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The Easiest Champions to Use in Summoner's Rift

 Oct 31, 2014  1034  2

One thing we can consistently agree on is that the roster for League of Legends is diverse.  Champions tend to fall into different roles, like ADC, Mid, Top, Support, and Jungle, but even then there is some degree of flexibility to the Champions.From a beginner’s standpoint, it can often times be daunting to start a new MOBA like League of Legends for the simple fact that the roster is so massive.  In this article, let’s take a look at the learning curve and identify some of the easiest Champions to use.

Some of the easiest Champions to use usually end up being Marksmen type characters.  Learning an ADC is an effective way of breaking in League of Legends.  This is because to be a successful ADC, you have to keep map awareness in mind, you have to focus on Last Hitting minions, and you have to learn to communicate effectively with your support.  The game sets you up in a tutorial and features Ashe as the starting character, and I think this is a solid choice.  She has a long range autoattack, reliable and easy to master attack timing, and has a few nice skills up her sleeve.  She isn’t the most overwhelming ADC, but learning Ashe is like learning to ride a bike on training wheels.  She is a relatively safe Champion who is easy to pick up, but when used to her fullest potential, a safe pick for any game.

Besides Ashe, I can think of many Champions who were quite easy to pick up and play.  We talk about him a lot, but Tryndamere is an extremely rewarding Champion who can effectively play just about any role you throw at him.  With an excellent autoattack, great sustain, a slow, and an invulnerability ult, he is a great Champion who excels in many matchups.  Another easy to play, and often overlooked Champion is Warwick.  He is a Jungling god, and can even go Top with his great sustain.  His ult is easy to use and absolutely wrecks in a gank or a teamfight.  Overall, I would recommend Warwick to any person who is new to the Jungle and wants to have a good time.

Another great and easy to use Champion is Ryze.  Many Mage Champions have a high skill cap and are very hard to use properly without great practice.  With autocasting enabled, Ryze becomes an absolute joy to play.  We talked about autocasting in a previous article in depth, and identified how certain Champions like Ryze can greatly benefit.  Slap a few mana-sustain items on him and he will never go out of mana, and he is innately tanky to boot.  He is a great Champion to get used to the Mage role, and he will teach you the benefits of comboing as well.  Finally, when it comes to supports, perhaps no one is easier to pick up and play than Leona.  Equipped as an extremely tanky Champion and complete with a devastating array of CC skills, Leona is the go-to choice for just about any matchup at any skill level.  Learning how to play Leona is easy, you just dive and play aggressively, or peel for your ADC if you need to.  All of these Champions are some of the easiest Champions to pick up and play in League of Legends.

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The Rock-Paper-Scissors of Mid Lane

 Oct 30, 2014  1013  3

There are three distinct types of Mid Laners. There are assassins, who specializes in bursting an enemy down with one round of all their abilities. Then there are farmers, who can dish out a ton of AoE damage over a long period of time. Lastly, there are sustainers, who don't have the burst of an assassin nor the AoE clear of a farmer, but have a strong balance of both.

For the most part every mid lane champion can be categorized into one of these three groups. While some may be debatable, there is no doubt that every champion that goes mid has something that they specialize in, which will define what group they belong in.

But this article is not going to talk about that. Rather I'm gonna talk about each matchup, and why one type of Mid Laner beats another type of Mid Laner. It also happens that these matchups follow a Rock-Paper-Scissors pattern, meaning that one beats another, but loses to a completely different one.

For clarification, examples of each group include:
Assassins: Zed, Leblanc, Syndra
Farmers: Ziggs, Orianna, Lux
Sustainers: Swain, Yasuo, Jayce

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The Jack of All Trades – Which Champions Can Play Every Role?

 Oct 29, 2014  1482  2

Part of the fun of League of Legends is taking a Champion and bending the rules a bit.  We have already talked about how Riot likes to make designated roles for Champions from the onset.  Typically from that point, we see the meta shift these Champions into different roles based upon how the game is being played.  Although some Champions might excel in certain roles, the fun comes with taking different Champions and putting them in roles that you might not see them in regularly.  So in that vein, let’s identify the Champions who can play safely in any role.

