Today we released a champion analysis over the 11 free rotation champs this week. AZACOR heads this article and goes into great detail decribing champion strengths, weaknesses, and counter-play.

"Welcome all, AZACOR here. This is our very first champ rotation Analysis! YAY! Every week I shall post said Analysis Tuesday or Wednesday depending on how the week treats me. Once again these are opinions on things as I see them, take them for what they are worth. LETS DO THIS!

Bard: The Wandering Caretaker. Can we all stop making the Bard is bad jokes? Bard is not bad, some people who play him are bad. He's part of the League now Meep haters, so you better get used to having him as your support. Do not get me wrong, he's not a powerhouse constant lockdown tank (cough cough Leo...)he's a specialist, he's not the Support you should lock in when in search of mad engage. He's the type of support who fits Into a pick and roll style of play, high mobility and single target acquisition. He can also help with what I would call complimentary engage, relying on his teammates to initiate most of the time. Magical Journey has the potential to reposition the team in an unbelievably favorable outcome. His Ultimate, Tempered Fate, is arguably the most unique form of CC so far issued. It offers a whole realm of possibilities. (And it's a stasis guys so don't try and damage targets in stasis, for the love of god don't.) The simplest thing I wish Bard's would do more of, is use their ult to buy time for their team. Let me explain. It can be used in a mortar style same as a Ziggs' bomb, so why not use it on a group in mid center while your Amumu positions on the flank? It's potential for disengage peel is also pretty high, making retreats more likely to succeed. In lane you will be pushed as Bard. No question. You have to be reactive. No one looks at Bard and feels threatened, no one. So be prepared to feel weak early. Trying to be overly offensive with Cosmic Binding will get you into trouble. And that is literally his only damage ability on top of his passive, technically, so I best not be seeing any of you use Lich Bane on him. It's just not his job. His job is to be durable while offering added CC to the main engagers, and possible peel with routes via portal; to plain and simply, Support. 

Elise: The Spider Queen. A bit lost, and non existent currently. She's far from the Season Three victorious champion she once was. It's not that she's bad, but in the cinderhulk tank environment she doesn't quite know what to do. Her days of durability seem fruitless, seeing as plenty of other beefy tanks/fighters can do that task more efficiently than she. 

Since her second option is to be an AP assassin Jungler, (which is a short list of other candidates) I believe this is her most potential build path. She has burst capability and a unique type of gap close. But oddly, while bursty she has a bit of AP DPS potential? Well congrats, you're not alone Kayle and Teemo. Honest to god with her insane AP attack speed boost from Skittering Frenzy already adding to on hit magic damage, is Nashor's Tooth such an unreasonable proposition? With the Magus enchantment you're at max 40% CDR to manage abilities quickly between forms and have a real option to stand up to bruisers. I think she may be a damage dealer that struggles against certain damage dealers, namely range. For her engage (cocoon and rappel) is also her only escape and stall. Getting kited can end her quickly.  If it's a fellow melee carry however I think her tools of success are there, but she is very high maintenance and managing the abilities can get slippery in a duel. It feels as though for every good decision you make with Elise, a bad decision follows. Unless your Neurotoxin halves them upon engage, then happy Skittering!

Ezreal: The Prodigal Explorer. The skill shot king seems to be thriving. In two positions in fact. (I'm a meta whore and personally think he should remain in bot lane for the record.) Ezreal mid is a thing, yes. It can deal a lot of damage, yes. But is it what your team needs in the mid lane? Often not in this writer's opinion. 

I cannot deny Ez's effectiveness at killing things whether with AD or AP. But what a marksman like him in the mid lane does to a team comp already bearing an ADC, is not ideal. It makes their approach very askew. It makes your overall initiation capabilities much weaker than with other Mid's. Even the glass cannon assassins can START A FIGHT.       (Oh... Zed death marked a back liner, guess we're going in!) And sure his Trueshot Barrage can deal a mighty sum of damage to a team, but it can do the same during a team fight, or as a finisher. It makes your team hesitant when he's an AP mid laner. And a big trend in the Normal community that loses games is hesitance. Hesitance is different than patience. And if he we're to initiate a fight.... (Hold that thought) Ezreal's biggest flaw in bot is, without his ult, he doesn't deal enough damage fast enough. Hence he's meant to poke people down. And when playing as a mid laner (here's that thought) he feels to make up for his lack of directness is to arcane shift into his opponent. Which can mean his end depending on the opponent. And plenty of Mid's can counteract that action. He's been designed to dance around the perimeter and arcane shift to reposition. Not lean into a fight. 

