League of Legends: Legend of the Poro King! (Snowdown 2014)
By Jason Parker (Ragachak)
High-Impact Poro Violence!
It’s Snowdown Showdown time! This is the big League of Legends Winter Holiday event, where cool new skins are offered, new icons appear, and of course, a new game mode shows up. This is the premiere of the “Legend of the Poro King” mode! This will take place in the same map as ARAM [Howling Abyss], but one of the major differences is that it is not an All-Random mode. It is blind pick with bans, a mix of the two normal options. There can be mirror matches, but at least there are some bans going on. Every time I review a new game mode, temporary or otherwise, I ask myself one very important question: Is there a point, or is it just fun? Is there something we can learn as players from it? In this one, I have to say yes. Poro King offers more than just festive shenanigans.
While there are many really silly things going on in this mode, such as always having five initiators when your side has the King, there is also the opportunity to practice skill shots. When you launch a poro, it is a skillshot that goes through most everything, and hits the first player in range. This can be a fantastic way to get better at predicting enemy movements and landing skillshots! It is an intensely simple game mode, but it is a great deal of fun. If your team controls the Poro King, make sure you defend him at all costs. He has a great deal of AOE damage/AOE healing, and players on your team can teleport to him at a very low cooldown to create insane initiations! Successful summonings and tags with your poros also gain unique Snowdown Poro icons for your account to show off how good you were at the mode. Granted, this is another temporary mode that we will probably not see for another year, but it does show the creative work of the Riot staff.
A Cho’Gath Christmas
The Poro King is humongous, and summoned in a hilarious manner: by throwing tiny, defenseless Poros at your opponents. Each time they hit a player, a counter at the top of the screen goes up. At ten, the gigantic Poro King appears! As the game progresses, he grows stronger, and he usually stays relevant to the game for the rest of the match. However, with the right team comp, he can be bursted down and ignored, so do not rely on him to just win the game. After all, it is unlikely that one team will possess him the entire match. As soon as he dies for your enemy, you can summon him if you have enough hits saved up.
There are no summoner spells to choose from in this mode either. You get “Poro Throw” and “Poro Leap”, both which can be swapped between your buttons as you please. Poro Throw is just as it implies and tosses a Poro at the enemy. Poro Leap, as stated earlier, is only active when you have the Poro King. It whisks you across the map to his side, creating interesting tactical possibilities. It does not appear that you can stack more hits on your opponent when you have the Poro King out, which is definitely a positive in this mode. It would allow a team to constantly have him, a respawning siege engine without limit. No one controls the King, but he mindlessly pushes forward, damaging and healing.
We Three Demacians
So who works best in this mode? You can use pretty much anyone here. There are of course bans that I see very frequently in this mode: Master Yi, Katarina, Sona, Kayle, Ziggs. Champions with a great deal of teamfight potential can really wreck this mode. I see a lot of the Yasuo-Malphite Wombo-Combo. Think about it: once your team has the Poro King, you can come from anywhere on the map, right into the middle of the team fight. Send in your champs with a knock up, and Yasuo mops up the whole squad with no work. The goal is to get to the other Nexus on the Howling Abyss, and using the Poro King with good teamwork, it can be a very short match. Much like the original ARAM, players start at level 3, and the items are the same, which is also something to keep in mind.
Once again, skill shots are the name of the game. If you can’t land hits, you can’t win this mode easily. Sure, you could win without the Poro King, but why struggle unnecessarily? Team comps still play a factor, but ultimately this can be played with any champions enjoyably. I personally would not stack a lot of ADCs/Marksmen, but having one is fun. I loved Twitch on this map. Stealth, Poro Leap, and start shooting people! It’s pretty chaotic but fast-paced. The average game shouldn’t last more than 20 or 30 minutes before victory or defeat are sealed.
Were You Naughty Or Nice?
While I am generally hard on the temporary modes as their short existence offers Riot little time for trial and error, I have to say that I really liked Legend of the Poro King. It helps teach a new mechanic and is genuinely fun and interesting. It’s not mindless and ridiculous like U.R.F. (don’t get me wrong: U.R.F. rules), and it’s not a tremendous let down like Ascension Mode (Dominion will always be boring, no matter what). I love this mode because everyone is viable; everyone can start a fight now! There is no real meta to it, though of course the hypercarries do what they do best when they can appear out of nowhere and start murdering their foes. So while there is no hard meta to this holiday bonus, there are a ton of fun things to see and do. I wish everyone luck on the Fields of Justice, and may your Poro-Aim be true!