When we are thinking of the most versatile Champions, they have to possess the following skills.  They have to be able to take on the role of Marksmen, and be an average ADC.  They need to be able to play Top and Middle, so they usually have to have some sort of Mage potential.  They also need to be able to Jungle, so they need to be able to clear faster than molasses.  Finally, they need to be able to do something as a Support, whether they function as a high-damage kill lane or by providing some sort of CC and utility.  I have a few Champions in mind when I think of the above elements combined into one package

One Champion that comes to mind is Teemo.  Although he generally favored as a counter-pick for the Top Lane, Teemo can play effectively in other roles.  He can function as a decent ADC; he is a Marksmen after all.  He has utility with his movement speed buff and his mushrooms, and his stealth can also be of great use in that role.  His blind status effect is also a great tool.  Teemo Jungle is also a thing, although a lot of people don’t really care for it.  His role as a Mid laner functions the same way as the Top lane.  As a Support, Teemo excels at laying down the shrooms and using his blind status effect to help out his lane.  The great thing about Teemo is that you can build him many different ways.  He can be made as a hybrid, attack damage, split push, or glass cannon Champion. Overall, he gets the job done as a jack of all trades, but his downfall is sustainability and he is really a fragile Champion.

Another decent Champion who can perform in any role is Tryndamere.  Tryndamere is an excellent choice for a Top laner, and he gets the job done as a Mid laner.  His attack damage and attack speed make him a melee monster.  His ability to regenerate health gives him much needed sustain which helps him infinitely in these lanes.  He also has a slowing ability debuff and a gap closer for rudimentary CC.  His ult adds to his sustainability in lane, and also in the Jungle.  The same skills that make Tryndamere a sustainable force in Top and Mid help him greatly to stay alive and viable in the Jungle.  He is also a decent Support character in a kill-lane, providing great damage dealing potential.  The only position that is really a stretch for Tryndamere is ADC, but when built properly, he is serviceable. Overall, like Teemo, Tryndamere fits the bill for a jack of all trades character.

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Do Runes and Masteries Need an Overhaul?

 Oct 28, 2014  790  4

In life, and in video games, they say “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.”  The same is true for many aspects of League of Legends.  The game has been going strong for years, and based on the same formula of gameplay, has seen exponential player growth over time.  Riot is certainly not averse to altering smaller gameplay components in an effort to craft a better game.  We have seen numerous Champion alterations, changes in Champion design and philosophy, the addition of Trinkets, and a complete overhaul to the way vision and itemization works.  You would think with all of the changes to the game that League has seen over the years, that slight alterations might be made with the way Runes and masteries work, because let’s face it, there are many problems with them.  Oddly enough, we haven’t seen many changes to these things, and it might be a great time for Riot to do so.

Runes are the first culprit.  What at first looks like an interesting means of customizing your Champion in League of Legends is later revealed to be the IP sink and a waste that Runes truly are.  First off, on the climb for a fresh player to Level 30, there are different tiers of Runes.  Since the endgame comes at level 30, and the best Runes are at that tier, this means all of the Runes you buy below top-tier Runes are a waste of IP.  It is a better use of your IP to strictly save for the highest tier Runes, because once you reach level 30, you are going to be there forever.  This would be fine if the game explained that your purchases of lower tier Runes were going to become obsolete in the long run.  There is an attempt at mitigating this with the Rune Recycle mechanic, but the process requires too many materials for an unforeseeable reward.

Another problem with the Runes is the cost of Rune pages.  We are given so many Mastery pages to customize the loadouts for our various Champions, but we are forced to buy Rune pages with IP, unless you want to plug down some serious RP.  Players should not be forced to use so much RP or IP on a thing like Runes, it cheapens aspects of the game.  The IP and RP should be reserved for the things that matter – Champions and skins.  I think a great way to revitalize the Rune system would be to completely scrap it altogether.  As it stands currently, all of the builds for Runes focus on stacking Runes like Hybrid Penetration and Armor.  Let’s have some exciting Runes that add diversity to the Champions, and in the process discourage people from following cookie-cutter builds found online.  Runes can be a great way to make players with identical Champions stand out from one another, and add a degree of complexity to the game.

