Since the release of a teaser depicting a new Bilgewater Champion, Pyke, the entire community was anxiously waiting for his official reveal, especially considering how “different” he looked like from most champions recently released by Riot Games: a creature of the depths, ready to bring doom and despair upon his enemies.
But now, the wait is finally over, and we can finally see how Pyke will look in-game: designed in theory to be a support, he actually looks rather as an assassin, who uses stealth and dash abilities to quickly close down distances to his enemies, before using a powerful – resettable – ultimate to finish off anyone who is still alive following the initial engagement.
Before going further, take a look at his abilities:
Passive – Gift of the Drowned Ones
“When Pyke is unseen by enemies, he rapidly regenerates some of the health lost to enemy champions. Pyke also converts his bonus health into bonus attack damage instead.”
Q – Bone Skewer
“Tap: Pyke stabs and grealy slows all enemies in front of him
Hold: Pyke readies and then throws his harpoon, impaling the first enemy struck and pulling them a distance toward him.”
W – Ghostwave Dive
“Pyke dives into spectral waters, entering camouflage and gaining a significant increase to his movement speed that decays over a few seconds. Camouflage hides Pyke from view while enemies remain outside his immediate area. Attack or casting spells immediately ends camouflage.”
E – Phantom Overthrow
“Pyke dashes, leaving behind a drowned phantom. After a delay, the phantom returns to Pyke, damaging and stunning enemies it passes through.”
R – Death From Below
“Pyke strikes in an X-shaped area, blinking to champions and executing those below a certain flat amount of health. Enemies in the X that are not executed take damage equal to this amount. When a champion dies in the X, the last ally to assist also gains full kill gold and kill credit, and Pyke can instantly use Death from Below again for a short period of time.”
As you can clearly see, his kit is much, much different from what we see from conventional supports, who, in true meaning of the word, make use of their supportive abilities to assist while the rest of the team is responsible for dealing the damage itself. But now it seems that the tables may have turned a little bit, making Pyke instantly a much anticipated champion.
His passive is similar to Tahm Kench’s “grey health”, as he regenerates part of his HP lost – as long as he remains unseen by the enemies, meaning that it can be effectively used in conjunction with his W, Ghostwave Dive, which gives the Bloodharbor Reaper exactly some camouflage - and movement speed - for a few seconds. But expect his W not only to be used as his gap closing tool, but also as an escape from tricky situations – while of course getting some of that lost health back, which can prove vital in close fights.
Bone Skewer – Pyke’s Q - is another interesting ability, as it can be used in two different ways: first, if you just tap it, the ability will slow all enemies directly in front of him, making it in a very good follow-up after engaging in multiple targets. And secondly, when held for a few seconds, Pyke throws a harpoon, which impales and pulls the first enemy struck towards him – yes. you guess right, he can either engage from close quarters but also from distance, a very valuable asset especially if laning against two ranged champions.
Pyke’s E, Phantom Overthrow is his most “flashy” ability, as it allows for big outplays alongside his Flash: considering his phantom takes some time to return to him, he can flash to quickly put his target between him and the phantom for an easy stun.
And finally, Death from Below is technically a very straight-forward finishing-off ability, but with the quite unique addition that the last ally to assist in the execution also receives kill credit – including full gold. Therefore, ADCs, rejoice, for there is no need anymore to complain if your support “steals” a kill: you will receive the gold you need in your quest to rush Infinity Edge anyways.
As usual, Riot also released a couple of videos showing how you can play as the Bloodharbor Reaper:
In this example, you can easily notice Pyke closing the gap to his victim with his Ghostwater Dive, putting himself right at the edge of Jarvan’s vision field. Then a quick E + Q combo to stun and slow puts the enemy in range for the execution with the ultimate in order to claim an easy kill over an isolated target.
The second part of the video is quite similar, but also shows that Pyke is an effective diver, which makes us think perhaps: is he still only a support though? Given his kit – but still without knowing any of his numbers – he seems to be perfectly suitable (at least) as a jungler as well, considering his gap closing and engage abilities look like extremely powerful, able to quickly jump on and finish off an overextended enemy.
However, even Pyke gets played as a jungler, he will be a very squishy one: according to a report by the Rift Herald today, “he can’t gain extra health from any source. Instead, that health gets converted into attack damage.” Interesting right? This means that while he will be hitting extremely hard, at the same, one mistake while engaging could potentially send Pyke back to the depths – just like with so many assassins currently in the game.
Riot Games’ associate game designer Pyke Jonathan Fuller explained to the Rift Herald with a bit more detail: “he cannot get bonus health from any source. From runes he can’t get bonus health, from items he can’t get bonus health, and even abilities that grant bonus health instead grant him damage. So Lulu’s ultimate is actually a damage steroid for Pyke.”
This completely unique mechanic is the perfect solution for a problem not mentioned yet: as an “assassin-support”, how would Pyke be able to ever afford the expensive assassin items in order to deal tons of damage?
With this answered, Pyke’s build should be a conventional one, similar to the ones seen on “tankier” supports such as Leona or Alistar, starting with Relic Shield for the laning phase, which will be obviously be giving him bonus AD instead of health.
While there is no release date announced yet, Pyke should be coming out from the depths on Patch 8.11, which is due for May 30, roughly 2 weeks from now. Until then, you can try him – before jumping on a ranked straightaway upon release – on the PBE, where he is available starting today.
(Photos and Videos courtesy of Riot Games)
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