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Riot just dropped a nuclear bomb on laneswaps. Check out the just announced changes!
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C9 Pro Picks - Smoothie's Bard

Welcome to Cloud9's pro picks

 

In this series, members of C9 guide you through playing League's top champions. Today, Smoothie whips up a guide on everyone's favorite Caretaker: Bard

Bard has been part of League of Legends for over a year now (time really flies, doesn’t it?) and as time has gone by he has progressively become more and more popular, from a pocket pick to a staple, part of any professional support’s champion pool.

 

In many ways, people consider him a jack of all trades, as he can fulfill multiple roles in a team composition, from there, it’s not much of a stretch to compare him to Thresh. What do they have in common?

Their depth

 

Click here to access Smoothie's Bard Guide

 

Both champions have a wide variety of tools in their kit that can be used in multiple ways. Learning these two champions is hard and mastering them is probably even harder, which unlocks a whole other level for the most mechanically adept players, who can truly shine with flashy plays to carry their team in small skirmishes or full blown out teamfights.

Some might even say that he’s the new Thresh, now overtaking him in popularity.


Laning

 

Bard is known for having an oppressive laning phase. Cosmic Binding can lock up one or even both target so the AD Carry can dish out damage and he is deadly in short trades, where a basic attack paired with meep damage and cosmic binding will swiftly proc Thunderlord’s Decree and do a ton of damage. A good Bard Player will constantly look towards locking up someone with his Cosmic Binding, by comboing it with a wall, minion or another enemy champion.

 

 

 

 

Roaming and Out of Combat Mobility

 

Another of Bard’s strongest points is the ability to roam and move around the map. Firstly, collecting a chime grants him out of combat movement speed for 7 seconds, that stacks up to 5 times. This enhances his roaming ability if he’s ever moving to try to set up a kill in another lane. In addition, Magical Journey allows him to traverse walls and quickly cover ground, making him strong at showing up unannounced and helping his whole team rotate from Point A to B.

It’s worth mentioning that while Caretaker’s Shrine isn’t the strongest of abilities, it does grant 50% movement speed for a short time, that can be essential to close the gap or escape.

 

Pick Off

 

One of his specialties, most of Bard’s kit allows him and makes it easier to isolate one or a few targets and lock them down before they can escape.

Cosmic Binding is can easily catch targets close to each other or to terrain, Magical Journey is extremely useful to catch up and surround an opponent and last but not least, Tempered Fate is the epitome of Bard’s strength as a pick off champion, allowing him to lockdown opponents for 2.5 seconds while he and his team close the distance, swarm him and promptly layer all the crowd control before he can even blink.

 

 

 

 

Teamfighting and Objective Control

 

 

The beauty of Bard and his skills, especially his ultimate, is that it has a wide array of uses. When fighting to contest objectives such as Baron or Dragon, you can ult the jungler to prevent his smite, hit part of the team to wipe out the rest before the other half can do anything or simply ult the objective to gain time or reposition. The possibilities are endless but deciding correctly in a split second and hitting the right targets are the real challenger for any Wandering Caretaker Player.

 

 

If you haven't checked Smoothie's Guide yet, you can do so by clicking here!

Huge Changes to Laneswaps Coming Before Playoffs

In a pretty surprising move we are seeing some huge changes to early game coming before Worlds. There are some pretty sweeping changes to the early games, and teams who are able to adapt quickly will have a huge advantage on the competition. 

A quick summary of the changes:

  • The first turret taken will grant a "first blood" and award additional gold.
  • The early game damage reduction on turrets goes to 5 minutes instead of 7 minutes, however it's been boosted to 50% damage reduction up from 30%.
  • This bonus no longer applies to the bottom lane turret. You are supposed to really want to push and defend this turret early. This is one of the least subtle changes aimed at laneswapping we have seen.
  • Cannon minions spawn offset, bot lane at 3 minutes, mid at 4 minutes, top at 5 minutes, and then repeat.
  • After 20 minutes cannons alternates between 1 mid and 1 both top and bot.
  • After 35 minutes all lanes get a cannon in each wave.