The Mastery system faces similar problems as the Rune system, although the problems are not as severe overall.  Masteries are a great concept, you earn skill points as you approach Level 30, and there are a healthy amount of overall skills in the three skill trees that add enough build diversity and strategy to the game.  Also, the problem that occurs with Rune pages is not present, as we are given so many slots to record our Masteries in.  The problems with Masteries is that they seem to be stale.  Many people take a 21/9 split in some way or shape and call it a day.  Maybe if the skills were reworked, or altered over time more closely, there could be a greater degree of flexibility in what skills people wanted to use in battle.  Overall though the Mastery system is in way better shape than the Rune system.

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How To Ban Correctly

 Oct 27, 2014  1780  2

If you've ever played a draft game in League of Legends, either in ranked or in normals, you know that the pick and ban phases are very tense situations. During the ban phase the first person on your team has the power to prevent three champions from being played this game. One wrong move could get someone on the enemy team a strong champion and leave your team with nothing to pick from. If you think too much about what you want to ban, you might ban a champion one of your teammates can play very well. There exists hundreds of possibilities when it comes to picking and banning, so here are some good ways to assure your team has the best possible draft.

1. Communicate
As a player on the team, whether you're the person banning or last pick, its important to talk to your team before the actual game even begins. If you're the captain, ask your team what you should ban and if anyone wants a specific first pick. By talking to everyone you'll not only get a feel over which role each player is good at and what champions they are good with. If you're not the captain, you should still say something along the lines with "prefer 'this role'" or "ban 'champion' please." If your captain is looking properly there will be communication between your team that allows for the best possible set of bans and the best possible set of picks. With proper communication you can get your team the best possible draft.

2. Do a little research
As much as Riot does not want to admit, there are a few champions that find themselves being auto-banned every ranked game. Some examples are Kassadin and Amumu in Season 2, Vi and Elise in Season 3, and now Yasuo and Tristana. If you can find out which ones are very powerful in the current patch, you'll be able to ban something you know will hard to deal with and not panic ban something no one plays like Galio. You can also ask your team if anyone wants any of those OP champions. In theory the more of these champions you have the more likely your team will do better, but make sure the people playing those champions are perfectly comfortable with playing them.

3. Go with something you know how to play
Now while I did say do a little research on which champions are considered overpowered in the patch you are playing, that doesn't mean you need to automatically pick them. When in doubt pick a role or champion you know you can perform adequately on instead of forcing yourself to pick a champion you've never played before. This will probably be worse than letting the enemy team grab the champion in question, so go with your strong champions. If you find yourself forced into a role you're not very comfortable with, the least you can do is try to play it at a level in which you won't feed tremendously.

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The Significance of True Damage

 Oct 24, 2014  2722  4

In League of Legends there are 3 main types of damage. The first is physical damage, which mainly consists of auto attacks but there are many spells that deal physical damage. The second is magic damage, which comes mainly from abilities and other some items. Both of these sources of damage can be mitigated by armor and magic resistance, respectively. That means to some extent you can stack enough armor or magic resistance so that your champion won't be affected by that kind of damage. Of course Armor and Magic Penetration comes into play during damage calculation, but at least having armor and magic resistance will reduce incoming damage from enemies.

The third type of damage is True Damage. This is damage that cannot be mitigated by armor or magic resistance, meaning the amount of damage on your tooltip is the amount of damage you deal. This sounds really strong right? Being able to deal unmitigated damage means you know exactly how much damage you can deal, and your opponent won't be able to reduce the amount of damage by purchasing defense like armor or magic resistance. The only way to reduce True Damage's impact is to get more Health, which isn't good if you don't have resistances to block other incoming damage.

Luckily Riot has been able to prevent True Damage from becoming overpowered by controlling the total amount of damage that it can do, and by reducing the amount of items that can deal True Damage. Even in League of Legends' large champion roster, there are less than 15 champions that deal a significant amount of True Damage.

These champions are - Corki, Irelia, Twitch, Vayne, Master Yi, Ahri, Cho' Gath, Darius, Kog' Maw, Nunu, Olaf, Vel' Koz, and Zyra.

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LoL Champions A-Z:Azir, the Emperor of the Sands

 Oct 23, 2014  812  7

The reborn King of Shurima, as of the day I’m writing this article, is the newest champion to be introduced into the League of Legends in 2014 on the 16th of September. He is a mage that specializes in using his soldiers to deal damage from afar with fast mechanics and quick thinking.  He is a magic damage dealer, and uses mana for his abilities’ resource.

