League of Legends: I, Orianna
by Jason Harper (Hhean), OnRPG Journalist
Greetings fellow summoners! This is the patch v18.104.22.168b article for League of Legends, the game that is very GLaD to see you. This patch includes multiple mastery pages, name changes, and Orianna, the Lady of Clockwork.
Orianna is mage/support focusing on controlling the space around her through the use of her unique spell casting mechanic known as “The Ball”. If you enjoy the play style of Lux, Zilean or Karma, you’ll quickly fall into the mentality needed to play her.
The Ball is the basis of all Orianna’s abilities, and is exactly what it sounds like – a big, floating metal ball that slams your foes in the face. These abilities either move The Ball in some way, or project an area of effect from the ball itself. Command: Attack [Q], for example, will move The Ball from its current location to a place of your choosing, injuring any enemy unit caught in its path. Unless you move The Ball onto a friendly target using Command: Protect [E], or go outside The Ball’s range, it will stay where you left it. This allows her to attack from all sorts of creative directions, as provided Orianna keeps mobile, she can have The Ball attack an enemy from almost any direction, provided you have set its origin point in advance.
One thing I think I’ll bring up before I continue discussing the champion further – her damage output is nothing special, but her abilities have more utility than you would think at a glance. The main focus of her game is not really to kill the enemy, but to control space, and dictate where the champions in the game move. This isn’t just through the use of her ability to speed up allies and slow down enemies, but by putting the ball in places that are problematic for your enemies, and beneficial for allies. Few people are stupid enough to stand close to The Ball after a few painful lessons, so they will always be standing where the ball isn’t. This allows you to force people into bad positions ripe for a ganking just through the use of The Ball’s own area of control.
Her main trick during the early game, when her moderate mana pool stops her from getting really creative with her abilities, is to smack people with a combination of Command: Attack, and Command: Dissonance [W]. While it may seem tempting to immediately slam Alt+E to get The Ball to return to you with Command: Protect, and net you a bit of extra damage, bear in mind this will sacrifice The Ball’s position. Wherever it is, the enemy won’t go, so by returning it to Orianna, you are sacrificing a key part of her control game. Most of the time, I leave The Ball sitting somewhere near the enemy’s minion wave during laning, making their minion farm far more difficult.
Later on in the match, when you’re doing more than simply dueling your foes, Command: Protect really comes into its own. Latch it onto an ally as they charge in, Command: Dissonance around them as their enemies counter attack, then Command: Shockwave [R] everyone nearby right back into melee as they try to flee from the onslaught. From there you can simply keep pummeling them with Command: Attack until there’s not a single unbroken bone remaining in their shattered husks.
Don’t forget that while Command: Shockwave is a positional tool, it’s also a low cost AoE nuke on a fairly short cooldown for an ultimate. Feel free to use it any time you want to blow someone up, not just for clever set ups and team fights. It also can be used as an escape tool, throwing enemies away from you, as often as it can be used to drag people into AoE death traps.
A few small notes on interesting tricks/gimmicks Orianna can pull. The Ball gives you vision, so it will allow you to scout entry paths to lanes, check inside bushes and behind walls. While that seems fairly obvious, remember that your enemies now can’t see The Ball if its inside a bush or behind a wall, so they will have no idea what angle they are about to be hit from. Also remember that while Command: Attack has a 900 unit range, The Ball won’t return to you until you leave somewhere around the 1100 mark. This gives you plenty of room to manuever, and allows The Ball to travel at around a distance of 2000 units, provided you’re between it and the enemy. When not in a fight, and when you have the mana for it, use Command: Dissonance to speed yourself up as you move around the map. This can also be used to escape ganks if you hit both yourself and an enemy with it, slowing them and speeding up yourself.
At level 1, grab Command: Attack. Without it, you’re not going to be able to move The Ball around. Pick up Command: Dissonance at level 2 to increase your zoning, harass and escape capabilities. If your positional game isn’t going well, or you’re in a side lane and feel you need to protect your ally, pick up Command: Protect at level 3. Otherwise, wait until level 4. Her leveling priority is Command: Shockwave > Command: Attack > Command: Dissonance > Command: Protect.
Start out with a Sapphire Crystal, and build to a Catalyst the Protector. From there it’s a free for all. I build her to maximize AP, mana and cooldowns. Ionian boots, Rod of Ages, Banshee’s Veil, Rabadon’s Deathcap, Lichebane, Void Staff, Morello’s Evil tome, and Guardian Angel are my usual spread of items I consider building on her. In games where she’s going to be used more heavily as a support than a mage, I would highly recommend putting her in a side lane with some philosopher’s stones, allowing her to gain gold while she allows a carry to farm the minions around her. An amusing gimmick on her is combining Command: Dissonance with Shurelya’s Reverie for mega speed boosts to your team.
For her Masteries, go with the standard 9/0/21 all mages use. For her runes you’re going to need some magic penetration marks, and some mana regeneration per level seals. After that, it’s really your choice. I’m using flat health quintessences and magic resistance per level glyphs for some added survivability, but I’ve heard of plenty of different options for her than those two.
Orianna, as I think I’ve made more than apparent by now, is a control machine. She’s a good choice if you’re lacking both a mage and a support on your team, and need someone to half fill both roles. My main problem though is Zilean is an absolute monster at the moment, and fits into the same category, so she is going against some pretty stiff competition. Still, even if you don’t normally like this sort of character, I would give her a go during free rotation, simply to see the unique Ball mechanic in action. If nothing else, Xepherous deserves a good pat on the back for her clever design, even if she isn’t the most effective of characters out there.
This patch includes a feature I’ve wanted since beta – Multiple Mastery pages. I swear, when I saw that included in the patch notes I got up and danced around my room in joy (Okay, I didn’t really, but I did do a short Numa Numa tribute, because I’m a terrible nerd). Gone are my days of slamming in masteries as quickly as possible any time I changed character, desperately trying not to get screwed by that damn clock, drum beats counting down to my inevitable demise. Instead I can now take my time and talk over my team what’s going to be needed in our overall composition before I calmly set up my character in a matter of seconds.
What I love even more about this is Riot didn’t make this a feature we had to pay for. Ten mastery pages, all completely for free was above and beyond what I was expecting. They could quite easily have gone for the money grubbing route here, but instead said “Nope, let’s give our community something that won’t cause a thousand angry threads on our forums”, and for that I’m exceedingly thankful.
What you are going to have to pay for though is the new name changing feature, which is really par for the course these days. If World of Warcraft can get away with this sort of stuff in a subscription based game, I’m not against Riot deciding this is a function worth paying for. This feature also means I can finally get that name I’ve always wanted – Buttmonkey404, of course.
Keep up to date on all our League of Legends updates! We will be featuring another E3 video soon, focusing on the new spectator mode.
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.