News

Farewell to Friends

We would like to announce the departure of two SKL Admins. Dylan “DXI Edge” Edgar and Brook “V Moppy” Wagner.

DXI Edge has been helping out with SKL since the beginning. His numerous contributions include securing major sponsors, helping with advertising, and assisting a great deal in the day-to-day behind the scenes workings of SKL. DXI Edge will continue to contribute by writing articles for our website, but unfortunately will have to stop with the administrative side of things for the sake of competitive integrity. He has left us in the hopes of qualifying for the regular season with his team, Indecision. We wish to thank DXI Edge for all of his help and we wish him the best of luck in the qualifying tournament.

V Moppy has also been helping out with SKL since the beginning, with his major contribution being designing all of the posters that you hopefully have been seeing all over Saskatchewan. He has left to focus more on work, as well as climbing that solo que ladder. SKL thanks V Moppy for all of his talents and efforts. They are greatly appreciated.

Once again, we would like to thank both of these gentleman for their hard work, talents, and contributions to SKLeague. We wish you both the best of luck in the future.

See you on the rift,

Zaramali 😉 (JK) and the SKL Team!

In The News: DaZaninator, Ponnox and Kadins talk SKL

WATCH

Gamers launch provincial e-sports league

REGINA – Saskatchewan is behind the times when it comes to competitive video gaming, but League of Legends enthusiasts are hoping to change that with a new e-sports league.

“In Korea the scene is huge and in China too. In North America it’s getting pretty big,” said Blake Zanidean, one of the people behind SK League.

Organizers have set up a League of Legends tournament, which will feature amateur players, but professional players can make a good living off the sport.

“Some of these players are bringing in more than most hockey players do. It’s very large in most other places except for Canada,” said founder Matthew Rousseaux.

Two years ago, he tried to launch a local league, but it didn’t stick.

“It got about a week into it and then it fell apart,” explained Zanidean. “It just didn’t have the manpower behind it.”

Now, a larger group of volunteers is trying to get the project off the ground once again, hoping sheer numbers change its fate.

“It is an incredibly popular game because it’s technically free to play. Anybody can jump in there and play it with minimal requirements,” said Rousseaux.

Originally, organizers wanted to see eight teams of seven compete in the tournament. To their great surprise, 33 teams and more than 230 players signed up.

“We’ve had quite a bigger turnout than we were expecting. It’s definitely good,” said Zanidean.

Both Zanidean and his friend Bailey Dietrich live in Saskatoon, while Rousseaux lives in Swift Current. Other players are spread out across the province. They are all united by their love of e-games, especially League of Legends.

“The game always remains fresh. They always update it. They always add new things to the game,” said Dietrich.

The players have been honing their League of Legends skills for years, spending countless hours experimenting with different heroes.

“At least an hour a night. But then if I have a lot of free time, it can easily turn into three or four,” said Dietrich. “There’s so much you can do, so much strategy around it. It’s really just a fun game to grab with your friends and play.”

Each game runs between 20 minutes and an hour, depending on the efficiency of the team.

“As a team, you really have to rely on each other. Every person fills a role and you want to destroy the enemy’s base,” Zanidean explained.

Participants are entering the tournament with various levels of experience, all hoping to take home the top prize.

A few teams have even signed up from Alberta, willing to drive to Regina’s Matrix Gaming Centre for playoffs in the fall.

The qualifying tournament starts online Monday. Registration is closed, but playoff games will be streamed online.

Via Global Regina

Patch 5.16 – Qualifier Patch

Hello ladies and gentlemen! It is August 20th and possibly the biggest patch of all time has landed! Rather than go over each item of the patch one by one, I’m going to give you an overview of what I believe will change in the meta after the patch, how the meta will be affected, and more importantly, what you need to watch out for going into the qualifying tournament. Let’s get started!

