31 May 2012

Darius OP? Not really.

Upon observing a bunch of people in normal games getting crushed by Darius solo top, my immediate response was to dash onto the League forums to absorb some of the sweet sweet tears of upset players. As I suspected, there is a lot of QQ regarding Darius and his overpowered status.

It's no secret that the wonderful folks at Riot games release most of their champions as a little ahead of the curve for the first two weeks- undoubtedly so people will shell out their precious money to get in on the noob crushing before the nerf bat hits a home run. However, as many of the higher ELO players mentioned very kindly on the "DARIUS OP WTF" threads; Darius actually isn't that hard to deal with if you adjust your strategy accordingly.

You can't go toe to toe with a close range character like Darius and escape unscathed- which is what I see countless people doing foolishly. Nasus, Shyvana, even Garen and other standard solo top champions can't fight him without getting their faces torn off. But if you look at his ability list, then isn't that a little obvious?

So if you have an enemy Darius and your team appears to be lacking one; what is the solution? Yorick. Well, Yorick is basically the answer to every solo top. On the other hand, anyone who can kite him effectively can mete out his destruction in the lane. A good Ashe will run rings around him, until he eventually pushes too hard and your jungler can come in and shut him down.

Every champion is overpowered in a niche area, and Darius is essentially Garen on steroids in my opinion. But instead of crying about it, I think a lot of you League players need to get accustomed to innovation instead of complaining. It's my consensus that most of the people who made a QQ thread on the forums probably didn't even think about how to counter him.

Ultimately I hope everyone keeps up the QQ tears on the forums, because I love to read them they are brilliant. Oh League of Legends, you so funny. Let's hope the new champion Draven is broken to the point we lose a few keyboards eh?

21 May 2012

League of Legends comics, part #7

It sure has been quite some time since I got around to publishing some League comics, but as I journeyed through the interwebs on a hunt for the new additions; it was to my dismay that a pretty huge chunk of them were just bad.

I guess every feeder fancies themselves a comic virtuoso these days. Maybe all the best artists moved to DotA2. Well if that leaves behind more casuals for me to stomp- I'm okay with that.

However, I've still managed to collect a fair few entertaining ones for your viewing pleasure- enjoy.

Catapult Olaf is catapult.

Either this or their PC is made of compost.

I only picked this one because it looks like an epic trollface.

To be honest, she's better than a neckbeard. Somewhat.

The best past is the part where it's true.

I may or may not have done this more than once.

If you get a chance to kill your team mates on LoL like this, do it because you're awesome.


Seen it happen, Rammus always seems eager to suicide.

Stacking Bloodthirster is clearly awesome and you should encourage it.

Lies. Girls don't play League of Legends.

Giant teemo is no way near as awesome as giant Cho'gath with Surge.

TF comics always seem to have brilliant facial expressions.

This is what happens every time I see Yorick.

18 May 2012

My Shyvana playstyle, helpful hints and tips.

What type of champion is Shyvana?
Shyvana is an offtank champion with bruiser type abilities. She has a great skillset with no mana dependancy, but lacks any hard crowd control. Despite this major issue, she can fit into almost any team composition if you adapt her build carefully. Why? Because she hits like a train, can mop up a teamfight, and is a contender for the best farmer ingame.

Her attacks allow for her to farm and move quickly, with decent on demand burst. However, Dragon Descent, Shyvana's ultimate is what really makes her shine. It allows you travel a great distance, pushing and damaging every thing in your path. As a bonus, you also temporarily gain ridiculous AoE damage, so you can destroy team fights.

Playing Shyvana successfully is all about positioning and farming. If you can't farm or enter a team fight at the right place and time, I don't think you will achieve much on her.

Where does Shyana fit into the team?
When picking her, make sure your team doesn't have a lack of CC or AP. She can work with a lot of setups and is flexible enough to even handle mid defensively, but there is no need to stupidly pick her when she isn't needed.

Shyvana is best off in a solo lane or in the jungle. In solo, she's quite strong and can trade harass effectively. Left alone she is able to push towers very quickly. In the jungle however, you need to prioritize on reaching level 6 before you can gank with a fair degree of success. This guide focuses more on the laning side of Shyv, since I find it more beneficial to play her that way.

Runes, Skill placement, Summoner spells and masteries.
My mastery for Shyvana.
I grab the extra neutral duration buff because it is useful, regardless of whether you are jungling or not. As Shyv you should be stealing jungle fairly often throughout the game anyway. The rest of my selection is in offensive based around attack damage.
My skill placement.
I would place points in abilities exactly the same as the image above, because there isn't much room for variation other than picking Twin Bite (Q) first instead. Putting more than one point in Flame Breath (E) is useless for anything but when you're in dragon mode. Burnout (W) provides plenty of pushing power and mobility, and has the added effect of scaring people away.

