Monday, November 05, 2012

League of Legends: More on Treeline

My filler game of choice recently has been playing pickup games of the recently revamped 3v3 map. I've been using it to try out some recently purchased champions (Sion and Irelia), to try out some different jungling ideas (Taric, Amumu, Olaf), and to just see how the map tends to play out. I don't have any definitive thoughts for how things must go yet, but I have plenty of preliminary ideas I want to get out there.

First of all, there are a few distinct phases of the game. I think the key to the map is ultimately going to be taking champions which thrive in all the phases of the game. There are likely some champions being ignored right now which are actually solid across the board and deserve more consideration. In particular I think Annie is actually pretty darn good on this map. I played three games with her earlier today and my teammates were scoffing each time, even in my ranked team game. I went a combined 24/10/31. Now, I know that's a small sample size. It certainly doesn't prove anything. But it does make me think she's at least reasonable. Now I want to actually work out why she's reasonable and then see if there are other champions which are even better!

The phases of the game, as I see them right now, are the level 1 team fight, the lane game, altar control, late game team fights, Vilemaw, and building destruction. Some of these link together across the whole game. Some only exist for a very brief period of time. So, what do each of these phases entail and what sort of skills are you looking for?

The level 1 team fight is only up for about a minute at the start of the game. Minions and the jungle haven't spawned yet, so what are people to do? Well, they tend to get together and charge into the other team. It feels like if your team is bad at the level 1 team fight that you'd just avoid it but no one ever does. I'm not even sure you can, since the lanes are so long if the other team just stays in a group in your jungle you can't possibly get any experience or gold from anything without just dying. I've seen some games pretty much end in the first minute when one team dominates the level 1 team fight. Sure, the other team _could_ come back, but it feels like they don't. When you're still level 1 and the guy you're laning against is level 4 you're pretty screwed.

So, what's good in the level 1 team fight? Well, scouting abilities are pretty good so you don't get surprised. Ezreal's mystic shot, Maokai's sapling, or Olaf's undertow for example. Spells that don't require a target that you can chuck into a bush. If it gives vision, great. If it just gives an audible sound when it makes contact that's good too assuming you can then communicate that to your team. That's to help get the fight on your terms, but what about in the fight itself? Stuns are really good. Ignite and exhaust are really good. Summoner heal is solid. The ability to deal high amounts of damage or have high amounts of health are good for surviving. Good tactics are very useful, too. Proper targeting, not chasing into turrets, that sort of thing. Cho'gath is probably the king of this category since he has an AE damage spell that also stuns. It can be used into a bush to scout in a pinch? I think Annie is good here since she also has an AE damage stun. Alistar also does. Lux has a 2-target snare which could be pretty solid. Riven has an AE stun. Single target stuns are just fine, especially in multiples. So people like Sion/Taric/Twisted Fate/Renekton/Poppy/Vayne/Udyr/Xin Zhao all seem reasonable. On the other side, champions with no CC and low health seem bad in the level 1 team fight. Teemo, for example, seems to just explode if he gets stunned.

The lane game is interesting. The big difference between Twisted Treeline and Summoner's Rift is how far the natural equilibrium point is from your turret. Just fighting at equilibrium leaves you a little vulnerable to ganks from behind. Pushing ahead even a little bit is a potential disaster if the other team has persistent slows. The walls are really thick so it's a lot harder to just dive over the wall to escape so someone like Tryndamere has a harder time getting away here than on the old map. So to take real advantage of the long lane you want people on your team who can slow/stun a bunch during ganks. And you want people who have a chance of escaping with their own stuns or slows or just by having lots of health. You want to be able to farm creeps without either pushing deep into the lane or letting a big stack build up on your own side to get pushed into your turret. I think Olaf is probably the king here. I've killed people from near full to dead on the run back to their turret with just undertow over and over. I've never actually played Sejuani but I wonder if this is the job she'd excel in. Pedobear probably works well with a teammate who can CC a little. Even just having a stun and some damage has worked out pretty well in my experience. Jungle Taric felt good because of his ability to walk up behind someone and crack them with a stun. It took a laner with a gap closer and CC of their own (like Jax) but it worked pretty well. Sion would do the same sort of thing. I actually wonder if Ashe would work here? Mundo almost certainly does.

On the other side, you want laners who can escape with some sort of abilities. Annie stun was ok here, but you're looking for something like Shaco's jump away. Or Kennen's dash. What you don't want is someone who just explodes when people look at him funny. Like, say, Teemo. I played a game as Irelia against Teemo and I didn't even need a gank from a friend. He just couldn't escape from a dash and a slow. I'd had other games where I was jungling Taric or Olaf with similar experiences.

Where Teemo does have a plus is his mushrooms. Wards are banned from this map so his mushrooms are one of the few ways to spot incoming ganks. Other options here would be Nidalee/Caitlyn for traps, Shaco for boxes, and Maokai for saplings. I guess Heimerdinger could leave a turret behind?

Altar control is a unique aspect for this map and it's one I think might end up determining who wins and who loses on this map. Getting an altar guarantees you keep it for 90 seconds and then as long as you can defend it. There are two aspects here... Defending the altar on your side of the map so you never lose it and stealing the altar on their side of the map so you deny them the buff for 90+ seconds. The question is, how do you stop an attack that takes mere seconds if their whole team shows up and that you can't see coming? How do you put together an attack of your own without just dying when you're so much closer to their base?

