LoL: Week 17 Champion Reviews, Week 18 Rotation

Good day!

So last week’s selection was ok. Some great, some meh. Highlights were definitely Morgana and Lux, although Gangplank was much more fun than I thought he’d be. This week is thoroughly disappointing but probably because I’m still stuck playing with bots…

  • Annie (again)
  • Ashe (again)
  • Heimerdinger (again)
  • Taric (again)
  • Shen (again)
  • Rammus
  • Ryze
  • Akali
  • Poppy
  • Kog’Maw

I suppose it will give me an excuse to finally review Heimerdinger and Taric (who I missed their first time round), but this selection definitely has the potential to blow my mind. Expectations are low! Why? Well there are only really 5 ‘new’ champions for me and Ryze is one of the bots so I’m aware of what he’s like anyway. Akali doesn’t really interest me but I’ve wanted to use Kog’Maw for a while. Anyway, enough with the doom and gloom there are some great champions from last week. I’ve been crazy busy though so I’ve only got 5 for you. I played all of them at least once but I couldn’t give you a great review for Fiddlesticks or Gangplank without a few more plays. Tristana and Sivir look boring (Tristana is boring, she’s a right-click champion) and Kayle I didn’t have time to have a go with. I just hated Dr. Mundo (quite mid-game) so there’s no way he’s getting a review! So apologies about the missing reviews, here’s Amumu, Morgana, Lux and Gragas for you…

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Amumu, the Sad Mummy

Amumu the Sad Mummy

Aesthetic

Looks: Amumu looks kinda crap. I don’t really know how else they could have portrayed him, since he’s a tiny Yordle character. They could have not made him a Yordle I suppose, but it does fit his theme and skills nicely.

Sound: Amumu is the one Yordle that hasn’t pissed me off so far. Even Veigar was pretty good, but that short joke line drove me made quite quickly. Amumu doesn’t have any annoying quotes, his voice doesn’t grate on you and his skill sounds are actually pretty good. I really like the sniffling noise when casting Despair

Skills

Bandage Toss – Amumu tosses a sticky bandage at a target, stunning and damaging the target while he pulls himself to them.

It’s Clockwerk’s Hookshot, which is a good skill. It suits his role well and it’s fun to use. Can’t really complain!

Despair – Overcome by anguish, nearby enemies lose a percentage of their maximum health each second.

Firstly, great sound. The sniffling effect is kind of haunting and an effective way to give you feedback on whether the skill has been toggled on or not (looking at the button for toggle skills is annoying). As for the skill itself, it works well for his role. This is a big theme for Amumu, his skills work for his role although they’re not particularly interesting individually. It scales throughout the game and does more damage to higher HP targets, although the percentage is quite low. Since Amumu is a tank, he’s meant to be in battle for a long time soaking up damage. This skill lets him deal damage even when focused on (disabled for example) and he doesn’t need to attack specific targets, he just has to be there.

Tantrum – Permamently reduces the physical damage Amumu would take. Amumu can unleash his rage, dealing damage to surrounding enemies. Each time Amumu is hit, the cooldown on tantrum is reduced by 0.5 seconds.

This skill is very similar to Shen‘s Ki Strike. It works in exactly the same way. The more Amumu is attacked, the more times he can cast Tantrum. Without trying to sound like a broken record, it suits his role and encourages him to get hit. This is his reward for taking damage, despair is his reason for taking it.

Curse of the Sad Mummy – Amumu entangles surrounding enemy units in bandages, rendering them unable to attack or move and causes them to take damage each second.

Well, this is why Amumu is one of the powerful champions of the game. A great initiation and team battle skill which has the ability to turn the tables in any battle. It’s not an exciting skill (it’s a shorter version of Rooftrellen’s Overgrowth) but it’s very effective.

Passive: Cursed Touch – Amumu’s attacks reduce the target’s magic resistance by 15/25/35 for 4 seconds.

A good passive. Not only does it amplify the damage of all his skills (they all deal magic damage), it also assists mage allies with their damage. Amumu only has 1 targeted spell so he should be running around the front lines applying this debuff to everyone in range.

Synergy

He’s not interesting but he’s well designed from a usage point of view. Bandage Toss helps him get in range for all his skills. Despair lets him run around applying Cursed Touch without reducing his effective damage (like if he was an auto-attacking champion). Tantrum isn’t massively synergistic but it does fit his role very well. Curse of the Sad Mummy allows Amumu to keep Despair and Tantrum in range longer, while giving him a short time to hit a few rooted enemies to apply Cursed Touch.

