League of Legends: Thunder! Thunder! Thunder! Thunder Bear Hoooooo!
By Jason Harper (Hhean), OnRPG MOBA Reporter
Welcome summoners, to the patch v126.96.36.199 article for League of Legends, the game that can bea- No, I can’t do it. When punning, one has to have some standards, and I draw the line at bear puns. This patch includes the highly controversial jungle rework, a reworked Sivir and Volibear, The Thunder’s Roar.
Volibear is a burly melee bruiser who balances utility, damage and durability. He has few tricks or shenanigans but makes up for it by having a solid, yet simple, style of play. He’ll likely be enjoyed by people who are getting used to melee characters, or enjoy other less technical melee characters like Garen or Singed.
His main combo is as straightforward as the rest of his design. Charge towards someone using Rolling Thunder [Q], and fling your target behind you. The moment they hit the dirt, stop them fleeing by letting loose a Majestic Roar [E] while you beat on them with auto attacks. Once you’ve hit the enemy three times, nuke them down with a blast from Frenzy [W]. If your target has friends, don’t worry. Just before you fling your target, simply activate his ultimate, Thunder Claws [R], which will spread your damage to anyone foolish enough not to flee from a battery charged beast of the wilds. If they aren’t dead from your first burst, just keep flinging and slowing the enemy until they’re dead, or you need to make use of Rolling Thunder and the slow from Majestic Roar to make your escape.
The rest of any advice I can give on the character are nickpicks and details, really. He really is that easy to play.
His passive, Chosen Of The Storm, allows for some interesting tricks, baiting the enemy into attacking you when you appear to be at low health. It heals him for a significant portion of health when he gets low, which essentially gives him a weaker version of Mundo’s ultimate that automatically triggers. The main use of this though is at the same time simpler and more specific. If you see an enemy bruiser, you can most likely kill them if you have this passive up. This, combined with his Frenzy, allow him the rather unusual role of being an anti-bruiser bruiser.
The reason for this is twofold. Frenzy itself is one part, due to the very unusual way that it gains damage. The activated component of Frenzy will deal damage based on Volibear’s total health, which will then be increased by the percentage of how much health the target is missing. This means that once you have someone’s health lowered after his initial two abilities and his auto attacks, Frenzy will do a very large amount of damage, scything down even the most hardy of enemies. The second part is that his passive is exceptionally good against sustained damage dealers, who can’t burst down his health fast enough to counteract his healing. Given that bruisers are tanky sustained damage dealers almost by definition, Volibear has these two exceptional tools for simply pounding seemingly unbeatable enemies (A farmed Jax, for example) straight into the dirt.
Frenzy is, quite possibly, one of the strongest single target normal abilities in the game at the moment. The amount of damage it can do to a weakened enemy is simply staggering. This is even nastier when you consider that Volibear doesn’t put his stacks on an enemy, but on himself, so he can build stacks on a minion or higher health target before nuking his victim down when he engages them later.
Volibear’s biggest weakness is the same as other characters who don’t have a dashing attack; He suffers greatly against anyone who can kite him effectively. His game plan revolves heavily around getting into the enemy’s face as fast as possible before pinning them down as he beats them to death, so if he can’t get in reach in the first place, he suffers greatly.
Quick disclaimer before I talk about builds and leveling this week. Due to the massively reworked jungle, I’ve been avoiding Summoner’s Rift until the hotfix is through and I can work on a more detailed breakdown of how it’s going to affect the game. Therefore, most of my experience with Volibear has been on Dominion, and most of my build and leveling advice is concentrated in that area. Most of this is likely applicable to Summoner’s Rift too, but I thought it important to note why I’m not talking about laning or anything else that is specific to the classic game type.
Take all three of his abilities to begin with, since that’ll let you hammer people with his full combo right from the initial team fight on the windmill. Max Frenzy first to fire his damage output into the stratosphere. While going for Rolling Thunder as his second choice will help against teams that will try and kite him, I think Majestic Roar is the better pick overall, since it stops anything from escaping his grasp.
For items, start with a Ruby Crystal, Long Sword, Boots Of Speed and exactly two Health Potions. The left over thirty gold will be needed if you die in the team fight on windmill. If you go down, the added gold will usually be the difference between getting a Phage or not. From there, you’ll be getting your second level boots, Frozen Mallet and Atma’s Impaler. His build should always emphasize health, attack damage and relevant resistances. For that purpose, Sunfire Cape and Spirit Visage are excellent situational items, dependant on the enemy team composition. Warmog’s Armour is most likely an excellent choice on him in Summoner’s Rift, though it’s unfortunately not an option in Dominion any more.
Mastery picks can be either a 21/9/0 build or a 9/21/0 depending on if you prefer durability or outright damage. I personally prefer a more damaging build, since I near enough build nothing but defensive items on him, letting his damage come from runes and masteries. On the subject of Runes, Volibear has a variety of viable options. I’ve been using my Lee Sin build of armour penetration marks, armour seals, magic resistance glyphs and attack damage quintessences. However, flat health is also a very good choice on him, as can be attack speed.
When a character allows you to be flexible with your load outs and still be successful, that’s usually the mark of a powerful character. While I’ve hardly heard much enthusiasm for the character when talking about the classic game type, on Dominion he is an absolute beast. This is likely because the game type encourages people to hold their ground far more often, rather than simply kite the furry bearserker (Okay, I lied about the puns). Sustained damage and bruisers are also far more common on Dominion, which results in a plentiful supply of enemies that Volibear can fight with ease.
I don’t think he’s really ban worthy, but I do think he’s a good pick for the game type, working as a strong blocker to protect your squishy ranged characters. His ultimate and passive also work very well for some of those all important 2v1 fights you just sometimes have to run into in a close game of Dominion, buying time for the rest of your team to turn up.
This patch contained two major reworks, one that affects Sivir players, and one that is rather more dramatic. Let’s get the smaller change out of the way first – The rework makes Sivir a better character, but it still doesn’t address the key issue with her design. She sits between a ranged carry and support as a role, which simply doesn’t give her much of a place on a team.
The major, major rework that everyone is talking about though is the jungle changes. In all honesty, I like what Riot’s intent for the changes are, just not necessarily the execution. I’ve said for a while that jungling is a skill that can only be learned very late in a player’s progression in LoL, requiring you to be in the mid twenties to gain the needed runes and masteries to even think about trying to jungle. While some are claiming that the new jungle now requires less skill, I think a lot of people are mixing up a high barrier of entry with depth of play. That said, I think the current rewards for jungling right now are far too low, resulting in most junglers being far too weak by the end game, or being forced to farm for some very long periods of time. I intend to talk about all of this in greater detail later, when the jungle isn’t still in the middle of flux, as there is meant to be a hotfix to sort out a number of the issues with the current jungle coming soon, so I don’t want to be talking about something that’s going to be out of date within days.
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.