Sunday, April 24, 2011

Analysis of Patch 1.0.0.116



Aside from the release of the new champion -Rumble, Riot is going through some major overhauls for a few older champions: Alistar, Fiddlesticks,  Gangplank, and Xin Zhao. Overall, Riot is moving in the right direction by encouraging the general LoL population to pick them up again.

First up is what I considered to be a buff for Alistar. The following changes will be made:
  • Pulverize - reduced cooldown at upper ranks, reduced stun duration, increased AoE size
  • Headbutt - deals more damage, reduced cooldown at upper ranks, can target minions
  • Triumphant Roar - reduced cost, effect, and cooldown by about 15%
  • Unbreakable Will - provides movement speed instead of attack damage
  • Trample passive - on casting a spell, Alistar gains AoE damage (like Tremors) and can walk through units for 3 seconds.

I thought the upcoming changes for Alistar are well-made. First, pulverize need a nerf for the stun duration -the AoE stun was simply too long for a non-ultimate skill. Reduced cooldowns at upper ranks and increased AoE size helps Alistar's overall game. Headbutt received a pretty big buff. By allowing targeting on minions/creeps, Alistar can now pull-off ganks that are impossible before. Even though the headbutt+pulverize in mid-air combo works, the new headbutt gives players more opportunities to combo into pulverize. Triumphant Roar received a sizable buff; the healing can now be spammable, although effect reduced. Now it can be used as a pushing tool (mass heal minions) more than a healing mechanic.  The change to Unbreakable Will allows Alistar to chase faster, and a better chance to escape from death. Lastly, my favorite change to Alistar is his passive. Alistar can now farm and push more efficiently, and pose a larger threat for his early ganks. Although Alistar cannot take down towers like he did before, the changes made him an overall more reliable champion. I can see "roaming Alistar" becoming the next FotM.

Fiddlestick received a well-rounded buff this patch. Increased armor, movement speed, and the range for Terrify increased his overall survivability and ganking potential. The nerf for Drain in early levels reduced his laning presence (we all know how annoying Fear+Drain is), but not so much so that it crippled his jungling efficiency. The changes to Dark Wind and Crowstorm are also fair and encourage AP/level scale over base damage. Fiddlesticks' early game threat after this patch is a lot weaker, but he also scales better when mid-late game starts.

Gangplank received what some people call a "nerf". I think it's just an overall change of direction for his role in a team. First, his deny mechanic is removed. The ability to deny in lane is what created the term "denyplank" - it is the sole reason for his presence in a team: create an early advantage for your lane through denying. To compensate for the loss of deny, Raise Morale's buff effect will now be a lot stronger. Parley is changed comparable to the changes for Ryze's skills: decreased cooldown and damage -constant DPS over nuking. Parley can now be used to farm better due to the increased gold generation. However, criting for ridiculous damage is what made Gangplank fun, therefore I do not like this change. Lastly, Cannon Barrage now has reduced range and effect, but the area slows everything. Other than the fact that the randomness of the cannon balls has not been removed, now it actually is less useful than before. Sure, the AoE now slows, but it's also much easier to run out and completely avoid the damage, or avoid the AoE in the first place. The new Cannon Barrage is good for teamfight initiations and combos with other ultimates like Amumu's.

Xin Zhao in this patch has become more of a brusier role like Renekton and Jarvan. Increased survivability from his ultimate based on the number of enemies hit is a very wise buff to reinforce his bruiser role. Also, Xin Zhao received a base damage buff and Battle Cry attack speed/passive to help his jungling. I can see more people playing Xin Zhao after this patch, although he may not be on par with Renekton and Jarvan yet.

Overall, I am looking forward to trying out these champions after the new patch.

Good luck and have fun!

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