Support: How I Press Healing Butan / Rawr I AM NIDALEEEEEEEEEEE

Posted: September 6, 2011 by atenthirtyone in Champions, General

With the Riot developers’ dislike of champions with great sustainability or offers great sustainability to their team, the “healer” support champions have receive pretty significant changes to their mid and late game. What I mean by this is that almost every single heal from these champions have received a reduction in their AP ratio. For the most part, they have received some sort of change to supposedly compensate for no longer being rewarded for having a ton of AP in the late game. In addition, Riot changed some of their other abilities in hopes that it would bring more risk and brawl to these champions’ play. Let’s take a look at our favorite “healer” champions (click here for the actual number changes).

We cannot talk about “healer” and League of Legends in the same sentence without talking about the token support champion, Soraka. I mean, she has two healing abilities AND an ability that gives someone more mana. The biggest thing that you can notice about her is that all of heals had their AP ratios chopped right in half. Her ultimate, Wish received nerfs in both base healing amount and AP ratios. Fortunately, Soraka’s other heal, Astral Blessing did receive a positive change. In return from having only a .45 AP ratio and a double cooldown time, Astral Blessing has higher base healing and more importantly a stronger buff in armor. Oh, and it’s even got a lot more range. As for her Infuse ability, Soraka no longer can receive double mana back on self-cast. However, the cooldown is a lot lower, just like her Starcall ability. Overall, Soraka is really encouraged to spam her Starcall in a team fight while pulling off clutch Infuse silences and Astral Blessing armor buffs.  Her Wish is still there for a bit of global team wide healing but is no longer the same damage negation that it once was.

Speaking of champions that typically take the duo bottom lane support role, Sona also has been altered as well… well her healing ability at least. Aria of Perseverance received both an AP ratio as well as a base healing number nerf which hurts both her laning phase sustainability and late game AP stacking power. However, like Soraka, Sona’s healing ability now gives more resistances to her targets. It seems like Riot is a fan of having supports give quick damage reduction rather than healing for team fights. Anyway, Sona was also apparently bugged and debuff her own damage, but is now fixed. Slightly stronger laning harassment!

Well, if there’s one support champion that you don’t want to harass you, it’s Taric. That Dazzle stun followed by a Shatter and his laning partner’s entire burst is quite nasty. Although, it’s less harassment, but more champion killing, but anyway, our outrageous support champion also received changes to his heal as well. Imbue has a lower AP ratio and increased cooldown. However, if Taric is hitting a champion, the cooldown on Imbue is decreased by 3 seconds every hit as oppose to 2. Overall, Imbue has remained largely the same and the AP ratio nerf does not hurt Taric as badly. The reason for this is that unlike many other support champions, Taric rarely built AP items heavily. Instead, he favored cooldown reductions, defensive stats, and aura items. In addition, Taric has largely been used because his Dazzle and Shatter (the debuff is always better than you think) remains powerful throughout the game regardless of items,meaning he does not need to last hit minions. So, Taric? Still the same and just as powerful on a team.

Finally, we have Nidalee. She has perhaps received the most changes among all of the “healer” champions, although she’s far more hybrid in playstyle and role than any other of her peers. This article has actually been largely inspired by my good friend and fellow writer, Damndirtycat’s new article. With the exception of her Javelin Toss, Nidalee really did not receive alterations to her abilities, instead they are flat out nerfs. Her core support ability, Primal Surge receive an AP nerf and a mana increase. For the longest time, using Primal Surge in combination with her autoattacks was both her source of sustainability and harassment in solo lanes (made popular by HotshotGG, one of the few players that could play her efficiently at the tournament level).  Now, this tactic is far weaker and only works against some of the weaker solo lane champions currently in the game. My biggest issue with this change was that it seems like Riot does not want Nidalee to be using her heal as her main source of “usefulness” at all in a team. While, other heals received a decrease in numbers, they still were given damage reduction in return (see Astral Blessing and Aria of Perseverance), thus players are being rewarded for popping the heal ability at the right time. Perhaps, Riot wants their players to focus more on the damage/cougar form of Nidalee.

Cougar form received a double in AP ratio for the Swipe ability (from 0.2 to 0.4), which is pretty good considering it is a low cooldown area-of-effect ability. However, Nidalee received two changes that significantly hurts her cougar form – mainly in terms of survivability. The first one is not severe, but it still hurts (like a thorn in a foot type of hurt), which is the change to Pounce. Pounce now has a 3.5 second cooldown, but can be reduced by the cooldown reduction stat. While, Pounce goes between 3 seconds past 15% cooldown reduction, it means that Nidalee needs to specifically build at least one cooldown reduction item to do so. However, two second change is far more devastating to cougar form’s survivability. This is the change from the cougar form’s flat 10% dodge being changed to 10/15/20 armor and magic resistance based on the rank of cougar form. While, I can understand that Riot does not like the idea of dodge (random number generator), 10 armor and magic resistance at rank 1 cougar form is pretty pathetic. Even level 3 cougar form (which requires level 16 as a champion) with an extra 20 armor and magic resistance is quite weak.

However, perhaps Riot is trying to push Nidalee into building tons of cooldown reduction items. With Pounce being affected by it, and the lower cooldown in Javelin Toss, reaching 40% cooldown reduction with Nidalee. While, her heal won’t save anyone’s live anymore, it still can provide a buff in fights (especially non 5v5 fights). Cooldown reduction obviously would help with this. Anyway, Nidalee has been changed much like her fellow “healer” champions like Soraka and Sona (sorry, Taric is still forever the same), and new methods to play and build her need to be discovered and tested. Items, champions, and ideas will change in League of Legends, and it’s up to players to adapt.

Oh, and who’s Karma?

  1. […] been played has changed significantly within the last few months. Previously before the massive changes to the AP ratios of healing abilities and sustainability, support became a roadblock in skirmishes […]

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