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GUIDE

Play Taliyah Like Maxlore

If you’ve watched the EU LCS this Summer Split, you may have noticed that Taliyah, a once staple mid lane champion, has been seeing a ton of play in the jungle.

Boasting a 93% presence and 100% winrate thus far, it’s clear that League’s resident Earthbender has found a new home on the rift. To find out exactly why she’s made this transition, and glean advice on how to make the most out of The Stoneweaver in the jungle, I’ve spoken to star jungler of Misfits: Nubar "Maxlore" Sarafian.

I’ve been waiting a year to play this champion. She’s so OP!

Nubar "Maxlore" Sarafian

Taliyah is a Stoneweaver who uses her abilities to manipulate the battlefield in her favour. Whether it’s building a wall and making your enemies pay for it, or by simply throwing rocks at her enemies until their untimely demise, she is extremely versatile in everything she does. Plus, she does it well.

Taliyah has no shortages when it comes to strengths. She has quite possibly the best clear speed of any champion in the game due to the incredible amounts of damage she is capable of outputting. She can obliterate almost any camp within seconds, which leads to her having a pretty healthy jungle clear when all is said and done. Her raw damage output is immense, meaning that she can bully and 1v1 almost any other champion in the game early on. This allows her to take control over the early game as the opposing jungler must fear and respect her ability to outright kill them.

Her movement speed is incredibly high, unmatched by anyone else on the Rift. She can run through the river from lane to lane in about half the time it would take most other champions, allowing her to be astonishingly proactive and almost untrackable. You’ll be hearing Initial D playing in your head while surfing around the rift at breakneck speeds.

Why has Taliyah only just started seeing play as a jungler?

With her small rework, Taliyah had her single target damage on Threaded Volley(Q) increased. This is what propelled her into becoming one of the best jungle clearers in the game. Another big change was made to her Passive, which now has a much shorter lockout timer than pre-rework Taliyah. And, last but not least, her ability to clear Scuttle Crabs is possibly the fastest I’ve ever seen. Seismic Shove(W) makes it incredibly easy to kill Scuttles to the point of it being laughable. All of these changes together helped her become the jungler she is today.

They increased the single target damage on her Threaded Volley, making it super easy to do your buff at Level 1. Her Level 2 Crab clear is too fast with W.

Nubar "Maxlore" Sarafian

Like every champion, though, she has a few weaknesses. Taliyah struggles if she gets locked down with Crowd Control, making her an easy target to focus down in a fight. Take caution when playing against heavy CC teams as, if they’re smart, they’ll focus their CC onto you and leave you as easy pickings. Taliyah can also have a lot of trouble against assassins. Anyone that can one shot you with little counterplay is the bane of Taliyah’s existence, so be extra careful when up against a Talon or LeBlanc!

Taliyah does a ton of damage, has a stupid amount of movement speed, and has a game changing ultimate.

Nubar "Maxlore" Sarafian

Runes and Summoner Spells

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Primary: Domination

Electrocute adds some extra burst damage to your combo. It allows you to dish out incredible amounts of damage in a very short space of time which translates to extra kill pressure while ganking. You’ll generally be proccing this with your W>E>Q combo, but any three different sources of damage will be able to proc it. There also aren’t many other Keystones that Taliyah can make good use of, so this makes Electrocute a pretty good choice.

Electrocute gives you a much higher Damage Per Minute. In almost all cases, you will take this Rune.

Nubar "Maxlore" Sarafian

Cheap Shot is able to be procced by your W>E Combo, adding even more burst damage. Coupled with Electrocute, you’ll be adding a ton more burst to your combo. Again, Taliyah can't make much use of the other runes in this tier either, making Cheap Shot the obvious best choice.

Zombie Ward is a strong rune for gaining and maintaining vision control. Whenever you kill an enemy ward, a zombie ward spawns in its place. Since you will be getting an Oracle Lens early on into the game, you gain even further vision control thanks to Zombie Ward. A zombie ward will also spawn whenever your ward times out, meaning you can get a lot of extra vision for free.

Ravenous Hunter grants you healing from any damage you deal to enemy champions, adding a little more survivability to your kit. Taliyah can now make great use of this rune due to Threaded Volley no longer counting as an Area of Effect spell. You should be able to gain the bounty hunter stacks relatively easy as you’ll be ganking quite a lot.

Secondary: Sorcery

Celerity and Waterwalking are the general best secondary runes for almost every jungler now. Due to the amount of time you spend within the river, and with the changes to Rift Scuttlers, you’ll be fighting a lot in the river, at least in the early game. Celerity is especially good with Taliyah as your passive gives you plenty of extra movement speed, which equates to a ton of extra ability power thanks to this rune. You won’t be able to make use of this surge of ability power for long once in combat though, as your passive movement speed is only increased out of combat, so make your first hit count!

You should take Sorcery as your secondary tree, but sometimes you can opt to take Inspiration for the stopwatch if you need to.

