No Randoms Night and Kayle Lights the Way

Every so often you need a little push to remind yourself why it is you do what you do. For League of Legends, my nudge came tonight in the form of a solid group of friends and a champion that I had a great deal of fun playing.

Don’t get me wrong, I am pretty happy with LoL and its community. You seem to be able to find enough good people to rule out most of the bad people, and I do believe that Riot genuinely wants a positive atmosphere in the game. Let’s be honest though, you are usually never quite sure who you will be playing your next game with and whether or not they will frustrate the heck out of you. For me, my fellow summoners often end up being referred to as  “randoms.” I think this word perfectly sums up my relationship with the majority of other LoL players. Random chance brings us together for 40 minutes, and that is all there is to our relationship.

That’s why I was thrilled to spend my entire evening playing premade 5 v 5’s. If you have never experienced the wonders such games have to offer you should know that it’s a lot of fun. Picture, if you will, a setting in which you can try out new champions, new strategies and anything else your heart desires. All without the threat of your teammates and opponents ridiculing you or refusing to cooperate (except for the occasional bit of trash talk).

I know it’s not always possible to do, and doing too much of it would cause it to lose its charm, but the occasional premade 5 v 5 is a great way to relax, have some fun and remind yourself why you actually like this game. I guess what I am saying here is don’t turn down the chance to be part of a LoL group or play some LoL for fun with your friends. Sometimes we get so caught up in trying to raise our elo and beat other people down that I think we forget how to actually enjoy this game.

If you made it through the above bit, which I’m sorry to say was definitely more sentimental than useful, here is something I hope you will find quite handy – AP Kayle. I have seen her in action a few times, and tonight I was able to try her out for myself. I had played some Kayle top lane and a fair bit of Kayle support, but I believe AP Kayle definitely has potential in the new season. The ratios on her Q are amazing and turn it into a huge nuke. Her Ult will always be useful in a teamfight, she is naturally tanky enough to deal with AD casters in the mid lane and she can do massive amounts of AoE damage.

I build her similar to how I build AP Teemo. Go for early attack speed with Nashor’s tooth, throw down some magic pen (Liandry’s is great on her because she can apply it as an AoE and her slow makes it very effective) and then finish off with your larger AP items. You can also go for more on hit and add a rage blade or a blade of the Ruined King.

So try out AP Kayle, get some friends together for some premade 5 v 5’s, and if you’re still not having fun, here’s a catchy reminder of just what League we’re playing in that will get you dancing. Easy33, this jam is for you.

 

Pro Scene Update – What’s up at CLG

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Remember the good ole days when CLG was just CLG and not CLG Prime or Black or EU? Well, it looks like the good ole days are upon us again. CLG made a number of big announcements today regarding a clothing line, a roster change, a tournament and a fairly major departure. Let me break it down for you.

If you feel like you’re quite the “Hotshot,” and are looking for some stylish new threads, look no further than CLG’s new clothing line that will be available from GGWP Apparel. Sad that you didn’t find a design you like? Well if you go here, you can actually vote on some of the future prints that they will be going with.

CLG found themselves without a support player or an alternate for the upcoming season. They moved quickly to solve this problem and announced that Link115 will be joining the team as an alternate, with Aphromoo coming in as the new support player. For those of you who not seen these guys in action, keep an eye out for them. Link is a well respected mid player who plays one of the best mid Nidalees I have watched in a while.

I’m intrigued by the Aphromoo selection. If you have ever watched his stream (and if you haven’t you should – he’s hilarious) you know he is one of the best AD carries out there, and he is probably the reason we see Draven played so much these days. “Being given the opportunity to play support for CLG makes me a little giddy because I will be able to play a role I am most comfortable in,” says Aphromoo. It’s good to see him saying the right things, but you have to wonder how long he will be happy resisting the urge to play AD carry.

And with those new players, CLG will be hoping to do well in a new tournament they will be hosting. Apparently they will be joining the fad of having teams qualify for this tournament by being on top of the NA ranked 5’s ladder. Personally, I would have waited to see how Riot’s experiment with this style of qualifying worked before following suit. Yes, it’s cool to get to see some amateur talent in action (at least on the one team that isn’t made up entirely of pros), but I won’t even get started (at least in this post) on all of the trouble and confusion currently surrounding Riot’s qualifying tournament. The good news is that we will get to watch the whole drama play our right before our eyes over the next few months!

