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Posts Tagged ‘glory of the climb’

lateandfat

It’s been a while since I wrote an article but I figured better late than never. Today I want to talk about some old habits formed in Season 2 which may have carried over to Season 3 but are no longer the norm. Some of these things may be common knowledge to a lot of you, but some of us are late to the party.

QuintessencesChanges in Rune Pages

With some of the changes in Season 3, there’s now more room for rune page development. The main trend I want to talk about, something that I didn’t discover till about a week ago, is the switch from “Flat Mana Regen” yellows, to “Scaling Mana Regen” yellows for mid lane champions. Ever since the beginning of Season 3, I knew that mana in the early game got better for casters so I started to switch out all my Flat Mp5 runes for Scaling HP; but it’s safe to say Mana Regen is still king. The switch from Flat Mp5 to Scaling is because mana regen options in the early game are much more accessible. With Crystaline Flask, or even starting with one mana potion, you can now run the mana regen runes that scale because there is less pressure on making your natural mana-bar sustain the majority of the laning phase on its own. The Scaling runes also break even with the flat runes at level seven which means that usually after your first base you will have survived lane long enough for the runes to kick in like the old runes, and additionally provide you with a nice healthy regen rate through to the late game.

The other class that got some leeway on yellow runes is Support. With the added +3 Gp10 to ambient gold, Supports no longer have to run the +2.25 Gp10 runes in yellow and can instead substitute for things like Armor or Mana per level. Of course you can still run the Gp10 yellow runes for an excellent gold flow throughout the game, but the armor for more early survivability is definitely tempting. I would at least consider switching to Mana per level runes for champions like Lulu who I always find to have a meager manapool. Her ult costs 100 mana and she has a manapool of roughly 500 at level 6, which is usually on the empty side if you have been harassing a lot, so switching runes might give you the breathing room you need.

 GP10 Items and  Sightstones

A bad habit I developed in Season 3 was instead of going a Gp10 item on my Supports, I would just rush a Sightstone as fast as possible and then never buy additional wards. I did this because I believed that if you placed two wards with the Sightstone every three minutes, the money you saved on wards would equate to a Gp10 greater than that provided by PhiloStone’s 5Gp10. While the math is correct, it always left my team at a sight disadvantage because I would neglect buying actual wards and instead continue to develop my other items. To help combat this habit I started going Philosopher’s Stone first on all my supports and manually buying wards until I eventually got a Sightstone, and continued to buy wards afterwards. Constantly needing to buy actual Sight Wards will help remind you to not solely rely on your Sightstone. If you rush a Ruby Sightstone it is easy to crutch on just those three wards and forget to spend additional gold on regular Sight Wards. Remember it is less important for you, as the Support, to actually develop items past a Gp10, a Sightstone and Boots; you need to put priority on warding. Since I switched over to getting a PhiloStone first, I was able to break my Sightstone dependence and now it is uncommon to see me on a Support with less than three wards, in addition to my Sightstone. I have increased my Support game win-ratios just by providing my team with tons of vision. It is a great feeling to win by catching an opponent off-guard because you provided your team with excellent vision.

 CDR Changes  Seraph’s Embrace and  Sorc Shoes

CDR was revamped in Season 3 quite a bit and Fiendish Codex is an attractive item since the mana regen was removed and the stats were reallocated. It also builds into three items that give 20% CDR, which is amazing, and finally gives us a flat 40% CDR with Blue Buff. I urge you to try and fit the Codex alone into your early builds and then late game transform it into one of its 20% CDR builds to really give you that DPS spike you need to compete.

Seraph’s Embrace is also the real deal if you play a Champion that can charge the Tear of the Goddess quickly (188 spell casts). It is ridiculously gold efficient at 2700g and after you factor in the bonus AP, which is usually ~60+, and the Shield, which is about ~550 after the patch, its quite a fantastic item! Here is a cost analysis provided by LolWiki:

Base Gold Value

Passive Gold Value

Gold Efficiency

  •  Seraph’s Embrace is gold efficient even without the activate.

The last item I wanted to talk about is Sorc Shoes. It is important to note that these boots were nerfed in Season 3 (-5 Mpen), but still cost 750g, the same as before. I think it’s safe to say that Sorc Boots are worth skipping in a lot of scenarios to further develop your core items. In high level games, LCS included, it’s not uncommon to see most AP mids finishing their Death Cap, RoA, or Athene’s before purchasing Sorc Boots. In some cases I would argue it is better to get Ionian Boots of Lucidity (15% CDR) for 700g and then Void Staff earlier in your build, but that’s just me. I think overall in Season 3 Mpen is a much weaker stat, which is a shame. We see a lot less Abyssal Scepters in Season 3, compared to Season 2. Liandry’s Torment seems to be the hands-down best Mpen item to build, but it works best on most of the top lane APs and not so much the AP mids. It is something to think about but with less Mpen from runes and boots, and bonus MR from Runes and Masteries staying the same I think stacking more AP is better in most cases then getting an overpriced 15 Mpen.

 

I know a lot of this information may not be relevant to a lot of players, but as I said I was late to the party on finding all of this out and so I hope that this article serves as a bridge for people who may still be stuck in some of their Season 2 ways. I would argue that Season 3 is still fresh and there is a lot of room for experimentation, so do not be afraid to venture outside the box and try more unorthodox builds and strategies.

In my recent hiatus, I took some time to refocus my priorities and I have decided to continue writing about soloqueue (sorry Dom and TT communities) because I think I can stomach it again. Also in my free time I had been doing a lot of personal research in the fields of Health and Fitness and have started a blog about what I have discovered there, so for anyone looking to get in better shape inside and outside the game I suggest you keep reading my articles and also check out my blog. If you want to keep up with me you can always follow me on Facebook and Twitter also listed below. Stay tuned for more!

