Hey guys, DC941 here with another look at a new rework – this time with one of the former weakest champions in the game, Heimerdinger. His rework hit the live servers with the latest patch, opening up the chance to playtest it for the vast majority of players; myself included. I looked into his kit to get a feel of the champion and to judge his new strength. In this article I’d like to give an in-depth look into his new kit with commentary for every ability, including the usage of each spell and strong and weak points about them. In addition to that, I’d like to start with a short review about Heimerdingers past problems and why the rework was done in the first place.
“You are poorly designed for this!” – Heimerdinger before the rework
Releasing together with Shaco, Heimerdinger was one of the champions released back when League of Legends was still in beta. His kit always revolved around his trademark turrets, giving him a very unique feel – back then, he was able to harass with his rockets, which only targeted champions, and to damage turrets with his grenade. A minor rework in march 2010 created the Heimerdinger we all knew, with his unreliable rocket damage targeting near units and his turret-healing ultimate. Up until this year, Heimerdinger was only used by very few players and only once in a competitive environment at the 2012 MLG spring championship – where he was part of a loss. The reasons for that were mostly subpar scaling on his abilities with missing utility to make up for it, huge unreliability in his kit (his rocket damage and grenade stun were really hard to hit when the enemy was not sleeping) and easy counterplay for his core mechanic – his turrets. The rework tried to keep the concepts of his kit that made Heimerdinger a unique champion kiting around his turrets while giving him more options to hurt his opponents without them making major mistakes.
“Hmm… very interesting.” – the new abilities and their traits
At this point, I want to give as much of an insight on Heimerdingers new abilities as possible. For this, I will summarize what they do, how a player can use this in different situation and what needs to be done to use the ability to its maximum potential. I will also talk about negative points of each ability and their viability state based on my opinion.
|Passive: Techmaturgical Repair BotsHeimerdinger grants himself, nearby allied H-28G Evolution Turrets, and nearby allied champions 10 /15 / 20 / 25 / 30 health regeneration per 5 seconds.|
With the rework, Heimerdingers passive ability now longer regenerates towers – this was a misplaced mechanic, as nothing in the game is able to heal towers otherwise. The bonus health regeneration is now focused on champions and turrets placed by Heimerdinger. The team regen is not really noticeable since it is pretty weak (Exalted with Baron Nashor would grant the same health regen if a champion had 1000 health), but the health regeneration effect on Heimerdinger is not too bad – when you are low after a trade, it can be pretty surprising how fast Heimerdinger gets back to high percentages of health due to his passive. The regeneration on his turrets however is almost completely useless due to the fact that the pretty much always die if they are every being attacked.
Heimerdinger turrets provide a nice minion control tool while laning – the enemy has a hard time to push Heimerdinger to his turret due to the fact that one turret can push quite well once it fires its new laser beam while only needing 20 mana to set up. With higher ranks, its easy to set up multiple turrets right after another to counteract pushing. They also are a strong zoning tool in the early game, when their HP pools are high enough to tank some hits and spells without going down. This gets a lot harder the longer the game gets; the HP of the turrets scale with Heimerdingers champion level, but they are very low. Most casters can kill them in one or two shots easily, often without leaving the safe cover of their own minions. The only counteraction to this is maxing Q first due to the faster part storing and bigger reserve. The laser beam also activates on-hit effects like Liandrys torment; the long cooldown on this effect does not really make a purchase worthwhile though. It is important to note that the turrets do spawn with about 75% charge of their beam – this makes them much weaker in practice since its hard to really make use of the beam’s damage in both pushing and trading. They can also be evaded fairly easily due to their low travel speed and a missile path preview similar to Lux’s ultimate and Xeraths Q.
The turrets are still the factor that makes Heimerdinger scary – in a special way. While other casters like Syndra or Annie can simply stun and shoot you down if you come too close, Heimer’s turrets provide a constant DPS and a small burst when you come close to them – and they should be positioned close to Heimerdinger. This is also very important due to the fact that Heimerdinger has a really hard time getting away – the only way to stop an enemy invading the backline is his stun on E, which is hard to hit. This means that there has to be a disadvantage in going for Heimer, which is taking the damage of the turrets. Zhonyas Hourglass should be core on Heimerdinger – it gives you precious time to stay on top of your turrets without taking damage, time in which the turrets deal damage.
Heimerdingers W is now his DPS and bursting tool. The rockets travel fairly fast and deal quite a lot of damage – they can be hard to get used to due to the completely new skillshot system they use. It is recommended to let them converge a in front of the enemy champion instead on top of him – this way, the ability is not completely missed if the enemy does a small sidestep. The mana cost and cooldown make it possible to use the rockets as a potent poke tool – you can try to hit the enemy laner every time he gives up minion cover; it is even stronger as a punishment when the enemy tries to hit your turrets since most champions have to stand still for a short time when autoattacking or using an ability. Hextech Micro-Rockets is easy to hit when the enemy is cc’d, and you should make use of that – try to follow up your own grenade stun or slow or allied CCs with a rocket burst. It can also be used to farm at least two minions easily; you can aim at two minions getting hit after each other, and with enough damage or ranking of the ability both should die; this can be important when the enemy tries to push trough your turrets to your tower without leaving minion cover.