You may not know this about me, but I am actually a huge CLG fanboy. Problem is, the CLG team I was a huge fan of is no longer with CLG. That’s right,  CLG.EU is heading on to greener pastures. “While I am sad to see CLG EU leave, I understand their position and the wonderful opportunity that has been presented to them,” said HotshotGG. I’m glad to see that the parting was amicable and I won’t have to hold any grudges against HotshotGG for sending away more things that I love.

Word on Twitter is that former CLG.EU itself will be staying together – just under a new sponsor. This move probably should probably not have surprised me given the fact that they were signed by CLG as unknowns and have now become some of the most high profile players in Europe. I’m sure the boys will continue to have success, and I can only hope that they will play for a team whose name I can easily chant after a long night of LoL watching.

There are a few other minor (at least for us gaming types) changes that you can read about in the official article here. It has definitely been a very interesting day for CLG. I certainly hope the moves pay off, as I would like to see one of the North American teams actually challenge the dominance of the Asian and European teams. Give CLG credit for not being afraid to make the moves they felt they needed to make. Finding out whether or not they were actually the right moves should keep us all entertained well into the start of season three.

Night Before Christmas – LoL Style

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Twas the night before christmas when all through the lane,
Not a champion was stiring, not even Miss Vayne.
The pings went down on the turrets with care,
In the hopes that some minions would soon be farmed there.
The summoners were nestled, all snug in their chairs,
Dreaming of penta kills they hoped would be theirs.
And Phreak in his blazer all class to the last,
Had just settled in for a rousing shout cast;
When down in bot lane there arose such a clatter,
We rushed into specator mode to see what was the matter.
Did we just see a summoner use flash?
At level one, that would be quite rash.
A flurry of activity appeared on the map,
And fingers on keyboards began to tap.
When what to our wandering eyes should appear,
But a man made of metal possessing no fear.
With a laugh that rang out so crass and frank,
We knew in a moment, it must be TrollCrank.
More rapid than Hecarim, both teams they came,
And he laughed and taunted and called them by name.
“Now Janna! now Draven, now Teemo and Garen,
On, Caitlyn! On Olaf on Ahri and Riven.
To the front of the bush, to the bot lane wall,
Now come at me, come at me, come at me, all.”
As dry leaves that before the Janna ult fly,
When he met with an opponent, his jukes were quite sly.
So towards the heat of battle, his opponents they flew,
With abilities picked and the TrollCrank too.
And then, in a twinkling, we saw on our screen,
an Ahri orb hit, where the trollcrank had been.
As we focused in our view, and turned to look,
Back came Trollcrank, no damage had he took.
He was wearing a skin that looked like a truck,
And was clearly intent on testing his luck.
A quick axe from Draven sent him back;
Into metal armor it hit with quite a loud smack.
His taunts how they rang, his laugh so annoying!
His opponents charged forward, not even knowing.
His movements were quick as he popped his ghost,
and he took damage from skillshots with narry a boast.
The sound of his mana shield hummed over the strife,
but would it be enough, to save his poor life?
A change of direction, with his tower ahead,
Let his teammates know they had nothing to dread.
He chatted not a word, but went straight to his work,
And pulled Draven in, with a quick little jerk.
His lanemate was overjoyed, like a pig in mud,
As he rushed forward, to pick up first blood.
And we heard TrollCrank exclaim, ere he rolled out of sight,
“Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good fight!”

Reviews on the Run: Vi

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You’re busy, I’m busy, so let’s get down to business. Who is this Vi chick, what will she do against me and how can she be stopped.

Her Passive: When her abilities damage an enemy, she gains a shield that is equal to a percentage of her max health. It’s not huge, but it can make the difference in a close duel.

Her Q. Will dash to you and knock you back. If she fully charges it she will have decent range and damage. It does slow her when she uses it, so you can see it coming. It procs her passive and W, so be careful for that.

