LoL: Week 16 Champion Reviews, Week 17 Rotation

Hi there,

Slightly earlier than I would have liked, Riot have rotated the free champions this week in League of Legends. Once again I haven’t got to play every champion from Week 16 but the main reason I’m disappointed is that last week’s champions were so fun. This is going to be a generally positive set of reviews, compared to the contrast of last time!

This week the free to play champion rotation includes:

  • Amumu
  • Dr. Mundo
  • Fiddlesticks
  • Gangplank
  • Kayle
  • Morgana
  • Sivir
  • Tristana
  • Gragas
  • Lux
  • At a first glance, I’m pretty disappointed. Sivir we had 2 weeks ago (although I didn’t get round to playing her because she looks so boring) and Tristana is free for everyone with a Facebook account… i.e. everyone. For the remaining champions, I’m very much looking forward to playing Morgana, and Lux seems pretty cool from the Champion Spotlight.

    Anyway, I’ve got 8 champion reviews for you after the jump…

    Ashe, the Frost Archer

    Ashe the Frost Archer

    Aesthetic

    Looks: Ashe looks great. While the female elf-like archer has been done to death, Riot did a great job making her look pretty badass. Her bow, cape and leg-guards look great and you feel good with her in your hands… unlike someone like Annie.

    Sounds: Her voice is standard really, her quotes are from the generic ‘I’m a female archer in a fantasy world’ bank. “My aim is steady”? Come on guys, a bit more originality please. Sound is going to get a good score for the weapon effects. Her standard bow shots have a beautiful “Vwwoooomp” sound to them, the frost arrows feel like they hit hard (and not like glittery fairy ice arrows).

    Skills

    Frost Shot – While active, each of Ashe’s basic attacks slow her target’s movement speed. This drains mana with each attack.

    One thing that’s got to be mentioned is that Ashe is essentially the new and improved Drow Ranger from DotA. Now I’m sure Riot hate this comparison but they do play similarly. More on that later. Frost Shot is a toggle skill that adds a powerful slow to Ashe’s base attack. Yep, she’s a right-click carry. In the end, it’s one of those tried and true skills that’s very difficult to freshen up. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

    Volley – Ashe fires 7 arrows in a cone for increased damage. Volley also applies Ashe’s current level of Frost Shot.

    I only played as Ashe once and this was the last skill I levelled (i.e. I didn’t use it much or at the time it was probably most effective). I do like that it applies frost shot from a range greater than your attack range, lets you chase enemies that are slightly further away than you’d like. Then again, I usually have a few movement speed items on her so I can catch people quite easily regardless. Otherwise though it’s another standard skill from Legolas Academy.

    Hawkshot – Each time Ashe kills a unit, she gains some extra gold. Ashe can activate to send her Hawk Spirit on a scouting mission.

    This skill is very hit and miss for me. The gold gain seems rather pointless. I know she’s a carry but I’ve read that Ashe doesn’t need a huge amount of items to start carrying so why the need for extra gold? I dislike gold skills because they encourage farming and farming isn’t the playstyle I enjoy. I like PvP, not PvMinions. However, the scouting part is brilliant. Drow Ranger was an extremely boring hero, with 2 passive skills and a seemingly random inclusion of a silence skill. I refer to Ashe as the ‘new and improved Drow’ because of this skill. Drow didn’t need a silence, but her playstyle and overall concept was difficult to really spice up with active skills. Riot did what IceFrog should have done, given Ashe a utility spell that has no real effect on her combat abilities but makes her a more interesting and tactical member of the team. Now if they removed the gold part and reduced the cooldown then I’d be very happy.

    Enchanted Crystal Arrow – Ashe fires a missile of ice in a straight line. If the arrow collides with an enemy Champion, it deals damage and stuns the Champion for up to 3.5 seconds, based on how far the arrow has traveled. In addition, surrounding enemy units take damage and are slowed.

    Makes perfectly logical sense for the archer character to have DotA’s Elune’s Arrow. A good choice of ability that adds some skill to the character. Synergizes well with her chasing concept and also gives her some presence in a team battle. The crazy long range synergizes well with Hawkshot too.

    Passive: Focus – While out of combat, Ashe’s critical strike chance increases by 3/6/9/12/15/18% every 3 seconds, removed after next attack.