Fun

I did have fun with Amumu but it was more traditional DotA fun. What I’m finding with League of Legends is that I’m really enjoying the crazy and original skills, but not really finding any of the standard DotA skills invigorating. Amumu’s only unique skill is Tantrum. Bandage Toss I’ve seen before, Despair could never be fun (Pestilence style AoE damage auras just aren’t fun to use) and Curse of the Sad Mummy is powerful but a standard ‘get into position and press R’ ability. I’m sure that in a team environment, in competitive play, Amumu is lots of fun. Winning is fun and Amumu is powerful. But from any other point of view, especially my viewpoint as a designer looking for exciting and innovative champions, he’s rather dull..

Sam’s Rating: 7/10

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Morgana, Fallen Angel

Morgana, Fallen Angel

Aesthetic

Looks: Morgana rivals Swain as ‘the best looking champion I’ve seen’ awards. She looks great. Her large skirt and busted up wings are distinctive, and the whole theme of a dark angel is really well portrayed. Her skills also look great, Tormented Soil being my favourite.

Sound: She also sounds great, from her voice to her skills.

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Skills

Dark Binding – Morgana releases a sphere of dark magic. Upon contact with an enemy unit, the sphere will deal magic damage and force the unit to the ground for a period of time.

Very powerful disable skill shot. Does brilliant damage (0.9 AP ratio) and it’s on a low cooldown. It’s a great initiation spell and also synergises well with your ultimate and Tormented Soil to keep enemies in danger for longer.

Tormented Soil – Infects an area with desecrated soil, causing enemy units who stand on the location to take continual damage.

The skill that makes Morgana a strong farmer and also a threat in close quarter team battles. This does some hefty damage but also reduces magic resistance, amplifying over time. Morgana is a strong team support/mage and this is a skill that deals great damage and helps your teammates. It looks and sounds sexy as hell too.

Black Shield Places a protective barrier around an allied champion, absorbing magical damage until penetrated or the shield dissipates.

Amazing utility spell. It removes and protects against negative spell effects such as roots, silences and other disables (not physical ones though). Phenomenally useful in countering other teams and specific champions, plus the damage shield is large enough to take a massive dose of pain off of nukes (even ultimate worthy ones). With Dark Binding, there’s no real way a single enemy champion could kill Morgana. Root and run, with magic immunity.

Soul Shackles – Latches chains of energy onto nearby enemy champions, dealing initial damage to them and slowing their move speed by 20%, and then echoing the pain 4 seconds later and stunning them if they remain close to Morgana.

Great theme, great look and great fun. This is a brilliant skill through and through. Deals massive damage if it echoes, while the slow is extremely powerful and disruptive. If the stun occurs… it’s essentially game over for the enemy team. The effect of this skill being cast will likely cause the enemy team to spread out, meaning you can pick off individual enemies with ease. If they stay bunched up then the stun coupled with Tormented Soil (and your allies) will make short work of everything. I’d love to see a Morgana and Anivia combo.

Passive: Soul Siphon – Morgana has Spell Vamp, healing herself whenever she deals damage with her spells.

Not super exciting but it’s very useful and has a strong effect on all Morgana’s spells. What makes it an effective passive for Morgana is that she needs to take damage to survive her ultimate (it’s going to give her a lot of attention). Coupled with Black Shield, she’s very hard to kill. Tormented Soil works as a heal in this respect, cast it on some minions and your health will regen rapidly.

Synergy

It’s like a dream. Dark Binding guarantees some major damage from Tormented Soil and the stun from Soul Shackles. Black Shield helps you survive Soul Shackles and also makes it difficult for any champion to hurt you while rooted in Dark Binding (they can still cast spells). Soul Shackles’ slow keeps enemies in Tormented Soil longer and Soil can work well as a deterrent from escaping Shackle’s grasp. Whatever choice results in death.

Fun

Unlike Amumu, Morgana is a hugely effective and fun to play.  Her skill shot takes a bit of mastering, Tormented Soil has an infinite skill ceiling for effective placement and Black Shield is like a twitch skill at times. She has a massive impact on fights but will be difficult to become truly a master with, due to the complexity of her skills. She can be a damage dealing mage and a support (or can specialize in either), giving you multiple ways to play.

 

Sam’s Rating: 10/10

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Lux, the Lady of Luminosity

Lux the Lady of Luminosity

Aesthetic

Looks: Lux’s model is nice enough. I’m not really a fan at all of her style, but it does fit her theme well so I can’t complain. I just dislike using goody-good-good characters in any game. Her skills look brilliant though. I especially like her ultimate and Prismatic Barrier.

Sounds: Like the looks. Her sounds are ample, nothing special. But her skill sounds are cool. Her ultimate is like LAZER POWER and the rest of her skills are touchy-feely light moves but Riot have given them a sound effect which maintains some badassness. They did a good job.

