A Summoner’s Blessing for Season Three

May your Ash arrows fly straight,
and your teammates pull their weight.
May your Malphite ults hit,
and buffs come to your champ’s kit.
May solo que be kind,
and your desired elo you do find.
May you avoid unwanted rage,
and your play remain quite sage.
May your ganks be successful,
and your opponents find you stressful.
And may you have some LoL fun,
before Season Three is done.

Good luck in Season Three, everyone. I look forward to discussing all of its ups and downs with you. Oh, and playing a game or two on summoners rift, of course.

Advertisements

Every Good Band Needs a Support Fiddle

Fiddlesticks Surprise Final3

Inspired by his increasingly popular presence, Twohp odd ball supports inc. probably presents: Support Fiddlesticks, and how he can be used.

Strengths: Amazing CC consisting of the best fear in the game and a fairly decent multiple target silence. Ult still does decent damage in the bot lane at level six.

Weaknesses: Squishy. Fairly short range on Fear and initial cast of Drain. Drain is not nearly as fearsome on the support version of Fiddlesticks.

Masteries/Runes: Whatever your standard support Masteries are should do the trick. I tend to use my Runes to make him tankier and not worry about any bonus AP. You do not want to have the enemy Taric or Leona be able to stun and then burst you before you can react.

Build: Standard support start (wards, charm, and health pots is what I go with). Recommend starting with a Philosopher’s Stone before building a Kage’s Lucky Pick. Anything that the Pick builds into will work fine later on. Proceed to build standard support items; though would recommend using items with CDR such as Shurelya’s and the Locket of the Iron Solari. A little extra AP isn’t bad either

The Laning Phase: Like any good support, your primary role is to protect your ADC and put down damage on the other team’s ADC. Your fear, which will always be devastating, can be used either offensively to nullify the enemy ADC, while your ADC deals some damage, or you can use it defensively on a support who is attempting to CC your ADC.

The biggest decision I find myself making at this point of the game is what to max second (if you don’t max the fear first you will be in trouble, trust me). I prefer to max his E, Dark Wind, second. It offers good poke, and a well timed silence can absolutely save your life against a ganking jungler or enemy support who is about to use his whole combo to kill you. There are two things to keep in mind if you go this route. Dark Wind can push the lane quite quickly, denying your ADC farm and putting yourselves in a vulnerable position. My recommendation is to either use Dark Wind only when you absolutely need the silence, or get vision of the enemy bush and use it to harass their support when they are isolated in said bush. Because Dark Wind jumps back and forth between targets, if there is a situation where the enemy ADC and support are standing side by side (this is even better if they are away from their creeps) it is usually worth taking the shot for the decent amount of damage you will do.

If you are feeling aggressive, you can max Drain second. If you follow this route, your mission will be to fear the enemy ADC and then Drain either the ADC or support to draw their attention and CC while your ADC attacks. The problem I find with this is that you need to get fairly close to cast Drain, and without a lot of AP, you don’t heal yourself enough to negate the damage you will take. I would much rather take a single point in drain and use it only to try and force the enemy support to waste some CC to stop me from using it – after I have cast all of my other abilities.

In order to use Fiddle’s ult in lane it is important that you maintain vision control in the side bushes. If the enemy can see you coming your ult will be next to useless. If you can’t maintain bush control, try coming at the enemy from a creative angle or wait until they are pushed up to your tower where it is harder for them to have vision of what is happening behind the tower. If your lane is doing particularly well, definitely consider heading to other lanes where there are fewer wards and the surprise will be even more devastating. Remember, you are not jungle Fid or Fiddle in the middle. You cannot use your ult with the idea that it can 100 to 0 the enemy. Wait until they have taken some damage or have their own ults on cooldown before you dive into them.

The Rest of the Game: Just because you can do decent AP damage does not mean you should skip out on your support duties. No matter what wacky character you are supporting on, always remember to ward and focus on building team oriented items. As Fiddle, your whole late game should be devoted to fearing and silencing anyone who comes near your ADC. I don’t care how much damage you think your ult can do, with a three second fear and a respectable silence there is no reason anyone should be able to deal sustained damage to your ADC.

While some supports need to be in front of the ADC to provide cover, I would recommend hanging back a bit as Fiddle. You can’t help your ADC if you get burst down as part of the other teams AoE, and hanging back also gives you the option of ulting into the fight if you see an opening. But remember, your ult will not be a game changer. What will change the course of the match is your ability to peal for your ADC.

Of all of the non-mainstream supports out there, Fiddlesticks is probably the one that is closest to being a mainstream pick. His fear is one of the best peals in the game and a multiple target silence should never be underestimated. The only thing holding Fiddlesticks back is his squishiness combined with the short range on many of his abilities. These weaknesses simply mean that to succeed as Fiddlesticks you need to know your way around the bot lane and have good positioning. Position poorly and you will be burst down frequently. Position well and you will find that you can deal a decent amount of early game damage and provide some of the best late game peal available.

