Another patch means another champion! Which in turn means another first impressions. Let me just say that I am absolutely psyched to have a new mage. The last one we got was Orianna, and that was pre-Dreamhack. And no, Skarner doesn’t count because he’s some weird hybrid-y thing. So, does Xerath meet my reasonable expectations? Let’s find out.
First, let’s talk aesthetics. You guys know I’m a huge, huge fanboy of good design. … Which is precisely why it’s sad to say that, despite looking cool as hell, Xerath is lacking. For a being of pure energy, you’d assume he’d have some cool particle effects flying off him. Little sparks of lightning or something. What he does have, however, is easily the visually best taunt in the game. Xerath tries to break out of his shell, only for it to slam back together, sealing him momentarily. You can feel how badly this guy wants you dead. I like that.
His skins are also kind’a disappointing. And by ‘disappointing,’ I mean ‘I love the Earthrune/Runeborn ‘series’ that Skarner started, and I would never buy Xerath’s version.’ His actual body never changes, only the outside armor. Had they made (and forgive me, whoever came up with this idea, because I forgot who you were) his body green and red for Runeborn and Battlecast respectively? That would have been cool. In the end, his look has a lot of unused potential.
Now, I’m going to assume you’ve all seen the champion spotlight (or at least the ‘A New Champion Approaches’ post) and know his abilities, so I’ll skip on that so we can hit up the gameplay section. To put it simply, Xerath hits like an angry truck that happens to have a magical artillery cannon on the back; if you can hit someone with all three shots of your ultimate, they will die. Stack ability power and mana regen items. Also, I’ve only played him on Dominion so I have no Classic-specific advice.
Speaking of Dominion, you’ll want to send him bottom. He’s an excellent defender who can easily hold out until your buddies show up to smash some faces in and is great at stopping captures with his crazy range. With enough ability power, he’s surprisingly tanky from his passive, which gives him staying power. Best bet for summoner spells would probably be Garrison/Promote and Ghost. Both of the Dominion-only spells have saved me a lot, and Xerath could really use the extra speed from Ghost to get into position.
To sum things up, Xerath is fun as hell. He looks cool, but there’s something lacking in his animations and whatnot. He’ll take some getting used to, but once you do, you’ll be bursting dudes down in no time. If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to get in contact with me. As always, thanks for reading, and have a good’un.