Thursday, June 28, 2012

League of Legends: Draven

The newest champion in League of Legends hit the free rotation this week and I've given him a couple plays against bots to get a feel for what he does. I like to do this before reading about a champion to build my own theories about how he works before I get spoon-fed opinions from random idiots on the internet. My feeling going into these games, from having played against him, was that he did a crazy amount of damage. Now, I never laned against him, so maybe he was just getting fed. And my sample size was pretty low. Heck, after the first game against him I thought he was melee! (He's a ranged attack damage carry.)

After playing him a couple times against bots I'm eager to give him a shot against people. I have a feeling he's actually a critically important champion to learn how to play. Not because he's overpowered or anything like that but because he has a unique mechanic that uses a really critical micro skill. It's a skill that's made MarineKingPrime an awful lot of money in StarCraft II. I'm talking about stutter-step micro.

The way I see most people play (and the way I play myself if I'm being honest) is they get into a fight with someone and they stand still and auto-attack them. If the enemy runs away they stand still until the enemy runs out of range and then they start following them. Assuming equal movement speeds that means you'll only have done damage in the time it took them to run out of your attack range and that's it. Optimally what you should do is fire one attack off at them, walk slightly towards them, and then fire off another attack. Because your attack animation is shorter than your attack cooldown there's a brief period of time where you aren't locked in an attack animation and could actually be walking forward with no loss of damage. The trick is to start attacking again the instant your attack cooldown has worn off. Walk too much and you lose damage. (Well, if you have identical movement speeds and an infinite plane you won't lose any damage but eventually they'll hit their base or their teammates.) For optimal damage you need to be scooting and shooting the whole way.

This is true of all champions, really. Even some of the melee champions (Singed especially) actually want to avoid attacking at all some of the time. They want to just keep running beside the enemy and wait for their good ability to cooldown in order to let their teammates kill the person running away. If Singed autoattacks he stops for the duration of the animation which can let the enemy get out of his poison which is bad.

So why does Draven make people better at this? Well, he seems to be built entirely around one ability. This ability causes his next autoattack to do significantly more damage (+85%, +a dot) and makes an axe fly through the air. There's a little target on the ground indicating where it's going to land. If Draven is on the target when the axe lands he gets to do the +85% damage again on his next attack. Catching an axe also refreshes his attack/movement speed buff. So it seems like to get the most out of Draven you need to be good at attacking once and then sliding to a nearby location. Attack again. Slide again. And so on. I think getting good at catching these axes will make someone better at attacking, then moving, then attacking again. You won't get the timing perfect right away, but you'll at least get started with moving between attacks which has to be useful!


lmdemasi said...

I first noticed stutter-step micro when someone was attacking an inhibitor during MLG. I tried it out and found that when I moved and then selected to attack the inhib, it kept moving until I was ready to auto-attack again.

Nick Page said...

Hmm. Interesting! I'll have to give that a try.