Riot Adds a More Sinister League of Legends Support Champion – Pyke
Gone are the days when Riot would add a new champion to the League of Legends roster every month. At one point, it was almost impossible even for the most dedicated players to earn enough IP points to unlock all the new releases. It has been a while since the Fields of Justice were graced by the presence of a new hero. The latest teaser announced the imminent arrival of a new support champion, Pyke.
Riot was criticized for making support heroes too colorful, child friendly and even goofy. Pyke is about to join the 100+ roster and he promises to be one of the darkest and sinister support champions. A lot of info about the new hero remains shrouded in mystery, but some things are certain. Compared to most of the supporting heroes, Pyke is an aggressive playmaker and will provide more than basic assistance to the ADC. With the right abilities and items, he will be able to inflict serious damage upon unsuspecting foes.
New Heroes Released with Esports in Mind
The League of Legends community welcomes the release of new heroes, but pros far are more concerned about balance issues. Riot has the tendency of introducing champions that are initially overpowered. Before they get nerfed, these new additions to the Fields of Justice wreck havoc on the battlefield. Pyke won’t be available in professional games right away, but instead he will be heavily tested in casual games.
Riot has changed its focus from releasing new champions to tweaking existing ones, so they become more attractive for esports. Evelynn was one of the heroes that sunk into near irrelevance before the rework, which made her viable once again. In this case, the changes were both cosmetic and practical, with an increase of damage and mobility. Professional players don’t pick her too often because this is such a squishy hero, but Evelynn is quite popular in ranked games.
The changes made to Swain were also significant and in line with what appears to be a broad Riot strategy. Initially, it looked like this champion had no future in casual or professional games. Then developers went overboard with buffs and he’s currently one of the most selected and banned hero. Irelia falls into the same category of champions that is crushing her line after the rework. She is so strong right now, that she has a more than 50% win rate and there is even a “Better nerf Irelia” meme going around. It is only a matter of time until nerfs will be applied, but until then they both remain overpowered.
Major Updates for Several League of Legends Champions
It will take a while until Pyke will make a meaningful impact in esports tournaments. However, the string of major updates affecting some League of Legends heroes will produce effects right away. Riot has announced its intention to rework Aatrox, who will also benefit from a visual makeover. Lore changes were also made to key characters over the last few years and Aatrox will be subject to such modifications.
Akali is a deadly assassin in the right hands and she is also in line for a couple of changes. She will retain her mobility and shroud, but some of the core mechanics will be changed. Nunu is also targeted for a major overhaul, to make it more competitive for professional games. This character enjoys occasional spikes in popularity, but it is played less often in casual games. All these changes are scheduled for gradual implementation throughout 2018, following the official unveiling of Pyke.
Pyke Champion Overview
Passive Gift of the drowned ones. When Pyke loses health, it will turn into temporary grey health. This grey health can be recovered into proper health points when Pyke is unseen by enemy champions. The speed of health regeneration is extremely quick, and will be essential in large one v three to one v five outplays.
Q: Bone skewer. This skill can either be tapped, or held down for a short duration. Tapping the skill will stab all enemies in the cursor’s direction, slowing and dealing damage with the first enemy hit being dealt greater damage. Holding the skill will increase the range of Bone skewer considerably, similar to Varus Q, the first enemy hit by the skewer will be pulled a fixed distance towards Pyke.
W: Ghostwater dive. Pyke camouflages, unable to be seen by enemies outside a small circle near him, similar to Evelyn passive. Using the skill will grant considerable movement speed, Pyke’s W is extremely similar in use compared to Kayn’s E. As expected, attacking or casting spells will instantly dispel W’s camouflage effect.
E: Phantom undertow. Dashes a short distance and leaves a shadow behind. This shadow will return to Pyke after 1-2 seconds. Enemies hit by the shadow on its return will be dealt damage and stunned for a short duration. The shadow can change direction as Pyke moves / flashes, making for some weird angles and outplay potential.
R: Pyke jumps in the air and strike an X shaped area. Champions below a certain amount of health will be immediately executed, while dealing damage to other enemy champions in the X. Most importantly, if champions die in the X location, the ability’s cooldown is reset for a short period of time (like Darius ultimate execute), while the last ally to ‘assist’ will also be given FULL KILL GOLD.
Pyke’s play style definitely suits an assassin type jungler. He has great ganking potential from his camouflage and pull ability. At the later stage, his ult will be extremely useful in team fights, not only for the extra gold, but being able to execute enemies without cooldown.
As an assassin, it is expected lethality items to be built, similar to Kayn or Rengar. However, given his ultimate can execute, tank is also a viable option with his CC potential from the pull plus shadow.
That said, Pyke’s creator initially designed him to be a support champion, so it will definitely be interesting to see how he fares in the bot lane. Considering his ult is design to execute enemies, taking the kill, there will undoubtedly be some bot lane flame in the coming weeks.
This article has been a joint contribution by two of our esports authors – KieranL and FlorinP