Monday, March 25, 2013

A spreadsheet of champion skills and their cooldowns

I compiled a spreadsheet of all champion abilities and their cooldowns. Karma and Udyr are technically incorrect, since Karma can level her skills to 6 and Udyr can level his R to 5, but the patterns of CDR as you level continue for the last levels.

If you find a mistake, PLEASE tell me in a comment to this post!!!  Even if it's just a typo.

 Things you might want to do with this spreadsheet:
  • Just study it.  Get a good idea of what champions' cooldowns are.
  • Learn the names!  (This is half of why I made it, since I'm trying to learn ability names more for shoutcasting.)
  • Present the information visually using a Python script or something.  Still not exactly sure the best way to do this, but I'm sure I'll be able to figure something out.  (This is the other half of why I made it.)

Here is a link to the form, which you can copy and paste if you want.

And here are examples of what you might want to do to present the information visually:

Obviously more text is required for these, but you can at least automate the cooldowns section with some creative copy-pasting and Adobe InDesign.  (I actually made these images in Photoshop, but it's silly to do that without a better automated process, especially considering cooldowns are subject to change every single patch).

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Botlane Tournament VoDs: Week 8

R1G1: Taric-Sivir vs Sona-Ezreal (twitch bugged, part of the match is missing)
R1G2: Alistar-Sivir vs Taric-Graves
R1G3: Sona-Ezreal vs Blitzcrank-Draven
R1G4: Zyra-Graves vs Leona-Tristana
R2G1: Sona-Caitlyn vs Alistar-Graves
R2G2: Alistar-Twitch vs Janna-Miss Fortune
Finals: Lulu-Draven vs Thresh-Caitlyn

Thanks to RalFayt for helping out with the timestamps!

Friday, March 22, 2013

What is freezing and how do I do it?

I made a post a while ago called "Tips for Learning to CS" (here), and it ended up getting a lot of views after being linked from reddit, so I was reading over it, and I realized that while I tell you to freeze, I don't explain exactly what that is.

So: What is freezing, and how do I do it?

Freezing is the act of keeping the minion "line of scrimmage" in exactly the same place for as long as possible.  You can do this to deny your enemies CS or to keep yourself in a safe position so you can get all of your lasthits without fear of ganks.  This sounds easy enough, but actually doing it can be pretty tricky.  Your goal is to make sure that their wave is pushing in on yours constantly but you don't let it actually advance forward ever.  The rest of this article will explain how to do that.

The first thing you need to do is make sure that you never have more creeps currently fighting than the enemy does.  There are a few sub-criteria here:
  • Make sure your creeps aren't arriving before the enemy creeps, unless there are so many surplus enemy creeps that it doesn't matter.
  • Make sure that you don't have more ranged creeps than they do.
  • Make sure that you don't have a cannon creep when they don't.
The first point needs some clarification.  Some places are easier to freeze than others.  The easiest places to freeze are where their wave will arrive about 1-2 seconds before yours, so just in front of their tower.  Anywhere in between the midway point of the lane and the point at which your creeps are just out of range of their tower is fine, though.  If you have enough lifesteal that you can tank a lot of creeps in between waves, then you can let a really big stack accumulate basically wherever you want and let it run through your waves.

Because ranged creeps do more DPS than melee creeps, and cannon creeps are very difficult to kill, you need to make sure that your stack doesn't exceed the enemy stack in either of these categories.

The second thing is to be careful about the amount that you yourself are pushing the lane.  Again, there are two things you need to do:
  • Don't do too much damage
  • Don't tank too much damage
Both dealing damage to their creeps and tanking damage that should be dealt to your creeps push the lane.  Dealing too much damage is like adding creeps to your stack, and tanking damage is like subtracting creeps from their stack.  (Obviously it's fine to tank damage from their side once all of your creeps are dead.)

How can you do this?  First, time your last-hits carefully.  Ideally, your last-hit projectile will hit the creep the split-second before a projectile from one of your creeps would have killed it anyway.  The important part is that the killing projectile was already in the air, because in that case you're not actually decreasing the number of attacks that your wave threw against them by taking the lasthit.  Sometimes this isn't possible, but if it is then you should.  It takes a lot of practice to be able to do this reliably without missing too much CS.

Second, pay attention to when your creeps are dying, and when one is about to be killed, make sure you're NOT the closest target to any of the enemy creeps that were targeting it (unless you're in a bush).  You can do this by always being positioned behind your creeps, it's just that sometimes you won't want to be positioned that passively, for example if you and your support are able to zone together but your support is vulnerable to getting jumped on if you're out of engage range.

