With a fantastic new splash art to marvel at, one of League’s oldest and fan favorite champions has been given the full Riot visual and gameplay makeover. Now that full videos have been released showing her abilities, as well as her now being playable on the PBE server, we can do some early analysis seeing how strong the Rogue Assassin might be on release, as well as her viability in pro-play and team OpTic.
At the time of writing this article the LCS and live server is currently on patch 8.14, and all information is taken from what’s currently on the PBE as of 7/27/18 . Information on the champion is subject to change on final release.
All of Akali’s spells are available to view on the official League of Legends website, but here is a quick break down of what her abilities do as well as a take on her overall stats:
- Her passive, Assassin’s Mark, creates a ring around an enemy champion when Akali hits them with a spell. When she crosses the ring she gains a burst of movement speed and an empowered auto attack with double the normal range.
- Her Q, Five Point Strike, is a low cooldown cone ability that slows enemies hit at the end of the cone. The ability also heals if cast near or at full energy, as well as deals 133% bonus damage to monsters at max rank.
- Twilight Shroud, her W, puts down a smoke bomb in the shape of a ring which stealths Akali and prevents her from being targeted by spells and turret missiles while stealthed.
- Shuriken Flip, her E, has her do a backflip with terrain scaling, and fires a shuriken forward. If it connects to the enemy, it allows her to recast the spell and dash to the marked enemy.
- Her Ultimate is a two dash ability: the first dash does physical damage and stuns all targets hit, and the second dash doing magic damage that scales based on the target's missing health.
She is what you would expect for an assassin fighter class to be, when examining her base stats. Defensively she is weak compared to bruiser and tanks, but has it better than most mages and marksmen as melee. Her most interesting stat is her base auto-attack damage: one of the highest in the game to go along with her empowered auto-attack passive. Most of her skills have mixed scaling as well half her abilities do magic damage, while the other half does physical. All numbers were taken from information collected on the PBE and sourced from Surrenderat20.net.
Starting in the Mid Lane, where Akali is intended to play, PowerOfEvil is a player who can bring out the full potential of a power pick like Akali. Currently in the LCS, POE leads all other Mid Laners in kills, kill participation, and damage percentage, making him a player that the team can rely on as their big damage source and can win games from his play. When considering the strengths of POE as a player, there are three huge advantages he has over other teams in the league:
1. He can abuse Akali’s mix damage abilities with creative build paths to surprise opponents and open up a team comp.
2. He can create a force ban against OpTic allowing for other power picks for the team to go through.
3. He has shown the mentality to want to be the primary carry player the team can win with.
What takes Akali from being a strong pick for individual players and turns her into being a team wide threat for OpTic is that she also has the potential to jungle. Akaadian is a player best known for coming onto the scene showing a strong proficiency with assassins, as well as with a gank heavy style of jungle. The specific strengths of Akali in the jungle position include:
- Terrain scaling allowing for mobility in the jungle
- Strong level 1 abilities and AOE damage for strong jungle clear
- Strong ganking potential with a slowing ability and a targeted dash for follow up
- Potent tower diving skill in her W which can easily juggle turret agro
What makes jungle Akali strong for OpTic specifically is her potential as a strong flex pick between POE and Akaadian, generating a power move that many of the other LCS teams can’t match. OpTic’s draft phase becomes stronger because Akali is a champion that can be picked early and be flexed depending on the needs of the team. In turn, the opposing team has to take a guess as to which position they want to try and counter pick or potentially suboptimally draft in attempt to counter both. On the flip side, this could also mean that this could become a must-ban, meaning the other teams are working with one less ban when planning out their strategy.
On the other hand, while Akali should come out strong, she is not unbeatable. Akali, like other assassin picks, relies on getting early kills and having gold funneled into her, but becomes a dead pick if she is kept down early and falls behind. According to some PBE reports, Akali struggles against other lane bully champions such as bruisers who can survive her burst and keep hitting her while her spells are on cool down. When Riot eventually tunes her, especially if they nerf her, she can become a very feast or famine champion, one that requires both the player piloting her and the team playing around the pick to really understand how to play an Akali team comp.
Nonetheless, she is a fantastic pick and one that OpTic should take the time to learn.