The Rotating Game Mode queue has always allowed players to get away from the stresses of regular games. Summoners can leave their ranked woes and jump into modes that offer a more relaxed approach to League. From the original clone mayhem of One For All to the frantic keyboard-mashing of Ultra Rapid Fire, featured game modes provide an added spin to the classic League formula. The latest entry is the highly anticipated Nexus Siege, arguably the most intricate to date in terms of new features.
Nexus Siege is a round-based attack and defence game mode where teams take turns at sieging the enemy's Nexus using an arsenal of deadly siege weapons. Each match consists of two rounds. After the first round, the teams switch sides. If you’re attacking, you will need to shove waves and deploy siege weapons in order to charge up your minions and destroy towers. The defending team will try and withstand the blitz for as long as they can by upgrading towers and deploying AoE bonuses in order to kill their unwanted guests. Once the attacking side destroys the Nexus, the teams switch sides. Overall victory is awarded to whichever team flattens the base fastest.
The strangest thing about Nexus Siege is the sudden shock of not having any summoner spells. Instead they have been replaced by mode-specific attack or defense items that you can purchase with a unique currency called crystal shards. These accumulate over time and can be earned by killing enemy champions, with attackers earning them quicker than defenders. Defenders, however, start the round with enough Crystal Shards to buy a siege weapon and are also granted a bonus when the first tower in each lane is destroyed. Each minion that is shoved into the attacker’s teleporters will also grant precious shards to the defending team.
Both teams have access to trinkets that warp them close to the front lines so they can quickly get back to the action, and you don’t have to worry about farming as your riches are accumulated passively. In Nexus Siege it’s more important that you simply push lanes as quickly as possible.
The importance of pushing is demonstrated by the Obliterator. This terrifying beam of power is unleashed by the defending team when a total of 15 minions have been shoved into the attacker’s teleport pads. Once that quota has been met, a powerful laser will fire down all three lanes. Everything except siege weapons will be instantly obliterated.
Picking your champion
The most useful champions in this mode will ideally have a combination of good wave clear and tower-sieging potential. AD Carry champions like Sivir do very well since they can push lanes quickly, easily securing objectives and creating map pressure when sieging the enemy base. Sivir has insane wave clear potential when she utilises her Q and her W and is great at taking turrets thanks to her attack speed steroid, and can even initiate fights with her ultimate. AD Carry champions are also strong when defending as they can completely stop a push by laying down a constant barrage of harass to their opponents which either kills them or forces them out of lane, giving them a brief window to destroy siege weapons and stop the enemy advance.
Long range AP wave clear champions like Lux, Vel'Koz and Xerath also offer impeccable waveclear, good all round damage and crowd control abilities that either stun, suppress or knock-up enemies. This is even more potent if you manage to catch someone while the Obliterator is charging up.
However, having a team filled with only AD Carry or wave clear champions can make it all too easy for the opposing attackers to siege your turret and pick up some easy kills due to your lacklustre health and defense. This makes your ability to defend and attack extremely difficult. Instead try and build a well-balanced team made up of AP and AD wave clear champs, as well as a tank (Singed) or a support (Sona) and the addition of skirmishers who can quickly jump into the action. This team comp will allow you to maximize your strengths in the defense department and offer chances of breaking the siege against your base. By utilising the unlimited flash from Flash Zone you can easily punish popular squishy champions and destroy their stacked siege turrets, making their push that much harder and more time consuming.
Recalling and teleporting is super quick so don’t be afraid to go back to base after you have cleared a minion wave. This will allow you to stock up on items and valuable siege equipment that will aid you on the battlefield.
The gold accumulation is so fast in Nexus Siege that you can grab a better starting weapon (Needlessly Large Rod or B. F. Sword) before the minions even meet each other in lane. This will make your clear quicker and your damage even more potent early on.
Flash Zones can allow champions to go in for an insta-kill or make their attacks difficult to dodge. Take extra care when playing against the likes of Zed, Shaco and Darius who will be looking to use Flash Zones to pick up some early and late game kills.
When on the offense it’s a good idea to nest multiple Siege Ballista and Shield Totems together for fast tower destruction. The grouped weapons can help bait the defenders into a deadly ambush, giving your team opportunities to kill the disorganised foes. Make sure you place the Ballista behind terrain and in areas where you can easily defend them. Placing two Siege Ballista is optimal. If the opposing team manage to destroy them it won’t set you back as much as having placed all your siege weapons in one area. If you follow this advice you will hopefully diminish your chances of wasting your Crystals Shards and boost your overall survivability in lane.
Remember that Port Pads can win games. A well placed Port Pad behind enemy lines can help snowball your team really quickly. Conceal it in bushes or behind the walls to make it difficult for the enemy to find.
If you purchase the Beam of Ruination remember to use the summoner spell to fire it. I have seen many players simply place it on a turret only to forget about it. Just remember it is fairly slow and can easily be countered by champions with high mobility, so take note before you commit to purchasing this item.
When on the offence try and build some sustain. This will allow you to stay in lane longer and you won’t have to recall as often, allowing you to get a nice push going. If you’re playing on the defense opt for heavy damage items, CC and Siege Weapons. It’s important that you stall your opponents blitz on your base for as long as possible. The adage “the best defense is a good offense” rings true in Nexus Siege.
Nexus Siege brings a lot of new ideas to the table. Once you learn how to utilise the items, coordinate attacks and set up strong defensive boundaries it can be a very rewarding game mode that shouldn’t last more than 20 minutes each side. However, Nexus Siege is not without its problems. If you’re unfortunate enough to have an AFK player on your team then you’re in for a long game with no way of surrendering, which makes defeat sting more. A meta has also formed very quickly within the new mode, with low-mana cost and high wave clear champs becoming the favourite picks. Unfortunately this does mean that some champions will rarely be played through the fear of getting forced under tower while defending or being unable to reach enemy towers while attacking.
Time will only tell if Nexus Siege has the potential to become a classic game type that people will flock to like U.R.F. or One For All. It’s a welcome addition to the rotation, however, and demonstrates that Riot is willing to add new concepts to the classic League formula.