League of Legends: Shaken, Not Stirred
By Jason Harper (Hhean), OnRPG MOBA Reporter
Welcome summoners, to the patch v22.214.171.124 article for League of Legends, the game that is just bubbling with enthusiasm. This patch includes new mastery trees, reworked summer spells and Fizz, The Tidal Trickster.
Fizz is a highly mobile assassin, focused on an evasive, hit and run style of play. When played properly, he can be an incredibly annoying pest that keeps picking off vulnerable members of an enemy team while suffering no repercussions in return. He’s most likely going to be enjoyed by people who like similarly evasive assassins like Shaco or Akali.
One of the interesting things about Fizz is that he can deal damage while running away, juking or using other abilities. This is made possible by Seastone Trident [W], an auto attack enhancing steroid with both a passive and active component. The passive adds a damage over time that deals magic damage over a very short period, becoming more powerful the lower the health of the target. The active adds even more damage, and also reduces the healing on the target, preventing even sustainable characters from avoiding Fizz’s withering assault. Getting a full three stacks of this on an enemy, and keeping it on them as their health plummets is the cornerstone of Fizz’s attack plan.
Getting in close enough to land those auto attacks is a complete doddle on Fizz, given his vast array of movement abilities. That would be good enough, but those same abilities are also designed with evasion in mind, giving all of his kit except Seastone Trident a dual purpose. This dual nature is even found in his passive, Nimble Fighter, letting him move straight through minion waves to hit his foes. This gives him some great harass against melee opponents, moving back and forth through minions as the damage over time whittles them down. What’s even better though is this passive can make him nearly immune to minion damage while jungling, giving him an incredibly safe time in the wilderness without even needing life steal.
Urchin Strike [Q] continues with this theme. On the surface, it’s a targeted dash attack that applies an on hit effect as you make contact with the target. However, the interesting part of this ability is it travels a set distance rather than simply moving straight to the target. The most common use of this is that it will pass through the target and land Fizz some distance away from them, or at least on the other side of them. This is, of course, perfect for juking skill shots when closing ground. Wait until the enemy begins their startup animation, and then dash in for a bit of Seastone Trident enhanced beat down. Getting behind someone also lets this become a great escape maneuver, slipping past an enemy for a brief moment, letting them think you’re going one way, only to quickly dash through them and head off in the opposite direction.
What really makes Fizz truly a slippery denizen of the deep though is his Playful/Trickster [E]. The first hop caused by Playful makes Fizz immune to all damage, provided he’s still airborne. It’s very important to note that during the start up animation of the ability, when he’s hopping from his trident, he can still be attacked, so hitting this ability too late is just as bad as hitting it too early. It has a very narrow window of execution, so trying to play Fizz under the oppression of high latency is not advised.
After hopping through the air, you can choose to have Fizz stay where he is, and drop straight from where he landed (resulting in a large blast that slows the enemy) or make use of Trickster, which is a second hop that will allow him to pass through some walls, but has a smaller blast and has no slow effect. This often results in interesting decisions when making use of the ability – Do I land on my enemy to slow them, or hop past them to cut off their escape?
His ultimate, Chum the Waters [R] also possess the capability for both assault and evasion. It’s a skillshot with a surprisingly long range that sticks a fish to an enemy champion if it hits, or stays on the ground if it misses. For a few seconds, this fish creates an area of effect, slowing anything that’ll pass through it, and will stick to a champion if they touch the fish itself. After a short delay, a shark pops out of the ground, deals damage and knocks anyone caught in the area to be knocked airborne. This has the obvious application of hurling a fish at someone, before following up with some generous application of trident to face as your victim is hurled into the air. Landing a hit from a distance is very satisfying, but risky, and is often best used after landing the slow from Playful. Less obviously though, the fish can be used to deliberately miss a target to block off movement, best served when in the jungle, where the fish cannot be walked around. This allows you to ward off pursuit while making a getaway, or channel enemies down a path that will lead them into a more favourable position for your team as they avoid the route not guarded by a massive hunter of the deep.
Oh, and the ultimate itself is also hilarious. Every time I see a Teemo being swallowed whole, I giggle like a school girl.
