So Udyr is getting a few buffs thrown his way and people's reactions to them are mixed. Some see it as an overall nerf and some see it as a buff. I do see some as nerfs and I see some as buffs and I see some that people think are nerfs as just changes. I'll give you my opinions on the new Udyr.
I'll breakdown Udyr's buffs and nerfs into lists and then individually talk about them.
- (Bear) Movement speed increase
- (Bear) Mana cost reduction
- (Bear) No Minion Collision
- (Bear) Tiny Gap Closing Bear Slap
- (Monkey) Movement Speed - stacking
- (Phoenix) Vomits fire in the first attack in addition to normal
- (Phoenix) Ratio increased on Phoenix fire vomit
- (Phoenix) Mana cost reduction
- (Tiger) Mana cost reduction
- (Turtle) Attacks can crit now
- (Turtle) Base value increase
- (Turtle) Mana cost reduction
- (Bear) Wording changed to "basic attacks" instead of "mauls target"
- (Bear) Duration nerfed
- (Monkey) Resistances removed
- (Phoenix) Small AP ratio reduction on fire aura
- (Phoenix) AP and AD bonus removed
- (Turtle) No more mana restore
- (Tiger) Damage changed to physical damage instead of magic
First things first while it may seem to favor buffs over nerfs it's not the quantity that matters it's the quality! Let's go into what the buffs and nerfs all mean.
Overall mana cost reduction
This one is pretty much a no brainer. Udyr has always had mana issues and this will certainly help him with his dismal mana pool early. Not much else to say here except that it's a simple yet very welcome change. It is very necessary due to the nerf on Turtle.
Udyr now gains stacking movement speed from his passive alongside the fact that Bear's movement speed bonus was also increased. If you combine this with the fact that Bear now ignores unit collision and has a mini gap closer tacked on it Udyr's ganking power, chasing power and even dueling power has increased ten fold. He's very mobile now and may even be able to maintain 3 stacks of his passive while traveling through camps if he does it right thus increasing his clearing speed as well.
Turtle mode can crit now
This is actually one of the more potentially powerful buffs for Udyr. The base value has increased too but it's rather negligible. The point is he can crit now and Udyr would, at best, only build a little bit of crit through Trinity Force. This buff, in combination with another will open up a potentially powerful build path for him.
Phoenix activates on first attack now (also AP ratio increase)
Alright this one is very important for multiple reasons. First it will increase his clearing potential due to the bonus damage being quicker - it's as simple as that. Second it will greatly increase the ganking power of Phoenix as the powerful damage is now frontloaded in addition to working normally. The movement speed increase from the passive will make it easier for Udyr to do this too. It will also make Udyr's stand dancing with Phoenix a lot more spammable as you don't have to worry about counting your attacks before switching.
However the potential interaction with turtle is what interests me at the moment. I almost feel it can be enhanced by items such as Nashor's Tooth to create Udyr into a glorious split pushing machine. I know he can already do this but it would be ridiculous to send him over the edge. As for Turtle - you can build a Shiv on him and not waste the crit stance while you're boxing in Turtle. You can swap between Turtle and Phoenix non stop while pushing and stay at high health while grinding down minions thanks to the combination of Phoenix fire breath on first attack, the fire aura that stays when you switch and shiv. Also remember that Turtle has an AP ratio as well. Phoenix + Turtle have always had more synergy than Tiger + Turtle.
Negligible numbers nerfs
The .05 nerf on the Phoenix fire aura is so diminutive it's hardly worth mentioning. It's completely overwhelmed by the instant fire breath. The bear duration reduction is also not too important seeing as you often just spam that spell and it only affects the later ranks.
Monkey resistances removed
I have mixed feelings about this nerf. On one hand its replacement is so good and you never really noticed the resistances until much later in the game yet being tanky and taking a barrage of hell during a fight would help you with the fact that you will be taking more damage than you should due to being melee and having no gap closer. It's a nerf those to his tankiness but I feel the trade is definitely better.
Turtle mana restore removed
They compensated this nerf with reduced mana costs but it really isn't enough if you're laning. I think they decided to take a dumb on lane Udyr. I personally won't care much since I jungle but I can understand why people would be upset. This makes items like sheen a lot more attractive on Udyr of course and you might as well purchase Frozen Fist on him considering it's actually really good on him. Overall it's more of a nerf to the lane Udyrs than it is to the junglers.
Phoenix AD and AP bonuses removed
The bonuses were removed though to be honest the weak ratio on Phoenix never really took much advantage of the bonuses Phoenix gave it and the AD was never really all that high at points in the game where it could make a real difference. These nerfs are compensated by the ratio buff on Phoenix and its earlier fire breath buff. It won't affect his clearing speed for those reasons. Most people didn't even know they received these bonuses by they way. It was amusing when people found out "where am I getting this AP/AD?" then I tell them to read Phoenix carefully and they're surprised.
Alright so that takes care of the buffs and nerfs. Overall I think Udyr has received a lot of good buffs that completely negate the nerfs he received. However the next one is what convinces people that it is an overall nerf to Udyr. I have mixed feelings about it but I strongly stand by the fact that UDYR WAS OVERALL BUFFED. It definitely makes him stronger early game than late game but at the very least having more builds options open up will allow his late game options to open up as well.
Tiger damage changed to physical
The Tiger damage change to physical instead of magic affects both the jungle and the lane but moreso the lane. The players who believe it's a nerf are neglecting the fact that Udyr has Phoenix to run around as anyways. Udyr has always been a champion of two forms. His Phoenix was the better tank and overall more efficient while also being the stronger jungler yet Tiger outright slaughtered most opponents and was the better laning spec.
When it came to laning against Udyr, one would have to buy two types of resistances in order to deal with Udyr's Tiger barrage. Now one will have an easier time optimizing vs him in a lane. Players see this as a nerf because Udyr can't bully people as easily anymore.
However there is one thing they're not giving much credit to. Udyr's damage options have always been quite limited (few options) and some of the options he did take were either not fully taken advantage of by him and/or have since been nerfed. The change to physical means he can itemize like the bruisers that exist right now and take advantage of all that delicious armor pen. He can take more cost effective offensive builds now too. Yes it nerfed his laning somewhat but it feels like an overall jungle buff and mid-late game buff instead.
As I said - I think these changes are an overall buff to Udyr. Whether or not Tiger's change ends up nerfing him is still up to practice and experience once he's out but I feel it will end up affecting his laning more than his jungling. Phoenix and Bear still received some glorious buffs while Turtle got a balance nerf while still remaining as strong as ever. Monkey was change more for offense than defense as well. I don't know about you but I really want to try a split pushing Udyr build now with Nashor's and Shiv.
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