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Champ skills to level up (general query)

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2pudge1cup

Senior Member

07-19-2011

I like reading build guides occasionally, but there's been something glaring in almost all of them which as bugged me.

For skill orders almost everyone considers one skill you max at 9, one you max next, and a follow up one for end game. I've always found this horribly inefficient for most champs that I play.

Take rammus for instance. I think only 1 level of Q is sufficient for most of the game, but when choosing to level up taunt/defensive shell I level then in roughly a 1:1 ratio (depending on feel of the game). Taunt for instance scales linearly from 1-1.5-2... etc. So the 2nd level's duration is 50% longer than the first, and the 3rd is 33% stronger than the previous level, and the 4th is 25% stronger. You end up getting diminishing returns. For the shell it also scales linearly in a similar fashion: 50/75/100/125/150 and returning 22/28/34/40/46 (+) magic damage to attackers. Isn't it more practical to have level 3 of each of these rather than 5 of one and 1 of the other? It's not like the difference between 100 and 125 magic res/armor and 6 more damage return is going to be as game breaking as an additional 33% duration on your disable.

Anivia is another similar hero though I like to play her as a 3/3/3 type at 10-11ish (obviously grabbing ultimate when it becomes available. The stun duration doesn't increase, but it's damage certainly does and it's cd decreases (iirc). My reasoning for her is a little different than rammus though. There are some games where I notice I'm having a difficult time following up my stuns with my E because of fear of enemy cc or whatever so I'll get more points in stun rather than E. Also, the utility of the wall with a 600 distance vs a 400 distance is 50% larger on top of having a reasonably shorter cooldown. You can cut off enemies in much more different parts of the map with a 600 wall vs a 400.

The list could go on because come to think of it I play most heroes in this respect. Orianna because her attack command lowers the cd, the slow gets much better, and the shield at higher levels can save you or teammates who otherwise would die. Sona is another one since her w is worthless until level 2 as it gets a 100% increase from 1 to 2, but then begins to taper off a bit and doesn't scale tremendously with AP. Meanwhile aoe MS can win a fight and her 'nuke' song can be great for harassment in the early game.

Point being, I'm not a huge fan of maxing one skill first on a lot of champs. The game often dictates the use of every single skill at different times so I'd hate to have soemthing useful underleveled in a key situation because I wanted 20% more damage on another move vs 50% longer disable on another one. OFC there are some heroes where it seems useless to take things beyond one point (jannas tornado and lux's shackles off the top of my head), but for the most part going for 5 points of something at level 9 leaves you a lot more exposed than a 3/3/3 on a lotta champs.


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2pudge1cup

Senior Member

07-19-2011

Also udyr is another hero that I love doing 3/3/3 on then maybe scaling it to a 5/3/3 by 11. 3 into bear stance makes you much scarier at ganking/gap closing and 3 in turtle allows you to regen your hp/mana much faster.


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Azellos

Senior Member

07-19-2011

to some extent it varies depending on the individual champions/skills. However, most champions have skills which scale better, making it more effective to level the better-scaling ones early on. For example, let's take Janna. She has her whirlwind which does damage and is great CC, but leveling it up only increases damage. She uses it mostly for CC though. Therefore, there is no reason whatsoever to have more damage, and instead she should level it last after she levels her more important shield and slow.

The same principle really applies to other skills. Whatever you need most, or whatever scales best, you want to either prioritize or simply max first to gain the most benefit.


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Melvear

Senior Member

07-19-2011

Well, as far as the champs I play goes, it's pretty much always max 1 first, then the rest.

I jungle Rammus, and at level 9 I'm always 1/2/5/1. The taunt on Rammus really defines the champ, and 3 seconds is a hell of a long time to be without the control of your character.

Warwick is another case where I'll always level Q to 5 first. Biting for a lot more early can really turn fights around. In his case though I do tend to take an equal amount of W and E. I'll grab more W if we're pushing pretty hard, or more E if we're ganking more.

Xin is always 1/2/5/1 as well. E scales in every possible way (cd reduce, damage increase) and this makes it the best skill to level as compared to the other 2.

Nunu is the same deal. 2/1/5/1. Ice blast's slow is insane at max rank. It might as well be a snare. So you want it to be maxed asap.