Take a level in Seastone Trident at first. Urchin Strike is a great grab at level 2. Playful/Trickster is best grabbed at level 4. While Seastone Trident is the obvious ability to max first, which of his abilities you grab for your second choice depends on your choice of build, and the role you’re filling in your team. Maxing Playful/Trickster second will give Fizz a greater team fight presence, allowing him to avoid damage more often, while also simultaneously giving him great area of effect damage for both team fights and farming. This is better suited to a pure mage build, due to him both being squishier and therefore needing the protection, and also that it has a good AP ratio for an area of effect ability. If you’re going for a burlier, more attack speed orientated build, then maxing Urchin Strike second is going to be the better choice to maximize his single target killing power.
For items, start with boots and health potions in a lane, or cloth armour and health potions in the jungle. There’s also a more risky, but satisfying option of starting with an ability power tome and a single health potion when trying an AP jungle build, though I don’t recommend it. Prospector’s Ring, boots and health potions are used in Dominion land.
Your itemization should priorities ability power and attack speed, with enough survivability as you think you need. This means that his itemization options can be quite broad, depending on how you’re planning on using him. Rod of Ages and Rabadon’s Deathcap are core items for a mage based Fizz. Malady and Wit’s End are both good choices on a bruiser Fizz before tanking up. Going half way on the builds and simply using all four is also possible, but you’ll have to prioritize one before the other. Please don’t buy a Rylai’s Crystal Sceptre or Nashor’s Tooth on him. He has enough slows as it is, and Nashor’s Tooth overall is a pretty poor item.
I’ve been running a pretty odd rune page on Fizz. Magic penetration marks, armour seals, attack speed glyphs and flat ability power quintessences provide me a little bit of everything that I want on the little critter. With the right combination of masteries, this lets you perform an AP jungle run, though it’s weaker than the more common AD jungle rune page being used for him (See my previous article if you’re interested in that).
For his masteries I just got out my tried and true… hang on a second. What are all these weird icons on my screen? Well, this is embarrassing; it seems I’ll to have to break from my usual format for a moment.
The new masteries are excellent, giving you much greater flexibility in how you want to build a character. Some trees are no-brainers for certain roles, like having at least 21 points in the offense tree is going to be used by near enough every mage for some time. However, for characters that don’t quite fit into one role, or have to balance their offensive and defensive options, it opens up some interesting levels of customization.
Fizz, for example, doesn’t really fall into a mage role, nor is he fully an assassin in the same manner as say, Talon. This allows him to go for a very wide ranging set of load outs to suit individual tastes, or simply where he’s going to specialize in a given team composition. I personally prefer a 21/9/0 build on him, but where those points go within the tree I’ve been mixing up a fair bit. Attack damage and speed helps him a great deal in the early game, especially when jungling, but I’ve been finding that an ability power build lets him do some hefty damage later on. Balancing ability power and attack speed on the offensive mastery tree produces some very interesting results. I did try out putting my points into utility, but found them a bit wasted, since Fizz doesn’t really need any mana regeneration, gold gain or movement speed. He’s got low costs on his spells, kills everything for money and is already slippery enough without a speed boost.
Before even considering playing Fizz, be aware that while a well played Fizz is a complete beast, a poorly played Fizz is nothing more than chum for your enemies. He has an incredibly high skill ceiling, and I doubt I’ve uncovered even half of his tricks during my few days of play. I’ve certainly not been able to fit all of the tricks I’ve found into this article, let alone the ones I haven’t found yet. While I don’t usually recommend the idea of ‘maining’ any one character in League of Legends, Fizz has enough depth to him that I think the more time you sink into him, the more he gives back in return.
If played properly, I think he’s one of the strongest characters in the game at the moment, and has the potential to be game breaking when all of his tools are used to their fullest. In competitive, high level play I see him as a worthwhile ban, but in low or even mid level play I don’t see him as a threat. A bad, or even mediocre Fizz is really not something that’s too scary, since Fizz’s strength comes from reacting well to enemy actions, not blowing up stupid people. I’m wondering if Riot is going to be able to balance such a character, given the previous difficulties with Oriana, who had a similarly high skill cap, albeit for different reasons.
To discuss some of the changes yourselves, post in the massive League of Legends thread in the free to play MMOs section, now with over 1 million views! If you haven’t tried League of Legends yet, you’re missing out.