Love, Dcgreen

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Health & Fitness Blog

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

The Stale Meta: Poke

Junglers: How to Win 65% More Games!

Snowball Queue

jungle-win

 

Greetings Summoners; today I want to talk about the current state of soloqueue, or as I am referring to it now, Snowballqueue. Over the weekend I queued up for six games, I preceded to win one and lose five. I finally got demoted to Plat III, which was long overdue and at this rate, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I hit Plat IV again. It had been a long time since I played Summoner’s Rift but I don’t think I was that out of practice. I did notice a staggering correlation between all of the games though. Five of the games that I played all ended in landslide victories with the winning team getting a minimum of 20+ kills and the losing team staying in single digits. The game I won was 27/6 and the games that I lost were always 2x/y. So what makes games snowball so hard and what can you do to prevent it? I have a few theories on this.

Jungler Influence and Why You Should Only Focus on Not Dying to Them.

Junglers have come full circle and are once again the biggest influence on any single game’s development. I was soooooooooooooooooooo excited for Season 3 when the Jungle revamp came and the overall idea was to keep the jungler farming longer and taking more damage so he would be less likely to gank; I don’t know what happened and that model is a thing of the past. Powercreep maybe? Anyways, Junglers are back to ruining the day for everyone and now the best thing you can do is not even win your lane, it’s just not getting ganked. As soon as you get ganked by the jungler you lose all control of your lane and the game snowballs out of control. If the jungler kills you and burns your flash he will come back. You will get zoned and then your lane counterpart will roam, which will increase the success of the next gank. Rinse and repeat. Before long you are losing towers and dragons and the game snowballs completely out of anyone’s control. You will have a jungler of you own of course, but it will more than likely come down to which team has the jungler with better fundamentals of the role. All I can really say about this is start spending a lot of money on wards and try not to die. Winning your lane is not important as long as you can hold the lane to prevent roamaing, and not die to prevent snowballing.

Why Do Games Snowball so Hard?

I believe that games are more prone to snowballing now because items have gotten so cheap. In the item revamp all Riot did was increase the cost of Resistances and Attackspeed, which are late game stats, and they lowered the cost of most other things as well as re-evaluating some stats like AP/CDR items. Damage and Health, as I have explained in other articles, are at a premium price and as soon as you die in lane and give your opponent 300 for 400 gold they will come back with a significant advantage. If you die again you will be so far behind it’s just too hard to come back, plus you will prob be sinking your reduced income into wards which will also cripple you. When you get behind you basically become a ghost man for your team. If the other team goes to take Dragon you now have to stay in your lane because you need the exp and gold. While Dragon would be nice you can’t afford to waste time and potentially give the team another kill, you’re essentially useless. From here things get out of hand. The winning team has more gold, they have more wards, they have more levels. You come to a really vicious crossroads where you need to buy damage to kill them, but they are buying more damage than you, and have a lot more HP, Damage, and Resists because of levels. If they happen to be a tanky champion (usually the Jungler) not only will they do a ton of damage with their levels, but they will be buying more HP which will make them impossible to kill. As you sink all your damage cd’s into this monster tanking your turret, his team is behind him destroying you from the back lines. I don’t know if I am sounding too negative here but this is how the games I play usually pan out.

Ok, No One Died During the Laning Phase. Now What?

Lets say that everyone on your team is competent. No one lost their lane too bad in terms of cs, there were lots of wards to keep the jungler at bay, and you managed to pick up a Dragon or keep even in towers or whatever. Well, it’s soloqueue, so now that you have done the impossible you get to put your entire chance of winning on which team screws up first. Remember when I said five of the games I played all ended in landslides? Well the sixth game I played was the one where everything went ok. We actually had a mid-game and there were lots of even team fights. Unfortunately five random people are not easy to coordinate. While one person farms 200 gold in the jungle for a major item, the other four wait stupidly in the mid lane as the enemy team approaches as five. One gets caught, the rest try to help, ACE, Defeat. Basically you get snowballed on, you do the snowballing, or you gamble on which team throws first. It’s not very fun anymore to be honest.

Final Thoughts

This article might seem a bit cynical but I feel like there are a lot of truths to it. Soloqueue has just become so vicious in the past few months, and I didn’t even touch on the people raging in all chat on both teams, etc. I just can’t do it anymore, it brings me no joy. I am tired of queueing up and being like “I am gonna play mid and carry” and then I am last pick, and the first two picks are arguing over who gets mid. I don’t even chime in I just pick whatever is leftover and that’s not what I wanted. I could learn to Jungle and just try to carry every game but I don’t enjoy jungling, that’s not why I play. Who wants to be Rank X in Y Division for playing a role they don’t main? I have defaulted to playing strictly Dominion and Twisted Treeline for now and my reasoning behind this is that you can play whatever Champion you want on those maps and it usually works out and I have fun. I play Dominion when I just want to let off steam and I play Ranked 3’s because I would rather play with two coordinated friends, I would play Ranked 5’s if I had four good friends but I don’t so 3’s works just fine. If I had to suggest any kind of band-aid to the snowball queue problems I would honestly just say get four friends and make a team. Play what makes you have fun, that is what I have begun to do and I am finally enjoying League of Legends again.

I won’t be playing soloqueue anymore, so I won’t be writing about it. I wouldn’t feel comfortable writing about something I am uneducated to talk about. I would like to switch to focus of my column to either Dominion or Twisted Treeline. I understand not everyone is interested in those two formats of the game, but some people are. If you are more interested in one over the other, please let me know in the comments so I know which format to focus my articles on. Thank you and I look forward to writing again soon.

