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Artist: Kaleta

 

Writer: Digiwombat

 

Better Nerf Irelia!

March 7th, 2013

Ireliabanner

Have you ever wondered what caused the infamous “Better Nerf Irelia!” meme? Check out the history of Ionia’s champion from the very day she entered the League!

 

Original Spotlight!

 

Irelia was released way back in November 2010- when men were men and female champions had somewhat normal proportions. Troubles began early for our Ionian heroine when she received a nerf before even being released! Her model shifted in a completely new, less inspired direction. Purely an artistic change, I should say, but one that her earliest fans found most unnecessary. See for yourself!

Irelia original

Irelia

  • Chest decreased by 2 cup sizes
  • Originality decreased by 43%
  • Blandness improved by 7 points
  • Unique style removed for balance purposes

Aside from a change of character, Irelia had very interesting potential roles to fill. Lead game designer Ezreal wanted to push the bruiser envelope with Irelia by letting players choose how to best use their skills. For example, Hiten Style would lose its on-hit heal when active and Transcendent Blades would each give Irelia an Armor and Magic Resistance bonus, provided they were not used. Ionian Fervor was originally intended to give her increased attack speed, based on nearby enemy champions.

Burst melee DPS character

This is how she was described and viewed as way back in 2010, when the term “meta” was absent from LoL. PC Gamer revealed her in a November article and, needless to say, Irelia got a fair bit of hype surrounding her pre- release. I was on the bandwagon of fans who were eagerly waiting for her to be available for purchase and the first thing I did when I bought her was to dive into the jungle!

That’s right, Irelia was (and still is) a terrific jungler! With Attack Speed marks, quints and a Cloth Armor/five pots start, I barely lost health and could pressure other lanes with a simple Bladesurge/Equilibrium strike combo. I think diversity in builds and roles is what made Irelia so popular and loved by the community back then. You could go for regular tank items, mix it up a bit with a Spirit Visage and Attack Speed, stack AD and become an assassin or even go for a burst AP build! (more on that later). Whereas before she was free to pick any lane and do anything; now she’s been shoehorned to the role of a bruiser on top. That and the numerous nerfs ultimately led to Irelia losing a lot of her charm as Ionia’s finest.

 

The Nerf Log (2010 – 2012)

 

I’ve included my impressions and opinion on the major changes that followed Irelia’s balancing.

 

v1.0.0.108 – 2011-01-03

 

  • BladesurgeBladesurge cast range increased to 650 from 600
  • Equilibrium_StrikeEquilibrium Strike cast range increased to 425 from 375
  • Transcendent_Blades Transcendent Blades base damage increased to 90/140/190 from 80/130/180
  • Title changed from ‘the Will of the Blades’ to ‘The Will of the Blades’

Bet you weren’t expecting those changes! That’s right, Irelia actually got buffed at first! Back then she didn’t feel as fluid as she does now. Think Diana when her Lunar Rush was completely destroyed by NerfMasterSuckTown.

 

v1.0.0.111 – 2011-02-16

 

  • Fixed a bug where the Transcendent_BladesTranscendent Blades cooldown tooltip was incorrect

 

v1.0.0.113 – 2011-03-15

 

  • Equilibrium_StrikeEquilibrium Strike
    • Damage reduced to 80/130/180/230/280 from 80/135/190/245/300
    • Cooldown reduced to 8 seconds from 9
    • Ability ratio reduced to 0.5 from 1
  • Transcendent_Blades Transcendent Blades damage reduced to 85/135/185 from 90/140/190
  • Base health reduced to 515 from 575
  • Movement speed reduced to 320 from 330

Woah. This was arguably the biggest hit Irelia took in her history of nerfs. Notice anything odd in these notes? That’s right, back then Irelia could be played as an AP nuker! Her ratios, CC and durability were absolutely perfect for the job. With Bladesurge applying Lich Bane and Equilibrium Strike and Transcendent Blades both hitting like a truck, Irelia could burst and tank to an incredible extent. It was one of the most fun and unique things in League of Legends back then and even though this unorthodox build was quite powerful, it definitely didn’t deserve to be completely destroyed.

The other massive change was the reduction of her base health. Losing 60 HP and 10 movement speed brought Irelia’s early game down from Queen of Tanks to just below average. The small damage nerfs might have been noticeable, but again, AP viability is what this patch was primarily about.

You can check out the patch preview where Morello talks about nerfing the dominance of bruisers in general, not Irelia in particular.

 

v1.0.0.118b – 2011-05-24

 

  • BladesurgeBladesurge damage reduced to 20/50/80/110/140 from 20/55/90/125/160
  • Transcendent_Blades Transcendent Blades
    • Now heals for 10% vs minions, and 20% vs champions.
    • Ability Power ratio increased to 0.5 from 0.4
    • Deals physical damage instead of magic damage.
    • Scales with attack damage and ability power

Another big set of changes, which Phreak explained very well in the patch preview. Basically, Riot found her to be immovable in lane due to the amount of sustain she had when farming creep waves with her ultimate, while lacking survivability in teamfights. The damage type of Transcendent Blades was also changed. She had sort of a Darius syndrome back then, where she would deal magical, physical and true damage. Take one out of the equation and you get easier counters! (and a very sad Irelia)

 

v1.0.0.147-Hotfix – 2012-09-18

 

  • BladesurgeBladesurge no longer fails to refresh or grant mana return when killing certain enemies

 

v1.0.0.139 – 2012-05-01

 

  • Base health increased to 546 from 515
  • Health per level increased to 90 from 85
  • Base health regen per 5 increased to 7.5 from 6.5
  • Base damage increased to 59.3 from 56.3

Buffs to base stats! In my opinion she was in dire need of those, as most bruisers back then (release Jarvan IV ._.) would flat out pummel her without mercy in the early game.

 

v1.0.0.138 – 2012-04-17

 

  • Fixed a bug where Irelia was reducing the duration of Blinds and Silences by too much
  • Fixed a bug around failing to fire any extra Transcendent_BladesTranscendent Blades

 

v1.0.0.136 – 2012-03-20

 

  • Hiten_StyleHiten Style
    • Passive health restore reduced to 5/7/9/11/13 from 10/14/18/22/26
    • While active, health restore doubles to 10/14/18/22/26
  • Transcendent_Blades Transcendent Blades cooldown increased to 70/60/50 seconds from 60/50/40

Many tears were shed at the sight of this patch preview. More huge nerfs to Irelia’s sustain in lane, while nothing was increased in return. For me, the difference between Hiten Style before and after the patch was one of the most difficult things I had to cope with in LoL. It just didn’t feel anywhere as amazing as it did a few days ago.

 

v1.0.0.135 – 2012-02-29

 

  • Fixed a particle issue with Transcendent_Blades Transcendent Blades (Hotfixed 2/21)

I admit, she did look pretty funny, what with that Transcendent Blade sticking out above her for most of the game ^.^

 

v1.0.0.134 – 2012-02-14

 

  • Transcendent_BladesTranscendent Blades’ allied ultimate HUD indicator will now remain green until all 4 spell casts are used

 

v1.0.0.123 – 2011-08-09

 

  • Irelia will now attempt to attack the target after dashing to an enemy champion with BladesurgeBladesurge

 

v1.0.0.121 – 2011-07-08

 

  • BladesurgeBladesurge mana cost changed to 60/65/70/75/80 from 70
  • Transcendent_Blades Transcendent Blades damage reduced to 80/120/160 from 85/135/185

 

v1.0.0.120 – 2011-06-22

 

  • Transcendent_Blades Transcendent Blades
    • Now heals Irelia based on the actual damage dealt (instead of a % of the raw damage dealt), but the heal is not reduced if the damage is shielded
    • Heal versus Champions increased to 25% from 20%

 

So where are we now?


