Strategy

Pro vs Bro; Items on Koshka

Koshka has been a hot topic of discussion ever since her recent changes in patch 1.2.0. However, these changes didn’t create the monster, she’s just the puppet. The real genius is the player-base that has found success with her in the top tiers of competitive play. This article will cover a few of the basic differences between what they are doing and what you are doing.

Below are the differences between 1.2.0 Koshka and 1.1.9 Koshka.

  1. Pounce energy cost reduced by 50%.
  2. Twirl energy cost reduced by 45%.
  3. Yummy Catnip Frenzy delay reduced by 20%.

You’ll notice there is no bonus damage, just energy cost changes. So why does this crazy cat lady hurt so badly? Koshka has plenty of fine print that needs to be absorbed to understand her full kit.

Before patch 1.2.0 there were a few players who had started exploiting Koshka in the higher tiers. Because of the demographic of highly skilled players, certain people were forced to play against a tank Koshka on a regular basis. In fact, IraqiZorro posted a Ringo guide to counter the tank Koshka players in higher elo. What did these Pinnacle of Awesome and Vainglorious players know that others didn’t? They saw the potential for a character to be built in an atypical manner.

Twirly Death:

This ability is the fuel to Koshka’s fire. You see Koshka players that are chunking you down in a few hits, but you try her and you feel like you don’t do enough damage? Twirly Death is your problem. This ability has a passive that stacks up to 12 times. A good Koshka player will find Petal seeds, or go into lane where there are a lot of minions, use Twirly Death once, and then leave. For each enemy target hit they gain one stack of Twirly Death. At level one it adds 50 damage to X number of attacks where X is the number of stacks gained from Twirly Death. If you can get 12 stacks at level 1, you would have 12 attacks that deal 50 bonus damage. Not an easy task to achieve, but that damage escalates quickly when there is an enemy Petal, or when Koshka is allowed to auto attack to refresh the cooldown on her Twirly Death. Petals beware!

Bloodrush:

Koshka gains bonus move speed, armor and shield whenever she hits an enemy or neutral minion with an ability. This is Koshka’s perk that stacks up to four times.

Seems straightforward enough. She has a base movement speed of 3.25, but can get 2.0 bonus movement speed from this perk. She also gains 16 armor and shield per stack, up to 64 total, even at level one. These bonuses last for five seconds. So now you have a high-damage, fast-moving, extremely-durable, sharp-clawed, kitty-crazed, pantless hero. What items would you build on a hero like that?

Itemization:

What’s the one thing Koshka is missing now? You might think “nothing” and you wouldn’t be far from the truth. A lot of players will start Energy Battery or Crystal Bit on Koshka. We need to discuss why this is a mistake.

Crystal Bit adds 20 Crystal Power. At level one, that’s 24 bonus damage on Twirly Death and seven bonus damage on each empowered attack. You have 761 health at level one as Koshka. What difference does 24 or 31 damage make in a fight? Is that the difference between life or death? Does that make your jungle clear faster? Does that give you the edge in an early jungle fight? No. The answer is always no. Energy Battery is even worse because it grants no combat stats.

We don’t need armor or shield because, despite starting with 18 of each, you get 64 bonus, making you more durable at level one than a level 12 Krul. We don’t need boots for movement speed because the Bloodrush heroic perk is four times more effective than boots.

The first item Vainglorious players buy on Koshka is Reflex Block. They start Oakheart, granting them 200 bonus health to go along nicely with their impressive resistances. The early Reflex Block also gives another 200 bonus health when needed, which take the high armor and shield values into account. This lets Koshka stay in the battle for much longer than she normally would be able to, not because she runs out of energy or damage, but because she just gets too low and needs to run away.

After Reflex Block some high-ranked Koshka players will start building a second Reflex Block or work towards Atlas Pauldron, depending on the other team’s composition. If the enemy team has two ranged weapon carries, then Atlas Pauldron is the right purchase. Koshka still has high damage, high mobility, and high defensive stats, but itemized some bonus health and a defensive item that lets her carries win duels with the carries on the enemy team.

This translates into an early- and mid-game dilemma where Koshka dominates because the scaling of her heroic perk quickly outpaces the cost-efficiency of any weapon power items. Once weapon power carries have the necessary items to deal with Koshka, she will have two Reflex Blocks and an Atlas to reduce their effectiveness to less than 35%.

Conclusion:

Players in the top tiers understand the necessary items to have Koshka excel at every stage of the game, helping her transition from the most dominant force at level one, to a powerful threat neutralizer at level 12. These players focus on building defensive stats that make her too difficult to battle every step of the way.

AdyEndrus

AdyEndrus contributes content that helps players improve by understanding the meta. Like most players he lives for patch day. He loves to evaluate the changes to Vainglory and provides a tri-weekly tier list. Reach him on Twitter as @adyendrus

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