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Carson “Xume” Montgomery
Hello, all. If you’re like me, waking up in the seemingly alternate dimension that is the preseason, you may have recognized that a few champions are over-tuned with the new masteries. You’ll also notice that these few champions seem to be on the perma-ban list, such as Yasuo, Soraka, and the likes of them. The preseason gave rise to other champions, though, and through lack of play time, and previously being a little underwhelming, these champions have flown relatively under the radar. So, if you’re like me and proclaim a new main every other game, follow me as I take us all on an adventure into the uncharted territories that is the pre-season meta, and shine some light on some of the underrated champs.
Even though he has a nerf incoming, I still think he will be in a position where he can do well with his sustain damage and anti-mid kit. The silence, which is one of the last in the game, being AOE brings a lot into the lane, along with his unavoidable Malefic Visions, spitting out constant DOT. The suppressive ult is also great to pair with jungle ganks if communicated well. The new masteries are also yours for the choosing. Whether you want a 45% CDR rage-inducing Malzahar, or a bursty void being, he really is effective. However, the biggest and most daunting weakness for Malzahar is his lack of mobility, and the fact that he is a very squishy champion to begin with.
With the preseason, you may have noticed the overall nerf and increased costs to AP items. Swain, though, is the one of the original Rod of Ages fiends, and that item was left relatively untouched. Now, in ARAMS you may have seen some people stacking Rod of Ages over and over and just becoming a tanky DOT villain. Surprisingly, it’s actually not the worst idea considering the position that AP items are in. Now, I’m not saying stack six of them and call it a day, but grabbing a second could actually be more cost efficient versus picking up any alternative, while still allowing you, as Swain, to do Swain things… You know, for Noxus or whatever.
I believe Nami is in a great spot, along with many other sustain supports, whom we have come to know in a very extreme sense (die, Soraka). Nami brings a lot to the lane with trading ability, sustain, CC, empowering autos onto broken marksmen, and most importantly, a great spammable laugh emote. While Nami may not shine as bright as other champions (die, Soraka!) I think she’s a great pick with a ton of play potential.
Now, I know you’re all thinking, “Ponnox, Corki is a marksmen, they’re all crazy broken!” While this may be true, I feel like when most people played Corki, they tunneled too hard on the package part of his kit. Then, when they realized that it wasn’t as strong as anticipated, shifted their favor to other marksmen with more potential (Caitlyn, Kog, Graves, etc). The true magic of his kit, though, is the amazing amount of AP damage he deals without actually building much AP. A fun alternative is solo lane Corki. Taking Corki to the mid lane and farming your heart out, while having tools to avoid ganks gives Corki a good laning phase, while keeping his extreme mid game intact. Tossing a Void Staff into the build around the fourth or fifth item isn’t too crazy either, and allows for better siege potential later into the game, as your rockets will pack a little more punch than usual.
While this may seem outrageous to most, we see a rise in the power of gems with the inclusion of the new masteries. The 45% CDR allows Taric to heal and stun to an insane extent. The changes to the Resolve tree have increased his healing and overall annoyance as well, as he gets right in your face and smashes that glass. He still lacks a lot in his kit as far as being an amazing champion, but this preseason was very kind to him and gave him that small boost he needed. Picking him against an AD heavy team while stacking armour wouldn’t be the worst thing ever on the Rift.
While this only highlights a few of the champions that have missed out on the spotlight that is the pick and ban phase, there are still many more that, with some experimentation, can be found to be a little abusive. It’s the preseason, so don’t be afraid to experiment. There is a wide and beautiful world out there to discover, once you see all the potential.
All my Hot Love and Hot Chocolate,
Bailey Ponnox Dietrich
We are in our sixth week of regular season matches right now, and we have seen a lot of instances of good pick and ban phases, as well as our fair share of bad pick and ban phases. In this second installment of pick and ban analysis, I will be going in depth about this process in a team oriented environment.
The first part, as always, is the banning phase. Hopefully, if you’re in SKL, you’ve done a little research on your opponents and know somewhat what they’re good at, or at least what they’re comfortable on. If you’ve done your homework, you have to think about that knowledge and evaluate it. Are they strong in the current meta? Do you know how to play around them? Is it something you play yourself and want to contest? All of these questions must be taken into account. Banning, I think, has gotten much more difficult in recent patches, especially since the Juggernaut patch went live. The sheer number of insanely strong champions is a little ridiculous, to say the least. It’s harder to choose who you should ban in these patches (currently in 5.20), as you have all the juggernauts persevering through some small nerfs, as well as other reworks like Fiora being dominant in the top lane. Personally, my mentality of the ban phase is it’s better to ban the devil you don’t know than the one you do know. For example, I have no idea what matchups do or don’t work into the new Fiora or how to play into them properly. I am going to ban Fiora and probably leave Darius and Garen open, as I know how to play against those two a little better than the alternative. They are strong, but have some more punishable weaknesses that I know of and know how to play around, compared to Fiora.
