s Brace: +50% Base Health Regen
  • Tear of the Goddess: 25% Base Mana Retgen
  • Tiamat: +100% Base Health Regen

 

Warmog’s Armor has received a lot of changes and is now a dedicated split-pushing item.

Warmog's Armor

 


In-game Icons

 

The three new items coming with the next patch got new icons. From left to right: Righteous Glory,Crystaline Bracer, and Raptor’s Cloak.

3800_Righteous_Glory 3801_Crystalline_Bracer 2053_Raptor_Cloak

The four upgrades of Hunter’s Machete have received their store icons. Note that the gems represent the enchantments you can put on the items. I’ve written in-depth on these items here.

Poacher’s Knife

3711_Poachers_Knife2 3711_Poachers_Knife3 3711_Poachers_Knife 3711_Poachers_Knife1 3711_Poachers_Knife4

Ranger’s Trailblazer

3713_Rangers_Trailblazer 3713_Rangers_Trailblazer2 3713_Rangers_Trailblazer1 3713_Rangers_Trailblazer4 3713_Rangers_Trailblazer3

Stalker’s Blade

3706_Stalkers_Blade 3706_Stalkers_Blade1 3706_Stalkers_Blade2 3706_Stalkers_Blade3 3706_Stalkers_Blade4

Skirmisher’s Sabre

3714_Skirmishers_Sabre 3714_Skirmishers_Sabre4 3714_Skirmishers_Sabre3 3714_Skirmishers_Sabre2 3714_Skirmishers_Sabre1

Respectively, the upgraded Smite you get from these items also has a new icon for each variation.

Smite_Blue Smite_Purple Smite_Red Smite_Silver

The four new elixirs have also received new icons. From left to right: Elixir of SorceryWrathRuin andIron.

2139_Elixir_of_Sorcery 2140_Elixir_of_Wrath 2137_ElixirOfRuin 2138_Elixir_of_Iron

The Empowered Recall from the new Baron buff also has an updated icon.

Baron_Recall

And so does this little guy, the Scuttle Crab! He lives in the river and doesn’t afraid of anyone.

Crab_Square_0

Lastly, the stacking Dragon buff has new icons as well. The first one is for stacks one through four, the second one is for the fifth stack.

Dragonbuff_Stack Dragonbuff_Final

 

 

Additional Resources

 

If you’d like to read more on the Preseason changes, check out the four recently-released dev blogs

Forging-a-Diverse-Armory-Banner (1)

Dev-Blog-Preseason-A-New-Jungle-banner

Preseason-2015-Increasing-Strategic-Diversity-Banner

Preseason-2015-Diversifying-Objectives-Banner

 

the recent Q&As on Preseason and the updated map…

New-Rift-QA-Banner (1)

Preseason-QA-Banner

 

as well as the preview of the New Summoner’s Rift.

Welcome-to-the-Updated-Summoner-Rift-Banner (1)

 

I hope this guide helps you get ready for all the changes coming next patch. Ask me any questions about Preseason below and I’ll be happy to answer.

 

Wait…

Yasuo Drinking Joke Dont Kill me

Is Yasuo… drinking? Riot please fix.

 

 

If you have any questions, feel free to ask me at @NoL_Chefo or e-mail me at nolchefo@gmail.com.