I hope you enjoyed this first post of what should be a few regarding unorthodox supports. There are a few times I have mentioned “standard builds” or “standard masteries” etc. If you would like more specifics or any kind of explanation regarding playing support do not hesitate to ask me. Now grab some friends, grab support Fiddlesticks, and prepare yourself to have a fearful good time! And let me know how it goes!

Looking Ahead to Next Patch

Contrary to what many people believe, Riot does actually test out changes to champions before they make them official. Personally, I mostly just use the PBE to try out new champions. Thankfully, the good folks over at Surrender at 20 actually take a look at all of the changes Riot is trying out on the PBE. The full post, with all of its glorious data, can be found somewhere here. Please allow me to look at a few of the changes that are either large in scope or have been made to popular champions.

For all of you Cho’Gath fans (and I know a few of my friends are), the duration of his silence is being reduced slightly. This will slightly weaken his combo and give his opponents a slightly larger window to escape his strong CC. I don’t think this will hurt his combo greatly though, as the lynchpin remains the successful landing of Rupture.

One of the champs I have recently started enjoying supporting with is getting a boost. The mana cost on Galio’s Q (Resolute Smite) is now being reduced to 60 mana at all levels. Support Galio has two major weaknesses: High early mana costs and high cooldowns. Reducing the mana cost on Resolute Smite will make it that much easier for Galio to use this ability to poke his opponents out of lane, which is the real strength of him as a support. Mark my words, you will be seeing more support Galio in the near future (and might even get a writeup from me on how to use him 😉 )

Someone I think you will soon be seeing more of (again) in the top and mid lanes is Kennen. He has always been able to deal decently well with AD casters, and as more and more AP casters are rendered useless by mid Jayce’s and Jarvans, Kennen becomes a much more appealing choice. Helping out the case to use Kennen is the fact that his ult will no longer cost any energy to cast. You may think this is not a huge deal for an energy mage, but Kennen can burn through mana quite quickly in a prolonged firefight.

Master Yi has become a popular player choice in the mid lane thanks to his ability to deal decent damage and then meditate back any health he has lost. This will no longer be so easy, as the amount of healing and the AP ratio on the heal is being reduced significantly. This should actually bring Yi closer to a balanced state, and shouldn’t hinder Yi more than requiring him to actually invest in a few health pots.

One of the two biggest nerfs that we may see in the next patch will be handed out to…Nunu. I know, of all of the champions out there that are currently terrorizing you Nunu is the one who gets nerfed. With attack speed being more valuable in the pre season, Nunu has recently seen an increase in play time. Always popular in a lane with Kog Maw, we have also seen the rise of Blood Boiled Caitlyns and various other ADC’s. I would not have appreciated these nerfs until I saw what a Caitlyn with 2.6 attack speed is capable of. The duration of Blood Boil, the movement speed bonus and the attack speed bonus are all being significantly reduced.

Other than his recent peak in popularity, Nunu has always been a situational support. You use him when you need good peal and an attack speed burst. This nerf should confirm Nunu’s status as a situational support and keep him from becoming a consistent pick to buff every ADC out there into an OP state. I don’t think he will be useless, (his E and Ult still offer a lot of decent damage and utility) but we will have to wait and see.

It’s looking like the second biggest nerf will be handed out to Shaco. The annoying little jester (I’m a bit biased) will find the active and passive slow on his E lowered significantly, and the range on his blink will be reduced down to the same range as flash. Riot stated that their reasons for these nerfs was that Shaco, fueled by quick and efficient clears of the preseason jungle, was able to apply too much early game pressure.

By weakening his kit, Riot hopes that Shaco won’t be able to force his opponents to choose between hugging their turrets or facing a high chance of being killed by a Shaco gank. The reduction of the slow and limiting the blink to flash range should make it easier to escape. I believe there is a chance that it could make it easy to the point that Shaco, who already faces a very difficult late game, could be made more irrelevant in the early game and fall out of style. With that said, Shaco players are crazy and will probably continue to try to use him no matter what.

If you have seen my lovely little thumb nail, you probably realize that Olaf is one of my favorite champions. I’m always a little bit afraid when they change him up and change is coming. Gone will be the passive armor pen granted by his ultimate (it will now be applied when activated), and the cooldown on his Vicious Strikes is being increased at all ranks. I think the W nerf is more of a preemptive nerf than anything. Most Olafs tend to max their E and then Q, leaving W until last. With health becoming much more popular in the preseason, I believe Riot was concerned that players would be able to abuse his W with all of the health he would be stacking.

