Bertboxer's Study of Elise

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RIP Bankplank

Senior Member

11-12-2012

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!

This week I'll be taking a closer look at the newest champion to grace the League, the long-awaited Spider Queen.



For those who aren't League of Legends veterans with several years under their belts, it's hard to understand the hype behind this champion. The Spider Queen concept has been around since beta and there were actually files in the game for her. She was scrapped for one reason or another and fans kept clamoring for her for ages. Lee Sin was another example of this exact pattern where a champion was not released and was brought back years later. Though she looked nothing like she did originally (http://leagueoflegends.wikia.com/wiki/Priscilla) I was extremely excited to see the Spider Queen announcement. This was a champ that I was looking forward to for ages and it was finally here. Then I played her and realized, though fun, she was simply ineffective when compared to her peers.

Let's run through a brief overview of Elise and her capabilities. Like Jayce and Nidalee, she can switch between melee/ranged which givers her access to six total active abilities. She has a solid bit of utility and some decent magic damage output. She can also jungle reasonably well due to some slight sustain with skittering frenzy (I don't see her jungling well when the season 3 changes take effect).

From the way she is designed, her intended role seems to be somewhat similar to Jayce and Nidalee where she pokes from a decent range and then closes in for the kill. Jayce tosses shock blasts through his gates all day and then goes all in with to the skies. Nidalee tosses those spears/autos and then pounces on her target. Elise tries to poke with neurotoxin and her explosive children and then closes with venomous bite.

Let's compare these aspects piece by piece. Jayce's poke combo does significantly more damage than Elise's unless the target has massive health. It also comes out much faster and has absolutely massive range. Also much harder to dodge as you can't just lure the shock blasts into minions like the spiders. Nidalee's poke is more about her autoattacks now than her spear toss but it's worth mentioning that her Q range is still massive. It's a bit trickier to land but has more damage potential than Jayce. Nidalee's auto attacks aren't particularly devastating but they seem to be in never ending supply. Combined with her heal which increases attack speed, Nidalee will win trades with Elise's poke consistently.

Going all-in with these three champions is relatively similar in terms of possible damage output but the biggest difference is the means of attack and escape. Jayce's to the skies has a decent range of 600 and a slow attached making his initiations quite simple. Nidalee's pounce is only about 375 range but can be targeted anywhere you want. Elise's venomous bite sits above Nidalee at 475 range, giving her a slight edge in that department. She also has the ability to use rappel to dive her target. This massive gap closer has 1075 range and reveals all nearby enemies which is overall quite good. The whole animation takes about a second to happen, though, and a target can dash to safety in that time. She has an easier time getting to a target than Nidalee and is about even with Jayce.

Here's the problem though, Elise lacks any reliable disengage. Once Jayce and Nidalee have pounced their target, they both have several means of escape. Jayce has a mini-ghost every 6 seconds as well as acceleration gate. He can also thundering blow a pursuer if he didn't use it on his initial target. Nidalee has constant pounces in cougar form, sizable speed boosts from brushes, and a heal to keep her going if she gets low. After Elise's dive, she has no reliable means of escape if some other enemy comes by. Her rappel can be used on minions but that is situational at best, not to mention the massive cooldown on it if you used it to engage. To summarize, she can't poke as well as these other similar champions. Her all-ins have relatively comparable damage but she can't get away if things go sour.

Don't get me wrong, she's certainly not a terrible champion. She has a fair bit of utility beyond just the laning phase and she can be built in a variety of ways but just can't focus in on one thing all that well.


But Bert, I thought versatility was a good thing. You said you liked Gangplank because of how he could do a bit of everything.

Well that is true but it's different in this situation. Like Elise, Gangplank offers quite a few options in terms of how to play him but his usefulness in various categories aren't severely diminished if he focuses on one. His aoe buff is always fairly useful, regardless of whether he's support/tank/carry/bruiser because it doesn't numerically scale. His stacking slow is always useful because you can't make it scale. His oranges are always useful because they're delicious and don't really scale. His global ultimate is always useful because it doesn't really scale (please don't play ap gangplank). Regardless of how he builds, four of the things he brings to the table aren't particularly affected by items and what order you level. Whatever route he chooses to focus in on, he can still contribute everything else to about the same degree. So what does this have to do with Elise?

Elise brings some decent stuff to the table but she can only really offer one thing at a time. Whatever Elise specs into, that is really the only thing she can do for the game. You can build her like a typical ap but her ratios aren't fantastic and you'll get blown up whenever you try to spider. You can build her as a tanky ap but her base stats are still squishy and her human form damage is pretty pitiful. Her rappel and cocoon abilities are both good for a one point wonder but they can't make up for the fact that she's not clearly focused.

