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Published February 20, 2013

This week brings another diverse pool of champions to the free roster, so without further ado, let's see what we've got!

If unfamiliar with any terms, consult our handy Beginner's Dictionary!

Talon

Role: Assassin, traditionally used as a mid counter to AP champions, but not uncommonly seen top lane.

Build outline: MORE AD. After a Black Cleaver for AD, armor shred and CDR, many Talons will simply stack as many Bloodthirsters as they can afford. I recommend a defensive item, such as Guardian Angel or Warmog's Armor once you get some damage.

Abilities Summary

  • Passive: Talon does 10% more damage with basic attacks to enemies that are slowed, stunned, rooted, or suppressed.
  • Q is an enhanced autoattack that deals a "bleed" damage over time, and reveals them for the duration.
  • W fires an arc of daggers that quickly lash out and return to Talon, damaging and slowing enemies that get hit.
  • E is an enemy targeted blink, that makes you appear behind the enemy. They are silenced, and amplifies Talon's damage against them for a few seconds.
  • R emits a large circle of blades that do damage upon impact, Talon stealths for a few seconds, gaining a movement speed bonus while invisible. At the end of the stealth, or on activating the ability again, the blades return to Talon, dealing additional damage.

Notes: In normal blind pick, prepare to see a Talon in most of your games, especially towards the lower leagues. A flashy kit, lots of killing power, and a general aura of badassery make him a popular choice.

Galio

Role: AP/Tank, traditionally used as a mid counter to AP champions, occasionally seen supporting or top lane.

Build outline: Due to your passive (more on that below), you can build a direct counter to an enemy AP champion while still doing decent damage. Since your ultimate requires you to be in the thick of things, tanky AP items are your friend. Also, Galio LOVES Chalice of Harmony.

Abilities Summary

  • Passive: For every two points of Magic Resist, you gain 1 point of Ability Power.
  • Q causes Galio to throw an orb of energy as a skillshot that damages and slows enemies caught in the blast.
  • W grants one ally a shield which boosts their Armor and MAgic Resist, and each time they shielded ally takes damage, Galio restores a small amount of health.
  • E throws a small whirlwind, dealing damage to enemies that it hits and leaving a trail on the ground. Galios or his allies that follow this trail recieve a movement speed boost.
  • R forces all enemies in range to attack the now-stationary Galio, who after a few seconds, releases energy to deal damage. This damage increases depending on how much punishment Galio took during the initial cast.

Notes: Another anti-AP mid. Most likely not as popular as Talon, but a good Galio ult wins games. 

Trundle

Role: Bruiser, usually jungled, can go top.

Build outline: Usually seen as a bruiser or tank. Consider making use of the Spirit Stone, and upgrading to the Spirit of the Ancient Golem.

Abilities Summary

  • Passive: Any enemy unit that dies near Trundle causes him to be healed for a percentage of their max health.
  • Q is a melee-ranged bite attack that grants Trundle an Attack Damage boost, while reducing that of the target by half the boost amount.
  • W infects the ground with blight, giving Trundle boosted Tenacity, attack speed, and movement speed while he is on the afflicted ground.
  • E is Trundles signature ability. He raises a pillar from the groun, slowing nearby enemies. Use this to block an enemy from chasing or escaping.
  • R causes Trundle to steal health, Armor, and Magic Resist from his target, that increases over the duration. Enemy weakens, Trundle gets stronger.

Notes: Very rarely seen outside of free weeks, so expect lots of first time Trundles, and be prepared to get killed due to an errant pillar.

Ezreal

Role: AD carry, most often played bottom lane in NA meta, although AP Ezreal midlane is not unheard of.

Build outline: Generally, you can either build a Trinity Force, to take advantage of the large variety of stats, and passives that work well with spamming single target skillshots, or a more standard AD carry build of Bloodthirsters, Phantom Dancer, etc.

