The holiday season doesn’t stop Riot Games from continuing to work on fresh League of Legends champions. Their latest reveal comes in the form of Viktor, the Machine Herald. He features a new type of passive mechanic that may make for some difficult early gameplay decisions. His attacks are all ability powered based, making him fall under the mage category. How will he shape up against other champions? Thanks to the wording of his passive, we’re not even entirely sure yet.
Passive: Evolving Technology Viktor starts with a Hex Core that provides him with stats and can be upgraded in the store to augment one of his abilities. The Hex Core can only be upgraded once, and cannot be sold back to the store.
We’ve seen a lot of creativity in new abilities as months go on, but never have we seen a passive that creates such a substantial role in the gameplay style. Since Viktor players are only able to augment one ability at a time, the bonus effect choice will have to be chosen wisely. It’s unclear whether the Hex Core can augment different abilities over the course of the game or you’re stuck with what you pick early on. The other uncertainty is the bonus “stats” themselves. It’s safe to assume that there may be some variance in stats gained depending on how you upgrade the Hex Core, but what this looks like is also an unknown.
The description suggests players can only augment one ability for the duration of the game, once one is chosen. However, this would make him a somewhat more predictable champion since the enemy team would be able to know which ability is augmented by observing his actions. On the flip side, a lot of champions only have a flat 4 abilities, so being able to give a boost of your choice to one of the three base abilities would still better personalize the experience.
Power Transfer: Viktor blasts an enemy unit dealing magic damage, returning a portion of the damage dealt as a shield.
-Ability Augment: Increases Viktor’s Movement Speed by 30% for 3 seconds
Power Transfer is both offensive and defensive. It offers single target damage, with no special offensive benefits, but gives a shield based on the damage dealt. Regardless of the duration of the shield, it will be wise to use this ability earlier in the battle, when you know you’ll be targeted, to take full advantage of the extra survivability. When augmented, it gives a substantial speed boost, which could be useful for either chasing or escaping.
Gravity Field – Viktor conjures a heavy gravitational field, slowing all enemies and stacking a debuff every 0.5 seconds. At 3 stacks enemies inside are stunned for 1.5 seconds.
-Ability Augment: Gravity Field has an additional 30% cast range.
This is Viktor’s main source of crowd control. Not only does it slow enemies, but any enemy that’s in the field for 1.5 seconds (.5 seconds time 3 stacks) gets stunned for 1.5 seconds. As an aoe damage dealer, this will be very useful for team fights. As a mage, the main downside is the lack of survivability, so it shouldn’t be used to initiate full team fights, but can work as a secondary initiate, defensively, and for smaller battles. An augment gives a 30% increase to cast range, which would make it even easier to land on multiple enemies.
Death Ray: Viktor uses his robotic arm to fire a chaos beam that cuts across the field in a line, dealing damage to any opponents struck in its path.
-Ability Augment: Death Ray sets fire to enemies, dealing 30% additional magic damage over 4 seconds.
Death Ray is a full offensive ability and will likely be the main source of dps for Viktor players. While it lacks the useful utilities that his other abilities have, the augmented version does an extra 30% damage over the course of four seconds, which will cause some enemies to overestimate how long they can stay in combat, which in turn makes it handy for finishing off low health champions.
Chaos Storm (Ultimate) – Viktor conjures a singularity on the field which deals magic damage and briefly silences enemies. The singularity then does magic damage to all nearby enemies every second. Viktor can redirect the singularity.
His ultimate offers a second form of crowd control. It specifically says the silence is brief, so it shouldn’t be any longer than his 1.5 second stun. When used in combination with Gravity Field, it offers a fairly impressive amount of disruption, all while dealing damage the entire time. How the ultimate is controlled will impact its usefulness. If you’re stuck in place while moving it, it will leave you more vulnerable. However if you can move it passively like Annie moves Tibbers, then it could have a lot of unique uses.
Choosing which ability to augment isn’t an easy choice. At first glance, it seems natural to want to improve the crowd control capabilities of Gravity Field. The bonuses offered by the other two can be equally useful depending on the situation though. If augmenting an ability is a one time choice, then it will be a very important decision. If that’s the case, it still offers some unique flexibility. You can choose the benefit that will most help your allies, and yourself, based on enemy team composition. If you’re facing a tanky team that’s resilient to crowd control and damage, for example, then extra movespeed could be the difference between winning and losing.