Sunday, December 22, 2013

Reworking Rammus

Rammus is a pretty controversial topic on the forums right now. In patch 3.15 he got his E 'Puncturing Taunt' nerfed -"Duration reduced at later ranks to 1.25/1.50/1.75/2.00/2.25 seconds (from 1.00/1.50/2.00/2.50/3.00 seconds)." He got some minor buffs to his mana costs in exchange but really this is still a nerf. Many players on the forums are complaining, saying this is undeserved and that Rammus isn't OP, champion X/Y/Z is. The truth is though, his solo queue win rate per has been well over 50% for all of 2013, usually hovering close to 55%. In fact even after the nerf, his win rate today is still 54.1%. Statistically, I'd say this makes him the most consistently OP solo queue champion of 2013. So yes, as sad as I am to say it, he did deserve the nerf. So if Rammus was, and is, so OP, why was his pick rate less than 5% for much of the year?

Even though Rammus has a higher win rate than champions like Kassadin and Riven, he doesn't appear OP because he doesn't snowball out of control like they do. Even if Rammus is making a huge impact on the game, his impact is more subtle because the laners appear to be doing all the damage, and Rammus can't do anything on his own. It also doesn't help pros rarely play him in tournaments or solo queue, mainly due to his niche utility and lack of powerful teamfight presence. Rammus was the first champion I bought, and I've always liked him since I started playing in 2009, but in today's League of Legends world his kit is imbalanced and not very rewarding to play, so I propose a rework. Rammus is already rarely picked, so if they keep nerfing his taunt until he reaches a balanced win rate near 50%, no one will play him. A rework would save him from this and improve his playability without making him OP. So, let's look at his pros and cons and see where he could use some tweaks to make him more fun to play and more competitive.

  • Mobility
  • Ganks
  • Peeling
  • Very tanky
  • Good against AD compositions
  • Easily counterjungled
  • Bad farmer
  • Weaker vs AP compositions
  • Weak teamfight initation for a tank
Rammus has some of the best ganks in the game with his speed and his very long taunt, but his farming is abysmal and he doesn't have super impactful teamfight presence like other popular junglers such as Vi or J4. I think these two factors are keeping him from competitive play. His kit also isn't that interesting to play which is keeping his solo queue pick rate low. This is because his spell order is obvious and has little to no strategy or counterplay. So I want to buff his initiation and farming, while nerfing his mobility to keep him balanced. Here are the changes I propose (if you don't know his current abilities you can reference them here):

Passive - Spiked Shell - Same 'Rammus receives bonus attack damage equal to 25% of his total armor.'
This passive makes Rammus unique and helps him in his role as an anti-AD champion. It's essential to give him a little more damage throughout the game as he builds tank items.

Q - Powerball - Change this to force Rammus to charge up while stationary in order to reach max speed and reduce the duration spent moving, so he can't go as far with it. Still allow him to use it without charging but at a much lower speed. Also remove the slow.
Right now powerball allows for both a strong engage and disengage, as Rammus can get out of almost any tricky situation. This change will allow Rammus to still have a strong team fight initiation by rolling in quickly by surprise, but it will reduce his ability to disengage because he won't have time to charge up before running away. This will also reduce his ganking power by making it easier to ward. Right now Rammus can roll from his jungle into lane so quickly people don't have time to react. If you reduce the distance he can roll, it will force Rammus players to setup ganks from the river which would be easier for opponents to ward. I think it would also just be more fun to play charging up and rolling in. The slow applied is providing him unnecessary extra power because during ganks, he typically taunts after his power ball anyways. And for teamfights, we'll give him back a slow later.

W - Defensive Ball Curl - I want to keep this the same, but increase damage dealt to monsters.
This will help his farming immensely. Right now if Rammus doesn't get ganks off, he gets super behind because he farms so slow. This would even him out a lot and make him more forgiving to play. In competitive play its essential to have junglers who can farm and gank so this would improve his viability in tournaments as well as his playability in solo queue. 

