Welcome to our Practice Tool Routine series, where we will be going over several tricks, combos and overall fundamentals so you can replicate and improve your performances on the rift.
To start off, we decided to look at farming and last hitting. If having high creep score is something you struggle with, you should definitely be practicing this, even in an empty lane against no opponents, so you can get used to a champion’s auto attack animation. We also look at when you should use spells and when you should time your recalls.
Other than that, we went over two walls that can be hard to flash over.
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Throughout the last 2 years, Riot has been dedicating 2 periods of the year to focus on a class of champions and revamp them. Recently we had the Assassin Update in Preseason and before that, Mages were changed in Mid Season.
While Riot haven't decided what they will rework in the end of Season 7, they have stated that Diving Fighters are a strong contender for a class rework at the end of the season.
The next class in line for an update are Tanks and recently, Riot gave some insight on what they want to do with the class in general and gave some more details about upcoming changes to Sejuani.
General Goals for the Tank Update
Add more skill to Tank combat patterns.
Riot is looking to offer more points of play and counterplay and reward players for mastering these points.
- Riot is looking to offer more points of play and counterplay and reward players for mastering these points.
Reducing the amount of reliable damage that tanks do and instead amplify their defensive and crowd control capabilities.
This is to make sure tanks are valued for the right reasons and are set apart from more offensive champions.
- This is to make sure tanks are valued for the right reasons and are set apart from more offensive champions.
Making Tanks more unique.
- Riot is adding more unique abiilities for tanks to effectively initiate teamfights.
While tank damage output has been problematic for a while, with tanks such as Poppy and Maokai frequently topping off damage charts, lowering tank damage while increasing utility can end up pushing tanks out of top lane and make them supports. Without kill potential and the ability to respond in trades, tanks will be no match for carries, fighters and bruisers.
Assessment of the Current Sejuani
Cool but unrealized thematic fantasy
Sejuani is a barbarian warleader riding a boar (super cool!). However in game, she lacks the cavalry fantasy outside of her Q, and does not have anything that alludes to her as the leader of her tribe.
Overreliance on ultimate
Sejuani’s ultimate is probably in contention for the strongest ability in the game. Unfortunately, it is so strong that it consumes the majority of her power budget, forcing her base kit’s output to be very underwhelming.
Lack of interesting / interactive combat pattern
Sunfire Cape has never won awards for creating deep combat patterns, so it should come as no surprise that Sejuani’s current kit is lacking in this department.
Lacks a unique identity
Her biggest claim to uniqueness is: "Has a ranged Amumu Ultimate". This falls far short of how unique we want our champions to be.
Goal of the upcoming update
Tap more into the cavalier / warleader fantasy
We would like to have moments where it feels like Sejuani is actively leading and inspiring her allies.
We would also like to add more elements to her kit that alludes to the cavalier fantasy who is always on the move ready to rush in on her opposition.
Create a more engaging base combat pattern
We want to make her base pattern more engaging and worth mastering for Sejuani players, and also give enemies something to play around. We will be reworking her base spells so the majority of her damage no longer comes from just standing near her opponents.
This will mean that we will need to take some of the power away from her currently overwhelmingly powerful ultimate so we can give all of her base spells real impact
Create a clear and unique defensive profile
We want tanks to be defined more by their defensive mechanics and Sejuani is no exception. As we reduce the amount of reliable damage she can put out, we want to change her passive so it is both more character defining and appreciable.
Allow her to directly synergize with specific allies
We’re looking to give Sejuani ways to directly augment the effectiveness of her allies. Instead of just augmenting all her allies, we want Sejuani to benefit specific allies in ways that will make her feel like a true barbarian warleader.
In general, it seems that Riot is looking to keep Sejuani's Q and make her ultimate less impactful, in order to have more space to transfer power to her other spells. Riot wants to give Sejuani an ability that interacts with allies (probably E), so it's possible that her viability as a Support might increase as a result.
This week in Pro Play, we looked at Katarina and how she has been performing in competitive.
Following her rework, Katarina showed up firstly in the hands of SK Telecom T1 Mid Laner Laner. Bjergsen, Sencux and Kuro all followed suit, in an attempt to replicate his success, but all came out with losses and rather poor performances.
Katarina is very dependant on being picked after seeing the opposing mid laner, as she can get countered or put into a poor matchup if she’s picked blind. We looked at matchups that are favourable for her and also champions that are played with her to allow her to play more aggressively, go in and assassinate her targets.