Abilities Summary

  • Passive: Every time Ezreal lands an ability, he gains a 10% attack speed boost that stacks up to 5 times.
  • Q fires a skillshot that deals additional physical damage and lowers the cooldowns on Ezreals abilities by 1 second if it hits an enemy.
  • W fires a wave of energy that hits both enemy and allied champions. Enemies take damage, and allies recieve an attack speed buff. Excellent for when your team is taking down a tower, or other high health target.
  • E is Ezreal's primary means of repositioning. He blinks to target location and fires a homing projectile when he lands. Essentially a Flash on a shorter cooldown.
  • R causes Ezreal to fire a large wave of energy across the map, dealing damage to any enemy it hits. Use this to finish off a fleeing target, assist other lanes, steal buffs, remotely clear minions or to maximize the stack of your passive at the start of a teamfight. Remember to use Q constantly to drastically reduce the cooldown of your ultimate.

Notes: Overall a strong AD carry, expect to see Ezreals fairly commonly. Since much of his damage comes from being able to hit you with his skillshots, dodging them is essential.

Fiddlesticks

Role: AP Carry or Jungler, traditionally jungles, but has been known to go mid, support, or even moonlight as an AD carry (Crit-tlesticks).

Build outline: Zhonya's Hourglass will allow you do use your ultimate in relative safety, and an Abyssal Scepter synergizes well with both your passive and ultimate.

Abilities Summary

  • Passive: Nearby enemies have their Magic Resist reduced by 10. An alert enemy may notice this if you're trying to sneak up on them in a bush, or over a wall.
  • Q terrifies the target, causing them to randomly walk around for the duration. At max rank, duration is an entire 3 seconds.
  • W channels a beam from Fiddlesticks to an enemy, damaging them and healing Fiddlesticks. Be careful of interrupts or crowd control while using this.
  • E throws a crow at an enemy that silences the target and bounces up to 4 additional times.
  • R causes Fiddlesticks to channel for a few seconds, and then blink a short distance while doing massive Area of Effect damage. Be careful of enemies trying to interrupt your initial channel, and try to use your free blink to come at them from unexpected angles.

Notes: While Fiddlesticks brings a lot of crowd control to the table, he is vulnerable to it himself. If you interrupt his channels, he loses much of his damage potential.

Morgana

Role: AP Carry, traditionally used mid, but sometimes used as a Support.

Build outline: Another champion who benefits immensely from Zhonya's Hourglass. Build AP early and generally transition into building tankier late game.

Abilities Summary

  • Passive: Morgana has built-in spell vamp, so dealing damage with her abilities will heal her.
  • Q throws a long range skillshot that damages and immobilizes the first enemy it hits.
  • W contaminates the ground in an area, dealing damage and reducing the Magic Resist of enemies standing on it.
  • E grants Morgana or her targeted ally a shield that blocks magic damage and disables until it either wears off or is broken.
  • R emits chains of energy to all nearby enemy champions, doing some initial damage, slowing the targets, and after a delay, dealing additional damage and stunning them. Another game-changing ultimate if used correctly.

Notes: To farm well, Morgana will usually push the minions very quickly towards friendly turrets. This makes her susceptible to ganks from your Jungler, assuming he can dodge the Q and break the E.

Soraka

Role: Support, the original Support character, but has been used effectively in the mid lane as AP carry.

Build outline: The usual support loadout of stacking gold per 5 items and wards, although Season 3 has brought lots of interesting options. For midlane, stack AP as per usual.

Abilities Summary

  • Passive: Increases nearby allies' Magic Resist by 16.
  • Q brings down a bolt of energy on all enemies in range, dealing damage and reducing their Magic Resist by a small amount. This makes Soraka able to clear large waves of minions with relative ease, as well as get tons of assists.
  • W grants one ally a significant heal, as well as a large armor boost for a few seconds. 
  • E can target enemies or allies, but not Soraka herself. Enemies instantly take damage and are silenced. Allies gain mana.
  • R heals all allied champions on the map, regardless of distance. Can be used to bait dives in other lanes, facilitate escapes, or counteract a nasty AoE spells.

