League of Legends: It’s Always Sunny in Demacia
By Jason Harper (Hhean), OnRPG DotA Reporter
Welcome summoners, to the patch v126.96.36.199 article for League of Legends, the game that provides eternal sunshine to a spotless mind. This patch includes an improved Yorick, multiple rune purchases and Leona, The Radiant Dawn.
Leona is a pure tank, capable of taking a good deal of damage while using a number of crowd control abilities to lock down the enemy team. She plays similarly to other pure tanks, and any Amumu or Jarvan player will feel very at home while playing her.
Unlike the other characters released recently, Leona doesn’t really have a gimmick. She doesn’t even use some sort of bizarre sun resource mechanic, and instead relies on her trusty mana bar. She does however, have the widest array of crowd control methods available to any single character in the game. Though each one is rather weak individually, she can be really difficult to shake off due to the diversity of her toolkit.
Her passive, Sunlight, will mark a target after she uses an ability. These marks will be expended when an allied champion damages the marked target, causing bonus damage. This functions much like Lux’s passive, but she cannot trigger it herself. This makes Leona very poor at functioning alone, but adds a moderate amount of damage to her team when working with someone else. While this is fits with a tank thematically, it does limit her laning options if you want to maximize her effectiveness, since it means she must have a partner in order to get any use out of this passive.
Her main combo is to begin charging Eclipse [W], fire a Zenith Blade [E] in the direction of the enemy carry, then tap Shield of Daybreak [Q] immediately after the free hit Zenith Blade triggers, which will immediately reset the attack animation to trigger the stun. A slightly easier variation is to use the Shield of Daybreak before using Zenith Blade, and using the free hit as a stun. This guarantees the stun, but lowers her damage output slightly. Dropping her ultimate, Solar Flare [R] just behind an enemy after the stun wears off is a great way of extending this combo, even more so if you can use it to tag multiple enemies in the blast.
It’s worth noting that it isn’t always a good idea to open with Eclipse, because it will give away what you’re planning. The enemy will have just under 3 seconds to react (The actual charge is 3 seconds, but they won’t be able to move after being rooted by the Zenith Blade, so it gives them less time overall) to what you’re planning, and given how flashy the effect is, you might as well display a giant neon sign over your head saying “I’M ABOUT TO GANK YOU WITH MY TEAM”. If you can help it, try to charge in a bush or around corners to avoid giving the game away.
Shield of Daybreak’s stun is rather limited, having only a 1.25 second duration that doesn’t scale with level and can only be used in melee range. Once you’ve invested in cooldown though, it can be used quite frequently. It can get down to being used every 4.8 seconds, which if you factor in the stun duration, means that Leona can keep someone out of a quarter of the total time of a fight using that one ability alone.
At level 1, pick up Shield of Daybreak. Although Eclipse works better for early farm, Shield of Daybreak is better for early team fights in the jungle, or to help set up early ganks in a lane. At level 2, grab Zenith Blade. Level 3 is Eclipse time. From there, I’ve been leveling based on the overall aggression in game. If you’re sitting in the lane a fair bit, you will need Eclipse leveled to survive the beating you’ll take while trying to get last hits, and also to try and get some measure of farm using the large blast. If there’s plenty of ganks and counter ganks going on, then focus more on Shield of Daybreak if you feel the reduced cooldown will allow you to use it in extended fights. Whichever you don’t level, take the other second, leaving Zenith Blade for last.
Start out with a Regrowth Pendant and a Health Potion. Your main goal early game is to get a Philosopher’s Stone and Heart of Gold as quickly as possible to compensate for her awful farming capabilities. From there, she needs a good balance of cooldown reduction and whatever resistances she’ll need to counter the enemy team. While 40% reduction cooldown is ideal, 25% can be obtained without sacrificing any durability or using runes/masteries.
For her Masteries, I’ve been switching between a 0/21/9 page and a 0/9/21 page, depending on team composition. The former allows her to take more punishment, while the latter allows her to spew out more crowd control, and also means you don’t have to sacrifice so much gold if you’re looking to hit the cooldown reduction cap. For Runes I’ve been using my stock tank page – Armour Marks, Dodge Seals, Magic Resist Glyphs and Health Quintessences. If you can fit some cooldown in there, go ahead.
Leona is a difficult champion to judge. I think she suffers a good deal from the same issues Renekton had at launch – a great toolkit, but not so great numbers to back it up. Her abilities feel satisfying to use, with great sound and visuals, but nothing really happens after she uses them. Her farming capability is atrocious; I’ve never seen a Leona, played by myself or anyone else I’ve queued with, break 100 creep kills in a match. Her damage output is also terrible; I’ve seen Leona be outclassed by Soraka when reviewing post-game damage charts. While I understand tanks aren’t meant to do damage, her crowd control as a whole is still lacking by comparison with Amumu, who also has a higher damage output by comparison.
Her other real issue is that with poor jungling speed and low solo lane capability, I can’t think where to put her in a team composition. The best place to put her would be to replace your support in bottom with her, since she’s not going to take any farm away from your AD carry. This would mean you’d either have to have your support jungling (Which narrows it down to Nunu) or taking a solo lane (Meaning it would have to be someone like Orianna, Lux or Zilean). However, given her limited harass, this would leave the carry less able to farm as they have to actually commit to getting rid of enemies themselves.
While I don’t think she’s the worst tank pick, I do think she’s going to need some buffs in order to be competitive.
On the topic of buffs – Yorick. Sweet monkey Jesus, Yorick. He’s become an absolute beast. He’s got great damage, great sustain and can take hits from multiple enemies at once without much trouble. Stick him in a solo lane, level him up and watch the enemy team get ripped to shreds. He’s looking like the game’s new Jax, swinging from useless to overpowered on a patch by patch basis.
On the other end of things, the nerf to Ashe has been a long time coming. She’s been a first ban / first pick since ranked play was implemented, near enough. The added cooldown to her Enchanted Crystal Arrow is going to help stop random arrow spam winning lanes from across the map, and maybe encourage her players to be a bit more careful when using it. Not a major nerf, but a perfectly understandable one in just the right area.
Buh-Bye AP Alistar! Well, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but he’s been slammed pretty hard these past patches. His ratios have taken a 30% cut in the past month, which is a sizable bite into the cow’s damage output. Will he be seen less in competitive play? Doubtful, since he’s still a great tank, just one that’s now not so capable of stomping you into the ground as he was.
The new UI for custom game creation makes playing scrims much easier, and the new Quit button is a godsend for when you get one of the numerous bugs that can crop up when hosting a private match. This, combined with the new ability to buy multiple runes from the shop in a single go make the client that little bit more user friendly.
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.