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About the Author: Hexadecimal is a multi-season Challenger mid laner and extensive guide writer here at LolKing. If you’d like to learn more about how to play the new Katarina check out his detailed guide found here.
It seems that most players are divided when it comes to the reworked Katarina. Some think she’s weak - believing she relies too much on her new dagger mechanic. While others think she’s too strong - feeling like she has infinite dashes and no counterplay.
My goal with this article is to help clear up some of the misconceptions of Katarina, give you a better understanding of the Sinister Blade, and explain where she stands in the current meta - so let’s jump right into it.
Analyzing the Data
As I just mentioned, when the reworked Katarina was released a lot of players thought she was too weak - often quoting her abysmally low win rate. Who could blame them? On release she had a win rate of 42.97% - the lowest of all mid laners at the time. However, as players learned how to play her, her win rate increased rapidly an average win rate of ~49%.
The thing about Katarina is that she has a high skill floor/ceiling and difficult learning curve - meaning it not only takes a lot of time to master her, but takes just as much time to get a hold of the basics. Champions like these have always been traditionally hard to evaluate based on their win rate.
This is because their high skill floor and steep learning curve can result in the majority of players having less than desirable results, leading to losses, while a minority of players who have mastered the Champion can get pentakills and hard carry. This volatility in performance, in my opinion, is the reason why the community is so divided on how strong she is.
Understanding the Changes
How I learned to love knife juggling
The most important change to understand is how Katarina’s damage almost entirely comes from the Daggers she picks up. Prior to her rework, Katarina’s abilities would all have their own distinct purpose. For example, Katarina’s Q ability was mainly used for wave clear and harassing the enemy. Now, the main priority of her Q is to drop a Dagger near the enemy and instead rely on her passive to do damage when she picks it up.
The same concept applies to rest of her basic abilities. Her W no longer does flat damage when activated. Instead, it tosses a Dagger at her current location that only does damage once it’s picked up.
Similarly, her E’s cooldown is now reduced every time she picks up a Dagger. This is the most important thing to understand: Katarina’s playstyle is now completely reliant on playing around her new Dagger mechanic.
How I learned to love Attack Damage on an AP Carry
The other important change to understand is how strong Attack Damage is on Katarina in the early game. In fact, I would argue that if your rune page/build doesn’t take advantage of this then you’re playing Katarina wrong. If you look closer at Katarina’s new abilities you’ll find that they have terrible AP ratios while having strong AD ratios. In fact, every ability except her Q, which has a subpar AP ratio of 30%, has better AD scaling than AP scaling.
Whenever an enemy champion dies that Katarina has damaged in the last 3 seconds, her ability cooldowns are reduced by 15 seconds.
Whenever Katarina catches a Dagger, or picks it up from the ground, she uses it to slash through all nearby enemies, dealing [75 - 311 based on level] (+100% bonus AD) (+55 / 70 / 85 / 100% AP) magic damage and reducing Shunpo's cooldown by 78 / 84 / 90 / 96%
Katarina dashes in the blink of an eye to the target ally, enemy, or Dagger. If it is an enemy, Katarina strikes for 30/45/60/75/90 (+50% total AD)(+25% AP) magic damage - otherwise she strikes the nearest enemy in range.
Katarina can blink to any location near the target.
However, it’s the AD ratios on her Daggers and E ability that are the most imperative to understand.
Her Daggers have an AD ratio of +100% bonus AD and her E ability has an AD ratio of +50%. Remember how every time you pick up a Dagger it reduces your E cooldown? Well, they do something else you might not know: they reset your auto-attack timer. This means you can auto-attack, E, then immediately auto-attack again. It’s these AD ratios and synergistic interactions that unlocks Katarina’s true power.
Now you might be wondering, if Katarina’s AD ratios are so good why do we bother building AP at all? Well, although Katarina has superior AD ratios early on, her passive’s AP ratio actually scales with levels - maxing out at a 100% AP ratio at level 16.
At the same time, you will always be able to have more AP than AD in a full build. This is due two reasons:
Firstly, each AP item will give more ability power than an AD item will give attack damage;
Secondly, Deathcap is a item unique to AP builds which increases your overall ability power by 35%. What this means is that even though you may have better AD ratios early on, the higher amount of ability power you’ll obtain in a final build will make up for the weaker AP ratios.
This is also why you should purchase a Hextech Gunblade first, as it gives both Attack Damage and Ability Power, bolstering our early game while still setting us up to transition into an Ability Power build in the mid to late game.
