Another year, another season. League of Legend’s Preseason 11 has started quite a while ago, and with 2021 being around the corner, I thought I’d take the time to write a post on it.
Just like other seasons, there has been a major change in the Rift this time around to keep the game fresh and innovative: The Item Rework!
Alas, this season brought a whole new shop system and the introduction of Mythic items that basically are supposed to be super overpowered but you can only buy one Mythic item. On top of that, they have Mythic passives that add bonus stats to all other Legendary (aka completed) items, including boots! These new Mythic items, as well as a bunch of new other items, replace about a third of the old items that got removed. Meanwhile, the last third of the items have been reworks. Generally, I feel like a lot of the items are quite strong but not too strong. There are some items that still need to get touched but I’ll talk about that later.
Before we talk about my issues with the new season, I wanted to talk about what I’m looking forward to, my champ pool, builds I’ve enjoyed, and what I’m glad about.
As a Support player, I made it to Gold last season and this Pre-Season, so I want to reach that goal again in the next season and potentially even climb past it to Platinum+ if I’m good enough. Riot changed the ranked system in a way that is going to make climbing easier, so I’m happy about that. From now on, there is no promotional series (aka “win two out of three games” to be promoted) between the ranks of one division. Instead, you have to reach 100 LP to climb from, say, Gold IV to Gold III. Once you’re at 100 LP in Gold I, you need to win three out of five games to be able to get to Platinum IV, which is a great change! On top of that, being at 99 LP is less frustrating now as a win translates into, say, +16 LP in the next rank if you gain 17 LP after your win. This is a welcome change that I’ve been asking for, for quite a while now actually. There was nothing more frustrating in League than winning a game only to gain 1 LP and to then get inters, feeders and AFKs in your promotional series only to reach the next step in your climb.
I’ve been playing a bit of ADC this season and have been enjoying a plethora of champions in that role. Alas, I’m going to go with ADC for my second role and I’ll most likely play (in this order) Jhin, Caitlyn, Ashe, and Varus. Otherwise, I obviously would also manage to trade roles or potentially pick something else to fit my team’s needs. On Jhin, I’ve been enjoying the crit builds a lot with Krakenslayer/Galeforce into Rapidfire Cannon into Infinity Edge/Bloodthirster. With Krakenslayer your third shot basically deals as much damage as your fourth shot, which is a pretty big deal. Meanwhile, you’re super fast with Galeforce and also gain a dash to get out of some peculiar situations, which is quite fun. Most of the time, though, I play a lethality build with Eclipse into Collector on Jhin, running Dark Harvest, and basically one-shotting everyone. The Collector is incredibly broken as it basically executes enemy champions at 5% of their health, which sounds like nothing… but if a Champion had about 5000 HP, they’d get executed at 250 HP, which is surreal… and a lot of fun.
But my main role is obviously Support. I’m a sucker for mage supporters and enchanters and I used to play a lot of Nautilus and Braum in the past… but tank supporters feel incredibly weak. Unless you get super ahead, you can’t get tanky enough and you can’t really set up kills either. Tank items are constantly getting nerfed when it comes to their tankiness (the part that you need) when it’s actually the damage that should get nerfed (the part that a Tank/Tank Support doesn’t need). At the same time, Tank items are extremely overpriced and you end up in this weird spot where you need kills as a supporter to make the dream possible. I wanted to try out Tahm Kench again and some other champions that I used to main, like Taric, but I’ve put it off since everything else feels a lot stronger and better in my humble opinion.
And I don’t mind that. I don’t mind that tank supporters feel weak in a tank meta. I don’t mind not having to dodge a thousand hooks in the bot lane. I really don’t. Obviously, people still play tank supporters and statistics say that Leona, Thresh and other champs are really strong at the moment… but I just personally don’t like the feel of tanks, at the moment, and alas, I go for mages and enchanters instead.
This brings us to my current favourite mages to play in the Support lane: Xerath, Zyra, Vel’Koz, Brand, Neeko, and Morgana.
Xerath and Vel’Koz are incredible at poking down enemies from afar, setting up kills or securing them when your ADC isn’t close enough yet. Both of these champions scale well into the late game but don’t need many items to burst people down. Xerath has a lot of burst damage, a slow and a stun in his kit as well as a semi-global ult and a lot of sustain through his passive. I tend to go for Luden’s Tempest into Event Horizon on him, although Liandry’s into Demonic Embrace also can work quite well on him against tanky teams. Luden’s Tempest gives you some movement speed on every proc and adds a lot of burst-damage to your abilities when you hit enemies. Meanwhile, Event Horizon adds an increase in damage on abilities that hit enemies at more than 750 range or that immobilize them. Xerath’s Q is already 750 range long when tapped, as far as I know, so this is a great item on him as well. Vel’Koz has a knock-up on his E as well as plenty of tools in his kit to zone enemies, secure objectives and kills as well as a lot of true damage to melt enemies away, which is just lovely. I tend to go for the same items on him as on Xerath. On these two champions, I tend to run Comet, Manaflowband, Transcendence/Absolute Focus and Scorch… and then I go for Cosmic insight+Cookies in the second tree or I opt-in for Presence of Mind and Coup de Grace for some extra damage.