Due to the fact that the rockets can be bodyblocked in teamfights, they should only be used when a clear shot is guaranteed or to damage the invading tanks or bruisers – be careful with your positioning while looking for an opportunity; you have no way to retreat once any CC hits you, even your movement speed is not exceptionally high!
The high range and high missile speed of Heimerdingers E can be devastating – it can possibly lead to a stun behind minions, landing from far away. This is an aspect only few CC abilities have, especially non-ultimates. But the ability has a massive drawback: the stunning area of the hit is atrociously small. It is extremely hard to hit a stun when the enemy is paying attention. The range is also just too low to hit longer ranged casters like Syndra while laning. It is a lot easier to use as harassment against melee laners like Gragas (when he can not farm with his barrel) or Zed. The stun or even the slow are great setups for both the standard W as well as R+W; its even easier to follow up an allied CC with it. The ability should be maxed last due to missing scaling on the CC effects and a high AP scaling, which provides damage without ranking the ability higher.
Heimerdingers new ultimate is very similar to Karmas Mantra: it empowers the next ability used. However, the differences between the modified abilites compared to their standard counterparts are much bigger. It is important to note that the stats of the empowered abilites are in independent of the ability rankings; you can burst very hard with your W even when you maxed Q first.
The empowered turret is a great tool to endanger enemies invading your backline. As soon as more than 1 enemy is attacking Heimerdinger, the player should use the empowered Q. Its AoE and CC as well as its damage are very strong when the enemy has to stay in its range and its health pool is high enough to make the decision between bursting the turret or Heimerdinger himself very hard. Especially with Zhonyas, forcing the enemy to stay in range of your four turrets and nearby teammates can completely defeat anti-carrying purposes. I almost always used it in teamfights due to the very high DPS it puts out.
Heimerdingers empowered W is an incredible burst tool akin Syndras ultimate. It deals extreme damage when the players are around level 6 and 11, but falls off relatively hard at the later stages, partly due to the fact that lifesteal and defense are stronger and burst are not as effective when they can not 1-shot the enemy. Its best use is to hurt a pinned enemy extremely hard, for example in conjunction with champions like Vi or a hit of Heimerdingers E. Note that it can be very easy to sidestep since it works similar to Lucians ultimate.
The empowered E feels like the worst of all choices. Using it throws a way an incredible lot of potential damage as the grenade damage is only increased slightly compared to the other R-combos. The only possible use would be catching an enemy from relatively far range, since the stun is much easier to hit with the empowered ability. This can be useful, but only rarely effective the more proficient the enemy positioning on the map is.
“I could help you do that better.” – my opinion on Heimerdingers current state and possible changes
The new Heimerdinger is a very unique champion, and he needs a lot of time of getting used to. I recommend playing him without smart cast at the beginning, since his skillshots all are hard to hit but in need of utmost precision. Without hitting your skillshots, you will have no success with Heimerdinger. If you can hit them all however, Heimerdinger is an extremely strong zone control mage with good utility from safe range. This bring back the old reliability problem though – in his current state, the key to the functioning of his kit, his E, is very hard to make proper use of if the enemy is paying attention.
His core build should contain Zhonyas Hourglass in every game since it amplifies the use of the turrets so much. Other worthwhile items are Athenes Unholy Grail for infinite minion control trough turrets and abyssal scepter in the same way that Zhonyas works. Rod of Ages could also go a long way with making Heimerdinger bulkier to give his turrets more time to wreak havoc. His AP-scaling are not as strong as others; while I didn’t do the exact math, I’m pretty sure that CDR/M-Pen/Bulk are more rewarding than AP on his new kit.
With all this in mind, other casters still fill similar roles just as good or slightly better – I mentioned Syndra a lot since she feels similar to Heimer’s early and mid game burst-threat; but Syndra has better tools to punish champions invading the backline with her targeted burst and an easier to hit AoE stun and knockback. However, one must think differently: Heimerdinger is more of a mage sitting at the backline to stay safe while pumping out his cooldowns as efficient as possible, providing a safer zone for himself and for the ADC by creating an area which can only be entered by the enemy when they accept taking the turret damage. This makes him the only champion completely focusing on zoning in teamfights.
Heimerdinger sure has an easy time taking buffs or objectives like dragon, and he could come out as a very strong jungler with his ability to stun laning enemies while sitting in the brush and independence of ability power. However I think that he really needs some changes to be top-tier as a midlaner, even if they are only small. A change that could work very well here would be his turrets spawning with 100% beam charge. This would add a small burst component to them for better minion control and make them a stronger threat for enemy champions as well. Another change that I see no alternative to is increasing the health that Heimer’s turrets gain per level. While they are painful to deal with at levels 1 and 2, they are pretty easy to evade and shoot down at later levels due to them being so fragile – and they even give some gold. The range of the turret attack or the speed of the beam could be changed as well as the setup range of the turrets, but these could have larger impacts.
Heimerdinger is a lot stronger than he was before,and I think he now has a place – the rework kept his very unique style while giving him a working burst tool and a more reliable CC. Mastering his kit should make up for a lot of his weaknesses like his low mobility, but it should also be very hard; I think his new kit is very complex and as hard to get into muscle memory as Anivia, Lee Sin and Orianna – and just like Orianna, it will take some time before the inventor really starts to shine on summoners rift, but he has the potential to do so.