Hello everyone! Not sure how often I’ll have the chance to do something like this on the day a champion is released to the Public Beta Environment, but please enjoy the following video of my experience with Kindred, or more precisely Lamb & Wolf, and my following thoughts on her/him/them as a champion.
I certainly found Kindred to be an interesting champion to play. “They” have a lot going for them, in that they’re a ranged Marksman that can very effectively clear camps, but also easily fight for objectives. First let’s break it down by ability. I won’t go over the full “what each one does”, you can read Riot’s page for that, but instead my thoughts on the abilities.
Passive: Mark of the Kindred - Kill a jungle camp that Wolf feels like chomping into, or a selected champion of your choice (even assists count!) that Lamb wants to slaughter every four minutes for a free stat boost? Um, yea, I think I’m chill with that. It’s versatile enough that players can choose to go a more farming jungle centric route if lane ganks aren’t feasible due to wave control, while simultaneously incentivizing players to go and gank for their lanes as a Jungler. Genius design, truly one of my favorite passives in the game. Only downside is I continually forgot to use it, and likewise wasn’t sure of when exactly I could use it. Perhaps that will just come with time, but I feel some minor adjustments to Kindred’s UI in that respect wouldn’t hurt.
Q: Dance of Arrows - A small dash in a direction that can jump over some walls (so many fails in my video), that simutaneously is, effectively speaking, your main source of damage. It’s kind of like playing Kalista, but a bit more controlled, and given it has synergy with your W, I like the idea behind it. Kindred is really seriously fragile, so having an ability that lets her be mobile, even just slightly, is fair in my opinion. Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to test out playing her with Hurricane in her build as well, but I can only imagine the flurry of arrows that would occur as a result.
W: Wolf’s Frenzy - Your bread and butter for why clearing jungle camps is feasible, and it’s a wonderful zoning tool. Not as big of a threat as say, three Azir soldiers, but it does its job in making Kindred flexible in movement and damage while contesting an objective. Again, great game design here. Encourages the player to contest not just jungle camps, but also towers.
E: Mounting Dread - It’s Kindred’s additional source of damage beyond just auto attacks and Qs, and also gives her a small ability to disengage or stick onto someone. Pretty straight forward, very similar in scope to Vayne.
R: Lamb’s Respite - Holy shit is this thing cool. An AoE tool that keeps you, your team, the opponent’s team, and Dragon/Baron alive no matter what for 4 seconds as long as you stand in it, and then it heals everything within said area? It’s like a Bard Ult, only not hella trolly, and it’s crazy useful. You can dive towers with reckless abandon with your comrades, grab a kill, and then walk out scott free if you time everything right (which I don’t at one point and get subsequently called out on, naturally).
Think of the implications there alone. Baron about to be stolen? NOPE. Going to die under your opponents tower? NOPE. Someone pings a Jinx rocket and you didn’t react in time so you just spam R on yourself? Good to go. It’s not broken because you can just be removed out of it by people like Gragas, Lee Sin, Janna, and others. It also heals everyone, so if players time things right, even your opponents can reverse the positive implications of your ultimate back onto your team. Though the thought of Gragas/Janna ulting only your enemy out of the ultimate and not your team-mates is extremely noteworthy and bears investigation in feasible play.
Playing Against Kindred:
Pretty straightforward ways to beat up on a Kindred.
A) Just punch them in the face when their ult is on cooldown. They may be mobile, but they’re also very susceptible to burst damage.
B) Counter-Jungle them, holy crap is Lee-Sin a goddamn nightmare against Kindred. He has the perfect means of engaging them and forcing them out of their zones of control, including their ult, while he remains inside it. All I encountered on the PBE while helping other friends prepare their video content was constant counter-jungling.
C) Use her Hunt mechanic against her. The interesting thing about Kindred’s passive is that everyone knows which camp will give Kindred a bonus stack, and likewise which champion they’ve marked for death. The opposing jungler can form strategies around counter-ganking for said individuals, or awaiting Kindred in certain jungle paths on their way to various camps that Wolf wants to eat. Granted, the Kindred player could also be intentionally playing psychological warfare, trying to lead the enemy jungler on a wild goose-chase to defend a champion that actually isn’t in any danger in lieu of striking elsewhere. Did I mention I love this passive design? Because it’s amazing on so many levels.
I absolutely love the aesthetic that Riot was going for. Not quite scary, yet also not calming either. An interesting mix of personalities that have some interesting conversations about one another, like Lamb asking Wolf what hunger is, or them discussing references to Mary Had a Little Lamb. Great voice acting, and very cool design work. The champions color schemes are simple, yet refined. Clearly there are some references to Yin and Yang with the Mask/Skull exchanges between the two as well.
Overall I think Kindred is a great addition to League. I’m not sure how much competitive play “they” may see at certain ranks, but I like the idea of mixing up League’s rather well established meta in favor of non-traditional roles that still do what the traditional picks do effectively as well. It brings a nice spice of variety to the game, and I’m rather looking forward to seeing what players who are higher ranking than myself come up with in regards to combos, team selection, and play-styles.
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RerTV is a small-time YouTuber and Streamer who enjoys writing #FeelsGoodMan posts about gaming. He strives each day to spread awareness of the positivity gaming can bring to ourselves and society, and hopes you’ll join the conversation. Find him on Twitter: @RerTV.