New Champ Syndrome

So the new “League of Legends” patch just came out, and of course this means Riot Games has released another champion into the game: Draven, The Glorious Executioner. I have only played in a few matches with/against Draven so far, but he looks like a really neat and genuinely interesting character. He appears to be a great addition to the roster, or so it seems.

However, with Draven’s release comes another case of something I wish I had a proper name for, but it is something that I have noticed since the first time I played LoL a few years back. And this is …  the strange phenomenon of people suddenly forgetting their fundamentals the moment they pick a new character to play.

Like seriously, I wish I knew the official term for this strange situation, if such a term even exists. It boggles my mind to no end. What I am referring to is a normal player, just a regular person who is Level 30, queuing up and then deciding to use a brand-new character, regardless if this champ is free or is just someone they recently unlocked. And then this player usually becomes a deer in the headlights, performing so poorly that you think they were a Level 1 player or something. I will just coin it as “New Champ Syndrome” for a lack of an established term.

And sure, this may sound like I am just bagging on people for struggling with a champion they are unfamiliar with, so please let me elaborate. I am well aware people are going to have some initial learning curve woes to overcome with any new champion. You have to get used to how a character moves, the range of their skills, how to use said skills and so forth. But this is not the area of concern I am emphasizing here. I believe everyone should have some leeway with their first trials with a new champion, and so I do not expect people to become masters quickly. Granted, I believe a lot of players overthink a lot of champions and their “complicated” mechanics, but this is another rant for another time.

Well anyway, what I am really stressing here is the stuff outside of the new champion’s skill-set: the in-game fundamentals. You know … last hitting, zoning, knowing when to Dragon and all that jazz. It is like some players just discard everything they learned up to this point of their LoL careers when they decide to select a new champ. Their minds become so wrapped around getting the hang of their new character that they turn absentminded over stuff they should know in their sleep. It makes no sense!

For instance, let’s say you are going to pick the new champion Draven, and your bot lane opponent happens to have Blitzcrank. OK, so common sense would dictate that you be wary of Blitzcrank’s Rocket Grab. If you were any other ranged AD champ like Ashe or Vayne, you would be making sure Blitzcrank does not have a clear angle to pull you toward him to sock you.

But hey, this player is Draven now! Because Draven is “new,” it suddenly becomes an excuse to disregard the presence of Blitzcrank and his robotic arm of death! It is now time to neglect doing standard tactics like hiding behind the minion wave for protection!

BUT I AM THE NEW CHARACTER!

No, this is a stupid and bad excuse! Yeah, you may be playing as a new character, so are the fundamentals just tossed out the window now?

I see this all the freakin’ time for every given role available in LoL. Oh man, I am playing a new mage! I suddenly forgot that Annie can still drop Tibbers on me if I get too close to her! Oh, I am now up at top lane with a bruiser I have never played before! I am going to forget warding the river for possible ganks from the enemy jungler!

In other words, I think the new champion excuse should not be linked to a player being sloppy with the fundamentals that should be deeply ingrained in them after countless games of LoL. People may be using a character that is foreign to them, but you, individually as the player, should not be foreign to the game of LoL itself.

You should know better than to put yourself in a spot where you can be reached by Blitzcrank’s grab. You should know better than to let Annie just dunk Tibbers on your head. You should know better than to push up the lane too far when someone is called “MIA.” You should know better than to engage an important team fight without all your allies grouped up. I could list every LoL 101 concept and scenario here, but I still stand by my point: the individual player should never forget their fundamentals, regardless of their character.

You could be playing a champion for the first time ever or it could be your 1,000th time, but in-game fundamentals are, well, fundamental for a reason. It is your job as the player to execute these fundamentals to the best of your ability. :)

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