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

The Stale Meta: Poke

Junglers: How to Win 65% More Games!

jungle-win

I’ve begun to notice a heavy shift in the importance of Jungler presence this Season. Something I always preached back when I was writing articles and making videos in Season 2, was that the Jungler completely dictated the pace of the game, and if you had a good Jungler you would most likely win. When Season 3 started I finally thought this trend was dead and that Junglers would basically become another laner with the increased gold from the jungle. As always, people learn to adapt and can now micromanage the jungle to be able to farm it efficiently while still keeping lane pressure. Ok, so what does this mean? What is all this about Junglers winning 65% more games?

Dragon Control and Why it’s More Important than Ganking.

With the passing of the LCS Superweek an interesting infographic was posted that showed which team won based on the objectives they completed first. In my opinion the most interesting statistic was that in 26/40 games the winning team took the first Dragon. Now, the other two similar statistics are that 24/40 teams that got firstblood and took the first tower won, however I think these are less important to look at for soloqueue. The reason I think firstblood/towers are less important in soloqueue is because these stats come from the LCS competitive scene and the current popular strategy is to 2v1 laneswap, three-man gank the one-person lane, and then kill the tower. Since 2v1 lanes are a rare occurrence in soloqueue, we will only be focusing on Dragon and why it’s so important.

Noxian Guillotine Firstblood in Soloqueue is a Coin Toss.

While ganking is important as a Jungler, getting your team first blood is not going to increase your win-percentage by that much in soloqueue. You need to aim for something more convincing. We should also compare “competitive scene firstblood” to “soloqueue firstblood.” In the competitive scene, the person that gets firstblood is coordinating with four other people who he can communicate with and better apply his 400g advantage. In soloqueue getting someone firstblood is great, but there is a good chance they don’t know how to effectively apply that kind of an advantage, and they are probably not going to try and coordinate their newfound power to help the other players. It’s definitely a 50/50 thing in soloqueue and if at the end of one of my articles you didn’t learn anything more valuable than a coin toss, well then my articles wouldn’t be worth reading.

35% of Pro’s Lose After Giving Up Dragon. Imagine That Number in Soloqueue.

The 26/40 statistic stands out to me because it is a pretty convincing statistic for the competitive scene. Dragon is a nice objective but it has never seemed as game-defining as getting the first Baron (27/37 [16/17 in EU] games won), yet it yields a 65% higher chance to win the game. If the statistic is indeed consistent and 35% of PROFESSIONAL teams can not overcome a first Dragon deficit, think of how large that statistic would grow for soloqueue. In my experience, Junglers in soloqueue put too much emphasis on ganking lanes and not enough on securing Dragon. What is better: 400g for one person on your team (+200g with an assist) or 950g for your whole team? How many times have you seen a Jungler complain “You’re all pushed I can’t gank!” Instead of complaining, go buy a pink ward, clear Dragon, and then get bot and mid to help you kill it!

DragonSquare People Understand Dragon is Important and it Prompts Stupid Decisions.

If all your lanes are pushing, they are winning, so why not snowball their gold advantage? Also, if at any point your mid or bot lanes secure a kill GO DO DRAGON! Think of how difficult it is for the opposing team to respond in a timely fashion if you coordinate pushing in your mid and bot lanes at the same time and collapsing to Dragon. First off they have to decide if losing 6+ minions worth of gold and exp is worth stopping you. Then they have to determine if they can possibly steal it. Then they have to coordinate collapsing on you from two different sides so that you don’t 4v1 their collapsing mid or 4v2 their collapsing bottom, or 4v2/4v3 if their jungler is even in the area and is also aware of what’s happening. You are creating so much chaos for their team and creating so many opportunities for them to make a mistake for you to capitalize on. It is so incredibly difficult for a team to come back from not only losing a Dragon, but also losing one or two Champions in an uncoordinated collapse, and then that resulting in them losing a mid or bot tower because you are now four strong and pushing. If this happens and you get Dragon and a Tower, you get a combined 1700 global gold for your team. That’s a hard advantage to lose with.

Snowball Queue.

The overall point I want Junglers to take away from this is that you are an extra appendage for the rest of your team. You are four extra skills and two extra summoners for each lane, you are extra eyes on the map, and you are responsible for getting the snowball rolling. Gank lanes, but if you can’t gank for them then ward for them. If your team has wards use the vision to your advantage and secure global objectives. Don’t just sit in the jungle the whole time, farm and think you are going to carry the game. Tell your mid to push their lane while you go bottom to help them push, then collapse on the Dragon. You need to try to create situations for the other team to overreact and make mistakes so you can capitalize. If you start to adapt this into your normal ganking routine I think it is safe to say you will win 65% more games, and I would actually say even higher.

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

The Stale Meta: Poke

 

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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LoLKing Profile

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

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

top lane

Today we are going to be talking about the Top Lane which is, in my opinion, is one of the lanes that got the most warped by Season 3’s stats re-evaluations. As you should know by now I feel that the re-evaluation of HP has changed the game for the worse. Early in Season 3 I preached about how many old champions would now be viable in all lanes, but ever since the evolution of the Giant’s Belt meta this is simply not the case. In Top lane you deal smaller amounts of damage over long periods of time due to auto attacks, ad skills, and shields/high hp regen. Because of this, buying straight HP absolutely wrecks buying anything that increases damage. Before we look at the champions that I list as Top 5 lets take a look at some champions who we used to see all the time in Season 2 and some champs we hoped would become viable in Season 3.

 Riven: A major Season 2 contender now forced to live in the shadows. Someone who wants to dump all their money into AD items simply gets outclassed by a bruiser that can spend that first 1000g on a Giant’s Belt. She does a have crazy good early game and very high snowball potential but risking an all-in vs lanes that commonly start with two wards and nine pots is not as easy as it used to be.

