League of Legends: You’re a wizard, Ahri!
By Jason Harper (Hhean), OnRPG MOBA Reporter
Welcome summoners, to the patch v126.96.36.199 article for League of Legends, the game that I’ve now been writing about for nearly a full year here at OnRPG. This patch includes new runes, a nerfed Warmog’s Armour, an updated champion page UI and Ahri, The Nine Tails Fox.
Ahri is a highly mobile mage, focused on luring enemies close to her in order to deal good amounts of sustained damage. She is an easy character to play for a primarily skillshot based character, acting as a very good gateway character for someone trying to get to grips with skillshots for the first time, or someone who likes their skillshots to be lacking much risk. Her playstyle is somewhere between Ezreal and Sivir, which works out very interesting when she’s a mage and neither of those characters are. For that reason, she also might make a good bridge for a ranged carry player looking to learn a mage.
What she isn’t is an assassin. She has very few single target abilities, and most of her damage is quite sustained rather than bursty. Don’t listen to everything the champion spotlights tell you, and for the love of all that’s holy, don’t level Parrrley last on Gangplank.
Most of Ahri’s offense revolves around Orb of Deception [Q], a short but wide skillshot that deals magic damage as it moves away from her, but true damage as it returns. As with Sivir’s Boomerang Blade, the best way to make use of this on its own is to hit enemies just short of the ability’s maximum range, so when they’re tagged with the first hit, the second comes almost instantly after.
Of course, if you’re aiming to thread the spell into the rest of her kit, you’re find her synergistic abilities let her perform a simple combo. As an enemy moves in a predictable manner, throw out a Charm [E]. Bear in mind this is a skillshot that can hit minions, so be careful where you’re firing it, as enemies can easily make use of minion waves or jungle creeps to shield against the shot. While they walk towards you, trigger Fox Fire [W], which will land three hits on the nearest enemies, focusing heavily on the poor soul you just dragged towards you. While they’re unable to avoid it, finish with the Orb of Deception as the brutal icing on a cake of pain.
The following is a special note on fighting against Ahri, which you will have to do every match into the next week. When she’s heading in for the kill, Her most damaging attack by far is the second hit on an Orb of Deception, so avoid this at all costs. When close to you, an easy way of avoiding this damage is to simply dash through Ahri herself, allowing the Orb to return to her before it reaches her, and giving her less time to compensate by moving with her ultimate. Another trick for characters that have such abilities is to fling Ahri over your shoulder towards her Orb, giving her no chance to compensate, and wasting her Orb completely. What won’t work is stunning or even killing her. The Orb will still return, regardless of the state of Ahri, so don’t think you can finish her off before the orb gets back. Just get out of the way.
Her ultimate isn’t a necessary component of her skill combos, as is the case with other mages, but more of a positional tool and slight damage enhancement. She’s able to be very mobile for a short period of time, getting access to three dashes over ten seconds, but due to the cooldown of the ability, this should be used with caution. The obvious two uses of the ability are escape and chasing. Either use the dashes to cover a lot of ground quickly, or ulti to juke away from foes and over thin walls. Another trick though is using the ultimate to buy time for her cooldowns, rushing forward, letting off her spells and then dashing away or around enemies to buy time for a second combo. In extreme circumstances it can be used to rapidly adjust where a returning Orb is heading, letting it curve through the air to hit its intended target. The amount of damage from the projectiles fired from the ultimate are pretty minimal, and shouldn’t be relied on for anything but finishing off enemies already on their last legs.
One of thing of importance is that all of her skillshots don’t seem to have variable distances, and all travel a set range. This makes quick casting on her very easy, since you won’t accidentally shorten your own range by having your cursor in the wrong place. However, this also makes her ranges very predictable. Against skilled enemies though, your predictable range will allow them to preempt any attacks you make as you get to the ideal range. Be aware of this, and compensate accordingly, either by varying when you attack, or trying to guess which way they’ll move.
