Waiting for Cooldowns Issue 3: Going for Gold, Pre-Season 4 and Recent Stats
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What’s up guys, it’s Martin Hutch the Clutch Hutchison here once again and it’s time for another Waiting For Cooldowns! Got a lot of ranked-themed things to talk about so let’s get started. Without further ado, it’s time for my ABCs of LoL. Today’s letter? B!
B is for…Baron! Baron Nashor is an epic monster that lives in the river of Summoner’s Rift. Massively powerful, incredibly tough and undeniably important, the death of Baron Nashor generally requires a full team to accomplish but is very rewarding. I had originally written a lot about the current “Exalted” buff that a team can gain by slaying Baron Nashor, but the Rift’s most feared monster is undergoing a change in Pre-Season 4, like so many other things. I know now that, rather than the massive boost to Attack Damage and Ability Power, as well as health and mana regeneration, the new Baron buff will apparently give a percentage damage increase against towers, and a movement speed buff while out of combat. These changes shift the focus of the Baron buff away from dominating team-fights to pulling ahead in objectives. A welcome change? We’ll have to wait and see.
Going For Gold!
In League of Legends, there are essentially two ways to play; Ranked or Normal. Normal games are essentially just for fun. You’re put into a random team, and you all get to pick your champions at the same time. There’s usually (hopefully) some discussion on who will play what, which Champion’s have good synergies with each other, and possible build paths. Most importantly, there’s nothing really at stake when you join a Normal Queue.
For players looking for a more important game, there’s Ranked. The Ranked queue comes in two forms; Solo/Duo Queue, and Team Queue. Solo/Duo Queue is where you and up to one friend queue up together, and get placed in a team with others who are playing in Solo/Duo Queue. Team Queue is similar, but you can’t get started until you have a full Ranked team to play with.
Ranked is your ticket to League of Legends stardom; the very best players sit in the Diamond and Challenger Leagues, and many players who get found playing at these levels end up getting the chance to play for a professional team. That’s how SK Telecoms T1 found Faker just a few short months ago, and look how that went for them! (Very well; they just won the World Championship, after all.)
With Season Three’s deadline extended to mid-November, I decided to finally get a move on and try for Gold. I mentioned the Victorious Elise skin last week; That’s the target. If I can get to Gold before the end of the Season, and stay there, that sweet Skin will be mine. A few weekends back, I did most of my Placement games and, on a 6 wins/4 losses ratio, ended up in Silver 3, which is better than I thought it would be. Playing with a talented friend got us both dangerously close to Promotion, with myself topping out at 98 League Points(The score system used to advance through the Ranked leagues.)
And then I started losing. I won’t be one of those peoples who blames ‘ELO Hell’ or says that my team mates were entirely to blame in every game. I made a fair few mistakes myself, everything from picking a relatively weak Soraka Support against a Caitlyn/Sona bot lane to getting massively overconfident when my opponent picked Jax to counter my Teemo. My rough times dropped me as low as 15 LP but, thankfully, never so low that I faced demotion. A surprising comeback in a game that I got off to a really slow start as Jayce, the Defender of Tomorrow, netted me my first win in six ranked games, and I’m now sitting with 11 wins and 11 losses at 36 LP. The fight continues!
Riot have been on something of a quest recently to restore balance to the Force when it comes to League of Legends. In a game on Summoner’s Rift, there are five champions, and only four sources of income; namely, the three lanes and the jungle. As a result, one champion gets left behind and that champion is inevitably the Support. While the top laner, mid laner and AD Carry in the bot lane get lots of Gold and Experience from the minions they can freely kill, the support and the jungler have somewhat limited incomes. For Supports, this situation is always made worse because many teams expect them to shoulder the entire burden of buying Wards. Everyone knows that a lack of vision loses games, and it’s the supports job to ensure this doesn’t happen.
But Season 4 is to be the Moses that parts the Red Sea that is income-frustration for supports and leads them to the Promised Land of late-game builds. One drastic change that is set to ensure that the vision-burden is shouldered by the entire team is the addition of a ward limit. Each champion can now only place three Sight wards and one Vision ward at a time. As the support can now only reasonably expected to keep, for example, the Dragon/River, the tri-bush on their opponents side, and maybe one of the bot lane bushes warded, the rest of the map is up to the rest of the team. As a regular support player, I really welcome these changes.
Another alteration to vision in Pre-S 4 is a rather less welcome change to Vision wards. From now on, only Sight wards will become invisible after being placed, while Vision wards will remain visible for their full three minute duration. While I understand the concept behind this (It stops the team in the lead from snowballing the vision war by removing their opponents wards constantly) it doesn’t feel like it will actually add anything to the game.
A big demand from the players was a Seventh item slot, dedicated entirely to vision. Riot have answered this request by adding Trinkets to the game. Any champion can have access to one of three Trinkets, and they are the only item that can be placed in this seventh slot. Each Trinket helps with Vision in some way. One will give an additional, sixty-second ward, while another will allow it’s user to detect invisible units and wards for a short period of time. The third is due to act like the Summoner Spell Clairvoyance, allowing your team to see a targeted spot of the map for a few seconds. Unlike the changes to Vision wards, the addition of Trinkets sounds like a fantastic idea, adding a lot to the game with virtually no drawback.
It’s nice to see that supports have been focused on in the Pre-Season shift of power. For many, playing support was boring and frustrating, and that’s not how any player should feel when playing a game. On top of the changes we just looked at, the addition of an “Assist Spree” to go hand-in-hand with killing sprees will help the Support feel like a valued, strong member of the team.
Recent stats from the League
Unsurprisingly, Jinx has made the splash I expected her to make in Ranked games. In the majority of games, the Loose Cannon has either been picked or banned. Unlike the ADC to come before her, Lucian, Jinx is always a fiercely-contested Champion that many players ban just for the convenience of not having to deal with her.
As we draw to the end of Season 3, the most banned Champion has remained, for quite some time, Kassadin. His high mobility, burst potential and raw one-vs-one damage leaves the majority of teams unwilling to play against him. Other popular bans include Blitzcrank, a Support champion who’s Rocket Grab ability can often guarantee a kill, Shen, who’s Ultimate ability ‘Stand United’ make him one of the best split-pushers in the game, and Jarvan IV, who has a great mixture of team-utility, crowd control and tankiness.
We’ve come to the end of another issue, and I’d just like to thank you all once again for sparing the time to read Waiting for Cooldowns. Your continued support is the Blue Buff that let’s me stay in lane. Technical issues with my laptop forced me to push back this weeks issue by a couple of days, but I got everything sorted and I’m hopeful that it won’t happen again. Join me next week, when we’ll continue to examine the upcoming changes for Season 4. As always, we’ll continue to keep our eyes peeled for hints of the next Champion to hit the League, but I doubt that will happen until Season 4 starts.
Feel free to follow me on Twitter @Hu7chTh3Clu7ch or add me on League of Legends. I play on the EU West servers, and you’ll find me under the name Hutch The Clutch. Additionally, I’m excited to announce you can now follow the official Waiting for Cooldowns Twitter page @CDTWFC ! May your ganks be be fruitful and your team fights coordinated. See ya!