KIT AND DESIGN
I think I speak for a lot of people when I say that I would enjoy her kit and design just as much even if it weren’t for the brutal numbers she is executing right now. And yes I picked the word executing for a reason. After playing a lot of games of Heroes, MOBAs, whatever, when you get given a character with such abilities, you know you’re in for a good time. The spells synergise in the most satisfying way, that even if the numbers get tweaked, i’ll still play her a great deal.
Magic Missile gives a good sense of flexibility, and as much as there are lots of people out there who are big fans of level 16 Diamond Skin, i’m a lover of Mirrorball. Some people like Calamity (admittedly I too take it sometimes now depending on the situation) at level 7, but my first pick was Seeker. Yes I like to live “dangerously”, if you can call combo-ing from the back line 1 kilometer away dangerous.
I say I like to live on the more hazardous side, but I prefer Illusionist over Glass Cannon at 13. Extra mobility for me is a big deal when it comes to heroes, especially when that extra mobility can come before the usual pick on other heroes, level 20 Bolt of the Storm. Illusionist makes Li-Ming feel almost unkillable even without the other Teleport talents, increasing her mobility as a base, then even further if in peril with the instant CD refresh.
It’s already been mentioned by Dbro himself that Ess of Johan for Arcane Orb is going to be looked at, as it allows the Combos from an early stage of a game to be hit a little too easily, reducing her skill cap. Ultimately I have to agree. With the range at which you can cast and combo the abilities, as well as their very low mana cost overall (which probably should be looked at too), you can just throw the synced up spells every other Magic Missile cooldown and almost guarantee yourself 50-60% of a support or assassin’s health.
The two abilities above give her a very powerful level of push early against structures. The enemy team needs to pay close attention to which lane Li-Ming is in, otherwise you will lose your towers rapidly. My early game Li-Ming strategy right now revolves around finding vulnerable
I’ve already mentioned a few of the Teleport talents above which are my choices or some that people feel are popular. A lot of people are particularly fond of the Calamity build, which currently works because her base damage is more than enough to make her viable. Teleport however give Li-Ming a very strong and responsive answer to avoiding threats during teamfights and a brilliant resource to allow her to extend that little bit further when sieging. You’re already out of range of Towers and Forts when pushing them solo, then as long as you’re not being flanked, threats emerging from the same lane are neutralized completely by Teleport, mount up, run away. The Calamity talent can feel like a pretty strong finisher when heading into a 1v1 situation, or dealing with a pest that is trying to give your back-line for you. Be wary though, not the best “finisher” when in a tight teamfight situation, stay at good distance because even an asthmatic child’s cough will knock you down to death-timer town.
Alright juicy time. Disintegrate being the first of her heroic abilities, and as you probably know by now, the most popular choice by quite a margin. With a 20 second cooldown I observe a lot of Li-Ming’s actually not popping it as often as they should. Even to clear mercenary camps it definitely has a lot of viability. Outside of that utility though, it’s a great follow up to the Arcane Orb, Magic Missile combo. Then at level 20, Temporal Flux makes this spell godlike. Slowing people for 60% movement speed after landing a first kill with a combo, Teleporting aggressively and capturing another person in the beam for your team to swoop in is extremely strong. Initially when I was playing Li-Ming I thought Tal Rasha’s Elements would be the clear choice, and while it is strong, Temporal Flux allows for so much more kill potential.
Wave of Force is something that has gone completely unnoticed, for the most part. Sadly the level 10 version of the ability doesn’t provide anywhere near the kill potential of Disintegrate unless you are pin-point accurate with it’s cast, to knock back players in to your combo. But even then, you risk putting yourself in danger because of the range at which you may cast it. I suppose the level 10 version is more for your own safety than anything. If your patience can hold up though, and you manage to get to level 20, Repulsion is surprisingly strong. Bakery and I were theorising the applications of it, and it can actually blow up high hp targets 95% of the time if you cast it correctly behind a target when combo-ing them. Food for thought.
I don’t really need to detail the power of Critical Mass, her trait. Let’s put it this way; Li-Ming is like a snowball, more like an avalanche, if the avalanche were made entirely of rusty needles about to implode in on themselves.
All regions, 2nd ban or first pick potential in her current state (writing this on 09/02/16, before the potential balance changes this week). I say 2nd ban because right now in the meta, with only 1 ban each early on, being the first team to ban gives you a huge advantage. A common first ban now can be something like Zagara or Kael’Thas, for you to them force your opponents to ban either Rehgar or Li-Ming. In which case, you can pick up the remaining member of the cast to be your MVP.
COMPOSITION AND PLAY?
I don’t feel there are any map restrictions for her currently. Her siege potential is so strong and makes up for any inadequacies in objective control that could be an issue.
With her current threat level, Li-Ming can open up a different combination of heroes and role choices when she actually gets through the initial ban phase of the draft. We’ve already seen heroes like Cho’gall actually have play this patch, and I could foresee a dream draft where you take as strong a backline as Li-Ming, with a sturdy tank and then off-tank to supplement, which could come in the role of Cho if their comp doesn’t have a correct counter drafted. Admittedly, there are many, but teams are caring less and less about some of them recently.
There are few threats to Li-Ming going into a game when it comes to straight up team fighting. The main one though is flanks and heavy divers. Vision is very important for her to feel safe in the back line and thus pump out as much damage as physically possible without being interrupted. Choices like Zagara and Tassadar to compliment her, providing her that little extra vision, and in Tassadar’s case even stealth detection, are very strong additions to her companions. As for dive protection, this comes back to warriors helping out, peeling and aiding her survival. a well coordinated stun from for example a Muradin, then a Teleport away from the target, into blowing that target up for over-extending makes for a tasty treat.
Also pick Rehgar because the reincarnation of Green Jesus is here, even though Thrall isn’t dead yet in the meta. 2 Jesuses are better than 1!
It probably goes without saying that Li-Ming requires a few changes here and there. Ess of Johan as we already pointed out is one that will take a blow. Mana cost might be increased a small pinch, damage numbers slightly decreased. Maybe a slight increase on the cooldown of her Heroics so they can’t be used so flippantly outside of a team fight, because there it doesn’t matter about the CD unless we end up in a very sustain-heavy meta.
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