Your toolbox

Posted: May 30, 2011 by atenthirtyone in Champions

League of Legends is a game that revolves around team composition. Having the right character for your team significantly increases your team’s power and efficiency in a game. As a result, we often hear “we need a tank, an AD carry, an AP carry, a jungler, etc”. However, when i go play queued games, and even custom games with my fellow writers and friends, I see one problem: Lack of character diversity. League of Legends is not a game where you can “main” characters all of the time. Sometimes, your character might not fit in with your team or gets taken. I also suffer from this as well. While, I can play a decent range of characters, I tend to have only a small range of character types that I can play well and would feel confident into bringing into a game. Now, let’s take a long at my “mains” or characters that I can play confidently:

Alistar – Tank / Tanky AP
Amumu – Jungler + Tank
Kassadin – AP Assasin
Maokai – Tanky AP
Singed – Tanky AP
Teemo – Ranged AD
Trundle – Jungler + Bruiser
Urgot – Ranged AD
Xin Zhao – Bruiser
Warwick – Jungler + Bruiser

As you can see most of my characters are tanks or tanky characters that rely on dying slower than my opponent(s). I’m also a big fan of team fights, and I like to initiate fights and crowd control the crap out of the enemy while my team kills them. Alistar, Amumu, Maokai, and Singed. As you noticed these characters all have a lot of crowd control, and aoe abilities that really shine when I get to hit multiple people. They also allow my squishy teammates to survive a lot longer. Each of them also offer something different depending on the rest of my team.

Alistar – Offers a lot of hard crowd control with his Pulverize, which is not only an aoe knock up but also a brief stun. His Headbutt allows me to protect teammates or punish enemies that overextended. His heal offers some sustainability (although I would need to go more AP heavy). Finally, his Ultimate allows him to survive. He can also be built like an AP Sion and be an AP burster. While, the new patch makes him do less damage than Sion, he still has one more extra crowd control and can actually survive with his Ultimate. Also, he makes any lane much stronger and is a great way to strength a weak laner like Ashe on the duo lane.

Amumu – In many ways, he is very similar to Alistar as he offers two strong crowd controls as well. He also does a respectable amount of damage for a tank through his two AOE abilities, and his passive is a nice debuff to have. However, he offers two advantages. The first is that Amumu is a very strong jungler. While, he is a bit weak at defending his jungle, he is able to clean it very fast. This is also good because Amumu is not a strong laner compared to other tanks. The second advantage for picking Amumu would be his initiation for both ganks and team fights. He can often just spider-man into an enemy with his Bandage Toss and stun an enemy. His Ultimate also is a strong channeled stun that will punish enemy teams really bad. However, Amumu does have one problem that many people overlook – his need for the Blue buff. He suffers from mana problems due to his abilities’ high mana cost and generally you do not want to build too many mana items on Amumu.

Maokai – I just love crowd control tanks way too much. Maowai also offers two crowd control spells as well. Maokai’s short ranged aoe knockback is a nice interupt against dangerous ultimates like Nunu and Katrina, as well as protect your own team. His root has a decent range as well. Both are on relatively short cooldowns. His Ultimate is a flat out 20% damage reduction as long your team stands in it. The damage although isn’t the greatest, offers nice bonus aoe damage. However, by large Maokai’s most unique and distinguishing ability is his Sapling Toss. They offer an incredible amount of damage in the early and mid game. They also are one of the best harassing abilities in the game. Combine this with Maokai’s passive, and some mana regen, Maokai can often control if not dominate his lane, denying his opposing laners gold or even experience. Where as you might need a tank to jungle, Maokai is a tank that you want to control his lane. Also, you can afford to build Maokai damage through AP and Trinity Force if there’s another tank.

Singed – “Chase me, I’m Singed.” Singed is a tank that punishes poor players and poor decisions with brutality. His Poison Trail is easily one of the most irritating area denial abilities in the game. His Sticky Goo is a nice aoe slow for both ganks and team fights. His Toss punishes overextending probably harder than most other tank abilities. Finally, his Ultimate is one of the few “steroid” abilities for a tank, making Singed a difficult tank to actually catch and kill. Oh, and you can afford to build AP and/or mana items with Singed. His passive converts mana into health for him. Play Singed if you want a tank that refuses to be caught and die. He also does a fair amount of “unnoticed” damage through his poison and toss (ITS A 1:1 AP RATIO!).

Now, I also have three bruisers that I also play. (I like to play characters that win through out living, rather than out damaging.) Trundle, Xin Zhao, and Warwick.