 Wukong: I put a lot of money on Wukong being a force to be reckoned with in Season 3, with the introduction of Flask getting rid of a lot of his early lane problems. Again though Wukong fits more into the role of AD caster/assassin and can simply not contend with someone who can buy a Giant’s Belt on their first back. He can function well in the mid lane.

 Darius: A common pick/ban in Season 2, the axe man has stepped out of the spotlight in Season 3. Don’t let the PBE nerfs fool you, this is mainly to alleviate the complaints of the community that don’t know how to combat his ultimate. I don’t believe there is one recording of a pro player ever complaining that Darius is op. While Darius actually doesn’t mind stacking HP, he can easily buy a Giant’s Belt first buy, his ultimate actually gets weaker from OTHER people stacking HP. Also, he really wants to build some early damage and not being able to makes him a bit weaker overall. In Season 2 when resistances were king his true damage was a strong counter, but Riot has stated time and time again the best counter to true damage is flat HP; enter Giant’s Belt.

 Jayce: Like Riven he hinges on buying items like Blood Thirster early. We sometimes see Jayce mid because he functions better as a carry rather than a bruiser and is allowed to thrive in a lane where both parties want to stack damage and not HP.

 Attack Damage Nidalee: Nidalee benefits in no way from stacking HP. Typical top lane Nidalees used to get Trinity Force and poke, kite, and split push top lane. Now with equally scary champions lurking in top like Renekton, Shen, and Elise she has found her way to mid lane where she benefits her team more by stacking AP.

 Irelia: Queen of the nerf bat has actually not been touched in Season 3 but her presence has dropped off completely. She can stack HP like any other bruiser but her kit really thrived on being able to build a mix of HP/AS/DMG and Resistances, the hallmarks of bruisers in Season 2.

  AP Champs: except Rumble, Elise, Akali, and the occasional Katarina have all but disappeared as well. When was the last time you saw Vlad top? Some other top laners who used to be first pick/ban worthy in Season 2 and have now become more niche picks are Yorick, Jax, Lee Sin, and Cho’Gath.

 The Best Top Laners and Why.

 

Pro’s constantly say that the reason Bruisers go top is because they are the only Champions that can; top lane has such an unforgiving dynamic compared to the other lanes. It’s so far away from anything that no one gives it any attention, which means the Champs that reside there have to be tough and self-sufficient. It’s also the easiest lane to gank, which means champs need to be able to handle the pressure of constantly being monitored by the opposing jungler. Today these champs are defined by how they best maximize stacking Giant’s Belt items like Warmogs/Randuins/Sunfire Cape, and then being giant damage dealing piles of HP. Their job is to be a brick wall that punches back at anyone hitting it. They function similar to junglers, but play more of a backseat role when it comes to initiating and cc, and take the front seat when it comes to dealing the damage.

Please note that I will not include any champions on this list who I included in my jungle list. It is true that Jarvan IV or Xin Zhao are more than capable of going toe to toe with any of these champs in the top lane. However, I believe they are better suited in the jungle as they function equally well while building items like Madred’s and Locket of the Iron Solari. Bruisers want to be able to afford two Giant’s Belt items and therefore it is better to stick them in the top lane which has a steady cash flow.

Also this list is more heavily biased towards success in Soloqueue and not necessarily meant to coincide with the frequency of picks being made in the LCS. My goal is to try and provide you with advice you can use to gain LP.

#5.  Malphite

Malphite rounds out my list because in soloqueue he is picked or banned 90% of the time. I don’t think he packs as much of a punch in Season 3 compared to Season 2; he was mainly utilized because of how devastating the combined AoE damage of his ult and E were while providing an AS debuff for the enemy ADC. He was also innately tanky which allowed him to build damage items like Abyssal Scepter and Sorc Shoes. With HP stacking his ult has lost a lot of its UMPH, however, its disruption aspect is still very relevant and can be used to turn the tide of skirmishes and team fights and he still has his AS debuff. He also has a very safe laning phase with his passive shield and the ability to speed himself up and slow down his pursuers.

#4.  Olaf

Olaf got beaten badly with the nerf bat recently, but like any Viking worth his salt he is still standing. While his laning phase was neutered the most, his team fight presence is still incredibly scary. He feels right at home in the stacking HP meta as he scales off HP and does not need damage thanks to the Armor Pen from his ult and True Damage of Reckless Swing. His presence has all but disappeared in the pro scene but I still think he is an incredibly strong pick in soloqueue and I would make the argument that a late game Olaf is the strongest champion in the game.

#3.  Renekton

Renekton has seen the biggest resurgence of all the Season 2 Champs for top lane. He has a gap closer which shreds armor, a heal that does AoE damage, a wicked stun, and his ultimate gives him damage and, yep you guessed it, lots and lots of HP- oh and he’s manaless. If Renekton can farm 1000g in lane without losing lane too hard, he becomes incredibly difficult to deal with. With his level one ult and a Giant’s Belt he gets 680 HP… WITH A HEAL! That’s menacing. Good luck fighting that. Once again Renekton shows us that the dark side always prevails in terms of power. I’m looking at you Nasus, you sandy bitch! Renekton is also a huge monkey wrench in team fights because he actually does a TON of damage over a prolonged engagement. This leaves your team with the tough choice of killing the 3k HP crocodile that is destroying your face, or killing the guys behind him who are destroying your other face.

