Feral Flare – who can use it?
With the release of Feral Flare, a new item, the jungling landscape changed, but how much did it really change? If you are looking to improve as a jungler or willing to pick up more jungler games it’s important to keep up with the latest jungler strategies. Patch 4.5 brought us Feral Flare and the item instantly made a large impact. Madred’s Razor and Wriggle’s Lantern improved the damage auto attacks do to jungle monsters. After a set amount of camps killed the item transforms into Feral Flare gaining a bit of power and enabling some of the damage done per attack on champions. The gold gained per slain monster is okay but falls behind the Spirit Stone upgrades. You need to farm more camps to make it an effective choice.
The item is properly balanced and not as overpowered as others may think. Probably it will need some slight tweaks in power and we will see some readjustments for Feral Flare in patches 4.6 and onwards. One cheesy play is to combine Feral Flare with the 700gold costing Spirit Stone for ridiculous Baron clearing power. I can’t imagine this was intended by Riot as Baron is already easy enough to solo at some point for most Feral Flare users. I will run you through a few junglers that raised questions at the launch of Feral Flare and conclude with how to play against a Wriggle’s Lantern or Feral Flare user.
Nocturne, Xin Zhao and Udyr – Contenders for the top
Three easy to use but strong junglers at all levels of play. Nocturne, Xin Zhao and Udyr are three junglers that often are among the contenders for the top picks. They can scale through many different statistics which gives them versatility and the luxury to just build the strongest items at a given time. Buffs to the Spirit of the Elder Lizard benefited other champions more which is why these three haven’t been as popular. Now with Lee Sin, Vi, Elise and Wukong nerfed they are ready to take the top spots.
Feral Flare is a strong item and since attack speed is a very beneficial stat in more than one way for Nocturne, Xin Zhao and Udyr it will not only boost their farming speed but also their dueling power. This does not mean that the Spirit line is simply outclassed on them. Are you a jungler who ganks a lot? the Spirit line is probably more effective. You get your combat stats earlier and the gold gain passive will give you more gold than Wriggle’s Lantern and it’s upgrade.
In my opinion this is how these items should function in a perfect state of balance. Spirit of the Ancient Golem makes you beefy, Elder Lizard grants damage and Wriggle’s Lantern promotes farming.
Jax and Shen – Chasing the pot of gold
Jax and Shen are iffy junglers. Their jungling isn’t all dandy. Jax needs a while to ramp up his clear speed. Shen is known for being a bad clearer throughout the game but he can be virtually anywhere because of his Ultimate to keep farming. Their ganks aren’t the best but have their merits. So if you like to play them they’re better choices than they where before.
Feral Flare makes sense since they both love to farm towards a filled inventory and attack speed does more for them than just improving their basic attacks. What keeps them from being overpowered is how they want defenses and clearing speed at the same time, something that no item can do for them.
Aatrox and Olaf – Imagine if they had a real weapon
These are two junglers who are not sought after but still over a lot of unique power in the right hands. Especially on Aatrox Feral Flare feels underwhelming. Aatrox is a rather slow and squishy jungler who needs some help in items to make him able to withstand pressure.
Both Olaf and Aatrox excel at brutal ganks and skirmishes where their body does the work. Throwing yourself into the heat of the battle requires some beef and Feral Flare line only offers offensive stats. Spirit of the Ancient Golem is perfect on these guys and will probably earn you more money in between your ganks. Looking for an offensive item? Hexdrinker, Bilgewater Cutlass and Tiamat are three great options with strong late game upgrades.
Master Yi and Tryndamere – The carry junglers
Is Feral Flare a good item on Master Yi or Tryndamere? Yes! Are Master Yi and Tryndamere good junglers? It depends. These junglers love to farm and just sign up for counterganks since they nothing but auto attacks and lack proper ways to pin down the target. They did become stronger at what they’re picked for – farming to deal damage. If you’re an inexperienced jungler but an experienced player then you can make these champions work by farming up to a point of relevancy.
However, most team compositions seek junglers to initiate fights, pin down targets and protect their team. Yi and Tryndamere do not fit into this category and bring nothing but damage to the table. This makes them good splitpushers and will punish teams who do not properly focus them down fast. If your team can use the perks of a jungler like this or the other team can’t exploit your weaknesses – go for it. Master Yi feels easier to pull off since his early game is more forgiving.
How to counter Wriggle’s Lantern and Feral Flare
The new Wriggle’s Lantern and Feral Flare give nothing but offensive statistics and puts a lot of weight in the passive that doesn’t work on champions until the Flare is there. A jungler using Madreds Razor or Wriggle’s Lantern is likely to tunnel on farm, aiming to get his upgrade online asap. You can exploit his weaker early game by bringing the fight to him and invading his jungle or go for a gank heavy approach.
Feral Flare is no holy grail to victory, but it does widen the horizon of viable champions. An effort of Riot Games that is only to be complimented. Even if you do not like the style of the jungling style that Feral Flare opens it’s important to learn how to use the item to be able to play against it. What are your experiences with Feral Flare? Please let us know in the comments!