TOP LANE

Let’s start at the top of the map. At the moment, the “S” tier top laners appear to be Olaf, Gnar, Shen and Rumble (with Maokai, Fizz, Hecarim and Gangplank not being too far behind). If we take a look at which top laners were buffed, we see Darius, Lissandra, and Zac being buffed directly, while Rumble received a nerf to his ultimate. However, if we look at item buffs/new items such as Sterak’s Gage and Titanic Hydra, we see an interesting new addition to the meta; specifically, Sterak’s Gage and its synergy with Trinity Force. Previously, Trinity Force users (Ex. Darius, Irelia, Jax) would build just Trinity Force as a damage item, or sometimes one other damage item if they got REALLY fed (Blade of the Ruined King on Irelia/Jax, Tiamat/Hydra on Darius). Now, Sterak’s Gage allows these users to build Trinity Force into Sterak’s Gage, giving them survivability and a TONNE more damage (pun intended). Because Sterak’s Gage enhances base damage and not additive attack damage, Sheen and Trinity Force adds this damage. If we take Irelia, for example, at level 13 she has a base attack damage of about 100. That means before, Trinity Force proc’d autos would do 100 + 200 (Sheen Proc). Now, with Sterak’s Gage, before going berserk your autos do 125+250. After entering Primal Rage, this changes to 150+300. That’s a lot of damage on a champion that can easily do this every one and a half seconds.

So what should you watch out for in the top lane? I expect the S tier to still be Olaf, Gnar, Shen and Rumble (that ult just does SO much in mid game teamfights), but expect this to expand to also include for sure Irelia, and possibly Darius. I have not actually played much with Darius so I am unsure as to what this will do for him, however Black Cleaver seems core on him so I don’t expect him to build Trinity Force. In teamfights if he gets one kill with his ultimate he will be able to go nuts, so watch out for Darius in teamfights AD Carries! Fizz and Hecarim, although Trinity Force users, I do not expect to build this item due to their reliance on CDR and both their build paths taking too long to build it (Fizz’s build path is typically TriForce, BORK, Frozen Heart, Spirit Visage, Merc Treads and another item, while Hecarim goes TriForce, Frozen Heart, Spirit Visage, Righteous Glory, Boots and another item). This however could alter their build paths if this item is as OP as it sounds, in which case top lane will become “if you aren’t AP, and you don’t build Sterak’s Gage, you aren’t viable”, which may become the case.

TL;DR: Sterak’s Gage may change top lane to become land of the Trinity Force.

JUNGLE

One of the biggest changes that comes to the Jungle is the Cinderhulk change. After doing some math, this will help Cinderhulk users mid game, but reduce their late game (obviously, due to removing 10% of the scaling). Essentially, when you first buy the item, you receive 460 health instead of 375. Every 100 health you buy is 15 instead of 25, so to regain the 100 health you have to buy 1000 bonus health. Essentially, after two health items the item is even, and after the third or fourth health item, the item is weaker. However, one thing to keep in mind is that a lot of Cinderhulk junglers bought Frozen Heart as a second item due to the incredible amount of armor (100) and CDR (20%) it gave, which synergized with a lot of these champions’ kits (Ekko, Gragas, etc). Now, with the Frozen Heart nerfs, it will weaken these champions.

Before today, I would say Tier S belonged to Elise. Elise was queen of the jungle. If you couldn’t play Elise, you better be banning her.  This patch brings a nerf to Elise, but in my opinion, it’s a small nerf. 4% of current health may seem like a lot, but if you take the average champion health of 2.1k, that’s only an 80 damage nerf. Now you might be saying “Edge, that’s a LOT”. Well, it is. It is going to knock her down a peg, but Elise’s strength was never her human Q. Elise’s strength comes from her Spider Form execute, her rappel, her stun duration at early levels, and the damage her spiderlings do now, due to being magic. Although this will knock Elise down a level, she will still be a Tier 1 Jungler.

So who else moves up a notch? Skarner. Elise just moved down to everyone else’s level at Tier 1, which as of now includes Gragas, Ekko, Rek’Sai, Evelynn, and Elise. Skarner is now in this tier, or higher. If you max E, you can apply stuns to entire teams. His Spire near the Dragon allows you to solo it with ease, and if teams try to fight you near your spire they will get screwed. If you capture the spire near enemy buffs you can outduel opponents easily. Building Cinderhulk and Titanic Hydra along with Black Cleaver does a lot of damage and is very tanky, and his ult is always incredible. Skarner is Tier 1, maybe even Tier S.

Now, you might be asking “what about Devourer Junglers?” These junglers do not work well in competitive play. Do you notice how only one jungler in all four regions has been playing Devourer junglers? I’ll give some reasoning why. With a synergised team, vision control is increased in Ranked 5’s (or at least it should be). This means that at all times the Devourer jungler can be tracked if they are in their jungle. Early game ganking junglers, or junglers that bring more utility and don’t require items to scale are able to take advantage of this by a) counter-jungling, or b) snowballing the lanes, knowing the Devourer jungler will be too busy farming to counter-gank. For this reason, Devourer junglers should be avoided.