#2.  Shen

Ok get ready for another TF-esque rant! Shen is another Champion that I harbor nothing but hatred for. I feel like he is such a poorly designed ninja! Who the fuck was like “Ninja Champion! Wait for it…. He’s a tank!” That makes no sense what so ever. Ninjas aren’t tanky, that’s Samurai… Shen is also the loudest fucking ninja in the history of the world, louder than Chris Farley in Beverly Hills Ninja. His sword makes so much racket when he Ki-Strikes, he makes noise when he dashes, when he casts a shield, and even when he is coming to save an ally. None of his skills really make sense for a ninja either, and I also hate how he has to repeatedly draw his swords. A ninja is always prepared, have that shit drawn and ready. Ok, so he throws his swords… give him shuriken? He has a shield? Ok that kinda makes sense assuming he’s a master of inner-chi or something. He dashes forward and it taunts people… wait, what? Oh, and he can teleport across the map… that’s actually pretty fucking awesome, except it’s a defensive move that he uses to save his allies. Bitch, ninjas don’t look out for anyone, not even other ninjas! Good Job Riot! A white guy definitely designed him *cough* Guinsoo *cough* At least they got it right with Zed.

Ok, so what makes Shen good? Well lets start with his scaling off HP. Now that that’s out of the way, he also has global presence, like TRUE GLOBAL presence, meaning he can go from Nexus to Nexus if he has to. His ultimate can save lives and turn fights which has crazy snowball potential at all levels of the game, pro included. He does physical and magical damage which makes him a bitch to fight in lane; although this was a bigger problem in Season 2 because he was hard to itemize resistances against. He has a heal and a shield. He’s a lane bully in all senses of the word, but he can bully all the other lanes also. Did I forget to mention he’s probably the worst designed ninja champion ever? Ok, just making sure.

#1.  Elise

Strictly speaking soloqueue here, this bitch is fucking broken. I have never won a game against an Elise or lost a game playing with one. She is the new “purple team must ban this or we’re fucked” champ. No one knows how to counter her. She does damage based on HP%’s which means stacking HP doesn’t really work against her. She is ranged and melee, has a stun, a gap closer, and a crazy escape that makes Fizz look like a flounder. She can also readily stack HP because she gets free defensive stats AND MOVESPEED from her Spiderform. She’s ridiculous. It’s actually crazy how underpowered people thought she was when released, then Riot buffed her ever so slightly and now she rapes people’s nightmares. She’s really strong and I wish I didn’t sound so uneducated about her and what to do against her, but I don’t really play top lane and, like I said, I have never beaten a team with an Elise.

Honorable Mentions

These champions function well in the top lane but are less of soloqueue stompers than the five listed above and better suited in the hands of pro players who know how to get them through their delicate laning phases and into late game. The only champion that I think deserves a “pro spot” on my list is Singed who I think would replace Elise as the #1 spot, leaving the rest of the list unchanged. The champs are listed in alphabetical order.

Akali

Cho’Gath

Darius

Jax

Lee Sin

Rengar

Rumble

Singed

Yorick

This list was actually pretty difficult for me to come up with because I know very little about top lane. I believe though from my observations that this is fairly accurate. It is definitely my most subjective list and because of that I will make no effort to defend it in the comments like I have on some of my others.

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

ap mids

In my introductory article to the Stale Meta I briefly addressed why the cheap cost, and immediate effects, of stacking health are determining why certain champions are more viable than others right now; even causing a lot of Season 2 favorites, like Shyvana, to completely disappear from the competitive scene. I want to take the time to address the fact that I will not be covering the AD Mid variants as I think there are too few and they are too obvious (Kha’Zix, Zed, Talon, Pantheon, Lee Sin). The idea behind picking an AD middle vs an AP middle are also much more straight forward as you are just looking for more AD damage and armor shred to synergize/compliment your top lane Bruiser. It is also important to note that with the increase in Jarvan IV and Taric picks there has been a decrease in AD mid picks because of teams abilities to stack armor without any gold investments, so there’s that.

The Best AP Mids and Why.

Ok so in my last article regarding Junglers I applied a specific “curve” that I believe potential junglers needed to fit in order for me to consider them viable. This meant all the junglers were very similar to each other because they had a specific “early pressure/initiator/tank” role that they HAD to fill. AP mids do not suffer from these linear traits and are instead picked because of how their unique skill set will compliment their team mates best; this, however, becomes less apparent the further down the list and more apparent the higher we go up the list. Things that an AP champion can provide to a team in order to be considered for mid lane are: Poke, Armor/MR Shred, Burst AND Sustained Damage, Shields/Buffs, Stuns/Slows, Displacement, and Global Presence.

#5.  Nidalee

Rounding out my Top 5 is Nidalee, and for the record she NARROWLY surpassed Lux, who would be my official #6. When I compared Nidalee and Lux to make this decision it came down to the fact they have very similar kits but Nidalee can do more sustained damage in a prolonged fight. Lux has notoriously long cooldowns and all her abilities are skill shots, so if you miss with her you have a reasonably long reload time before you can try again to deal damage, she also has high mana costs which means you can’t poke as long with her without blue. Her shield gives no sustain in a siege unlike Nid’s heal, and while her E does provide vision it can not be placed as strategically as Nidalee’s without significantly reducing her damage output. Nidalee can poke for days with her spears as they are reasonably costed, have a low cd, and probably hit for just as much as Lux’s ult at max range. Her heal is good for prolonged sieges and fights, and if there is no one to heal she can always give it to her ADC to increase his/her attack speed. The versatility of her ult is what gives her the edge over Lux though in that she can use it to keep putting out damage when her human form’s spells are on cooldown, where someone like Lux has to sit and wait; it also gives her some of the best escapability in the game combined with her passive making her very safe. Ok I think that is enough reasons.