Next, pull the wave to a better position when possible.  This can only be done when their creeps kill an entire wave of your creeps before your next wave arrives.  It's easier to pull melee creeps than to pull ranged creeps.  What you do is you aggro the enemy creeps to you and then walk in the direction that you want to pull the wave (towards the enemy half of the map).  As your creeps approach, walk to a position so that you'll be able to deaggro the enemy creeps immediately; having a nearby bush is good for this.

Finally, give up important lasthits when your freeze is extremely delicate.  If you can just barely maintain the freeze, and you won't be able to sync up a perfect lasthit against one of their creeps (particularly the cannon creep), don't lasthit that creep.  Usually, maintaining a freeze is more important than that 40 gold.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Whimsy: On my ally or my enemy?

Active – On ally cast: Target allied champion gains 35% movement speed and bonus ability power for 5 seconds. 

Active – On enemy cast: Polymorphs an enemy champion for a short duration, disabling their ability to attack or cast abilities and reducing their base movement speed by 60. 

This is Lulu's W.  It's possibly the hardest-to-use targeted ability in the game.  Should I CC my enemy?  Or is it worth it to speed-boost an ally?  This article will give some specific situations in which you should do one, criteria for deciding which one to use, and then conclude with some mini-case studies that illustrate different decisions you might make in complicated situations.

Rule of thumb: Polymorph when you need to stop unkitable damage or prevent a spellcast.  Otherwise whimsy an ally.

Times you DEFINITELY want to polymorph:
  • There's a really important channel to break.  This could be Kat ult, Fiddle drain, Warwick ult---if the channel is teamfight-altering, break it.
  • You need to stop the enemy's damage RIGHT NOW.
  • The enemy is about to dash over a wall that you can't get over.
Times you DEFINITELY want to ally-cast:
  • You're attacking a tower and there's no chance of an enemy coming by any time soon.  Cast it on the AP champion with the highest AS.
  • You're too low to safely get within polymorph distance of an enemy.
  • You're chasing an enemy that doesn't have any mobility skills and aren't scared of any incoming damage.
  • You're leaving well to go back to lane and there's no chance of a fight in your jungle on the way. 
  • You're warding/ward-clearing and the entire enemy team is on the other half of the map.
Things that would encourage you to enemy-cast:
  • The enemy has a mobility spell available.
  • The enemy has a CC spell available that you want to prevent.
  • Any other situation that would call for a silence.
  • The enemy has a noticeable amount of damage relative to you/your teammates.
Things that would encourage you to ally-cast:
  • You're chasing or running away.
  • Someone on your team is kiting.
  • You're not all that scared of their damage, and you have an AP mage with cooldowns available.
  • You're taking an objective.  (At the very least, Whimsy yourself before you E and Q, if you have enough mana.)
Now let's look at some case studies.  They're combinations of real-game situations with some of the details made up if I forgot them.

Case Study 1.  Lulu is running from well to help her team take dragon.  Xin Zhao and a couple teammates aren't taking too much damage from the dragon, and everyone's roughly level 7-9.  However, the enemy had dragon warded and engage on Lulu's team after they finish the dragon.  At this point, Lulu is passing double golems.  One of her teammates died, and Xin is having a hard time fighting.  Lulu knows if she can get there in time to ult Xin and polymorph Udyr, then Xin will win the fight.  She decides to hold her Whimsy thinking she could get there without it.  Unfortunately, she gets to dragon about two seconds after Xin falls.  The correct decision would have been to Whimsy herself to guarantee that she could get to the fight on time; the ult on Xin might have been enough to turn it around and kill Udyr.  This is a situation where you need to be very aware of how much damage other champions are able to do to each other in order to make an informed choice.

Case Study 2.  Lulu and Draven are fighting Sona and Tristana in botlane.  They won a fight at level 1, so they're somewhat ahead of their opponents.  Lulu is standing on the far side of the enemy creeps to zone Tristana and Sona when Tristana jumps on her to engage.  Everything is warded, so Lulu feels safe from jungle/mid ganks.  Instead of polymorphing Tristana, she decides to speed up Draven so that he can close the gap between them more quickly.  By shielding herself, she's able to barely survive Tristana, flashing out at the last instant before Draven picks up the kill.  Here, Lulu realized that the amount of damage she could prevent from Tristana wasn't worth the amount of damage that Draven would effectively be losing by not quite being in autoattack range yet.  She also permitted Draven to chase further.

