Recently, Riot Games had a major overhaul on their lore for League of Legends, along with this overhaul came the release of a brand new game mode, Ascension. It has been awhile since the last map release for League of Legends. All Random, All Mid, or ARAM, was released in the Spring of 2013, along with the release of Lissandra. Sure they had URF Mode, One-for-All, and DoomBots since then, but they were very gimmicky and wore on player’s psyches quickly. URF mode had so many OP champs and exploitable tricks that it was basically unplayable without someone having a hemorrhage from the rage, One-for-All had the issues of no one being able to play the champ they wanted, and DoomBots was meant to be living hell. Each have one or two gimmicks that would make them enjoyable for a wild weekend, but not as a sustainable game type. Ascension, however, was planned from the start to be a permanent arena for Summoners to wage war in.
Ascension is meant to be an even playing field for all champs … unless you play Poppy. Fuck Poppy. Victory is attained from scoring 200 points. This can be done by capturing points (3pts), killing enemy champs (1pt), and killing the ascended (5pts). Jumping in, the game feels like a mix of team slayer and capture the flag from Halo with a MOBA backbone. Team compositions and cooperation, as always, are paramount to victory, but adventurous Summoners can go solo to capture points. The constant sandstorm keeps visibility low, making a relatively small map feel much larger. There are so many paths and bushes to use to both hide and attack from, and a clever maneuver might just save the game. This keeps the action fast paced and keeps summoners on their toes. Who knows if a Garen will be in that bush?! In one game we were up 40 points, and then we got decimated by a bush assault from Teemo and Rengar. It was nuts, and while I was laughing uncontrollably about the disaster that befell us, I had to stop to realize how much fun this was. Even the Victory screen is a fun dance party for you and your ascended buddies.
The Baron of Ascension is Xerath, or as he’s called in-game, the Ascended. He’s at the very heart of the map and relatively easy to take down. Once he’s killed, the killing champion ascends and gets a massive buff, and all kills by the ascended are worth double points. General strategy has proven the tankier the character, the better the Ascended. You don’t want to be ripped a new one when you’re a god. Although, I’ve started seeing high damage champs do really well with the buff. Nothing like a 20 ft Kha’zix to make your opponents shit themselves. Xerath can be agroed, as well, to use him as a hazard. His skills are both powerful, and have a wider attack area, than a normal Xerath. This is great for team fights in the center stage; however, doing this is a double edged sword. Xerath doesn’t discriminate with his attacks, and will attack everyone so long as you’re in the center. My favorite use is that he can execute you, should you be too low for heals and don’t want to give the enemy team the gold. Feels like sacrificing myself to a higher power. Cult of Xerath 2014?
Ascension is the fun uncle that let’s you run around and wreck things. Over the years, all of the standard game modes had become boring or too serious to actually play for fun. Summoner’s Rift is treated like LCS training camp, and, for whatever reason, there are people in Twisted Treeline that take the game more seriously than gamers going into ranked. Even ARAM and Dominion have their rash of super serious pants people, and that can really dull the fun of the game. Maybe Ascension is new enough where it hasn’t suffered what I call a Meta Crisis, the need to create a formula for everything. I hope that it never suffers from a Meta Crisis, because I really don’t want to go back to ARAM. No matter what I do, I somehow end up with Le Blanc. If you haven’t played League of Legends in awhile, I suggest picking it back up and go get yourself ascended. It might just be the breath of fresh air you need.