The level 2-5 Cheese (Forever Provolone)
Most players aren’t aware of how strong Katarina’s early game is and will often fall prey to it. The early game AD ratios combined with the synergistic qualities of her Daggers and E ability result in Katarina having one of the strongest early games of any mid laner: specifically levels 2-5.
A big part of Katarina’s strategy is taking advantage of this phase of the game, setting up a kill, and snowballing off of it.
With an AD centric build aimed towards maximizing your early game strengths you will be able to all-in and kill the majority of mid laners if they stand near one of your Daggers. This only becomes even stronger once you’re level 3 and have access to your W, which grants you another Dagger to utilize.
Why does this work so well?
It’s because as a mid laner you’re often facing AP casters. These AP casters typically have weak early games in comparison to Katarina as their abilities only scale off of ability power. This means they need a few items to really start packing a punch.
At the same time, you can almost think of your auto-attack as another spell - a spell that has an AD ratio of +100%, a cooldown of around 1.5 seconds, and can also be activated twice in 0.1 seconds using your E’s reset mechanic that I discussed earlier.
It’s your stronger auto-attacks over AP mid laners that are the nail in the coffin for them. With all this being said, you should still be wary of AD mid laners as they will also be benefiting from the early game advantages of attack damage. Talon comes to mind as a good example of someonewho can match Katarina’s early game damage.
Tanks and Shields and Peel, Oh My!
So, where does Katarina stand in the current meta?
Ironically, the pre-season assassin patch likely did just as much to harm assassins as it did to help them. This is due to the introduction of the support item Redemption and the changes and price reductions to other support items. These buffs to support itemizations meant that it’s now more difficult for melee assassins to secure kills in team fights - something that’s extremely important for Katarina due to her reset mechanic.
At the same time, the mastery Courage of the Colossus was introduced, which buffed crowd control tanks. Crowd control tanks are direct counters to assassins like Katarina.
However, this isn’t the whole picture. When trying to figure out how strong a Champion is in the current meta it’s important to see how they fair in their most popular lane matchups. Overall, Katarina has fairly decent matchups, with win rates against most mid laners ranging between 48-52%
Although Katarina has decent lane matchups it looks like the meta as a whole is helping to keep her, as well as many other melee assassins, in check. Even when mastered, she seems to be plagued with the same issue spread among the other melee assassins: too susceptible to being shut down by the enemy’s team composition. A problem other meta mid lane Champions such as Syndra and Orianna are immune to.
It isn’t all for naught though and it doesn’t mean Katarina should hang up her daggers. You have to keep in mind that different elos often have different metas. In my experience, the meta I’ve described above only starts to have an effect around mid Platinum elo and becomes more important the higher you climb. Below that, the reverse almost happens, where the lower your elo the more of an impact a high mobility assassin such as Katarina can have.
In a way, this is a catch-22; the lower in elo you are, the less likely it will be that you’ll have the skill to master a Champion such as Katarina.
At the same time, due to the meta, the champion itself becomes weaker the higher in elo you go, which is exactly where you’ll find the players who can master her difficult learning curve.
Still, if you’re up for the challenge, mastering Katarina can yield massive dividends. It’s especially potent in the Bronze to Gold elo brackets where, with her early game Attack Damage build, players will fall victim to her level 2-5 all-in. All the while still remaining perfectly viable, although admittedly less strong, up into Diamond.
If you liked this article, be sure to check out my full Katarina guide here.
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Recently, Riot announced the locations of the 2017 International events.
The Mid Season Invitational, MSI for short, will be held in Brazil, in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, while Worlds 2017 is heading to China; to Wuhan, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Beijing for the Finals.
Tied to those news was another announcement:
“All 13 professional LoL Leagues will participate at MSI and Worlds.
Starting this year, all 13 regions will participate at MSI and Worlds 2017. We’ll be retiring International Wildcard-exclusive events and will no longer use the IWC classification.”
For Wildcard regions, this is a reward for the hard work and dedication in what is constantly an uphill battle to prove their worth, to prove that they deserve to sit at the big boys table.
History of the Wildcards
Back in Season 3, the Wildcard system was introduced, as a means to give teams from regions without premier leagues a way to qualify to the World Championship. At the time there were only 5 participants coming in from Brazil, Latin America, Oceania, Turkey and the Commonwealth of Independent States.
Gaming Gear EU ended up making it at the time and were the first team from a minor region to step foot at a World Championship, but they were no match for their opponents and were completely demolished in every match. In the end, the team managed to grab a win before going home, but largely because they were facing an already eliminated TSM who even picked Teemo.
