Author: Ponnox

The Art of Pick and Ban: Part 1

Chapter 1: YOLO

Here we are, first pick in ranked, “Your turn to Ban” flashing before your eyes. What do you ban? Well the answer to that question doesn’t have to be as complicated as you may think. When we discuss solo queue mentality, you need to set yourself up for success; you need to put yourself in position to carry right from the start. That all starts in the Pick and Ban phase.

Banning is generally the easiest part of this whole process. What’s carrying all the games you’ve been playing lately? What has the highest win rate? What do YOU know? For the sake of this article eventually being outdated, I will preface that this is being written during patch 5.16, the Juggernaut Patch. We still have strong devourer junglers, a wave of carry top laners as we move away from the tank meta, and new juggernaut champions to square it all off. Where do you even start?! Well, what do you understand? Personally, I have played a decent amount of Shyvana, so I know what she is capable of, and I know what her win conditions are. This is an example of something you understand you can play around. Probably won’t ban her. However, I think I’ve played two ARAMS total with Mordekaiser, and that was pre-patch 5.16, meaning it wasn’t even the juggernaut Morde that seems to be rising in both popularity and win rate. I don’t fully understand his damage, what he needs, nor his win conditions. If I don’t understand the champion, then I don’t know how to play around it. Ban. Apply this to the typical flavour of the month champions that pop up due to the pro scene and reworks, and you should find yourself being a little less frustrated now that you won’t have a Mordekaiser hitting level 6 and blowing up your level 4 bot lane.

What to pick is something that’s a little different when you think about solo queue versus when you play a 5v5 with teammates you know (such as in SKL), so it has to be treated very differently. In solo queue, you’re going to want to play whatever you’re comfortable on. If that’s the flavor of the month, so be it. If that’s a top lane Aatrox that no one has seen since EU LCS Spring Split of 2014, so be it. Play what you want to play and don’t let your teammates talk you into a champion that you don’t know just because “it’s OP, dood”. Playing something you know will always be better because you will know that champion’s limits, strengths, weaknesses, and spikes. Solo queue should be about enabling yourself and putting yourself in the carry role. This applies all across the board, whether you’re top, mid, jungle, ADC, or support. Now, some people like to change it up in solo queue and play a ton of different roles, and some people find one champ they have success on and play hundreds of games with it and don’t care what their duo partner says (but TRUST ME CRAFTY BUCKEYE, NAUTILUS WILL CARRY US). That’s completely fine as well. The overall message of picking your champion is to stay true to yourself, by knowing your limits and knowing your strengths.

Stay tuned for Chapter 2, tentatively titled “gg report my noob team”, where I will discuss pick and ban in a more team-based fashion, focusing on pick and ban coordination for 5v5 settings.

All my love,

Feeder Ponnox

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Teemo

Here we are in the midst of many big changes being implemented right before the World Championships (Corki Buffs, where you at?). Many of these reworks, changes, buffs, and nerfs are very controversial, and I can foresee us going in depth with these changes and analyzing them when they become set in stone outside of the public beta. However, patch 5.15 has shown some very interesting changes in itself, and in this short article we are going to focus on the physical manifestation of evil itself, Teemo, The Swift Scout.
To start, I’ll just outline the changes that were made to Teemo, and then dive into what those changes mean for the little raid boss.

Passive– Camouflage
ATTACK SPEED BONUS: 40% at all levels ⇒ 20/40/60/80% at levels 1/5/10/15
STEALTH TIMER: 2 seconds ⇒ 1.5 seconds
NEW – SWIFT SETUP: Teemo stealths twice as fast while in brush
NEW – CROUCHING YORDLE HIDDEN TEETO: Moving inside brush while Camouflaged no longer breaks stealth

The changes towards Teemo’s Passive are by far my favourite alterations to his kit. The change to his passive alone will make him better in the laning phase from level five onwards. He now gets an attack speed buff from coming out of stealth, which scales all the way up to 80%. Yes, you heard me correctly, 80%. This doubles what it was before, which is huge. Especially since you now move faster in stealth and can relocate inside the brush without breaking stealth, in order to position better. Teemo lacks any real counters in lane, with the exception of match-ups against caster-type top laners like Fizz and Swain, who can essentially control the pace of the lane.

Ultimate – Noxious Trap

DURATION – 10 minutes ⇒ 5 minutes
NEW – SHRIVELING SHROOMS: Slow now decays over 4 seconds
CAST RANGE200 ⇒ 300/600/900
ARM TIME1 second ⇒ 1.5 seconds
NEW – THANKS ZIGGS: Casting traps on existing Noxious Traps causes them to bounce 3/4/5 Teemos further in the direction they were originally tossed
NEW – FUNGUS FARMING: Mushrooms now die to 3 basic attacks from ranged champions (2 basic attacks from melee)

The changes to Teemo’s ultimate can either be a buff or a nerf, depending on who you ask. I personally see it as quite a mix of both.
Why it is a nerf: First off, the slow now decays, as opposed to before when it was just a flat slow. This will not deter ganks nearly as much. Before, if a jungler hit a shroom on their way into lane, they would usually just skulk back into the jungle, knowing they had been made and wouldn’t have much else to offer, as you could just pop ‘Move Quick’ and zip back to your tower. This is not so much the case anymore, due to the changes. Also, the arm time is slightly increased, which isn’t a huge deal to be honest, but it is a stat worth noting none the less. The biggest nerf of all, however, is the duration of the shrooms being cut in half. Late game Teemo is all about controlling the map and all of its objectives by placing shrooms. Now, once late game rolls around, this can be frustrating to play against, but it is one of the few things Teemo really brings to the table. With this change also comes a difference in the vision the shrooms offer. Previously, the shrooms gave vision in the surrounding area where they exploded, but now on the live servers the shrooms give no vision. Riot has mentioned that this change to the vision was unintentional, as it wasn’t mentioned in patch notes, so we will likely see this come back when the next patch rolls around (it is already being tested on the PBE). Speaking of the Public Beta, they are currently experimenting with the shrooms giving vision of the champion hit by the shrooms, instead of the surrounding area. So it is slightly less vision than before the changes, but still vision none the less.
Now, why is patch 5.15 a buff? First of all, the cast range. Wow. Gone are the days of old where Teemo would have to face check the brush he was going to place a Noxious Trap into, because now at max rank you have up to 900 range, increased from the old 200. Now, that is much larger than some people may think, as it now gives you the ability to place shrooms over walls and into brushes without having to actually be near them. This will lead to significantly less instances of a Teemo getting demolished in the enemy’s jungle, as he is frolicking around littering his goodies everywhere. Another beneficial change is the new mechanic where if Teemo casts one shroom on top of another, the shroom will bounce. This is going to offer him something new in team fights, like the ability to dump some shrooms in the backline without placing himself in immediate danger. Last but not least, the shrooms do take a little more time to be destroyed by an enemy. They have similar health bars to those of wards now, where ranged champions take three autos, and melee champions take two, so they have to work a little harder now if they want to be clearing everything out.

All in all, I’m happy with the changes Riot have made. It makes Teemo a little more fun to play, as well as adds some interesting mechanics to a champion that deeply lacked any before. I do think that there may need to be some form of compensation for the shrooms, however. Perhaps in lower mana costs or duration. But as long as the vision addition comes to fruition, I think Teemo will be in an okay spot, even though he wasn’t in a terrible one to begin with. Regardless of any changes, Teemo will forever be the #1 pick in my heart, coming soon to one-shot a carry near you.

Warmest Regards,
Huge Troll Ponnox

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