League of Legends: Someone Set Up Us The Bomb!
By Jason Harper (Hhean), OnRPG MOBA Reporter
Welcome summoners, to the patch v126.96.36.199 article for League of Legends, the game that asks “What makes a good Demoman?”. This patch includes upgraded robot foes, some very well thought out champion changes, shiny new items and Ziggs, The Hexplosives Expert.
Ziggs is a highly versatile nuker, with a good set of utility and crowd control in addition to his absolutely sickening damage output. He’s quite a technical champion, with multiple ways to use every single one of his abilities, and absolutely no auto targeted spells. That said, the core of his gameplay is very simple, allowing for a steady, highly satisfying, skill progression as you get to grips with him. Anyone who enjoys mages of any sort should give him a look, and while the mentality required to play him is not dissimilar to many mages, he doesn’t really have any direct overlap with anyone else that I can think of.
Most of the time with Ziggs you’re simply going to be poking or farming with his Bouncing Bomb [Q], which is a moderate damage, low cooldown spell that uses a brand new bouncing mechanic. It functions much like a standard AoE, but if the bomb makes contact with the ground without hitting anything, it bounces in a straight line in the same way as a skill shot, allowing him to extend the range of the ability. How much this range get extended by depends on how far you threw the bomb initially, so getting used to the distances of the bounces can require a bit of getting used to. These secondary bounces allow him some incredible poking distances, though at the cost of reliability.
Backing up his bread and butter Bouncing Bombs, Ziggs can make frequent use of the most versatile piece of his kit, the Hexplosive Minefield [E]. Ziggs throws out a cluster bomb that fires out a small circle of smaller bombs that damage and slow any enemies that hit any one of these bombs, though the damage goes down with each successive hit. This thing hits like a truck if you can force enemies to go through it, the slow can be absolutely brutal and to top it off the mines stay around for a very long time - A staggering ten seconds of area denial. This thing can act as a very effective deterrent, using it to block off passageways to cut teams in half during team fights, stop escaping enemies or even to secure your own escape as you run through them. Not only that, it’s a great farming tool, and using the mines as a simple nuke works great when the slow also lets you land his other abilities far more easily. One of the funniest gimmicks to pull on people is dropping a minefield just after a bit of brush, so they can’t see the deathtrap lying in wait for them.
What’s even more ridiculous is Hexplosive Minefield isn’t even his dedicated utility spell. That honour would be taken by Satchel Charge [W], a tricky little AoE spell that gives Ziggz even more tools at his disposal. When Ziggs throws out the charge, it grants vision until its detonated, allowing it to be used as a scouting tool. When he does detonate the ability, which will occur either with a second button press or after a set period of time, the charge will damage anyone in the blast, and knock them into the air for a short distance. This can be used for any number of tricks, like positioning the charge at the end of a minefield to blow enemies back into it, interrupting charged abilities or simply buying time for an escape.
On the topic of escapes, the charge can also be detonated on Ziggs himself, propelling him far into the air and moving him a longer distance without taking any damage himself. This is a rather unreliable means of escaping though, as getting off the explosion at the correct time, in the correct place so you can get to safety can be very tricky to pull off in the heat of the moment. When you absolutely need it though, it’s always worth the risk of trying to blow yourself over a wall to safety. A word of warning about using the blast trick with enemies very close though - You can run the risk of blowing your enemies in the exact same direction as Ziggs, which can often hurt you more than help.
There isn’t much to say about his ultimate beyond the fact that it is amazing. Mega Inferno Bomb [R] is a literal nuke, able to be hurled at the same distances as other semi-global ultimates like Twisted Fate’s Destiny or Nocturne’s Paranoia. This thing will scythe off the health of anyone caught in its massive blast radius, but it has a very slow projectile speed and a long cooldown, so it has got a very high risk versus reward. This risk diminishes more as the game progresses though, and the enemy starts clumping up more and more. Simply wait for the enemy to get committed to fighting in a single spot, or are under the effects of crowd control, and dump this bad boy on them to instantly win any team fight.