As you can see Nidalee provides a little bit of everything that I listed above. She can poke, she has sustain in cougar and burst with spears, she provides vision and shreds Armor/MR with her traps, and one of her biggest boons is her heal that scales incredibly well with AP as well as doubling as an AS steroid. She is a very well rounded champ right now and a great pick for #5 AP mid.

#4.  Ryze

Ryze is definitely the most generic champion on this list but if it’s not broke don’t fix it. Ryze benefits mostly from being one of, if not THE highest sustain damage mages out there. He fits the meta very well right now because he can build primarily tanky stats and still deal formidable damage, and it’s AoE dmage to boot, thanks to his ultimate! His Rune Prison provides his team with great catching potential, his Spell Flux shreds MR, and he can 1v1 most champions, and win, at many stages of the game. Against ADC’s and opposing AP mids his combo is considered burst and against the tankier Junglers and Bruisers he has enough consistent damage output to not warrant standing next to him for very long unless you plan on killing him. He definitely provides less utility than Nidalee (or Lux) but I think his solidarity as an AP powerhouse and the fact he’s less composition dependent puts him firmly above her at #4.

#3.  Orianna

Orianna is the epitome of the #3 spot on my list. She has great burst and sustained damage with high AP ratios and low cooldowns on all her spells. Her range is long enough to be considered poke. She has a shield that scales incredibly well with AP and provides the wearer free Armor/MR. Her W slows the enemy team and speeds up her own, and her Shockwave is the premium displacement spell right now and can be wombo-comboed well with many of the tanky gap closing Junglers. She is an extremely solid pick right now and even bolsters a strong/formidable laning phase compared to other AP champs.

#2.  Kayle

Kayle is the sleeper newcomer to the AP scene. Her high points are the ability to shred Armor/MR of the opposing team in an AoE, slowing champions while amplifying her own damage against them, providing her team with a heal and speed burst, and of course, the Coup De Grace, three seconds of invulnerability to an ally at 1200 range! Her ability to do burst damage with her spells, and sustained damage with her autoattacks and a Liandry’s Torment make her a force to be reckoned with, whatever Champion you are. If Kayle’s team has just one fed Champion on it she doesn’t even have to achieve an average item build because of how strong her ultimate can be in conjunction with an allied carry. Kayle is definitely first pick or ban worthy right now and her game changing ultimate is reason enough for that!

#1  Twisted Fate

I am going to be honest, I absolutely hate Twisted Fate and it sickens me he sits at #1. I think he is a stupidly designed champion. On the surface he has little depth and underneath it all he is one of those “is he an ADC or AP champ abortions” that has been in the game so long they really can’t do anything about what he has evolved into. Back in beta he would constantly fluctuate between nerfs and buffs from AD to AP. Finally the pro scene has deemed him an AP champ because of how game breaking his ultimate is while running AP. You can use Gate to teleport and stun somebody, doing significant burst damage, and ensuring a successful kill most of the time; compare this to an AD TF showing up and the stun and wildcards doing no damage and his follow up damage has to come from all autoattacks and you can see why he is run as an AP, plus putting him in mid lane allows him to Gate to either Top or Bot.

Anyways, TF provides the least “utility” to a team in terms of his kit only really having a stun/slow, BUT the global presence + Champion vision that his ultimate provides are enough to keep him in the #1 spot for a long time to come because of how influential it can be in snowballing other lanes/the game. He also has incredible poke (1450 range!), wave clear, a decent passive that actually does provide some significant extra gold to your team over the course of a game, and he can do some crazy baits with Gate + Zhonya’s Hourglass as popularized by WE Misaya, and also used by Curse NyJacky in yesterdays LCS game against GGU. It’s unfortunate the brokenness of his ultimate is a relic of bad beta design and so it unlikely another champion will ever be released with an ultimate to rival his for the number 1 spot. However, if the meta ever shifts back to the days of farming for 30 minutes before pushing a lane as five you can expect to see Karthus occupy this spot because of Requiem (fucking global ultimates!)

Honorable Mentions

These AP champions provide good utility and damage to their team but are just a tier below the top 5 in terms of how game changing they can be just by being on a team. They are listed in no specific order.

Anivia

Cho’Gath

Diana

Evelyn

Karthus

Kassadin

Lux

Syndra

Zyra

This list was a bit more influenced by the competitive scene than by the soloqueue scene, but I don’t think it would be much different, and I think by adhering to this list you would still be likely to gain LP.

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

junglers

With Season 3 actively live for about three weeks and LCS starting its third week tomorrow, the meta has finally settled and the dominant strategies have emerged. There is still a little room for champion innovation as far as viability goes (i.e. Volibear being used by Gambit and Giants in EU LCS) but most top tier champions and item builds have been established. If you are behind the times the current trends revolve around champions that can build primarily tanky while still doing good amounts of damage, shredding Armor/MR, and thriving in prolonged engagements. If your champion can not do these things then it better be packing some major utility for your team otherwise they really have no place on the fields of justice. I will be discussing what is the primary culprit in this shift towards HP is, as well as giving my opinion on which junglers are the best to play right now to gain LP and climb divisions.

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What Caused Such a Major Shift in How the Game is being Played?

