Twisted Treeline: Growing Out of the Old - Initial Analysis
After taking time to fully go through the map and play a few games including streaming some games to greater enhance the effect of trying to understand and re-iterate the new design of Twisted Treeline, I want to post some analysis of what I have gathered after playing the map.
Let's start with the easy stuff first:
Simply amazing. The beauty of the map rivals Act 4 of Diablo III. I had the chills of going through the high heavens when I was in the base. Outside was purely stunning as well. The stairway out to the lanes. The minimap is also well done with a mini depiction of "altar-chan". Everything looks clear and clean but keeping within the theme of the Shadow Isles.
The music is beautiful. Gone is the dreary sounds of Twisted Treeline and incomes a real daunting piece that setups the mood and theme of the Shadow Isles.
Now on to the harder stuff:
Removed Buff Camps
This was a no brainer for a new Twisted Treeline.
Red Lizard buff was for bruisers and attack damage carries. However given its difficulty for an attack damage carry to solo the red buff and the need for jungler for the red buff to carry on jungler activities like ganking and counterjungling in addition it would be safer to be on a jungler/bruiser champion, it very situational that the red would go to any other champion besides a bruiser/jungler. There was no blue buff so mana-reliant champions had the short end of the stick.
The attack speed buff again was something only bruisers and attack damage carries could benefit from but in the end, bruisers/junglers had the clear advantage given that they were the ones that could jungle minions early on and get the extra advantage.
And finally the movement speed buff. Again, mostly beneficial to junglers and bruisers because this allowed them to move from one camp to another and traverse through the map quickly to execute ganks.
Notice that one major element in the success is prevalent in Twisted Treeline: Sustain.
Bruisers were generally beefy enough that they could go into the jungle and grab buffs themselves. They can life steal to sustain in the jungle to farm then emerge miraculously with buffs to gank. Ability power and attack damage carries did not have this luxury. Neither did supports and/or most assassins. Like Summoner’s Rift, the best jungle champions are the ones that reign strong here.
Other champion roles
Attack damage carries have sustained damage but they generally took too long to power up before they were effective (hence why they are babysat at bottom lane in Summoner’s Rift). Ability power carries struggled to maintain sustained damage early on due to mana constraints (which having an ability power carry in middle lane in Summoner’s Rift allows them access to the blue buff and shorter distance in terms of lane length to avoid getting ganked so easily).
In the old Twisted Treeline, it generally favoured a bruiser in top lane and a mixture of champions at bottom lane. Like Summoner’s Rift, a top lane bruiser was desired to the fact that bruisers more or less could take care of themselves and skirmish 1v1 out of all the roles in League of Legends. Not to mention, given the vast size of the jungle north of top lane, a bruiser could easily buy items that would allow them to jungle and lane more or less at the same time. The chances of getting ganked 2v1 in the jungle were low since it was so far away from bot lane. Buffs were accessible and the bruiser might spiral out of control. In the end, ability power and attack damage carries were simply inefficient champions to be in top lane given the large jungle as a resource.
Understanding how broken the jungle was in Twisted Treeline is just a step into the right direction of why the new Shadow Isles Twisted Treeline is much better.
The New Map
The new Shadow Isles Twisted Treeline places the jungle solely in the middle between top and bottom lane. Jungle camps have been reworked to reflect camps similar to Summoner’s Rift and removed all creep given buffs.
Ah, yes, the highly debated altar. Upon first glance, the altar might seem out of place but really it serves a strong purpose in its design. What this has done is removed the imbalances that favoured specific champion roles but instead placed a new buff also known as the altar as a global team buff which everyone would benefit from. Holding one altar would give a global +4 gold per minion bonus to every champion while holding two would give a +10% damage increase in addition to the previous gold buff. The global gold bonus is extremely important as this is a buff that would help attack damage and ability power carries power up faster from the weak early state, balancing the playing field between bruisers and carries.
Physically, the map itself has undergone a huge change. No more long elongated walls that give champions with flash or blink/jump ability a huge escape/mobility advantage. There are still walls/spots you can flash over but they aren't close to guarenteed escapes anymore. All jungle camps have a short side in which you can jump over (exception to Vilemaw) The layout also allow teams mobilize together faster to push towers, pop inhibitors or capture altars. 3v3 full team fights happen more often now because of this layout change.
Also interestingly, a new speed buff shrine has been placed at the center of the map. This speed buff shrine is vastly important. As a jungler, having some extra movespeed is extremely beneficial. Being able to respond to ganks or make ganks happen often relies on having some movespeed and a gap closer. We discussed earlier how the movespeed buff from the old Zaun/Noxus Twisted Treeline benefited bruisers more or less. The difference is that this movespeed buff is now accessible to all champion types and not necessarily only one. The capability for all champions of both sides to respond to fights faster sets up a faster gameplay style that Twisted Treeline needed. It helps even out the mobility factor that certain champions enjoyed.