    I very much dislike this passive. Although I’m very inexperienced with Ashe, it seems completely counter-productive to her playstyle. Ashe is an auto-attacker yet she has a skill that relies on her not attacking. It’s great for ganking attempts, for a strong first attack (although having to wait ages until your crit chance rises ruins some of the opportunism of ganking). In general though, you want to be applying Frost Shot constantly to the target. The slow only lasts 2 seconds so you can’t even perfectly time your shots to take advantage of a small increase in crit rate. If the Frost Shot slow lasted 3.5 seconds, then you could skilfully play Ashe by timing your Frost Shots as soon as you receive a Focus ‘tick’.

    Synergy

    As Ashe’s entire concept is chasing and murdering, her skill set is pretty synergistic. Frost Shots helps you land Enchanted Crystal Arrow (and vice versa), Hawkshot is great for ganking as well as protecting yourself from ganks (if you decide to farm and carry). Volley is essentially a slightly longer range Frost Shot with a little bit of skill, so that works well too. The passive is anti-synergistic which sucks.

    Fun

    Ashe was surprisingly fun. I hate Drow Ranger, she’s incredibly boring and a major player in the playstyle I dislike in DotA-style games. Hard Carry is ridiculously boring for allies and enemies. Thankfully, Ashe has a few tools which can be used for ganking, chasing and participating in team battles. This does a lot to alleviate the boredom of Traxesx. Overall though, she isn’t particularly exciting and if her sound and look wasn’t so cool then I might have quit mid-game (I’m only playing Bots). That’s not a good sign, especially compared to the other champions this week.

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    Sam’s Rating: 6/10

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    Twisted Fate, the Card Master

    Twisted Fate the Card Master

    Aesthetic

    Looks: Dammit dammit dammit! I like this champion so I hate starting with a negative, but daaaaamn Twisted Fate looks like ass. His concept is cool, he looks a bit like a witch hunter but with cards. Yet his character model is extremely dull and his run animation looks terrible. It’s a real shame because I like my champion to look cool and if I’m going to spend my IP on someone then I want them to be perfect.

    Sounds: He sounds great though. The throwing cards sound good, his voice is really gravely sounding (which makes his lame robotic animation even more disappointing) and the sound of stacked deck and his special cards activating is satisfying.

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    Skills

    Wild Cards – Twisted Fate throws three cards, dealing damage to each enemy unit they pass through.

    Lord, I’m forced to do it again. I promise you, I like this champion! However, Wild Cards is a terrible skill. It’s just a standard conal AoE with a pretty long range, but it just doesn’t fit in his skillset. I’ve read guides too which also don’t bother with this skill. His other skills are so much more effective and reliant on each other, that levelling Wild Cards is always going to be disadvantageous. What really bugs me about this skill is that the visual shows gold, red and blue cards being thrown… but that has no effect on the skill. Wouldn’t it be cool if Wild Cards actually had a randomized effect based on what cards are randomly thrown and what enemies are hit? Couldn’t Wild Cards cards have very small versions of the standard Pick A Card effects? At least it would make thematic sense.

    Pick A Card – Twisted Fate chooses a magic card from his deck, and uses that for his next attack, causing bonus effects. Cast once to shuffle the deck and again to choose your card, enhancing your next attack.

    At last, something to praise! I was excited about Twisted Fate because I’d read in a few places that he’s a bit like Invoker. Well, he totally isn’t. Fortunately he’s still fun and he has a mini-invoking mechanic in the form of Pick A Card. You use the skill and your cards shuffle between Blue (mana restore), Red (AoE damage and slow) and Gold (stun). Once you use Pick A Card again, you will have that card’s effect on your next attack, coupled with some hefty bonus magical damage. I’ve only had a few games as TF so I haven’t mastered selecting the appropriate card, but once I have then it will make him infinitely more fun. Want to gank? Select Gold. Want to contribute to a team battle? Select Red. I’m a bit disappointed with Blue’s effect though, it just can’t compare to Red and Gold.

    Stacked Deck – Every 4 attacks, Twisted Fate deals bonus damage. In addition, his attack speed is increased and his cooldowns are decreased.