Trundle – One of my absolute favorite characters to play. I’m amazed on how little he is played. Few other junglers dare to fight him in a duel. He has a relatively safe jungle due to his damage and passive’s healing. His ganking is difficult, but extremely efficent due to his Pillar being an aoe slow as well as being terrain. He’s also one of the faster and safer dragon solo killers. Outside of the jungle, he is not less fearsome, and a great team fighting bruiser as well. Between his Bite and Ultimate he can debuff AD Carries and soften up tanks. His Pillar can change a fair team fight into an one sided roll by simply denying other enemy teammates from joining in the battle quick enough. His Contaminate is a great steroid, and allows Trundle to escape ganks that would kill other champions especially when combined with Merc Treads.  No one ever plays him. =(

Warwick – The classic jungler. While, he can lane, he is best suited for the jungle. There’s few things we need to say, but it’s hard to jungle badly with Warwick, and it’s even harder to fully counter jungle a Warwick. He’s just so damn safe, and has so many jungle paths to start with. Between a slow (usually through red buff), his Ultimte, and Blood Scent, Warwick makes an nasty one-trick but extremely efficient ganker. He is a jungler that you want to know where he is, because he is so dangerous to laners during the laning phase. Oh, and he probably has the fastest dragon kill if no one bothers him. In team fights, his Ultimate allows your team to shut down one individual and that individual will probably die. When built a little tanky, he can survive for a decent amount in team fights.

Xin Zhao – While, he can jungle, I think Xin Zhao is better in the lane. Xin Zhao has great sustainability in the laning phase due to his passive. He can also threat many characters due to his incredible burst in the beginning of the game. He also makes a great ganker since he has both a charge that gives a slow, and has a Knock up with his Three Talon Strike. Xin Zhao is someone who can run into a team fight and immediately threaten to kill a squishy. Now, if you build him tanky (since he does a fair amount of damage with only a few dps items) and get a good Ultimate in, you essentially become almost a tank. Also, if he gets fed in the early game, he will snowball out of control. Also, Mulan songs.

As you can see, I generally play a jungler, tank, or brusier most of the time. This usually due to a combination of these roles needing to be filled often and I genuinely enjoy the play style. However, there are three other characters that I do play a lot. Kassadin, Teemo, and Urgot

Kassadin – An assassin mage that gives exactly zero fucks about terrain. His ganks against heavy ability users are fast and vicious. Between a silence, a slow, and the ability to chase as long he has mana, if you’re a mage or squishy character you will probably die if not protected by others or a tower. He’s an amazing assasin and anti-carry to play, but he has a few weaknesses. First, he’s not a great laner. He either has to take riskes to harass and kill, or he punishes enemy laners that make mistakes. Second, he almost needs the blue buff. While building a Tear of the Goddess will help a lot, having blue buff increases his damage (his Ultimate’s stacking effect) and Mundo (go where he pleases) potential up the roof. Thirdly, he does not like to stay in team figths so if your team should not expect Kassadin to stay in team fights the entire time. Rather, he should move in and out of a team fight to unload his abilites and then run away and repeat. I find Kassadin is a character that is quite fun since he offers both myself and my team a playstyle and niche that I usually do not play.

Teemo – A strong laner that punishes overextending for a last hit extremely hard due to his DoT passive. He’s also one of the hardest characters to catch due to his passive afk stealth, his Move Quick, and the map control through Shrooms. He is one of the stronger backdoorers int he game due to these reasons. Oh, right, Shrooms. Your map should be like this if you are playing Teemo right. Seriously, make sure your team might as well have map hacks. Teemo is a character whom’s worth to his team is how well you troll and frustrate the enemy team. However, he’s not a strong team fight due to his fragility, lack of burst, and meh range.

Urgot – My favorite character in this game. If you want your team to control if not win a solo lane, you send in Urgot. Few characters can truly lane against him efficiently. He punishes bad play so hard that it usually results in either a premature B or a death. However, Urgot does require a very controlling laning phase to do well later. He is essential an AD mage. Most of his damage is through his homing Acid Hunters after a Noxious Charge grenade has hit a target. This means that he doesn’t scale as well as crit chance and attack speed aren’t great with him. He starts to fall apart in the late game unless he is ridiculously overfed and farmed and becomes an ranged Nunu (aka support) through his shield that gives his attacks slow. However, his Ultimate. Man, his Ultimate is stupidly good for ganking, winning team fights, and trolling.

As you can see here, I do have an assassin character that helps with ganking although his laning power is not strong. I have Teemo and Urgot whom both offer control over the map, do respectable ranged damage, and simply offer a lot of utility. Now, what am I missing? True carries, and to the lesser extent supports. I’m not too worried about playing full-time Support characters, since I personally think that Support characters require proper team composition to be taken advantage of. However, seeing the increase usage of Sona, has indeed peaked my interest in picking her up. However, I am severely lacking in expertise with true carry characters both in AP and AD. I simply do not play enough true carries in this game. I am actively trying to find said characters to add to my “toolbox”. I recommend you, dear readers that you spend a few minutes of your time like I did and list out characters you feel confident in playing. Maybe, you will find that you need to add one, two, or a few more characters that to make you a better player. So yeah, stop playing your limited mains, and learn some new characters!

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