With the arrival of the preseason comes yet another new champion that joins the league and is set to hit the rift. This time around, we’re introduced to Neeko, the Curious Chameleon. On first glance, it’s clear she’s a very interesting champion, with a passive similar to the item Trickster’s Glass from the Black Market Brawlers event. But the how viable of a champion will she be in both ranked and pro play? That’s what we’ll take a look at today.
Credit to Surrender at 20 for providing all the stats and screenshots
Passive: Inherent Glamour
“Neeko can disguise herself as an allied champion. Champion combat or casting damaging spell breaks the disguise.”
Like previously mentioned, Neeko’s passive is nothing new to the game. Most players have already seen it previously on the item Trickster’s Glass during the Black Market Brawlers event. While Trickster’s Glass was mostly a gimmick item and bought for fun, Neeko’s passive could provide some interesting strategic usage.
Without even considering her passive’s synergy with her other abilities, a great use for her ability could be to simply provide false information to the enemy. For example, if your mid laner was planning on recalling to buy a key item, Neeko could disguise as that champ and pretend to still be in lane so that the enemy mid laner would be unable to recall at the same time. Another way her passive could be used is to simply take the attack animation of another champion to have a better time last hitting minions although that prevents you from using your abilities. But at that point, the player needs to decide if that’s a sacrifice they’re willing to make.
While these are some very simple usage, it shows that in both the ranked and pro play setting, Neeko’s passive could be used creatively in many ways. As such it’ll be interesting to see how pros use it once they get their hands on the champion.
Q: Blooming Burst
“Neeko throws a seed that blooms to deal 80/125/170/215/260 (+50% AP) magic damage. If it kills a unit or damages a champion or large monster, it will bloom again, dealing 40/60/80/100/120 (20% AP) damage. Max 2 extra blooms.”
This is Neeko’s main damage ability and most likely the ability most players will be maxing. It’ll be her main source of clearing as both a laner or a jungler. There’s nothing too special about this ability, solid base damage and scaling, not too high of a mana cost and a fair cooldown for what it’s able to do.
The main issue that may arise is ensuring that the enemy champions are going to be hit by all three blooms. However, with her other abilities, that shouldn’t be a huge issue as she will has access to a fairly solid root. Other than that, let’s just wait for a clip of someone stealing Baron with her Q, shall we?
Passive: Every 3rd attack deals 50/80/110/140/170 (+60% AP) bonus magic damage and increases Neeko’s movement speed by 20/25/30/35/40% for 1 second.
Active: Neeko becomes invisible for 0.5 seconds and projects a clone that lasts 2 seconds. Neeko and the clone gain 20/25/30/35/40% movement speed for 2 seconds.
While Neeko’s passive is comparable to Trickster’s Glass, her W’s active is comparable to Leblanc’s passive. Apart from being a last-ditch effort ability to escape bad situations, the small movement speed increase will help with ganks as a jungler. Along with that, the passive of this ability will help her clear the jungle even faster.
While her W is pretty useful in certain situations, it’s hard not seeing this ability being maxed last. Although it provides a nice boost to her clear speed and provides a small movement speed boost, the increase in movement speed at different ranks just isn’t worth it. If nothing else, her W will provide a good way to scout out a small area when needed. So while this ability will likely be maxed last, it does have room for some creative use.
Neeko slings a tangle that deals 80/115/150/185/220 (+40% AP) magic damage and roots for0.5 seconds. The last champion hit is rooted for 0.7/0.9/1.1/1.3/1.5 seconds instead.
The tangle becomes empowered after hitting 2 enemies, growing larger, moving faster and rooting the last champion hit for 1.8/2.1/2.4/2.7/3 seconds.
Behold, the ability that will make everything work together. It provides an amazing multi-man root for her to guarantee that her Q will land on multiple enemies. Along with that, it’s a great way to make sure a gank works out early on in the game. Or, if you decide to lane with her, it’s a good harass combo when paired with her Q, while also being a good way to set up ganks for your jungler.
Along with its use during the laning phase, it’ll be a useful setup tool for teamfights and picks. As long as your team is able to follow-up on the multi-man root, Neeko’s E will prove to be a very useful ability. As such it’ll likely be the second ability you max in most scenarios.
R: Pop Blossom
After 1.25 seconds Neeko leaps into the air. She gains a shield that absorbs 50/80/110 (+50% AP) damage (+40/60/80 for each nearby enemy champion). Nearby enemies are slowed by 40%.
When Neeko lands she deals 200/425/650 (130% AP) magic damage and stuns nearby enemies for 1.25 seconds.
This ability can be prepared in secret if Neeko is disguised.
Finally, we reach Neeko’s ultimate. It’s a Nunu ultimate on steroids, that can be down charged secretly if Neeko is disguised. With that in consideration, it means that both Neeko’s W and E are great ways to set up for a huge ultimate to hit on the enemy team. How players are able to set up her ultimate will prove to be a huge difference maker in setting apart the good Neeko players and the great Neeko players. Along with a fairly decent 90 second cooldown and an initial shield to help ensure the ability hits, it’s definitely one of the better ults in the game considering how much damage it can do and its ability to completely change the outcome of a team fight.
On first glance, Neeko seems really strong. Of course, these numbers are still set to change as with anything that is still on PBE. However, as long as they don’t change too much, it isn’t hard to imagine seeing Neeko being played in both ranked and pro play. While making Neeko work as a laner will be attempted, her home will likely be in the jungle. Her passive allows for some sneaky plays that will trick the opponent if they lack the communication and vision to know the truth. Along with that, her damage across the board is fairly high and she has access to enough CC that she’ll have a fairly easy time ganking.
Rune-wise, Neeko could get a lot of use out of the new Dark Harvest which will only make her damage even higher. Then in terms of build, I see Neeko just being built full AP, which gives junglers another possible AP jungler to add to their arsenal. Overall Neeko is a really strong champion that will be fun to play and fills a gap in the jungle pool as an AP jungler.
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