Nubar "Maxlore" Sarafian

Summoner Spells

Flash, as many of you already know, is pretty much essential. Having no form of gapcloser or ability to run away within a teamfight, Taliyah relies on Flash as her only means of escape. Of course, it may also be utilized aggressively. Flashing in for a Seismic Shove(W) or to clean up a low health target with Threaded Volley(Q) can be a great way to snowball the game in your favour.

Smite will be your other Summoner Spell of choice. Smite is needed to jungle efficiently and secure objectives. You won’t be able to purchase a jungle item without Smite, which provides you with extra XP from killing jungle camps, so this is a pretty non-negotiable Summoner Spell.


Taliyah's Skills

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Passive: Rock Surfing

The Movement speed gain from Rock Surfing is absolutely amazing and is one of the many tools that allows Taliyah to work as an effective jungler. You’ll be taking advantage of Rock Surfing most of your time on the Rift while travelling to camps or to lanes for ganks, making you incredibly fast and hard to track. This allows for proactive plays to be made, leaving the enemy jungler eating your dust as you surf circles around them.

Q: Threaded Volley

Threaded Volley does incredible damage and allows for an extremely fast clear speed. It’s also capable of absolutely destroying the health bar of any champion that crosses your path. The combination of having high damage on a relatively low cooldown makes Threaded Volley your strongest source for reliable damage. Your Worked Ground should never affect your clear speed as, by the time the camp respawns, Worked Ground should have disappeared meaning that you get the full effects of Threaded Volley.

W: Seismic Shove

Seismic Shove is your main displacement and Crowd Control tool. You will generally be using this to knock opponents into your Unraveled Earth(E) for a large chunk of damage and to leave them out of position. This is a strong ganking tool as well, usually forcing a flash from the opponent to ensure their survival.

E: Unraveled Earth

Unraveled Earth leaves a minefield in front of you in a cone, slowing anyone in it. Any dashes or knock-backs through the zone detonates the rocks crossed, dealing a burst of damage. This is usually used alongside Seismic Shove(W) as your main catch-and-burst inside of a teamfight. You can also use this to slow any pursuing or fleeing enemies.

R: Weaver’s Wall

Weaver’s Wall can be utilized in quite a few ways. It can be used to get across the map in an instant in order to turn up to a fight, or to block off a large area of the map, often to stop opponents from fleeing a fight or from approaching objectives. You’ll regularly see players ulting to simply block off the entrances to objectives such as baron or dragon. This stops the opposing team from contesting the objective, allowing your team to secure it and get away scot-free.

use your ultimate to cancel your ally's recall

Nubar "Maxlore" Sarafian

We asked Maxlore if he had any additional tips on how to utilise Weaver's Wall, and he shared with us some special Challenger-level tricks. He said, "If one of your teammates is recalling and the rest of your team want to start a fight, and if you think it will be a good fight, use your ultimate to cancel your ally's recall and force him to stay and fight."

He also advised, "If someone on your team is running it down mid, you can use your ultimate to buy an additional six seconds. During those six seconds, your teammate might relax and take a breather, which could result in a change of heart."

Finally, he gave us a solid reminder about solo queue mastery points, or in his case, LCS fantasy points: "If the enemy team is about to kill your nexus and your teammates want to run out of base and die (I don't know why people do this), do your teammates a favour and zone them into your fountain. That way you preserve their KDA."

Skill Order

Take Q at Level 1 as it’s your main damage source. You’ll need as much damage as possible to kill your first camp so this is pretty straightforward. Follow up by getting a point in W. This allows you to clear Scuttle Crab super easily, as applying hard CC to the crab lowers its damage resistances. You’ll want to max your Q first as it’s your main DPS ability and you’ll want it on a lower cooldown. Next, prioritise points into your E. You’ll mainly be doing this in order to have Unraveled Earth on a lower cooldown and, due to Seismic Shove’s cooldown not being affected by skill rank, there’s no reason to prioritise putting points into it.

 

Combos

As Taliyah, you’ll usually want to change up how you use your skills depending on the situation. There isn’t a huge wealth of combos that are reliable in every situation, but there is at least one.

Seismic Shove(W) + Unraveled Earth(E) + Threaded Volley(Q)

This is your bread and butter combo with Taliyah. It works in almost every situation and is a reliable chunk of damage every time you land it. In the later stages of the game, this alone will be able to kill squishy members of the enemy team within a second. No matter who you catch with your Seismic Shove(W), your team should be able to capitalize on them being tossed out of position and will often net you the kill.

You can change up this combo depending on your situation. For example, if your target is close you can lead with Unraveled Earth(E) to slow them, making it a lot easier to land Seismic Shove(W).

Remember, Seismic Shove(W) CAN hit multiple enemies, so its possible to catch multiple opponents out, allowing your team to net a huge advantage with a single shove.


Items

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Starting Items

Start off by grabbing yourself a Hunter’s Talisman and a Refillable Potion. Upon damaging a monster with an ability or attack, Hunter’s Talisman will apply a burn to the monster, and a heal to you over a few seconds. It also provides some mana regen while in the jungle or river, synergising well with Taliyah as she can be quite mana hungry.