These are some pretty huge changes, it really makes an effort to punish people who aren't properly defending their bottom lane. Even in a situation where you are trying to go against the 50% damage reduction, you still have to wait longer for your cannon minion to even spawn in those waves, so you've been double dipped in punishment and will likely have teams rotating to stop you before you can even trade. We will really have to see which teams can find ways to exploit these changes once they go live and which will fail to adapt. 

If you want more details check out the full post by Riot: Pre-Worlds Early Game Update

6.14 Bans: What Champions Shouldn't Make it Through Champion Select

The big mid season patch has finally hit and everything is up in the air again, so we figured it was about time to re-visit the most banned champions at platinum+ and explain why they’re so strong--as well as why you should be banning them (or maybe even picking them if they’re available).

In case they do get through, we're also providing some counters so you can prepare yourself better
 

Season 6 Ranked Bans 

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hecarim is currently the most banned champion across all tiers and there's a good reason why everyone is banning him.

The reason why he's so popular right now is due to a combination of factors. First off, the buff to Trinity Force, giving him more attack speed for clears and the much needed extra Cooldown Reduction.

The other factor has to do with consecutive nerfs to carry junglers, specifically Kindred, Graves and to an extent Nidalee. The jungle meta is dominated again by bruisers such as Rek'sai and Gragas.

With carry oriented junglers losing part of their early game power they can no longer constantly invade and this opens up for picks such as Hecarim to be safer early on and get past that power trough. Hecarim's first clear is not the best and not running flash means he can be prone to invades early on.

Getting a good early invade and setting him behind is one of the best things you can do, so you can attempt to do so if you're playing aggressive junglers such as Shaco or Elise. The more you can delay his Trinity Force, the better!

Other than that, defensive abilities such as heals and shields are extremely strong to limit his high damage engages, so having a Karma or Janna on your team can work wonders.

 

Vladimir has been at the center of attentions since he was reworked back on patch 6.9.

The nerfs on Patch 6.13 intended to put a stop to the Crimsom Reaper. He's supposed to be tanky and deal damage, but he's not supposed to deal so much damage while ONLY building defensive, so his HP to AP passive ratio was nerfed to limit this.

That said, he still does more or less the same thing, albeit now doing a bit less damage unless he's going for a more AP centric build.

In lane he's hard to kill with all that innate sustain combined with a spell that makes him untargetable means he can escape most gank scenarios. Most Vladimir players also run Flash + Ghost making him extremely slippery and mobile in fights.

Once Vladimir gets to late game it's pretty much over. He becomes this tanky mage that can do tons of damage with Tides of Blood and amplify all of his team's damage with Hemoplague.

If you're looking to stop him, Anivia is the go to champion. Bursty, can limit his mobility with her wall and outranges him, meaning she can avoid Transfusion.

If you're playing against top lane Vladimir, Riven or Pantheon can be good options, anything with enough burst to kill him fast and not allow him to sustain back up.

Oh, also make sure your team is buying Executioner's Calling, Morellonomicon and bringing some Ignite summoner spells. Cutting his sustain is the best way to limit him.

 

SURPRYZE! Ryze is back with yet another rework and yes, that running blue thing is still extremely bursty and annoying to deal with.

Patch 6.14 brought Ryze's newest rework and Riot's hope it's the last time they need to change him.

Anyways, have you ever banned champions in fear of your team picking it? If yes, then this is probably one of those situations.

The new Ryze can be good and by late game he's a comboing monster that destroys waves of minions and squishy champions in a blink of an eye but truth be told, he takes quite some time to master and you definitely don't want someone who is playing the new iteration of the Rogue Mage in your Ranked Game.

 

If he happens to get through and is on the enemy side, you can pick mages that outrange him, such as Lux or Xerath or simply go for champions with good crowd control abilities such as Veigar and Cho'gath, who can impair him and burst him down hastily

 


Irelia has been amongst the most dominant top lane ever since patch 6.11.

Buffs to Trinity Force were absolutely gamechanging for her and pushed her back into the meta. More Cooldown Reduction is welcome for more stuns and dashes and the extra attack speed will prove to be very strong in trades.

