By Jason Parker (Ragachak)
The recent additions to League of Legends is far more than just a simple new champion addition. The patch before this one also featured the Mid-Season Mage Update, offering complete reworks or simple adjustments to some of the mage cast. The updates didn’t touch every mage, but definitely most of the older spellcasters in need of some TLC. Some item reworks of note occurred, and the new Elemental Dragons were pretty interesting. I’m not sold on the Dragon Buffs being random now, but it casts an interesting light on strategy. Instead of wasting everyone’s time on what every caster can do, I’ll hit a few of the highlights:
Zyra: She can now have a TON of seeds flowing. Her kit got a bit of a rework, and her passive now drops seeds every x seconds. Her Q is now a line that explodes for damage, W still creates seeds. The big take away is suddenly having six or so seeds turning into plants and shooting people with impunity. Now the passive seeds drop randomly in weird locations thankfully.
Vel’koz: His passive [Organic Deconstruction] stacks. On the third stack it does True Damage which scales with level and AP. His ultimate now “Researches” enemies. Enemies blasted with it after they’ve been researched does True Damage but no longer triggers Deconstruction. He does ludicrous amounts of damage now.
Brand: Stacks. Can you sense a pattern? On the third stack of Brand using an ability, he creates an unstable blaze, doing AOE damage [percentile health]. His ult hitting the same target more than once can make that happen before your target has a chance to react.
Cassiopeia: Snakes don’t wear boots; nor does she! Passive gives Movement speed per level, but does not stack with Boots. Miasma is the best new change, and has a new affliction: Grounded. Enemies who are grounded [caught in her arc of miasma] are prohibited from using movement abilities. No flash, no clicking Thresh’s lantern, no dash.
Lots of others got changes [and buffs later still], but these are just a few of the highlights. But that’s not why we’re here. We’re here to talk about our last hope against the Fire Benders. I mean. The new mage! Taliya!
Taliyah in Review
A resident of Shurima, Taliyah was ultimately seduced by the power of Noxus. Alas, she became a living weapon, burdened with incredible power. Between her travels she found a purpose: To land ridiculous skill shots and utilize a kind of disappointing ultimate. I like Taliyah, I do. I think she’s stolen right out of “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” and I don’t think that’s terrible. She does a pretty mean amount of damage, gets around nice and swift, and if you aren’t mobile, you aren’t going to have a fun time. But I feel she’s the first champion in quite a while that didn’t come out of the gate as a horrific monster, capable of 1v5ing teams or other such nonsense. Does she hit hard and carry far if given the opportunity? Sure. But her kit is VERY skill shot reliant. Every part of it is basically a skill shot. If you can’t land her W+E combo, you basically can only use her E as a deterrent or wave clear. I used her primarily as a support, but she’s at home in top and mid lane, depending on the match up. The slower they are the better. I know she’s not the best support idea, but her CC makes her an ideal partner for a carry, depending on the composition of your team.
AP is so damn popular right now; I’m so sick of seeing Four AP team comps in my ELO. With that in mind, I always pack MR Blues these days. If I’m going AP I run a bit of a different setup from time to time. If I’m feeling aggressive or confident, I’ll just wear my AP Mid Pages. I run: 2x Magic Pen Quints, 1x Armor Quint, Magic Penetration Reds, Health Yellows, MR Blues. You aren’t a chump support. You bring Real Soviet Damage to the table, and you want your opponents to fear the avalanche of asswhoopin’ you bring. Conversely, if I go AP, I run AP Quints, Magic Pen Reds, Mana Regen Yellows, and AP or MR Blues. I love Mana Regen Runes on a lot of squishy champs, because I tend to hurl abilities around willy-nilly. Her cooldowns are a bit on the high side, so I want to be able to be prepared when a cooldown comes off and an opportunity shows itself! As far as Masteries go, if I’m feeling aggro, I go Ferocity 12, Cunning 18 [Thunderlord], and if I want to be a bit more safe, Cunning 18 [Thunderlord], Resolve 12. I do love the biscuits. It really all boils down to how confident I/You are feeling in the lane. I’m not amazing with her, but I am still working out the kinks in my strategy as a support main. There are definitely some things to consider when looking at Taliyah as your next Mastery choice:
- Rollin’, Rollin’, Rollin’: Her passive gives her incredible move speed, her ult can take her places with a quickness, and her “worked ground” will also add some movement. If she needs to get there? She’ll get there.
- Kite Eating Trees Are No Match: She can kite incredibly well with her Q and her reliable movement speed. Couple this with using her ultimate to split teams, pin one person down, or move ahead out of range? No question.
- B-A-N-A-N-A-S: So much of her kit can peel or control a situation. W’s knock up/push/pull, slows, Ult showing up at the wrong time? She’s so good at keeping people away or in position, if you’re good with her.