Fiora: The Grand Duelist. At a time that seems to have a great lack of damage dealer tops, Fiora seems to have all the tools to succeed. She honestly could duel anyone if your ability with her is high enough. 

Fiora has always dealt more than enough damage, and her split push ability is appreciated. And the lessened damage changes to her Ultimate Blade Waltz, ages ago, have forced players to be smarter with her. She can't just steam roll and use it with reckless abandon. It is an evade tool, meant to be a successful juke while dealing damage, buying time for your next move. When playing the Frenchy know that your primary goals are outplay single targets and push like mad. And in team fights, run back line disruption so your fellow carries can have an easier time, provided you haven't gotten a double by this point. She's one of the most offensive mindset champs in the game. If your going to pick her, then be prepared to have expectations of big numbers on you. This also prompts a large bullseye over your head. 

Jayce: The Defender of Tomorrow. If Riot hadn't already created a champ named Jax, why, I would have named him Jack. Because he's a Jack of all Trades. Instead we have Jayce. Range, and Melee because why not? I miss the days when there were only three AD Mid's. A drunken Samurai, a tunnel vision Ninja, and an Assassins Creed wannabe were all we had to deal with. Now we have Five AD's, including a Potato Spider who everyone had written off a year ago, and Jayce. The cross between Tony Stark and Thor. (Honestly a wealthy genius inventor who happens to use a hammer? He came out in 2012, same year as the first Avengers. And his arch nemesis is a Cyborg who dreams of a "Glorious Evolution" and believes flesh is inferior.....JUST SAYING PEOPLE!) 

Joking aside, I like Jayce. I think his viability in Top may have diminished to the shifting times, but I don't think picking him for that lane is out of the question. His kit just helps with distance, and Top is much longer than people realize and his poke with accelerated gap close makes him fit there. Picking him into some of the few ranged Top laners might be the best choice. Teemo, Gnar, and Nidalee can all be outdone by Jayce if things fall his way. 

As far as Mid lane goes, this seems to be a safer home for the pride of Piltover. He operates with poke, mana management, and a heavy combo mentality. Looks like he'll fit right in. He's been present in Mid for several months now, and I don't think he's going anywhere anytime soon. His strength lies in trading with mages who also like to fight from a distance. If an Accelerated Shock Blast lands, they will feel it. And it's not hard to use his direct Hammer stance engage on said mages immediately after with positive effect. If you manage your mana and keep tabs on your cool downs (max CDR is highly advised) and play cautiously enough, your natural poke and strengths will shine through. Just understand there is only so much time to do his full combo, and switching stances at the wrong moment can make it all for not. 

Karma: The Enlightened One. Is a fine Support, and a fine Mid. I hear so many people say she's hard to play, high skill ceiling and I just don't share that belief. You have a skill shot, a tether that can root, and a shield. All of which can be enhanced for additional effect, what's left to explain? Keep your opponents health bars lower then your own and you will probably win. Real high level stuff. Can't even comprehend that strategy. 

I'm not trying to be snarky, or dismissive with Karma, I love her. She's a contender in Mid sure, but she's a bully in Bot. Particularly against fellow mage Supports, or when faced with a team that has better CC, but has weakness in durability. If it's a glass cannon game and your looking to compete with some damage of your own, Karma is the Ionian for the job. Since Morgana thrives on denying CC with her Black Shield, and has to rely on dealing more damage than her competition as her engage strength in lane, Karma's relentless damage and aided quickness for herself and ally from her shield, makes maneuvering around Morgana feel so good. Morgana can turn, if she lands a ideal Dark Binding, but Karma still can out play her even in a terrible situation, which is very rare. She wears down Janna, Zyra, Lux, and Zilean with ease and is just flat out persistent. Even tanks like Alistar can only stand and take it, unless he uses his combo leaving his ADC wide open. Sona and Nami, because of their healing capability and CC turnaround, can make Karma exhaust herself of mana and take away her strength. This matchup can swing either way, the ADC's determine this. 

Kog'Maw: The Mouth Of The Abyss. A great ADC. Same stance with Ezreal, only Kog is even less mobile with not even as much consistency as AP so I don't care how much damage you can do with him building AP with Luden's Echo, it's a flawed approach to Mid, and it makes your teammates cringe when you take him there. We'll be talking about him as an ADC. 