As for who I believe has the potential to move up a tier with the item changes, keep a lookout for Olaf as Righteous Glory is receiving a cost reduction (and this is a core item on the Viking) and he’s receiving two items that synergize well with his kit. I have a feeling the Viking will be receiving a lot of picks and bans in the coming weeks, even more than he’s currently getting. Zac may also be very good, so watch out for the blob…thing.

TL;DR: Elise moves from Tier S to Tier 1 (along with Rek’Sai, Gragas, Ekko, Eve), watch out for Olaf and Skarner jungle. Don’t play Devourer Junglers, as you will be exploited.

MID LANE

The major change we see in the mid lane is changes to Viktor (thank goodness, sorry Trendan). The “S” tier of mid laners before the patch were definitely Viktor and Azir, and now Viktor is being beaten down a notch with the change to his Hexcore. There was a helpful graph posted on Reddit the other day that basically showed that pre-16, any Hexcore (except for Perfect) is giving less AP (approximately 20 on average.) and less mana, but post level 16 with Perfect Hex-Core, Viktor receives MORE AP (but still less mana). So what does this mean for Viktor? Well for starters, the popular build of flat AP and CDR boots is not going to work anymore due to the mana nerfs. Now Viktor HAS to build a mana regen item (Morellonomicon, Athene’s) in order to stay on par with previous levels, and at level 7 if you upgrade your Hexcore, you can not one-shot casters anymore. Instead, you need an additional Doran’s Ring or Amplifying Tome in order to one -hot caster minions, which is rather important for his lane control. Although I expect Viktor to receive a few points off his winrate and his overall play rate to go down, he still is a strong champion. Just not Tier S anymore.

As for Azir…he was buffed? Yes you heard me right. Buffed. Not necessarily to numbers, but his soldiers receiving all around buffs to where they go and how they act, along with general bug fixes. As of now, he is still Tier S mid lane and should either be picked, or banned if the enemy plays a good Azir (build Nashor’s Tooth, Rylais, Zhonyas, Void Staff, Rabadon’s Death Cap and Sorc Shoes, Max Q-W-E). However, if the next few champions pick up play we might begin to see less Azir…

A couple picks to watch out in the mid lane are Leblanc, Zed, Lissandra, Kassadin and Yasuo. These champions are important for a couple reasons, and I’ll go over each of them in quick detail:

Zed: Half of his previous nerf was reverted, which is important. He can now return to his Shadow .5 seconds after landing with his ult, which is a big deal. Expect more Zeds to make a return, ESPECIALLY due to armor as a whole being nerfed.

Lissandra: I did not really go over her in the top lane portion even though I mentioned her, and that’s because of her potential in both mid and top. The heal added to her ultimate is important, as she can now wait a bit before ulting in the middle of a team fight. She can E in, use her spells, and THEN ult, rather than having to E or flash in and only use ultimate, as she will now be able heal back most of her health. This, along with the AP changes, might result in Lissandra making a comeback mid or top, but my guess is mid, due to her weakness to top lane Trinity Force users like Irelia.

Leblanc: Leblanc’s damage was never nerfed. Her W speed is going back up a bit, while she was already starting to see a bit of play in the east. This buff might just bring her back into the meta, especially since she counters a lot of mages.

Yasuo: Yasuo is an interesting one, as he is starting to see a lot of play in China, and a lot of pro players are spamming him due to a new build arising: Statikk Shiv-Trinity Force-Infinity Edge. This gives Yasuo his 100% crit again. Now the other reason I want to bring him up is Sterak’s Gage. Why? Well, we talked about Trinity Force in the top lane. And all Yasuo wants to do is dive the back line. This gives him more damage, more health, AND stronger Trinity Force procs. And armor is getting nerfed? Expect this to be a regular 4th/5th item on Yasuos. You should be afraid. The wind is coming.

Kassadin: These buffs to his ultimate help bring back some damage to Kassadin’s kit, and his core items offer the most AP in the game to scale with. Expect Kassadin to make a comeback, but he will still take forever to scale so CAMP HIM. CAMP HIM, CAMP HIM, CAMP HIM.