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Skills

Light Binding – Lux releases a sphere of light that binds and deals damage to up to two enemy units, dealing 50% effect to the 2nd unit struck.

No this isn’t a glitch in the Matrix, but you have seen this already! It’s essentially the same as Morgana’s Dark Binding but it’s purty and can bind a second enemy behind the first. As  I said with Dark Binding, it’s a fun skill shot which has a lot of uses for chasing, escaping and nuking.

Prismatic Barrier – Lux throws her wand and bends the light around any friendly target it touches, protecting them from enemy damage.

An interesting skill. Its effectiveness and necessity I cannot really test (the bots are so bad I never need a shield) but my god the casting mechanism is fun. You throw your wand and once it reaches maximum range it flies back to you. On the exit the wand is like a standard skill shot. On the return it follows you, meaning you can manipulate its path. You can use this to hit multiple allies (not just those in a straight line from you). The best thing about the skill is that it applies a shield when you throw the wand and when it returns. If you need 2 shields quickly, throw it in the direction you’re running (i.e. Run towards it) which will result in a rapid double application. Want to hit more allies or delay your second shield? Throw it where you won’t be running and the second shield will apply much later. It’s truly a brilliant skill and completely different to anything I’ve seen before.

I do wonder if they could have given it a dual effect though, making it effect enemies as well as allies… applying some sort of debuff. This would make it possibly the most versatile and exciting skill in the game so far.

Lucent Singularity – Fires an anomaly of twisted light to an area, which slows nearby enemies. Lux can detonate it to damage enemies in the area of effect.

Another exciting skill to use. When you cast, it slows enemies in the small range for 5 seconds. After this time, it explodes and deals magic damage. Lux can trigger the explosion earlier, but the obvious cost is that you lose the slow effect. An effective choice mechanism with a high skill ceiling. It also provides Line of Sight, so you can scout brush or a dangerous entrance for a short while.

Finales Funkeln After gathering energy, Lux fires a beam of light that deals damage to all targets in the area.

A very long range laser beam that deals significant damage after a short delay. It’s rather simple but takes skill to hit perfectly. It also looks incredibly badass. Without this skill, Lux would still be quite sissy and lame looking… but the sound and look of this skill are like “Oh no I ain’t muhf*cker!”.

Passive: Illumination – Lux’s damaging spells charge the target with energy for 6 seconds. Lux’s next attack ignites the energy, dealing 20-190 (depending on Lux’s level) magic damage to the target.

I love this passive. It’s not a boring, simple stat increase. It’s a bit like an active skill, since you can ‘activate’ it by attacking after your spell damage. Since you’ll be casting magic damage all over the place, it’s a great skill to give you that little bit more oomph.  It promotes using your auto-attack too, which I like with casters. It’s annoying when a caster is solely dependant on their cooldowns.

Synergy

Light Binding, Lucent Singularity and Finales Funkeln are part of your typical ‘Root/slow to hit my skill shots’ synergy. So that’s all good. As much as I love Prismatic Barrier, I don’t really see its point on Lux. I guess she’s sort of squishy but her spells have decent range so it’s not like she’s in danger much. The way its been implemented (the shield is thrown a long distance instead of restricted to a short cast range or an aura) means that it supports her position in the back row, but that’s not really a synergy it’s just the best way to implement a support skill.

Fun

I’m not sure how effective Lux is compared to Morgana, but she’s more fun to play as. Lucent Singularity and Prismatic Barrier are never boring to use, Light Binding also (although it’s not so unique). Finales Funkeln is not fun to pronounce but it’s super long range, great aesthetic and short cooldown make it amusing to use. Overall I can see Lux being a ganking support dream. She can nuke, slow and root but also protect against towers and counter-ganks with her Prismatic Barrier. I really have no complaints about her gameplay, she really is fun to use in every way.

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Sam’s Rating: 10/10

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Gragas, the Rabble Rouser

Gragas the Rabble Rouser

Aesthetic

Look: I’m very split over this one. His concept art and portrait make him look really crappy, but he’s not so bad in game. He looks kinda badass. Was very surprised and it was interesting that I was put off playing Gragas until last because of the concept art!

Sounds: He sounds good! His beer swilling sound is great, not overdone like it could have been (even with a burp). The rest of his skills hit with a nice feeling, sound being a major part of that.

Skills

Barrel Roll – Gragas rolls his cask to a location, which can be activated to explode or will explode on its own after 5 seconds. Enemies struck by the blast have their attack speed lowered.