Flame Breath (E) does provide a hefty increase to your burst if you can land it and follow up with some hits. However, with the high speed nature of Shyvana's playstyle it's fairly common to miss it when you aren't cruising in Super Saiyan Dragon faceroll ultimate.

As for runes, pick your preference of AD or Survivability runes, I personally use full attack damage with some magic resist for early game. This means you can last hit easily and the harass from an auto-attack followed by Twin Bite (Q) will send the enemy running.

Finally, summoner spells. For laning I roll with Flash/Ignite, for a multitude of reasons.
Flash is brilliant for escaping or chasing. I choose it over ghost for the instant gratification, which I find more necessary when you're in deep trouble. It also helps pre-6, when you don't have your ultimate to get around fights.
Ignite is just obvious, I mean you're playing as a dragon. Even though it isn't as useful as exhaust late game, slapping an ignite on your main target when you initiate with dragon almost guarantees a kill. Also useful for countering multiple champions with sustain or snatching that first blood.
Swap the ignite with Smite if you're jungling. If you need an explanation for this, just get out. Get out now.

Overall this combination of Runes, Summoner spells, Masteries and Skill placement allows for a fair amount of damage early game, and are stable enough to last throughout. It also works fine in the jungle as well. Remember to choose your build based on your own playstyle, don't use mine unless you can see it working for you.

About Dragon...
Shyvana is completely orientated around her ultimate, Dragon's Descent. Without it she's nothing special, and not very fearsome at all. However, upon using it you become an AoE machine capable of wiping out multiple enemies. Essentially, you can dragon into a bunch of enemies without fear of death most of the time.

If you cannot learn to land this spell frequently and use it correctly then you won't be very useful. It can also be used to escape, which I would only suggest as a last resort.

It's very simple really, land it on two or more opponents- put up your Burnout (W) and start beating faces in. Your objective is to maximize the amount of people in your immediate vicinity when you start spamming abilities, because if you land a successful dragon they will all be trying to run away. Remember, if you don't see a good dragon opportunity- it's still fine to engage if your team is already in combat. Using it in the middle of a fight can be far more successful than a crappy surprise attack.

Another very useful technique is to kite the enemy using your Burnout (W) trail. The run speed increase will allow you to maneuver easily and you can catch most champions in it, and the damage is easily enough to kill people on low health. You'd be surprised how many players underestimate this and get themselves killed. It happens almost every single game.

I cannot deliver much more information on when and where to use your dragon. Practice is certainly going to give you the most experience in this area, so keep trying new methods. Someone once taught me that if you want to improve, consistently break out of your comfort zone. That means, if you're crushing everyone in sight and not struggling for kills- you are not really going to get better. To really increase your playing ability, you must attempt tactics that you aren't familiar with. When you're dying and getting annoyed, see it as an opportunity to learn.

Laning phase and starting items
To get started, buy a Regrowth pendant and a Health potion.

This starting build is essentially to put you in the lane as long as you want. Your goal is to farm and disrupt enemy last hitting. Getting an early kill in the lane will only happen if the enemy is incompetent, so don't push for one unless you know they are stupid.

Most games I don't even use the health potion and end up selling it. I love the regrowth pendant, because you can trade harass in the lane and recover health quickly. Against someone with a Doran's blade or a lack of sustain, they will not be able to keep up with you and will eventually have to leave while you stay and farm. The pendant helps if you're losing the lane badly too- sit back getting experience and wait if the enemy has too much control and damage to confront.

If you're in a solo lane, assume creep control until your opponent tries to take it from you. You will quickly learn who is going to win in a battle to the death, so take that into account and hand them the lane control if you cannot keep it. If you have control, keep your Burnout (W) turned off and last hit to the best of your ability. Keep in mind that Twin Bite (Q) instantly resets your attack speed, which means you can hit someone once and then activate it for extra burst damage (this technique kills wards BEFORE they disappear if you see one put down nearby).

Your standard harass will be turning on your Burnout (W) and dashing in for a Twin Bite (Q). If the enemy is Garen or somebody else you can't beat, try to use your regrowth pendant to slowly burn them down by sporadically dashing in for a combo and out to regenerate. You can also try using Burnout (W) to push the lane harder than your opponent can deal with, but that will end up with the enemy jungler getting up in your shit. So be wary.