TL;DR: Viktor not as strong but still good, Azir still very strong, expect assassins to make a comeback due to defensive item nerfs and buffs to the champions.

AD CARRY

Not much happened to AD Carries except for armor reduction. There was one key factor, however: Randuin’s now reduces critical strike damage, and more people will be building health due to the new items. This makes Blade of the Ruined King users, such as Vayne, much stronger, and AD Carries that use Infinity Edge slightly weaker. Expect Tier 1 Ad Carries to be Vayne, Kalista, Corki, with Lucian potentially making a comeback, and Bloodthirster Draven being stronger than IE Draven now. Another champion to keep an eye on as to whether he will be good or not? Mordekaiser and his mighty ghost dragon.

TL;DR: Seriously? Just read it.

SUPPORT

Alistar received a nerf to his Headbutt-Pulverise combo (or a buff to those of you that could not do it easily) in that it can be dodged easier due to him moving slower. Nami also received a substantial buff to her movement speed increase while using spells on champions, and more specifically, her ultimate, which now gives allies 120 movement speed when it hits them! This is a very good buff to Nami, and I expect her to be Tier 1 now, along with Braum.

TL;DR: Alistar nerfed, Nami tier 1.

 

Whew. That’s a lot to take in. So, what did we learn? Well, top lane is going to be dominated by Trinity Force users and AP laners. Why? AP laners, because AD Assassins like Zed and Yasuo are going to be making a comeback, and Elise/Nidalee have been nerfed which restricts the amount of AP damage sources in other lanes. Expect Rumble, Lissandra, Lulu, Olaf, Gnar, Irelia, Shen, and Gangplank to be the most played top laners moving forward, with Darius potentially being very VERY strong. Jungle will stay about the same with Skarner potentially being broken, however these defensive item changes and Titanic Hydra may be more impactful than I thought. Elise will also be tuned down a bit (thank goodness). In mid lane, expect Azir to be picked or banned. However, a resurgence of assassins may stem this a bit. AD Carries will be about the same, but Infinity Edge users did receive a nerf due to the Randuin’s change. Vayne, Kalista and Corki are my top three moving forward. For supports, Nami will be Tier 1 along with Braum. Alistar might be knocked down a tier due to the W speed nerf.

Expect basic team comps to be:

AP Top-Tank Jungle-AD Mid-Corki-Support

Trinity Force Top-Tank Jungle-AP Mid-ADC-Support

That’s all for today. I will probably update next week for the sixteen remaining teams to see if I was right or wrong, along with what I might have missed.

 

Thanks for reading!

Dylan “DXI Edge” Edgar

 

 

 

 

 

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

Registration ending soon!

Hey everyone!

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.

For more important dates, please visit our about page!

Welcome to the Jungle!

Hello, for those of you who don’t know me, my name is Dylan “DXI Edge” Edgar. A little bit of background, I’m a Platinum Top Laner and Jungler who excels at League of Legends theorycrafting and builds, as well as optimal meta picks (and I’m also a Yasuo/Ekko fan boy).
Today I’m going to talk about the Jungle meta leading into SKLeague, or specifically, which champs are good right now, how to build them, how to gank with them, and how to maximize your champion.

If you have been following competitive play, you will know that since the Cinderhulk patch, 2 junglers have reigned supreme: Gragas and Rek’Sai. These champions are king and queen of the jungle and are the epitome for what a team needs in the jungle. Why is this? The answer: flexibility.

