League of Legends: Freezing Saddles
By Jason Harper (Hhean), OnRPG MOBA Reporter
Welcome summoners, to the patch v188.8.131.52 article for League of Legends, the game that’s just going outside, and may be some time. This patch includes the death of dodge, a (yet another) rework to Jax and the addition of Sejuani, The Winter’s Wrath.
Sejuani is a melee controller, focused not so much on taking damage, nor on dishing it out, but on locking down the enemy team. She’s a simple looking character with a surprising amount of nuance, and a very powerful ultimate that allows little room for error. While comparisons might be drawn to other melee crowd controllers like Amumu or Leona, she lacks any form of defensive steroid, so she makes me think more of a melee Ashe, who also shares her frost theme.
Her kit is tied together with the Frost mechanic, which is simply a 10% slow applied to enemies she either auto attacks or hits with two of the abilities at her disposal. The remaining two abilities are intended to be used on enemies already under the effects of Frost. This means that getting her ability orders correct, and knowing which chain to use in what situations is a very important part of her game.
It often might seem tempting to begin a gank with her gap closer, Arctic Assault [Q], and apply Frost to her foes as she charges forward. However, this will give the enemy an opportunity to escape if they have any form of movement steroid, blink or dash. The safest way to secure a kill is to simply run around behind your victim, hit them with an auto attack, and trigger Northern Winds [W] for more damage. The moment the enemy begins to move, slam them with Permafrost [E], hampering any targets with Frost on them with its truly brutal slow. As the slow wears off, or if the enemy makes use of some form of escape, slam them in the back with an Arctic Assault, and hit them again with Permafrost if it’s off cooldown. Bellowing “NO ESCAPE!” as they struggle to get away doesn’t help, but it’s certainly fun to do.
Her ultimate, Glacial Prison [R], becomes an invaluable tool in the larger fights that kick off in the mid to late game. This is an ultimate with nearly no downside; A long range skillshot that inflicts one of the longest stuns in the game on whoever it strikes, yet still inflicts a decent length stun and Frost on anyone nearby, leading into a massive Permafrost slow to large numbers of enemies all at once. The only downside is it has a very long cooldown, so you have to make sure that every shot counts. If you’re going against a Sejuani in a game, always try to abuse these gaps, as heading into a teamfight with a boar queen carrying this ultimate in her back pocket can be extremely dangerous.
There are two things to always bear in mind when throwing out her ultimate; The first is that it will detonate on the first target it hits, so watch for tanks moving around in the front of a group. Try to fire the shot in a place they can’t see you, ideally in the brush or from behind a wall. Following this up by surging through said wall with Arctic Assault can be a great way to catch enemies completely off guard, preventing the tanks from having any time to block the shot. The second thing to bear in mind is that the shot should only be fired from either near the maximum range, or at point blank. While the advantages of firing the ultimate at point blank are obvious, trading safety for a reliable hit, hitting at max range is a bit more tricky, and somewhat hard to pull off. Her ultimate always travels a set distance, so if someone gets out of the way, the shot will simply go past them when you fire it at medium range. So if you throw the ultimate at maximum distance, even if they move to avoid the hit, the ultimate will detonate in thin air and catch them in the blast. This trick works much better against groups of enemies rather than single targets though, where you’re much more likely to catch someone in the blast as they try to maneuver around one another.
Her most standard chain to use at the start of a team fight is Glacial Prison, Arctic Assault, Permafrost, Northern Winds. This isn’t a very efficient combination, but it is the fastest way to get as much crowd control down on the enemy team as quickly as possible.
Grab a level in Northern Winds when jungling as Sejauni, or Arctic Assault when laning. Pick up the other ability of this pair at level 2. At level 3, you’re headed for her main trick, Permafrost. Max this first. Following Permafrost, max out Arctic Assault and finally Northern Winds. If you’re very farmed, and have managed to get a very large health pool early, then Northern Winds can be a situational pick. Grab her crazy ultimate every time you can.
For items, start with boots and health potions in a lane. On Dominion, I’ve been running with the unusual start of boots, two Doran’s Shields and potions, finding it surprisingly effective. Damage on Sejuani isn’t much of a priority, since even with heavy itemization in that area she still won’t compete with a true damage dealer, and doesn’t have much in base defenses. Instead, you should work on her resistances, allowing her to live long enough in team fights to shut down any threats. Philosopher’s Stone and Heart of Gold are great early game picks on her, both granting health for her Northern Winds, and getting some much needed sustain in addition to a steady gold stream. The only items I consider to be core on her are Shurelya’s Reverie and Aegis of the Legion. The former to help her with initiation, and the latter to assist with her already formidable team fight presence. Every other item on her should simply be defensive items against the main damage types of your enemies. I would say her go-to magic resistance item is Force of Nature, and her default armour item is Sunfire Cape.
Ideally Sejuani should act as a team’s jungler. When jungling, start with cloth armour and five health potions. This, I think, is the only real handicap Sejuani has compared to other junglers. Her clear times are good, but in order to stay alive she needs more armour. She has very low base health regeneration, with low base armour and a low attack speed, so she can’t even use a vampiric sceptre to compensate. This makes cloth armour her only option. Ultimately meaning she will be behind the curve on itemization compared to the game’s top junglers if she simply farms, so she must rely on invasion and ganking to try and close the gold deficit.
She really needs 21 points in defense to keep herself alive, and while I’d rather get a bit of damage from the offense tree, I think she benefits far more from the movement speed bonus found in the utility tree. So while I started using her with 9/21/0 I wound up using her as a 0/21/9 character. She allows for a broad range of rune set ups, but I would highly recommend sticking to movement speed quintessences and armour seals. I’ve been using armour marks and attack speed glyphs on her, but what you use in those slots really comes down to personal preference.
I think Sejuani is fairly middle of the road when it comes to power. She’s strong by design, but her low defensive stats and lack of any form of defensive steroid make her a poor tank choice for a team. Her jungling is good, but not the greatest, and her laning is mediocre, at best. I think she’s stronger in the jungle than in the lane, really, since at least in the jungle she can make use of the health packs on the creeps to keep herself going in the early game. Provided she doesn’t die too fast, her team fight presence can be devastating, which is really where she shines. Her ultimate alone is a good reason to pick her up, as it can be utterly devastating when backed up by some well timed assistance from her team. If you want to play a jungler that doesn’t kill everything they meet, and instead facilitates the kills of other, maybe she’s worth picking up.
The one thing that really turns me off the character though is that she is one of the goofiest looking characters Riot has put out in recent memory. A bikini clad ice woman that rides on a giant boar simply doesn’t work for me. Now, I’m not much of an expert on such things, but riding a creature used to temperate climes in summer beach wear doesn’t seem the best idea for a warrior of the frozen tundra.
The biggest change this patch is the newly reworked Jax. While I’m uncertain if he’s now a better or worse character, given my own lack of experience with him previously, I do think the new Jax is a far less unique character than before. His hybrid AP/AD nature was one of the more interesting things about the old Jax, and the thing that made him stand out from other similar characters. Now he’s simply another tanky AD, to be built in exactly the same way as his peers. The new counterstrike is also very limited in usage, with far too long a wind up time before his stun, and a very short range.
While the outright removal of dodge might cause a stir in some quarters, the slow phasing out of the stat has resulting in little fanfare now that it’s gone. The reworked Ninja Tabi is essentially unchanged, but now has the annoying random element removed.