League of Legends: Quoth the Draven
By Jason Harper (Hhean), OnRPG LoL Reporter
Welcome summoners, to the patch v126.96.36.199 article for League of Legends, the most dangerous game. This patch includes the usual champion rebalancing and Draven, the Glorious Executioner.
Draven is a ranged carry, focusing on flashy, high damage steroids and Youtube worthy skillshots. He has virtually no utility to speak of, but makes up for it with high mobility and a staggeringly high damage output. In this regard he’s more similar to characters like Vayne or Sivir than Ashe or Varrus.
The defining ability of Draven is his Spinning Axe [Q]. This steroid will enhance his next hit for a percentage of his total attack damage. After Draven attacks, his axe will bounce off his target and be sent flying into the air. If he catches the axe, his next attack will also be enhanced. He can theoretically keep this up indefinitely, and maintain two Spinning Axes at a time.
Where the flying axes land is randomized, but you can control the rough area where they’ll head in. After bouncing off a target, the axe will always go in the direction you moved after throwing the axe, but before it hit the target. If you don’t move, the axe will either bounce straight back to Draven, or land somewhere close to him. Given that the important window for directing your axe is the time between the throw and the hit, you should always attack your enemy from the furthest possible range. That way, you have the longest amount of time to either sneak in extra attacks, or get yourself in position ahead of time.
While you’re hurling axes all over the place, using Blood Rush [W] will help you get those sweet catches. The extra burst of movement and attack speed will not only let you catch more easily, but also get more attacks in between catches. Since every catch refreshes the cooldown of the ability, spamming this thing will allow Draven to move like lightning, and spew out a volley of attacks for as long as you have the mana (and the skills) to keep his Spinning Axe/Blood Rush combo going.
If the added attack damage from Spinning Axes wasn't nasty enough, the added bonus that they trigger Draven’s passive, Wicked Blades, is cruel and unusual. Unlike his brother, Darius, this passive doesn’t synergise with the rest of his kit outside of his Spinning Axe, but it does help with his itemization. Since it also works on critical hits, and can stack its effect, it allows Draven to have his damage output scale well in the late game when he’s not going to be concentrating so hard on catching axes. This passive just loves infinity edge and zeal.
It is worth noting that the catching of axes is more of an early game mechanic, as its easy to do during laning, but can be fatal during a team fight. If you happen to catch an axe, or it is going exactly where you need it, then grabbing it is great, but it shouldn’t be the focus of Draven’s game later on. The reason for this is the axes make his movement too predictable, allowing enemy teams to leap on top of him with ease, especially if they have some form of aimed dash. That, and there is often so much going on in a team fight that trying to keep track of the axes will often make you lose track of who to focus or where you need to be to avoid some big ultimate.
In the early game (or those rare occasions you’re fighting by your lonesome in the late game) the Spinning Axe, combined with the quick movements of Blood Rush, and his passive’s damage over time, make for a brutal harassment game. Every time he has a Spinning Axe ready, run at your opponent with Blood Rush, smack them with a Spinning Axe, run backwards while its in the air, and catch it a safe distance away from the enemy. You can repeat this whenever you wish, due to Blood Rush coming off cooldown with every catch, and Spinning Axes remaining in play provided you keep catching them. Draven wants to be aggressive in the laning phase, abusing these bonuses to drive his enemy from the lane and deny them farm.
Stand Aside [E] and Whirling Death [R] are skillshots that work exactly as you’d expect. Throw them at people to hurt them. Stand Aside can be used to pin people to walls, or shift enemies into your team, but don’t try to use it to save your own skin. Whirling Death is best used as a finisher, tagging enemies or monster objectives from across the map. However, if you think you can wrangle a shot to hit multiple people in a team fight, don’t hold back. Treat it like a combination of Sivir’s Boomerang Blade and Ezreal’s Trueshot barrage as it won’t do you wrong.
Take a level in Spinning Axe first, and max it out as soon as possible. Get Blood Rush at level two and max it out second. Stand Aside can be gained any time from level three to five, just in time to work with his ultimate, and should be leveled last.
As a pretty typical ranged carry, there’s not much out of the ordinary for his build. Start with boots and three health potions. Stack as many Doran’s Blades as necessary. Grabbing an early vampiric sceptre will help you stay in lane, especially if you don’t have a support who can keep healing you. From there, rush your infinity edge, grab a phantom dancer, last whisper and bloodthirster. If you get far enough for a sixth item, buy something defensive like a guardian angel or quicksilver sash if you’re having trouble, or grab another bloodthirster or phantom dancer if you feel like going nuts.
Run with 21/0/9 masteries. For his runes, the standard armour seals and magic resist glyphs remain good choices. Much like Varus (or indeed, any ranged carry), how you balance between his attack damage and armour penetration is dependent on if you want to strengthen his early or late game. For an early lane focused build, use full AD in both marks and quintessences, but for a more balanced build use three AD marks, six armour penetration marks and AD quintessences.
I’ve been having a lot of fun with Draven, and I don’t usually like ranged carries. Catching his axes makes his strategy a little bit more complicated than “Use steroid and right click” while still keeping his auto-attacks the core of his game. Unfortunately he isn’t the strongest character to grace Summoner’s Rift. While he has great laning presence, and a strong late game, his complete lack of any crowd control or dash means he really needs his team around him to keep him alive. In late game team fights it’s very easy for him to get melted without having any way to prevent his own death.
He’s certainly not a sure-fire purchase. If you’re into ranged carries, I’d advise giving him a go on his free week and see how you fare with him. If ranged carries aren’t your thing, he’s way too fiddly for the unfamiliar. I honestly don’t think he’s going to be seen a lot beyond his first few weeks after release, but I think he’ll still have a few fans.
Not much to talk about this patch, unfortunately. I don’t like talking about champion balance changes, because often to really get a grip on them you not only need to be playing the characters in question, but have a wider appreciation for how a stronger or weaker version of a character impacts the roster as a whole. The only change that I have personal experience with is the buffs made to my favourite mage, Swain, and the changes to him have been completely lacklustre. He really needs some survivability on his ultimate if his sustain is as low as it is right now. He still can’t survive using his own ability, as he needs to get close to the enemy team to use his ultimate effectively, but since it no longer helps him survive very well, he will just melt the moment he’s attacked.
Next patch will be bringing us ARAMs as a custom game mode though, so this is clearly just a minor patch between major feature implementations. I look forward to screwing around a fair bit when the 100th champion joins the league.
To discuss some of the changes yourselves, post in the massive League of Legends thread in the free to play MMOs section, or post in the comments section below. If you haven't tried League of Legends yet, you're missing out.