Irelia is still an iconic champion in LoL, even if you disregard her quarrels with Morello. She is defined in her role as a carry and anti-carry and doing well with her is always satisfying. But she has lost a lot of what made her unique and special to play. You’re no longer allowed to jungle her, the AP potential of her abilities is destroyed and in the end she has become very straight-forward in builds and roles.

Currently Irelia sits a bit on the weaker side. She definitely has a rough time surviving most top lanes in the early levels and can easily be bullied out of gold and experience. However, she’s still completely viable and can carry with ease if left to farm. As already mentioned, her itemization has undergone a fair bit of streamlining to where it mostly matches bruisers such as Jax and Hecarim. Although Trinity Force and Guardian Angel are still the most popular choice, Irelia can put many of the new Season 3 items to good use. Warmog’s Armor and Iceborn Gauntlet make her significantly harder to kill, while a Blade of the Ruined King synergizes lovely with Hiten Style and her tendency to jump on squishies. Her core strength- the unrivaled anti- carry potential she has in the late game, is what continues to her a viable choice, even after two years of nerfs.

 

I hope you enjoyed reading the story of Irelia!

poke

With the way the game has been changing lately I think it is time to go back and revise something I wrote about in one of my previous articles. “Developing Your Killer Instincts” was my least read article (although at the time I wrote it I think it was the best way to gain rating), and the main focus of it is now obsolete, but I still think it worth revisiting the topic and talking about what has changed and how that reflects on “Poke” which is what I want the central focus of this article to be.

Aggression in the Mid Lane: a Thing of the Past, and by Past I Mean the First Week of Pre-Season 3.

In the Killer Instincts article I wrote about how the revisions to the jungle made being aggressive in the early game an incredibly superior strategy compared to Season 2. My reasoning behind this was that jungler clear speeds were increased and the more traditional junglers of the time (Amumu, Maokai, Skarner, Mundo, Lee Sin, Shyvana) took a lot more damage. This meant most lanes experienced less jungle pressure and therefore could capitalize on winning 1v1′s instead of waiting for ganks or fear being ganked. How things have changed.

The new top junglers can clear fast, healthy, and apply tons of pressure, so basically back to Season 2. This has some adverse affects on all the lanes, but I want to focus on mid lane the most, since the side lanes play by prison rules; 2v1 lanes, three-person ganks, and pushing turrets down before four minutes. Because venturing into the middle of the lane is now dangerous again, mid lane has reverted back to being a farm lane (Note: I did not originally realize this and give full credit to Scarra from his mid-lane vid). Farm you say? Then why do we see champions like Diana, Lux, and Nidalee so highly picked instead of great farming/scaling champs like Karthus or Anivia?

Poke.

The difference between Season 3 and Season 2 is that now everyone has tons of HP which has caused mid laners to become more Poke oriented (Note: I recognized the transition to more pokey champs which was the articles original focus, but included Scarra’s farm lane input to make my article more thorough). Dealing damage from a long range is now a big deal. When you can whittle your 3k hp opponents down to 2k Hp before you engage you level the playing field, so to speak. You could theoretically play Karthus or Anivia vs Lux and do just fine in lane, but when it comes to pushing down towers, or even an inhibitor, Lux’s team will have the advantage of zoning and doing damage to your team at a distance before they see fit to engage. By instead picking a different mid champion with better poke capability you give your team the same tools as your opponent. It is also necessary to lane with the ability to do damage from a sizeable distance so that your lane opponent doesn’t shove you in with their poke/wave clear and go roam. You need to be able to keep each other in check and farm at the same time. This is also another reason that the only AD champs we see in mid are Kha’Zix, Zed, and sometimes Jayce.

Now there are exceptions to the rule; I am not trying to say, “Never play Ryze again!” We saw Curse beat TSM in LCS with Ryze, and a couple teams in EU absolutely dominate with Kassadin who doesn’t have the greatest poke either. It is important, however, to remember these teams create strategy and synergy within their compositions which allow for things like this to happen. Basically, if you are going to play soloqueue I would still recommend playing a mid champ with poke, especially if you are the first team to pick a mid champ, but if say the opposing team picks something like Annie before you pick your AP champion do not force yourself to pick a poker because there is a good chance you could run Ryze or Kassadin in this instance and successfully out-carry them. Acknowledging strong meta trends is one key to being a good player, adapting is another.

What Lies Ahead?

As I mentioned, the above premise holds true a majority of the time, but with certain situations presenting way for innovation. However, the game is always changing. With the new buffs to BotRK AD Carries might become the forces they were in Season 2, putting less pressure on AP mids to be able to poke down HP before engagements. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see Dignitas run Draven with BotRK absolutely slaughtering 3k HP enemies like they are paper while Scarra plays an assassin like LeBlanc which he uses to one-shot the opposing ADC. The buff to BotRK may have been the hidden nerf to Giant’s Belt we needed and turn the meta completely upside down. The game is very volatile from patch to patch. We’ve already had “League of Cleavers,” “League of Warmogs,” and now possible “League of the Ruined King.” We can only keep an open mind and hope I can change the name of this series from “The Stale Meta” to “What League is it this Month?”

Love, Dcgreen

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Previous “Glory of the Climb” Articles:

Making Sense of Season 3

Dominion: Helping You To Win More Lanes and Games

Developing Your Killer Instincts: Why to be Aggressive in Season 3

Working With Your Team to Win

Countering Health with DFG

Reviewing the New “League System”

Why Losing is Just as Important as Winning

The Stale Meta: Intro + Top 5 Junglers

The Stale Meta: Intro + Top 5 AP Mids

The Stale Meta: Intro + Top 5 Top Laners

The Stale Meta: Top 5 AD Carries

The Stale Meta: Top 5 Supports

Welcome to Tribunal Cases of the Weak. Every week you’ll get the best/weirdest/worst Tribunal cases. As always, purple text is the accused, green text is the team-mates, and red is the opponents. The title of each case is a link to the full Tribunal case, but don’t click through unless you’re ready for NSFW language. Unsure of what the Tribunal is or how it works? Read Riot’s FAQ.

 

Case #5: Troll-”Master” Yi

The Yi in this game is blatantly feeding. According to the reports, he just ran down mid lane over and over. He ended up going:

feedingyi2

But in a stunning turn of events, his team actually won the game. Having failed to successfully troll his team-mates, he turned on the opponents.

feedingyi1

It’s a good question. By reading the chat, his team stayed positive and didn’t turn on each other. They just played hard and somehow won. Trolling fail.

PunishWarning

 

 

Case #4: Dedicated Troll

This player was committed to feeding. He fed in all five games to the tune of:

feedinginawin

Two things make this interesting.  First of all, the choice of Trundle is probably intentional. When trolling, you might as well play a troll. Secondly,  two of those games are wins.  That’s right, even with a Gragas intentionally feeding and going 0/30/0, it is possible to win.

PunishWarning

 

 

Case #3: Trolling to the Next Level submitted by AmudielWW

The Leona in this game didn’t appreciate the level one invade her opponents did. Her solution, for some reason, was to feed like crazy:

leona1

The enemy Kog’Maw tried to talk some sense into Leona, but it didn’t work:

leona2

This player was intent on feeding as many times as she could, voting no on surrender votes to feed more.

leona3

Congratulations?

PunishWarning

 

 

Case #2: Speak No Evil

Moving from the obvious trolling to the more subtle. If a player never says anything, is he trolling? Here are the scores from this player’s five games:

silent1

Not obviously troll scores.  Here are some of the reports:

silent3silent2

OK.  There isn’t much to go one here, but Tribunal voted:

PunishWarning

So do we have a player being banned for failing to communicate, which in theory never happens? Here is Riot WookieeCookiee:

In all the cases I have reviewed (thousands and then some), I have never seen someone banned for “not communicating”.

An argument could certainly be made that the only thing this player did wrong was not communicate enough. What do you think?

