Arrow in the Knee: How to Play Paladin's Latest Archer, Sha Lin
A new archer is joining Cassie in Paladins OB37, as Sha Lin is the latest champion released for the game.
You might be thinking that there is no use for yet another archer, but you would be sorely mistaken. While Cassie is more of an 'auto attack' archer that has ammo and can fire at will, Sha Lin is an archer in the traditional aspect of drawing the actual bow with more damage the longer it's held. His range is also much longer, giving him easy access to snipe from the back line.
Thoughts on Sha Lin
Sha Lin is such a strong addition to Paladins. He maybe already be overpowered, with his Long Bow dealing up to 1000 damage when fully charged.
While he does some pretty nasty damage and is great at picking off enemies, his health pool is the lowest (along with Kinessa) in the Damage class. His slight lack of mobility when drawing a bow can be detrimental if not used carefully.
Sha Lin should be played very cautiously. Players know by now how dangerous his arrows can be when they're fully drawn, so he will certainly be a target.
Your combination of Loadouts and Items will ultimately decide the strength of Sha Lin in match.
A long bow that draws back an arrow and releases it for up to 1000 damage every 2.5s.
Long Bow is the biggest stand out skill for Sha Lin as an archer. Unlike Cassie, he can pull his bow back and release it, dealing a varied amount of damage. When it's fully drawn, the release will send the shot in a dead straight line where it's aimed, whereas if it's released early with not enough draw it will travel in more of an arch and deal less damage, like an actual bow and arrow.
Long Bow is ideal to use when you're at a far distance, looking to make those kill shots before the enemy can retreat. The one downside is that your movement speed is slowed as you move around with your bow fully drawn. However, loadouts and items can even the movement back out.
Replace your arrow with an Impaler Arrow that knocks enemies back and stuns them for 1s if they hit a wall.
Similar to Cassie's Disengage, Impaler Bow knocks the target back but does no damage. The stun if they're against a wall is significantly strong, especially if he stays on the back line and stuns for teammates to back up with damage.
Plant yourself in place, becoming stationary for 3s. While planted, your Long Bow draw time is 200% faster and you fire continuously.
Re-activating Planted cancels the ability.
Planted is probably Sha Lin's strongest skill. Each arrow shot does about 800 damage and shoots straight and fast, getting off about 6 total shots. While you don't want to play Sha Lin too aggressively, Planted is great to use when you find yourself in the thick of battle, or when you're looking to do a vast amount of burst damage.
Planted is also wonderful combined with Impaler Bow. Stunning your target then planting six straight shots at them will just about guarantee the kill. While it does such a great amount of burst damage, you're left extremely vulnerable -- being immobile for three seconds leaves you open for a counter.
Leap backwards and enter stealth for 2s, leaving a mirage at your original location for 3.5s.
Withdraw is a classic escape for Sha Lin and can even be used in an offensive mode to trick your enemies as you try to flank. It's important to note you're able to use it while your bow is drawn without needing to redraw after prompting the skill. This means that if you're getting flanked you can use Withdraw to backup and take better aim if you have to use it defensively.
Enter stealth and gain 30% movement speed for 8s. While active, you draw your bow 50% faster and leave a mirage behind for 2s each time you fire.
Heat Haze is a tricky ultimate to get a handle on. While you ARE in stealth, you have to make sure you keep moving around and shooting to confuse your enemies. If you stay in one spot for too long after creating a mirage, the enemy will most likely catch on and be able to pick you off.
Pretty much any discrepancies you find in Sha Lin's skill set can be adjusted with his loadout and items.
Consider trying this 'Windwall' loadout:
This loadout is mainly focused on capitalizing on Sha Lins Planted skill and healing. Using Planted leaves you dangerously vulnerable, as you should use it at a bit of a closer range to have a better chance at deadly damage. Take Windwall to reduce the amount of damage received while you are Planted. This will keep you a bit safer, especially if you're at closer range. Combine Windwall with Grounded to regenerate health while you're Planted, especially if Withdraw and/or Heat Haze are on cooldown.
Next, grab Oasis to immediately heal after using Withdraw, instead of waiting for the auto-heal to kick in. As stated earlier, holding your bow drawn for Long Bow decreases your movement speed. Take Wanderlust to get that speed back, allowing you to move more freely with a fully drawn bow. The stun from Sha Lins Impaler Arrow can sometimes make huge difference, even with the short stun duration. Lastly, add Skewer to allow your Impaler Arrows to reveal enemies for 1s.
Items are fairly dependent on the composition you'll be pitted against. For instance, if you end up playing against Fernando, you would want to take Wrecker to combat his shield -- whereas you would take Bulldozer if you're against Barik. While you don't necessarily need all of these items, these are some that you can consider using.
Much for the same reason you would choose Windwall, when you are Planted you'll be a focused target as you'll be immobile for 3 seconds. Haven will reduce the amount you receive from anyone trying to pester you during Planted. For the same reason as Wanderlust, Nimble will increase your movement speed to counteract the loss brought by having your bow fully drawn.
As you'll already be dealing so much damage with Long Bow, Life Rip can help with getting that extra amount of health taken from your enemies and returned back to you once you land your shot. It's already pretty crazy how much damage Long Bow can deal being fully drawn, adding Aggression to your arsenal can just about guarantee kill shots.
Your approach to Sha Lin should be that of caution. His health pool isn't that impressive, so if you're caught in a sticky situation you need the damage and ability to back yourself up if you're on cooldowns.
You have to remember that Sha Lin is an archer sniper. If you can get your bow fully drawn, it will release perfectly where you have it aimed. However, if you're firing quickly you have to take into consideration the arch after release. It will still do damage, but not as much. Avoid 1v1s the best that you can, as you won't have time to fully draw and give damage.
In the early game, stay in the back line as best that you can, picking off enemy champions that get low and dealing out as much damage as possible. Like any sniper, you have to anticipate your enemies next move down to the millisecond. Watch their patterns and try to guess what their next move will be.
Only heavy engage if you have no cooldowns and can rely on backup from your allies. Planted can be treated somewhat as an AOE when you're up close and/or surrounded. You can use your escapes (Withdraw and Heat Haze) offensively or defensively. Withdraw is perfect if you're being chased directly by Skye, but don't get trigger happy with it. Save Heat Haze for when you jump to the front line, and confuse the enemies with it. Use it wisely and move constantly after it's activated.
With the example loadout and items, use the Impaler Arrow/Planted combination as much as possible. Stunning the enemy even just for one second and landing Planted on them can almost always guarantee a kill.
Go forth Desert Wind! Try this advice and let us know what you think! How would you tweak some of the items or loadout options?