Showing posts with label 1000Eyes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 1000Eyes. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Bard Chimes In on Pro Play




by Jerrod "Thousand Eyes" Steis

One of the newest champs to be released, Bard, finally gets his chance to see professional play. Bard has proven to be a champion with very mixed results. He is Riot’s first attempt at creating a support that is rewarded for leaving his lane. This creates a lot of interesting strategy possibilities, especially in the current meta of constant lane swaps in professional play.

Bard is one of the more utilitarian supports that have been released. Unlike a support like Leona or Annie who only really bring CC and damage, Bard trades this damage and easy CC for more of an ability to help his team reposition, heal, and keep the enemy from moving where they want. He won’t win a 2v2 very often, but that’s not really what his kit is designed to do.

When Bard is brought out, you can most definitely expect teams to try and swap lanes. IF Bard does go into a 2v2 he’s going to want a safe ADC in his lane so it gives him the freedom to leave lane. A popular ADC right now is Sivir. She has a huge amount of waveclear and a spell shield in case she moves up too far. Sivir also works well with Bard's mid game power in his ultimate. If Bard hits a good ult from afar to engage, Sivir can pop hers to not only let her team get to the enemy, but position correctly in order to keep the enemy team locked up with follow up CC or damage.

Bard is still new, and teams aren’t really sure what to do about him. The only pro to consistently pull him out so far in competitive play is GorillA and he’s only seen spotty success on it, winning just 1 of his last 3 games. Sweet, from JinAir has been getting Bard banned against him as well, although he hasn’t actually played him competitively yet.

An interesting note from most high level players that I’ve noticed is that they max E (Magical Journey) second, over the W. I’ve tried both and I definitely see more impact from leveling E second. Bard’s heal is meant to be used as a screw-up fixer. It’s there in case you need it, not to be used when you need a top off on health. He places it for when he isn’t there to help his team, making him useful all over the map and fitting his theme.

Bard can have his shot in solo queue play as well, but he gets played a little differently. It can really depend on how your ADC is by themselves. If you know what your ADC is, make sure it works with your pick. Sometimes you get a little screwed and your ADC picks Vayne after you already locked in Bard, but it’s not a complete loss. Just make sure you’re not putting yourself into a bad situation if you can help it, Bard isn’t a jack of all trades so make sure you know why you’re picking him.

One of the first questions that comes up on Bard is your starting ability. Do you level Q or W? They have their pros and cons, but I think the higher your ELO, the more likely you are to need Q at level 1. Before you go off on me, let me explain.

In lower level games, like Gold and below, players generally don’t skirmish early and fight over getting the level 2 advantage. This means your Meep empowered auto attacks should be enough to let you stay competitive until you get level 2. However, players that understand the power of getting the early level will punish you hard for your passive start if you level W. The upside of leveling W first in lower level games is that you can place a health relic for each of your other lanes, mid, top and jungle, to make sure they can recover from a bad trade early or getting cheesed, which is once again something that happens more frequently in lower ELO games. Most likely we’ll only see Q from Bard at level 1 in professional games unless the team knows for certain they have a lane swap.

The possibilities of Bard’s ult are incredible especially around a coordinated team. I’ve already mentioned the synergy with Sivir ult, but there’s also the objective control he provides. Bard can help guarantee steals; a lot of people see the possibility of ulting Baron or Dragon to keep the enemy from taking them for a little bit. However, with some careful aiming, you can actually do the exact reverse of that scenario and ult the enemy team, specifically the jungler, and keep them from smiting while your jungler swoops in as the hero.

Bard has a lot of room for mistakes, but he brings a huge amount to a team that no other champion can bring. His abilities to Zhonya’s both enemy and ally champions and portal through walls are extremely unique to him. And while his AP ratios aren’t amazing, he scales just fine into the late game with his stacking of chimes to improve his auto attacks and not only more damage, but more utility in slows. It won’t be long before Bard becomes a staple for professional supports alongside his counterpart Thresh.


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by Jerrod "Thousand Eyes" Steis

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Support Lanes 101: To Dive or Peel



by Jerrod "Thousand Eyes" Steis

Choosing when to dive or peel is probably one of the biggest mistakes made in low ELO support. A lot of supports have kits that function well for both diving the enemy and keeping their carry safe. Doing the wrong one at the wrong time can cost your team the game. The full answer isn't as simple as “Oh, you’re Leona, you dive.” It requires an analysis of your own team, the enemy team, the status of both team's carries in terms of power and what cooldowns are available.


