Feb 16 2017 - 9:17 pm

G2 retain their throne: EU LCS Week 5, Day 1 Recap

For the first day of this week in the EU LCS, we got to see the two undefeated teams of UoL and G2 battle it out, while Fnatic looked to continue their success with their new jungler.
Image via Riot Games
Contributing Writer

Kicking off week five of the EU LCS was the matchup every fan had been waiting for: Unicorns of Love against G2 Esports. Meanwhile, Fnatic looked to continue their success with their new jungler, while Splyce wanted to bounce back from a week four loss.

G2 Esports (7-0) 2-0 Unicorns of Love (5-1)

The first game of the series started off a bit slow until Andrei "Xerxe" Dragomir on Kha'Zix managed to catch out Kim "Trick" Gang-yun's Graves in his own jungle for a first blood solo kill. After this good start, Xerxe went a bit cold, not finding any kills for the next 25 minutes of gameplay. Trick came back from the first blood looking for some action, and was able to get off some successful ganks to get his lanes rolling. We saw Luka "PerkZ" Perkovic on Orianna able to get a solo kill onto Fabian "Exileh" Schubert's Ryze. G2 made great use of Baron to constantly draw out UoL, putting them over 8,000 gold ahead when they finally took down the Baron at 31:30. After eventually getting a second Baron, G2 was able to quite cleanly close out game one, only allowing five kills over to the side of the Unicorns.

G2 started off the second game well, executing a very nice dive in the bottom lane, resulting in a three for one kill trade, but they ended up sticking around too long, allowing UoL to trade back another kill. The game stalled out for a bit, with UoL keeping up much better than game one, until a fight broke out at 19:30. Jesper "Zven" Svenningsen was overextended in the top lane, and was caught out by Exileh on Ryze. G2 attempted to bring some support, but was caught out by a nice Tahm Kench ultimate from Zdravets "Hylissang" Iliev Galabov. This resulted in four kills for zero in favor of UoL, as well as a very early Baron rush. The game got very chaotic going back and forth, until Xerxe stole away Baron, which allowed UoL to take both Nexus towers in G2's base. With an open Nexus, UoL got a bit too impatient, and attempted to use Realm Warp with Teleport to quickly burn down the Nexus, but they were aced as G2's Nexus survived one hit away from explosion. With the long death timers, G2 was able to run down mid and end the game.

My player of the series here has to be Trick. Despite a sloppy game two from all 10 players, throughout the series, Trick managed to keep the pressure on and keep G2's undefeated domestic record alive.

Splyce (3-3) 2-1 Fnatic (3-3)

Game one started out with Fnatic's new jungler, Mads "Broxah" Brock-Pedersen, ganking mid lane to get Rasmus "Caps" Winther's Ryze first blood. A roam to the top lane from Caps and Broxah just a few minutes later saw Fnatic get another two kills. Splyce attempted to counter Fnatic's movements, but the pressure from Paul "sOAZ" Boyer on Camille was just too much. By 23 minutes, Fnatic had broke open Splyce's base and was able to push through for a convincing game one victory.

In game two, we saw Broxah have another good game on Lee Sin, getting a 3/0/1 scoreline by 14 minutes. This time around, Fnatic didn't have as much of a lead to work with in the mid game, and a flubbed Baron attempt ended up costing them four kills to put Splyce ahead in gold. Splyce attempted an Elder Drake that ended up getting them even more kills and sending the rest of Fnatic retreating as Splyce took down the dragon. By 41 minutes, Splyce was taking down another Baron, which allowed them to push through and tie up the series.

The third game started off the slowest, with no kills being had until Broxah, yet again on Lee Sin, was able to successfully gank bottom lane for first blood. Shortly after, Jonas "Trashy" Andersen was able to respond with a bottom lane gank of his own to tie up the kills. More pressure from Fnatic to the bottom lane allowed them to take down the first tower at 15 minutes, getting them a small gold lead. The mid game began with each team taking turns attempting to siege mid, but neither team was finding much success in doing so. As both teams yet again set up in the mid lane, this time, Splyce was able to find some picks, getting them a delayed ace, as well as that first mid lane tower. Not too long after, Splyce found a pick onto Broxah, which made them attempt Baron, but they were stopped by Fnatic, resulting in a two for two kill trade. By 35 minutes, Splyce was able to rush Baron down, and follow it up by getting an Elder Drake. The combination of buffs allowed Splyce to take the middle inhibitor, as well as the top inhibitor tower, before Splyce backed off to reset things a bit. A second Baron buff was all Splyce needed, as their split push caused Fnatic to fully commit to a fight that they couldn't quite run away from. This allowed Splyce to run down and clean up Fnatic's base, taking the 2-1 series victory.