 

Case #1: Worst Troll of the Weak submitted by Wr3ckYoSelf (NSFW)

This player wanted to play Fiddlesticks but someone else picked Fiddle before him. This player tried to teach that Fiddle a lesson:

kayle1

When the Ezreal jumped in to scold the Kayle, things got messy.

kayle2

Yeah, that really happened. The Kayle ended up going 0/7/0 and openly begging for an IP ban so his room-mates would get banned too. That’s pretty shitty.

PunishTime Ban

 

 

PERMABAN OF THE WEEK submitted by m4dm

Reader m4dm sent this case in and mentioned that the player had a positive KDA and barely said anything negative during the games.  He never outright curses, and quite often says that he is playing badly. His negativity is more defeatist, with things like:

permaban1

And:

permaban2

And:

permaban3

He was reported in all of these games, presumably for Negative Attitude. It does seem like he wanted to give up once it started going badly, but he never fed or obviously trolled. Nonetheless:

Punishpermaban

 

That’s all for this week! We’ll be back next week with another round of Tribunal Cases of the Weak.

Have a case you think should be included? Send your submissions to tribunalcasesoftheweak@gmail.com. Be sure to include the case number and region, your summoner name, and explain what makes it interesting.

 

Fiorabannerfinal

Join me for a detailed guide on how to duel with the best and come out on top!

 

 

META (NOT EVEN ONCE)

 

Fiora is by far the most diverse champion I’ve found. Top, mid, bot, jungle – she can go anywhere and I’ve included mini-guides for each position!

 

Top Lane:

 

Ironically her weakest lane, Fiora can still go toe to toe with most bruisers and win early engages. You’re on a timetable here, meaning your power will start to taper off as most fighters will destroy you past level nine. Luckily for you, the damage you can deal with a simple Lunge -> Burst of Speed -> Lunge is incredible early on! Abuse it when your enemy still lacks the power to retaliate. Make sure you punish your enemy constantly after levels 2-3, that’s when laning control is firmly in your hands.

fioranightArguably your most powerful tool on top lane is Burst of Speed, so use it wisely. It has a very short three-second duration, which can be further cut by stuns. Make sure you know your lane match-up so you know when to use it. Say you’re laning against a Riven and she starts her combo. Should you commit with Burst of Speed? With a stun and a knockback, that’s a big no-no. Use it after those cooldowns are blown and you can easily return just as much damage. It’s your bread and butter skill and without it you are a sitting duck for enemy engages. Remember that Burst of Speed provides an incredible movement speed buff, meaning you can chase or escape 1v1 situations without much trouble. Feeling like Darius will win the fight? Hit him 3 times with E and run like hell! You’ll be surprised how much faster Fiora is than most top lane champions! (don’t look at Jayce don’t look at Jayce ._.)

Riposte is a one-point wonder in the early game, giving you 15 Attack Damage right off the bat. Makes last hitting a breeze and further improves on your Burst of Speed DPS. Remember that it blocks all kinds of fancy on-hits, such as Gangplank’s Parrley, Garen’s Decisive Strike and the like. It will not negate bonus damage from abilities such as Hiten Style, but it will completely stop the bonus damage from passives, such as Riven’s Runic Blade. It helps you counter enemy harass and does decent magic damage.

Most players use Blade Waltz to finish off enemies due to the small dash range, but it has a lot of subtle uses as well. For one thing, it works with your Burst of Speed. If you’re low on health and, for example, Darius hooks you, a quick E -> R combo, followed by running for your life is a good escape choice. It’s also instant and will make you invulnerable, meaning it can swiftly turn fights in your favour. Quick fingers will ensure you dodge skills such as Riven’s Wind Slash, Darius’s Dunk, Choggy’s Rupture, etc. It adds a few precious seconds to your life when you’re tower diving or are being dived and that is sometimes enough to turn the tides in a bad situation.

When playing on the top lane, always tailor your tactics to the enemy you’re facing. Are you against a strong poker such as Nidalee or Jayce? Max Lunge and constantly be aggressive! Playing against a dangerous fighter, such as Darius or Jarvan? Level up Burst of Speed and fight back! I would almost never suggest maxing Riposte as the damage increase after level one is only five points. Most trades on top lane are short and you want to be as powerful as can be when they occur. That being said, however, it can be a decent choice against heavy pokers if you’re a more defensive player by nature.

Fiora_RoyalGuardSkin_Ch

Constant fencing means you have to be healthy for each new battle. Luckily Fiora’s passive is a gem, albeit often an underestimated one. Watch the duration above your skill menu and you will be able to have the regeneration constantly up by smacking an innocent creep with your sword (or ruler). If you like experimenting and are willing to change your playstyle, go ahead and give Lifesteal Quintessences a chance. I’ve found them to be extremely effective with an early Doran’s Blade, as you can quickly heal off of minions with a Burst of Speed.

The biggest threat on top lane often comes from the jungle and mid lane. Since Fiora lacks any sure-fire ways of escaping, you’ll most likely rely on good ward coverage and proper warnings from your team-mates. Constantly be on the lookout for enemies trying to smite you for gold. An early death can set you back severely for the rest of the match. Make an effort to remind yourself to buy 2-3 wards each time you go back to the fountain. Don’t just place them near your lane or in the brush- if mid lane is lacking wards, walk over there and place one behind the blue buff wall. It prevents jungle invades and makes your lane safe for the next three minutes!

Fiora is a hilarious counter to both Garen and Wukong, as she can block their most powerful nukes with a bit of practice. Note that she does wonders against Gangplank, should you ever face him. She can handily beat Darius, something most players haven’t really tried. Shen is a piece of cake, provided you don’t get baited into taking unnecessary creep aggro. With the recent meta swing, it’s worth mentioning that you can negate Katarina’s Death Lotus with Blade Waltz, and generally bully her in lane. Rumble can be troublesome if he makes an effort to kite you around, but if he fails to slow you, Burst of Speed will quickly demolish his health pool. Cho’Gath becomes easy prey after a few levels. Just remember to never let Feral Screams go unpunished- that’s his sure way of pushing you out of lane, but after the silence wears off he’s open to counter-harass. As mentioned, Nidalee and Jayce are easy pickings. You can even block Nidalee’s Takedown! And although it would seem that Lee Sin will easily beat her, the reality is you’re in a much better spot.

 

fioracounters

 

Although Fiora can go toe to toe with most bruisers, you should know when the matchup is not in your favour. Jax is the most obvious counter with his ability to evade all the damage from Burst of Speed. Kha’Zix’s Void Assault will cancel Blade Waltz and he can easily poke Fiora down in lane. Although I mentioned handy tips for fighting Riven, this matchup can easily be decided by junglers, something the bunny-costumed exile is far more capable of dealing with. Irelia will destroy you after level nine, but she can be tossed around in the early game. Elise can both stop Blade Waltz with Rappel, trade handily in Spider Form, and poke constantly with her Neurotoxin. Renekton is often a stalemate match-up and things can go either way. If you manage to block his Ruthless Predator damage, go nuts! Malphite will give you a world of trouble, but he does that to most people. Focus on sustain and farming here; fights will definitely go in his favour. Pantheon will pretty much force you to play defensively. Call for early ganks and you’ll dominate him later on. Rengar is an interesting opponent- if you’re quick on your toes you can block Savagery and punish his foolish engage. Otherwise prepare for a very tough lane. If you’re paired against Yorick, feel free to hit the almighty leave button.

 

fioracounteredby

 

During the first few levels you need to gain a general sense of how your opponent plays. Most will flat-out waste valuable spells on Riposte, but clever players can bait you easily; either by faking engages or resetting their auto attacks with on-hit skills. This is especially important in top lane, where champions quickly snowball off one another if left unchecked. You simply can’t afford to be losing early exchanges as you’re a hard carry with “squishy” written all over you. Always play passively and fight in your own creep wave if you’re at a disadvantage: minion aggro + four stacks of Duelist can turn the tide, even if these factors remain unnoticed.