All the other supports I mentioned have also great poke and some degree of utility to them. Zyra is incredibly nice to pick when you have an Ezreal for your ADC. Ezreal scales well into the late game and usually buys Tear for his first item, so picking up lane-dominant supports like Zyra can help him scale away without problems or maybe even pick up an early kill or two to snowball. Zyra is also great against Melee comps that are fairly tanky, as you most likely will buy Liandry’s+Demonic Embrace into Morello. The double burn procs on all of your plants which makes you great for taking Baron Nashor or for team fights. Brand already has a DoT on his passive, so obviously, you want to capitalize on that by building double burn, hence resulting in a triple burn. Brand also has a Stun in his Q when applied on a burning target as well as percentage-health damage in his passive (and if I remember correctly, the other part of your passive with hitting three abilities on one target actually does true damage!). Hence, Brand doesn’t need many items to really shine and he’s also great to take objectives or to team fight with.
And well, Neeko,… is… interesting. She never has been weak but people don’t really play her as a Support anymore. I usually go Luden’s or Protobelt on her. You can also build Night Harvester on her or go for the double burn if you want to. There are a lot of different options for her and you can easily catch people off-guard with the clones, her damage, her utility and her epic ultimates in team fights, which makes her a great pocket-pick.
As you can see these are all mages… but sometimes you just have too much magic damage on your team already, so I have two picks for that case to balance out the damage more: Ashe and Senna.
On the one hand, Senna has been one of my favourite champions to play last season. She has great scaling, great poke and a heal (that scales with Attack Damage), as well as some decent CC on her W in form of a long-range AoE root. Her E ability lets you camouflage your teammates to get away or to engage on people in a better way while her ultimate does decent damage and even shields allies at a global range! My favourite build on her is Eclipse into the Collector. I usually run either Grasp of the Undying or Glacial Augment on her, based on what I play against. The items generally are the same as Jhin’s as you’re basically doing the same thing as him… but in a less artsy way.
Ashe, on the other hand, is a fantastic pocket pick of mine that I haven’t seen too many people play as a Support yet. Essentially you run comet to poke enemies down with your W and you stack up Focus on enemies to then burst them down with your Q. Your E provides vision for your team while your W makes it easier to hit the comet. On top of that, your ultimate is a great engage/disengage tool at a global range, although I suck at landing those. As for builds, I tend to go for Imperial Mandate into Manamune into Ravenous Hydra. This build is all about your W which does more damage thanks to Imperial Mandate and Muramana (the upgraded Manamune) and which basically also amplifies your allies’ damage by a considerable amount as well. All of the items in this build have a lot of ability haste, resulting in you basically being able to spam your W while not running out of mana. Muramana also applies on-hit damage to all of your attacks and spells. Ravenous Hydra heals you and also applies some AoE damage to your volley and auto-attacks. Overall, it’s a fun build to try out into some team comps or when your team is lacking in the physical damage or CC department.
Speaking of ability haste: Cooldown Reduction has been changed. Before the change 10% cooldown reduction would allow about 11% more casts and getting more cooldown reduction would result in even more casts of abilities, which was great. Getting 40% cooldown reduction was basically what you’d want most of the time as it scales exponentially. The new system, however, is all about ability haste which stacks linearly, just like most other stats in the game. There is no cap on how much Ability Haste you can have, meaning that it’s possible to even reach 50% or 60% CDR with the new system, although you’d have to opt-in for very specific items to do exactly that, resulting in potentially losing some power as you’re not going for more damage but more tasks. This new system is actually also quite cool as it means that getting less is better compared to before.
The last category of champions that I’m playing this season is about enchanters!
I mainly tried out Nami in the preseason as well as a few others and overall, everyone felt quite neat to play. Nami, Bard, Janna, Soraka, Lulu, Sona, Seraphine, and Rakan are great champions to pick up (and yes, I count Bard and Rakan as Enchanters) especially with all the new items. Before the item rework, you’d go the exact same items on every enchanter in every game for your first three: Ardent Censer, Athene’s Unholy Grail, and Redemption. There wasn’t much variety from game to game and while I miss Athene’s Unholy Grail a ton… I’m kind of happy about the new changes. Generally, I go for Imperial Mandate on Nami followed by Ardent Censer or Staff of Flowing Water.