My player of the series here goes to Martin "Wunder" Hansen. His excellent Gangplank play in game two was a key advantage that Splyce needed to tie up the series. Then, in game three, his Rumble Equalizers were very impactful, allowing Splyce to pull ahead and close out the series.

What did you think of today's matches? Let us know @GAMURScom, and stick around for more League of Legends content.

Feb 22 2017 - 9:19 pm

Aatrox changes coming to the PBE

Riot announced the changes to Aatrox that will be coming to the PBE for the patch 7.5 testing.
Image via Riot Games
Contributing Writer

Riot confirmed the following changes to Aatrox, which will go live on the Public Beta Environment (PBE) for the Patch 7.5 cycle:

  • General

Base Blood Well capacity :: 105 >> 100

Blood Well capacity per level :: 45 >> 0

  • Blood Well (P) [ reworked ]

Aatrox fills the Blood Well through his abilities. When Aatrox fills the Blood Well to 100%, it becomes "locked" and beings to drain over four seconds, giving him Blood Rush for the duration.

While under the effects of Blood Rush, dealing or taking damage versus champions will fully refresh Blood Rush's duration (and fully refill the Blood Well).

[ Blood Rush ] Aatrox gains 25% base attack damage and 20 / ~ / 50% attack speed. Upon taking fatal damage, Aatrox will revive and recover 30% of his max health. Aatrox cannot revive more than once every 180 / ~ / 120 seconds.

  • Dark Flight (Q)

Cost :: 10% current health >> No cost

Damage :: 70 / 115 / 160 / 205 / 250 (+60% bonus AD) >> 10 / 35 / 60 / 95 / 120 (+110% total AD)

[ new ] Now fills 20% of the Blood Well upon cast.

  • Blood Thirst (W) - heal effect

Heal :: 20 / 25 / 30 / 35 / 40 (+25% bonus AD) >> 30 / 45 / 60 / 75 / 90 (+5% missing health)

[ removed ] No longer triples the healing while below 50% health

  • Blood Price (W) - damage effect

Cost :: 15 / 23.75 / 32.5 / 41.25 / 50 (+25% bonus AD) >> No cost

Damage :: 60 / 95 / 130 / 165 / 200 (+100% bonus AD) >> 30 / 60 / 90 / 120 / 150 (+75% bonus AD)

[ new ] Now fills 20% of the Blood Well when hit effect occurs.

  • Blades of Torment (E)

Cost :: 5% current health >> 30 health

Damage :: 75 / 110 / 145 / 180 / 215 (+60% AP) (+60% bonus AD) >> 70 / 115 / 160 / 205 / 250 (+70% bonus AD)

Damage Type :: Magic >> Physical

Slow Potency :: 40% at all ranks >> 30 / 35 / 40 / 45 / 50%

Slow Duration :: 1.75 / 2 / 2.25 / 2.5 / 2.75 >> 2 seconds at all ranks

[ new ] Now fills 20% of the Blood Well upon cast

Aatrox is among the many champions that have been sort of cast off to the side due to balance difficulties. While Riot has stated that these changes aren't in place of an update that he may need, they're hoping, for the time being, this will put him in a better spot for people playing as, against and with Aatrox. These changes will hopefully give Aatrox more of an identity, as well as some strategic interactions with his "new" passive. While Aatrox's kit remains almost completely intact, the above changes should allow players to feel better about their builds as they get into the late game.

What do you think of the changes to Aatrox? Let us know @GAMURScom, and follow us for more League of Legends content.

Feb 22 2017 - 8:19 pm

Cho'Gath's current state

With patch 7.4 featuring major changes to Cho'Gath's ultimate, let's look at the champion's current state.
Photo via Riot Games
Contributing Writer

Cho'Gath is a champion that has had his times in the spotlight, but for the last year, he hasn't been seen too much in competitive play. Patch 7.4 will give his ultimate, Feast, a sizable update in an attempt to bring Cho'Gath back to a viable status.