    Stacked Deck is what makes Twisted Fate a ridiculously powerful single target attacker and ganker. Every 4th attack you will deal massive bonus damage. Pick A Card effects your attack… therefore if you build Stacked Deck to 3 charges, Pick A Card, then find a lone enemy. Well, you can imagine. Huge, huge damage coupled with a stun or a slow. It’s a ganker’s dream, especially when used with his Ultimate. This skill also gives Twisted Fate a lot of strategy in choosing his item build. If he goes for attack speed, he will quickly charge Stacked Deck (and he’s a rapid attacker). If he goes for ability power, then Stacked Deck will hit like a truck. This sort of flexibility is brilliant design and makes him a little bit more Invoker-like. I like champions with multiple strategies.

    Destiny – Twisted Fate predicts the fortunes of his foes, revealing all enemy champions and enabling the use of Gate.

    This ultimate is very very good. It’s a global range instant Line of Sight (which is powerful enough already), which reveals invisible units and you can teleport anywhere on the map during the six seconds it’s active. It’s amazing. Use it to scout for junglers and gank the crap out of them. Use it to chase low health runners. Use it to reveal gank attempts. It’s one of the most versatile skills around and synergizes perfectly with TF’s playstyle. Of course, another awesome bonus effect is that you don’t have to run from your base to the front line after recalling!

    Passive: Second Sight – Twisted Fate and his allies receive an additional 2 gold per kill.

    Ewww gold skill. They should have done much better with this. It’s very boring and after seeing exciting passives on other champions, it just makes me feel like Riot got lazy. He’s not even a farmer or a support champion…

    Synergy

    Stacked Deck and Pick A Card are great together. Timing them both right will often result in kills and they both work perfectly to make TF into a formidable ganker. And what else could a ganker possibly ask for? Oh, a global Line of Sight with a teleport of course! Destiny, Stacked Deck and Pick A Card are like a threesome made in heaven. It’s like an orgy of angels. Unfortunately the passive and Wild Cards have no real effect on any of these other skills, so that will bring down what would be a perfect score.

    Fun

    After all the complaining about his passive, first skill and visual aesthetic… TF is extremely fun. The holy trinity of gank is enough fun to use that it doesn’t matter what he looks like or what excess baggage he’s carrying. Global teleport always has the possibility to be extremely risky and rewarding. It can almost guarantee kills in many situations, and killing is fun. Pick A Card takes skill to master, both its selection and appropriate use, and Stacked Deck gives TF a diverse item build strategy which prevents there being a single cookie-cutter build.

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    Sam’s Rating: 8/10

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    Galio, the Sentinel's Sorrow

    Galio the Sentinel’s Sorrow

    Aesthetic

    Looks: He’s big and he’s a gargoyle. I like it, not sure about the colour scheme though.

    Sounds: Gah, can’t remember. I don’t think it annoyed me so that’s a good thing.

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    Skills

    Resolute Smite – Galio fires a concussive blast from his eyes, slowing and dealing damage to enemies caught near the impact point.

    It’s not original but it’s a fine skill I suppose. Any problems I have with Galio are with his skillset as a whole, rather than any individual skill.

    Bulwark – Galio shields an ally Champion, increasing their Armor and Magic Resistance, and restoring Galio’s health each time that Champion suffers damage.

    It’s a cool skill. Great for tanking and I love that you can cast it on someone else to receive health. Adds a bit of thought and tactics to its use. Great synergy with your ultimate.

    Righteous Gust – Galio claps his wings, unleashing a gust of concussive wind that damages enemies and leaves a directional draft in its wake that increases ally movement speed.

    The direction draft mechanic is just too cool. People leave DotA for these sort of mechanics, making the most of the move away from the Warcraft III engine. Good stuff. However, I’m not really sure of the point of it. I mean yeah, it does a ton of damage but what is the point of this champion?

    Idol of Durand – Galio assumes the form of a statue, taunting nearby enemies and storing concussive energy as they attack him. Galio then bursts from his statue shell, releasing the stored energy to damage surrounding foes. Galio channels for 2.5 seconds, taunting nearby foes and blocking 30% of incoming damage.

    Oh that’s the point. I actually had a ton of fun playing as Galio, but writing down my thoughts on him has left me underwhelmed. It’s made me realise that the main reason I enjoyed Galio was because of this ultimate. It’s really awesome. It looks, sounds and feels great, causes a ton of damage and it’s just a crazy good initiation tool. Coupled with Bulwark and he’s a real pain to kill.

    Passive: Runic Skin – Galio converts 50% of his total Magic Resistance into Ability Power.

    Boring but valuable skill which fulfils his role as a tank with big damage.

