Zac and Udyr - First Impressions

Well the new patch has brought us a lot of goodies to play with most noticeably the new champion, Karma and Udyr. I haven't played Karma or had much experience with her so I can't really say much about her. On the other hand both Udyr and Zac have been popping up in games here and there and I can give my opinion on them and feel rather confident in some strong first observations. I've played both as well and can indulge my opinions of them with overall strong jungle experience. Due to LoLreplaying dying - I don't have any updated footage of either of them.

First and foremost the new Udyr is definitely a different yet similar beast. I'm not sure how to go about describing certain things but his power in certain aspects has been relocated.

Mobility - It's outright insane right now. Udyr, with his new passive and levels in bear, just zooms through the map. It's insane how much ground Udyr can cover in short time. His little gap closer (albeit bugged) is also insanely useful for ganking. No more will you miss a bear slap because you were a hair away from the slap.

On the contrary, Udyr still suffers from the issue of being kited like hell. This doesn't seem something they'll ever fix. It's made worse by the fact that League of Gap Closers still laughs at him at every chance it gets. Udyr became much stronger at ganks but his team fighting is still botchy because of kiting.

Pushing - His pushing has always been insane but dear god did the change just send it spiraling into stupid mode. I tried my experimental split push build and a wave was basically insta-gibbed whenever it popped up. Nashor's Tooth Udyr was amazing at pushing (meh at team fights) and there was almost nothing the enemy team could do about it. I'd run if they came to fight me and then just go back to pushing.

On the contrary, despite having his stance costs lowered he is running into mana issues early. It's gotten pretty bad in some cases and I even had to rob a second blue in order to sustain my mana hunger. I think this still needs a buff of some kind. He is very starved without mana regen early and even into mid game. Spamming abilities in order to push will destroy him early.

Clearing - His first clear is still relatively the same in both Phoenix and Tiger. He takes more damage due to not using Turtle as much or having increased resistances. However he starts clearing at an insane pace (better in Phoenix) the more ranks he gains in his abilities. He becomes much faster than he ever was.

On the contrary, his dueling did take a dive as he's weaker in a straight out duel vs other junglers now. Tiger is relatively unaffected by this and only really takes more damage now but can stick to someone better but Phoenix did become noticeably worse. The bonus stats from Phoenix helped Udyr slap some opponents around and was more useful than the Phoenix fire vomit when dueling. When I picked a fight with a fatty this became quickly apparent and just backed off before his teammates arrived. Phoenix's dueling definitely became weaker though going from S rank duelist to A rank duelist isn't a bad thing.

Though on a note that is just flat out disappointing is that his builds are still on the more expensive side. He either needs a lot of murder gold or insane amounts of farm to get going. His split push build seems to be rather inexpensive but it's really not that strong for team fights unless you can somehow not get focused. His mana issues (which remain for a good part of the game) demand that he get some form of mana in some way. That directs him into certain builds whether he likes it or not.

Overall I can't really say if it was ultimately the best buffs but they feel nice. I at least have better chances of obtaining murder gold and using items to pad some deficiencies now.

As far as Zac goes he so far feels rather powerful. In my opinion he leans towards the potentially overpowered side. I'll just do a quick breakdown of the usefulness of his abilities and some of his aspect strengths. His recent buffs before release definitely helped him as he was underwhelming in his first iteration.

His passive, the healing portion of it, is really stupid. It doesn't help him jungle or anything really until much later on when it wouldn't matter. It's not relatively useful in fights either because of all the pandemonium. However his "Anivia passive" portion is great for turret diving obviously and it's also great for baiting opponents. What else can you say about a Guardian Angel passive?

His Q is pretty much trash. It's crappy range and animation screw it over. It does almost does no damage and, as a result, I just leave it at rank 1.

His W is his bread and butter damage ability and helps his clearing speed immensely as it gains more ranks. What else can be said about % health damage? It definitely deals hefty damage the more prolonged a fight is at the cost of his own health.

His E is just stupidly good. Hel his entire ganking aspect will be condensed into this explanation. I rank E up first (though I put 2 points into W first) because it increased the range of his slingshot. It's amazingly stupid. The range you get on this allows you to do some really silly blink ganks and avoid tons of wards. Direct ganks are possible as well (behind your tower) which means the enemy won't see you coming. In a game where being caught off guard just once can result in death, this is a very powerful ability.

His ultimate (in combination with his slingshot) potentially make Zac the most powerful direct ganker in the game now - replacing Hecarim. He can slingshot directly into a lane and pop his ultimate thus being able to chase down practically anyone. Zac's own damage is pitiful so he depends on his lane mates to murder the target. Still if he has a powerful lane mate like Zed or Kha Zix he'll grab the target and make sure they die a bloody death.