Before talking about the impact of these changes, let's look at the way Cho'Gath works and what makes him "bad" in his current state. Looking to solo queue, Cho'Gath is currently played top most of the time, and on patch 7.3, he is sitting at a 44.85 percent win rate. With the top lane champion pool being pretty diverse, having room for both carries and tanks in the role, it would seem Cho'Gath could have his place as a tank. With Maokai, Poppy, Nautilus, Shen, Singed and even Gragas all making appearances as top lane tanks, Cho'Gath's crowd control and burst focused kit should fit right in, but we haven't seen Cho'Gath showing up in pro play.

The last time Cho'Gath was somewhat a common pick was in 2015 when champions such as Urgot and Zed were the more popular mid lane champions. Cho'Gath could do well into these picks because the sustain from his Carnivore passive allowed him to survive through their poke, and the knock-up from his Rupture would allow him to shut down predictable all-ins from moves such as Zed's ultimate. With mid lane being predominantly champions who excel with sustained damage, it makes sense that Cho'Gath can't quite keep up with the likes of Ryze and Corki, but what about other roles?

Cho'Gath jungle has shown up a few times throughout history, but currently, his relatively low clear speed and weak early dueling makes it simply not an option. When we look to the top lane, the tanks that are doing well are picked for their reliable crowd control. With Maokai, Nautilus, Poppy and Singed all having a form of point and click cc, guaranteed engages that these champions provide are very valuable. Even Gragas and Shen can combine their cc with flash to guarantee the hit, but Cho'Gath's primary cc ends up being too difficult to land against players of the highest level. Despite how devastating a full combo from Cho'Gath can be to a carry, without a way to reliably get on the enemy back-line, Cho'Gath ends up being a bit too one-dimensional.

The changes to Cho'Gath's Feast are as follows:

Changes to the rules around Feast stacks.

  • FOOD MEMORY: Cho’Gath no longer loses Feast stacks on death.
  • FEED THE VOID: Feast can now stack infinitely (only five stacks can be gained from minions and non-epic monsters, though they don’t have to be the first five).
  • NOT THAT FILLING: Feast no longer heals Cho’Gath when it kills a unit at max stacks (nomming a sixth minion or non-epic monster doesn’t do anything beyond damage).
  • INDISCRIMINATE DIGESTION: Feast no longer grants two stacks on champion kill or half mana and cooldown refund on minion kill.

FOOD CRITIC: Feast’s tooltip on the buff bar now tracks what Cho’s eaten.

RATIO: 0.7 ability power >>> 0.5 ability power and 10% bonus health.

BONUS HEALTH PER STACK: 100/140/180 >>> 80/110/140

BONUS HEALTH AT 6 STACKS: 600/840/1080 >>> 480/660/840

MAXIMUM ATTACK RANGE BONUS: +50 (175 attack range) >>> +75 (200 attack range).

LET’S NOT GO CRAZY HERE: Cho’Gath reaches his maximum size (and bonus attack range) at 10 stacks.

One of the best aspects of Cho'Gath is his large size, which allows him to provide more shelter for teammates than any other tank in the game. A big weakness of Cho'Gath was losing all of his Feast stacks upon death, and with that gone, he'll be a lot more reliable in his tankiness later in the game, where tanks are bound to have a couple of deaths from just doing their job. These changes also make Feast an ability that requires a lot more thought than before. While it's still optimal to stack up as quickly as possible, beyond five stacks, you have to use it to kill champions if you want to continue stacking the passive. While Cho'Gath will now need to get up to eight stacks to surpass his previous bonus health at six stacks, being able to continue stacking it up will give Cho'Gath unseen levels of HP without having to itemize for it. While Cho'Gath will still have the same issues as before, his new levels of tankiness might allow him to simply run through enemy teams with the assistance of items such as Boots of Swiftness and Righteous Glory. If Cho'Gath is unable to make it to that late game level of tankiness, without falling too far behind, the champion might need more than some extra HP to start showing up in competitive play.

What do you think of Cho'Gath's new ultimate? Let me know @calvinbwitt and follow @GAMURScom for more League of Legends content.