I will definitely miss the passive armor pen. Having it allowed Olaf to worry even less about building damage items than anyone else. I already feel like Olaf now needs to build some damage items (or at least go 21-9 instead of 9-21) to keep up with the heavy damage being dealt in the preseason top lanes, and this nerf will make that even more necessary. I don’t think we will see less of Olaf, but we will see him continue to max his E and Q first, and we will probably see more Brutalizers being built on him for the pen and cooldown.

While Ez is getting hit with a few minor nerfs that I did not get into (trust me, they are nothing compared to what has been done to him recently), Tristana remains an ADC on the rise (or literally on the Ryze if she happens to jump on him). The cost of her Rapid Fire (Q) is being decreased and the damage dealt by her explosive shot’s active is being increased. These things should make Trist even easier to play, and I wouldn’t be surprised if she begins to work her way into being one of the more popular ADC’s.

Anyone who has ever had to deal with an Elise likely respects how much she can poke you with her neurotoxin. The mana cost of this ability is now being increased per level (from a flat rate). As I have said before, Elise has an amazing kit, amazing damage and we have seen her become a lot more popular as players have really began to master her. This cost increase will help to control her poke in lane and cause her to focus more on mana regen and less on building straight magic penetration. Her strong kit will still ensure she continues to get lots of play time, but these nerfs will bring her early game damage output down to a more normalized level.

Finally, I want to touch briefly on some of the item changes – namely the extremely popular health items. Warmogs will cost more and provide slightly less health and Sunfire will cost more. Black Cleaver is being tinkered with again, though not overly much compared to previous nerfs. Honestly, I see nothing in these changes that will stop people from continuing to stack health and build cleavers. Riot has talked about balancing out defense a little bit more, but I don’t believe that these are the changes that will do that. As long as armor and mr remain expensive and easy to shred, health with remain the defensive stat of choice.

Hopefully this has covered all of the major proposed changes and some of their impacts. Keep in mind that these changes could themselves be changed before they are finally applied for real in a future patch. Often, the spirit of the changes does tend to remain intact through the PBE testing. So if Elise is your main I would definitely recommend taking a look at your mana levels and beginning to plan any changes you might need to make to your build. And if you play Shaco… well, I can’t say I will be too sad that you can’t kill me twice before I reach level six. I will try and keep an eye on the changes and provide an update before an official patch is released!

And if you need something LoL related to watch this weekend, turn into the EU Season Three offline qualifiers. Fnatic and a few other former notable teams will be there, so it should be well worth checking out.

 

Thresh is Here

Today marks the release of Thresh. Two quick things you should know: First, If he throws his lantern your way you can click on it to get pulled to him instantly. Second, he can use said lantern to harvest souls.

I would have thought more people would have known this first fact, but twitter is abuzz with players complaining about the number of people who don’t know they can use his lantern as a dash to him. Using his lantern to harvest souls is also vital, as there will be times in a support lane where you will be unable to collect the souls without getting heavily damaged. No souls + no per level armor scaling = easy prey for an ADC.

From what I have seen so far, Thresh seems to be naturally tanky and can put down a respectable amount of damage. As I predicted before, the most interesting aspect of his gameplay seems to be the utility offered by his Q (pull/dash) and his lantern. The guy has only been out for one day and I have already seen his lantern used to save an otherwise dead ADC and pull off an amazing tower dive where two divers suddenly became three.

Thresh is not an overly hard champion to play, but I do think it will take some time before we see him in pro play. I fully expect that some teams are already working out interesting ways to maximize his lantern, and he will become a common ban simply because he offers something the likes of which LoL has not seen before – the ability to teleport allies.

I hope those of you who do pick him up will share your thoughts on him. The minute a new champ comes out, the race is on to find that unique way to use or build that champion that makes the champ truly worthy of the title of “OP.” Usually I am fairly late to enter the race, and this time, I would like to be one of the winners!

What I do when I’m bored In LoL – Crazy Supports

One of the things I would like to write a little bit more about is what I do when I’m bored in LoL. When I play LoL, I love to play new champions, and I love to play support. When I get bored, these two things tend to come together quite quickly – much to the dismay of my friends. I am going to start by outlining some of the unconventional supports I like to play, put down a few that I would like to use/take credit for if the Koreans don’t beat me to them and then work over the coming weeks to give some insight on how to play them.

So what do you need for a character to work out as a support? Well, usually you need some kind of combination of sustain, poke or cc. It is also great if the character can do all of these things with few to no major items (though the recent changes have made this less of a concern). There is no hard and fast rule here. Pretty much anything can work depending on how well you know how to use the character and if the other team will let you get away with it. I once saw a support Garen that worked because he simply kept chasing down my team’s Soraka and killing her. His kit makes him ideal for it, and if you don’t find a way to slow him down or poke him down he will work well. The most important bit will always remain knowing your character, but some teams just won’t be able to figure out how to deal with the wackiness you are sending at them.