Like I can't even exaggerate this. The incredible range he has with his (ranked up) E and his ultimate is absurd and it pretty much guarantees you grab someone. Unlike Hecarim, Zac doesn't give a wide reaction time to his gank. It's basically like "whoa wtf?" and then splat. You have to have pro level reactions to see it coming and even then he'll likely still get you.

Zac is an incredibly awful duelist though. I found that quickly enough that he'll lose to almost any jungler in the game. His type of jungler usually sucks vs others in straight out fights anyways so it's not that big of a deal. Just avoid fights early as much as you can especially vs junglers with a lot of maneuverability.

Zac's sustain is pretty shoddy early but it gets better later. There's not much to say here really - his natural health growth will eventually make his passive better.

His item choices is where I'm having a hard time. I'm leaning towards building him as an Magic Pen/Tank similar to how you'd build an Elise. I can't consider him a true tank as he has no real ability to peel or draw aggro. He's amazing initiator and then he simply just tries to deal as much damage as he can before he explodes. His ultimate allows him to CC the entire enemy team (if done right) or just sit on top of the enemy carry. He'll likely die quickly if he does that though so I've preferred to have him just as an initiator and brawler (frontline) vs the other fatties. I have yet to try him with a pure tank build but I don't feel it would work great on him compared to other junglers like Xin Zhao or Jarvan.

TLDR (for the above) - He's great for initiating and then just eating the frontline with a magic pen build.

Overall I think he's a great addition to the tanky gank junglers. Overall they all seem to be ability power based and damage all relying on health in some way...which is usually on their Ws. Well hopefully Riot becomes creative with the next ones. Zac was buffed before release so he definitely feels better and hell I may even say he's probably overpowered. Gankers who give almost next to know chance of reaction (or proper reaction) tend to get nerfed.

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Comments

  • #56 RichardMcNixon

    Lets talk about ZAC!

    I've been playing him on the PBE for some time now and absolutely agree that his potential power is underrated, however my build routine is a bit different...

    I've been maxing W first with a couple early points in E to help clear some of the more ridiculous gank bushes.  This i do because of the spammability of W and how it helps his jungle clear times / wave clears / dps for ganks etc.  I'd max E first, but the CD is just too much to really help the clear speeds and his jump distance is great at rank 2.

    I max E second for obvious reasons.  I've also found this ability (especially when smart casted) to be useful during fights for that short jump / knockup.  The people who talk about avoiding it aren't going against anyone who has a good grasp on how long to charge and predicting the target's path to get the biggest potential coverage of that path with your jump.

    Q last for the same reasons.  Mind you i started by maxing Q first and found the damage burst was great - comparable to W by a DPS standpoint - and the wave clearing potential when up quite a bit (W still lacks a bit in lane) but turned to W in the end because of the stupid HP meta we live in (haha)


    GLOBS - i disagree on the usefulness of this part of his passive.  I've found it necessary to be very mobile to pick these up, but the result is quite rewarding.  I essentially 'orb walk' while smacking the jungle mob / enemy champ occasionally and laying on the W button and Qing when i can.  This keeps me up in even the most one sided fights (was constantly going back & forth with a Fiora in dominion last night trading in my favor once and hers the other)  This also lets you take advantage of brush - i try and fight in and around it so i can go into the brush to retrieve globs and we all know how annoying that is.

    This is part of what makes his ult so powerful - the ult gives you so much potential to gain back health you can ult at half health and just dive a whole team and come out alive.

    TL;DR
    ZAC's ability to sustain himself at half health makes him formidable opponent and goes against player's normal instincts of survival, causing them to start running when they should be fighting.

    Glob retrieval is a delicate art.

    W for jungle sustain and general carnage.

    Last edited by RichardMcNixon: 4/1/2013 11:41:30 AM
  • #48 Pelikins

    This guy is still in the mentality of pheonix Udyr or tiger Udyr, rather than what Udyr should be doing, which is leveling and using both skills.

    It took me some time to figure it out too, but once you do, Udyr's early game dueling is off the charts.

    I used to love rushing wriggle's and sneaking dragons at level 5... that was kind of taken away from him.

    But his late game scaling is much better now due to his AP ratio on phoenix being buffed substantially.

     Over all, Udyr is in a better place than he was before. It has nothing to do with the bear changes, which are pretty much a joke (I'd have to say bear's scaling was nerfed, not buffed tbh but rank 1 bear now is strictly better than rank 1 bear before). And his passive isn't anywhere near as good. But phoenix stance and tiger stance having strong synergy and phoenix stance and turtle stance scaling off AP for the late game work together to put Udyr in a solid place.