Let’s start with Gragas. Gragas’ utility comes from the fact that he can disengage or engage, he is good both early and late, he has a percent health skill on a four second cooldown at level nine (not including any CDR), has good sustain in the jungle for early ganks, and is a beefy tank. His bread and butter is his W, probably one of the best skills in the game. With 40% CDR (Frozen Heart, Locket of the Iron Solari, and Runes/Masteries) he can have an auto attack every 2.4 seconds that does 140 + .3 AP + 12% max health. On an average enemy with 2.1k health at level 18, and approximately 40 AP (18 from runes and 22 from masteries at level 18), this means every 2.4 seconds Gragas’s auto attack does 400 bonus magic damage (with his auto damage added, we’re looking at a 500 damage AUTO ATTACK). Not only this, with 40% CDR, his W passive (18% damage reduction for 2.5 seconds) is always up. 100% uptime. On top of this, part of what makes him so likeable in team play is the fact that he can build Sightstone. This is an underrated fact when playing ranked 5’s, and something I don’t see enough from Junglers. Buying wards is great, but as a Jungler, unless you snowball early, buying wards every back can delay you from getting tanky. Although you should still regularly buy pink wards, (watch for my next article where I discuss optimal pink placement!), buying a Sightstone not only makes you tankier (190 health when paired with Cinderhulk) it also gives you regular wards for free every time you base, allowing you to ward for your laners and the enemy jungle, saving even more money for your laners to buy the important power spike items to allow to fight easier. The fat man is here to stay for a while!
Optimal masteries on Gragas: 21/9/0 (5% CDR, Arcane and Martial Mastery)
Optimal Runes: Attack Speed Marks, Armor Seals, 6 CDR/3 AP Glyphs, 3 AP Quints
Skill order: Start E-W-Q, max R-W-Q-E.
Ganks: Early on, use your E to go over walls to help position in locations the laner won’t expect. Try to initiate with Q and get in for auto attacks with red buff. Only engage with E if you have your ult up, or if you can 100% land the stun for your laner to follow up with CC. Watch your casks, and practice flash-E!
Core Items: Cinderhulk (Purple Smite), Frozen Heart, Locket of the Iron Solari, Righteous Glory, Spirit Visage, Randuin’s

Next up, the queen of the jungle: Rek’Sai. Why is she so popular? Well, same thing as Gragas. We have jungle sustain, good early ganks, and can build a Sightstone in her build path. What she gains over Gragas comes from the global pressure from her ult, and the fact she can poke with her Q (180 damage every 7 seconds is no joke, folks). Her biggest boon, however, is her passive. Rek’Sai’s sonar vision allows her to scout the enemy jungler without putting herself in harm’s way, as well as seeing approaching laners looking to countergank/deep ward in the jungle. This is huge, as in ranked 5’s information is the best resource possible. Knowing the jungler is top side while attempting to deep ward while not actually seeing the jungler is massive, and lets the laners know they can play aggressive without consequence. Use your ult to get back to the jungle quickly after basing, or to rejoin a fight after getting low. Use your tunnels everywhere, and try not to use too many in base to get back. Saves time sure, but you only have so many you can use on the map!
Optimal Masteries on Rek’Sai: 21/9/0 (AS, Double Edged Sword, Blade and Spell Weaving)
Optimal Runes: AD Marks, Armor Seals, 6 CDR/3 Scaling MR Glyphs, 3 Attack Speed Quints
Skill Order: Start Q-W-E, max R-Q-E-W
Core Items: Warrior/Cinderhulk (Red Smite), Sightstone, Black Cleaver, Randuin’s, Spirit Visage, Locket of the Iron Solari
Ganks: Your E can allow you go over a lot of walls laners won’t expect. Try to go behind the laner, and remember: since the nerf on her W, auto attacking to unburrow yourself won’t knock people up. You have to position yourself just inside your auto range while popping up to get the knock-up. Also remember to put your tunnels in deep locations to surprise the enemy laner with a gank, or surprise the enemy Jungler with a cross map invade/countergank after showing somewhere on the other side of the map!