E - Puncturing Taunt - I think we should remove the armor reduction on this spell, and keep the duration the same.
Taunt is already one of the longest CC's in the game. Even after Riot's 3.15 nerf it is very powerful. All of the power on Rammus's kit is centered around his taunt, so he is lacking in other areas. The armor reduction on this spell gives a lot of unnecessary hidden power and has no counterplay. It's not a fun part of Rammus, so by removing it we can channel power in to other abilities to make his kit more interesting.

R - Tremors - I want to severely reduce or remove the damage from this and definitely remove the damage to turrets. I want to add a big slow to this with an effect like Randuin's Omen, but with a bigger AOE and slow amount.
The extra damage is not necessary for a tank, and it doesn't make sense for him to have a tower pushing ability that would fit better with a split pushing bruiser. Rammus could use more teamfight utility and this is the place to put it. This will give Rammus a very strong initiation, which is something he is currently lacking when compared to other popular junglers. After removing damage from his ultimate, hopefully more damage could be added to his other abilities to improve his dueling, which is currently horrendous. 

These changes will push Rammus more neatly into his role as a pure tank. Right now he is a tank, but his ultimate doesn't fit that criteria well, and his Q provides way too much mobility for a champion with very strong CC. We can improve some of his weaknesses like clear speed and teamfight utility, while still maintaining his core role as a tank with strong CC and mobility.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Maxsparrow's Pre-Season 4 Jungle Picks

I'm sure you're asking yourself "Who is this guy? Why do I care what junglers he picks?" Well that's up to you to decide. I'm just a Gold II player who loves to jungle. I'll be the first to admit I'm pretty biased too. I have terrible mechanics so when I choose champions like Lee Sin, I play so bad I might as well be blind. So when I say "Lee Sin is the worst champion in the game and I hate him," maybe you should take that with a grain of salt. My strengths lie in decision making, strategy, and objective control, so I have a tendency towards tanky junglers that let me initiate fights and help my teammates make plays. With that in mind, these are my favorite junglers so far in the preseason:

Dr. Mundo - "Mundo goes where he pleases" is finally true again! He got stomped with the Season 3 changes and has been crippled ever since. With the latest changes though, the extra camp allows Mundo to continuously farm which is what he's best at. Also the mastery changes were great for Mundo. In the defensive tree there is Juggernaut (+3% maximum health), Perseverance (regenerates 3% missing health every 5 seconds), Second Wind (increases self-healing by 10% when under 25% health), and Legendary Guardian (reduces duration of crowd control effects by 15%). These are all so good on Mundo. I think he will hit a sweet spot where he's good enough for competitive play but not so OP that he gets nerfed. My #1 pick right now.

Evelynn - The reduction in true sight helped Evelynn so much. You can't just buy pink wards to shut her down anymore (not like that worked well before anyways). Also she scales well with the new hybrid penetration masteries. Prepare to see her banned frequently though in solo queue.

Shyvana - Since her rework, she's been really hot. She got some needed buffs, and the jungle changes really help her by giving her more gold from farming the jungle. Her ganks were weak in the past due to a lack of CC, but now she can stay in the jungle and come out as a late game monster.

Zac - The mastery changes really helped Zac because he's so health based. The same masteries that help Mundo, help Zac. He can also farm quite fast if you max W first and the new jungle rewards farming well.

Nautilus - They buffed him again!? In the last patch they increased the duration of the root on his passive. He was already awesome and got another buff. He brings an insane amount of crowd control to a fight and this just made him even better. He's got me hooked in for the long haul as my favorite jungler.

Honorable Mentions: Nasus, Vi, and Elise were all still strong picks at the end of Season 3 and I expect them to continue be strong in the pre-season and Season 4.

tl;dr I feel the tanky, farming junglers will rise to the top this season, which so far are Mundo, Shyvana, and Zac. Also the changes in vision helped Eve become even more annoying. Nautilus isn't a stealth champion or a fast farmer, but I love him anyways so he gets on the list too.