It's just disappointing for a champion I was excited about for a long time. Elise can still hold her own but is eclipsed by other existing champions quite clearly. It's understandable for older champions to have this same problem as they were designed with a completely different environment in mind but Elise was put into this game like this. Of course, I may be 100% wrong in all of these claims. High skill ceiling champions usually take a while for people to get the hang of and I will gladly take back everything I say if people start catching on to her playstyle. For all I know, Elise could be the new flavor of the month in December and just wreak havoc. This is just my opinion on her situation as of now.



Here are my previous essays, feel free to leave feedback/suggestions for next week!

(the links aren't linking correctly for some reason but they work if you copy/paste the url. Not sure about why this is happening)


Week one post: making champions play like their personality http://na.leagueoflegends.com/board/showthread.php?p=29525721#post29525721

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

Week three post: understanding how Nunu has changed over time http://na.leagueoflegends.com/board/showthread.php?p=29754713#post29754713

Week four post: how Sion attempted to adapt to the current meta http://na.leagueoflegends.com/board/...1#post29977821

Week five post: a look at melee carries, and how they can be fixed http://na.leagueoflegends.com/board/...6#post30170026

Week six post: why Gangplank's lack of focus turns out to be useful http://na.leagueoflegends.com/board/....php?t=2739639

Week seven post: an explanation of the different types of difficulty http://na.leagueoflegends.com/board/....php?t=2762015


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DarkePacific

Senior Member

11-12-2012

Very good analysis, read the whole thing.


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Jorfen

Senior Member

11-12-2012

Good read as always Bert. 1+


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RIP Bankplank

Senior Member

11-12-2012

bump


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ynthrepic

Senior Member

11-12-2012

I've been playing a very large amount of Elise, and I find that her stun works very well for escaping. The cool down is just low enough that you can engage, dish out loads of damage, then stun and run if things are looking tough. Still, I think her being able to drop out of rappel anywhere she likes (if she doesn't pick a target) would make all the difference.

One thing I do like is that if you initiate rappel with a target, you will drop near them even if they run out of the initial range; this does result in confusion sometimes if you miss your target though. You're expecting her to drop down but then nothing happens, haha.


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ynthrepic

Senior Member

11-12-2012

Also, I have found Jayce, Nidalee, and Gangplank, to all be relatively easy prey down to about 10% hp. Elise's burst is fast and hard-hitting, but these heroes, and many other bruisers can take the full combo and then just leave the fight. With Mercury treads, even with a frozen mallet and a crystal scepter, they just leave the fight whenever they like, and even if you rappel once and Q once, it's of no consequence.


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RIP Bankplank

Senior Member

11-13-2012

Quote:
Originally Posted by ynthrepic View Post
I've been playing a very large amount of Elise, and I find that her stun works very well for escaping. The cool down is just low enough that you can engage, dish out loads of damage, then stun and run if things are looking tough. Still, I think her being able to drop out of rappel anywhere she likes (if she doesn't pick a target) would make all the difference.

One thing I do like is that if you initiate rappel with a target, you will drop near them even if they run out of the initial range; this does result in confusion sometimes if you miss your target though. You're expecting her to drop down but then nothing happens, haha.

yeah i forgot about the stun as a means of escape but i would think that it would be used during an initial engage. either way, something to consider when playing her, thanks

as far as letting her drop anywhere, i'm pretty hesitant on that. if she could do that, it would be an absolutely massive move-anywhere and dodge-anything ability. i was just thinking that they should give some movement speed on her w with successive hits like fiora. it is a feeding frenzy after all


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RIP Bankplank

Senior Member

11-13-2012

bump


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Beaumains

Senior Member

11-14-2012

I haven't gotten to play much of the Spider Queen yet, but I have done some homework. I'm reminded in all of these discussions of one glaring fact that Riot said was supposed to be the make-or-break key to success with her, and that was the fact that she was a mage and assassin, but not both simultaneously. With this breakdown, I'm wondering if Elise hasn't fallen prey to the old D&D multi-class addage (namely: don't; it never works as intended). I hope to play her this week while she's free, I'll be sure to add more if that experience provokes any other thoughts.

As a suggestion for next week, I've become curious about something. You introduce every essay saying you want to discuss the things that Riot has done well; so what's the one spot where Riot is doing a fantastic, stand-up job all around?


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Utopain

Junior Member

11-14-2012

@Bertboxer Very Good Read, what do you think would be the ramifications of letting her come down from rappel anywhere within the circle rather than just on her target? Or even just onto friendly targets as well as enemy? I've found rappel while an interesting ability needs a significant quality of life improvement. How often have you chased with your team and rappeled to catch only to have them flash leaving you stuck in the air with nothing to come back down to?


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