Case Study 3.  Lulu and Annie are laning botlane, both level 6.  The enemy Draven is pushed almost to their tower, when their jungler Skarner starts to come down for a gank.  Annie flashes for a stun onto Draven, who has his flash available.  Lulu has two choices: Whimsy her Skarner so he can get in range to ult chained with Annie's stun, or polymorph Draven so that he is unable to flash out, hoping that they won't have to burn the Skarner ult.  Lulu decides to whimsy Skarner because if it turns out that the ult is also necessary, this way he'll be able to pull Draven significantly further during the duration of the suppress than he would without her MS buff on him.  Lulu is relying on the assumption that they'll be able to kite forward as Draven is being pulled back, so if he flashes he'll still be in damage range of her and Annie.

Case Study 4.  Miss Fortune, Lulu's ADC, is fighting Tristana, the enemy ADC.  Miss Fortune is significantly ahead of Tristana at this point, and Lulu and MF have chased Trist almost to her turret.  Tristana's jump isn't available to her, so MF is going to try to dive turret.  Lulu is in range to polymorph Tristana or to whimsy Miss Fortune.  Lulu is not level 6 yet, so she won't be able to ult MF, but she has been leveling Help, Pix! first, so she'll be able to provide a decent shield.  She also doesn't have flash or exhaust available, so she won't be able to flash under tower and make sure that she's the one who takes aggro nor will she be able to reduce Trist's damage.  Because MF has two Doran's blades, Lulu decides to use the ally cast, thinking her carry will have enough HP to survive the dive even with Tristana able to output some damage.  The extra movespeed here is not important so much because it lets MF catch up to Tristana, but rather because it lets her get to the other side of the turret to lose aggro sooner.  Now Lulu is able to take a tower shot as MF dives again, picking up the kill on Tristana.

I'll probably come back and add a few more case studies at some point, we'll see.

And an update on what I've been doing---I finally got my Sona guide approved on the solomid site!  I had to make a few major revisions to it (mostly reorganizing the sections and getting rid of the silly icons that I hated anyway) so that took a while.  I'm also starting a Nami guide, which I'll hopefully be able to publish within two weeks.  It won't be as detailed as the Sona guide, but it should still be pretty good.  And I've been running the NA SNSS, VoDs of which are available on my stream.  My 2v2 tournament will be back next week, as will the SNSS!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Botlane Tournament: Week 7 VoDs

R1G1: Leona-Tristana vs Taric-Miss Fortune
R1G2: Leona-Ezreal vs Blitzcrank-Caitlyn
R1G3: Sona-Miss Fortune vs Varus-Lulu
R1G4: Janna-Draven vs Nami-Miss Fortune
R2G1: Alistar-Caitlyn vs Sona-Ezreal
R2G2: Soraka-Miss Fortune vs Sona-Corki
Finals: Leona-Ezreal vs Janna-Tristana

Half-bracket this week, since I was casting another event ahead of time and so didn't have time to do a 16-team bracket.  I'll announce this Wednesday whether there will be a tournament this coming Saturday; I might have to take off one week to write a couple final papers, and I'd rather cancel this for a week than cancel the SNSS right after bringing it back.

I've also been updating my Sona guide, so check it out!  (Change log at the bottom, below the charts section)

Monday, March 4, 2013

How to play Sona! A revision of my Sona guide

This is the reason I posted almost nothing here last month; I was spending all the time that I would have dedicated to this blog instead working on my Sona guide.  And now it's done!  You can find it on the TSM site here.  Be sure to leave feedback if you have any!

I would put a copy of it here but they have weird formatting stuff there, so I can't really do that, and also I think that's against their rules.