First, take a look at your own champion before anything else. What kind of support are you? Tanky supports have a better time diving the enemy than mage supports, but that alone doesn't decide it. Keep in mind, just because it is easy to dive doesn't mean you should. There are champions like Leona and Alistar that are great at diving into the fray and being a huge nuisance, but they sometimes have to sit back and peel. That being said, there are mages that can effectively “dive” or at the very least use their spells to interrupt the backline. Janna is great example of someone who fits that bill. She can throw tornadoes back deep and even flash ult if she wants to sacrifice herself to disrupt a fight in an extreme way.


Once you’ve established what your champion is best at, look at your team composition. Every decent team comp will have an ADC, the same one you helped grow and feed. Is this an ADC that needs to be protected and, if free from enemy interference, can win the game for you? An example of this kind of ADC would be Vayne or Kog Maw. These ADCs absolutely require help from somewhere if they want to stay alive long enough to output damage during a fight. Others, like Caitlyn or late game Tristana, are a bit safer in their range and escapes. They still are the backbone of damage on your team and need to stay alive.


Of course you could make the same argument for any ADC, so it’s kind of irrelevant in the grand scheme of it all. What is more important is looking at your solo lanes and junglers. Do you have an assassin or traditional mage in mid? Keep in mind that you’ll have a larger backline to keep safe in a fight if you have a mage, while assassins will need help creating picks and killing off the enemy. If you look over at top lane, you can have a multitude of different champions, and the same goes for jungle. There’s hyper tanks, bruisers, assassins, mages, supports, etc. Overall as a general rule, the more big bodies you have to clog up the middle of a fight, the more reasonable it is for you to dive. At least when looking purely at your own team's comp.


The reason for this is that you’ve got a much more cluttered area going on in the middle of the scuffle and as each of the team's tanks and bruisers are trying to get past each other, both ADCs will be outputting damage.


Next up, you want to take a similar look at the enemy composition. Pick apart what their strengths are. Have they got an assassin like Zed that can jump into your team? That’s a point towards peeling in that case. If they have an Anivia, however, you can go in the other direction and try and get in her face.


Finally, what I could consider the most crucial part is evaluating the gold distribution. Once the teams have gotten into game a bit it’ll become clear who on the enemy team is a threat, and who on your team is dangerous as well. Going back to the Zed example, if the enemy Zed jumps on to your ADC in a fight, but he’s 0/4/1 and doesn't have any of his spike items(brut/botrk) he isn't going to do anything. If the carry is someone like Lucian or any other ADC with mobility, they can just kite him around and be fine. If the same Zed jumps in but instead of 0/4/1 he’s actually 3/0/2, then he is a problem and kiting him out most likely won’t be enough. You’ll have to sit back on your ADC and keep them safe.


You still want to do the same for your own team, too. If the enemy team wants to dive deep into your team to kill the 1/6/2 ADC while your solo laners go to town in their backline, don’t make the mistake of trying to help the ADC. While it’d be nice to have that ADC get back in the game, they are currently your weakest link and you need to play to your strengths. If you help the ADC rather than helping your solo lane bruisers/assassins you run the risk of having a lose/lose situation where both the ADC die and your solo laners didn't do enough. It’s a similar concept as when a jungler ganks a lane that’s already winning but a little bit. You put your eggs in the basket that looks like it’s gonna win.


As you can probably tell, trying to do this decision making on the fly is pretty hard. It’s one of the things that makes the professionals a cut above the average player. After you break it down a few times it gets more and more doable, eventually to the point that it becomes second nature. Learn your matchups and use them to help you understand what to do when, and don’t flounder in making your choice.


TL;DR:
Look at your champ’s skills (Better at dive or peel?)
Look at your team’s skills and needs (Need lots of peel? Can dive free?)
Look at the enemy team’s skills and needs (They have a lot of protection? Want all over your carry?)
Look at how gold is distributed (Assassin fed, Carry not? Vice-Versa?)


Be sure to check out my other articles:

By Jerrod "Thousand Eyes" Steis