    Synergy

    Despite my complaints, Galio does have decent synergy. The main focus of the synergy is surrounding effective use of your ultimate. Resolute Smite helps you prevent anyone fleeing from its effective range, Bulwark helps you survive the damage you’re bound to take and Righteous Gust helps you fly into the middle of battle. The problem with skills 1 and 3 is that this can all be accomplished with effective use of Flash… and to a much greater result.

    Fun

    While Galio was undoubtedly fun to play, he was only fun while his ultimate was available. I’m going to include “what’s the point of Galio?” in this section too because I feel it needs to be covered. First and foremost, he’s a tank. Bulwark and Idol of Durand both increase his resistance to damage, and the latter forces people to attack him. He’s got tankiness. However he also has chasing skills. Resolute Smite and Righteous Gust do a lot of damage (high ability point ratios) but that’s not going to get people to target him first. He just doesn’t seem like a credible threat in a team battle unless he has his ultimate. He’s a strange hybrid between spellcaster DPS and occasional tank. Yet he also could be called support because of his shield and movement speed buffs. Very strange champion, very strange design.

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    Sam’s Rating: 7/10

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    Cho'Gath, the Terror of the Void

    Cho’Gath the Terror of the Void

    Aesthetic

    Looks: Riot did well here, Cho’Gath looks awesome. He looks a lot like a Tyrannid from Warhammer 40k. His ultimate increases his size so he is very intimidating

    Sounds: Great. His voice is pretty scary, his quotes are cool and Feast sounds great.

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    Skills

    Rupture – Ruptures the ground at target location, popping enemy units into the air, dealing damage and slowing them. There is a 1 second delay upon casting.

    A long range, AoE stun which causes significant damage (has a high ability power ratio). It’s a skill shot so Cho’Gath gets plus points for that. Powerful ability which is fun to use.

    Feral Scream – Cho’Gath unleashes a terrible scream at enemies in a cone, dealing magic damage and Silencing enemies for a few seconds.

    Conal AoE silence, pretty standard stuff. Cho’Gath has some pretty powerful disables at his disposal, making him a target in battle. This is good because he’s a tank!

    Vorpal Spikes Cho’gath’s attacks passively release deadly spikes, dealing damage to all enemy units in front of him.

    This skill is a reason why you should take my reviews with a pinch of salt. Initially, and still, I think this skill is rather boring and doesn’t really fit his playstyle. Yet when I checked some guides on Cho’Gath, I’ve seen many people skip Feral Scream and max this before. That playstyle is based on just being a massive meatshield and auto-attacking. The playstyle I see most fitting is not dealing a bunch of damage but disabling often while soaking up the damage enemies throw at you. For me, this skill doesn’t really help either (it could be changed and wouldn’t effect either style).

    Feast – Devours an enemy unit, dealing a high amount of damage that ignores magic resist. If the target is killed, Cho’Gath grows, gaining maximum health (maximum 6 stacks). Cho’Gath loses up to 3 stacks upon death.

    This skill is tasty (mind the pun). It’s a standard execution type skill (see Axe or Garen for other examples) but it has a nice added bonus which perfectly fits Cho’Gath’s theme and playstyle. The +900 health is very handy late game, and with this skill and the right item build you will be effectively unkillable. This is a strong point because Cho’Gath’s ability to silence and stun are something an enemy would want to remove from a battle. What I really like about this skill is the extremely short range. It makes it difficult to use (it deals ridiculously high damage) and also encourages effective item build choices and use of Rupture. Late game it works as a massive single-target nuke, making Cho’Gath even more threatening in a team battle (when he’s targeting your squishies).

    Passive: Carnivore – Whenever Cho’Gath kills a unit, he recovers 40 – 82 (based on level) health and 8-16 mana.

    Gah! Last hitting passives! I really need to practice my last hitting in LoL, it’s so much more important than in DotA. Good skill though, it helps with his laning (coupled with his high HP and he’s a nightmare to lane against) and works like a health potion if you use Rupture or Scream on a bunch of minions. Great for escaping post-Feast

    Synergy

    Apart from Vorpal Spikes, Cho’Gath has a skillset which really works well together. Rupture helps you get into closer range for Scream and Feast. Scream and Rupture both work well to keep your Carnivore passive working. Scream and Rupture also combine to give you a hefty amount of continuous disables, which make you a high priority target and therefore synergizes well with the health bonus of Feast.