     And yes, Zac's slingshot is stupid too powerful. They really need to nerf it. I'd suggest having to pick where you are going to land before channeling the skill and then making the charge time to get to max range substantially longer.

    Last edited by Pelikins: 4/1/2013 7:26:30 AM
  • #43 DuskSC2

    zac sustain early was good for me. the trick is not using pots like you normally do. you let your self get low making the passive more powerful. then towards the end of your jungle route you pop multiple pots to get your health high again for a gank.

    i think its also worth noting that you can still use your W during your ulti to help up its damage

  • #42 scruftypufty

    the only way how i would play zac is full extreme tank goin for 5 k hp, his passive get's really good that way and it's much better than an ap bruiser since 10 times w is way betetr than 3 times w ;) especcially late game

  • #45 DeadGod

    So you're saying you would build him so that he does absolutely no damage at all?  I'm pretty sure everyone is building him around the 4k+ HP margin, but if you're building nothing but health you're doing something wrong.

  • #41 Michealmas

    So after playing him a bit im of two minds. First and foremost, he's really fun to play. His E is just crazy at max ranks. Combined with his ulti he's easily one of the strongest gankers in the game as you can close the gap on literally anyone and avoid the majority of wards. In a teamfight the ulti can decimate the back line and he's an amazing initiator.
    But he is on the weak side in a few areas, his itemisation kinda sucks. He synergises with some weird combinations of items and both tank and ap/magic pen builds feel really lackluster. His damage is kinda poor even when specced for it. His sustain late game is crazy good when farming but picking up globs in a teamfight is probably gonna get you killed and it usually ends up being a drawback. Early game sustain is strong but not godly, WW and Trundle are both better at staying alive - he's a bit like a healthier Mundo in that respect. His Anivia passive is pretty good, again it usually fails in a teamfight but it's great for some duels, ganks, baron/dragon steals and tower dives. He seems to be like a cross between hecarim and maokai, amazing mobile ganker/initiator but a little underwhelming outside of that.

    TL;DR - He's crazy strong during laning (top 3 best gankers in the game easily) but needs a few tweaks to either his itemisation or his damage to maintain that level into the late game.

  • #40 Corvo


    Loving the new Udyr. With swifties, ghost, spirit of the ancient golem, and all the masteries in defence that prevent him getting cc'd, I don't notice him getting kited ever. Mix in iceborn gauntlet and I was even sticking to the enemy Jayce like glue.

    Also please don't underestimate zac's healing passive in team-fights cause that alone caused me to lose a game once. With a large health pool + spirit visage he was healing himself for a large portion of his health mid teamfight no problem.
    Last edited by Corvo: 3/31/2013 8:57:37 AM
  • #39 Zalfi

    I feel like you are really underselling the amount of healing Zac gets from his passive while farming the jungle. As in, he literally never has to go back to heal unless someone forces him. I tested in a custom, and was able to jungle till lvl 11 and then solo dragon without ever having to go back. If I didn't love playing Zac so much I would find it really annoying

  • #35 RoakOriginal

    make Zac the most powerful direct ganker in the game now - replacing Hecarim.

     

    so that's why those morons in riot nerfed him to hell... they didint want zac to have some concurency, so we will buy him...

  • #44 BrotherLaz

    Quote from RoakOriginal »

    make Zac the most powerful direct ganker in the game now - replacing Hecarim.

     

    so that's why those morons in riot nerfed him to hell... they didint want zac to have some concurency, so we will buy him...

    They did this before, remember.

  • #32 lostluggage

    I read threw the comments and i just got in a bad mood, i hear so many people saying various things like "omfg riot plz n3rf he is so 0p" and "his laning is ridiculously 0p and his passive is to!" or "i hate everything about him because i apparently suck at the game".... well i haven't heard the last one but you see what i'm getting at?

    Stop crying over zac being OP just because you don't play well against him, tbh he is rather easy to get around. If he is jumping it's easy to tell, since, you know, HE IS ROOTED, and all i do is walk towards him and the player normally jumps right over me. Just get better timing.

    And stop bitching about his passive, the blobs die in seconds, and take hours to actually reach. FFS YOU CAN SMITE THE BLOB IF ITS A PROBLEM.  Not only that but even if he is resurrected, it's with super low health 50% of the time. And will end up dying anyways.

    Not only this, but you basically act like he only has 2 skills and his ult, because as stated, his Q is complete trash. Waste of time.....

