League of Legends: Hey, Hey! He’s the Wukong!
by Jason Harper (Hhean), OnRPG DotA Reporter
Welcome summoners, to the patch v126.96.36.199 article for League of Legends, the game that just loves to monkey around. This patch includes reworks to both Kayle and Tryndamere, limiting the range on global ultimates, new character models and Wukong, The Monkey King.
Wukong is a burly melee damage dealer with some interesting tricks under his elaborate belt. Most of his tools are similar to other characters of this type, so if you’re comfortable with the play style of characters like Xin Zhao, Jax or Master Yi, you shouldn’t find anything too out of the ordinary here.
His most powerful ability has to be his Nimbus Strike [E], a gap closer, attack speed steroid and farming tool all in one. There is rarely a situation where this ability isn’t worth using every time it’s off cooldown, given its wide utility and low mana cost. The only drawback is it has no crowd control, but asking for more stuff on this ability would just be greedy.
After Wukong has Nimbus Striked his way into the faces of his foes, he can follow up with a Crushing Blow [Q]. This attack both resets his attack animation, and reduces target champion’s armour. Currently this ability only reduces the character’s base armour, and not their total armour, which severely limits its effectiveness. This is his worst ability by a long margin, best used only for getting sheen procs and the attack animation resets allow him to get more hits in.
His Decoy [W] is by far his most fun and satisfying ability. The more I played Wukong, the more I realized how versatile it is. The stealth component can be used as a gap closer, to mask movement between brush, to get people to guess incorrectly at junctions in the jungle and so on. The stealth also will reset enemy targeting, so if you’re being focused in a team fight by someone like Vayne or Ryze, you can simply stealth and wait for them to start hitting someone else, or your decoy, before you move back into the fight to murder them.
The clone though is the really interesting part of this thing. The decoy itself counts as a champion for the purposes of targeting, so you can use it to bait out ultimates, and block skill shots that usually pass through minions. Combining the decoy with the stealth allows you to both cancel enemy attacks using the stealth, then bait them into wasting something important on your newly gained stunt double. A great example of this is you can use the Decoy to take an Enchanted Crystal Arrow for you, while you stealth off, giggling mischievously at the poor Ashe who just wasted her ultimate.
His ultimate, Cyclone [R], is a stock standard ‘Spin to win’ attack that knocks enemies into the air after the first hit. It’s a serviceable ultimate that does a low amount of damage, best for hitting enemies with the knock up, and then cancelling it. It gives his kit some needed crowd control, but isn’t great as the multi target team fight ability that it likely was meant to be.
At level 1, grab a rank in Nimbus Strike. Max this first, and use it often. Crushing Blow is a level 2 snatch. Decoy is best grabbed at level 4, when the risk of ganks from a jungler increases dramatically. Once your Nimbus Strike is maxed, go for Crushing Blow, and leave Decoy as the last to level.
Start out with a regrowth pendant and a health potion. The health regeneration will help in the lane, and it will cheaply upgrade into a philosopher’s stone when you’re done. Then either grab a heart of gold if you’ve been struggling in the lane and are wanting for more gold, or go straight for your sheen, then into trinity force. After that, go tanky. I wish I could recommend things outside of the spotlight, but having played around a bit with the character, I’ve found few better options. If you find something better, please share it on the forums.
For his Masteries, make sure you have 21 in defense. You’re going to be in melee a lot, which means plenty of dangerous situations. Where you put the other nine is up to you, though I’d recommend utility. For Runes, just roll out the standard burly melee page – Armour penetration Marks, Armour Seals, Magic Resistance Glyphs and whatever you prefer in Quintessences.
Wukong is an absolute blast to play. He has a number of failings, most notably his complete inability to jungle, his weak Crushing Blow and lacklustre AoE damage on his ultimate. I don’t think he’s the best melee bruiser by any means, but I certainly think he’s the most fun. I love characters with reactionary abilities, and his Decoy is just an incredible laugh due to how many tricks it allows him to pull.
His laning ability is quite strong, but I’ve been finding his damage output doesn’t scale well into the late game. He seems to be at his peak in the roaming phase, when he can leap into people, use his combo and then trigger his ult to stop escape, ripping their health off quite effectively. His decoy is also at its peak during this time, using it to mask when he leaves a lane for a gank, and Decoy feints are possible without getting slammed by numerous AoE ultimates.
I think he’s going to be one of those characters that are going to be largely useless a while, until he gets a few damage tweaks and a fix to his Crushing Blow and he suddenly becomes a monster in the hands of some top player. Right now though, he’s still sleeping in stone.
The reworks to both Tryndamere and Kayle look to have had the same purpose, to reduce their ‘feast or famine’ style of play. In their old forms, they were both too reliant on getting as wealthy as possible as quickly as possible in order to become late game powerhouses.
Kayle suffered from this more so than Tryndamere, with her passive essentially giving her free gold. The problem though, was if she didn’t get gold, her passive was worthless. Given that not getting gold is really what your team’s support really should be doing in order to funnel money into the carry, she never quite fit into any team. Her new resistance shredding passive helps encourage team play, and means she still benefits from it when acting as the team’s support. Is it overall weaker? If she was a carry, yes, it’s a downgrade. Since she’s a support, this new passive allows her to do her job well, without starving the rest of her team.
While I’m happy with her new passive, the other changes to her do read more like a flat nerf, with reduced lane sustainability, lowered base stats, and lowered utility on her Reckoning. I like the direction Riot have gone with her rework, but think she’s going to need a little bit more work to become a viable debuffer/support she’s clearly been intended to become.
Tryndamere switching to a Fury mechanic seems thematically appropriate to me, disregarding how it affects his overall power. From what I’ve seen of him, he still seems a bit on the weak side, but at least he’s now consistently on the weak side, and not swinging wildly from useless to godlike on a match to match basis. He’ll likely get some tweaks soon and become fairly dangerous afterwards.
I wish I could comment more on the global ultimate nerfs, but in the time I’ve been taking between patch day and finishing this article, I’ve not seen a single Pantheon or Twisted Fate played. On paper these changes don’t seem too bad a nerf, since it only limits them to hopping from one lane to another, rather than being able to jump from top to bottom in an instant. Their ultimates still give them great maneuverability and map control, it just means their backdooring shenanigans aren’t quite so annoying. It’s clear though that these nerfs have significantly affected people’s perceptions of the characters, and they’ve completely dropped off in usage.
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, you’re missing out.