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Flow - A new mechanic, a missed opportunity imo

SirAston February 4, 2014 User blog:SirAston

Greetings, Citizens of the Internet!

So, Yasuo Yasuo has been released, people played him, they hated him. Now people played him for longer and knows how he should be handled, now his enemies hate him even more than the players earlier. But this is not a "Hate Yasuo"-blogpost, I'll leave that to the other 99.99% of the LoLwiki-user.

Why do I mention him, then? Well, if you can't read a title, tough luck. I'm talking about the new mechanic introduced, fitting, since dem gangsta don't have Way of the Wanderer.png da flo' just Miss Fortune fo' sho'.

Stating the non-obviously obvious

First, one has to do a closer look at one of the thing that makes League of Legends interesting as a game. It's the synergy of binary stats, meaning that Health, Secondary Resources and Cooldown affect each other and are affected by influences from outside. This may sound obvious, but it's so obvious that one must call it out to make it obvious again because it's often overlooked because of sheer obviousness.

In short: Health states when you're out for several seconds, with the punishment getting longer the further in we are in the game. Health also states your rate of success with pretty much everything: When you gank, attack, put pressure on the enemy etc., it's very dynamic.

Secondary Resources, mainly Mana, but also Energy, Heat, Fury, Ferocity, Iron Man.png Iron Man and Blood Well.png Blood Well have some dynamic binarity going on, too (Shadow Dance.png stacks Rampant Growth.png limiting Excessive Force.png abilities H-28G Evolution Turret.png are Noxious Trap.png tertiary Missile Barrage.png resources). Mana limits your long-term attacks, Energy limits your short-term attacks. Fury, Blood Well and Iron Man need to be build up to be useful for the user while decaying when not being in a fight for too long, mixing short-term and long-term goals together. Heat and Ferocity change how you approach your target within seconds.

Cooldown makes it so that you don't faceroll to victory. They limit your approach to problems even with full health and secondary resources at their optimum value while adding a dynamic counterplay-possibility where champions with long CDs are usually strong, but weak to retaliation. Some champions have Cooldowns as their Secondary Resources, giving CDR a doubled need for their abilities, since those champs tend to have longer-than-usual CDs and/or low-CD-abilities that are risky, like Katarina's Sinister Steel.png Sinister Steel (a squishy being close is always troublesome) or Garen's Decisive Strike.png Decisive Strike (it's inherently strong, but it has Delay Cooldown and it's Garen's only good escape).

And now, Yasuo happened. And uses that trifecta of binary synergy as his personal onahole.

Why Yasuo breaks that Synergy

Alright, I lied, a bit of Yasuo-bashing will happen now, but after that, I'm getting to the actual topic, promised.

Yasuo is a high mobility-assassin with melee ADC-flavour without secondary resources. Oh, he's limited by Cooldown? True, but CDR is useless on him, since it would only affect his only defensive ability (and good assassins only need to have defenses active once per kill) and his ult (which has a low cooldown anyway). His Steel Tempest.png bread-and-butter-ability has some CD, but that's getting better by building AS. Which comes naturally with most AD-items that are tailored towards ADCs. Which he is, just in melee and on steroids, thanks to his Q being the same as a basic attack, giving him more AS than his AS-stat shows.

Of course, he's squishy... but his innate shields his health for some time and can be refilled by walking and dashing. Meaning that he, as long as he is on a lane and has minions nearby, will have low risks and high rewards.

He's also capable of tower-hugging and still farming well under a tower, similar to Irelia Irelia. And because of his Wind Wall.png Anti-Poke/Anti-Kite, he can do that while still forcing his enemies to take risks in the form of tower-diving if they want him to stop. Which they want, because a fed Yasuo is nigh-unstoppable and can backdoor hard.


Yasuo's Flow. Really, Rito Gaemz?

Don't get me wrong. Despite my rant, I like Yasuo. I just dislike the combination of his whole kit. That and Flow being boring as hell.

Yasuo manages to have the only singular resource in the entire game. Flow recharges by walking and dashing and gives Yasuo a shield on-reaction. Flow is not full? Doesn't matter, just walk a bit more or dash around the enemy while he tries to target and hit you. You'll lose a bit of health anyway while dueling, with or without Flow, so Yasuo-Duels are pretty much the same every time.


A resource that replenishes by walking and ability-based dashing could be make interesting and it isn't that hard to do. How so? I'll tell you...

Flow as a Cost

Imagine that Yasuo needs to pay with some Flow to use his basic abilities (like any other manaless-champion, his ult don't need to have any secondary resources-costs). This makes his mobility a necessity rather than an option and makes CC a harsher punishment, giving him more risk for his high reward. But how should that interact with his shield? That's actually easy to handle: As long as he has his shield up, he has no costs for his abilities. This makes destroying his bubble more effective than the typical "poke and make the bubble disappear"-strategy involved against Yasuo. It also increases Yasuo's risks further by increasing his difficulty, since this usage of Flow would make him defenseless after the shield is down, essentially giving him the same questions any other assassin has to ask himself: "Talon Can I kill him by going all-in or Ezreal should I play it safe first?"

Flow as an Enhancer

I don't know how to exactly implement it (maybe by drawing a line Death Ray.png Death Ray-style), but why not making Yasuo use his Flow to increase the length he can Sweeping Blade.png dash? He may have to drop the shield, but he has variable dashing now, retaining his fixed dash when only clicking an enemy but making the dash longer, enabling daring escapes and spectacular chases.

Either that or it makes the third usage of his Q longer. Or wider.

Flow as a non-bubble buff

Similar to the Enhancer, Yasuo gains a buff for a short time as soon as he has full Flow. A MS-steroid would be appropriate and the minion-less escape possibilities could justify the lack of a bubble. I could also imagine a AS-steroid upon attacking with a full Flow-bar (it is questionable if that steroid should affect the CD of his Q, though). Or make the Wind Wall a half-circle and/or a temporary terrain with the usual projectile-block. Or high tenacity upon getting strucked with CC (or even a pseudo-Cleanse if Yasuo needs lots of moving and dashing to fill it).

In the end...

... Flow is boring and too linear for a dynamic game like LoL.

Let me know in your comments if you agree with my ideas or think that Flow is fine as it is. Heck, HATE me in your comments if you're completely disagreeing with me, I don't mind because I like to hear your opinions on this topic.

Happy Leagueing!

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