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Playing around Power Spikes –

by Shakarez on March 21, 2016

Playing around Power Spikes - directorygames.netThroughout all the league games you’ve played, videos you’ve watched and casters you’ve listened to in competitive matches, you’ have probably heard the term ‘Power Spike’ countless times and you might be wondering, what exactly is a power spike and how can a player use them.


Power spikes are points in time that make a champion have a “peak” in their strength when compared to other champions.


But what makes champions hit their power spikes and how does one know he’s currently in one?


Truth is, a lot of this knowledge comes with experience, of both playing the champion or simply listening to advice from someone who has played that matchup.


However, different champions have different power spikes and in most cases that powers spike comes from a multitude of factors. Let’s have a look at what can cause your champion to power spike.


Level Power Spikes


This one is the most obvious one, by unlocking more abilities or ranking up your main ones, you start getting stronger.


Level 1 Power Spike:

Champions who can just be impactful or a bully with one ability. For Annie, a mix between her long range auto attacks and Disintegrate can zone out most enemy laners and get her a CS or experience advantage. Other examples include Caitlyn, due to her long auto attack range and Blitzcrank, that can net kills in invades with his Rocket Grab.


Level 2 Power Spike:


Playing around Power Spikes -

You’ve probably heard about the Lucian level 2 power spike, it’s become quite a widespread meme in the community.


Jokes aside, Lucian gets a strong spike at level two as he unlocks ‘Relentless Pursuit’ and can use his Lightslinger passive twice in a short time in between abilities.


Typically level 2 power spikes happen with champions who unlock a Crowd Control ability, champions like Thresh, Blitzcrank, Alistar are good examples of this as they become very scary with two abilities unlocked, being able to lock down a target for a long period of time while doing noticeable damage. Others come from simply having good early base stats and being able to abuse them with ability usage, such as Renekton.


Level 3-5 Power Spike:


These spikes come from champions who benefit from having their three skills available and can string them together for damage combinations for example. A good example of this is Elise.


Other level Power Spikes:


Other than the ones mentioned above, champions have a multitude of power spikes as they level up. The availability of an ultimate is a spike for most and from there, level 9,11,13,16,18 are other examples where a champion maxes out a skill or gets more ranks in his/her ultimate.


Item Power Spikes


Playing around Power Spikes -

Some champions are highly dependant on the completion or stacking of an item. The most notable one is the completion on Trinity Force that gives a massive spike in damage to champions like Corki.


Others include the hexdrinker pick up for AD bruisers/assassins when playing versus AP matchups and the completion of items like Rabadon’s Deathcap that will increase the Ability Power you have and Infinity Edge that will empower your critical strikes, Multiplying already purchased item stats.


In other cases, the stacking of an item can also be a spike in power. When the tear items finally finish stacking into Muramana and Seraph’s Embrace or when Rod of Ages reaches max stacks.


Kit Passive Power Spikes


Some champions get spikes in damage as they stack up their passives. Veigar, Nasus and Sion have infinite scaling on one of their abilities gaining Ability Power, Damage and Health respectively. However other champions like Bard, Kindred and Cassiopeia also have stacking passives.


Bard gains a lot of power from stacking chimes, at 5 meeps his auto attacks start applying a slow and as he collects more, the slow becomes more potent, up to an 80% slow when he has collected 145 chimes


Kindred can gain extra percentage current health damage by killing marked monsters or champions throughout the game.


Cassiopeia’s Aspect Of The Serpent also help her spike at certain thresholds unlocking various bonuses at each step:


Aspect of the Serpent

Cassiopeia generates a  stack of Aspect of the Serpent once every 6 seconds (10 times per minute) and for every second that an enemy champion is  poisoned by her abilities, up to a maximum of 500 stacks.

Cassiopeia empowers herself in different ways when she reaches certain milestones:

Aspect of the Serpent One 100 Stack s:  + 5% AP, and Twin Fang.png Twin Fang now heals for 6-16 (+ 6% AP).

Aspect of the Serpent Two 250 Stacks: + 5% AP, for a total of + 10% AP, and + 25% cooldown reduction.

Aspect of the Serpent Three 500 Stacks: + 20% AP, for a total of + 30% AP.



Playing around your power spikes



You’ll notice that in competitive play, teams frequently try to play around Power Spikes on one or more champions to open up an advantage.


When a lane matchup is favourable, the jungler may try to amplify this advantage by ganking that lane. The opposite also happens frequently, where a weaker lane is covered or protected to ensure they can get to their power spike safely.


Giving concrete examples, Zed wants to pick up early kills, as he’s extremely strong at snowballing and item advantages will amplify his level-based power spikes. Conversely, Kassadin is a champion that wants to just survive the laning phase in order to obtain level 6 and finish his first item, Rod of Ages, that allows him to use his kit more effectively due to the mana given for Riftwalk and health due to his low range kit.




Avoiding power troughs


A power trough is the opposite of a power spike. It’s when a champion is at a weaker point compared to his opponent. In competitive you’ll often see lanes playing more passively while they get out of this weak point.


Tear of the Goddess stackers, such as Ezreal, have a weaker laning phase and simply want to get to mid game, when they will already have more items completed and a Manamune finally stacked into Muramana.


Another example is Caitlyn. While she is known as a lane bully that can frequently get kills and creep score advantages during laning, in the mid game she tends to be weaker as she still hasn’t bought enough items to make her the fantastic late game long ranged carry that she can be.

You’ll usually see teams trying to bypass her power trough by giving her a lot of gold and possibly kills, so she can start getting to 3-4 items and potentially high percentage of critical chance.





In ranked games and when playing with random teammates, this can be harder to execute, but communication can definitely help your teammates understand your power spikes, as they might not have the experience you have with your champion and not understand when you’re strongest.


Whether you’re the Renekton asking for jungle pressure to snowball harder or the Shyvana that doesn’t want to be in full blown teamfights before getting Sated Devourer, communicating with your team is definitely important and can help them act accordingly to make sure the team is playing around the correct power spikes.


March 26, 2016 |

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