Bertboxer's Study of Nunu (week three)

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RIP Bankplank

Senior Member

09-30-2012

Hello everyone! I'm Bertboxer and I'll be doing this little series in the champion feedback forum. I'll be looking more in depth at some of the things that League of Legends design does well (and other aspects that aren't quite up to snuff). I have my eye on the associate gameplay analyst position at Riot and I'm hoping some of these prove beneficial. If this is your thing, pull up a chair and enjoy!

Week one post: (making champions play like their personality) http://na.leagueoflegends.com/board/...1#post29525721

Week two post: (a look at why Trundle is underplayed) http://na.leagueoflegends.com/board/....php?t=2613613

Today I'm going to be talking about how Nunu's role has changed over time.




So we all know about Nunu and how he has gained quite a bit of popularity as a support recently. I remember when I started playing this game about three years ago, nobody ever imagined that Nunu would be used as such. With a relatively short cooldown on his ice blast and a 1:1 ap ratio and that absolutely devastating ultimate with a whopping 3:1 ratio (now 2.5:1), everyone feared him as this caster who could sow destruction in his wake. It was exceedingly difficult to get away from him due to the constant slows and his constant speed buff. God help you if you got stuck in range of that ridiculous ultimate.

Speaking of Absolute Zero, it was originally the defining feature to Nunu's kit. It was a huge aoe, did huge damage, and scaled better than any other ability in the game. It was difficult to pull off but landing a big one was the rush you got from playing Nunu. The developers realized this and, if you look at the early patch notes for him ( http://leagueoflegends.wikia.com/wiki/Nunu_the_Yeti_Rider/Background ) it took them forever to balance out the little guy. If you count the patches from alpha testing, they have tweaked the ability a total of 14 times. Almost all of these little adjustments took place relatively early in the game's history. People would complain about his ultimate being too strong, they'd nerf it slightly. People would complain about it being ineffective and difficult to land, they'd buff it slightly. For the most part, this is what they used to balance the champion around.

If you look through his recent patch notes, you'll see a new pattern. Most of the changes that have taken place since the beginning of season one have affected his ice blast, blood boil, consume, and passive. Relatively little has been changed about his ultimate in this time. With all of these little adjustments elsewhere, Riot realized that it was more effective to balance a character with the less defining elements to their gameplay. What does this mean to our yeti rider now?

What has happened is that Nunu is no longer a walking ultimate like he once but rather is valued for two diametrically opposed abilities in his kit. These two are obviously his ice blast and his blood boil. Very few people use Nunu as a caster in any real way anymore and he has instead been relegated the role of support or support/jungler. These two abilities, in conjunction, work in a similar manner to Ezreal's essence flux but with an effect on movement speed as well as attack speed. At max rank, these abilities raise an ally's attack speed 65% and lowers and enemies by 25% (a net change of 90%). The movement speed difference is +15% and - 60%. Nobody really thought of using Nunu as a babysitter for ranged ad carries until the support/carry bot lane got popular. With ad carries facing off against other ad carries, the ability to swing the attack speed pendulum so far and so easily in a short period of time made Nunu an extremely viable pick in this role. So many people are complaining about how the game is ranged ad carry-centric and Nunu is one of the few supports who directly increases the damage output of his own ad carry while directly decreasing an enemy's.

This, however, comes at the cost of making his ultimate no longer the focus of his usefulness.Seldom are Nunus really encouraged to build much offensive punch because they never have much of an opportunity to land an absolute zero. More than anything the ultimate is used as a sort of aoe ice blast because the debuffs are close to identical. The only shot he ever has at making it work is the old invisible casting trick whilst in the brush but it rarely works against players who are looking for it.

So where does leave Nunu now? He is basically a force multiplier to the nth degree. He is unified in design in that he makes his allies hit/run faster and makes his enemies hit/run slower. A very simple role but one that he shines in quite well. Will there ever be a resurgence of caster-esque Nunus anytime in the near future? I would like to say that it is a possibility. If the meta shifts away from super mobility and instead reverts back to the days of aoe teamfights, Nunu would be a decent choice there. He's also pretty solid against heal/kite teams as he and his allies will be better able to chase them down. If we see more Ashes and Malzahars rather than Ezreals and Ahris, nuker Nunu may have his day in the sun again.

Thanks everyone! I'll be taking suggestions for next week's write up as well so let me know what you'd be interested in seeing.


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Devious Rogue

Senior Member

09-30-2012

The good old days when you could channel, Flash in, and blow everything to smithereens... xD

The way I see him, Nunu either lets your ADC/Top snowball into someone who carries the game, or you need him to reliably land his Ult against at least 2 autoattackers for him to be useful to the team. If he doesn't help your team snowball early on and he doesn't Ult that well late game, he's wasting a slot on the team.

As with most AOE champs, he works well with teamates like Kennen, Galio, Amumu, Leona, Diana, Fiddlesticks and in some ways, Karthus, since they let him land his Ult easier.


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Adrian Umbra

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Senior Member

09-30-2012

I wouldn't really think that the old AP Nunu is dead, but it isn't really viable in ranked anymore as a true mage due to his laning weakness mid. He's supposed to be a nice solotop, but haven't tried him there yet. As a jungler, Nunu is the ultimate jerk of a support jungler, denying his opponent in the jungle their big creeps and keeping ward coverage to a minimum. As a support, he helps even laners like Ashe become bullies in their ability to AA and retreat quickly.

Very well done and in very depth. If you would like another champion to go in depth on, I'd probably recommend trying something on the history of Evelynn.


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RIP Bankplank

Senior Member

10-03-2012

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adrian Umbra View Post
Very well done and in very depth. If you would like another champion to go in depth on, I'd probably recommend trying something on the history of Evelynn.
as much as i'd love to oblige, I've never really played much evelynn...ever.
when she was trash, when she was great, when she was mediocre, i think i can count on one hand how many times i've actually played her

i could do an in depth on her i suppose but i don't know much aside from what i learned playing against her
do you have any other champs you'd like me to focus in on? preferably one i know better haha


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RIP Bankplank

Senior Member

10-03-2012

bump for some more conversation


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RIP Bankplank

Senior Member

10-03-2012

wow, less action than on my thread about trundle
one last bump to see if anyone is interested. if not, i'll see you all next week!


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Marifrit

Senior Member

10-08-2012

interesting thread i juststarted playing nunu my self


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Beaumains

Senior Member

10-08-2012

If not eve - maybe Twitch? Despite what appear to be fairly well-received changes, I don't see much play there.

If you're up for a can of worms, you could go for Mord or Tryn.


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RIP Bankplank

Senior Member

10-08-2012

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beaumains View Post
If not eve - maybe Twitch? Despite what appear to be fairly well-received changes, I don't see much play there.

If you're up for a can of worms, you could go for Mord or Tryn.
i'm planning on talking about melee carries for next week so tryndamere will definitely be a part of that topic


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Beaumains

Senior Member

10-09-2012

Quote:
Originally Posted by bertboxer View Post
i'm planning on talking about melee carries for next week so tryndamere will definitely be a part of that topic
I look forward to it.