Confession time: I’ve never fired a gun.
This should come as a surprise to few of you and as a disappointment to fewer still. My experience with the devices is limited entirely to those that fire paint and those of virtual design. From there, the latter hasn’t appealed to me in years.
Guns just aren’t my thing.
So after Lucian’s accidental reveal many months ago, my initial response of “Cool!” surprised me most of all. Granting that these aren’t “gun” guns – at least with respect to the armaments brandished by Caitlyn, Graves and Miss Fortune – he still had a very cool style about him that I hoped would transfer well to the Fields.
And, y’know what? Lucian looks good, with animations that have a very deliberate feel behind their action. His gameplay takes the most literal shot at “run and gun” design thus far presented in League of Legends. The idea behind Lucian’s kit is that a dead enemy is the best enemy and the best way to make a dead enemy is to shoot as many bullets as possible.
Which explains Lightslinger, Lucian’s passive: every time Lucian uses an ability, his next auto attack shoots twice, with the second bullet dealing between 50 and 75 percent damage based on Lucian’s level. It’s exactly what it sounds like and gives Lucian a little extra oomph behind his attacks provided the player is willing to stick with the fight – and doesn’t let auto-targeting get the better of him or her. Still, unlike Master Yi’s Double Strike, Lucian must cast an ability to get the benefits, which is fair considering the emphasis marksman gameplay places on attack speed, but also limits the bonus damage opportunities to Lucian’s mana pool.
Piercing Light introduces a billiards-like element to League: Lucian shoots a bolt of light through a target, damaging enemies in a line behind it. Ardent Blaze, meanwhile, fires a skillshot that explodes, dealing magic damage and marking the enemies it hits. If Lucian damages a marked target with an auto attack or an ability, he receives a temporary bonus to his movement speed. Relentless Pursuit dashes Lucian a short distance while removing slowing effects and will reset if he slays an opponent with his ultimate, The Culling. Speaking of, The Culling fires bullets in a target direction for three seconds, with each bullet dealing damage to the first target hit.
What you need to know first and foremost is that Piercing Light functions as though it’s a single-target ability. You must click on the target you want to hit and Lucian will not cast until he’s within range of that target. It forms a line with Lucian and anything after that point takes damage extending roughly one minion wave. Its AD scaling actually improves as Lucian levels up the ability, starting with 60 percent of his bonus AD and ending at 120. As such, it’s smarter to pursue heavy amounts of attack damage over attack speed early on, as the friendly cooldown and strong damage on this ability make it Lucian’s primary tool for harassment. While it lacks the safety of Caitlyn’s Piltover Peacemaker and Varus’ Piercing Arrow, the ability matches Lucian’s auto attack range, so he doesn’t place himself in any kind of additional harm to employ it.
An Ardent Blaze/Piercing Light combo makes for an effective gank facilitator, as the bonus movement speed afforded by the former typically gives Lucian the means to leg down his opponents. Relentless Pursuit helps him stay on the move, and anything that lets a carry champion shrug off slowing effects is a radical boost to that kit. Curiously, Relentless Pursuit embodies the mantra “You improve by doing,” as its mana cost decreases with each point invested.
The Culling is by far the most interesting portion of Lucian’s kit and most embodies the run-and-gun mindset. For three seconds, Lucian fires bullets in whatever direction he currently faces, ala Miss Fortune’s Bullet Time, except this shoots in a straight line and Lucian can move during the assault. Each bullet deals physical damage, scaling off both attack damage and ability power, and attack speed increases the number of shots Lucian fires during this time. While Lucian can move and use Relentless Pursuit, Flash and even the lantern from Dark Passage during his shooting spree, he cannot change the direction of his focus. The bullets will only hit the target directly in front of him. Minions will block the bullets but they won’t do so for long, as The Culling deals them an extra 400 percent damage. Monsters? …These bullets don’t bother them. Despite the single-target nature of the individual bullets, The Culling still classifies as an area-of-effect ability; don’t get excited about its potential with Muramana.
Lucian’s builds don’t stray too far from those pursued by other marksmen. As his damage-focused abilities all scale off AD and cannot critically strike or apply most on-hit effects, raw attack damage provides the best amplification to his damage output. As a basic pickup, nothing appeals more than a BF Sword, and while current conventions make it a popular early purchase already, its benefits for Piercing Light make it a top priority. Since The Bloodthirster and the Infinity Edge are no-brainer options anyway, turn your BF Sword into whichever item better serves your purposes. Or get both, and a Last Whisper to boot! There’s no better way to make an enemy dead than through bullets that hit like a freight train.
Actually, that last bit’s not entirely true – sometimes one freight train isn’t enough. Like any marksman, attack speed improves how quickly Lucian shoots his guns. Unlike every other champion in the game, attack speed improves one of his spells, in this case through the number of bullets he fires during his ultimate. At rank one and with no outside AS influences, it’ll fire 13 shots; at rank three it can fire a maximum of 34. But before you get excited about grabbing the Sword of the Divine, know that its active doesn’t factor into The Culling’s bullet quantity.
From a laning standpoint, Lucian plays a better game of Attrition than he does Attack, as he lacks an AS steroid and raw single-target damage for hard engagements. He works best with supports that zone well, as they open up reliable opportunities for use of Piercing Light. In that respect, Sona reigns supreme, as she comes with the added benefit of an AD aura and heals; Nami, Lulu, Thresh and Zyra function with similar effect. Teammates with lockdown abilities will be most preferred by Lucian, as he only needs a brief window to reach the ideal position to mow down everything in The Culling’s path.
By their nature, marksmen don’t tend to vary greatly from a gameplay standpoint. While most offer nuances that keep them separate enough, the reality is positioning and individual mechanics often play the biggest roles in a player’s ability to succeed. In a certain respect, Lucian stays the course: players won’t stray far from conventional builds, and Lucian isn’t the marksman who is also a tank. He deals a lot of damage, and he does so by shooting all the things. His tools, however, emphasize mobility more than his predecessors, and I look forward to the highlight reels which showcase what truly skilled marksmen mains – or accidentally lucky ones, I suppose – can do with that kit.
I never really could. But, y’know, I’m just not a gun guy.
About the Author (Author Profile)Domenic "DomNomNom" Sherony is an editor by day, esports writer and editor by night, and co-host of the Trinity Force Podcast. For more of his thoughts, musings and ramblings, you can find him via Twitter: @dsherony.
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