On evening the roles a bit more, Twisted Treeline is often harsh to ability power carries. Most ability power carries lack sustain at the start which makes them susceptible to being pushed to tower or unable to respond due to the lack of mana. What I have noticed is that there is a “Chalice” aura in effect in the Shadow Isles. There is no tooltip to represent this but like chalice, the less mana you have, the greater mana regeneration you will have. This should help mana intensive ability power carries sustain in lane better.
Moving on to roles, the jungler has become a vital role in Shadow Isles Twisted Treeline, acting as a sword and shield for both top and bot, they assist through ganking/counter ganking and defending/capturing altars. They can jungle in their own side of the jungle or make aggressive plays and attempt ganks on the solo lanes or cap an enemy altar if other objectives were not feasible. Gone are wards so junglers can traverse throughout the jungle without being seen. It sets up the mind games like in Summoner’s Rift that a jungler impacts the gameplay with and faster paced action due to the pressure junglers can provide. No longer is the game just a simple who can gank more from top to bot lane or bot to top lane, but who can make gank plays better.
Wards are gone but that’s a good thing. Instead of relying on plain ward vision, understanding your enemy jungler is now a requirement. Understanding the lane matchups, who needs help, who might get ganked etc. will help separate the bad junglers to the good ones that play Shadow Isles Twisted Treeline. Without wards, maybe you can get that sneaky play in and cap the enemy altar before the enemy can react. However with the new soulsight lantern and hextech sweeper available to the champion’s arsenal, it will help provide intel on positioning, counter possible incoming stealth champion initiates/aggression and prevent silly mistakes like facechecking that brush.
Speaking of getting from top to bot or bot to top lanes, there was one thing I found that struck odd with me: Pantheon. Everyone knows that Pantheon is one of the top tier champions for Twisted Treeline. With an impressive laning/duelist capability and extremely mobile ultimate, I wonder if Riot considered the changes with the base walls. Yes they have been thickened so champions with jumps and summoner spell flash cannot just simply jump over and backdoor but Pantheon still enjoys the luxury to do this. Before, defending summoners could flash over to quickly respond to this if they were outside the base but now that is not possible. While there is no… clear solution to this, I would love to have Riot’s thoughts on this situation.
I haven’t played tested all the items but two items really stuck out to me as plain broken.
Lord Van Damm Pillager - simply overpowered. Already certain spell orientated bruisers were strong in Twisted Treeline but this item… just simply overpowers them by flipping crapload. I played Lee Sin and … yeah I never looked back once. I was able to kill 3 champions consecutively at the end 1 after the other after the other: Elise then Volibear and then Ezreal and scored a triple kill. Damn it was fun.
Blackfire Torch – procs on every damage over time? Damn son that’s strong!
Final Initial Analysis Thoughts
In the end, I think a lot of the design of the new Shadow Isles Twisted Treeline has been well thought out and really put consideration in making all champion roles viable. Riot deserves a lot of praise as they obviously put a lot of effort into this. The map layout is beautiful. It brings a new mechanic to the game. The core of its design is sound and I look forward to some competitive play. Don’t write it off so fast. New champions are now viable on Twisted Treeline: try them and you could agree that this brings fresh air to a meta that was stagnant: stuck on bruiser/gapclosing/self sustaining champions having the time of their lives possibly at your expense.
nice read. + 1 agree on all points
very, very, well said, sir. i agree with you wholeheartedly!
I am 100% with you on every single point you made. :)
100% agree with you
I agree with much that was said and even lol'd that there was a section dedicated to one of my favorite manpions. However, I would like that mid speed buff removed and replaced with another creep camp. I understand that having it be either a red buff or blue buff or green buff makes it unbalanced to all champions, so why not put just a gold giving dragon in the center? Everyone likes dragons.
Actually speaking of altars: I wouldn't mind some tweaks for testing.
If you take damage while capping an altar, like dominion, it should stop the cap for 1-2 seconds or slow the capture rate thus making it easier to defend and stall/delay for your team to mobilize to respond to the aggressive play. As of now, caps only stop if an enemy were to stand on the altar while you were capping the altar. Some people suggested it was too easy to snowball on the new Shadow Isles Twisted Treeline. So as a smart jungler, I would be always pushing my advantage everytime the map was at a 3v2 state. So instead of snowballing so early from 1 man kill disadvantages, you have to be up 2 or make an aggressive play with your laners to cap it fast since there are no wards.
Oh god. That game, I was in it lolol. I was ezreal. It was....So bad </3
Overall though, Agree with you on everything, really amazing points made.
You know, though I'm mostly against the new Twisted Treeline and disgusted by most peoples arguments of why the new Twisted Treeline is better. What you said has gotten me interested in the new map.
I have a quick question on the jungler role.
Do you take smite at all for Vilemaw?
I'm new to Twisted Treeline. It seems smite isn't useful at all if there's no buff camps.
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