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LoL Champions A-Z: Akali, the Fist of Shadow

 Sep 19, 2014  397  1

This green female ninja was introduced into the League of Legends in 2010 on the 11th of May. Akali is an AP assassin commonly seen in both top and mid lane. She excels at dealing high single target damage, making it easy for her to kill one target very quickly. She uses energy as her primary resource, and her damage is mostly magical, with some physical here and there.

Ability Breakdown and Uses

Akali’s passive is Twin Disciplines. Akali gets % bonus magic damage that increases with her AP on her basic attacks, and gets % Spell Vamp that increases with her AD. Being able to appropriately balance how much AD and AP you get will maximize this passive’s use. Since most of Akali’s abilities scale on AP, you won’t be buying a whole lot of AD, but getting some for the spell vamp isn’t bad for her laning phase.

Akali’s first ability is Mark of the Assassin. This is Akali’s highest damage spell and should be maxed first. Akali throws her weapon at a target, dealing initial damage to the target and marking them for 6 seconds. If Akali attacks the marked target the mark will be consumed and deal additional damage while restoring some energy to Akali. This ability is good for harassing the enemy laner or for last hitting minions from afar.

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Is Smart Casting Always Smart?

 Sep 18, 2014  1537  5

Today I would like to talk about one of the special options within League of Legends.  If you have played for a while, you probably know about Smart Casting.  If you don’t already know about it, Smart Casting refers to an option that automatically casts a selected Champion ability at or towards the current mouse cursor position.  The term “Smart Cast” was turned into “Quick Cast” by Riot in version 3.12, although many people still refer to the option as Smart Cast.

Without Smart Casting enabled, if you press the button to use an ability, a targeting reticule and range indicators appear for that particular ability.  What Smart Casting does is essentially eliminate the targeting reticule and range indicator portion of an ability cast.  As you might imagine, Smart Casting can prove to be extremely useful in certain situations and with particular Champions and abilities.  There are players who absolutely swear by Smart Casting, preferring to use it exclusively.  There are also Summoners who prefer to use Smart Casting on a case-by-case basis.  Very few Summoners, especially at higher levels of play, elect to play without Smart Casting entirely.

I would argue that a healthy mixture of Smart Casting and normal ability casting is the best combination.  Luckily, Riot offers the option to bind an individual ability to Smart Casting, allowing for maximum freedom in ability usage.  As a general rule, I find Smart Casting incredibly useful for Mages, Champions that use multiple burst abilities, abilities that require quick timing, abilities that can be chained and used in succession, and abilities that feature a low cooldown all benefit from Smart Casting. 

The Champions that come to mind who benefit from an entire Smart Casting kit are Ryze and Katarina.  They are both very bursty mage-type Champions who feature low-cooldown abilities that can be chained and reset.  Using Smart Casting for them is essential in cutting down on very valuable input delay between abilities that could very easily boil down to life or death.  Ezreal is another Champion who benefits greatly from Smart Casting with his skillshot-heavy kit. Nami’s Q Bubble ability is very effective when it is used as with Smart Casting as well.

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Welcome to Shurima – The Land Between the Sands

 Sep 17, 2014  191  2

Excitement is in the air for fans of League of Legends.  The latest Patch 4.16 has been released for the game client, and this time in addition to the usual tweaks and balances, stage one of the League of Legends reimagining has taken form.  You might remember that Riot currently vocalized their plans to completely overhaul the current lore in favor of a more dynamic and interactive medium for storytelling.  Riot’s first offering in this new area of content is Shurima.

Shurima is where an ancient empire bloomed in the desert.  To herald the new offering, Riot has launched a webpage highlighting the additions (of which there are many).  First, we should go over the cast of characters involved with Shurima.  They include Xerath, Nasus, Renekton, Rammus, Skarner, Sivir, and the new comer Azir.  Champions with ties to Shurima include Cassiopeia, Amumu, and Ezreal.  You might notice some new faces involved in the drama, such as Sivir.  Riot offers a compelling drama with their first video "Descent into the Tomb."  The story focuses on Cassiopeia, who hires Sivir to take her into an ancient tomb.  There, Cassiopeia betrays Sivir and awakens the ancient evil, Xerath.  The Brothers Renekton and Nasus are also freed in the chaos.

For a first foray into epic storytelling, Riot does a pretty good job.  The narrative of the video is intense, and kind of feels like a book at times.  The characters have strong motivations, and they tie directly into the world of the game.  A future video is coming soon called “Rise of the Ascended.”  The teaser says it will focus on Sivir and how she will transform history.  Personally, I am excited for the new storytelling portion of League of Legends.  All of the before mentioned characters now have completely new in-game biographies, and it keeps the game fresh.  I had originally thought some of the motivations of the characters were pretty weak, so I am eager to see what Riot can do to change around the game in the lore department.