 

Mid Lane:

 

This is where Fiora truly shines. Thanks to an incredible early physical burst, you can take down or force a lot of squishy casters our of the lane. In most cases you’ll be better off maxing Lunge first. A shorter cooldown and higher burst means you’ll have more opportunities to inflict serious damage. Since it can be cast twice, you can use the first activation to dodge a lot of obvious skillshots – Zyra’s snare, Anivia’s sluggish stun, Ahris charm and others. Against fighters such as Diana you’ll want to prioritize Burst of Speed again.

The reason Fiora is such an amazing mid champion lies mostly in the fact that she’s a very unorthodox pick. People generally don’t expect her or think that she belongs in the top lane. If they come unprepared (i.e no armor runes) you can force a third-minute Flash or even kill them, which is huge. Most encounters here are only hard during the first few levels, when you simply lack the skills to harass with. With standard Attack Damage Quintessences and Riposte, you’re looking at close to 90 AD (!) at level one. Of course, this lane also comes with its easy and hard match-ups.

Champions who cannot reliably escape, such as Ryze, Kassadin (pre-6), Gragas, Evelynn, Malzahar etc., are begging to be sniped early. Riposte laughs in the face of Akali- you can easily bait her into attacking you once you’re marked for bonus damage. Some champions, such as Fizz and Katarina, rely on doing their combo and hopping back out to safety; however you can quickly catch up with Lunge and destroy them. The potential for dominance becomes even stronger once you have Blade Waltz, which can guarantee a dodged spell or two in a fight. In the AD section we have Talon and Zed, both of whom cannot hope to compete with your damage output. As a sweet bonus, you can mess up Zed’s ult hardcore.

 

fioracountersmid

 

Things, however, can go wrong fast for Fiora in mid lane. She has trouble dealing with blue-buff pushing champions, such as Syndra, Zyra, Orianna, and others. Make sure you and your jungler keep solid map control so you can intercept them when they come to kill the golem. Aside from those, Fiora can be beaten 1v1 by strong CC and spammable nukes. One ugly counter is Swain, whose plethora of ways to deny melee champions will make your day a nightmare. At best, you can engage with the first use of Lunge and retreat from Nevermove with the other. We mentioned Ryze as easy to beat, but he tends to get a lot of help from junglers due to his reliable snare. Anivia, Ahri, Morgana, Zyra and Lux can quickly halt your assault with CC abilities fired from melee range. Annie will rock your life bar if you leave her unharmed before she hits level six. LeBlanc is a glass cannon- if cannons shot nuclear missiles, wrapped with explosives. Take her down before she does the same to you. Lastly Cassiopeia is entirely a skill match-up, but even then a melee Miasma opens you to an endless barrage of Twin Fangs, and her chasing potential is far better.

 

fioracounteredbymid

 

Fiora is a weak roamer, but somewhat potent with a red buff. If you happen to get your lovely French woman’s hands on one, feel free to stray from the mid lane for awhile. Otherwise, denying the enemy and farming are top priority. If you finish a Hexdrinker and Vampiric Scepter in due course, there’s very little your enemy will be able to do to stop you. You’re completely blue-buff unreliant so feel free to let your jungler have that. If your enemy leaves the lane (which they will at some point), finish the creep wave and carve that tower into a statue of Teemo! Burst of Speed makes you a pushing machine.

 

Bottom lane:

 

Finally, we come to the lane AD carries adore! This is where Riposte truly shines and I recommend maxing it almost always. Playing Fiora against a heavy right clicker takes a lot of finesse. Most enemies will poke you constantly with auto attacks and those buggers are extremely quick! Luckily for us, Riposte returns even more damage. With practice comes perfect timing and some attacks aren’t even hard to block! Take Draven and his Spinning Axe for example: the attack is slow and telegraphed, and using W will negate all but the DoT damage from his passive. You can completely ignore Vayne’s Tumble, Sivir’s Ricochet, Ezreal’s Mystic Shot and once in a lifetime- Caitlyn’s Headshot!

I bet you’ll be surprised how well Fiora can hold her own here, despite being a melee champion. Duelist and Riposte make for a ton of survivability from harass. Often times you’ll assume a position from where you can completely zone out most AD carries. All it takes is for you to survive the first few levels with minimal damage taken and starting with Cloth Armor and five Health Pots goes a long way towards achieving that. Fiora’s ludicrous damage output is hindered only by her lack of CC. So fill that gap in your arsenal and get yourself an aggressive support! The list here is standard, but I will mention Janna as a personal favourite; not only can she help with chasing, but at level six she can turn Blade Waltz into Smite for champions. Sona is also a solid pick, as she can counter-harass with great success.

 

fiorabestallies

 

Things that can ruin your day are short-ranged skills such as Graves’s Buckshot and Sona’s Power Chords, as well as hard CC that will be laughably easy to land in your situation, such as stuns from Leona and Taric, and Blitzcrank’s Powerfist. Varus and Caitlyn will poke you to no end, and a burst combo might scare the living bejeezus out of ‘ya. In all-in engages you need to quickly Cleanse out of any disables and counter-engage their carry. This may sometimes be suicidal, so save one of your Lunges for an eventual escape.

 

fioracounteredbybot

 

There are tools to help make bottom lane a less painful experience. I mentioned Cleanse, as it’s my number one preferred Summoner Spell on Fiora. Additionally, getting either Lifesteal or Armor Quintessences ups your survivability significantly. Keep in mind that you likely won’t be able to hit much if you’re getting harassed out of lane, so the former I would recommend to people more accustomed to playing Fiora.

Bottom lane is a race against the enemy carry to get your core items rolling, whether by acquiring a CS advantage or denying/killing them. In any case, the most comfortable pick for laning dominance is definitely a Bloodthirster. Don’t just blindly pick it, though; if you’re stomping your opponent, an Infinity Edge will be far more beneficial. Getting a few Doran Blades or a Ninja Tabi is a solid choice if you’re struggling to remain in lane.

Playing Fiora on the bottom lane boils down to taking as little harass as possible and engaging with your support. Whenever your Riposte is on cooldown, duck into a bush or stay a little to the side. Sometimes missing out on a creep or two to regain your abilities is a worthy sacrifice. Aside from Vayne and her stealth, ranged carries are helpless against Blade Waltz. It really does turn the table of combat once levelled, since very few ADs have ultimates that can’t be dodged by it.

 

Jungle:

 

This is perhaps where Fiora is weakest. Sure, she can slaughter neutral camps fairly easily due to her amazing damage and Riposte blocking large minion attacks. But as mentioned, she is a hard carry and in most cases you’ll be really far behind on gold here. If you do jungle with her, I suggest focusing on farming for the most part as you’re a terrible ganker and you need your items quick. At level one you should start with Riposte. Afterwards, Burst of Speed takes priority, with Riposte being levelled second. Put one point in Lunge at level three-four if an enemy is pushing like crazy and you’re confident you can gank.

FiorajungleroutefinalEarly game you’re extremely susceptible to being counter-jungled. Not because you lose a lot of health fighting neutrals; most top tier junglers will simply demolish you in a 1v1. Once you get Blade Waltz things will brighten up a bit- you have your biggest nuke to protect yourself in the jungle, as well as a handy ganking tool. Again, always keep an eye on your red buff, even ward the brush near it if you can. You’re completely reliant on it to be of any threat to the other lanes.

I recommend starting at the Blue golem buff. Do your standard route- wolves, golem with Smite, wraiths and then coming back to the wolf camp. From here you can take your red buff and double golems and recall, or gank after you get your slow on-hit.

Another option is to take Wraiths and Red Buff first, or even counter-jungle the enemy with your team and take theirs. Again, Fiora is really bad at ganking and is extremely item-dependant, which is why I don’t recommend jungling to begin with. If you have confidence microing between auto attacks, however, it can sometimes work. Make sure to move in between each hit so you’re always on top of your enemy and not lagging behind him. This is because you want to maximize the number of hits you can get off after each Lunge. Once you get Burst of Speed you can come in from behind and use that instead, only dashing once they try to get away.

