I had trouble deciding who to promote as the final champion for the best jungle teacher's list as I could not decide between which tank to consider the best. I argued with myself whether Amumu, Nautilus or Sejuani would be the best to consider for the final part of the list as they are often looked as the most "pure" of jungle tanks but then I realized the release of Zac sort of changed the dynamics of jungle tanks. Zac is a jack-of-all-trades sort of tank that does everyone's jobs at the same time although arguably not as good. It led me to start thinking about all the situations I'd prefer one tank over the other and I realized the amount of overlapping was ridiculous. I simply could not decide between which jungle tank to promote so I decided to promote all of them. This might seem like a cop out but it was the best solution I could think of.
I am aware that I already had another tank on this list (Cho Gath) but he was a special sort of tank who required a more extensive article than what I will be giving all the remaining tanks. With that said, I am looking only at "pure" tanks and not bruisers who can be forced to take the roll of tank. This means the list will not include champions such as Dr. Mundo or Wukong and it will be a jungle tank list as well which means lane tanks such as Leona and Alistar are not included either. Pure tanks can be carried solely by their kits as they provide their own steroids be they resistances, health or some form of damage reduction and of course they come packing a lot of utility in exchange for having (usually) low damage. They can, for the most part, survive the game naked and be useful throughout the entire course of the game in some way. Any scores I give the tanks are relative to each other and not the entire cast of champions. The higher the score the better with the exception of Gold Reliance in which a higher score is bad.
Feral Flare has been the topic of controversy amongst a lot of players these past few patches even after the item was nerfed. Even prior to the nerf the item was mostly neglected by the competitive scene as the strategies employed made the item too much of a risk to invest in. The item is seen more of a problem in Solo Queue and even then some of its problems are exaggerated. I honestly believe that Feral Flare is an overrated item. It is not to say it is bad because it definitely works on several champions especially those it was intended for in the first place, but I say that it is overrated because players seem to ignore its negatives and sing it praises for things it does not actually do.
This ongoing controversy with the item is seemingly causing it to receive gameplay altering changes to the item. At first the item line existed to encourage farming and late game viability in champions but this proved too difficult to deal with in disorganized play. Riot attempted to slow it down with a nerf to the items and succeeded but it continues to be problematic for Solo Queue while it is pretty much ignored in competitive aside with a few champions. Plenty of players have started to return to equipping Spirit items instead of the Madred's Line while most have sought some balance between the two. The Madred's Line is receiving another change that will make it feel closer to the Spirit items by sacrificing some of its stats and damage potential by allowing it to gain stacks with champion kills and assist starting with the Hunter's Machete. In a way this makes the items more usable as purchasing it will be less risky and far more reliable.
The biggest problem with Feral Flare was that players were being forced to accept a type of gameplay that has not existed since Season 1. Everything sort of came quickly to the playerbase and they sort of got overtaken by the hype of the item and starting doing questionable things and coming up with unreasonable conclusions. I am glad that the first nerf to the item made these problems less extreme/common but not all players have learned about them or realized how flawed Feral Flare and the concept of endless jungle farming are.
The Feral Flare is currently stirring up all sorts of controversy with players as there is no doubt the item is strong but players are divided in whether the item should obtain minor nerfs or should be gutted. Feral Flare is definitely very powerful and changed the solo queue jungle quite rapidly to the point where there are a handful of more (jungle) champions as perma-ban worthy. Aside from Leblanc bans, most players seem to be banning every jungle they feel threatening and still coming up short in bans. Even if you fear the Feral Flare junglers, players still need to remember that there are several other threatening champions in the game that do not use it and are also ban-worthy. I was recently cursed at by my teammates for not banning Pantheon despite my bans being "high-priority" bans in this patch (they were Kha'Zix, Evelynn, Warwick) and I have seen some teammates dodge because certain champions were not targeted and ended up getting picked.
The item was released to give carry junglers an offensive jungle option other than Lizard since there were plenty of junglers that made little or outright poor use of it. Wriggle's Lantern was reworked and made much better but it was also given the Feral Flare evolution which made the item have actual late game potential. It granted a lot of power to auto attack heavy champions and it seemingly benefits every intended jungler that Riot wanted to indirectly buff with the item. However, it has also seemingly been useful on junglers that were not intended to use it and players have shown mixed feelings about this along with the fact that the item might be a too powerful in its first patch.
In this article, I want to give credit to a few champions who greatly benefitted from the Feral Flare changes without any order as to who is better. Certain junglers definitely saw a massive increase in power while others were already worthy junglers but were finally given an option for damage builds and had an increase in carry potential. The reason this article was delayed was because I was waiting for the hype around the item to die down. The hype is still there but hopefully LCS using both the Spirit Line and the Madred's Line shows players that it is simply different methods of jungling which prioritize different things. It is not to say that Feral Flare is not obscene in solo queue but that perhaps the item does not deserve to be gutted with nerfs so soon. Feral Flare is an item that is rather balanced in competitive but obscene in solo queue.
I have been playing League since beta and I've played through plenty of dramatic changes to the game. I generally agree with "most" of the balance changes and I tend to open minded about even the questionable ones. Even when I am hesitant about big changes such as Gragas's rework or the yearly jungle rework, I give Riot the benefit of the doubt until I get my chance to personally test the changes. However, it is only easy to accept such changes because there are logical reasons for them. There are certain balance decisions in the game that infuriate me because they contradict Riot's past balance philosophies and stem from laziness or pressure rather than logic. This includes new champion releases that embody gameplay mechanics that caused other champions to be nerfed for, champions that have avoided reworks despite being "anti-fun", champions that have been nerfed despite a stronger "version" of them existing and Riot's staunch refusal to undo nerfs.
I am wholly aware that some of the champions mentioned here are either in the process of getting reworks or are being looked at. It does not change the fact that some of the inconsistencies brought up in the article have persisted for awhile and are worth bringing up for discussion. It is a bit "ranty" but there is a point in all of it. The first two parts of the article are topics that are often brought up on my stream and youtube channel so I figured I'd address them here. The third part is a problem with Riot's balance philosophy that I feel rather bothered with. Take each part as their own as there is only a loose connection between them. The article was also greatly inspired by the heated (positive and negative) discussion that Ciderhelm's Nidalee video caused.
A lot of this is hyperbole and personal opinion (it gets ranty) so do not take it as one of my usual analytic articles.
The new Ultra Rapid Fire mode is here for a limited time and a slew of trollish videos (including my own) have been made for it. Your champions have no resource management problems and next to no cooldown on their abilities. This is basically Dota's WTF mode for League of Legends though, surprisingly, a much more fair version of it. With that said, does this new game mode have longevity or will its fun factor remain short lived like the other game modes? Will players seemingly ruin the experience and drive people off like before?