Red Post Collection: Soraka and Viktor Champion Updates

Posted on at 1:04 PM by Moobeat
This afternoon's red post collection features an official rundown and context on both the Soraka and Viktor gameplay updates that are coming to live in patch 4.17!
Continue reading for more information!



Champion Update: Soraka, The Starchild

First up is Vesh's  gameplay focused update for Soraka, The Starchild, including extensive changes to her passive, Q, and E abilities!
"Two years after brushing up her visuals, we’re taking a second look at the goatiest of champions, Soraka! This time the Champion Update team’s focusing on her gameplay, so while her bananas stay the same, we’re updating and tweaking a few of her abilities. Here’s the rundown!

Abilities

Passive: Luminary

Salvation: Soraka gains significant movement speed when she moves towards heavily wounded allies.

Q: Starcall

Soraka calls down a meteor at a target location, damaging all enemies caught by the explosion and dealing extra damage and a slow to enemies directly under the impact.

W: Astral Infusion

Passive: Soraka heals herself whenever she hits an enemy champion with Starcall.
Active: Soraka sacrifices her own health to heal a nearby ally.

E: Equinox

Soraka briefly conjures a celestial zone at a target location. Enemies standing above the zone are silenced until they leave, while if they’re standing above Equinox when it collapses, they’re briefly rooted.

R: Wish

Soraka summons a global heal for all allied champions. Heavily wounded allies gain extra health.

Laning


Soraka’s a support who works best in the immediately proximity of her marksman. Here she can keep her lane partner healthy with Astral Infusion before turning to Starcall to damage the enemy bot lane champions and restore some of her own health. Equinox has serious potential to win trades, too – casting it beneath an enemy AD caster (Graves and Varus, for example) greatly reduces their damage output, while using it beneath the enemy support cuts off their ability to use their array of abilities and summoner spells. 
Equinox can be a lifesaver when the enemy jungler comes in to gank, too. Whenever Soraka casts the portal along the jungler’s attack route, she effectively forces them to choose between a longer gank path and the ability’s silence/snare gauntlet. Additionally, if her marksman’s already close to death but closer to the relative safety of their tower, then the speed boost from Salvation helps Soraka motor away from her enemies. Of course, if all else fails, Soraka can break the emergency glass and hit the big red Wish button to buy her allies a few extra seconds of life. 

Teamfights


Soraka’s teamfight presence relies on sharp decision-making and making the most of Astral Infusion’s extremely low cooldown. Though she’s generally better off sticking close to – and healing up – her team’s backline, Salvation gives her enough movement speed to fly to the frontline and heal her suffering tanks. This presents risks, though: without the extra movement speed, she returns to her team’s backline – and safety – relatively slowly, giving the enemy team plenty of opportunities to wade in and cut her down. Soraka can diminish this threat by casting Equinox on the battle’s frontline, hopefully dissuading all but the most determined assassins from bursting through to kill her. 
Finally, Wish has enough raw power to turn around seemingly lost fights. Timing is critical: using it early on tops off health and keeps the momentum of a fight in your team’s hands, but saving it until the last moment grants significantly more health and can fully dispirit a confident enemy team. 

Champion Insights

Soraka, designed by Vesh 
Healers. Healers healers healers. 
We’ve talked a bunch previously about healing being an (ironically) unhealthy mechanic in League. If hurting your enemies is fun – and it totally is – then presumably seeing them get unhurt is... unfun? Our more recent champion kits revolve around temporarilyblocking damage and shields rather than straight up undoing pain. But what about Soraka, League’s principal healer? Topping up health is an integral part of her kit, so we set about exploring numerous kit and mechanical ideas to see where we could take her. Ultimately, we concluded that a heal-centric kit could work just fine in League – we just need to implement it correctly and add in elements of risk to what has traditionally been a very safe, non-interactive action. 
So how did we do that with Soraka? First off, we hit her primary heal’s range. Now she needs to get into the thick of a fight to heal her allies, meaning enemies can easily switch targets and start attacking her instead. Secondly, we changed Astral Infusion so it now costs mana and health. While this is pretty cool thematically, it also means that Soraka isn’t just a health battery. She has to be careful with her casts - heal too much and she becomes an easy kill for the enemy team. We balanced this out with Starcall, which is no longer a “spam Q and deal a bunch of damage and MR shred” ability. Instead, it takes skill to land, and she’ll deal decent damage while restoring her own health, making her key combat loop genuinely interactive. Soraka now has to heal at the appropriate time with Astral Infusion before successfully landing Starcall to return some of her lost health.

That’s it for Soraka, who’s taking on a more active role during all stages of the game, and who’ll have to think carefully about the timing and target of her heals. Check out the Viktor Update article for more news from the Champion Update team! If that doesn’t scratch your itch, then hang tight – we have some pretty... big... news coming.
Be sure to check out our PBE coverage for numbers, additional preview videos, and more!


Champion Update: Viktor, The Machine Herald

Next we have the Viktor update, including a look at his new splash art, updated textures, and Solcrushed with context on his gameplay changes!
"Proving it’s not just League’s exoskeletal beings that can evolve, we’re pushing a retooled Viktor through the Champion Update pipeline and onto live. We’ve given him a fresh coat of paint, updated most of his abilities, and completely changed how his passive and Hex Core work - behold the details of Viktor’s glorious evolution! 

Abilities


Passive: Glorious Evolution

Viktor begins the game with a Hex Core, a unique item that can be upgraded three times during the course of the game.