Notes: Due to the low price and wide availability of the champion, I tend to see more AP Mid Sorakas, but your mileage may vary

Gragas

Role: AP carry, almost always midlane.

Build outline: MORE AP. Your passive works well with building health as well, so consider something like Rylai's Crystal Scepter.

Abilities Summary

  • Passive: Whenever Gragas uses an ability, he regenerates 2% of his max health over 4 seconds.
  • Q rolls a barrel to target location with a fairly long range. After either 5 seconds, or activating the ability again, the barrel bursts, dealing damage and slowing the attack speeds of enemies in the blast.
  • W causes Gragas to shotgun a cask of beer, channeling for 1 second. While channeling, he gains mana, as well as an attack damage and incoming damage reduction buff for a few seconds. This ability has no cost, so use it whenever possible.
  • E makes Gragas surge towards the target location (through some walls), dealing damage on impact that is split among all targets hit. All enemies hit are slowed by 35% for 2.5 seconds.
  • R: Gragas hurls a volatile cask to the target location, doing a large amount of damage and knocking enemies away from the center. Used properly, it can split an enemy team in two, if not outright killing some of the weaker members.

Notes: Like Ezreal, Gragas' reliance on skillshots means he has a high skill cap, or relies heavily on hitting said skills to be effective. A well played Gragas can be a holy terror.

Shen

Role: Tank, usually seen top lane or in the jungle.

Build outline: Tank. Warmog's is your friend, along with Sunfire Cape. You are going to be the center of attention. Lucky you.

Abilities Summary

  • Passive: Every 8 seconds, Shen's next autoattack does bonus damage, and the cooldown is reduced every time you attack.
  • Q throws one of Shen's swords at target enemy and marks them for a few seconds. Allies who attack the marked target will be healed over time. If Shen kills a target with Q, he is healed a flat amount.
  • W creates a shield on Shen that absorbs damage. While the shield is up, Shen's autoattacks reduce the cooldown on his passive by an extra 1.5 seconds.
  • E causes Shen to dash in the targeted direction, dealing damage and tauning all enemies he hits. Taunted enemies are forced to attack Shen, and only deal 50% damage to him.
  • R gives an ally anywhere on the map a damage-blocking shield. Shen channels for a few seconds, and then teleports to the shielded ally. This allows Shen to farm all game, and simply ult into the fight to save his allies.

Notes: Shen is a very strong pick, but can be shut down with some help from your jungler. Try your best to interrupt his ultimate, but be aware most Shens will step away or into a brush before attempting to ult.

Garen

Role: Bruiser, almost always seen top lane.

Build outline: Most Garens build tanky initially, and pick up a damage item like Black Cleaver or Infinity Edge to remain relevant late game.

Abilities Summary

  • Passive: After not taking damage for a few seconds, Garen gets a big bonus to passive health regeneration. If he takes damage, he must wait for it to reset.
  • Q grants Garen a burst of movement speed, and causes his next attack to deal additional damage and silence the target. When you activate this skill, it will remove all slows.
  • W passively grants Garen additional Armor and Magic Resist, making your defensive items more efficient. Garen can activate this ability to gain a shield that reduces incoming damage by 30%, as well as granting him crowd control resistance.
  • E causes Garen to spin (and win) with his sword, dealing damage in an area around him for the duration. During this time, Garen ignores unit collision, but is slowed when moving through units. This ability can critically strike and does reduced damage to minions.
  • R summons a massive sword from the sky to execute Garen's target. This ability does more damage when the target's health is low.

Notes: Garen is obnoxious to lane against, due to his sustain from his passive and lack of mana. Do your best to attack him every few seconds to stop his passive from activating, and be careful when face-checking a bush. Garen is famous for his ability to silence you and then carve you up with his E when attacking from brush cover.

Twyn
Pirate, frigate enthusiast, wanderer, and general scallywag. In-game name is Twyndyllng, strike up a conversation anytime, but be warned, I tend to shoot first and then ask a ton of questions later.