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User blog:Nhan-Fiction/The State of Illaoi

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The State of Illaoi

Illaoi OriginalSkin

Hello there, visitor.

Illaoi at First Glance

First off, I want to make it clear I hated Illaoi Illaoi the first few times I played her since creating a smurf to play League again. I thought she had a weak kit regarding design that I did not enjoy. I simply did not "get" her as a champion. However, as time went on, I grew to like her to the point where I pick her now and then to test myself. I use the word test because this is what it feels like, in both a good and bad way. It does feel like you get tested mechanically. I scoffed out loud the other day when someone told me Illaoi Illaoi was easy (said the Pantheon Pantheon player no less).

And by all means, I don't consider this champ to be super hard, but I don't think easy is the right word to describe her either. Challenging would be the appropriate word, or so I believe. Maybe Riot was on to something when putting together the concept of someone who tests people.

The fact is, Illaoi Illaoi is quite fun when she works. However, herein lies the biggest problem with her. Her ability to contribute in a game, let alone function, hinges on so many factors. And sure, she has obvious strengths to her name. In particular, her damage output potentially outclasses most of the entire League roster in the right circumstances. But gosh, it is so hard to ignore the many, many weaknesses to her name.

One word comes to mind right off the bat: SLOW! Illaoi Illaoi is slow in many regards, both in physical movement and in her abilities. And yes, this is fitting for someone who embodies what Riot had in mind for a juggernaut. But geez, you lumber around every match, just hoping you get in position to do anything.

Just from personal experience, I have had plenty of games already where I would miss out on entire fights and gank opportunities because of how sluggish Illaoi Illaoi is. OK, fine. Everyone knows this champ is not the fastest thing in the world. But what about when she is close enough to make a move?

Laning as the Kraken Priestest

Let's start with her laning phase.

So laning phase-wise, top lane is her only logical place to go. Every other lane would not be that good for her.

At face value, Illaoi Illaoi has great wave clear with Prophet of an Elder God.png Tentacles, Tentacle Smash.png Tentacle Smash and Harsh Lesson.png Harsh Lesson to trigger extra slams from Prophet of an Elder God.png Tentacles. Test of Spirit.png Test of Spirit is a great harassing tool if you manage to nab the spirit out from a champion. The primary focus of the laning phase revolves being around Prophet of an Elder God.png Tentacles to damage and pressure your opponent, especially if you can use Test of Spirit.png Test of Spirit in conjunction.

But as a laner, how does she fare? So-so at best. And I say this while being generous. After all, for those of you who do not know, Illaoi Illaoi's laning is a two-way street to such an extreme that most other top laners do not even come close in comparison. But what do I mean?

Well, Illaoi Illaoi often dominates her laning phase to an almost (borderline) oppressive manner when she A) goes against an ideal lane opponent who cannot counter her Prophet of an Elder God.png Prophet of an Elder God gameplay and B) her opponent is either ignorant/incompetent to play against such gameplay. The B part is more important to keep in mind.

Just try a random game with Illaoi Illaoi if you want to see for yourself. If you play against someone who is an "easy" lane opponent for Illaoi Illaoi and does not understand how her kit works, relish in crushing your opponent. However, the opposite extreme is true as well. Any decent-and-up opponent, especially one who is good against Illaoi Illaoi, makes life hard for this champ that you might as well throw in the towel for the laning phase.

What constitutes a good opponent? One who adamantly goes after Prophet of an Elder God.png Tentacles to destroy them when safe, one who is wary of Test of Spirit.png Test of Spirit attempts... Basically, Illaoi Illaoi is a predictable puzzle to solve when you know how she works, so you have to pray your opponents do not know the solution beforehand or else.

Of course, I realize counterplay is always relevant for many champs of the roster. What I am trying to argue is that Illaoi Illaoi is her own victim to counterplay that it makes her relatively useless in the laning phase if someone exploits it.

Team Fighting as the Kraken Priestest

Illaoi Illaoi is a potential monster in team fights. The dream play is to create a spirit and then hit all five enemy champs with Leap of Faith.png Leap of Faith for mayhem and chaos everywhere. If you manage to get a few Harsh Lesson.png Harsh Lesson strikes in, most enemies will not survive. Champions will die if you manage to pull this off, but the underlying problem is IF you can. More often than not, it is tricky to execute.

You need: enemy champs clumped together (preferably in a narrow space), a complementing team comp that sets up this big plays and for Illaoi Illaoi to jump into the fray WHILE surviving the initial Leap of Faith.png Leap of Faith to make use of the Prophet of an Elder God.png Tentacles.

No one would deny that Illaoi Illaoi cannot do some crazy things, but trust me - this is harder to carry out CONSISTENTLY. I cannot count how many times I would attempt to do her ultimate combo, only to die after using the ult.

Illaoi Illaoi is a threat in team fights. Don't get me wrong. I just believe she has a lot of problems being relevant without a lot of help and careless behavior on your opponents' part. Clunky is an appropriate way to describe her presence in fights. And she is clunky in the sense that her means of battling is such a brute-like way of doing things without any elegance.

Random Ideas for Buffs/Quality of Life

Note: Keep in mind these are ideas for individual tweaks and not necessarily used in the context of dumping them onto Illaoi Illaoi all at once. So take these concepts with a grain of salt.

- I think the mana costs for most of her skills need slight reductions.

- The missing health recovery portion for Prophet of an Elder God.png Prophet of an Elder God (when tentacles hit enemy champs) should scale as the game goes on, probably with just current level by a few percentage points.

- Tentacle Smash.png Tentacle Smash could use some soft crowd control (why don't the tentacles slow or constrict movement?). Another idea that comes to mind would be to give this move armor shred or something. One problem I have with Illaoi Illaoi is how she has itemization issues. She is on the squishy side for a juggernaut if she goes pure damage, but then she doesn't do enough damage if she goes tanky. I think a middle ground could occur if her abilities were more forgiving with some changes.

- Alternatively, I think Tentacle Smash.png Tentacle Smash could trigger Prophet of an Elder God.png Prophet of an Elder God to slam if you hit an enemy champ with it.

- Harsh Lesson.png Harsh Lesson has an awkward feel to it. The animation needs more polish as it feels slightly unresponsive and just not smooth at times.

- Test of Spirit.png Test of Spirit should do the same slow for the same duration (the one triggered after the spirit dies) when you yank a spirit out. If Illaoi Illaoi cannot get crowd control elsewhere, she should have it on her most important skill then. I don't think it would be that bad regarding balance because other juggernauts have reliable crowd control that is easier to use. Letting Illaoi Illaoi slow a target with her trickiest skill to use seems justified.

- Leap of Faith.png Leap of Faith should make Illaoi Illaoi untargetable as she is using it.

- Leap of Faith.png Leap of Faith needs a slightly bigger area of effect to "check" for hit enemy champions. We all whiff near enemy champions somehow and spawn fewer Prophet of an Elder God.png Tentacles than we could make.

- Alternatively, Leap of Faith.png Leap of Faith could spawn a minimum amount of Prophet of an Elder God.png Tentacles (let's say at least two) for consistency after ulting.

Final Thoughts

Well, thank you for making it this far. I just felt like venting about Illaoi Illaoi. I do like playing her, but so much of my personal enjoyment stems from getting into games where I get to function as intended. If Riot Games made her less vulnerable to her own counterplay, she would be more than just a gimmicky, tough lady who can dish out a lot of damage or become useless if the opponents are not brain-dead, boosted monkeys.

Until then, have fun wrecking careless opponents with Illaoi Illaoi while being equally frustrated at people who know how to fight her.