The biggest contributor to the shift in meta has been the re-evaluation of stats by Riot. Health and Damage are cheaper while Resistances and Attack Speed are more expensive. What this has done is make it so that the early game gets completely dominated by health stacking. Giant’s Belt is a premium at 1000g giving the wearer 380 HP. If we compare that to the premium AD and AP items (BF Sword and Rod) they give 45 AD for 1550 and 80 AP for 1600. While BF sword is 100g cheaper its power is masked over ten fold by the cheaper Giant’s Belt, same with Needlessly Large Rod. It takes nine attacks before armor to chip away all the extra health that Giant’s Belt provides compared to your BF Sword. It’s even worst for AP characters who don’t even receive the full 80 AP on a majority of their spells, plus factoring in cooldowns and it could be a while before your extra 80 AP negates that extra HP. Plus the purchaser of the Giant’s belt also has 550-600 more gold to spend on whatever they want. Now these numbers are not infallible truths as I am not factoring in things like your base auto attack damage or scaling AP from runes, etc but I am just trying to show comparatively what the items provide to the user at face value. The other contributor to HP being out of control right now is that Attack Speed is no longer the premium stat it was in Season 2. I don’t play AD carry a lot but I was forced to play it a few days ago in ranked and even when fed, with BT/IE, PD, LW at 30 minutes I felt incredibly weak shooting at the opposing Shen and Hecarim. We did eventually win but I felt like such a small contribution of damage as I watched every auto attack tickle that massive HP bar when I felt I should be blowing them away! Things are not as they used to be.

Anyways, the main point is HP is out of control which in turn is making bruisers out of control, which in turn is making playing non-bruisers futile, which is making the meta very stale already for only being three weeks in. I would definitely advise against playing any kind of assassin or damage dealing character (excluding ADC’s) that can not provide some kind of significant utility to your team. Let your bruiser/jungler take care of tanking, killing, and winning the game, while you take a back seat and grab some pom-poms to cheer them on.

The Best Junglers and Why.

To keep this section clean I am going to list what I think are the top 5 junglers right now and list some close honorable mentions. The traits that I am looking for that help me decide power level are based on junglers who fit a very precise curve of being able to provide early game pressure, do good early damage while being tanky, and scale well into late game transitioning into an unkillable tank/initiator/frontline/cc machine.

#5:  Vi

Vi is incredibly new to the League scene and I think that it took Riot fixing all her bugs for people to discover how powerful she really is. Now that she is fully functional I see her banned or picked in almost every game I play. She has a very long range gap closer with her Q, shreds armor, has high base damage, has suppression, scales well, and she gets a free shield that scales well with the stats she wants to prioritize. She has great pressure early game with her ability to fly long distances over walls, does good damage because of her base values, becomes incredibly threatening once she gets six, and she scales well as a tank into the late game providing her team with initiation, armor shred, and cc. She does everything at an above average level and fits my jungler curve very nicely. The reason she is 5th on my list is that she is really only scaled well to prioritizing one enemy at a time where the other junglers outshine her.

#4:  Amumu

Next is Amumu who is no stranger to the League or the jungle. A high priority pick in all three seasons, his use seems to get more refined the more time passes. Despite being very susceptible to early counter jungle pressure, Amumu is a tough champion to ignore even when he is at a disadvantage. His Q give him a gap closer and stun in one, while also lowering the targets MR with his passive, this gives him the ability to pressure lanes early. Once he hits six he doesn’t even need to hit you with his Q to stun you anymore, just use it to close the gap and set up a gank. He scales incredibly well building only tanky while providing great damage with his Despair’s % damage. In team fights he shreds MR with his passive, provides a giant AoE Stun, and meanwhile is able to stun someone every few seconds with his Q which has a base damage of 320 at rank 5! Ya I bet you didn’t know that. Amumu is everything you want in your jungle tank. He gets the edge over Vi because his ultimate is more game changing than hers because it can effectively be used on all five enemies. Its also as big as the Baron pit which makes contesting an enemy Baron with Amumu a walk in the park.

#3:  Hecarim

Of all the junglers to start picking up major speed, Hecarim is leading the charge. A fan favorite of Season 2, he is now starting to make his way into the spotlight of season 3. Hecarim has great jungle clear doing it both fast and healthy. While he doesn’t have the greatest gap closer on my list he does have a unique one in his Devastating Charge; couple this with Ghost and its almost like having a 1000 yard Flash with how fast Hecarim can appear on the scene and mess up your day. His Q scales well with levels which lets him build pretty tanky and if he ever gets really ahead he can start prioritizing damage and really make heads roll. Once he gets his ultimate the angles at which he can gank from go up astronomically and it provides AoE-CC to boot! His real power lies in his W which allows him to be a late game brick wall that never dies. Hecarim again fits the curve perfectly being able to provide pressure and great early game damage while prioritizing all his items to transition him into that 4k hp monster that will never die come late game; all while ripping your team to shreds with a spear/scythe/javelin thing. His ultimate is a little less devastating than Amumu’s because it has a smaller chance of actually hitting five people, but its how incredibly hard it becomes to kill Hecarim late game that really gives him the edge. If you have Hecarim in your front line you basically always have a front line which is why he gets my #3.

#2:  Jarvan IV

Jarvan is a scary jungler right now. If you ever hear that “DEMACIA!” and you don’t have flash you are dead. It’s that simple. Jarvan fits the curve almost flawlessly providing tons of pressure as early as level two with his gap closer that knocks you up, shreds your armor, and increases his and his allies attack speed. If he comes back at level six he will have a shield and brings a giant ring of death that he can also use to close the gap a second time! He doesn’t need to build damage because he gets free armor shred, attack speed, and % damage from his kit, which allows him to prioritize into HP allowing him to fight up to five people in his Cataclysm for as long as his team needs him to while they rip them to shreds. Oh yea his shield also slows. Jarvan is in a very privileged spot right now, as he should be he is a god damn prince, and is definitely a top tier pick for jungler, and a scary one at that.