- SKILL: Her skillcap’s pretty high. You have to practically know where they’ll be or push them into a good position to really make use of her kit. It’s skill based; no targeted abilities whatsoever.
- Chill Out: Her cooldowns are a bit high for a mage, and the damage isn’t as insane as say, Malz, Swain or Katarina. Baseline CDs are 10, 16, 16, 160. They go a little lower, but jeez.
- The Struggle: If champs are lower on the mobility scale, she can crush them with ease. But Talon, Katarina, Yasuo, Zed? She’s gonna be in for an… uphill climb. Come on, that’s funny.
Despite the long cooldowns, she really has to be aware of what’s going on. “Worked Ground” from her Q may give her mobility, but it reduces her blast from 5 shards to 1. But at least it gives some mana back. It’s my opinion that her best positions are AP Mid and Aggressive Support. It’s going to be a rough lane with a good Vayne and Taliyah positioning/forcing the support or carry near a wall, or a Draven. Someone aggressive in my opinion. You could use a passive adc [farmer like Cait] and just play keep away, but I want money. Here’s how you get it:
Passive: Rock Surfing
Simple stuff: When against/close to a wall you get from 20-40% Movement Speed, depending on level. This only works out of combat, mind. This includes Anivia’s Wall, J4’s Wall, her OWN wall. If you need to put on the sick skates and flee, pay attention to walls!
Q: Threaded Volley
Passive: Taliyah gains increased movement speed on “worked ground.” Active: Taliyah jerks a chunk of ground out from under herself, creating “worked ground.” She fires five bolts of rock in the direction she’s facing, the first shot doing a bit of AOE damage. Targets hit take 50% less damage, and rocks fired from Worked Ground fires only one shard but refunds half the mana.
W: Seismic Shove
This is probably the most creative CC ability in the game, at least to me. First cast creates a small outcropping that knocks up anyone on it after a delay. It’s her most powerful ability in the variety of ways it can be used [later]. If you press the button again with enough time, you can pick a direction, knocking the target or pulling them in – your choice. Which leads to…
E: Unraveled Earth
Taliyah creates a minefield which is essentially your biggest damage. It deals damage on laying it, and it has a slowing effect. Combine it with Rylai’s for maximum laughs. If a champion dashes, is pushed or pulled within it, up to 4 stones in the field detonate early. You can use it to prevent engagements, or make people regret going in.
R: Weaver’s Wall
I…like Weaver’s Wall. I am sad it deals no damage if it hits people, but it has a million and one uses. No matter where it goes, it can be useful. Activate it to create a long wall out of stone for 6/7/8 seconds. Hitting R again immediately makes you ride it. You can get off by clicking away from it. Split up teams, prevent people from engaging, pin people into a wall with no escape! It’s like J4’s wall in that anything can leap, pass, or go through it. Vi’s abilities go through it, Fizz can pole vault over, etc. It’s good in a pinch, but a careful player’s just going to get around it or through it if their kit is built for that.
Q, then E, then W for regular abilities. Max Ult whenever you can. There are so many options for items on Taliyah, but my personal favorite buys are Rylai’s Crystal Scepter and Liandry’s Torment. With her amazing CC, you get tons of free damage. I’d also get Rod of Ages since the update makes it incredibly good. Boots are either Swiftness or Sorc Boots [but I tend to roll damage], then something else to maximize burst like Rabadon’s Deathcap, Luden’s Echo or something. Tanky folks hanging out? Grab an Abyssal. Void Staff or Zhonya’s are also good things to consider for a final/even early item. It’s all up to the situation, but I think two Must-Haves are Rylai’s and Rod.
A lot of Taliyah’s success comes from prevention and good reads. Paying attention to how your opponent acts will let you prepare a solid Unraveled Earth to stop them, knock them up in it or slap them with Threaded Volley while they’re trying to get away. Seismic Shove is easily the strongest move in her kit. What can you do with it? Interrupt Channel Ults! Knock people over walls! Is Lee Sin leaping in to steal Dragon? Pop W early and slap his goofy blind ass back over the wall. Want Baron? Launch their team away and have at it. You can use it to force the backline up front for easy picks. The possibilities are just about endless.
If you’re quick on the ball and can handle the delay on her abilities, you’ll make foes cry. Do I think she’s God Tier? Nah. I’d ban her just to avoid dealing with her, but I don’t think she’s overpowered. How do you stop her mid lane? Bring a high-mobility assassin. Akali, Ahri, Talon, Zed – they’ll make her weep bitter tears of disappointment if she can’t guess what they’re about to do. Taliyah’s command over the ground under her can catch people under a tide of rocks, if you’re sharp-eyed and quick on the keys.