    The tenacity for his ult is crucial. This makes his ult a little less useless when you step in those pesky Caitlyn traps :D

  • #36 RoakOriginal

    each time new champ comes out he is or OP or useless... If he is OP he gots nerfed (rengar, jayce), if he is useless they leave him be, till people realize how to play him, and then he gets nerfed as well (khazix, elise)...

     

    So yeah screw that... why care about OPness, when they are goin to fuck him up anyway?:D

  • #38 NoodleDoodles

    Though there have been champions that (in my opinion) have come out pretty balanced, and not made that much of a direct impact, except for the obvious fact that they got released. 

    I would actually say that 1 of those was Kha'Zix - at the time, Kha'Zix as I recall him was still good, but because he didn't fit in the meta people didn't see him as that good a champion. During that time he came out balanced, comparing to the rest of the meta at the time (and I recall Rengar was played alot during that time). I never sat down and thought "Damn, Kha'Zix is too strong!", but rather thought "Meh, he's good n all but really he's just a worse Rengar..". Shows what I knew.

    Also, anyone please do tell if you have a different opinion :P

    I recall Varus as being pretty balanced when he came out, I didn't hear any complaints at least, and my personal experience with and against him weren't really this "It's too strong/weak" kind of feel.

    And really, if it's a "useless" champion then Riot will try and fix it so that that champion can go from being "useless" to at least "acceptable". If they deem a champion acceptable (which probably means that should be a champion that can hold its own it it's role - not necessarily fitting into the meta and being able to duel anything currently in the meta) then they won't do anything.
      As far as nerfs go, well... I got nothing there, it's pretty much /nerfbat on those.

  • #46 Wiltsee

    he is op. i wouldn't know how to articulate it but it's just a feeling i get from playing him. i think, like thresh, it's one of those situations where it isn't about numbers as much as it is about his kit. his kit is great. perhaps too great.

    the passive isn't about reviving more than it is about drawing focus. zac may drop dead at the end of it all, but his passive draws about 2-3 seconds more attention, which is a bigger window for carries to freely deal damage. even if he dies, he, by default, tanks longer and harder than most champions because of it.

  • #31 dopeson

    personally i think zac needs tweaking because as a top laner, hes doing what the old rengars used to do: hp stacking never + never dying. zac just builds sunfire, warmogs, spirit visage, sits in lane and waits for 5 memebers of enemy team to try and make him leave. IN a team fight his disruption is a more annoying version of singed and once he has those tank stats he can sit on your back line preventing them from joining any fight. His character model also gets stupidly big, although i guess it exemplifies the fact that hes a raid boss and you need to be 5 strong to kill him.

  • #30 RageAge

    With regards to Zac: very fun, but i certainly am not good with him yet. I bet it has to do with my build, i have been leaning more towards tank when i feel a little mpen would be a good idea (as mentioned in the post). What mpen items would you guys recommend? i would say abyssal scepter, but i do find spirit visage to be core, and that seems like MR overload, especially considering the fact that casters tend to have less interest in hitting the tank than most. Haunting guise? sure, but it doesnt feel like much to me. Would it be worth upgrading eventually? I definitely agree with his Q feeling lackluster though, and will have to try maxing E before W sometime, lane ganks are always fun.

     

    New udyr: What does everyone think of purchasing tear on udyr? i've been building it into manamune, and paired with something like iceborn gauntlet it helps damage significantly while allowing you to spam bear stance indefinitely. Straight tank based upon the situation from there onward makes udyr into a lightning fast stun spamming machine! I usually build tear on first back, as well as boots and spirit stone if i got a successful gank off, but i feel like this leaves me fairly squishy for a while, which sucks for ganking. Any thoughts on this?

     

    TLDR - zac is fun, i am bad at him, new udyr is interesting, i like building tear on him. thoughts? sorry for the wall of text

  • #29 commanderchobo

    the nerf to turtle really hurts. sad to see it go. i also pretty much just see udyr getting kited all day. and without the sustain from turtle he cant really lane at all anymore. pretty lame.

    and zac seems to do no damage, but his ult is nice.

  • #26 KesslerCOIL

    All i can say about Zac is...
    Are you kidding? His passive is rediculous, I cant tell you how many times ive lost to a zac or seen a zac get away because of that passive healing him for 100+

    He is rediculous in lane as well, try to harrass him? nope, that passive is enough to negate almost any damage you throw at him

  • #25 TheOddGem

    I've been loving the new Udyr although his early game is quite evidently weaker due to mana issues, damage and tankiness. If you want to have a lot of fun though match Udyr with mid Zilean and go suicide bomber on their asses! :D That movement speed boots with bear stance, then the burst from Tiger/Phoenix plus bomb is some of the best fun I've had in this game.

  • #24 Zomgbeast

    "It does almost do damage" Typo?

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