#1:  Xin Zhao

Xin Zhao gets my #1 spot because he fits my jungle curve perfectly as well as taking almost no skill to play. He does most things Jarvan does but with such increased simplicity it may actually make you face palm after you pick J4 and Leave Xin open. His Charge gap closes and shreds armor, no skill shot involved. He has a knock up that is based off his auto attacks, and increases their damage, which is what you are already doing anyawys, and he has an attack speed steroid which also heals him and has no cd (the heal proc) unlike Jarvan’s shield. His ultimate also has dual functionality in the fact that it can be used as a hard engage or hard disengage tool. Catch their adc trailing behind, just charge to him and separate him from his team. Did they catch you trailing behind? Target their support and knock the rest of them away as you make your escape. Crescent Sweep also provides Xin with free Armor and MR which means that Xin can deviate in prioritizing health into damage more freely than the other junglers. But in recap he provides great pressure early game with a gap closer and cc as early as level two. Has a team wide displacement ult with free defensive stats tacked on. He can build tanky and perfectly transition into the late game tank/initiator/cc machine you need him to be. He is the real deal.

Honorable Mentions:

These are the junglers that don’t make my Top 5 but I think are definitely worth mentioning as viable in the confines of the current meta, filling the Jungler/Tank/Bruiser role. They are listed in no specific order.

Cho’Gath

Elise (although she’s better top)

Lee Sin

Malphite

Maokai

Nocturne

Olaf (better top)

Rammus

Shen (better top)

Volibear

 

For those of you who don’t jungle stay tuned to News of Legends as I will be releasing a Top 5 for the other roles (Top, Mid, ADC, Support) in the future. Until then good luck and may this help you rise!

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

 

 

 

Losing

Hello Summoners, let’s talk about losing. I find that game losses are something that are often brushed under the rug and never talked about, or just used as tinder for the ever-burning “you won’t believe my teammates from last game” rants. However, they do play a significant role in improving your skill. Statistically, you probably lose just as many games as you win, or close to it, so why ignore almost 50% of your prospective data just because at the end of the game it said Defeat? The game is a team game and so it is easy to relegate blame to the other four people you are playing with, but sometimes you need to look closely at yourself and identify that you are the weakest link in the chain. Story Time!

Dcgreen vs. D Patoy

Recently I got paired against Dignitas Patoy in mid lane. I was playing Syndra and he was playing Orianna. First I want to say that even though Patoy mains support on Dignitas he is still a paid professional player and so his skill should not be underestimated. It is clear that he understands the game at a core level better than me, or most players, and also safe to say that his skills mechanically are also better than mine. Anyways, so we are laning and I am getting kinda bullied around, cuz I don’t really know how to lane vs Orianna, and Patoy goes for a level 2 all in on me. I picked my stun at level 2 so I hit him with my sphere, managed to land the stun, hit him with ignite and the tables had turned and I was beating him. I got him so low and I chased him into his tower, we had both also burned flash. I got super greedy, and cocky cuz I wanted to kill a pro player, took two tower hits and gave him first blood as he escaped with 69 hp. The game snowballed out of control from here, I remember ending the game 2/12/2. My team-mates were flaming me a lot, I got a ton of “he mains support” and “you’re losing to Patoy!” and one guy accused me of being on tilt even though it was my second game of the day, my first one being a win. All that aside because I played the match up poorly I allowed the game to snowball by losing control of midlane. Now that’s a great story but what did I learn?

You Learn More From Losing Than From Winning

Well I remember the event very vividly. Patoy came at me with his ball and auto attacks and then shielded himself. I landed my combo and ignited him and he flashed and ran. I flashed after him and he got another shield as he kept running to the tower. I got close enough to get another auto attack and he got another shield. HOW MANY FUCKING SHIELDS DOES THIS DUDE HAVE?! I screamed as I died to his tower. After pressing Tab I realized he took Barrier and not Ignite. Now this is a really simple mistake to make and one that should have been avoided, had I been a better and more consistent player. It took two tower shots to kill me meaning I was still in lane with 200+ hp and an inventory full of potions, I could have settled with defending his all in, burning all his summoners, and forcing him to go back and heal as I sustained in lane and continued to farm. Instead, I neglected to fully analyze my opponent, I got greedy and cocky, and I SINGLE-HANDEDLY caused my team to lose the game. It was even someone’s placement match on my team, I felt like an asshole. But loses happen and its important that when we make mistakes we learn from them. Now every time I go into lane against my opponents I double check lots of things. Do I want to get Flask + Pot + ward or Flask + three pots, better check if they have a early pressure jungler. What kind of summoner spell does my opponent have; if its Barrier and not Ignite I should play to try and bait the Barrier before committing fully to kill him. If its Ignite I need to be cautious but also be aware that I can snowball an early trade advantage if he is not careful. These are the kind of things you want to improve upon.

Honing Your New Found Skills

Yes losing to Patoy was a slightly traumatic experience. I felt completely useless all game, I was berated by my team-mates, my Syndra stats went to crap, and I cried, but shit happens when you play this game. The best thing you can do is take these memories and turn them into a skill set that prevents things like that from ever happening again. Learn to analyze your opponents, learn that forcing someone out of lane can be just as powerful as killing them, learn to identify yourself as your team’s weakest player and how to recover from that situation, and most importantly learn how to ignore your team-mates because they will never say anything positive to help you. Whoever said “That which does not kill you, makes you stronger” is a fucking idiot, because if something doesn’t kill you it’s not a defeat. Also, if I break both your legs and it doesn’t kill you, you probably aren’t stronger after the fact. My point is that in order to grow your skill and grow as a player you need to take solace in your defeats and learn from your mistakes. No one in this game has a 100% win rate so stop being upset when you lose and instead use it as motivation to go from 50/50, to 51/49, to 52/48 etc. Improvement takes time. Stop raging and enjoy the ride.

Love, Dcgreen

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Twitter

LoLKing Profile

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”