Fast forward to Season 4 and Riot added an extra slot for wildcard teams. In that year, Dark Passage (Turkey) and KaBuM! e-Sports (Brazil) represented the minor regions. While the turkish side left without managing to grab a single win, KaBuM, who were already eliminated from the tournament, managed to take down the number 1 seed from Europe with a well executed pick composition, shattering Alliance’s dreams of making it to the bracket stage.
This win was considered by many the first ‘legitimate win’ by a wildcard team. Even then, it was just a BO1 Win and was considered a fluke for many. Rather than praise for the Brazilian team, most of the community heavily criticized Alliance’s inability to take the win.
In Season 5, the Bangkok Titans (South East Asia) were put into a tough group and went out with a 0-6 record, but in Group A, paiN Gaming had a solid showing taking down the Flash Wolves and Counter Logic Gaming and finishing their group in 3rd place.
If 2015 showed progress, 2016 was a year of incredible growth.
At MSI, Supermassive (Turkey) took a game from G2 Esports. At Worlds, INTZ (Brazil) pulled off an incredibly clean game against LPL Champions EDward Gaming and lastly and most importantly, Albux NoX Luna (CIS) did the unthinkable: to make it out of the Group Stage, beating the ROX Tigers, G2 Esports and Counter Logic Gaming.
Throughout the years, Wildcard teams have showed consistent improvement, backed by increasingly better performances and for that they have been rewarded.
The Play-In Stage
To replace the International Wildcard Tournaments, Riot is introducing the Play-In Stage, where all former Wildcard Teams will participate to qualify to the main event.
This might seem similar to the old system, but there’s a key difference: Wildcard teams will face off against some teams from main regions before the main event begins. They are all now legitimately a part of the main event and not segregated in a minor, qualifying tournament.
This change in the system allows for two things:
- All Minor Region teams will now get to face off teams from major regions, gaining access to more international experience
- More Minor Region teams can make it to the main event but in order to do so, they will have to beat teams from major regions.
The second consequence of the system change allows for teams to really prove that they deserve to be in the main stage of an international event and helps to fight the stigma that minor region teams had an easier qualification path than other teams from main regions.
Gaining access to face off international teams more often, whether in official matches or scrims is incredibly valuable for these teams and will ultimately contribute to the continued growth of these regions, as they look to cement their position in League of Legends History.
The Mid Season Invitational Format
Given Korea, China and Europe's superior international results in the last two years, the #1 seed from these regions will qualify directly to the MSI Group Stage.
LMS and NA did not perform as well as the other major regions over the last 2 years, and as a result, they will start in Play-In Stage, Round 2 where they will face 2 of the best teams from the remaining regions, as pictured below:
Three teams will advance from the Play-In Stage to face-off against CN, EU, and KR in the Group Stage. The Group Stage will stay the same as it was in 2016 with 6 teams participating in a Best-Of 1 double round robin.
Implications for Worlds 2017
"Similar to 2016, the top regions at MSI will secure the top 4 seeds at Worlds Group Stage.
Additionally, the highest ranking region of BR, CIS, JPN, LAN, LAS, OCE, SEA, and TUR will gain an additional seed at Worlds: their #1 seed will start in the Group Stage, and their new seed (the #2 seed from that region), will start in the Play-In Stage. If two regions out of BR, CIS, JPN, LAN, LAS, OCE, SEA, and TUR finish top 4 at MSI, both of their #1 seeds will start in the Group Stage as top seeds, their #2 seeds will start in the Play-In, and the remainder of the Play-In will adjust accordingly."
Worlds 2017 Format
Worlds 2017 will be a 24 team-tournament with teams from all 13 LoL professional leagues participating across multiple stages.
As the region that has performed the best overall throughout 2015 and 2016, all Korean teams will directly be seeded into groups.
12 teams will play in the Play-In Stage. 1 team from each of BR, CIS, JPN, LAN, LAS, OCE, SEA, and TUR will face the #3 seeds from NA, CN, TW and EU. 4 of these teams will qualify from the Play-In Stage to the group stage.
After Lethality Buffs on Patch 7.2, Riot is toning down some assassins and fighters who were too oppressive. The trinity of OP champions, Camille, Rengar and LeBlanc have all been nerfed, alongside nerfs to Mage Supports.
Check out the full changes below to get ready for the patch to hit live
Practice Tool will be rolling out region-by-region on the updated client later during patch 7.3! In the meantime, you can learn more about the Practice Tool here.