    Fun

    I had a lot of fun with Cho’Gath. His ability to destroy people with Feast, by eating them, never gets old. Rupture is challenging and rewarding to hit effectively. My only gripe is that Vorpal Spikes is so dull. Without that skill he’d be just as fun as he is with it! Not good sign of great skill design I think.

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    Sam’s Rating: 8/10

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    Veigar, the Tiny Master of Evil

    Veigar the Tiny Master of Evil

    Aesthetic

    Looks: Veigar’s look has grown on me. He’s basically Vivi from Final Fantasy IX with a really stupid walk. I think that’s what bugs me the most, the walk. For the purposes of these reviews, I really wish Riot didn’t invent this Yordle race… I don’t think I can ever like them.

    Sounds: Surprisingly good, and it has grown on me. He sounds exactly like my friend in The Bus People II & III (movies we made as college students), so I guess I’m biased. He does sound funny, like over-the-top evil, which suits his look and backstory. I just hate the “Is that a short joke?” line… it drives me mad.

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    Skills

    Baleful Strike – Unleashes dark energy at target enemy dealing magic damage. If a unit is killed, Veigar gains some ability power permanently.

    What seems like a standard nuke has been jazzed up with the permanent +ability power mechanic. And it’s some serious jazzing up. It seems simple, but I love this from a game design standpoint. Farming is the most boring part of DotA-style games for me. Last-hitting is important but I think it’s defeating the object of the game. I see the point of these games as a PvP battle arena, the creeps are just there to add an objective to the battle. I hate hard carries and farming skills because they promote this boring playstyle. But this farming skill is different, because it just grants power… not cash. It gives Veigar something to constantly do, an overall objective to last-hit as much as possible. What it doesn’t do is force him to lane. He receives +5 AP for a champion kill and he’s not thoroughly punished for leaving the lane to kill gank for a bit (because +AP isn’t as valuable as +gold). My favourite thing is that it gives you a sort of achievement to play for, to see how high you can get your AP in every game.

    Dark Matter – Veigar calls a great mass of dark matter to fall from the sky to the target location, dealing magic damage when it lands.

    Brilliant skill. It’s a skill shot with a considerable delay, but with a massive reward due to its high +AP ratio (+1). Mastering Dark Matter is key to mastering Veigar. It also looks great, sounds great and is great fun when chasing and ganking in general.

    Event Horizon – Veigar twists the edges of space around the target location for 3 seconds, stunning enemies who pass through the perimeter for a short duration.

    I just love seeing tiny changes on standard skills having massive implications in game design. Event Horizon casts a ring on the battlefield, which only stuns when people enter or leave the perimeter. Instead of being a standard AoE stun, the need for clever placing has so many more uses and strategies. If you want a standard stun, cast it so the perimeter is on top of the target. If you want to use it as a deterrent, it’s a double stun barrier in the way of their destination. It helps you single out foes (any supporters can’t get near) and, if you’re a real good shot, you can use it as a standard AoE stun for initiating. The synergy with Dark Matter is perfect too.

    Primordial Burst – Blasts target enemy champion, dealing magic damage plus the combined AP of Veigar and his target.

    This skill could be called ‘Ouchtown’. It hits hard. Not only does it cause 500 damage to a single target, it has a +1 ratio for Ability Power. Seeing as Veigar stacks AP, and increases it by last hitting, you’re going to be causing ridiculous damage. On top of that, it also adds the AP of the enemy target. The result is that while Primordial Burst is a powerful nuke against any target, it particularly destroys enemy casters. Veigar is his own worst enemy!

    Passive: Equilibrium – Veigar’s mana regen is increased by 0.5% for each 1% of mana missing.

    A pretty boring passive, but necessary. It helps him cast his Baleful Strikes more often when his mana pool is running low, which prevents him having to recall back to base all the time.

    Synergy

    Veigar is well designed. Baleful Strike’s +AP mechanic boosts Dark Matter and Primordial Blast. Event Horizon assists with general ganking (keeping people in range and protecting you from retaliation while using other spells) but its main synergy is with hitting Dark Matter. His passive is boring but it helps spam Baleful Strike in the early-game laning phase, so that’s good synergy.