Fiora isn’t really fond of the new Spirit items, so you’re best off getting a Lantern. It’s a bit on the forgotten side, but it will help you clear camps exceptionally quick. Its greatest strength is in securing dragon, due to Burst of Speed and being able to block its attacks with Riposte. This is where Fiora actually shines as a jungler- she can quickly secure a global gold advantage for her team. Just make sure you have vision wards in the area!

Aftewards, priority is once again dealing damage, getting tenacity and having at least one strong defensive item. As a jungler you can afford to build tankier, as you’ll likely have another carry of some kind. You can go for a Frozen Mallet and give the red buffs to your ranged AD. Otherwise standard defensive options to counter the enemy team are all acceptable, with a special mention going to the Maw of Malmortius.

Overall Fiora is a sub-par jungler, with the only exception being her ability to secure Dragon safely. She can even solo Baron with a proper gold advantage, but you likely won’t get to that ^.^ . You won’t have problems killing neutral camps, but champions are another story. It’s best to leave this to someone who can be more of a threat in the early game and isn’t so much in need of gold. However, if you’re new to Fiora and you want to get a good grip on her abilities, then this is a good place to start.

 

Item Choices & Gameplay:

 

Fiora has a very interesting power curve-  she starts off really strong, falls off hard in the midgame and then once again becomes amazing, when she has five-to-six items. Being the melee carry she is, you might find yourself on the receiving end of some serious pain. To alleviate that you’ll first and foremost need ample amounts of CC reduction or removal; therefore, I consider Mercurial Scimitar to be a core late game item. Remember it will get rid of Exhaust and Suppression AND give you a movement speed buff! Mercury Treads are by far the best boots on Fiora- enchant them with Furor, which scales with the MS boost from Burst of Speed!

 

fioraitembuildfinal

Fiora needs items that just deal damage outright. As such, an Infinity Edge, Bloodthirster and Last Whisper are all amazing picks in almost any case. Black Cleaver can be considered, but you likely won’t have time to stack the debuff against squishy targets. Also, LW will raise the damage of Blade Waltz significantly. An early Avarice Blade for extended farming can turn into a Ghostblade later on, which does wonders when coupled with a heavy AD item. Blade of the Ruined King + Riposte = tank shredding extraordinaire and the active is amazing for chasing people and burst healing! Defensive choices vary- a Frozen Mallet gives a lot of health and a slow that Fiora desperately needs, while a Maw or an Omen can be built to counter specific opponents on the enemy team. For the good ‘ol tryhards there’s always the option of buying a Warmog’s. I strongly recommend getting a Guardian Angel for the late game- with that much damage and Life Steal, having a second shot in teamfights makes a huge impact.

As much as I would like to recommend Ravenous Hydra for its AoE damage and Life Steal, it’s just lacklustre on a hard carry, in my opinion. You need raw damage and Tenacity fast, so spending 3600 gold on a small cleave and inferior stats is something to frown upon. It is a solid candidate for the fifth or sixth item slot if the enemy lacks CC and you can afford to bypass the Mercurial Scimitar.

Make sure you always move with your team in the late game, as you lack any escape if caught. If the enemy lacks a powerful engage you can clear waves on mid and bottom lane, so you can be near Dragon and still keep up with farm.

Arguably the greatest advantage you hold over other carries when picking Fiora is that you have much more freedom when it comes to picking a target. With three dashes and a disengage you can handily dispatch weak casters and ranged champions in general. Fiora requires patience and precision. Jumping into the fray with your team will often lead to you getting blown up- you have so much damage at your disposal, so why risk getting focused down? Waiting as little as four-five seconds will make most enemies waste their disables, giving you free reign over the enemy squishies. Just remember that even if you use Blade Waltz when no one is hitting you, it still hurts like a truck. It can easily chip off 800-900 HP from a carry in a teamfight, so it makes for a handy burst tool. Of course, its most important use is to ensure you live longer in teamfights; if the opposing team is smart and focuses you properly, then hitting Blade Waltz before that could be disastrous.

 

Carry Potential & Why you should play Fiora:

 

fioraawesomenessFiora can sometimes feel lacking, even handicapped. With a small health pool and melee range she has a lot of trouble carrying games against smart players. Keep in mind, however, that in return you gain what is arguably the best steroid and an invulnerability ultimate that deals massive damage. She’s a risky pick, one that takes a good understanding of the game to use properly. The thing that will likely convince you to at least try her is that she has no defined skill cap. Whereas playing Graves is mostly an automated process, Fiora is always dynamic; her Riposte needs to be timed perfectly, and Blade Waltz is an incredible fight-turner.

So melee carry is a weak role? No! But it’s definitely a lot harder to pull off. You’ll be far from safe in teamfights and even laning can be a nightmare! But it’s a role that deserves a spotlight for being unique and very rewarding if successful. Riot can do a lot to help out such champions and builds; carrying with melee is immensely satisfying in DotA and I hope we see more of it in Season 3. For the rest who enjoy Fiora or who have enjoyed this guide (or both!) – I’ll see you in future guides on my ADvanced Strategy series!

 

FAQ Section:

 

Q: Who are you?

I’m an avid player from EU West who’s been in the League since Season 1. My highest Elo is 1927 but I mostly play premade matches. In all teams that I’ve joined for various tournaments I’ve taken the role of an AD carry. I’ve played every champion in this category extensively, although special credit must go out to Vayne who is my personal favourite.

Q: Who is this guide for?

Mostly players who have decided to delve deeper into the role of AD carry.

Q: What can I find in it?

An overview of each AD Carry, its strengths and weaknesses, both in lane and in teamfights, as well as tips for synergizing with certain support champions. There are short lists of counters and allies, as well as more detailed explanations as to why that is the case.

Q: Should I completely agree with all your choices for counterpicks and good allies?

Of course not! I’ve based my opinion around general advice. Of course, players can always pull off something amazing that I haven’t mentioned, but this guide is aimed at providing the most solid and safe choices.

 

 

ADvanced Strategy Series:

Ashe #1

Caitlyn #2

Corki #3

Draven #4

Ezreal #5

Additional Sources:

LoLWiki, for the champion portraits and the jungle overview image

Mangadrawing , for the awesome Fiora portrait. Check it out, it’s a pretty neat website. =)

 

Good luck on the Fields of Justice!

 BotRK banner

Do you want to slaughter the health-stacking simpletons? Think forward and keep reading!

 

Blade of the Ruined King

 

Blade_of_the_Ruined_King

+30 Damage;

+15% Life Steal;

+40% Attack Speed;

 

Unique PASSIVE: Deals 5% of target’s current health in physical damage. Max damage against monsters is 90.

Unique ACTIVE: Drains target champion, dealing 15% of the champion’s maximum Health in physical damage and healing you by the same amount. Additionally, you steal 30% of their movement speed for 4 seconds – 60 sec cooldown, 500 range.

 

ADcarrybuilds

When should I buy it?

 

Blade of the Ruined King counters health stacking specifically. As such, it doesn’t have a firm place in a standard carry build. There’s core stats you can’t go without- Attack Damage, Attack Speed, Critical Strike Chance/Damage and %Armor Penetration. Then there are the somewhat mandatory stats that you could skip, but rarely. Those would be Life Steal, On-hits (where BotRK falls), Cleave and Flat Armor penetration. Furthermore, you need boots and a defensive item of some sort. Let’s summarize, in order of importance:

 

Carry build

 

1) Damage/Crit

2) Boots

3) Attack Speed

4) % Armor Penetration

5) Cleave, Flat Armor Penetration, On- hit, Life Steal, Health Regeneration Decrease

6) Defensive Item

 

So, realistically, BotRK most often competes with The Bloodthirster.

 

The Math (what’s missing?)

 

How well does the BotRK fare damage-wise? Let’s find out.