Barrel Roll is very similar to Lux’s Lucent Singularity in some respects. It’s an AoE spell with a timer delay, which can be triggered early to deal damage. Unfortunately it doesn’t have the choice mechanism that makes Lux’s spell so good. There is no real reason to delay the damage except if you’re just using it as a deterrent… attempting to block off an area for example. It doesn’t do enough damage or have a negative status effect that will really deter anyone. While it does have a good AP ratio (0.9), I’m a bit inexperienced with Gragas builds so I’m not sure if stacking AP is an effective one. The Riot recommended items didn’t seem to think so. 300 damage at max level with an attack speed debuff isn’t going to deter anyone, so why the delay? I think this skill should amplify in damage the longer it’s ‘brewing’ and that the attack speed debuff should be changed to something useful like a CC effect.

Drunken Rage Gragas guzzles down brew from his cask for 1 second, restoring his mana. After finishing, he becomes drunkenly empowered, increasing his damage dealt and reducing damage received.

This is effectively a simple skill but the style of it makes it fun to use regardless. Usually I dislike the visual and audio style that Riot choose for most of the champions, but I think they got this one right. It feels great to use and it fits the theme perfectly. One issue I do have is that it lasts so long. The time difference between duration and casting is only 4 seconds. It seems a bit weird that they’d include a buff that you have to reapply 3 times a minute. It’s not skilful to use (it’s not a twitch skill like Shen’s Feint or Morgana’s Black Shield) and there’s no real cost to using it at the wrong time, since you only lose 4 seconds of the buff between applications. It begs the question; “why have the skill at all if it’s always on?”.

Body Slam – Gragas charges to a location and collides with the first enemy unit he comes across, dealing damage to all nearby enemy units and slowing their movement. Damage is split amongst units hit.

A very short distance charge skill which is nice for clearing minions or damaging single target champions. It gets you into the thick of things so that you can soak up damage (utilizing Drunken Rage). Apart from that it’s a pretty basic skill. The damage split means you’ve got to be smart in using it though. It’s a nice touch.

Explosive Cask – Gragas hurls his cask to a location, which explodes on impact, dealing damage and knocking back enemies caught in the blast radius.

A long range, large area AoE nuke with a massive knockback. I can see this skill being hugely effective in competitive play. It’s disruption is insane. With good positioning you can push the front line enemies into your meat-grinder while pushing their support allies away. The damage it deals is significant too, and I’m starting to think that an AP Gragas isn’t such a bad idea after all.

Passive: Happy Hour – On ability use, Gragas takes a drink restoring 2% of his max health over 4 seconds.

Another great ‘active passive’ like Lux’s. When in lane I try to spam my skills as much as possible so that I’m always regenerating health, it’s fun to try and maintain it with skill timing. Helps with his tanking and his general laning (melee always has it rough).

Synergy

The best example of synergy on Gragas is between Drunken Rage and Happy Hour. Rage gives you a nice chunk of mana so that you can spam your other skills, resulting in more health regeneration. Looping Rage and Happy Hour helps maintain your position in the lane.  I suppose Barrel Roll and Explosive Cask are quite synergistic. Barrel Roll’s slow makes it easier to target specific enemies with your cask (remember, you need nice aiming to manipulate the knockback). Furthermore, the delay on Barrel Roll means you can pre-cast it and then knock enemies into it with Explosive Cask. The reason I said ‘suppose’ is that the delay on Barrel Roll is pointless, the same effect would be achieved with just a castable AoE instant damage spell. It’s fun to try and get people to hit your barrels, but in my opinion it’s not necessary gameplay wise. Body Slam is a short speed increase which is always nice for a standard ‘helps me get into range’ synergy.

Fun

Despite my complaints, I did enjoy playing Gragas. Like Veigar, I enjoy the passive’s effect to influence me to play a certain way. Veigar needs to kill with Baleful Strike to increase his AP, giving you a long term goal to beat your best record. Gragas’ Happy Hour is a similar skill, in that you want to see how long you can keep it going for. It makes you think about the timing of your skills rather than the usual casting method of ASAP. Explosive Cask is devastating and has a massive effect on a team battle, and Body Slam is quite fun. He’s enjoyable to play as, but he’s not going to win any awards.

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Sam’s Rating: 6/10

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So that’s it for this week. Two 10/10 champions is pretty impressive! What I’ve noticed is that both Swain and Lux have been 10/10 and they are both the latest champions. Why this is interesting is that I used my 3200 IP earnt from bot battles to purchase LeBlanc (the latest champion). She’s also extremely awesome and likely to get a perfect score too! Riot are definitely improving their designs in my opinion.

Next week I might have a couple of reviews for you but I’m currently in crunch time at work. I worked from 9am-6am yesterday so, as you can see, it’s a busy time and I don’t have much time to play LoL. I’ll try to get something up though, perhaps a closer look at LeBlanc.

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Sam

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