Now, let’s move on to my two favourite junglers at the moment: Nidalee and Ekko!
First, Nidalee. The terror of solo queue, sporting a whopping 55% win rate in Platinum and above elo at the moment. Her early game is incredible, her ganks are strong, her dueling is insane, and she has great sustain. Her major weakness is her snowball nature, and the fact that she isn’t great in teamfights/late game (but this can be fixed by building a proper comp!) If she lands a spear on a laner for a gank, not only does it damage for a significant portion, but it also allows her leap to become a 750 range targeted gap closer, while also gaining 30% move speed towards her target. As if that wasn’t strong enough, she gets a SECOND leap that’s 375 range within two seconds of the first jump, meaning she can follow flashes. And just when you think you’re free and behind your tower, she throws a spear to finish you off and laughs as she pounces away. If Nidalee snowballs, your team is in trouble, as she can single-handedly carry solo queue games with her damage. If she doesn’t snowball, however, she just becomes a spear throwing heal bot late game, which isn’t as impactful as other late game junglers at the moment and is countered by quick hard engage.
One thing to note about Nidalee is her level 2 cheese. Rather than starting Gromp or Krugs, Nidalees often start their buff and get a leash from laners to finish the buff quicker. As almost all Nidalees start Q, they go W second to pounce over dragon wall to get to the enemy buff faster, and catch the enemy at their buff, tanking damage from the buff. Nidalee can spear-execute the buff to take it, and possibly even kill the jungler at their buff as well, effectively destroying the enemy jungler’s early game while snowballing Nidalee. Ways to stop this are starting your buff rather than Gromp/Krugs (which you should be doing against Elise, Lee Sin, Udyr, Shaco and Nidalee at ALL TIMES) to prevent this snowball from happening, or starting on the opposite side of the jungle.
Optimal Masteries on Nidalee: 21/9/0 (Martial and Arcane Mastery)
Optimal Runes: AD marks, Armor seals, AP Glyphs and AP Quints
Skill Order: Q-E-W (unless invading, in which case go Q-W-E), Max Q-E-W
Core Items: Runeglaive (Purple of Blue Smite), Rod of Ages, Abyssal Scepter, Zhonyas Hourglass, Void Staff, Ludens Echo, Rabadon’s Deathcap.
Ganks: Use brushes for the movement speed. Land Spears, and your combo is Spear-Cougar Form-W-E-Q-W. Remember, switching to cougar form is an auto reset and cougar Q is also an auto reset. This allows for killing wards level 1 if you’re quick by Auto-R-Auto-Q. Also helps when taking towers

Now to my favourite jungler right now: Ekko. Ekko was initially released as an AP mid laner, whose upside was his damage with his utility. It was realized, however, by many people (one of whom tried telling me earlier, but I didn’t listen) that this utility could be used in the jungle. What spawned is now tank Ekko. Tank Ekko is an interesting beast, as he still does a LOT of damage from his two passives (his three hit passive and his W execute passive), has a dash and gap closer in his E, and if used properly, his stun can be used very well in ganks. What really pushes him over the top, however, is his ultimate. Where AP Ekko would like to use his ult as a one shot tool, tank Ekko uses it as a re-engage or heal tool, giving him immense flexibility. One of the strongest plays to do with Ekko (and when used in a kite/poke comp, is insanely effective) is to run away while the enemy tries to engage. Throw your W over your shoulder, and when your “Time Shadow” is within the circle when enemies are, ult back and deal some moderate damage while also instantly stunning the enemies for 2.5 seconds. Also, this last patch he got some quality of life buffs with his E cooldown being reduced and his Q mana cost being reduced allowing him to clear the jungle a little bit easier and not running out of mana as quickly (which was becoming a problem).
Optimal Masteries on Ekko: 21/9/0 (Martial and Arcane Mastery, Double Edged Sword)
Optimal Runes: AS Marks, Armor Seals, 6 CDR/3 AP Glyphs, AP Quints
Skill Order: W-Q-E, Max R-Q-E-W
Core Items: Cinderhulk (purple smite), Frozen Heart, Sightstone, Locket of the Iron Solari, Spirit Visage, Randuin’s.
Ganks: Try to predict movement with your W, and use your dash as your W Shadow swings his bat and makes the “twang” sound, as that is when the enemy can see the circle. Use your Q after you land your E to land a guaranteed slow, as well as easy procs for your auto attacks, which both slow and speed you up. Kiting back and re-engaging with R-W combo is very important to master.

Lastly, we come to the third set of junglers: Devourer junglers. For this section, we will focus on Shyvana and Xin Zhao as these two are, in my opinion, the best Devourer junglers (most of what I say in this section applies to all devourer junglers, but these two will be described in more detail). Most of these junglers have exceptional clear speed as well as multiple on-hit abilities and scale well with attack speed, which allow them to maximize devourer as an item. For all but Kayle, most devourer junglers go Devourer into Blade of the Ruined King to give more attack speed, more on hit effects, and Cutlass gives them more sustain in the jungle as well as a slow for ganks. This is followed by, again for all but Kayle, mostly full tank. However if you are significantly ahead you can also go for more damage effects (but I would recommend full tank). Since I’ve had this question quite a bit, a good time to get Devourer is before 20 minutes, with 17-18 minutes being a very good time and I’ve had it transform as fast as 14 minutes (however this was a VERY niche case). One thing to note: if you can, base early to upgrade your smite to get the extra gold when killing camps, and try to wait for the 1400 gold after that to base and upgrade straight to Devourer. This allows for efficient Devourer timing. Also, try to prioritize early dragons and scuttle crabs, as five and two stacks respectively is necessary to stack faster.

