During a training camp in London, Excel’s new LEC roster took time to chat with WIN.gg about preseason 2022 game changes, the current state of League of Legends, and the potential ramifications for professional play.
Preseason 2022 has been met with a mixed reception, with praise and criticism given to different aspects of the new experience. We spoke with Finn “Finn” Wiestål, Erlend “Nukeduck” Holm, and Mark “Markoon” van Woensel to get their opinions on Riot Games’ latest changes to League of Legends.
Excel talk Hextech Drake and Chemtech Drake
WIN.gg: The flashy new arrivals to Summoner’s Rift are the Chemtech and Hextech Drakes, which bring with them new Dragon Souls and rift effects. How do you think these will affect the game?
Finn “Finn” Wiestål: I think Hextech is in a pretty good state, but Chemtech is obviously pretty overpowered right now. [These] will raise the emphasis on drakes if there’s [Hextech or Chemtech] in the game.
Erlend “Nukeduck” Holm: I enjoy that dragon soul is a win condition in almost any game, regardless of how out-scaled your composition. If you’re an early-game team and you get an early soul, you don’t get out-scaled. I very much enjoy that there are dragon souls that are strong and function as win conditions.
I don’t enjoy it when you can just give up the Cloud Drake Soul, play for scaling, and try to steal [Baron Nashor], for example. Now it’s become a higher probability that you will have a very high impact soul, which I like.
Finn: A lot is decided in the 20-30 minute mark. Your drake setups, rotations, and general team fighting are very important. If you misplay around these areas, you will get punished for it. I think that’s what we’ll see heading into next year, a lot of games being decided around drake rotations and setups.
Mark “Markoon” van Woesenl: Personally, I don’t think it has changed very much since last season. There are two more good souls so there’s a slightly greater emphasis on drakes, but I feel like last year this was already the case. Most games were decided on dragon fights or Drake Souls anyhow, so this just adds two new good souls.
Objective bounties create “thin line” for winning teams to walk
What are your thoughts on the new Objective Bounty system? How do you think it affects teams on both sides of the bounty?
Finn: If you’re ahead and you butcher a fight and the enemy can take towers, it results in a large swing of gold in the game. This leads to really volatile games where even if one team is dominating the first 20 minutes, after one bad fight the enemy catches up.
Markoon: The objective bounties are a big issue. Teams that get ahead now have to walk a thin line because if you misplay, you’re going to get heavily punished for it. So I think it will be the same as last year where most games are decided on drake fights.
Nukeduck: I kind of like [objective bounties]. When I’m playing from ahead it can be a bit annoying, but I enjoy it more while behind than I am annoyed by it while ahead. It feels like you’re always one really good play away from coming back.
It just keeps it more interesting when you’re behind. The game isn’t lost just because you’re behind early, so I think both of the changes make the game better. There’s more tension in the game for a longer amount of time.
Finn: Certainly teams could lean into it, but you have to remember that if you [pick a scaling-focused composition] and the enemy just picks a priority mid and a strong top jungle, they can [bully] your top laner. It’s going to be hard for you to actually play the game. The higher the level [of play], the less I think you will see [scaling champions]. From watching Worlds, you see how an active mid laner can put so much damage onto the map.
Markoon: I don’t think the meta will be late-game scaling. You can’t get away with that anymore against the best teams. And even though it is a thin line that winning teams have to walk, it’s still walkable. If you’re a good team, and you’re better than your opponents, you can still close out games cleanly from early-game leads. You can’t just straight-up give up the early game [due to bounties], you still have to fight for it.
Would League of Legends be better with less damage and healing?
Riot Games announced that it was looking into large-scale changes to the damage, healing, and shielding numbers in League of Legends. In a recent blog post discussing gameplay, Riot talked about testing a 20% cut across all three categories. What do you think about these potential changes?
Markoon: There are two ways a fight usually plays out. One is a lot of burst damage, people get one-shot, and it’s all about positioning. Then there’s the other side, where fights are taking a full minute to complete, you have double tanks and double backline. These are very boring fights to watch. If Riot says it’s good for the game, I trust Riot, but I hope it doesn’t turn into a double tank meta.
Hopefully I won’t be [playing a tank jungler]
Finn: He won’t be the one playing the tanks, unfortunately.
Nukeduck: Sure, you can one-shot people, but it’s not that easy. You can’t just pick Qiyana and one-shot people. I very much think if you [make these changes], every game will become front-to-back compositions. It already is, it’s not even out of the meta. I would say 50% of games in competitive, a front-to-back composition is still being played.
Right now, I think we have a perfect balance. As somebody who plays champions that can one-shot, the threshold for where you can one-shot them or not is balanced throughout the game quite tightly. There’s no guarantee that if you pick LeBlanc you’ll be able to one-shot the enemy carries. I think [these new proposed changes] wouldn’t be a very good idea, personally.
I understand why people think there’s too much damage from a solo queue perspective, but I’m only speaking about competitive play. The chance you get accelerated on a Qiyana or a Zed is so much higher in solo queue, [so it’s different there].
Finn: I read the blog post, and the only thing that worried me a bit is that [Riot] said it saw an increase in the number of lanes where not much is happening and people are just evenly farming. I feel like that is a very poor way to play the game, I think the early game laning is where the better players should thrive and then create their own advantages. Then, in the midgame, teamplay should come in.
I don’t want to take away that individual lane factor from the game because I think that’s a very important factor of high-level League of Legends. So if they [go through with these changes], I would like to see them do something to combat this and make the lanes more volatile. Having lanes where every game players are just evenly farming is boring to watch or play.