We won’t be taking armor into account, the reason being it will reduce the results by an equal margin. Keep in mind that BotRK hits for a % of current health, meaning as your target gets lower in life, your damage will also be reduced.

Average DPS: 30 + 25 per 1000 HP;

So it seems that in order to match a Bloodthirster, BotRK needs to be hitting targets with 3000 HP! That’s crazy late game to be worth it, isn’t it? Wrong!

 

Stat efficiency

 

Blade of the Ruined King also provides us with a 40% Attack Speed boost.

Now let’s take a look again at how much damage that is. We’ll assume a standard Infinity Edge/Phantom Dancer/Berserker’s Greaves Build on a level 16 Vayne. This sums up to 1.4498696432 Attack Speed, or, to be realistic, 1.450. A BotRK will increase that to 1.67. So let’s see!

Bloodthirster DPS: 145

BotRK DPS: 50.1 + 41.75 per 1000 HP

 

So what does that amount to? BotRK breaks even vs roughly 2270 health targets!

 

Life Steal Active: Not so awesome

 

The Life Steal active component is fairly straight-forward. We’ll only be talking about one of its sides here, and that is the health leech.

150 per 1000 Health

Realistically speaking, in a teamfight where you’ve targeted their bruiser and he has ample amounts of armor (190+), with a full build and Last Whisper included, you’ll heal for about 225. If you have Ignite on, that’s 112.5. On the other hand you get a whopping 3% more Life Steal per hit, should you choose to get The Bloodthirster… So yeah, this part isn’t particularly exciting. It’s a small amount that might help you live, but that’s not the main reason you should be buying BotRK.

 

Kiting-Oppa SC Style

 

Now the movement speed leech is incredible. It slows an enemy by 30% for 4 seconds and hastes you by the same amount. If you target a bruiser you’ll steal about 130 movement speed from them and gain the same amount. That’s putting a 260 MS difference between the two of you for 4 seconds! It is the equivalent of a 60% slow which is a godsend.

 

Advanced Math (hide your kids!)

 

Logically you’d want to buy an On-hit item on champions with an AS steroid. How does the unique passive scale with those? Let’s see some examples.

 

Kog’Maw’s Caustic Spittle (30%) – 0.847 Attack Speed, 21.175 damage per 1000 HP

Graves’s Quickdraw (70%) -  1.11 Attack Speed, 27.75 damage per 1000 HP

Tristana’s Rapid Fire (90%) – 1.24 Attack Speed, 31 damage per 1000 HP

Fiora’s Burst of Speed (120%) – 1.43 Attack Speed, 35.75 damage per 1000 HP

 

And now let’s include those in our previous calculations:

 

KogMawSquare(30% bonus Attack Speed, 1.59/1.85) -

The Bloodthirster DPS: 159

Blade of the Ruined King: 55.5 + 46.25 per 1000 HP

Breaks even at: 2230 Health

 

 

GravesSquare(70% bonus Attack Speed, 1.85/2.12)

The Bloodthirster DPS: 185

Blade of the Ruined King:  63.6 + 53 per 1000 HP

Breaks even at: 2290 Health

 

 

TristanaSquare(90% bonus Attack Speed, 1.98/2.25)

The Bloodthirster DPS: 198

Blade of the Ruined King:  67.5 + 56.25 per 1000 HP

Breaks even at: 2320 Health

 

 

FioraSquare(120% bonus Attack Speed,2.18/2.44)

The Bloodthirster DPS: 218

Blade of the Ruined King:  73.2+ 61 per 1000 HP

Breaks even at: 2370 Health

 

 

This is an interesting situation. As you see, when we near the attack speed cap (2.5) The Bloodthirster actually starts to catch up a tiny bit. Even so, you’d still be getting your money’s worth even when hitting targets who are as low as 2300ish health!

 

Not Ranged Exclusive!

 

BotRK is a solid pick on bruisers who do a lot of right clicking, need some method of sticking to the squishy, or have some method of applying on-hit effects. Irelia is the most obvious choice with her gap-closer, slow/stun and true damage on-hit. Next we have Jax, Olaf, Xin Zhao and Udyr ( =( ), all of whom can use the slow/haste to great extent. Warwick can apply BotRK’s passive five times for the duration of his ultimate. Rengar, Riven, Shyvana, Jayce and Vi are less perfect candidates for it, but if the situation calls for it, don’t hesitate. Life Steal + Slow on their own are great things to have on a non-hybrid bruiser (in which case a Hextech Gunblade would be better).

The only downside to BotRK is that it leaves you fairly squishy. It is, however, a very solid pick as one of two damage items on a bruiser who then goes for full defense items.

 

melee friendly

 

The huge hidden factor – Crit

 

Infinity_EdgeSo you’ve made it to the late game, your build is full, BotRK included and you’re happily sitting on roughly 70% Critical Chance. And then it hits you- the unique passive damage can’t crit. This is actually pretty huge; with an Infinity Edge purchased the damage from a BT will be 250. Compare that to a 75 crit from BotRK and you have a problem

Let’s take our Attack Speed Values from the Vayne example, but we’ll add to them a crit chance of 70% and a bonus crit damage of 250%.

 

The Bloodthirster Damage with Crit: 253.75 DPS

BotRK Damage with Crit: 87.675 + 41.75 per 1000 Health

Breaks even at: 3977 (?!) Health

 

Things suddenly got ugly for our tank-shredding friend. The core problem here is that as the game goes longer, instead of increasing your damage, BotRK actually hinders it. This doesn’t mean it’s an inferior choice- you still have an amazing slow and a solid tank shredding passive. Keep in mind, though, that due to the crit not stacking, you lose out on a lot of damage versus squishier targets.

 

The little details- Laning & AD Abilities

 

The Bloodthirster is a stacking item, and although it loses only half of those upon death, when you purchase it you still need to stack it. This means that BotRK is a much better item right off the bat. If you intend to push early and push hard, the latter will serve you far better. If the opposite is true, however, holding a lane with BotRK isn’t easy. Being a percentage of current health, the bonus damage will heal you for pitiful amounts when you last hit. Also, it falls behind by 70 AD from The Bloodthirster, meaning that any AD Scaling abilities you have will be that much weaker. I’m including them here because, frankly, those are only relevant during laning and mid to early late-game. Skills like Ace in the Hole, Buckshot, Collateral Damage, Trueshot Barrage, etc. don’t determine the choice here. I’ll give you an example- by forgoing The Bloodthirster for a BotRK, you are losing out on 140 damage from Caitlyn’s ultimate. Not so impressive, is it. Still, every bit of damage counts during small skirmishes, so keep that in mind.

 

Who’s it good on?

 

Statements such as “get BotRK on Kog he already has %HP shred”, etc. are completely flawed. For one thing, the passive scales with auto attacks, not with other percentage shred abilities. Logically you want it on a champion with high attack speed, which most AD carries have. I’ve shown how steroids and bonus attack speed in general don’t outmatch the Bloodthirster as much as a larger health pool does. To me, the best candidates for a BotRK are those who have ways of applying on-hits, such as Ezreal with his Mystic Shot, and carries who need a good slow and %HP shred to kite bruisers around, i.e Vayne, Tristana, Kog’Maw… pretty much every AD carry in a late game situation.

 

CONCLUSION:

 

So, having considered the above calculations, what is the verdict for BotRK? Well, as it turns out, it’s a great substitute for the Bloodthirster, even if the carry you’ve chosen has high scaling on abilities. It trades AD for a substantial on-hit damage, which ultimately lets you clear the tank line faster. On the same note, it helps bruisers chase squishy targets and survive longer in fights. What you’ve also seen, however, is that Steroids don’t play such a major role in your decision on whether to buy BotRK or The Bloodthirster. Rather, you should evaluate the enemy’s Health- every health point above 2300 is damage you won’t be getting with a Bloodthirster!

 

If you have any questions regarding calculations you’re welcome to ask in the comments!

 

I hope this breakdown was helpful!