When playing against Ziggs, bear in mind that his movement speed is a little below average, and he is very squishy, even for a mage. Make sure he dies first in any team fight you get into, as a single well placed Mega Inferno Bomb could spell the end for your team. Also in team fights, avoid narrow passageways when engaging on the enemy, as these areas make his Hexplosive Minefield much harder to avoid, and allow him to potentially cut your team in half. In the lane, watch out for when his bombs are glowing red, since that means his passive is up. Taking a hit from his first auto attack will usually mean a trade in his favour, so wait for him to burn the passive on a last hit before trying to harass him. If he looks to be throwing a lot of long range bouncing bombs at you, move diagonally backwards away from the throw, as the bomb’s increased distance will slow it enough for you to easily move out of the way. In the late game, also ensure that you have an Aegis of the Legion on your team, to give a widespread damage reduction against his heavy AoE damage, especially the looming threat of the Mega Inferno Bomb.
Take a level in Bouncing Bomb to begin with. Max it first. Hexplosive Minefield is a good level 2 choice, due to its many uses. Max it second. Satchel Charge should be gained at level 4 and maxed out last, as it’s largely a utility spell.
For items, start with boots and three potions, just like any other mage. On Dominion start with a Prospector’s Ring, boots and potions. Your priority stat above all others is pure AP. So once you’re done grabbing Doran’s Rings in the early game, jam a Rabadon’s Deathcap into your inventory and start blowing people up. After that? Cooldown is a nice secondary stat, as is spell vamp. Morello’s Evil Tome and Will of The Ancients are good picks later on for these. Lichbane goes very well with his passive, though I haven’t considered it a priority item myself. Void Staff is, of course, a great way of dealing with teams that start stacking magic resistance against you. While getting items like Rod of Ages and Rylai’s Sceptre add some durability to the character, I personally would avoid them. The slow on Rylai’s is especially unimpressive on Ziggs because the slow on his minefield is already brutal enough without really needing to invest the gold in making his slowing abilities that bit better.
One of the surprising things about Ziggs is he’s one of the stronger AP junglers in the game. While being a mage certainly means he’s very fragile in the jungle, he can clear camps easily, and can do some pretty devastating ganks when he needs to. This is especially funny when he can hurl his ultimate across the map while still clearing his own camps. While he’s far, far from the strongest of junglers out there, if you absolutely need a mage as your jungler for whatever reason, he’s a good choice. While I don’t want to go into particulars here in the article on how you can go about this, as its really a gimmick thing the character can pull off, if you ask me on the forums or post on my profile. I’ll take the time to explain how it can be done in detail.
21/0/9 masteries. Nothing new for a mage. For runes just roll out with whatever mage rune page you are using these days. I’ve been using my stock mage page of magic penetration marks, mana regeneration per level seals, ability power per level glyphs and flat ability power quintessences.
I’ve had an absolute blast with this guy. He’s strong, and fun as all hell. He feels deep without having a punishing learning curve. While 95% of the stuff you’ll be doing with him will be much the same, every so often inspiration will flash and a brand new trick can suddenly be pulled out just when you need it. Even his art design, from his hyperactive voice, maniacal grin and excited gait just screams “I am here to enjoy myself! Come and join in!”. Expect nerfs. Big nerfs. This guy is going to be with us for a while unless Riot absolutely kills him.
I’m going to stand up and say this guy the by far the best character that Riot have released since I started writing these articles. I simply cannot recommend him enough. If this is the start of a new design paradigm from Riot then I’m very eager to see what we’ve got coming in the future. More! I want more!
The new bots are kind of nice. The summoner’s rift bots are noticeably smarter, and seem to calculate when to be aggressive and conservative much better. Still not on par with a real human opponent, but I think Riot are slowly getting there. Unfortunately, the Dominion bots are complete dunces, and it’s very clear that this is simply the first try at their AI, as they not only don’t act like real players, but they also barely put up any sort of a fight.
I don’t usually make much mention of champion balance changes, but I think most of the changes made this patch were very spot on. I especially like the buffs to help Ashe get back on her feet, and the quality of life changes made to Jax.
The new Stark’s Fervour... I mean Zigg’s Herald is a pretty nice change, and should be a good pick on AD enhancement supports like Taric. I’m not so sold on the Iron Solari though. The idea of the item is very nice, supplying a shield to your team to protect them against, say, a Mega Inferno Bomb, but the shield is only about 50 points of damage, which is barely even an auto attack’s worth of damage. I can’t help but feel you’d be better off spending your gold elsewhere.