Her W. When Vi has some points in this, you should notice circles forming under your character when she hits you. When there are two circles, her next hit will deal bonus damage based on your max health, will shred your armor and will give her an attack speed bonus. Her base attack speed is fairly low, but make sure you are accounting for that bonus damage when you get in a prolonged fight with her

Her E. I think this will be her go-to move unless someone figures out a way to maximize the damage her W pumps out. E sends out a blast of damage behind whatever she auto attacks. It’s a decent poke, does decent damage, resets her auto attacks and she can cast two blasts of it in fairly short order. She can only store two charges of it at a time, but she can get those charges pretty quick with some CDR.

Her Ult. She becomes the world’s strongest linebacker. Basically she runs at you, while immune to crowd control, grabs you, tosses you up into the air and then slams you to ground. All of this technically counts as a suppression. If your team tries to stop her, she knocks them aside and does damage to them. You can see how this will be annoying for carries.

How I would build her: I think your priorities are going to be cool down reduction, health and damage. The more frequently she can spam her abilities, the more damage she can deal and the more she can make use of her passive shield. The more health you build, the stronger her passive. She scales decently off of attack damage, so I would make that your next priority. I tinkered around a little bit with prioritizing attack speed to try and maximize her W, but I found that she did not do enough damage for how squishy it left her. I believe most people will max her E first. After that, I like to max her W so I can win prolonged trades. Q can do a lot of damage, but is harder to land. I like to use it to proc her W and leave it at that.

First Impressions: I believe she is deceptively all in, but has the ability to punch her way out of one on one situations. Her dash needs to be charged to go any great distance, and slows her while she is charging it, so I don’t see it being the best escape in the world. The poke from her E is quite strong, if she lines it up properly, but this will lead to her lane being pushed quite quickly. This should leave her open to ganks that will be difficult for her to escape from. Of course, if those ganks don’t come, and she is able to keep landing her E, she will probably win her lane. I believe she should be able to trade with most of the champions out there, but might have some trouble against ranged champs. Her early mana costs are on the high side, so ranged champs might be able to kite her down.

Her ult is going to make her a nightmare for carries, but i believe she shouldn’t be overly hard to kite if she goes in too far ahead of her team. If she is able to spam abilities, she will probably survive for quite a while in fights and do respectable damage to even the tankiest of characters thanks to her W.

Overall, I fully expect to see Vi terrorize games for a while. I do believe that the best way to stop her will be to make it a team effort as she will have trouble escaping bad situations. I am thoroughly looking forward to playing more of her in the top lane and will probably try her out in the jungle as well (though I think her pre 6 ganks will be a little lacking). If you are looking for a chick who can deal some  serious damage, you should definitely pick her up. If you don’t feel like buying her, hopefully this quick review will at least give you the knowledge you need to deal with her. And this little video will give you a chance to laugh at her.

Wanted: A Champ for the New Jungle

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A little while back, I found myself invited to a team. I like playing with people I know, I like ranked 5’s, so how could I say no? Only problem was they needed someone to jungle…something that really isn’t my strong suit. I’m not going to lie, I was a little intimidated of the new jungle and the mysteries it held. Then, I discovered that the easiest way to defeat the new jungle is to poke it repeatedly with a stick – held by Xin Zhao.

The current jungle (which is likely to change before season three officially starts) demands a few things from junglers. You need to be able to sustain (because the creeps are tougher), you need to have somewhat decent clear times (as you will already find yourself behind in levels no matter how hard you farm) and you need to find time to gank (because you will get yelled at if you don’t).

Xin fulfills all of these needs excellently. His Q and W combine to give you decent clear times, and with the aid of a wriggles lantern, will keep you in quite decent health. Unlike some junglers, who need a fairly perfect set of circumstances to get a kill off of a gank, Xin is able to lock up opponents fairly easily as his e serves as both a dash and insta slow. With a blue buff on, there’s a great chance you’ll land your full combo and easily pick up a first blood or hurt your opponent enough to force them from lane.

A lot is being asked of today’s jungle and those who are man enough to face it (forgive me but I’m building to something). If you are looking for a new champion that offers you a bit of everything that you need to play in the jungle, I would highly recommend Xin. I would say that he does require some skill to master, but is fairly easy to pick up and play. So if you are like me, and find yourself forced into the jungle with limited practice time and champs, Xin should be exactly what you are looking for!

Also, you can think of Mulan and get Penta Kills – the proof is right here