Q: Siphon Power

Viktor creates a shield around him and blasts an enemy unit with a round of magic damage. Additionally, Viktor deals bonus magic damage with his next basic attack.

Augment: Turbocharge – Siphon Power gives Viktor a moderate movement speed boost on cast.

W: Gravity Field

Viktor creates a gravitational field at a target location, slowing all non-friendly units inside it. The field triggers after a few seconds, stunning all caught enemies.

Augment: Implosion – The gravitational field sucks all caught enemies toward its center as it triggers.

E: Death Ray

Viktor fires a beam of energy across the battleground, damaging all enemies caught.

Augment: Aftershock – The beam of energy explodes a moment after being cast, dealing a further round of damage. Enemies caught by both rounds take reduced damage from the explosion.

R: Chaos Storm

Viktor creates an electrical storm at a target location that interrupts all nearby enemy channels and deals damage over time to all caught targets. Viktor can move the storm at will, though it loses movement speed as it travels farther from him.
Augment: Velocity – Chaos Storm moves slightly faster at all times.

Augments

Viktor’s augments offer him unique ways to tailor his kit towards specific playstyles and situations. If the enemy team’s built for skirmishing, Viktor can augment Siphon Power to speed him out of combat, or Death Ray to create zones of denial around his or the enemy’s team. On the other hand, if his team has the makings of a wombo combo comp, Viktor can augment Gravity Field to cluster the enemy team together, opening the door for his team’s successive cycle of violence. Most importantly, these augments can be used together once Viktor has spent the required gold, giving him plenty of extra ability power, mana, and utility. Finally, once Viktor augments all three of his basic abilities, he automatically augments Chaos Storm with the Velocity upgrade. 

Laning


Viktor’s a sustained damage mage who thrives in the solo lanes of Summoner’s Rift. He trades effectively with Siphon Power, taking advantage of the shield to absorb his lane opponent’s assault as he deals his initial salvo. Crucially, Viktor wins hardest by staying close to his enemy following Siphon Power, triggering the Lich Bane-level boost on his next basic attack to inflict further damage. With clever positioning, Viktor can follow up with Death Ray to last hit minions and whittle down the enemy champion even more. However, the ability’s raw power often pushes the lane, forcing the relatively immobile Viktor far from his tower. If this attracts the enemy jungler’s attention, Viktor has another hex-tech trick up his sleeve in the shape of Gravity Field, which he can place along his escape path to deter his aggressors.

Teamfights


Chaos Storm thrives once teams start grouping together, giving Viktor the chance to wreak en masse carnage. Though unleashing it after an augmented Gravity Field offers ideal conditions for maximizing its damage output, Chaos Storm dishes out enough area of effect damage on its own to deny Viktor’s enemies zone control and end enemy chases. Death Ray gains huge power in clustered teamfights, too – with accurate casts, Viktor can send its withering line of destruction across the entire enemy backline, dealing scathing damage to multiple enemy squishies. 

Champion Insights


Viktor, gameplay design by Solcrushed 
So, why Viktor? Seems pretty clear, right? He’s not League’s most popular champion, and his unique tools aren’t great. But before we started tinkering, we set out some clear problem areas and goals for the update. Here’s what we ended up with. 
First, we wanted to update Viktor so he fundamentally achieved his design fantasy of an evolving and customizable creator. Old Viktor frankly failed at this fantasy: he had one solid upgrade path, two crappy ones, and could only augment himself oncethrough the course of the game. We wanted to recreate the creator’s creative side, and decided to take him back to the drawing board for a fundamental update to his augment system. 
So where did we start? Well, instead of just making each augment equally viable, we decided to overhaul the entire system and allow Viktor players to augment each of his basic abilities through the course of the game. There’s no level gate – only gold, so while you could theoretically augment all of his abilities before buying a single item, it’s down to the player to decide when, how and even if they’ll spend their hard-earned gold on augments. 
And what about those augments? Well, first off, each upgrade gives flat AP and mana, so they most definitely improve the big metal man. Secondly, the ability improvements aren’t all “ermagerd ma ferce ers meltin” powerful - but that’s not the point. They’re situational, so you can tailor your abilities to press your advantages or relieve your team’s weaknesses as the game ebbs and flows. Essentially, you can customize your Viktor when and how you see fit. 
Our second goal with the update was to create a better sense of flow between Viktor’s abilities. Old Viktor’s abilities made very little sense when used in conjunction with each other. Siphon Power, for instance, had the shortest range and gave Viktor a speed boost and shield, letting him... run away after dealing damage? To help remedy this, we gave Siphon Power (and Gravity Field) extra range, so he can now use his abilities together and better define the range at which he fights. We also added an on-hit effect to Siphon Power, so Viktor players can now choose what to do after using their Q! Maybe you’ll want to play safe by staying back, or maybe you’ll want to head into dangerous territory, risking the enemy’s attacks so you can punish your target with your empowered basic attack. Ultimately, by standardizing the range of Viktor’s abilities and giving him more reasons to cycle in his basic attacks between ability casts, we’re hoping to create a more cohesive and interactive champion.
That’s about it for now! New Viktor should have smoother gameplay, a compelling unique item, and feel more like the improvable being he was made to be. Give him a go and let us know what you think of him! Otherwise, head over to the Soraka Update article for more news from the Champion Update team! If that doesn’t scratch your itch, then hang tight – we have some pretty... big... news coming."
Be sure to check out our PBE coverage for additional preview videos and more!

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