Take a level in Orb of Deception first, for early game poke and farm. Max it out first, since its her main damaging ability. Level two is time for Charm, as it might land you a kill if the enemy are being incredibly thick, or save you from a jungle gank. Max it second, so you get a good, long duration out of it. Fox Fire should be grabbed at level 4 and maxed out last. It mostly just an added bit of damage you get when people stray too close. In Dominion, don’t bother leveling Fox Fire with the free three levels, instead take it at level 4, which you will inevitably get at the start of the fight at the windmill.
For items, start with boots and three health potions. In Dominion, I find the stock Prospector’s Ring, boots, and potions set up works well. Stack Doran’s Rings for an early game advantage in Summoner’s Rift. Two or three is good, depending on how you’re doing. Get a Hextech Revolver next. While it isn’t the best item to go for on many casters, on Ahri it is a very good item when combined with her Orb of Deception and her passive, letting her get health at a decent rate. This, combined with a elder lizard buff will allow her to be near impossible to remove from a lane. Now that you can farm and gank safely, look to getting her more damaging AP items. Rylai’s Crystal Sceptre is a great choice against bruisers, and is near a necessity on Dominion. Rabadon’s Deathcap is the standard damage enhancer for all mages everywhere. Rod of Ages isn’t a terrible situational pick on her, but should be used only when you’re already dominating your lane, and think that the Doran’s Rings aren’t needed, and a Catalyst Of The Protector is better suited for your current situation. While rushing the Hextech Revolver is a good plan, you don’t need to be in any rush to convert it to a Will of the Ancients.
Run with a stock 21/0/9 mage focused mastery for summoner’s rift, aiming for cooldowns, magic penetration and ability power. On Dominion you’re better suited to a 21/9/0 page, because you’re rarely going to run into mana issues on that game type. I’ve been making use of magic penetration marks, mana regeneration seals, ability power per level glyphs (cooldown reduction is also a good choice in this slot, as can be flat magic resistance when going mid), and ability power quintessences. While I haven’t made use of the new runes myself yet, getting hold of the new spell vamp quintessences may help if you’re having trouble with her laning.
I find it very hard to be enthusiastic about Ahri. I think she’s powerful, provided you’re looking for a sustained damage mage with a bit of durability and mobility at her disposal, but there’s nothing to her that grabs my interest. She’s very similar to quite a host of other characters that preceded her, with very little new on show. If you don’t already own any character that makes use of skillshots, then she could be a good choice as a learning experience. If you already own a number of similar characters, you have to ask if you want more of the same, or if you’re better off expanding your roster a bit in other directions.
I think my key problem with the character is your skill with Ahri is going to be dependent more on aim rather than long term strategy, which is the aspect of play I enjoy most when playing a mage. Seeing when to attack, planning your moves ahead on how to drive an enemy into the perfect position and then bombarding them with bursty death is simply one of the finer moments in league of legends. She doesn’t have any of that sort of play, and while being a mage, plays far too similarly to an AD carry, possibly my least favourite role.
While its probably not the most game shattering of changes, I really do like the improvements to the champion splash screens. I like the way you can now buy characters while also, you know, actually seeing what they do. The little videos that now accompany each ability in the game likely took a while to make, but are a brilliant learning tool for new players, both for when they use that ability as a character, but also when they’re killed by something they don’t understand. Now all we need is something that actually lets us see what a skin looks like in game.
The new runes open up a good chunk of potential options, though for the most part they are for specialized tasks. The percentile health runes are mostly garbage, as they give simply too little health to be worthwhile against simply getting flat health, or health per level runes. The others though, have their place. The lifesteal quintessences, for example, might make quite a good jungle rune pick, though I’ve yet to give them a run myself.
The nerf to Warmog’s armour was inevitable. The sheer number of people using the “Atmog’s” build was getting a bit silly. The only issue though is that Frozen mallet still remains unchanged, so “Atmallet”, while not quite as good at the old Atmog’s, is still good pick.
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.