Riot has gone a step further with the Shurima epic and introduced the latest game mode Ascension with it.  Ascension is a rework of the Crystal Scar that focuses on the epic struggle against Xerath.  Summoners battle in a 5v5 match, earning points for scoring kills in the match.  The sands have altered the Crystal Scar with the only way into it by use of a teleportation trinket.  The trinket will teleport you to one of five points on the map.  As for scoring, each kill grants you a point.  There are crystal relics scattered on the map that grant three points for capturing.  The real excitement lies at the center of the map.  An Ascended Xerath boss waits there, and defeating him will require teamwork.  Whoever gets the last hit on him will become Ascended and gain extra size and attribute bonuses.  Getting kills while being Ascended grants double points, and the one to kill the Ascended gets five points.

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Everyone Wants Magical, Wonderful Boots

 Sep 16, 2014  954  2

Greetings, Summoners!  You may remember a while back when I wrote all about the Boots you can purchase in League of Legends.  If you remember, we talked about the myriad of different Boots you can purchase and all of the cool things that they do to your Champ in League of Legends.  The main takeaway was that the Boots are an invaluable part of any Champ’s itemization path, and virtually every Champ should get an upgraded pair of boots fairly early on in a match.

Today I would like to touch upon one of the newer elements of Boots, enchantments.  Riot added enchantments to upgraded Boots in order to add an extra degree of strategy and customization to the game.  Once you upgrade your basic pair of footwear into one of theTier-2 variety, you can then spend 475 gold in order to enchant the boots.  Depending on the enchantment you give the footwear, it adds a different bonus to the item.

Let’s do a quick overview of the Boot enchantments.  Furor adds a movement speed bonus to your character after they land a single-target attack or spell.  The boost only lasts two seconds, however.  Alacrity gives an extra bonus to movement speed overall.  Captain gives a sort of aura to your teammates.  It grants a movement speed bonus to allies moving towards you, as well as a bonus to allied minions.  Distortion reduces the cooldown on the Summoner skills Ghost, Flash, and Teleport.  It also buffs those Summoner Skills.  Finally, Homegaurd greatly increases health and mana regeneration after visiting the shop.  It grants a massive movement speed bonus for visiting the shop as well.

Now that we have recapped on the enchantments, we should do a little analysis of when it is beneficial to grab each enchantment.  I would argue that you should have completed your Tier-2 Boots by at least mid-game, if not sooner (depending on your gold income flow).  You should probably enchant your boots after at least two major items have been built in your build.  You need to have some major items completed in addition to the wards you should be picking up constantly, and although the Boot enchantment is only 475 gold, that can sometimes seem like a lot.  There will always be exceptions to this, however, and each situation should be handled on a case-by-case basis.

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The Remake of Soraka, prediction becomes the barrier

 Sep 14, 2014  921  3

One reason Soraka becomes popular is her easy operation. Soraka has 4 skills and they are all directed skills. No matter support, top solo or mid solo, even jungler, the easy operation lets the players use her. You will never have trouble even you are the first time to use her.

After the remake of Soraka, we have to say, if you have ever carefully check her skill, you will find she has become mage in MMORPG, and she is a mage who can heal. Her Q and E have changed into undirected AOE skills. The requirement of using W becomes higher. And the skills have the delayed casting effects. That is to say, if you want to well use these skills, you need to exactly predict the enemies’ positions.

The change greatly increases the differences between beginner and the senior. Take support Soraka for example. Q to the beginners is just a useless harassing skill, even influencing LH of the ADC. To the senior players, the decrease effect brought by Q is very useful for attacking and escaping. E can silence the target, which evidently separate the normal and senior players when playing the same champion.

The change of W skill, in one aspect is bad for being top solo or mid solo, but in other aspect is good for top solo or mid solo. In one aspect, the skill cannot be used to herself which means the skill is useless when she is solo playing. In the same time, Riot gives the skill passive effect. After hitting the target by Q, Soraka will restore her HP. It means Soraka has enough restore ability when solo playing. Especially Q becomes a ranged undirected skill.

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S4 and S5, have you seen the potential conflicts in League of Legend?

 Sep 13, 2014  2027  3

With the coming of S4 World Championship 2014, we found League of Legends has accompanied us for another year. In the same time, the ending of S4 means the beginning of S5. The new season, not only the players expect, but also the designers want to express their expectation of the new season via various ways.

I think lots of players remember, after the close of S3 and in the beginning of S4, there are huge changes about the support and the whole situation of League of Legends. Now S5 will also face the same changes. From the ideas revealed by the designers, we can predict the change of this time may be in the jungle. And then there will be conflicts in League of Legends. Do you know these conflicts?

The designer Greg Street recently said the jungle area is outmoded, and he has the expectation to change it in S5. Meanwhile, it involves lots of conflicts in the jungle area. During the S4, the frequent Respawn of wild monsters has been fixed. Lots of players complained about the change. The players need time to adjust the jungling tactics according to the change. Sometimes, the frequent changes mean nothing to them. However, without changes, the players will lose their interest in the jungle area. They are tied of the same champion, the same jungling lane, and the same ganking lane. Changing or keeping up the jungle, or the whole League of Legends, this is always the conflict.