    Fun

    Veigar is what Annie should have been. They’re both tiny, they’re both nukers and they both look ridiculous. But where Annie’s only fun is in timing Pyromania, Veigar has the +AP challenge of Baleful Strike, the rewarding Dark Matter, the strategic Event Horizon and the ultra-mega-ownage of Primordial Blast. He’s infinitely more enjoyable. You’ll get a lot of kills with Veigar and you’ll have fun doing it.

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    Sam’s Rating: 9/10

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    Zilian, Chronokeeper

    Zilian, Chronokeeper

    Aesthetic

    Looks: Zilian looks good. The massive clock at his back is badass and he’s got this floating Raiden style look to him

    Sounds: Also good. He’s got a decent voice and the sounds of his skills are fine.

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    Skills

    Time Bomb – Places a bomb on any unit, allied or enemy, which detonates after 4 seconds, dealing area of effect damage.

    This is a pretty cool skill. It’s Zilean’s only damaging skill but it can do a ton of damage due to its high +AP ratio (0.9) and the fact it can be used twice in quick succession using Rewind means it’s a great nuke which is fun to use with some quick button presses. It’s got a nice sound effect to it as well!

    Rewind – Zilean can prepare himself for future confrontations, reducing the cooldowns of all of his other abilities.

    This would be a boring skill (it doesn’t technically do anything on its own). I don’t like forced synergy and this is it by definition. However it’s really strategic and it makes Zilean’s spell combo quite fun to execute. Obviously, Zilean is balanced around this skill… so you shouldn’t spam it non-stop. If you’re caught at a bad time without Rewind ready, you’re going to miss opportunities to double Time Bomb or escape with double Time Warps. Then again, Chrono Shift has a high cooldown and it’s very useful. So you are encouraged to spam it as long as you ensure you’re making the most of it. I do this by flying around the map using Time Warp as much as I can, and using Time Bomb whenever possible. It feels like you’re always doing something with Zilean.

    Time Warp – Zilean bends time around any unit, decreasing an enemies movement speed or increasing an allied units movement speed for a short time.

    Woohoo! Dual effect skills! I love these types of skills and this one is simple but still cool. Do you need the speed to chase? Does your ally? Or should you slow the enemy? Does your ally need to escape? Would it help them reach a gank which would otherwise be unreachable in time?

    Lots of things to think about, so it’s a good skill.

    Chrono Shift – Zilean places a protective time rune on an allied champion, teleporting the champion back in time if he takes lethal damage.

    This skill is an interesting one. It’s essentially Shadow Priest‘s Shallow Grave, but it lasts ages. This has 2 effects. Shallow Grave is used to save an ally’s life, the same can be said for Chrono Shift. Because of the long duration though, it also acts as a 13 second deterrent from enemy attacks. Enemies can still attack you, but why bring someone down to low health if they can still cause damage, disable and protect their friends? Most team fights will be over in 13 seconds so it’s like an invulnerability shield.

    Passive: Heightened Learning – Increases experience gain of all allied champions by 8%.

    A nice skill to have in your team, but it’s not exactly fun or exciting.

    Synergy

    Zilean is a strange champion. He has decent synergy between his first 3 skills but his ultimate is standalone and Rewind is like cheating (regarding design for synergy). The only skills you can really judge are Time Bomb and Time Warp. These synergize well, with Time Warp making it easier to catch people for Time Bombs. Overall Zilean’s synergy is very weak.

    Fun

    Despite this, I had fun playing as Zilean. At least at first, using his Time Bomb+Time Warp+Rewind+Time Bomb+Time Warp combo is fun to execute. I like micro (Invoker is my favourite DotA hero) and this couldn’t get much more micro intensive. I can see Zilean being rather boring over time though. He has no real distinct role, he can deal a ton of damage early on but later he’s just a speed reducer/increaser who can save lives once a minute. He’s definitely a team champion and it’s hard to really judge him without playing online in a team.

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    Sam’s Rating: 7/10

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    Udyr, the Animal Spirit

    Udyr the Animal Spirit

    Aesthetic

    Looks: He looks good… I think. I don’t actually like his look, but the model itself is fine. The skill activation looks cool and his changing hair colour is a nice effect. I don’t like the style though.

    Sounds: Sounds good. Not much else to say! This champion is based around his four skill stances and they all sound nice.

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    Skills

    Tiger Stance – Tiger Stance: Activation – Udyr’s next attack will deal a high amount of damage over 2 seconds (based on his attack damage). Persistent Effect – Udyr’s attack speed is passively increased. In addition, Udyr splits his attacks into 3 lightning fast hits.