Hope you enjoy! :)

Sunday, March 3, 2013

2v2 Tournament VoDs: Week 6

From my stream:
R1G2: Taric-Caitlyn vs Thresh-Draven
R1G4: Blitzcrank-Caitlyn vs Thresh-Ezreal Part 2
R1G6: Blitzcrank-Draven vs Leona-Graves
R1G8: Thresh-Urgot vs Taric-Caitlyn
R2G2: Taric-Sivir vs Zyra-Ezreal
R2G4: Nunu-Graves vs Sona-Ezreal
R3G1: Thresh-Draven vs Taric-Varus
R3G2: Leona-Graves vs Taric-Ezreal
Finals: Nunu-Caitlyn vs Taric-Ezreal

Macduffer's stream:

R1G1: Leona-Kog'Maw vs Alistar-Vayne
R1G3: Sona-Ashe vs Nami-Tristana
R1G5: Lulu-Graves vs Thresh-Varus (There were issues with DCs during this match.)
R1G7: Nami-Miss Fortune vs Taric-Ezreal
R2G1: Thresh-Kog'Maw vs Taric-Draven
R2G3: Nunu-Caityln vs Blitzcrank-Ezreal

Saturday, March 2, 2013

An Ashe rework proposal

(I started writing this post a few months ago but wanted to fix some details before I posted it, so the attack speed buff that she received in this patch had not yet been implemented when I wrote most of this.)

Innate:  For each spell that's on cooldown, Ashe gains an additional 1 gold per lasthit.

Q:  For the next four seconds, each of Ashe's basic attacks will slow her target for 2 seconds.  Mana cost: 15.  Cooldown:  6 / 5.5 / 5 / 4.5 / 4.  Slow: 15% / 20% / 25% / 30% / 35%.

W:  [No change]

E:  Ashe animates a hawk to scout for her, revealing terrain for 2 seconds as it flies towards a target location. Hawkshot reveals a wide area for 5 seconds when it reaches its destination. The hawk will reveal units in the brushes, but will not reveal stealthed units or objects.  In addition, Ashe's next 1/1/2/2/3 basic attacks will gain 100% crit chance.  Range: 2500 / 3250 / 4000 / 4750 / 5500.  Cooldown:  60.

R:  [No change]

What have we done here?  Basically, we've switched her innate and her E, and we've altered her Q so that it fits in with her new passive better.  We've also increased the number of critical attacks that Ashe will have guaranteed for her in late-game teamfights as she levels her E.

What motivated these changes?  Currently, Ashe has decent damage immediately upon entering lane but falls off after that, and so if you play slightly passively before she is forced to consume her first critical strike by last-hitting a creep, you can start to zone her very effectively due to the long initial cooldown of her W.  Additionally, most of the massive threats to ADCs currently like Vi and Xin Zhao aren't countered by Ashe's slows enough to make her an appealing choice just for her slow late game.

These changes give her a slight increase in dps in her late-game damage by guaranteeing her 3 critical attacks at the beginning of each fight, but, more importantly, they allow her to decide when to use rare guaranteed crits in the early game.  On the other hand, maxing E first will cost her 12 seconds of her W cooldown, and when she has about 75-100 AD, the 2-3 guaranteed crits only increases her overall burst damage by 75-100 or by 150-200, which is not enough to be an overpowered amount of burst early on.  Overall, leveling E first will simply cost  her too much DPS due to not having a decreased W cooldown.

Her new innate will give her slightly more gold than the passive on her E used to give, and she will be rewarded for using her cooldowns in lane.  The gold increase will basically let her build a red elixir in lane.

Level 1-3 (Slightly less than 6 waves, or 6*6+2-3=35 CS): About 1 spell on cooldown.  This is 35 more gold than you would currently get in levels 1-3
Level 4-5 (Slightly more than 6 waves, or 6*6+2+3=41 CS): About 2 spells on cooldown.  This is 41 more gold than you would currently get in levels 4-5
Level 6+: About 2.5 spells on cooldown, or 1.5 extra gold per lasthit over what you currently get.  To afford a red elixir, you need 250 gold, or an additional 116 CS worth of bonus gold over what Ashe currently earns.

So by the time laning is over, she should have made about a red elixir's worth of gold over what she would currently make during laning, maybe being able to buy an extra 1-2 potions also depending on how good her CS is.  This red elixir will enable her to compete much more strongly with other ADCs who have better damages in early laning, or she can choose to simply be weaker for early laning and be slightly further ahead in her build.

Her Q now costs less mana if she is able to get 3 or 4 autoattacks off but more if she only gets 1.  This makes it slightly more difficult for her to get a slow off on a single autoattack but allows her to spend less mana chasing someone down.  This change was partially motivated just to fit in with her new passive, but it also makes her choose when to use her slow instead of just using it every single time she's able to attack an enemy champion, so she can be more effective as long as she plans accordingly but is now forced to decide how to use her skills more than she currently is.

Overall, this is a noticeable buff to Ashe, but as she's almost never seen in competitive play, I think it's appropriate.