MOBA News Update July 2017
This past week marked the emergence of two major additions to the MOBA world. Both Heroes of the Storm and League of Legends introduced new champions into their rosters, and both are pretty fierce in their own right. For League players, something new has emerged in the release of Kayn, the Shadow Reaper. For Heroes fans, we received Starcraft’s infected admiral, Stukov.
Kayn, The Shadow Reaper
Kayn is something strange and new to the League roster. He wields a vicious scythe that tries to dominate him, and this struggle plays out over the course of the matches he is playing. For Kayn, there are two possible outcomes to his struggle. He either bends the weapon to his will, or it consumes him altogether.
On Summoner’s Rift, this plays out in a couple of different ways. If Kayn overcomes the weapon, he becomes a Shadow Assassin, capable of doing increased damage to enemy players. If the Darkin scythe takes control, however, he becomes more of a bruiser capable of sustaining the front line.
This happens in a couple of different ways. If Kayn engages squishier combatants, it leads him closer to the assassin role. If the team has tanks and bruisers, however, his battles with them move him closer to the Darkin path.
Players have the opportunity to select which variant they ultimately want. If a player prefers the Darkin role, he can opt to wait before transforming into it, though he does so at the expense of a few minutes difference.
Each side has their own drawbacks as well. The Shadow Assassin lacks crowd control and very little sustain, whereas the Darkin counterpart is capable of has both. The Darkin can also get a lot tankier than the Assassin, but at the expense of damage output.
Now that you have an idea of this nightmare of a character, let’s take a look at his kit. Kayn’s Q ability allows him to charge into a group of enemies and delivering a sweeping slash at the end of it. His Darkin form adds to this by gaining some healing for the amount of damage dealt.
Blade Reach, Kayn’s W deals line damage and slows the enemies that are hit. Both expanded forms gain something from this as well. The Shadow Assassin drops a shadow to deal the damage, enabling Kayn to further engage or escape from combat. The Darkin form, however, knocks up enemies that are hit.
Shadow Step is where Kayn truly becomes ferocious. This ability allows him to move into walls and maneuver through them. This ability has a short duration outside, but once phased into a wall, the duration is greatly extended. This gives Kayn insane escape, as he can move completely off the map to avoid getting killed, or to move through blocking terrain to chase and kill his enemies. Doing this also gives him a boost to his movement speed, and in Shadow form, this is enhanced even further in addition to gaining immunity to slow effects.
Kayn’s ultimate allows him to possess the body of a champion he has damaged. Assassin form gives him a greater range of doing so, while Darkin allows him to deal additional damage and heal for the added amount.
Kayne is a powerful character, and will really benefit his team in the jungle. His ganking potential is one of the most formidable ever created, and it will take players some time to adjust to his roaming ability. That said, however, Kayn isn’t perfect, and there are ways to counter him.
For starters, players have to enter a match prepared to choose which direction they want to take him. Having role versatility is nice, but against a well rounded comp, choosing something that doesn’t work will diminish his abilities in the mid to late game. He has to be fully aware of team and enemy builds in order to compensate, and that can be difficult against certain builds.
A greater issue with him, however is his urgency for relevance in the early game. The goal of playing Kayn is to get him transformed into his final form. That means he must be applying lane pressure and engaging enemies very early. While some junglers have the luxury of being able to farm up and really start meddling in the mid game, Kayn has to deviate to attempt ganks early. Against strong players and good escape champs, he could fall behind very quickly.
Riot has really introduced something nasty with Kayn, and as with many of their new champions, he will probably sit atop the ban list until he is nerfed a little and players learn to counter him. In any case, Kayn has arrived, and there is no escape from the Shadow Reaper.
Stukov, the Infected Admiral
Heroes of the Storm has been kicking into overdrive this year. Stukov is the 9th champion released so far, and the year is only half over. Blizzard has tried to ramp their roster hard with the new 2.0 content, and so far, it’s working.
Alexei Stukov joins the roster and a support character, but that doesn’t make him any less ferocious. This Starcraft champion has experienced a lot of suffering over the course of his life. Having been betrayed and killed and launched into the space, his body was recovered, resurrected and infested with Zerg, Since then he became a human experiment.
Stukov is a melee support champion capable of spreading heals to his allies or infecting his enemies with DOT (damage over time) effects that slow and deal burst damage at the end of their duration. The infected admiral also has the ability to strike others from a distance with a channeled attack that deals less damage to non heroic enemies.
Stukov has an active passive ability that allows him to detonate his viruses, enabling him to burst heal or damage accordingly, making him exceptional for team fighting. His first ultimate, Flailing Swipe, is series of 3 melee arc attacks that knock back enemies, dealing damage. Each consecutive swipe has a greater arc, however, allowing him to easily clear waves and help allies escape.
His alterate ability, Massive Shove, allows him to grab and enemy and push them until it collides with terrain, even if it takes the player to the other side of the map. This ability is great for taking key players out of combat, which in turn could be vital to helping your team score kills and push objectives.
Stukov is a character with a lot of utility. As such, players have to be willing restrict him whenever possible. Since his healing virus spreads to allies, team based champions like the Lost Vikings and Rexar could be amazing initiators with him. Assassins and Specialists capable of killing or restraining him quickly must make doing so a priority, as he is less effective when on his own.
Like Lucio, Stukov works best in situations where teams are really colliding. Split push comps and heavy crowd control might help slow him down enough to gain an edge. His abilities work best when players are in close proximity, so divide and conquer when he is on the map.
Despite all that this character has suffered and endured, Stukov is a welcome sight to the Heroes roster. He is powerful, and will work well with a lot of different comps. He is capable of being a strong healer or a nasty DOT caster. Many champions have joined the Heroes roster this year, but Stukov is a keeper. He is an example of a support done right.