Okay, so I understand that many people think Blackfeather is a potato now.
Well, to be honest, he sucks in 3v3, but that’s beside the point.
To those who have looked at the patch notes and claimed BF was dead, like I similarly did, you were wrong. I’ve found great success basically one tricking him in top lane for the past day. I just want to share some of the weird tricks that you need to abuse to succeed with him.
Firstly, start BoE and shooter. Nothing else (unless you’re laning against a SAW.) The reasoning for this is that BoE is super busted right now. It basically guarantees a win in lane if the opponent doesn’t have it, especially if you’re melee. Due to its sustain, this will let you negate the poke from ranged carries and keep sustain up against the enemy melee laners.
You get shooter for a nicer stutterstep and to utilise your passive in early trading. The amount of damage your passive can do at levels 1-9 is super underrated, and its one of the reasons his laning is so dirty right now.
The second reason is the river. The river is somewhat surprisingly the biggest game changer for the top and bottom lane. Whoever controls the river controls the lane. This is because the movespeed boost (which is massive at early levels) allows whoever has it to engage whoever they like, which is generally going to be your lane opponent.
The third reason is your new A. Most of the veteran Blackfeather players assumed it was a nerf, but in reality, it makes his early game A one of the strongest abilities in the game. Gapcloser, execute, bonus damage, movespeed, passive stacks. It just does so much that if you’re ranged, it becomes close to impossible to deal with.
However, you need to remember that even with all these ways to gain early game advantages, you lose lane to almost every common melee laner, with your best matchups being Glaive and Baptiste. So basically what I’m saying is if Rona is in your lane, try to avoid letting her use these techniques to you. Watch the river, try to save your barrier for her B, and don’t duel her unless you have a level advantage. If you’re having trouble with these matchups, there is a healing treant right outside your lane to steal…
At five minutes, jungle shop will spawn. If you have an allied captain or jungler that’s willing to use the power of teamwork, try to get them to put pressure onto the lane so you can quickly push the lane and shop.
After you buy, try to abuse the item advantage you have as much as possible. Even against matchups like Rona or Grumpjaw, this is where you can finally go head to head against them and possibly win. You’re going to be rushing a sorrowblade and a salvo. The rest of the build is going to differ based on the enemy laner. Against a melee, it’s generally best to go SB PS and BP/BS. This build is strong into the mid game, but scales off late when ranged hypercarries start hitting like trucks. Against a ranged carry, I generally build SB TT TM SM. Not only will this allow you to scale into late game by 3 shotting armourless targets, but it allows you to push towers like a madman, which is exactly what you want when the opposing team can’t contest your splitpush without sending down three players. Serpents is there to keep you sustained in between fights that will occur when the foolish jungler tries to 1v1 you, alongside giving you some sort of sudo tankiness alongside your one defence item.
Once mid game rolls around, push and skirmish in the enemy jungle. You can’t teamfight yet, since you’re likely super squishy, but you can take on 1-2 man fights easily. Utilising your high damage and snowballing is key in this stage, because frankly your late game isn’t nearly as good as it used to be.
Late game, you can choose to either splitpush or teamfight. Make sure to commit to one or the other though; only cowards don’t commit. When splitpushing, keep an eye on the minimap and make sure that you have vision between you and the enemy team. If only one or two are missing, you can probably take them, but if more than three are missing, quickly push out the wave and back. Hopefully your team had captured a jungle objective or gotten a kill while their team was split. If you do choose to teamfight, there are two ways to do it. You can choose to obliterate anyone who’s diving in, or you can camp in a bush without enemy vision and wait for Celeste to get just a little too close, before jumpscaring her with a C -> AA -> A combo for what is generally a one shot. If you don’t crit, you might want to hold your A until 5 stacks.
Now, this does all sound amazing, but Blackfeather has some downsides.
- He’s an incredibly easy camping target. The river speed works against you in this case, and since you’re so squishy, you might blow up without flask. Captains also love sitting next to the enemy laner when you play BF, because everyone hates it when BF gets ahead. Technically this should be a good thing, since it frees up your team to dominate, but that doesn’t always happen.
- Falling behind is worse on BF than on anyone else. If you’re going even, you can still make plays, but if you’re behind on gold you can’t make your mid game or your splitpushing work. He doesn’t offer any CC anymore, so he can’t fall back on that to support his team either.
- You can build an alternative Shiversteel build, replacing either SB, BP or PS, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Without your B slow it’s difficult to apply a big Shiversteel Rose Offensive, and even with three defence items, due to the barrier nerfs BF still blows up a lot.
- Honestly his CP path is pretty ass, so it’s difficult to flex into it.
- He dies to Ghostwing and Blackclaw so fast.
Even with these issues, you shouldn’t sleep on BF. He isn’t a late game monster anymore, due to his power curve being evened out. But with these changes, he can still dominate in the right hands, depending on the matchup.
Note: You can use these tactics with other top laners AND against Blackfeather as well.
For example, in this match, I was Top Reza (Don’t judge me) and was made to lane against a BF. Although generally Reza would get dominated in that lane, utilising the advantages of top lane allowed me to keep the lane relatively even, to the point where BF decided he would rather go teamfight. Although the enemy team had a lead on us early on, due to the lack of splitpushing from them, we managed to drag the game out until our Celeste scaled up and their Alpha scaled down, and then we proceeded to focus down their divers as a group and to push every lane to secure our team a victory. By making the Blackfeather teamfight and focusing him as a team, we killed him so hard that even with a higher CS count than all of us, all three laners managed to get a similar or higher net gold.
I’m not bragging or anything. It’s not like we’re a group with an average of t8 who beat a whole team of VGs.
Don’t judge me.