Veigar's Q need to be 5 asap as well, since it reduces its cooldown, and therefore allows for more ap farming. Also, once you've got 2 ranks in Event Horizon, you can safely land Dark Matter on champs without tenacity, making it less important to level than Dark Matter.

So while it may not always be cut and dry with every champs, a *lot* of them at the very least benefit from maxing 1 of their skill first.


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2pudge1cup

Senior Member

07-19-2011

About the rammus point - will 3 seconds really be as gamebreaking as 2.5 or even 2?

Can't you put the skill point(s) into a stronger armor/mp buff?

Nunu too, since you get more sustainability with higher devour as well as having a lower cooldown. Also more levels of your E apply both to you and an ally meaning that it scales twice as much as just having another ~10% on your slow.


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2pudge1cup

Senior Member

07-19-2011

I can certainly see the value for a lot of them... granted I've never played xin or ww so can't comment on either.

I just look at it as when I invest a skill point how much of a % does my skill benefit rather than seeing it as a flat increase. I'd much rather have a skill increase by 50% at lower levels rather than seeing one increase by 20% from going to skill levels 4-5.


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Eddiot

Senior Member

07-19-2011

according to your math you have the same dimishing returns on your armor buff. And you forget that taunt on rammus makes you and your teammates more effective whereas your armor buff only makes you more effective.


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2pudge1cup

Senior Member

07-19-2011

If a tank doesn't survive then he loses effectiveness moreso than a tank who can cc for slightly longer.


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2pudge1cup

Senior Member

07-19-2011

Not to mention longer taunt over armor/MR assumes that you are always near your allies (which shouldn't really be the case as open lanes are always worht farming, or if you haveta solo defend a tower you gotta man up and do it). With the armor buff you can solo farm easier by letting the creep wave hit you and die.

And if you want to turret dive with rammus (one of my favorite things to do with him). Then you'll need the armor over increased levels of taunt.


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Jairoe

Senior Member

07-19-2011

Another argument against the leveling evenly across the board is due to early game resources. You just don't have the mana to use all your abilities constantly and what's the most important part of early game? Farming, harrass (gank when opportunity arises) and staying alive in the lane as long as possible before having to go back to shop.

Now, in terms of resource management, would I want to be able to do everything about average or can I forgo 1 particular ability and focus on the other 2 with particularly more emphasis on 1. Would I want 1 ability that can hit for 250 to harrass and farm with or 2 abilities that hit for 125 each for twice as much mana? It's more practical and efficient to pack more of a punch in 1 particular move and forgo the other 2 until later in the game especially if that 1 level 5 move can hit about as equal as 2 level 3 moves and cost less mana to do it. I think evenly building shortens you up in the early game and really provides no real benefit for you.

If you are worried about specific situations and having a tool for everything there's really 2 things you can do: compensate for particular weakness/situation with runes, mastery and summoner spells or utilize wards/vision and avoid that particular situation depending on what it is i.e. how necessary is it for you to tower dive early game? afraid of being able to survive a 3 man gank? etc. etc.

Another note is with you saying how that extra bit of damage isn't going to be game breaking so why the level 5? That same argument can also be said about being able to do 2 things average. Plus there are certain moves where things are that game breaking such as the Taunt on Rammus, 3 seconds is a lot of time to hold someone there. Extra armor/MR, damage when hit...that can be skipped over and compensated for depending on match up etc. Leveling that 2 more levels and shaving off a full second off your Taunt is pretty crucial and can determine saving a teammate or successfully ganking as opposed to the extra defense/damage.

Honestly, the one thing you will never be able to fully account for with the math is the usefulness of a particular ability. Sure its the same % increase but whats the value of taunting someone for an extra second of time compared to mitigating more damage/returning more damage. There's no concrete comparison and the value is somewhat subjective which can really only be determined by a majority of people. Personally, the taunt is too valuable to not max out first. Generally, I believe people want to max out the skill that is harder to compensate using runes/masteries/items/summoner spells and also fits into the overall grand scheme of their team + their role. I can slot in more MR/AR/AP or buy items that can help me do that, but there's nothing that's going to extend my taunt. Again its hard to compare 2 different units of measurement.


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