Knee-shotguns. KNEE. SHOTGUNS. That is what my exhausted brain is clinging to as I pick over the Urgot champion rework in League of Legends [official site]. It's now live so there's been an accompanying uptick of info and official chatter. I'll grab a coffee and have a pick through.
Urgot is an older League of Legends champ who ended up slipping out of general and professional play for the most part. He was a grotesque torso peppered with augmentations, like four mechanical spider legs. In the time since I've been following League he's been the butt of a lot of jokes, and the ripple of surprise following his selection in a NA LCS game back in 2015 is emblematic of the attitude to the character even though he can be made to work in very specific situations. Here's the draft phase for that match I mentioned:
Anyhoodle, he was due for a rework and what we've ended up with is Riot's first attempt at a ranged juggernaut (juggernauts are generally slow, tanky, they deal a bunch of damage and - until now - have always been melee). Let's have a quick peek at his kit:
Passive: Echoing Flames
"Attacking in the direction of one of Urgot's legs causes that leg to combust flames outward, dealing physical damage to enemies in a cone and putting that leg on cooldown. Consecutive hits within a few seconds deal reduced damage."
This is where his reworked legs come in, so you can position yourself relative to enemies in order to amp up your damage. That's mechanically useful but I also like how it pushes the player towards keeping moving, crawling around the screen in an uncanny way. It's because his legs don't turn when he does, they always face the same directions and it's his body which turns to redirect them, so you can't just spin on the spot to fire off all your legs in sequence instead of wandering. Also in case you didn't notice there are 6 legs now instead of 4.
I'm going to start using "My legs are on cooldown" to avoid chores.
Q: Corrosive Charge
"Fires an explosive charge at the target location, dealing physical damage to nearby enemies and slowing them. Enemy champions struck are locked onto."
I mean sure, this is an area of effect damage thing. The locking on is more about making other abilities useful because it slightly augments damage on that target and so on.
"Urgot shields himself and rapidly shoots the nearest enemy, prioritizing enemies that are locked onto and triggering Echoing Flames when possible. While shooting, Urgot walks more slowly, but becomes resistant to incoming slows. During this time, Urgot can walk over non-champions and cannot basic attack normally."
This one puts his usual behaviour on hold, trading basic attacks and movement speed for the ability to move through non-champ units and a shield while spewing out some auto-targetted rapidfire. You can use your Q or E for the lock-on which means the auto-fire prioritises that champ, though.
It reminds me of a more complicated version of Gyrocopter's Flak Cannon ability in Dota 2.
"Urgot charges in a direction. If he runs into an enemy champion, he'll stop, grabbing and throwing them to the other side of him - damaging and locking onto them. Non-champions trampled during Urgot's charge take the same damage and are knocked aside."
I can imagine using this in combo with W. You'd charge in, throw an enemy champ behind you, so further away from their safety zone, or in range of a turret or something, and then switch on your autofire to pummel them as they try to run past you to safety.
R: Fear Beyond Death
"Urgot fires a hexdrill beacon that impales the first enemy champion struck, locking onto them, dealing physical damage and slowing them. While impaled, if the target falls below a health threshold, Urgot may re-cast Fear Beyond Death to suppress the target, slowly reeling them in and - when they reach him - executing them. During the re-cast, they are untargetable, and this effect can only be ended by killing Urgot. If Urgot successfully executes an enemy, he terrifies all nearby enemies."
That is a lot of LoL words. It amounts to an ability which you fire out in a straight line. If it hits a champ they get impaled which applies the lock-on, does damage and slows them down. If that champ is on low enough health you can press the R button again to reel them in to inevitable meat-grindy death via Urgot's tummy pulveriser mechanism and terrify everyone nearby. The only way out of that death is to kill Urgot before he kills you.
It's very much a showpiece ultimate.
Here's a vid of him in action:
But with all that you start to see why he's a mid-range juggernaut rather than a marksman of some kind. It's all very punchy, and pulverise-y and yoink-you-out-of-position-y.
In case you're interested in champ design like I am, I've picked through the Reddit Q&A with the rework team and there are a couple of interesting snippets I'll put below:
"One big difference was a sort of mental shift between "Juggernauts can't have such and such mechanics" to more of a mindset of "It should feel a certain way to play against this Juggernaut." So in Urgot's case, things became less "Urgot is not allowed have a dash/gapcloser" to "Opponents should feel like Urgot is kiteable." I think focusing less on hard restrictions and more on the desired gameplay that those rules were trying to achieve allows us to be more flexible without compromising gameplay. That's the goal anyway."
2. Rioter, Daniel Klein mentions that the ultimate used to have a "struggle" component which didn't make the final release:
"Why did we get rid of the victim having an input to struggle? It was always futile, yes, but it felt so... evil!"
I'm interested in that idea. Klein goes on to say that the way it manifested was you could "Press a button to get some distance from Urgot at the cost of some % max health." But I'm thinking of the potential of abilities where the character is doomed or is temporarily unable to get out of some situation and having the opposite of a taunt button, so a struggle button where they could spit out a scream or writhe a bit or dig their heels in. Something purely cosmetic but to encourage a playful dialogue where a player is generally hammering buttons futilely anyway.
Obv there are the usual discussions of whether the champ is now OP or not, plus people are looking at the various interactions with other champ abilities to see what's curious within that. I'll leave you with this one where using Braum to try to protect a low health champ from being killed by the second part of the ultimate executes Braum instead even if he's on full health...
This is not a bug, if you decide to block Urgots chains with Braum Wall, you die. The ultimate support sacrifice has arrived. pic.twitter.com/u76QLPGNnY
— Jurn (@RiotMEMEMEMEME) July 26, 2017