Other things you’re going to want to take into account are the individual players’ abilities. Has your opposing midlaner played Viktor as many games as he has been allowed to? Does your midlaner play Viktor? Well then you have three options. You can either ban it away, take it with pick priority, or you can play into it and possibly counter it. If you’re blue side and you want Viktor, you can easily grab it away and possibly force them onto a less comfortable champion. That being said, I am not big on first picking your midlaner. I believe mid and ADC are the worst lanes to pick first, with some exceptions like Sivir when she was in her prime. She was a go-to because even if she was punished, she still had a huge impact on the game. I like the idea of leaving those picks a little later into the draft, especially if your team is leaning to more immobile hyper carries such as Jinx or Kog Maw. Picking those too early in the draft can result in the enemy team picking a comp that could directly counter yours, which is why you should not show your cards too early. Another thing to think about with the opposing team is if there are any that have off-meta “cheese” picks. For instance, someone who is a Riven one trick pony might make you think a little more about the matchups, so you don’t go and first pick a Yasuo top knowing you can dig your own grave by leaving Riven open. So, in conclusion on bans, there are a lot of things to take into account during the ban phase, such as what is strong, what your opponent is really good at, and what we want out of this phase that can push the game in our favour before it even starts.
Now, the pick phase. The almighty pick. It’s crazy how much the side you’re playing on affects the pick and ban phase. Red side is often forced to ban away the OP picks in order to not have them first picked on blue side, because let’s admit it, Mordekaiser is some kind of sick joke from Riot about how insane they can make a champion. Like, as if there is a dragon taking our bot tower right now… But I digress.
In the current meta, I would say the first rotation for blue side will usually be a Juggernaut such as Darius, or depending on what junglers are available, an Elise would also be reasonable. This gets you a strong pick right out of the gates, as well as offering you a good amount of flexibility, since those picks won’t pigeonhole you into a split push comp like Fiora or Jax are wont to do. I believe that is why we aren’t seeing Fiora being picked up at Worlds too much, despite her strong laning abilities. It opens you up to being countered further down in the draft. Depending on what blue side takes first in the draft, you’ll want to counter that with taking some other picks that have a strong priority. Let’s say that the enemy team first picks Darius, which is a common trend. Red side will probably want to take away the jungle pick and possibly the support. They know Darius is going top, so they have no reason to take their own top laner right away, so they can take away a strong jungler, as well as one of the few strong supports. Second round you can take your other picks. In this rotation, it is acceptable to take the ADC, as your comp is starting to become pieced together by the enemy. You could potentially take a mid laner as well, if you still wanted to conserve your ADC pick so as to not get locked into a Draven versus Vayne matchup or something like that. If you are going to take the mid laner, it should be a safer laner with control or a strong priority into the team you’re playing against. Lulu and Azir are pretty safe to take earlier in the draft, as they can create pressure by shoving waves well, they’re not super immobile, and they have great kits for escaping ganks or even turning around roams. Riskier picks could be a Twisted Fate, or something along those lines, as he’s immobile and really depends on that gold card and flash to save him. In terms of importance I would say the second round of drafting on the blue side is the most important, as most of the time the first pick should be pretty much set in stone. For the red side though, I would say that the first round is extremely important. We are finding more and more in competitive play that teams are opting to take red side for multiple games in a row solely because it offers you strong picks, as well as letting you set the pace for your comp early on.
I hope this little diddy about the pick and ban phase helps any viewers understand why teams do what they do, as well as possibly helping out some future teams that are looking to make a break into SKL. These are solely my observations and opinions on the process, as lots of people’s views may differ from my own. I’m no professional player, but I probably should be, due to my feeder team not banning OP Yorick.
Your faithful hubby,
Bailey “Ponnox” Dietrich
Dazzle’s Discussions 001 – Sept 24th, 2015
Dazaninator and Silky Mittens premiere the “Dazzle’s Discussions” weekly podcast!
This week they talked about:
SKLeague, LCS and what teams they think will do well in the coming weeks. Changes in the Meta recently and they answer some questions that were asked by viewers on the stream.
Just a friendly reminder that registration will be closing in TWO weeks! On August 16th, 2015 11:59pm, registration will be closed and no more teams will be allowed to register. The qualifier tournament starts August 24th, 2015 and will run until September 4th, 2015.
Teams that are currently signed up will be receiving an email for more information. Captains, please start checking your email.
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