Talking about the champions, I have to say jungler is the most comprehensive champion in League of Legends. Jungler can be ranged mage, can be tank and also can be assassin. You can almost choose any champion as jungler, which drag another conflict out, the solo conflict between melee and ranged champions. In almost all the online game, ranged ones mean high attack, low HP. In the same time, melee ones mean high HP and low attack. But the rule is not used in League of Legends. We all know, in the late period of S4, half tank dominates the world and the ADC can hardly provide the output. An ADC occupied 1/3 resource of the whole team, can hardly deal with a top solo in early growing, which is really unbelievable and unacceptable. Riot provided some changes, nerfing part abilities of melee champions. And then what happened? The complaint about melee champions becomes more and more. Let’s take a look at recently popular champions. The ranged champions take more than half position in League of Legends, with mid solo and ADC, or maybe we can call the game League of Range. The balance between ranged and melee, it is the necessary conflict in S5 Legend of Legends.  

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Is the New Cassiopeia Viable?

 Sep 13, 2014  830  1

With a new Cassiopeia rework in, people are bound to play the champion a lot in the first week. Riot has noted that the changes are intended to buff Cassiopeia overall, even though her numbers have dropped. Her kit hasn't changed substantially, and the most significant change was made to her passive. However, will the changes made put her on par with the other AP mid laners?

I want to start by talking about the minor changes they made to Cassiopeia’s abilities before going into her passive. By doing so I hope it will seem clearer what her passive will do to her playstyle.

To start her first ability, Noxious Blast, had its cooldown increased and its AP ratio reduced. Her second ability, Miasma, gained more utility at the cost of damage. An increase to its slow at all ranks for reduced damage and AP ratios. Both of these seem like nerfs initially, but once we go through the passive you can make your final decision there.

Twin Fang has gotten some bug fixes that are sure to make Cassiopeia’s gameplay a lot smoother, and Petrifying Gaze got its cooldown and damage reduced. Overall these two abilities seem to be getting buffed in the midst of this rework.

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Maokai: Terror of Top Lane

 Sep 12, 2014  1425  2

After the 4.11 patch to League of Legends, Maokai has found himself being played competitively a lot more recently, but not in the jungle where he was originally meant to be. In the recent Summer LCS he has been played solely as a top laner. Out of the 112 total games played, Maokai has been played in 9 and banned in 5 of those games. While that doesn’t seem like a lot of games (only about 13%), I still believe that Maokai will continue to be a terror in the top lane.

Significant changes to Maokai

When Riot decided to revamp Maokai, they probably weren’t expecting to make his kit very strong as a top laner.  Here are the main changes to Maokai that I felt worth mentioning.

For the specific details to the changes made to Maokai go here:

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So You’re on a Losing Streak

 Sep 11, 2014  2407  5

League of Legends can be a frustrating game, and you’re bound to have both wins and losses here and there. But there comes a time when you lose a few games in succession and end up losing more and more games to the point where you’re about to rage in real life. Losing streaks suck, for sure, I’m not denying that, and sometimes, there’s just nothing you can do about it.

For details about losing streaks you should first check out gbay99’s video here:

He does a great job in explaining why people go through losing streaks and mentions a great way to avoid them from happening to you.

But regardless how much you try to prevent it, eventually you’re going to have some bad luck run into you. Maybe your internet dies out during an important teamfight, or maybe someone on your team purchased their account and is way above the level they should be. There’s no permanent way to prevent yourself from going on a losing streak, so here’s what you should do:

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The Best Boots for the Situation

 Sep 09, 2014  1886  3

In League of Legends, there are many items for you to purchase.  Your choice of items can either make or break a game.  One thing can be almost certain, however.  You will want boots.  Everyone wants boots.

Boots are a very important item in League of Legends.  Outside of wards and consumables, boots are a staple item found on any Champion.  Luckily in League of Legends, boots come in a variety of styles.  All boots grant a bonus to movement speed, in addition to granting other special bonuses.  All Summoners start with Boots of Speed, which confer a movement speed bonus.  Depending on our play style, and the particular needs of the situation, we can upgrade the Boots of Speed accordingly.

I am sure we are all familiar with the different types of boots by this point, so what I would like to focus on is when and why we should choose specific boots in a given situation.  I would argue that we should acquire our Boots of Speed fairly early on, but preferably after buying a good item for our build.  An example for an ADC would be to go ahead and buy that B.F. Sword before those Boots of Speed.  Or for a Support, you might want to complete a Sightstone before grabbing your fancy footwear.  So early on is a good time to buy them, but not so early that we are simply a fast moving Champion with little else to offer.

When should we upgrade the Boots of Speed into fashionable footwear?  While each situation is different, after your first big item is a good choice.  So if you are an ADC building Infinity Edge, a good time to upgrade would be after completing the item.  Who should grab what boot upgrades?  It depends on external factors, but here are some general guidelines that I like to follow:

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