If you're against two people in the lane and your enemy has no jungle, sit back and grab as much experience as you can and pick up any last hits that are available. You can try to harass the enemy but it will probably end up with you taking far more damage than you can handle, so only do it if you see a good opportunity. Keep your lane pulled until 6 and get a team mate to cover if you need to go back.

Level 6 is when you turn from a passive-aggressive farmer to the scary dragon machine that you are. Either call for a gank in your lane to mop up them both, or push it hard and run to middle to ultimate there. At this stage you can also jungle fairly quickly, so farm like a beast if you happen to be passing by. Without Dragon's Descent (R) you are a threat, but with it you are unstoppable. So make sure to use it productively.

Your goal now you can gank is to actively search the map for fights to get involved in or lanes to push- while grinding incessantly. Grinding has two purposes; getting you fed, and charging up your next ultimate. Shyvana excels at surprising people, so you should try to stay off the enemy radar as much as possible without it affecting your creep kills. That might not be possible if you have to keep your tower defended, but not many champions can lane against Shyvana with her ultimate prepared. Wait for them to push, and use Dragon's Descent (R) to hit them into the tower if possible. Slap an ignite on them at the same time, and if you don't kill them they'll definitely have to leave the lane.

If your lane is empty, start pushing furiously after checking the map for people missing. Burnout (W) will destroy a full creep wave. Twin Bite (Q) absolutely decimates towers, so it's worth it if you only get time for one hit before retreating. Remember you can also counterpush if the enemy team are all focusing one lane. It's better to take a tower each than trying to defend a lost one.

You can get around at a reasonable speed with Burnout (W) and it has a short cooldown. When ganking, entering the fight from behind is almost essential. Push someone with your ulti back into your tower or team, for guaranteed kills. However, in team fights you might not have that opportunity, so just hit as many people as possible with your AoE storm.

Mid-Late game team fighting
By mid game you should have a Trinity Force or some equally expensive tank gear. I'd choose Trinity just so it can increase your farm speed and propel you towards a full build faster. At this stage the only fights that usually occur are either two or more people ganking someone, or a full blown 5vs5. I will tell my team to postpone their fights purely to get an ultimate, without it there isn't much you can bring to a big battle.

When the game changes from structured laning to constant missing players and MIAs, you should continue farming when Dragon's Descent (R) is down, and search for players with your team as soon as it comes back up. If you're doing well with your gold buy some wards because if you don't, you're just hurting your own chances of victory (check ward guide for placement). Shyvana is a great initiator, but not immortal so don't charge into bushes that might have people waiting unless you have your entire team on hand.

Ideally, you want a tank on your team to go in before you, since it's harder to disrupt the enemy team if they are all stunning the shit out of you. Once the fight has started, try to ultimate into anyone smart enough to target your weaker links in the team. Then proceed to slap them silly whilst landing all your AoE on as many targets as possible. Simple, huh.

Counterpushing is also a very effective tactic at this stage. If you find yourself far away from the pushing enemy team, start pushing your lane until they break off to stop you. If they ignore you, keep going. You can always escape with a flash or your ultimate if completely necessary.

This is my final build for Shyvana in most games. However, she is a very versatile champion- I often switch out items for better options. It all depends on how much gold you are farming, and if anybody on the enemy team needs to be directly countered. You need to actively consider this yourself every game.

When the loading screen begins, make sure you check out the enemy team to check if they are comprised of attack damage (AD) or ability power (AP). Check who you might be laning against, and plan out what should be bought early to counter them. If the enemy is heavy AD, Thornmail is your go to item and you should start building pieces straight away. If they are AP, Force of Nature or Hexdrinker are ideal.

I find there is a fine balance between building damage and tank on Shyvana, you always need some more power to be a threat in team fights, which is where Trinity Force and Maw of Malmortius become useful. But if you go all damage without any survivability then you'll get destroyed before you cause any mayhem. This is the very reason I try to get a Warmog's armor fairly early, it lets you dive towers and perform general Mundo 'go where you want, do what you like' actions that would normally get you killed.

Other acceptable items I would consider are:
Bloodthirster- It's not half bad, but I prefer it more on other champions.
Hextech Gunblade- Pure luxury item, if you can use the active with precision this item is not bad.
Ionic Spark- I love the attack speed boost for charging up my ulti, you MELT creeps with this item.
Randuin's Omen- Not my cup of tea, but you can always land it on multiple people due to your speed.

This guide relates to how I play Shyvana only. If you have any suggestions feel free to comment, but remember I choose this build because it suits how I play. Many other builds are viable, so just because this works for me- don't expect it to grant you a dozen kills. Hopefully, you'll find a way to convert the build to succeed for you anyway.

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