Core Items

You’ll want to rush Skirmishers Saber - Runic Echoes, otherwise known as the AP jungle item. The main reason is that the stats it gives are exactly what you’re looking for on Taliyah. The Luden’s-esque passive deals additional damage to large monsters, and restores 25% of your maximum mana if procced onto a large monster which will shore up any mana problems you may be facing. Follow this up with Sorcerer’s Shoes. Taliyah makes great use of Magic Penetration due to how Threaded Volley is five separate instances of damage, meaning you get five times the use out of Sorcerer’s Shoes. Getting upgraded boots early also has strong synergy with Rock Surfing (Passive) as the Movement Speed provided is a percentage of your current Movement Speed. Oblivion Orb will compliment the Magic Penetration from Sorcerer's Shoes, granting you an additional 15 Magic Penetration and allowing you to wipe out pretty much anything that crosses your path.

The biggest powerspike for Taliyah is when she gets the double penetration items (Sorcerer's Shoes + Oblivion Orb).

Nubar "Maxlore" Sarafian

Late Game

This is where your build can be a bit more flexible. You’ll either want to complete your Morellonomicon if you need the Grevious Wounds or just want the stats from the item, or grab a situational item from the ones shown. Rylai's Crystal Scepter can, for example, be a good choice for providing you with some more tankiness and for slowing enemies once they’re tagged by Threaded Volley.

Get Void Staff afterwards. Even if the enemy team don’t have any Magic Resist items, they still have an innate amount of Magic Resist which can be negated by Void Staff, allowing you to basically deal true damage in tandem with your Magic Penetration items. It becomes an extremely efficient item if the enemy has even a Null-Magic Mantle.

Situational Items

As mentioned above, you’ll want to pick up one of these items after your Oblivion Orb is completed. What you’ll want really depends on how the game is going at the time. Are you fed and want to push your lead even further? Grab a Rabadon’s Deathcap. Enemy team have an assassin who’s ruining your day? Zhonya’s Hourglass can help! Finding it hard to get through their beefy front line? Liandry’s Torment will help burn their lifebars away.


Jungle Paths

For the Early Game, you have two options. You can look to either safely clear the majority of your jungle camps, or you can attempt to secure an early Scuttle Crab at Level 2. Option one would have you starting at your Blue Buff, then moving onto Gromp, Wolves and then Red Buff. This will cause you to hit Level 3 and, from there, you can choose to either keep farming up or try to create some pressure on the map.

If you choose option two, You’ll want to start off by clearing your Red Buff before moving over to the Crab as having red buff will grant you move power in a duel in case the enemy jungler tries to contest you on the Crab. From there, you can either go back to clearing your jungle as normal, or try to contest the other Scuttle Crab. Doing this can be dangerous, however, as your lanes may not have roam priority and you could end up in a sticky situation, so you should be fully aware of the lane situations before attempting this.


Ganking and Objectives

Ganking with Taliyah is rather dependant on the champion you are ganking and which champion your teammate is playing. You’ll usually want to gank for someone who has CC, as you don’t have reliable CC in your kit which can make it quite difficult to successfully secure a kill. For example, anyone with some sort of gapcloser will be hard for you to gank effectively as they can easily dodge your Seismic Shove. But, if you have, say, a Maokai or a Shen, they can CC the target, guaranteeing that you land your Seismic Shove and leaving you with a fairly good chance at netting the kill. Once you reach Level 6 and have access to Weaver’s Wall, you can use it to cut off an immobile, flashless champion’s escape route, which will often lead to their demise.

You can use Weaver’s Wall to constantly make picks in the side lanes or even midlane if the enemy team is out of position.

Nubar "Maxlore" Sarafian

You can use your ultimate to put your enemies in a bad position, or to zone off an enemy from the teamfight creating a 5v4 situation.

Nubar "Maxlore" Sarafian

Team Fighting

Your goal in a teamfight is to be a strong kiting damage dealer. Use Threaded Volley at max distance and wait for an opportunity to use your Seismic Shove and Unraveled Earth combo to burst an enemy down. Capitalizing on a mispositioned enemy team is where Taliyah shines. Throwing down Weaver’s Wall to split the enemy team apart, or to catch out a couple of stragglers, will almost always end up in a teamfight win for your team.

Objective Control

Your best and most reliable way to control objectives is through good use of Weaver’s Wall. Positioning yourself correctly in order block off the enemy team, or split them apart before a fight breaks out, is vital to your success. Actively looking to block off the enemy jungler will usually result in a free Dragon or Baron for your team and it becomes less likely you’ll be flamed for missing your Smite.


Conclusion

To conclude, Taliyah is an all round strong pick that can fit into any and all teams comps. If you haven’t tried her out in the jungle yet, I’d recommend giving it a go as she is a ton of fun! For all of you out there who are looking for a fast jungle clearer with amazing duel and gank potential, then give this Stoneweaver a chance!

Big thanks to Maxlore for being generous enough to answer my questions so thoroughly while throwing in a bit of banter here and there. We wish Maxlore and the rest of Misfits good luck in the coming weeks and hope to see some more Taliyah soon!

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We would like to give major props to Misfits Maxlore for taking the time to help us understand Taliyah's nuances in order to write this guide.

Make sure to follow his social media!