The face of evil in League of Legends is none other than a cute, mischievous squirrel whose sole purpose is to make your life a living hell: after all, he isn’t called ‘Satan’ for nothing.
Teemo has garnered a lot of hate since his original release in 2009, and continues to reduce grown men to salty tears of bitter resentment and hatred. You only have to type his name into Google to be met with a plethora of forum posts preaching detest towards the poison-wielding ball of fur. Similarly, a quick search on Youtube will summon a myriad of songs, troll builds and montages, as well as the usual comments wishing ill fate upon his creators. But why does everyone and their grandmother hate this adorable tyke?
Well, Teemo is one of the most frustrating champions to play against, especially early on in laning phase. If used properly his kit can create tsunamis of rage that echo throughout Summoner’s Rift. This is due to the global taunt that manages to annoy his opponents to the brink of insanity, and even his own teammates when he inadvertently steals a kill via one of his Noxious Traps. Oops.
Teemo’s main source of damage comes from his passive ability Toxic Shot, which adds bonus magic damage and poison to his basic attacks. To make things worse each auto attack refreshes the duration of the poison, which can become nightmarish with the correct build.
Good Teemo players will utilise Toxic Shot by safely last hitting minions from a safe distance, while constantly punishing their opponents every move, denying farm and the precious gold they need to help nullify the potency of his attacks. If out of pure frustration his opponent decides to challenge Teemo he can just use Blinding Dart to stop incoming auto attacks for a maximum of 2.5 seconds, giving him a brief window to deal some extra damage, often winning the trade. Teemo can also use his Move Quick ability, doubling his bonus movement speed for 3 seconds, allowing him to either escape incoming danger or give chase to a low health enemy.
If our fiendish fur ball is aware of an incoming gank from the enemy jungler, or simply wants to unleash a devastating surprise attack, he can simply stand still or enter a brush while taking no damage for 1.5 seconds. This grants him the use of his stealth ability, Camouflage. When his stealth is broken, Teemo is granted additional attack speed for a maximum of three seconds. With the correct positioning this ability can allow for a great deal of harass early on, and even net his team a quick and easy First Blood.
To make matters worse, his ultimate allows him to plant and throw poisonous mushrooms all over Summoner’s Rift. These noxious traps can be strategically placed in areas of high enemy movement, providing deadly ward coverage with a twist. If an enemy steps on a mushroom, it will detonate and poison all nearby enemies, slowing them while dealing magic damage for four seconds. These life-taking mushrooms have six health and can only be damaged by basic attacks, and only when visible from using either Pink Wards or the Sweeping Lens Trinket.
By simply placing these mushrooms Teemo can defend breaches on key objectives, set up elaborate traps, control the enemy jungle, and secure safe passage to the game-changing Baron Nashor and Dragon camps. The above will reward him and his team with some very easy kills as his opponents trudge their way through toxic trap after toxic trap, until their lifeless bodies fall in a painful heap on the ground. “That’s gotta sting.”
While the panic and disarray sets in, Teemo has already split pushed top lane and is destroying the base you fought so hard to defend. Just as he’s about to deliver the last blow to your nexus he spams a taunt that fills your eardrums with the most annoyingly cute laugh followed by the inevitable “gg ez”. It’s at this point that your blood curdles, your tired weary hands form fists, and you yell expletives at the top of your lungs, filling the the room with your bitter anguish.
Teemo has successfully converted another player into nothing more than a blubbering primal ape whose shouting has woken up the entire street. Your sleep deprived flatmate walks in and is about to give you a lecture until they see you’re an uncontrollable sobbing mess, they look at the screen, they see Teemo’s wry grin, and lay a sympathetic hand upon your shoulder. Life sure can be miserable playing against this devilish Yordle.
This frustration is often due to many players believing that Teemo takes no skill, mixed with the feeling that there is little to no counter play. Everyone who plays League of Legends has a champion they hate to lane against, whether it’s because they feel they can’t do anything against them or just don’t fully understand how to counter them. We have all been in unpleasant situations where the laning phase feels like a lost cause. For many people, Teemo is the embodiment of those feelings.
Teemo used to be a viable pick in season one where he would wreak havoc on popular picks like Jax and other melee champions who relied on auto attacks to deliver the majority of their damage. He could just use his blinding dart to disable their auto attack damage for a few seconds, creating a window of opportunity to kill his opponent without taking any damage himself. A lot of early champions simply didn’t have the movement and gap-closers that we see in League of Legends’ current meta-game. This gave Teemo free reign to outmanoeuvre his opponents, easily kiting champions like Singed or Cho’Gath.
Teemo is no longer the satanic monster he used to be, however. He’s annoying and can be very hard for new players to understand, but with a cool head and a little experience he really isn’t that bad by today’s standards. Firstly, Teemo is a bit of an anomaly as he doesn’t fit into any team very well. He doesn’t fit the role of a tank/bruiser which is usually associated with top lane champions, nor does he have the burst to fare well in mid lane which is filled with mid lane assassins whose gap closers and burst kill the little guy within a few seconds.
His ability to jungle is laughable, being widely considered as “troll pick” by the community, and the most he can do down bottom lane is ward with his mushshrooms and use his blinding dart to disable the AD carry’s auto attacks. While this seems advantageous, Teemo can accidentally snag the kill for himself with his poison damage, denying his ADC of a kill that he/she needs to become a greater presence in the game.
Our rodent friend sure gets a lot of stick considering his short attack range, minimal health, inability to carry well when fed, and lacklustre team fighting abilities—he is anything but “Satanic”. If anything the majority of Teemo players end up being forced into teamfights or left cowering under their turret, which makes him simply useless. He can’t go and help his team by split pushing lanes, creating vital map pressure, nor can he provide coverage with his mushshrooms that allow control over key buffs.
Sadly the little Yordle just doesn’t appear to have the impact he did back in previous seasons, and he has been pushed aside in favour of champions like Fiora with her huge snowball and carry potential and champions like Malphite who offers greater utility in terms of an ultimate that can turnaround teamfights with relatively low risk.
But regardless of his abundant weaknesses, Teemo remains to many players a frustrating, unfair, champion. But does our poor little furry friend deserve all this hate? Originally, the answer would most definitely be yes: even I as a Teemo main would have held my guilty hands up. But as League of Legends continues to evolve with every new patch, and more and more champions continue to fill the ever growing roster, Teemo has become less of the terrifying monster he once was.
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