Imperial Mandate causes immobilizing abilities to mark enemies and deal extra damage – and allies can proc the mark to deal even more damage on top of that. Nami’s Q, E and R work great with this item. Ardent Censer is still a great item but sometimes I have to opt-in for the Staff of Flowing Water as it’s basically made for Nami… I mean, what item would be more befitting of Nami who’s already wielding the Tidecaller’s Staff? The Staff of Flowing Water grants you and your allies Ability Power and Movement Speed whenever you affect them with your abilities. The bonus MS paired with your passive works great to rescue allies in bad positions while the ability power works quite well with a lot of champions… although it’s mostly for yourself. When I play with a Kog’Maw, Lucian, Varus, Senna, or Kai’Sa this is a great pick-up as it enables them, even more, to get away, kite better, get closer, or add damage to the abilities that scale with AP in their kit. Ardent Censer, however, gives you and your ally on-hit damage and attack speed, which is also great. It just depends on the champions.
Now, this is a great change for Enchanters: You basically have your Mythic Item, your Support Item, Boots, an Enchanter Item, and potentially another… but what do you do with your last slot? Generally, you’d get more pink wards but you can only place down one at most on the map and you can only carry two at the same time. Buying an additional item results in no more pink wards for your team, which sucks. Alas, you’ll get… hear me out… the best item that was introduced this season… the Vigilant Wardstone.
For a price of only 1100 gold, you get an item that grants you the ability to store three pink wards at the same time in your inventory. Once you placed down 20 Stealth Wards (#easy #supportlyfe), it transforms into the next level of the item which basically grants you some bonus stats… and then you can also invest another 1300 gold into it to get even more bonus stats. The end result is an item that stores pink wards (that you still have to buy) but it also grants you bonus movement speed and ability haste (GREAT for enchanters!) and… it also increases the cap for stealth and pink wards placed. You can now place down a maximum of four stealth wards and two pink wards (instead of three/one) with this item.
Vision = Power
On top of that, you also have other options that you can go for as far as items go… Zeke’s procs now whenever you CC enemies, so it’s a viable option to use on champions like Nami as it doesn’t require a short ult cooldown to work efficiently anymore. Meanwhile, Moonstone Renewer is a great item for times when you need to heal a lot instead of dealing a lot of damage. Instead of amplifying your damage with Imperial Mandate, you instead opt-in for amplifying your heals, which is great on Soraka, for instance. Also, you don’t have to buy a completed Morellonomicon to have Grievous Wounds as a Mage but can instead just build the Oblivion Orb for considerably less gold. And that’s lovely. On so many levels.
Now, earlier I talked about issues with items that I have and… well,… The Collector is just unhealthy for the game. Being able to execute people like that is a bullshit mechanic to have in a game as it makes champions like Jhin, Senna, Draven and even Veigar incredibly strong with little to no counterplay. Again, 5% of your maximum health is a huge amount of health still… If they tuned it down to 2.5% or maybe just 1%, it would be considerably less strong to the point where it was useless… Alas, I’d say that the item should receive a nerf to its stats and/or its price. Being able to build this as your second item every damn game on some champions and get away with just having two items is bullshit and super unhealthy. It not only makes it easier to get kills but also rewards you a bonus of 25 gold every time you take down an enemy, which eventually pays for your next item, making you even stronger. It’s a snowball item like the Sword of the Occult, which is unhealthy for the game.
At the same time, healing is too strong in the game even though it was supposed to go down. Tanks are also too strong. It’s not the problem that you can’t kill them easily… after all, that’s their purpose: They’re tanks!
The problem is that they’re dealing a ton of damage to enemies around them. Sunfire and some of the other Immolate-Mythic-Tank-Items are way too overtuned, in my opinion, with their damage increasing based on your other tank-stats such as your health. Being tanky is good but dealing scaling damage is not so good for the health of the game. Now, I haven’t played League in two weeks so maybe there’s been another patch. Alas, I’ll hold off on this rant for until I’m home again, this Sunday. I may write about this again in the new year.
I hope you enjoyed this looooooooooooooooooong post. I wouldn’t have thought that this would turn into a post that is nearly as long as my Moonlighter review… Oh well. Personally speaking, I really enjoy writing about topics like these here with my strategies or thoughts on a meta. As mentioned before, I don’t like being forced to play tanks or whatever in a season. I play what I enjoy and this season… I can do that. I can play enchanters and mages, poke and cc, I can do all kinds of things and still have fun with the game while climbing. I’m looking forward to Season 11. And I’m looking forward to potentially writing about these topics as well throughout the season.
How about you? What champions are you going to play? What are your thoughts on any of these changes and my pool? Let me know!