League of Legends: Alas, Poor Yorick
By Jason Harper (Hhean), OnRPG Journalist
I knew him, summoners. This is the patch v126.96.36.199 article for League of Legends, the game of infinite jest. This patch includes a massive number of champion changes, reworks to how shields interact with champions, making gold per 10 items unique, a reworking of the rewards for death and kill streaks, reworks to vampiric healing, and Yorick, The Gravedigger. The fact that we skipped .119 and went straight to .120 is appropriate, since this patch really feels like two patches in one, by its sheer size alone.
Yorick is a burly damage dealer who uses a variety of summoned minions to make himself one tough customer in a scrap. At least, that’s what he’s intended to be. In actuality his minions don’t really live long enough to allow that sort of play, so he winds up being some form of weird mid range AD mage. His intended playstyle is likely meant to be similar to Trundle, using an ability to slow the enemy rather than leap at them, then spamming a strong melee attack until they die. In practise, he’s a moving lump of meat that drifts about the map without much rhyme or reason.
If you’ve come for the usual “Should you buy this guy?” bit I put at the end of these articles, you can stop right here. He’s awful. Truly, thoroughly bad. Lee Sin at launch looks like Hercules on steroids compared to this waddling sack of uselessness. Buy him as he is right now only if you want to troll your friends, or have a genuine desire to lower your ELO.
His first major problem are that his ghouls, while an interesting idea, don’t live more than a couple of seconds, and die even quicker if someone actually hits them with say, one of the numerous area of effect attacks in the game. This wouldn’t be so bad if the abilities themselves were very good and the ghouls were just an added perk (Much like Annie’s Tibbers, or Malzahar’s passive), but each one of his abilities seem to just dribble out onto the battlefield with the sound of a wet fart.
This is mostly noticeable with his main gap closer, Omen of Pestilence [W], which gives a 20-40% slow for 1.5 seconds, and then summons a ghoul with a slow aura of its own that dies almost instantly afterwards. This, on paper, should be a slow that lasts roughly 7 seconds, which is a pretty damn nasty, long duration slow that should get Yorick in range. However, due to the near instant death of his minions, this effect becomes laughable. Singed’s Mega Adhesive has longer range, a wider area of coverage, and slows for longer. This is considered Singed’s worst ability. Even Trundle’s equivalent, Pillar of Filth, has the useful impassible terrain aspect to it, and lasts longer. Omen of Pestilence does do a fairly moderate amount of damage though, so for use as a harass in a lane, it isn’t bad. The key issue here though is that it fails utterly to get you in range to actually hit someone with Yorick’s shovel, so against a high movement speed ranged character, or one with slows of their own, he could chase them from one Nexus to the other and never gain ground.
Until you start stacking movement speed items on him, playing as Yorick could be entirely mimicked by playing the Benny Hill music and trying to run after a nearby cyclist with a shovel in hand. You spend about as much time doing it, and your rewards are just the same – If you finally catch up to someone you’re rewarded with a single shovel hit and then a long winded explanation to anyone nearby, or you just get tired and decide to do something better with your time. Playing as any champion that isn’t Yorick, for example.
This theme continues with all of his abilities. Omen of War [Q] gives me a speed boost, and does a beastly amount of damage? Sign me up! Oh, I actually have to hit someone in melee before I get this speed boost? Er… Okay. Omen of Famine [E] heals me for how much damage the ghoul deals? Sweet, I’ll never die while the ghoul remains ali- Oh, it’s dead again. Omen of Death [R] lets me duplicate allies? Excellent, let me just put this on my AD carry… and it’s dead. Woo.
This is all quite a shame really, because I was quite looking forward to this particular gravedigger. His abilities fell in line nicely with Trundle, who I’ve been jungling a bit with recently (side note – Yorick can jungle, but it’s excruciatingly slow with awful ganking potential) and his pet mechanics acting as a steroid seemed like a novel concept. If his ghouls were more durable, Omen of Death had some more punch (Lasted longer, got some kind of damage steroid on the revenant), he could get some more health back from Omen of Famine, and the speed boost from Omen of War didn’t only apply after already making it into melee then he might be a serviceable character. That last one is the biggest catch 22 ability I’ve ever seen in this game, and makes me want to slam my head into my desk repeatedly out of the sheer frustration that one mechanic has caused me. Unfortunately though, by his toolset alone, even with some major buffs (that he sorely needs) he’s still not likely to be going to the next Dreamhack.
The light at the end of this tunnel though is that Phreak has already given an official statement that we will be seeing some buffs to the character in next patch, so hopefully some of this is going to be addressed, and he’ll be worth playing when he comes on rotation.
Speaking of Dreamhack, this recent patch shows a number of balance changes that clearly were a direct result of the recent championships in Sweden. The nerfs to both Vayne and Rumble’s ultimates are likely a direct result of their performance at Dreamhack. I really couldn’t agree more on Rumble’s nerf, considering just how much of a monster he’s been in the hands of members of the competitive EU teams.
As I’ve been playing Nunu often both before and after the patch, I can say that while these nerfs have hurt him, he’s still an exceptional counter jungler. Even as a frequent Nunu player, I cannot help but agree his nerfs were needed, since any game with him in during the championship became mind numbingly dull due to his early game dominance leading to passive lanes.
The Gangplank changes are pretty crazy, turning him from a rather useless sea dog into a devastating Kraken, sweeping his foes aside with a torrent of damage. I think time will tell if he’s become truly powerful due to these changes, or if we’re just getting over the shock of him no longer being utterly useless.
The Gold per 10 items becoming unique comes as no surprise to anyone paying attention to how top end play has been heading recently. They are still good to combine with each other anyway, it’s just you can’t sit on a pile of Philosopher’s Stones and call it a build now. That said, the Philosopher stone regeneration nerfs still don’t make the item useless, just a little less ridiculous. Anyone else notice the change in Eleisa’s Miracle’s cost? Smart move on Riot’s part there to stop the upgrade into selling trick that was so commonly used.
The removal of Ward jumping has been a controversial change, and a good number of people are up in arms about it. I can see both sides of the argument on whether the ward jumping mechanics were a good idea or not. On the one hand, its an obscure mechanic that isn’t very intuitive, which can result in people not understanding what just happened in low to mid level play. It also stops annoying stuff like a single ward rending Rammus’ power ball useless. On the other hand, its essentially a nerf to a group of champions that are already pretty underwhelming. Does Katarina really need to be any worse than she is right now? I suppose the debate is meaningless at this stage though, as Classick has already stated that Ward jumping is going to come back in, though likely with some changes to make it a bit more transparent what’s going on.
To discuss some of the changes yourselves, post in the massive League of Legends thread in the free to play MMOs section. If you haven’t tried League of Legends yet, now is the perfect time.