 

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Now introducing Randall Fitzgerald (Wombat) as our very own comic writer! Together we’ll be creating a series of comics you won’t want to miss!

Artist Doodler:

Ketherly

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Writer:

Randall Fitzgerald

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supports

Finally we are here to talk about the Top 5 Supports. Probably the happiest group of Champions coming into Season 3, and I have to say that even with the unfortunate evolution of the Giant’s Belt, Supports are still ridiculously happy. Wards are cheaper and more accessible, gold acquisition seems better, even with less Gp5 items, and health comes easy in the form of Sightstones, Kindlegems, and Aegis. There are some Supports that have fallen completely out of favor, like Soraka, some that have made the transition from Mid to Support, like Zyra, and some newcomers like Nami and Thresh. Let’s take a look at the Top 5 and see why they all deserve to be there.

Top 5 Supports and Why?

I am going to rate the supports, again in a soloqueue perspective, based on what they bring to their team and the ease/risk in which their abilities can be used to greatest effect. My list is actually going to be organized by the styles of supports and by which Champions I think are the best for that style of play.

#5. “All-In” Aggressive Melee:  Alistar and  Leona

The “All-In” Melee Supports are my least recommended for soloqueue. While they have the greatest snowball effect if executed properly, they also have the greatest negative snowball effect if you fail to capitalize on your aggression. If there was built-in Voice Integration in the League client, or you are duo queueing, then these supports could possibly be the best to play, but the reality is that you are going to be playing with an ADC who is more concerned about farm then about aggression. You ping a million times on the opposing carry, land a perfect “Headbutt/Pulverize” or “ZenithBlade/Stun” and the ADC is sitting in the brush auto attacking minions. Now you are stuck in melee range with all your skills on cooldown as two people + minions take away chunks of your HP. This happens over 50% of the time and I wish that was a made up statistic. These two Champs do have a great team fight presence, but if you die early in lane too many times due to uncapitalized aggression you will be underlevelled and underfarmed and only be able to get your cooldowns off once before you die in a big fight. Coordination is just something I would never count on too much in soloqueue and that’s why I think the Melee Supports get the bottom spot. Alistar gets the edge over Leona because he can use Unbreakable Will to escape more situations than she can and also because Pulverize is an AoE stun compared to Leona’s single-target stun and hard to hit Solar Flare.

#4. Aggressive Casters:  Zyra  Lux and  Nami

These are the Supports you want to pick when you want to be really aggressive in lane. They all have crowd control spells and are all ranged which means you make no commitments if you mess up your aggression or your ADC doesn’t follow up. Despite their extreme volatility in lane, relative safety, and ability to transition into a pseudo-AP/Support Champs in the late game; they do provide the least amount of “support” to their team in a general sense. Additionally, all their aggressive abilities are skill shots with long cooldowns which means once you mess up your aggression you are extremely vulnerable. If you are very practiced in the art of bush-control and skill shots then I would recommend them as they add some much needed spice to the Support play-style, but if not I would recommend some of the higher up supports due to their ease of play. Zyra gets the edge because her Seeds/Plants can double as wards. Lux comes in seconds because she has a shield and more damage than Nami. Nami is on the list because I think she deserves a spot; she’s incredibly underrated and actually has a unique kit. She bring an AoE cc that is akin to Alistar’s Pulverize and provides some good spell damage in team fights with her bouncing heal and Ultimate.

#3. Peelers:  Lulu and  Janna

These are the Supports you play when you aren’t quite comfortable with being overly aggressive in lane and instead want to focus on giving your ADC a strong farm lane, and incredibly strong team-fight defense. They are both safe picks; Lulu having the superior laning phase and Janna having the superior team fight. I call them “Peelers” because they both provide the most spells to protect their ADC. Lulu has slow, shield, polymorph/speed, extra HP/Slow Aura, and her passive provides extra dps. Janna has Tornado CC, a slow, a shield, a Knockback/Heal, and her passive provides MS. They are also the safest warders because of the speed their spells/passives give them, and the amount of cc they have. Lulu gets the edge over Janna because of her superior laning phase.

#2.Aggressive Auras:  Sona and  Taric (pre-nerfs)

This is an interesting tier because Taric might disappear after the upcoming nerfs. Right now though I would say these are the safest and best supports to run in soloqueue (before bans). They both provide incredible team utility with their auras. They have heals in lane for good trade/sustain. Sona has great harass with her poke and Taric has unique aggression for a melee support; the fact that he has a ranged stun and an armor aura which doubles as a damage spell make him a force to be reckoned with if you find yourself out of position. I give Sona the edge over Taric because I feel she has a SLIGHTLY weaker lane phase but the fact that she has an AoE CC Ultimate and remains a relevant Champion through out the entire game for damage, heals, and speed, compared to Taric who literally becomes a walking stun/armor aura, that she is more valuable overall. You can make as many arguments about the fact she has weak base stats but that really hasn’t changed the effect of her presence in the League in both soloqueue and pro scenes.

 

#1. Game Breakers:  Blitzcrank and  Thresh

I think that even if I was writing a “pro-scene” Top 5 list, the #1 spot would remain the same. If anyone watched the OGN Winter Championships then they know how powerful Blitzcrank can be, as displayed by Madlife. Actually one of the keys to Najin Sword’s victory over Azubu Frost was banning Blitzcrank all three games. It’s crazy that we haven’t seen more Blitz in LCS but he might not be as good anymore because it’s hard to burst a 3k hp target down off a random Hook. I am also surprised at the lack of Thresh but have no idea why he is so under-represented by the pro teams. Anyways, the reason that I have these Champions in the “Gamebreaker” tier is that because their kits are so unique that even if you are significantly behind you can break the game wide open by landing a clutch Blitzcrank Grab and sometimes even a Thresh Hook, or saving someone with Tresh’s Lantern. It is important to note though that Thresh carries SIGNIFICANTLY less weight than Blitzcrank; he requires coordination or awareness from your team, which usually isn’t in abundance in soloqueue games. Thresh does fill the “traditional” support role better than Blitzcrank, though because you can still shield people and cc them decently well with all of his spells so he is worth picking up and learning because he usually slips through the bans, and there is always a small chance you have a killer Fizz or Akali player that actually knows how to use the shield. Blitzcrank on the other hand is much harder to get a hold of in soloqueue unless you can manipulate the bans in your favor.

What Happened to Soraka?

I don’t know. She is in this really weird spot right now where supports are getting more aggressive in lane, which makes her early levels (1-4) much harder to survive through. That is unless she just maxes Starfall and Silence, in which case you could pick any of the other supports listed above and be in a better spot. Her heals are also on such a long cooldown and there are so many healing reduction effects flying around that her kit just gets slaughtered before she even steps onto the Fields of Justice. Shields are superior because they are found on champions that build AP, have short cooldowns, and aren’t reduced by grievous wounds. Soraka seems like she would be right at home in the HP meta because she restores health but she would need to see some significant tweaks to her kit to become viable again. I think Riot has done such a good job phasing the game away from heals that they may need to rework Soraka again because people don’t even use Summoner Heal. When was the last time you bought Elisa’s Miracle… the last time you picked Soraka? Correlation? I dont know…

 Nunu

I almost forgot about this guy. There isn’t much to say about Nunu. I think the nerfs sent him back to the ice age (LOL). He used to be imbalanced which is what drove his popularity. Now that he is balanced, or perhaps underbalanced, he has no place in the meta anymore. I would honestly rather have a Support Ashe in place of Nunu. She does similar things to Nunu and it would be a nice way to get Ashe back into the bottom lane.