Ability Breakdown and Uses

Azir’s passive ability is Shurima’s Legacy. This ability has two parts, the first is a passive that gives Azir Attack Speed when he gets Cooldown Reduction. The second part of this ability is an active that lets Azir create a turret at the ruins of a destroyed turret. The additional attack speed is great for Azir since he benefits from both stats that he gains. On top of that, the turret he makes can be used to as an additional source of damage from enemy sieges and trap the enemy into fighting you under that turret. It may not be as strong as the nexus turret, but it’s still pretty sturdy and deals a decent amount of damage.

Azir’s first ability is Conquering Sands. Azir will send his Sand Soldiers(explained in later ability) towards a target location. If a Sand Soldier passes through an enemy, they will slow that enemy for 1 second. This ability does a lot of damage and the slow lets you hit your enemy more with your Sand Soldiers. It should be maxed either first or second, but never last.

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How Viable is MadstoneJungling?

 Oct 19, 2014  2333  3

If you watch Twitch TV often, you probably watch your fair share of League of Legends.  You have also probably heard of Trick2g, who is an extremely popular streamer in the League of Legends community.  Besides being an extremely talented player and entertainer, he has brought his own unique strategies to the table like any high-level streamer has done.  One of his signature Champions is Udyr, and one his signature strategies in the Jungle is called “Madstone.”  What this term roughly boils down to is quickly rushing a Madred’s Razor and a Spirit Stone.  Although you wouldn’t normally do this, because you can only have one gold-generating item at a time, and they both build into one, there are specific reasons for this itemization path.

The main concept behind Madstone is to give you amazing clear potential and sustain so you never have to leave the jungle.  With Udyr and a Madred’s Razor and a Spirit Stone your clears will be very quick, your mana will stay high even without having blue buff all the time, and you will be able to rush into a Feral Flare fairly quickly.  This also allows for a very fast dragon clear, if you are a particularly good, perhaps right when it first spawns. 

The key to Madstone lies in how fast you can clear, and when you can push the lanes when there is less of a threat from the enemy on the other side.  If used properly, like in the case of Trick2g, then Madstone Udyr can be an absolute game changer and it absolutely will secure you objectives.  However, there are many, many downfalls to this build, and I caution people from using it unless they really know what they are doing.

So what are the downfalls of Madstone?  First off, it is very dependent on your team composition.  If you are doing nothing but farming the jungle all day, and only occasionally pushing lanes in order to secure objectives, then that means your teammates are going to be playing without ganks.  If any of your lanes is performing poorly, you cannot be there to pick up the slack for them or camp their lane.  Madstone is highly contingent on the success of your team, and you really need to have teammates who know exactly what you are doing or they will be yelling at you all game for not ganking their lanes.  Furthermore, any jungler who has discovered what you are doing will be ganking hard in order to counter the fact that you aren’t ganking at all.  He might even camp the dragon when it spawns, fully knowing that you will probably go for a solo dragon very early on.  Madstone is a very high risk, high reward strategy that requires all cylinders of your team to be firing at the same time in order to pull off.  Another downfall of Madstone is trying to use in on anyone but Udyr.  It is easy to look at Trick2g’s success and think you can replicate it, but there is a reason he is such a well-known player with such a big following.  He is very good.  Many of us are not as skilled, and as such, we really need to know what we are doing before we go around trying to slap Madstone on other Champions just because they build into a Feral Flare.

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Most Evil and the Most Pure Champions LoL

 Oct 18, 2014  2501  2

There are many different motivations for characters in League of Legends.  On the subject of morality, some of them are very pure and good characters, while others are as evil as they come.  Let’s take a look at some of the motivations of the Champions and determine who the most pure and the most evil Champions are in Summoner’s Rift.

So who are the most evil Champions in Summoner’s Rift?  When it comes to pure terror in a small and cute package, Teemo and Veigar take the cake.  Teemo is a bit of a surprise, because upon first glance, he appears to be a very cute and sweet little guy.  If we delve into his lore however, we learn a much more dangerous truth.  He loves to go on solo missions, and loves the thrill of the hunt and the kill.  Although he is warm and inviting in person, on the battlefield he is an absolute terror.  Tristana says this about him: ''Teemo rides a thin line between chipper compatriot and unrepentant killer, but there's no one else I'd rather have as a friend.''Veigar is perhaps even more supremely evil.  Having been arrested for a crime he did not commit, he was locked up and imprisoned within Noxus for years.  After he finally escaped, he was a shadow of his former self.  He was driven mad and went to seek power from wizards across the land.  His motivations are to bring all of the city-states to their knees by using his powerful magic.