Some of my favorite “unconventional supports” can actually be seen being played by the pros from time to time. I’ve taken a shine to support Fiddlesticks, support Nidalee and support Kayle, all of whom you will see in games, occasionally. I love Nid’s ability to poke and be a beast at level 6. Kayle can bash down other tanky supports and keep her carry alive in the toughest situations, and Fid’s fear is a game changer.

Some of my more “out there” supports have included Anivia, Jayce, and Olaf. Why did I use them? Because each one had something I thought would be valuable to the bot lane battle. Anivia’s stun is very handy and against certain ADC’s, who don’t have a lot of escapes, her wall can turn a simple poke into a blown flash. Jayce I used pre nerfs when his E would not only work like an Alistar headbutt but actually had the damage to pop an ADC. Olaf’s reckless swing allows him to dish out a tonne of damage with no items.

All of these champions have weaknesses that prevent them from being mainstream supports, but all of them also have the ability to turn in a dominant performance – or at least keep me amused as all heck!

There, you have a taste of just what goes on in my crazy support mind. Over the next few weeks I’m hoping to get down some more specific thoughts on some of the above champions and some even crazier picks, if they don’t become too mainstream before I get to them (If support Galio becomes a thing again, I want credit!).

Some of you might wonder why I would be doing something like this instead of working on legitimate champs with whom I can really leave a mark in the game. My answer to that is that the two are not mutually exclusive. I will be playing my mains and I will be trying to get better at LoL. What I think a lot of us tend to forget is that LoL remains a game, and what is the point of playing a game if you can’t take a break from the normal meta have a little fun with it. So after rattling off a few wins on Taric or Leona, there is a darn good chance you will see me testing out support Teemo and Zed. Why? To change it up, to have some fun and to see if I can find the next big support.

And if you’re bored in LoL, you should either take the time to let me know what the weirdest champion you’ve ever played support is, or you should watch this video from IEM Katowice showing some of the most amazing AP Nidalee play I have ever seen (would recommend start watching around the 10 minute mark.)

Wait, this is an ARAM?

I don’t know if any of you have had this happen to you lately, but tonight I got my first taste of the 5 man all mid push, on summoners rift.

Basically, the other team took as many characters with decent poke as they possibly could and set about trying to push down our middle turret. I admit I was a little nervous. There is nothing quite like normal que to see some wacky strategies. It seems that a lot of these strategies are more hit than miss, as people get taken by surprise and don’t know how to react to them, but I was determined to make sure this one didn’t work.

Fortunately, my friends had seen this strategy in action before and were ready for it. As the support, I was quickly sent to the middle to reinforce our mid laner. Our jungler worked around middle lane, popping in to help us as needed, and our ADC and Top went to their respective lanes. We knew that if we could hold mid for any length of time, victory would be ours.

As I mentioned before, the other team did have a decent amount of poke, but it just so happened that some of the best poke was snatched away by our team. Without even realizing what the other team was up to, I had chosen support Nidalee. Support Nid must be one of the closest things to a hard counter to this strategy. The other team being all mid left me with five, low level, underfed targets to choose from. Using Nid spears is, for me, one of the absolutely best things about LoL. Let’s just say that most of my mid lane spears found targets – with really good results.

By the time the other team took our turret, we had managed to sneak out a kill 2 v 5 thanks to the damage from my spears and a quick dash in from my friend on Diana. As they pushed in to take our second tier turret, our top laner came down and nearly scored a penta kill. The combination of my and Diana’s poke, plus the occasional gank from our decently fed top and bottom laners, nullified the other team’s strategy and secured us a victory.

I was not very impressed by the all mid strategy. I think it is very high risk for potentially limited reward. Sure taking an early middle turret is good, but if your team does not successfully follow up on or takes a long time to do it then you will find yourself in a weakened position due to all of the experience and CS sharing. If you are trying to counter this strategy I recommend sending two of your champs with the best wave clear or poke abilities to hold middle. Send the rest of your team to the solo lanes to free farm, and keep your jungler near middle so they can help if needed. Once your solo lanes begin to get fed, have them come to mid for ganks. If you can hold mid for any length of time, victory will be yours.

The strategy may have backfired, but I had to admire the other team for having the guts to try it out. All great strategies have to start somewhere, and every loss allows you to learn, adapt and make your strategy a little bit better. Have any of you had to work against or try out some crazy strats? Did they work? Let me know, as I am definitely a fan of trying out new things and breaking free from the meta!