Ah, banana hammocks. That would certainly be a weird way to start a story—if it weren’t about Pantheon.
Pantheon’s full visual and ability update comes out this week with League of Legends Patch 9.16 and that means the age of the banana hammock is here. This new and improved version of Pantheon is clad in simply a cape and a small wrap around his hip and groin. With so many players rushing to try out his new look and abilities, we’re going to see a lot of six-pack abs and thunderous, mighty thighs in our near future. And if you’re here, you’re probably just one of those many curious and excited players.
Let’s take a journey, then, into our quick-start guide on how to prepare for the release of the Unbreakable Spear. Here, you’ll find tips, tricks, and information on the update and what that means for anyone trying to play as him or against him.
Buy a toga
The first thing you have to do is head to your local thrift shop and pick up a toga. Rip that bad boy down until it’s about one-sixth its original size and tie it around your waist as your only clothing, just like Pantheon. Then, practice saying things that ancient Greek warriors would say, such as “Maláka,” so you know what to say in any given situation as your new favorite champion.
Now that you feel extra ferocious and Eastern European, we can start.
Pre-game: Rune build and summoner spells
Pantheon’s summoner spells are going to function pretty much the same as before his update. You run Ignite for laning and maximum kill pressure or Smite for jungling, which may happen a lot more after the update. Most players will take him top or mid since he offers high burst damage combined with high sustained damage. But since his passive works on monsters, he’ll be even more viable as a jungler than he was pre-VGU. Oh, and Flash. You always run Flash.
Since his sustained damage is far superior than old Pantheon, you’ll want to run Conqueror over Electrocute. The latter is still possible, but after testing him extensively on the PBE, we found that Conqueror, combined with Legend: Alacrity and an attack speed shard, scales much better and synergizes very well with his kit. Aftershock is also a possible choice, but Pantheon is a very aggressive, offensive champion that already has defensive tools built into his kit, so he has little need for Aftershock.
It’s like Pappy used to say, the best defense is pretending your enemy is a watermelon at a Gallagher concert.
With Pantheon’s new passive, Mortal Will, he now has a fun little mini-game to play baked into his kit. This mini-game will rule how he’s played whether you’re a laner or a jungler.
In lane, regardless of which lane you’re in, you want to both auto attack minions and chuck spears at your lane opponent until you pop Mortal Will, which is indicated by the red progression bar beneath Pantheon’s mana bar. When it’s full (after five attacks), either engage on the enemy with a W or chuck another spear at them for bonus damage. The Mortal Will buff simply adds cool effects to his abilities, changing per ability. The Q deals more damage and slows, the W makes his next attack hit extra times, and the E’s duration gets extended. When you expend your Mortal Will charge, simply rinse and repeat.
This ability works on monsters, too. For the fastest clear, just tap your Q to pop Mortal Will without holding it down. That reduces the cooldown and consumes the extra damage, allowing you to spam more.
In long, extended fights, you’ll ideally get a few pops of Mortal Will off, so make sure you do your best to track your progress bar in the thick of the action.
As just a few parting tips, Pantheon’s gameplay style is certainly different now, but not necessarily more difficult (looking at you, Akali).
Since he’s more of a bruiser now built for longer fights and with a more predictable defensive tool, you can’t just jump on someone’s head and watch them pop when you get one item. You’ll have to approach fights more strategically, avoiding or timing enemy crowd control spells when appropriate.
Despite the less extreme burst damage, his overall damage output is actually much higher and it scales into the late game now, too. Pantheon has more tools to stick to an enemy, and if they’re a carry (which should have been your primary target on the old Pantheon, too), they should die almost as quickly as before. Updated Pantheon is much better equipped to deal with tanks, too, especially when taking Conqueror.
For an item build, you’ll want to stick to items that help Pantheon in extended skirmishes. Lethality is still good, but you’ll want to keep your eye on the Spear of Shojin and Sterak’s Gage both as core items on the rippling gladiator.