Besides the evil yordles, two other Champions stand out as being very evil characters.  Thresh is an evil and twisted reaper with a fascination for souls.  He used to be a sadistic jailer who would use chains to instill fear.  One day, his prisoners escaped, and hanged him by the very chains he used to torture them with.  Ever since then, he has been a relentless spirit intent on torturing the living souls he sets his sights on.  Singed is another contender.  He is a master alchemist who was enlisted under the apprenticeship of the famous Warwick.  After Warwick transformed into a wolf, Singed set about to terrorize the Ioanian troops.  He used his chemicals and concoctions on the troops, experimenting on them.  When there were no more troops left to use, he turned to his own body to run experiments on.

Now that we have looked at the evil Champions in Summoner’s Rift, who are the most pure and good ones?  Looking at the list, there are certainly more subjectively evil Champions then there are pure and good ones.  One of the good Champions that stands out is Karma.  She was once a tranquil and peaceful mystic who lived in a small Ionian village.  When the Noxian armies came to invade her town, the leading monks insisted on peace.  The troops were set to slaughter the town, but Karma used his spiritual powers to save the town.  Since then, she has combined the virtues of Ionian peace and war as a means necessary for protection.  So she only fights when she needs to.  Soraka is another very pure Champion.  She holds all living things close to her heart, and has protected the world of mortals as a celestial being.  She traded her immortality because evil threatened the world.  She only once turned on humanity, when Warwick betrayed her healing powers and slipped a knife in her ribs to thank her for her healing.  She seared his flesh with celestial powers to retaliate, but then vowed to leave her grove and heal people around the world who needed it.

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Does League of Legends Help You in Real Life?

 Oct 17, 2014  1671  4

League of Legends is a game that is composed of equal parts user skill, knowledge, manual dexterity, and strategy.  Part of the appeal of a game like League of Legends lies in the fact that it is simply designed game that holds a near limitless ceiling on player skill.  The learning curve for each Champion is different, and learning how to play with the strengths and weaknesses of each one is a unique experience.  If you play a lot of League of Legends, you may notice your skills in other areas, particularly games, have improved.  This is because in certain ways, League of Legends helps you become a better player, and a sharper person in general.

There is no doubt that League of Legends can make you a better gamer.  There is a lot of twitch gaming going on at all times in any given League match.  In order to be a good League player, you have to have lightning fast reaction times.  These reflexes will translate to other games and make you a better player overall.  I have noticed the most direct influence is actually in first-person shooting games, where twitch gaming is placed at a premium.  Outside of the reflexes you will gain from League, you will also learn map awareness.  Part of being a great League player is constantly being aware of your map, and knowing who is where at any given time.  This situational awareness may spill over into other games, once again first-person shooters come to mind.  In an FPS, we are usually confined to an arena, and most of the time we have some sort of radar or map.  Knowing where our opponents are is often a key to victory, and the situational awareness we have gained from League will definitely play a factor here.

We can talk about how League makes a better gamer in terms of concrete skills like twitch gaming and situational awareness, but what is it about League that truly determines in you win or lose?  Proper teamwork is that golden ingredient that separates a good player from a poor player.  In order to be successful in League, you have to be able to check your ego at the front door, and properly coordinate with four other players in order to achieve a common goal.  The benefits to learning communication, humility, and overall teamwork are very tangible.  Most team-based objective games will require these skills.  Outside of games though, your ability to communicate and work as a team will be a common theme in everyday life.  In school, you must often break off into teams to get work done.  Most certainly in work, you have to work as a team in order to do your job properly.  If you can learn to be a good communicator and team player in League, a game that takes a tremendous amount of dedication, skill, and patience, then there is no doubt that you can do it for your job in real life.

So the next time someone asks you how playing video games helps you in real life, you can tell them that League of Legends does a lot for making you a better person.  Your mental acuity will be sharper, your reflexes will be faster, and your awareness will be heightened.  Most importantly, your ability to communicate and work together on a team towards a common goal will be improved.  These are all very important skills that we can thank our favorite video game for providing us with.

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