In contrast to the previous point, the key here is to push your lane aggressively. When you coordinate hitting their altar with 3 people you want to give them a lose-lose situation. Either they don't contest the altar and lose the buff for at least 90 seconds or they leave a big minion wave to die under their turret where they don't get the experience or gold. The coordination between all 3 people on your team is also very important. I've seen one or two people try for an altar and it tends to result in bad times. Your team can't be low on health. And you need to be strong enough to win or at least draw the team fight when they come to get you. Annie was pretty great here. Standing on an altar with a charged stun and Tibbers up is a pretty scary thing. Do they jump up on the altar to interrupt you? They're all getting stunned for 1.75 seconds and taking a third of their max health in damage right off the hop. I can see someone like Zyra or Morgana being pretty good here as well.

On the defensive side you want to control your lane such that you don't get a huge wave stacked up. On Summoner's Rift my goal with Yorick is actually to get a big stack of minions outside my turret and farm there forever. That works because I never have anywhere else I need to be. Farming up to get huge and be a beast in team fights later on is strong. Denying the other top laner farm is also good. Neither really works here since there is something else to do... Take the altars! Letting the other team take your jungle is really bad for defending your altar. It means they know they can screw around in your jungle without being punished.

It's tricky. You push ahead too far and you're vulnerable to being ganked. You get pushed in too far and you're giving up your altar. There's got to be a balance there. Part of me thinks that maybe if both lanes stay pushed then your jungler can just farm their jungle instead of your own. You need the laners to be capable of quickly reacting to a skirmish in the jungle. And since you'll be streaming in everyone needs to be tough enough to not just get gibbed. Like, say, Teemo. But Ezreal has the same problem. He can't stream in against a team with gap closers without getting smushed.

Maybe you need someone who can clear a lane in a very short period of time? Kayle/Morgana/Karthus? Rumble maybe? Annie who levels her cone could do it? Olaf leveling undertow could as well. Maybe Cho'Gath? Then you can react to an attack on your altar without losing a ton of creeps?

What about late game team fights? Something that surprised me when I played Amumu is low damage crowd control just isn't very good. Your team probably doesn't have a max build AD carry like it would in 5s so you don't have someone to gib them down during the root. They eventually get out of the CC and then start laying the beats and Amumu just couldn't keep up. Now, maybe that was just a bad game, but it really felt like it just wasn't good enough.

On the other hand, repeated stuns you can lay onto one person actually seem pretty good. Taric stun into someone else's stun with 2 damage dealers actually felt pretty good. Taric also brought enough defensive abilities to the fight (armour and heals) to help swing things. Gap closing bruisers seem to be a key part of most teams and you need to figure out a way to survive. A single one shot stun, even on the whole team, doesn't feel like enough. But a few stuns you can lay into one person over and over seem to work reasonably well. Especially if they actually come with some damage too. Taric actually does come with damage by giving some AD/AP to his team with his ult. And your team lives longer with the healing. Annie actually pumps out a lot of stuns too which I've found does slow down the bruisers pretty reasonably. I wonder if Soraka would bring enough against an AP heavy team? Zyra seems pretty good here with the root spam if the other team has a lot of melee.

With all this CC running around on everyone you have to consider how brutal Olaf could be. I honestly think Olaf alone would destroy my Annie plan. Other people with CC reduction include Irelia and Trundle and could be reasonable additions to teams.

Vilemaw is interesting. He does a ton of damage and has a lot of health. Many champions are just bad against him, like Annie. If you're going to burn him down in a reasonable amount of time you probably need people building the new lanternish item or be very high leveled. Or maybe have a lot of health gain while fighting. Irelia or Warwick, for example. Or maybe Lee Sin?

The best part about Vilemaw is how he sucks in anyone who tries to interrupt. If your team has stuns you can probably just gib anyone who tries to interrupt alone. So I think Vilemaw attempts, assuming a decently built team for them, should happen a lot earlier than they have been so far.

Building destruction. So there are some new elixirs that help physical damage dealers bust down turrets but I never see anyone buy them. Are they any good? It gives 42 AD, 42% attack speed, and 15% extra damage to turrets for 4 minutes. It only costs 500G. I wonder if AP champions should even buy it? (If your AP is much higher then your AD then you use a percentage of your AP as damage to turrets. The attack speed and %bonus should work for them.)

Beyond that, what works? Well, AE attack speed buffs like Nunu or Warwick can help your team really burn down a turret. The ability to win a team fight under a turret would help get to the point where you can attack as well. I'd been using Tibbers to help tank turrets after a fight which seemed ok. But for the most part  it's seemed pretty disconcerted so far and pushing only really happens after a dominating team fight. I'd like to see what happens if the whole team buys the turret killing elixirs and just goes for it. If you have a team capable of winning a fight on an altar then you probably can win a fight on the outskirts of a turret. So you may be able to just win a siege? I donno.

So, what am I looking for in a champion? Some tankiness, sustained crowd control, persistent damage. Maybe an escape. I'm honestly interested to see how Sejuani does. A tanky Lux build might be pretty good? I still really like Annie, assuming Olaf is banned or on your team. Olaf just seems like he might be the best? Lee Sin and Xin Zhao also have some sustained crowd control, are tanky, and pump out the damage. Trundle might have a spot? I wonder if Anivia egg is enough to make her viable? She does have a decent stun. I always love Kayle but I think she needs to be really careful to not get initiated on. She wants to use her ult offensively, not when she gets jumped on.

I donno. I think there's a lot going on and I need to try some more things. But for now... Have you seen my bear Tibbers?

1 comment:

Robb said...

I saw an argument that said those elixers will be certainly nerfed... 3000 gp worth of stats for 4 minutes in a game that might only last 20 min is a good deal for 500 go. Haven't done the math myself.

It also seems like you may be able to dodge a number of vilemaws attacks, making more champs viable for the fight?