Let’s start with Shyvana, as she is the only devourer jungler to see play in competitive so far. Her strength is by far her clear speed. There have been many times where I clear my jungle and by the time I do a scuttle crab and walk back to the first camp, it is either just respawning or waits a little bit longer even! Her AoE and percent health on hit is amazing, and she is probably the best champion that scales with attack speed just based on what attack speed does to her kit (reduces Q cooldown, on hit while W is up and extends W, E procs and also making your ultimate come up faster), and giving her more reason to build attack speed while also building attack speed…it’s a match made in heaven. The one downside to Shyvana, as has always been the case, is that her ganks aren’t exceptional and she has no real CC. However, if you saw Hai’s games on Shyvana, you will see that a lot of high elo junglers are taking exhaust on her rather than flash, something that is becoming more and more popular lately, however this is typically seen on aggressive top laners (Smite/TP, Ignite/TP). The thing is, with her ult on such a short cooldown she really does not need flash as much as other junglers, and she is able to use exhaust as a form of CC, a tool for counter jungling, and diving the back line easier and singling out the ADC. Something to keep in mind: once she hits Devourer, she can solo dragon with ease, even at level 4 or 5, so if you’re on the enemy team, make sure to ward dragons early and often!
Optimal Masteries: 21/9/0 (Martial Mastery, Blade/Spell Weaving, 5% CDR)
Runes: Attack Speed Marks, Armor Seals, Scaling CDR Glyphs, Attack Speed Quints
I’ll quickly go over this as this is an odd rune page to be sure. With 20% CDR and max level Q, the cooldown on it is essentially 1.5 seconds. This is absurd with Devourer, as if you Q the same time your devourer procs (no, it does not automatically trigger devourer) you trigger on hit effects 4 times in one auto attack.
Skill Order: W-Q-W-E (Max R-W-Q-E)
Ganks: Well, Shyvana doesn’t gank well. It’s that simple. However, look for opportunities to counter-jungle and counter-gank, as skirmishes and duels are what Shyvana excels at, especially with exhaust. So the key to playing Shyvana is to anticipate the enemy jungler and abuse the fact you are better than them at fighting. You typically want to play Shyvana with lane bullies or laners that can play super safe without jungle pressure needed.
Core Items: Devourer (Blue Smite), Blade of the Ruined King, Randuin’s, Banshee’s Veil, Thornmail, Locket of the Iron Solari

Finally, we come to Xin Zhao. In my opinion, Xin Zhao is the best jungler in the game right now, and people will begin to realize this if he starts to see competitive play soon. He has a targeted dash/slow, a knock-up, incredible sustain, and a good engage tool/damage tool with his ultimate. Sure, he doesn’t utilize Devourer as well as someone like Kayle or Shyvana with the on hit effects, but the utility he brings and the early ganks he’s allowed to do while still scaling into a legitimate tank assassin late game that can make an ADC’s life a living hell is incredible. On top of that, Devourer allows him to use his Q such that the knock-up happens after two auto attacks rather than three! He also uses Black Cleaver very well, which he can build if he snowballs early (which he often does). Watch out for Xin Zhao in your upcoming solo queue games, and if you haven’t already, start learning this monster!
Optimal Masteries on Xin Zhao: 21/9/0 (Martial Mastery, Blade/Spell Weaving, 5% CDR)
Optimal Runes: AD Marks, Armor Seals, Scaling MR Glyphs, Attack Speed Quints (Also trying Attack Speed Marks and Movement Speed Quints)\
Skill Order: W-Q-E (Max R-E-Q-W
Core Items: Devourer (Red or Blue Smite), Blade of the Ruined King, Randuin’s, Spirit Visage, Thornmail, Black Cleaver, Ravenous Hydra
Ganks: Walk up to anyone and E them. Use your Q after you auto attack for an auto attack reset, and activate W before you use Q to reduce the cooldown of your W. Try to use your ult early as it does Current %Health, not Max% health. Another ganking tool is to E to creeps behind a target, or to walk behind a target and ult them backwards for a knockback and then use E to follow up after a flash.

Well, that’s all for this week. If you have any questions feel free to send me a message in game or on twitter @DXIEdge.

Thanks for reading!
Dylan “DXI Edge” Edgar

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