    Udyr is a completely unique champion in LoL. He has no ultimate and four skills he can level from level 1. Each skill changes his stance, granting an active ability when activated and then granting a persistent effect. Tiger Stance is apparently useless, which a few guides told me. Personally, I enjoyed using the skill when I was testing him out, although the cooldowns on his stances are so short that you often rarely have time to include it in your stance ‘dance’.

    Turtle Stance – Turtle Stance: Activation – Udyr gains a temporary shield that absorbs damage. Persistent Effect – Udyr’s attacks cannot crit, but he restores his health and mana equivalent to a percentage of his damage dealt.

    The defensive stance. Castable tanking (which you’ll recall from my Shen review that I love) and a nice way to recover mana from spamming your stances.

    Bear Stance – Bear Stance: Activation – Udyr gains a large movement speed increase for a short duration. Persistent Effect – Udyr’s attacks stun his target for 1 second. This effect cannot occur on the same target for several seconds.

    Definitely the best stance. It’s his chasing stance and what makes Udyr a powerful ganker. This stance I want to have activating as soon as it’s available.

    Phoenix Stance – Phoenix Stance: Activation – Udyr sends out pulsing waves of fire dealing damage to nearby foes for 5 seconds and has increased ability power and damage. Persistent Effect – Every fourth attack, Udyr engulfs enemies in front of him in flame.

    The main damage stance of Udyr. Provides AoE damage around him (which helps him more as a chaser) and makes him a very strong jungler.

    Passive: Monkey’s Agility Entering a stance grants Udyr 10% attack speed and 3% dodge for 5 seconds. This effect can stack.

    This is a very cool skill. It promotes constantly shifting stances to increase your damage and survivability, which is what you should be doing anyway. It’s nice to get rewarded for it though! By late game you’ll likely always have this at 3 stacks.

    Synergy

    Synergy is difficult for a champion  like Udyr because his skills cannot be used simultaneously. Stuns synergize with everything, so Bear Stance is naturally going to improve both Tiger and Phoenix stances. Turtle Stance gives him added survivability, so he can risk standing in a big gang of foes and casting Phoenix Stance. The movement speed increase and resistance of Bear+Turtle make Udyr difficult to kill.

    Fun (and other stuff)

    OK this has been a seriously short review. The reason why is because there isn’t much to his individual skills, but combined he’s greater than the sum on his parts. Udyr is fun to play, he’s challenging and it takes some level of mastery to effectively choose the right stances in the right occasions. I’ve added ‘And other stuff’ though because I have some major gripes with the design of Udyr. Riot could have gone so much further with his stance dancing concept than just boosting his dodge and attack speed.

    I can only play these champions in a relatively high lag environment with bots. This doesn’t lend itself well to playing some champions (see Zilean above), but it does give me a good feel for how they work. I first picked up Udyr and thought… whoa, if I switch to Tiger  while I’m in Turtle Stance I’ll be able to use the fast attack speed to regenerate quickly before Turtle wears off. This was amazing. Unfortunately this was just lag. For some reason, Riot didn’t include overlapping effects. The point of ‘stance dancing’ in all games (mainly RPGs and MMORPGs) is that stances have lingering effects which stack. If you switch from Healing Stance to Damage Stance, there will be a short time where you have both +healing and +damage. This is how it should done. In LoL, the only benefit you have when switching stances is the Monkey’s Agility passive and something to do while your favourite stance is waiting to be activated again. Imagine if Turtle’s healing effect lingered for a few seconds, it would make Turtle->Tiger an amazing healing spell. If Phoenix lingered when switching to Tiger, you could speed up your attacks and apply the ‘every 4th attack = magic damage’ proc… this would work as a nuke. Turtle -> Bear = Easy escape tool. Bear -> Tiger = safe damage gank style attack.

    If only.

    Udyr is fun but I can’t help thinking that there could be so much more to him if they took a risk and implemented lingering effects.

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    Sam’s Rating: 7/10 (with lingering effects it could push a 9)

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    So that’s your lot for this week. Sorry about a lack of Warrick and Janna reviews. I did enjoy using both champions quite thoroughly, but I haven’t remembered a lot of the details which I feel would be necessary for a quality review. This post is already about 3 days late so I really shouldn’t delay it any further!

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    Sam

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