Love, Dcgreen

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Previous “Glory of the Climb” Articles:

Making Sense of Season 3

Dominion: Helping You To Win More Lanes and Games

Developing Your Killer Instincts: Why to be Aggressive in Season 3

Working With Your Team to Win

Countering Health with DFG

Reviewing the New “League System”

Why Losing is Just as Important as Winning

The Stale Meta: Intro + Top 5 Junglers

The Stale Meta: Intro + Top 5 AP Mids

The Stale Meta: Intro + Top 5 Top Laners

The Stale Meta: Top 5 AD Carries

adc

In the last article I talked about how Giant’s Belt has changed the landscape of top lane, strengthening Champions that can make use of buying it on their first back and putting champs that want to focus on offence at a disadvantage. Bot lane is in a much more fragile spot; Giant’s Belt is warping the landscape by making AD Carries pretty much useless until they can get 3-4 major items. Let me explain, as there are a few factors that play into this phenomenon.

1. The most obvious one is that attack speed was nerfed across the board while health was buffed.

2. Bloodthirster has become a more common first item for ADC’s because of how good it is in lane and when you have to farm an extra ten minutes per game to get to four items, you need to be able to go toe-to-toe with the other ADC who is also farming. This has lead to a decrease in rushing Infinity Edge, which gives more consistent damage due to higher base AD + Crit.

3. Last Whisper does not pack as much of a punch as it used to because of the lack of armor stacking.

4. Positioning yourself to do the small amount of damage you do is harder because of the amount of common Bruisers with gap closers and cc (Vi, Amumu, Hecarim, Jarvan, Xin Zhao, Malphite, Renekton, Shen, Elise, etc).

5. Blade of the Ruined King does not provide as much damage as BT if you rush it unless your target has 2500-3000 hp.

6. The last factor is that while AS was nerfed on items, AS reductions were not nerfed on items or spells.

ADC’s are definitely between a rock and a hard place right now and a lot of pro players have spoken up about this being a problem; some even saying ADC’s may get phased out because Bruisers are just that good. Could adding two more Bruisers to the team, instead of the ADC and Support, really be a net benefit to team composition? Only time will tell…

The Best ADC’s, for now, and Why.

Right now I feel that Range and an Escape are the biggest factors for soloqueue success, so I will use that to determine my rankings. Remember, this list is constructed for the ease of the soloqueue community and is not intended to mirror the competitive scene.

#5. Kog’Maw and Vayne

Why are the two Champions that have built-in HP% damage at the bottom of the list in the stacking HP meta? Well I am sure it is no surprise that Kog and Vayne have the weakest laning phases of all the other ADC’s. They are champions that are high risk/high reward, which is something you can’t always count on in soloqueue. If you don’t get counter-picked by the opposing ADC or Support, get camped and ganked all day by the jungler, and manage to get a decent CS. If all this comes to pass, then these champions are absolute wrecking balls to the brick-wall Bruisers running all over the place- but that’s counting on a lot of things to go your way. Throw in the fact that Kog has no escape and Vayne has Tumble, which really isn’t an escape either, your mechanical skills need to be through the roof for you to pilot these champions to a win. While they have a lot of adversity I feel they outshine the other ranged champs without escapes like Ashe and Varus.

#4.  Graves and  Twitch

Ok, why do you keep listing two Champions at once? Well I feel that ADC’s are all virtually the same right now. They don’t have a lot of niche versatility. They do damage at range and hopefully have an escape for repositioning. Graves and Twitch share the same tier because I think they are the most ability-aggressive ADC’s at the moment. Pairing them with a Taric or Leona should yield good results. Graves has a true escape and provides utility with Smoke Screen, while Twitch has stealth, true damage, a slow, and long range. I feel like it’s splitting hairs trying to decide which is better than the other, so I stick them in the same place; especially since they both fall short of the next 3.

#3.  Ezreal

Ezreal is just all around a solid ADC. He has good range and poke with his Q. He can buff his team’s AS with his W. He has the best true escape because it goes over walls instead of through them, which gives it less fail potential; his ultimate is global and just overall a solid skill. There is nothing wrong with this champion. I have heard Doublelift say time and time again that Ezreal has no weaknesses and that he is solid through and through. I am a firm believer of this. He’s a safe pick and a good one at that.

#2.  Miss Fortune

Miss Fortune is still living off the royalties from the League of Cleavers. She is in a unique spot because her ult lets her bypass the Attack Speed hindrance that all the other ADC’s suffer from in the early game. Bullet Time does incredible AoE damage to the entire enemy team from a massive range, all in two seconds, allowing MF to see immediate results from her item purchases. This gives her a unique/excellent early game and allows her to transition into a traditional ADC later on. The range on Bullet Time combined with the MS from her passive also allows her to position well and remain relatively safe till a fight is over. She also pairs well with any support with a cc (Sona, Leona, Zyra, Lux, Nami, Taric) and can almost always get a kill at level six in lane.

#1.  Caitlyn

My reasoning behind Caitlyn being #1 is simply because her range is 650. She is incredibly hard to catch as an opposing Bruiser or Jungler. If you can play Caitlyn well and make it to 30 minutes, you will carry your team. She has 100 range over all the other carries (which is a huge deal) and she has a true escape, a snare, and can even contribute to a fight from great distances with Ace in the Hole when she has been chased away. Her kit is a bit under par compared to others, not sporting any kind of AS steroid, magic damage, or debuffs, but she is literally impossible to get to and if she is running Cleanse (which she will be) you can just go into the kitchen and start sticking forks up your ass because that is literally the only recourse you will have as she shoots you with a net and proceeds to kite you into oblivion. Even since Nunu got nerfed, she’s still an obnoxious bitch and I think she shines the most out of all the ADC’s lategame, which is the only point in the game they shine right now. Pick her, win your lane, farm it out, and carry hard.

Honorable Mentions

My Top “5″ list has 7 Champs on it but we can squeeze a few more. These champs all do really cool and unique things but at the end of the day their kits kind of detract from what an ADC does and wants to do. Having four cool skills is awesome but when you do 99% of your damage with an auto attack, it’s kind of hindrance to your design. These champs are listed in a specific order.

#6.  Draven – Pair him with an aggro support and you can snowball soloqueue.

#7.  Tristana – Late Game her range can rival Cait’s, she just has a much more fragile early game + mid-game slump.

#8.  Ashe – 600 range + global stun. Her ult can out-right win games, but again she has a weak laning phase.

#9.  Corki – True escape makes him better than Varus.

#10.  Varus

#11.  Sivir

 

Love, Dcgreen

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Previous “Glory of the Climb” Articles:

Making Sense of Season 3

Dominion: Helping You To Win More Lanes and Games

Developing Your Killer Instincts: Why to be Aggressive in Season 3

Working With Your Team to Win

Countering Health with DFG

Reviewing the New “League System”

Why Losing is Just as Important as Winning

The Stale Meta: Intro + Top 5 Junglers

The Stale Meta: Intro + Top 5 AP Mids

The Stale Meta: Intro + Top 5 Top Laners

TsmNEW

 

You asked, and now we’re ready to answer. Three questions have been selected from the comments of the previous article.

 

Ed asks: What does the Snapdragon [re-branding] mean for the fans? What does it mean in general?

Qualcomm Snapdragon is a huge sponsorship for us and we’re really happy they chose us. We will continue doing what we have been doing before; the fans won’t lose anything. The only difference is that we’ll be producing more content for fans to watch (GameCrib) and having a huge sponsorship like this helps eSports grow.

 

LordDude asks: Is getting filmed for Gamecribs distracting? How come we never see cameramen on streams?

It was weird at first, having someone film you all the time, but after a few days we got used to it and don’t really pay attention to it any more. The cameramen are ninjas; you don’t see ninjas unless they want you to.

 

Brandon G asks: Noob question: Why do I find it so difficult to look at my mini map? For you guys is it just natural? It seems like I always have to make a conscious decision. I mainly play top, and get ganked a lot even if I have my lane warded. Could this just be a lack of experience? Thanks!

Practice; you learn by doing. To help you on your way you could make it a habit to glance at the map every x number of seconds. Eventually it’ll become habit and you won’t need to think about it any more.

 

That wraps up this Ask TSM. Leave your questions for the next one in the comments below!