League of Legends: The Edge Of Glory
By Jason Harper (Hhean), OnRPG MOBA Reporter
Welcome summoners, to the patch v18.104.22.168 article for League of Legends, the game in which nothing is true, everything is permitted. This patch includes a rework to sustained healing, UI reworks to pave the way for Dominion, and Talon, The Blade’s Shadow.
Talon is walking murder. Seeing a Talon means only one thing – He is trying to kill you. Not later, sometime in the future, perhaps. Now. Right the hell now. Defense and utility are for pansies, a Talon player says, as they step over the bloodied remains of their recently departed foes. If you enjoyed playing ultra aggressive characters like Akali, but felt even she wasn’t aggressive enough, then Talon is your man.
The trick with Talon is to use as many of his abilities as possible on a single target, as each one causes the following attacks to deal more damage. This can be through the use of Rake [W], a conical skill shot that slows the enemy, and through Cutthroat [E], a targeted blink that increases the damage output of any attacks following it. His passive, Mercy, allows him to deal more damage to targets under the effects of any crowd control except silence or blindness, so Rake’s slow will, in turn, give him yet another damage bonus, in addition to making him harder to escape from. Once he’s got the two damage enhancements on his desired target, you can then immediately finish them with a combination of Noxian Diplomacy [Q], and his ultimate, Shadow Assault [R].
The most common combo to achieve single target damage is to tag the enemy with Rake, getting the slow on them, activating Noxian Diplomacy and Shadow Assault before jumping into their face with Cutthroat. This final act will trigger every other secondary effect at once, while hitting them with all of his most damaging abilities at the exact same moment. Depending where you are in a match, this can do anywhere from a third of someone’s health, to bursting them down from full health to nothing.
The problem with this method though is that once your initial burst is done, everything you have is now on cooldown, and the enemy is now fully prepared to drive Talon’s head through his knees. If there is anyone around that might help your victim, don’t expect to survive the following encounter. The safer method then is triggering the ultimate late, using the stealth to cover your cooldowns in the same manner as Akali, and maybe make your escape if you need to. This lowers your burst considerably though, and should only be used if enemies have a vested interest in staying in an area, likely due to fighting a teammate, monster or tower, buying you enough time to hammer them with your second round of burst.
Rake is going to be the first ability you should pick up, and the first to max out. This will help his damage, help his escape, act as harass and help his farming considerably. It’s the Swiss army knife of knives. Now, level 2 depends on who you’re up against. If you’re against a squishy ranged character, likely a mage, then Cutthroat’s leap and silence combo will help make them fear you, giving you greater control of your lane. If you’re against some burly meat head who wants to get up close and personal, grab Noxian Diplomacy to make them regret it. At level 4, pick up the choice you didn’t go for, rounding out your combo and letting the fun really begin. Once you’re done leveling Rake, Noxian Diplomacy is going to help with his ganking damage, especially once you start getting some attack damage items to back it up, so max this second. Cutthroat will be your final stop.
I’ve been struggling with finding a good pick for him in the laning phase. All of his starting items feel sub optimal. The best pick I’ve managed is using the Doran’s Shield, or a cloth and five health potions for enough sustain to keep in a lane. After that, I try to stick around long enough to rush a BF sword or Brutalizer. The latter I only buy if I’m suffering in my lane, the former if things are going well. From there, I get my boots and complete the Bloodthirster, which will both help your farm with Rake, adding just enough to blow up a minion wave in a single use, and also add some beastly damage to Noxian Diplomacy. From there, keep getting damaging stuff (Focusing on AD and Cooldown) until you start being focused in team fights, at which point a defensive item may be in order. Sheen/Triforce works well on him I’m told, but I’ve been refusing to get it simply because the last two characters were Trinity Force users and I can’t stand doing that build yet again.
For his Masteries, you could use a 21/0/9 for an all out offensive build. Personally, I’m not very good at the total offense, so I’ve been using a 16/14/0 build on him, using his defenses to make sure he doesn’t explode quite so quickly. For Runes (now stop me if this sounds familiar) I’ve been using armour penetration marks, armour seals, magic resist glyphs and health regeneration quintessences. I’ve been wondering if it’s worth slipping in some attack damage or more armour penetration in there, likely in the quintessences, to make him a little less item reliant for his damage, but that health regeneration is really needed to help his weak early game.
I have to confess, I am terrible with this sort of character. I’ve never been a fan of these high risk, high reward types. If you are the sort of person who likes to go all in for every single fight they enter into, then you should find him a pretty good pick, as his burst is pretty insane once he’s got some farm. Farming though can be difficult on him, due to having a weak laning phase against anyone with some sustain. This usually means that his team’s jungler needs to set up a gank for him early to more reliably get the ball rolling, which is usually more co-ordination than is found in most solo queue matches.
I’m going to hazard a guess that he’s not going to be seen much in competitive play, given that conservative play is usually rewarded there far more than risk taking. I will say though that he makes a great solo queue pub stomper, as most of these sorts of high damage dealing glass cannons often wind up being. He also might work out to be an excellent Dominion pick, given his need for a lot of gold early in the game, and reliance on kills aren’t a problem in that game type.
The sustain changes have been painful for support players. While I fully understand why the nerfs were needed (I think I’ve fallen asleep in bottom a few times), I don’t entirely agree with some of the exact changes. For example, why was the AP ratios on most supports’ heals nerfed? I’ve never seen a single support who stacked AP and was actually effective. Everyone just grabbed gold per 10 items and bought loads of wards. It seems a bit superfluous to target a nerf at something that no-one who knew how to play their characters ever did. Then again, it’s not like that part of the nerf actually has affected any support players, given none of them are going to be buying AP anyway. You’d think though that Riot might want to discourage this type of play, as the gold per ten stacking encourages passive supports, but evidently they don’t see this behaviour as a problem. Fine by me, I’ll just keep stacking up my wards.
The changes to Soraka are not only the most extensive, but also the most bizarre. Her heals have been nerfed so hard that you couldn’t put her on a team as the dedicated healer any more. Her damage output is now really, really high though, putting her more into the role that was once filled by Nidalee (RIP Nidalee) on top as a self sustaining mage. Where once you would pick Soraka to be the team’s heal-bot, now she’s better as a nuker and pusher, with a little bit of added sustain thrown in.
My own bit of vitriol at the changes is the odd buff Sona has received for her heal to compensate for its lowered effectiveness. The idea is that she’ll enhance whatever auras she has active on the heal’s target while the buff lasts. This was to encourage clutch healing, giving allies more armour, damage and/or movement speed. The problem, however, is that this is Sona. You can’t choose your targets, only go with what the automated system picks for you, so clutch healing is nearly impossible when you know your mage is going to be burst down from full health, yet your half health tank is the only person you can heal. The buff is worthless when it winds up on the wrong target most of the time. This indirect targeting was fine when it was a good heal, since there was rarely a reason not to heal the person with the lowest health, but as a buffing system this is painful.
The most likely result of these changes is we’ll simply see a shift away from the characters that relied on healing entirely, and more towards, well, everyone that didn’t get their ability to support nerfed. Alistar’s healing hasn’t been affected, nor Janna’s shield or ultimate, so they’re going to remain top of the support pile. Karma and Kayle might get a chance to shine now, since neither of their support capabilities got hit, but I’m a bit dubious myself. They both require a bit too much gold to be effective, and if there’s one thing you don’t want your support doing, it’s having to farm.
To discuss some of the changes yourselves, post in the massive League of Legends thread in the free to play MMOs section. Also look forward to a review of Dominion mode coming up on OnRPG soon. If you haven’t tried League of Legends yet, you’re missing out.