The added attack speed will translate into an extra one or two autos on targets that you’ve stunned with Equilibrium Strike.

Her laning isn't the strongest but it's not like she's useless. But like every Trinity Force user, the real power spike is when she finally completes it.

If Irelia ever gets an advantage you can be sure your top laner isn't going to be to duel her ever, and in skirmishes and teamfights, her passive, Ionian Fervor, kicks in, meaning crowd control doesn't last for long.

If you're looking to stop her, Darius and Renekton can stomp her in lane. Volibear and Pantheon are other two good alternatives for laning.

 

Malzahar was nerfed on 6.14 but it was frankly not even close to be enough to stop the Prophet of the Void.

He's not currently in the top 10 bans but after seeing what he's been accomplishing in both pro play and higher brackets we would advise you to ban him out.

Early on he's not much of a threat and doesn't really have kill potential in 1v1 scenarios, but his passive allows him to stay in lane without worrying about ganks too much and constant uses of Malefic Visions constantly push the lane, making sure your opponent can't leave to roam and impact other parts of the map.

Added to this, he scales phenomenally into late game and once he grabs Rylai's Crystal Scepter alongside some Ability Power he becomes extremely frustrating to play against, as he'll be able to chunk opponents with Malefic Visions and little Voidlings hitting you incessantly.


Denying his all in will definitely limit him, so Kayle can be a great pick up for your team.

Other than that, heavy crowd control will not allow him to fully pull off his combo, provided you have put Void Shift Cooldown before, so champions such as Zac might do the trick.

In lane, mages that can outrange and do damage from afar are probably amongst the best choices, so you can try Xerath or Vel'koz if you're looking to have an easier time early on.

 

Sona is currently not even amongst the top 10 or top 15 bans.

But I can assure you she'll be there in the following days.

Patch 6.14 brought insane buffs for Sona allowing her to reach 67% Cooldown Reduction on her basic abilities.

Alongside the 6.13 Buffs to Healing and Shielding, granting items such as Mikael's Crucible and Ardent Censer non unique buffs to healing, the Maven of the Strings is now a walking ambulence, distributing powerful Auras to teammates.

and how to stop her? Traditionally, full engage supports such as Leona, Alistar and even Nautilus are good picks against her. CC Lock her and burst her down before she can do anything.

That said, her massive 56% overall winrate (58% in Platinum+ Games) are a sign that your team should be banning her or taking her no matter what.

After laning and after grabbing items Sona can simply buy Mikael's Crucible and escape if the Crowd Control is directed her and then go back to spam healing everyone back to full HP to fight.

 


 

 

 

Top 5 Best Champion Designs

A couple of weeks ago we released a video about the top five most problematic champions in League of Legends. Today we return to Summoner's Rift to talk about their better halves. There are some beautiful champion designs in League of Legends, here are the ones we dig the most.

Be sure to let us know what you think--and if we left any champions off the list that we should have included.

 

 Be sure to subscribe to LolKing's YouTube channel for upcoming stat videos, and other League of Legends coverage!

LolKing's League Tips - Episode 9 - Advanced Wave Manipulation Tactics

Welcome to LolKing's League Tips!

Each week we’ll be giving you a tip that you can use in your games to have an edge over your opponent.

 

Last time we looked at the basics of wave manipulation with tactics such as freezing, unfreezing and resetting waves and before at some tips to help you as a jungler.

 

Today we are looking at some more advanced tactics behind wave manipulation. Knowing the notions behind freezing and resetting waves is one thing, but understanding how to do them and how to use them to your advantage is another.

In this video we look at how to keep a freeze going for a long time and how to use manipulate waves in order to make it easy for a jungler to gank your lane.

 

 


Watch the video below to learn more about some Advanced Wave Manipulation Tactics, remember also to watch the episode before this one if you don't know the basics!

 

 

 

 Be sure to subscribe to LolKing's YouTube channel for upcoming stat videos, and other League of Legends coverage!

 

 

 

 

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