Kog'Maw truly has the potential to be good or bad against anyone. It all depends on the team around him, and how cautious you are with your approach. I was so grateful when they made the badass Battlecast skin for him because it put into literal visual terms what he is, a walking mortar. Mortars are slow, heavy hitting, and are the definition of back line combat. When playing as Kog (or any ADC) know that your job is not to lead the charge, your job is to follow up and be protected. Kog really is meant to be handled with care, and he loves tanky lane partners who can do the dirty work engage for him, or pull the fight to him. Thresh is a particularly fun partner due to having that prolonged lockdown as mentioned earlier, along with disengage capabilities. You usually play him based on your team, but if you really want to pick him to counter their ADC favorably, my suggestions are Caitlyn, Ezreal, and even Draven if you have enough peel for team fights. All three of those champs rely on hitting first, note Draven can turn around much easier than the other two. Kog wishes to do the same, striking first and hard with his Bio Arcane Barrage, he will just do more damage than almost anyone. (Competing very closely with d-bag Draven's) He also annoys the hell out of Braum by shooting over him. And he fits safely into a 2-3 team comp. (two carries three tanks)

Nidalee: The Bestial Huntress. Another champion that won't make you a lot of friends in champ select. I don't mean to sound rude to the pretty kitty right out of the bat, but she's a very solo minded champion. She does however hold a unique capability which is to play three (technically four but never take her Support unless you wish for your ADC to despise you) positions. 

It top lane, she's a specialty pick. Rare and very circumstantial. In mid, she offers immense one v. one possibilities, also circumstantial. But remember a month or two ago when Nidalee Jungle was all the rage?  Whatever happened to that? It didn't get nerfed, people just stopped playing it. I understand in the tank heaviness of Jung right now, it's very hard to justify picking Nidalee. Its hard to justify picking her anywhere really. But Jung seemed to be the most practical, seeing as how she would pick her moment of attack, and hopefully have her way with every fight on her terms. Yes she's very opportunistic, and can kill damn near anything if she lands her spear. And that's the key right there, IF. 

Veigar: The Tiny Master of Evil. You have gotta admire the simple concept of Veigar. He defeats other mages by punishing them for being mages. Blowing them up with Primordial Blast, which can no joke kill almost any level 18 AP carry. By pressing a single button. How quaint. However this type of absurd AP capability wouldn't come without cost. 

That of course being he's vulnerable to just about anything. And the changes made to his stun and Baleful Strike really hurt him. It seemed to me to be the most unnecessary changes to a champion in recent memory. Making farming for his Q more difficult, and giving his already inconsistent stun a visual tell for the benefit of opponents? Why? Was Veigar really even a substantial threat to the game balance? No. He was hardly even seen. Because he is an all in champion. There have been three in this weeks rotation, something of a theme it would seem. I truly will never understand why that change happened. BETTER NERF VEIGAR wtf? It was cruel. In short, more power to any of you who play him regularly, he is just a lot of work for the possibility of getting into late game. 

Viktor: The Machine Herald. (Aka Ultron's number 1 fan) I love how League is ever changing. Viktor went from being underrated, to showing everyone why he was underrated. His popularity is ever rising, and with good reason, ever since his touch up and fixing his mandatory item, Hexcore, and with added benefit on all his abilities, he has earned his place. 

His strength as a blind pick isn't terrible. But I believe since his damage is inconsistent, but massive AOE aided by his snare makes sticking him into a mass CC heavy team the best option. Honestly, Viktor is capable of standing a chance with anyone. And his varied kit allows for a much varied sequence of combos. But I believe grouping with his team, and letting them do the dirty work while he picks and chooses who to focus is where he shines. 

Ziggs: The Hexplosives Expert. I love this Yordle. Love him. Not just for his personality, or the fact that he's a Yordle. But because he's one of my favorite picks in Mid. When picking blind, Ziggs always pops to mind, because he's never a terrible choice when you don't know what to expect. Although his random Satchel Charge is his only escape, and calling it reliable would be a lie, he just remains out of harms way if you position right. 

He is the King of poke and harass. No one can deal damage in mid the way that Ziggs does. He can trade with anyone, apply pressure if your bombs are on point, and remain in safe distance against opponents all at the same time. He can fight with any other combo mage, proving to keep them on their toes if you manage him correctly. This means his mana, his cool downs, and his pace in lane. Ziggs can push, or defend effectively while pushed, no problem if he wishes. And although his damage is designed to be somewhat random, literally Bouncing Bombs, his damage is so consistent. Within a few games of playing him you know what you can and can't do instantly. I've played Ziggs against every matchup, and even when your staring down at his adversary's who can give him hell, you don't feel so shaken."

 Hope you enjoyed this article on this week's free to play champs! Full article at: