Archive for the ‘LoL News’ Category


PBE 30 09 Banner


PBE 30/09 Contents:

  • New Lee Sin Splash Art
  • Champion Changes


[ Reminder ] The PBE is a testing ground for changes. What you see here may not reflect what you see in Patch Notes. Remember that developers want your feedback so if you disagree with a change, you can always submit your thoughts on the PBE Community Forums.


Previous PBE Updates for Patch 4.18 Cycle:



New Lee Sin Splash Art



LeeSin_0 LeeSin_Square_0



Champion Changes 30 09 Banner



Azir Final Portrait

  • Base Mana-per-second decreased from 1.42 to 1.3
  • Base armor decreased from 16 to 14
  • Mana-per-second per level decreased from 0.15 to 0.13

[ Note ] These are reverts on the base stats buffs Azir got in this PBE update.


Sion Final Portrait

  • HP-per-level increased from 60 to 70

[ Note ] Sion has been reworked on the PBE. Link to changelist.



If you have any questions, feel free to ask me at @NoL_Chefo or e-mail me at


Dev Blog: Reimagining Sion

September 30th, 2014


Dev Blog Reimagining Sion Banner

The newest dev blog from Riot details the thought process and creativity behind Sion’s rework.


Sooooo… Sion. We first toyed with the notion of updating him years ago – now that it’s here, we figured we’d talk about what was wrong with old Sion, and how we created the juggernaut that’s currently crushing skulls on PBE.

Out with the old

Old Sion had countless problems: he was a mage with an ax, he’d end up with two redundant abilities regardless of how he built, his model had aged horribly, and he had some pretty… interesting voiceover. Worst of all, none of these “qualities” actually worked together, so while modern champion designs try to create a cohesive identity through their gameplay, story and art, Sion was all over the place. After deliberating as a full group, we – the Champion Update team – decided to undertake our grandest project yet, updating Sion’s art, narrative and gameplay. We basically buried old Sion, ordered the orbital strike, then picked through the rubble to find the diamonds we could carry through in his update.

But where did we start with making new Sion? First, we needed to identify the key pillars that we’d use to mechanically, artistically and narratively define him. This is a process we go through with all new and updated champs; here’s what we came up with:

  • Undead
  • Unstoppable Juggernaut
  • Faded Glory of Noxus

Essentially, we wanted Sion to be an unrelenting war machine, a ragged Noxian titan who’d be sewn back together after battle and pointed in the rough direction of the enemy army when they next rolled up. This sense would have to seep into every aspect of Sion’s identity to make him a cohesive champion. Here’s what that meant to some of the key guys behind Sion’s update.


Gameplay design by Riot Scruffy

More than anything, old Sion was just confused with no clear sense of identity. Some of his abilities worked with attack damage, some with ability power, and he sort of functioned as a tank. Thing is, no matter how you built him, you’d end up actively forgoing the effective use of a number of your abilities and stats. On top of that, there were almost no interesting interactions in his kit: Sion had a fixed play pattern with zero skillshots, and abilities that gave players really few opportunities to express their skills or mastery. Basically, when we got together to start working on Sion, we knew we’d pretty muchstart from scratch with his design because almost none of it – aside from his W and passive health gain – was compelling or consistent.

So, we knew he’d be a hulking and unstoppable undead warrior, but what does that mean from a design perspective? First off, he’d be slow but tough, a walking cadaver that could take a bunch of punishment before going down. This gave us a basic design concept: new Sion would be tanky and slow with powerful but telegraphed attacks and abilities. This meant that enemies would be able to work around the areas that Sion was about to attack, but also meant that Sion could use that same knowledge to make cerebral plays. Decimating Smash, for instance, has a huge and very visible wind up that shows Sion’s enemies exactly where he’s about to swing his ax. This alone gives Sion immense zone control, but he can also swing his ax early, meaning his enemy has to work around the window of assault that he’s created and anticipate exactly when Sion’s going to attack. Soul Furnace, the only of Sion’s active abilities to survive the update, has a similar psychological element: activating the shield tells your opponent you’re ready to fight, but they still don’t know when or even if you’re planning on detonating it. How you use the ability, and how you use the threat of the ability’s damage, is something that you and your opponent get to play around. What’s more, with his huge area of effect abilities, Sion absolutely thrives in the heart of a fight, where he can hurt multiple targets and zone enemy assassins away from his team’s squishies.



Next we wanted to emphasize Sion as an unstoppable juggernaut. We used the idea as a gameplay hook in his passive, giving him the chance to turn berserk and take down enemies as he dies, just as he does in his updated lore. We used the same theme to define his ultimate, Unstoppable Charge, which has huge range and turns the otherwise lumbering zombie man into a terrifying man missile. But again, there are trade-offs: Sion’s hard to steer and has to stick to a largely straight line, so it’s down to Sion players to pick clever locations and figure out optimal timing to ensure that when he does arrive, he charges into an unsuspecting and trapped enemy team. Seeing Sion ult into the enemy after teleporting in behind them during our internal tests was a terrifying sight, and we can’t wait to see how you guys make the most of his Unstoppable Onslaught.




Narrative design by Riot Entropy

Whenever we update a champion we begin by taking everything we know about them and paring down all that information until we identify the essential elements, the immutable traits that are so core to the champion that changing them might very well turn them into an entirely different character. It might have been easy to write off old Sion entirely and start from scratch, but at the end of the day the core concept of “hulking undead warrior” has always been a solid foundation. The problem was a lot of the elements we hung on that skeleton weren’t complimentary to that core identity. We took Sion down the humorous route, made him bright and colorful, and gave him Arnold Schwarzenegger inspired voice-over, all of which ultimately undermined what was cool about the core concept. This time around we decided to play the concept straight and holistically construct a truly fearsome warrior through identity, art and gameplay.

At this point we knew we were making Sion a giant undead killing-machine, but we still needed to explore what makes Sion unique. Ax-wielding Noxian badass was a space Darius was already doing a good job filling, and with Urgot firmly in the reanimated horror arena there was a need to give Sion some space to thrive. Rather than look at these similarities as redundancies, we used them as inspiration. We started asking big questions: If Noxus can raise the dead, why wouldn’t they have thousands of undead in their ranks? Why did they reanimate Urgot through entirely different means than Sion? Who was Sion in life? Why did Noxus want to bring him back to life? How would Darius feel about Sion, about undeath? How old is Sion, really? How did Sion’s resurrection affect him?



What we landed on in the end was a great warrior of Noxus’s past, the first Hand of Noxus who met his end dealing a crippling blow to his nation’s greatest enemy. We made Sion a man who was granted immortality for his deeds, but decided that gift should be a curse rather than a blessing. We found something noble and tragic in the transformation robbing him of what made him great: his identity. Sion is the echo of his former self driven by an instinctual need to feast on life, but we didn’t want him to just be a bloodthirsty monster. We still wanted Sion to be a character capable of supporting a compelling story in the present as well as the past, so we instilled a small glimmer of hope in his condition. In reliving the bloodshed of his former life, Sion begins to remember who he is and realize what he’s become, if only for a short time. Can he hang onto himself long enough to break free of the cycle remembrance and loss he’s bound to? Time will tell.

All of this backstory would ring a bit hollow if the champ you played in game didn’t really reflect the uniqueness of Sion’s condition, so we tried something experimental with Sion’s voice over. When Sion fights with champions or dives into the enemy team he begins to feel more alive and his voiceover set changes to reflect that he’s more the warrior he used to be: exhilarated, brutal and at home in war. As Sion spends time away from the fray, he begins to slip back into the haze of his undeath where his thoughts are clouded and his need is singular.




Art design by HUGEnFAST

By 2014’s standards, old Sion looked like crap. There, I said it. He was one of the League’s oldest, and like most other launch champs, had not aged well at all. But that’s not exactly a revelation. In fact, we’d been avoiding eye contact with Sion’s old model for a while, but – knowing the narrative and gameplay guys were equally peeved by him – had to wait for the right time to really pull him apart and figure out what needed to be tossed, and what could be kept. Once we all finally got together, we realized that a decent number of old Sion’s visual hooks – specifically his ax, size, and undead nature – were worth keeping. Thing is, they were poorly executed on, which gave up as a pretty simple goal: to really execute better this time around, and tie new Sion visually to his Noxian home.

So taking his key pillars into account, how did we set about updating Sion? Well, first off we wanted to identify and emphasize the role of magic in the big guy’s resurrection. His obvious source of power might be his ax, but when Swain resurrected him, he also imbued him with a form of magic. So while Sion’s now something of a hollow corpse, his body’s been filled with the red energy most notable on his stomach – the same energy that forms Soul Furnace’s shield. Next we wanted to address Sion’s ax and armor, specifically in relation to Darius, the man who’s taken on Sion’s role of general in contemporary Noxus.



There are some pretty clear similarities, including the general shapes and colors (Noxus is… very black and red), but we also wanted to hint at some of the military changes that had occurred since Sion’s initial death. Essentially, Sion’s more brutal, whereas Darius is a little more refined. Sion’s armor is bolder and stronger, and he uses his ax more as a club than a slicing weapon. Hundreds of years have refined Noxian warfare, so while Darius is still definitely brutal, he’s more precise – someone who’ll cut your jugular and let you bleed to death. This carries through in his appearance: Darius’s ax is a relatively refined weapon, and his armor hasn’t got the same sheer bulk or weight as Sion’s.

Next we wanted to showcase Sion’s undead characteristics. We started looking at his skin hue, and ultimately decided to use an ashen, pale tone that would contrast well with the rich reds and blacks of his armor. Speaking of armor, you might notice a relative lack of it compared to other Noxians. That’s deliberate: we found that as we added armor pieces, he lost the undead feel we wanted. Also, look close and you’ll see that the armor he has is actually bolted on. Sion’s not the kind of guy who changes from his outdoor cardigan to his indoor cardigan after a fight – he’s a living war machine who, when he’s not fighting, is locked away so he can’t rampage his way through his own people. Another change you’ll notice is his hair, or lack of!



After trying a few different styles out, we discovered that any hair detracted from the undead feel of the guy. At the same time, we really liked this top-knot look, so we started tinkering around with other non-hair things we could add in to give Sion something unique and break up and otherwise fairly smooth silhouette. The dagger idea was perfect – unique and brutal – and we quickly incorporated it into his resurrection ritual. Speaking of brutality, check out Sion’s jaw: It’s Jarvan I’s crown!



This relatively small touch was just one of the ways we ended up tying Sion’s story to his model, and really emphasized how utterly brutal this guy is – he literally screams at his enemies using the crown of the Demacian king he killed.

Hopefully this article’s given you some good insight into how we went about recreating Sion! We spent many months on his update, and worked to deliver a cohesive and unique champion to League of Legends. Join the whole team here for Q&A!


If you have any questions, feel free to ask me at @NoL_Chefo or e-mail me at


PBE 29 09 Banner


PBE 29/09 Contents:

  • Sion Login Screen
  • Warmonger Sion Update
  • Champion Changes


[ Reminder ] The PBE is a testing ground for changes. What you see here may not reflect what you see in Patch Notes. Remember that developers want your feedback so if you disagree with a change, you can always submit your thoughts on the PBE Community Forums.


Previous PBE Updates for Patch 4.18 Cycle:



Sion Login Screen




Warmonger Sion Update




Sion Skin 3



Warmonger Sion Updated



Champion Changes 29 09



Akali Final Portrait


Twilight Shroud New IconTwilight Shroud [ W ]

  • Movement speed burst decreased from 60/70/80/90/100% to 20/40/60/80/100%


[ Note ] Akali’s Twilight Shroud was recently changed on the PBE to grant Movement Speed inside the shroud instead of Armor and Magic Resist. Link to changelist.



Kha'Zix Final Portrait


Void Spike New IconVoid Spike [ W ]

  • Base Damage decreased from 75/115/155/195/235 to 80/110/140/170/200



Yasuo Final Portrait

  • Base Health decreased from 430 to 380
  • Base Movement Speed decreased from 350 to 340



If you have any questions, feel free to ask me at @NoL_Chefo or e-mail me at


Azir Guide Banner

Feeling hesitant playing Azir? Rioters have put together a lengthy guide detailing his strengths and playstyle.

This week, Azir ascends to the free champion rotation! Sift through this collection of knowledge from players, pros, and the community to claim your place on the ancient throne:

IBeMatey: theorycrafts tons of options and items to fit multiple playstyles

Xervos: dives deep into lane matchups and counters

Demonata: touches on every ability and item choice in depth, as well as lane opponents, team synergy, and strategies for every phase of the game

Summoner School: a community-run subreddit overflowing with Azir discussions, tips, tricks, and builds

For up-to-date info on how the pros are building Azir, head over here.

Tips from Riot Velocity

Looking for an inside edge? Check out some tips and insight from Riot Velocity and Squad5, two of the dudes involved in balancing Azir’s kit.

So what's up with Azir

Squad5: Azir excels at zoning his enemies and dictating the pace of team fights. He’s great at protecting carries with his zone control and allowing them to deal their sustained damage. And he’s definitely one of the most, if not the most, complex and challenging champs in the game.

Riot Velocity: Yeah, your first few Azir games will just be you trying to figure out how to use him. He’s got a significant learning curve—he’s as difficult as Zed or Yasuo while being most similar to Orianna in terms of play style. But once you’ve got him down, he’s extremely rewarding.

What matters most with Azir is keeping track of how many soldiers you have on the field, where they’re positioned, and how many soldiers you have in reserve. Sometimes it’s best to be thoughtful and let the plays develop. Wait for the right opportunity and coordinate with your team.

What summoner spells do you recommend

Squad5: Right now, Heal is popular for midlaners, but I think Ignite is actually a much better option in Azir’s case. Getting that extra damage early is really important for Azir, and his range and kit mean he doesn’t need defensive spells as much. Teleport is another way to go because Azir has a lot of pushing and tower-killing power.

Riot Velocity: I tend to agree with Squad5, but I think Exhaust can have its place on Azir as well. If you use all your abilities and the enemy just runs past your soldiers and jumps on you, Exhaust is a great way to survive until your spells come off cooldown.

How do you build Azir

Squad5: I think there are three main ways to build Azir (though they can of course blend into each other):

1. Bursty glass cannon – Risky but oh-so-satisfying, you’re looking for maximum damage from ability usage + the first soldier autoattack.

2. Full CDR sustained damage – More CDR equals more AS thanks to Azir’s passive, so you’ll lay down maximum long-term hurt with more frequent escapes and utility to boot.

3. Tanky mage – An early Seeker’s Armguard into a later Rod of Ages or Rylai’s means less up-front damage, but also lets you stick around longer and exert the full-range of your zone control power and sustained damage.

Personally, I opt for number two by rushing Fiendish Codex and Lucidity Boots, because getting free AS from his passive is essentially just free gold. Once I get to 40% CDR, I go straight AP. If you’re really confident, you can make a special Rune/Mastery page with 10% CDR. It’ll make you a ridiculous lane bully.

If you aren’t convinced that you should build CDR, remember that even though it isn’t raw AP, CDR increases Azir’s potential damage output significantly. CDR means more soldiers out at once as well as better soldier attack speed due to your passive. And more soldiers with more autos = tons of damage.

Riot Velocity: Personally, I opt for a blend of the first and third options, with the specifics depending on how my game is going—something like Rod of Ages into a Deathcap is common for me. A lot of people like to add Nashor’s to their arsenal, but I skip it. It doesn’t really suit my “Q-plus-soldier-auto-for-half-your-health” playstyle.

I definitely don’t ignore CDR, picking up the 5% CDR from Masteries to get a smooth 20% when paired with Ionian Boots. After that, I’ll assess whether I want more CDR or not. Morellonomicon is a great purchase on Azir with his soldiers being able to proc the item’s passive. If CDR isn’t the appropriate choice at the moment, I go for a Void Staff. I always make sure to cap my build off with a defensive item. In most cases, I pick up a Guardian Angel.

What's your skill order

Riot Velocity: You pretty much always want to max Q. Most of your damage in lane will come from Q and autoattacks.

Squad5: I’m with you there. It’s tempting, but don’t max W first. Your soldiers’ stab damage depends on Azir’s level, not on W’s level. Q is important because you rank up Q’s base damage and reduce its cooldown, so you can move your soldiers around a lot more. RQWE is the most effective path, from what I’ve seen.

Any laning tips

Riot Velocity: Place your soldiers in between the ranged and melee minion wave to zone the enemy and farm safely. This lets you farm the front and back line with the same soldier as well as push your opposing laner off the minion wave. Soldiers’ autos are like Lucian’s Q—they can deal damage beyond the circle of their attack range. If your lane opponent hides behind his or her minions, stab the minions for free damage!

Squad5: You’re going to want to flood the lane with lots of soldiers, but resist putting down a solider every single time your W comes off cooldown (especially if you’re losing lane). You never know when you’ll need to raise one and E to him defensively to escape a gank.

Any tips or advanced strats

Riot Velocity: Players new to Azir will often just put down a soldier and E to it to offensively gap close. But instead you should WQE! This lets you deal free damage while you gap close. But don’t get too bloodthirsty—you don’t always have to go for a knockup on your E. Sometimes, you should just use E to get into a better position.

Also, always be on the lookout for opportunities to push—an unattended Azir can absolutely wreck towers, so make sure to take advantage of that power whenever possible.

Squad5: Not many people know this, but soldiers work like wards when you place them over terrain. If you can get a soldier more than half way over a wall, you can get him all the way over! And here’s another fun trick: if the enemy’s hunting you down, drop a soldier and start walking in a different direction. If they follow you, use your E like Lissandra’s E and hop to your soldier.

Riot Velocity: In team fights, it’s tempting to use Azir’s ult offensively, but it’s often better to save it to protect your squishies from bruisers. His wall makes him a huge asset for chaotic jungle team fights, so don’t shy away from those.

Squad5: Don’t get me wrong, playing it safe is great, but I usually can’t resist going for the inSec with Azir’s ult. It’s easy enough to ult enemies back into your team by simply flanking them, but you can also pull it off from right in front of them for maximum swag. Drop a soldier and send it behind your enemies with Q, then E to it and quickly ult back the way you came.

When ulting, keep in mind that Azir’s soldiers actually spawn slightly behind him before rushing (and pushing) forward, which can give you that crucial extra bit of range for catching an enemy. If you picked up Flash, you can use it to extend your threat range to a truly ludicrous level, or hold it in reserve to escape once you’ve executed the play. Works 1,000% of the time, every time.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask me at @NoL_Chefo or e-mail me at

The following Champions will be free until October 7th:


Free Champions:

Ashe Final Portrait

Azir Final Portrait

Cassiopeia Final Portrait

Cho'Gath Final Portrait

Kog'Maw Final Portrait

Leona Final Portrait

Nasus Final Portrait

Skarner Final Portrait

Thresh Final Portrait

Wukong Final Portrait



If you have any questions, feel free to ask me at @NoL_Chefo or e-mail me at


Champion Skin Sale October 3 Banner

The following Champions and Skins will be 50% off until October 3rd:





Morgana Final Portrait

Swain Final Portrait

Yasuo Final Portrait



Dragon Trainer Lulu – 675 RP




Pool Party Leona – 487 RP


Pool Party Leona Splash


Resistance Caitlyn – 260 RP



If you have any questions, feel free to ask me at @NoL_Chefo or e-mail me at


File:S4 wc.jpeg

Groups C and D at the 2014 World Championship finished their matches yesterday, concluding the portion of the event held in Singapore. Next, teams will head to Busan, Korea where they’ll battle it out for the four Semifinal spots.


Groups C and D’s Results


The Quarterfinal matchups are:

Group A #1 vs Group B #2

Samsung White   vs  Team Solomid

Samsung white new.pngTsmlogo 134px.png


Group C #1 vs Group D #2

Samsung Blue       vs        Cloud 9

Samsung blue new.pngC9 logo.png


Group A #2 vs Group B #1

Edward Gaming vs Starhorn Royal Club

EDG logo Black.png   SH Royal logo White 2.png


Group C #2 vs Group D #1

             OMG        vs NaJin White Shield

OMG logo 150.pngNJWS logo 180.png


Interesting things to note about the group stage and how it led to this Quarterfinal setup:

  • KaBuM! eSports beat Alliance, giving C9 more room to breathe
  • All three Chinese teams are moving on, even though in Group C each team was somewhat close, with Samsung Blue even losing a game to Fnatic
  • LMQ and Fnatic finished just one game back of OMG, who beat Fnatic in the group stage twice, with one of those wins soon after Fnatic had taken Blue’s only loss in Groups
  • ahq e-Sports club were tied with EDG (3-3), but lost the tiebreaker
  • No EU team managed to move on, largely due to huge inconsistencies and SK not having their jungler for 3 matches


The Round of 8 kicks off on 2014-10-03, with Samsung White taking on TSM at 1 AM PDT.

Categories: Esports, LoL News Tags:


Stage 2 Day 3 Banner

If you have any questions, feel free to ask me at @NoL_Chefo or e-mail me at


You’ll find Champion Select statistics at the bottom of this post when the day is over, brought to you by Lucas Krings.


Stage 2 Day 3: All Games


Game : Fnatic vs OMG

Game 2: Alliance vs Cloud 9

Game 3: Kabum e-Sports vs Najin White Shield

Game 4: LMQ vs Fnatic

Game 5: OMG vs Samsung Blue

Game 6: Alliance vs Najin White Shield

[ Analysts ] QuickshotKrepoCrumbzzDoubleliftPhreak















Champion Select Stats


Champion Bans Picks Wins Losses Winrate Picks+Bans Pick+Banrate
Yasuo 4 8 6 2 75% 12 32%
Twitch 6 5 4 1 80% 11 30%
Kassadin 2 2 1 1 50% 4 11%
Ryze 15 15 8 7 53% 30 81%
Alistar 29 4 3 1 75% 33 89%
Janna 1 20 12 8 60% 21 57%
Maokai 19 10 5 5 50% 29 78%
Jarvan 0 6 2 4 33% 6 16%
Orianna 1 12 7 5 58% 13 35%
Lucian 5 21 8 13 38% 26 70%
Thresh 3 19 12 7 63% 22 59%
Rumble 1 9 7 2 78% 10 27%
Kha’Zix 4 25 11 14 44% 29 78%
Zilean 23 6 4 2 67% 29 78%
Tristana 3 18 10 8 56% 21 57%
Nami 1 16 8 8 50% 17 46%
Twisted Fate 4 4 1 3 25% 8 22%
Zed 10 8 5 3 63% 18 49%
Lee Sin 9 23 15 8 65% 32 86%
Syndra 6 7 3 4 43% 13 35%
Nidalee 14 4 1 3 25% 18 49%
Fizz 6 7 3 4 43% 13 35%
Jinx 2 5 1 4 20% 7 19%
Blitzcrank 0 3 0 3 0% 3 8%
Rengar 6 5 4 1 80% 11 30%
Kog’Maw 0 10 5 5 50% 10 27%
Nunu 0 1 0 1 0% 1 3%
Xerath 0 4 1 3 25% 4 11%
Talon 0 3 1 2 33% 3 8%
Vayne 0 3 3 0 100% 3 8%
Lulu 1 8 2 6 25% 9 24%
Kayle 2 6 2 4 33% 8 22%
Aatrox 6 0 0 0 Not played 6 16%
Dr Mundo 0 5 0 5 0% 5 14%
Sona 0 2 0 2 0% 2 5%
Caitlyn 0 2 1 1 50% 2 5%
Irelia 1 8 7 1 88% 9 24%
Elise 1 6 2 4 33% 7 19%
Corki 0 4 3 1 75% 4 11%
Jarvan IV 0 1 0 1 0% 1 3%
Ahri 1 6 1 5 17% 7 19%
Leona 0 3 1 2 33% 3 8%
Braum 0 4 2 2 50% 4 11%
Ezreal 0 2 0 2 0% 2 5%
Katarina 0 1 1 0 100% 1 3%
Pantheon 0 1 0 1 0% 1 6%
Jayce 0 2 0 2 0% 2 5%
Morgana 0 2 2 0 100% 2 5%
Graves 0 1 1 0 100% 1 3%
Vi 0 1 0 1 0% 1 3%
Swain 0 1 1 0 100% 1 3%
Ziggs 0 2 1 1 50% 2 5%
Gragas 1 0 0 0 Not played 1 3%
Evelynn 0 1 1 0 100% 1 3%
Riven 0 1 1 0 100% 1 3%


Dev Blog: Champion Animations

September 27th, 2014


Dev Blog Champion Animations Banner

A new dev blog is up, this time detailing how Yasuo’s ult and Braum were animated!


Hey guys – Rory “RiotLamz” Alderton here to take you through our champion animation process!

Whether we’re chatting with players on the forums or at events, champion creation always seems to be a hot topic, so I figured I’d take some time to explain just how we go about making champions move.

The first thing I need to point out is just how we animate. There are two techniques that the animation industry uses these days: hand key, and motion capture. You’ve probably seen videos of actors running around in body suits covered in reflective balls, right? That’s motion capture, which has been used in countless games and movies that look to establish photorealistic and lifelike characters. Then there’s hand keying, where animators hand-draw each frame of an animation. It’s a slower and more manual process that ultimately gives the animator more control over the finished animation. It’s often used in anime and superhero movies when animators want to over-emphasize the movement and contortions of a character beyond their skeleton’s limitations.

So, can you guess which we use? It’s option b: hand-keyed animation. We settled on this technique years ago – before I joined – because it’s integral to maintaining our in-house style and helps us deliver smooth and instant animations that don’t affect League’s gameplay. Finally, hand-keyed animation allows us to implement several animation practices such as smear frames or squash and stretch all while maintaining iconic character silhouettes for gameplay readability.

Alright. Let’s get into a few examples!


Yasuo's Ultimate Challenge


Ultimates are often the single biggest abilities in the game in terms of visual and gameplay impact. Whether you’re getting guillotined in the face by Darius or bounced to death by Zac, the animations – the visual tells of the ability – need to be larger than life and highly readable. With that in mind, we had to really think about how we could animate Yasuo during Last Breath so that he felt suitably nimble and powerful during the ability’s one second – that’s 30 animation frames – cast time. For gameplay purposes it was absolutely vital the animation did not exceed this time.

Ideas need to be approved as concepts before we start really animating them, so they need to be as clear, impactful and unique as possible. One early idea was to have Yasuo slicing his opponent upwards for the full second, but this wasn’t nearly impactful enough during playtests as he’d end up obscured behind the ability’s visual effects (VFX), and his poses were all contained in too small a space. You could barely see him, basically.

Next we tried posing Yasuo so he’d leap up and perform a three-hit combo. The animation concept went off for review, and was quickly approved! Success! Next was the actual animation process, which we started by establishing three airborne key-poses that flowed well together. These are the three moments of the animation that end up being seen for the longest amount of time, so are really vital. Then, with these complete, we started animating the connecting poses to flesh out the arcs of motion for Yasuo’s extremities. Here’s what we ended up with:



Next we splined the animation, smoothing it out from still poses to fluid motion. At this stage, the animation almost looks like it could go into the game, although Yasuo’s hair and ropes – traditionally tedious things to animate – aren’t yet animated at all. Whilst it is common to manually animate these things on a final pass once the animator’s happy with the main body motion, we actually ended up pioneering some great new tech called ‘Jiggle Tech’. With it, we can set things to animate and react in real time to the motions of Yasuo’s body through simulating physics instantaneously in my animation tool, meaning we can rapidly iterate and make tweaks and changes without going through the tedious task of re-animating the hair and rope each time.

Now that we have the bulk of the animation down, it’s time to start polishing. During this phase we like to include smear frames, where we stretch out the character and props to absurdly exaggerated proportions within single frames. This creates really fast blurs of motion and give the animation a snappy feel that show our anime and manga inspirations.



Building Braum Banner


Braum carries a huge shield – actually an old door – around with him as he fights. This is a really cool concept, but meant we had to figure out exactly how Braum wields the thing as he attacks and uses his abilities. That said, the biggest challenge we found when animating him was in implementing his E, Unbreakable. It’s an intricate ability which Braum can use while he moves and uses his other abilities, which meant we had to merge various animations to create a 360-degree movement and attack system. Here’s how we went about animating the Heart of the Freljord’s most iconic ability.

First we had to find a strong and defensive base pose for Unbreakable, from which we could branch off into Braum’s other movements. After trying a few poses out, we went for a one handed, shield-planted-on-the-floor pose when stationary, leaving one of Braum’s fists free for his shield attack animations.

Next we had to figure out how Braum moved while using Unbreakable so he could actually defend his allies and block enemy attacks! Knowing that we didn’t want Braum to roam with the shield one-handed (the shield quickly lost any sense of weight and power this way), we changed the grip as well as posture so Braum used both his hands as he moved. Next we had to think about movement, so we created four separate movement animations: forwards, left, right and backwards. We combined these animations into our parametric system, which merges them together to create movement animations for all 360 degrees. For this to work well it was vital that the four animations were of the same length, that Braum’s limbs were in similar positions, and that his feet contacted the ground on exactly the same frames. Here’s where we ended up:



After figuring out Unbreakable’s idle and movement animations, we started looking at Braum’s attack animations while he was using his E. It was a massive part of the kit, something the designer was dead set on including. First, we tried our parametric system again, but the animations the computers created were over-blended, so they felt pretty mushy and unimpactful. We ended up having to create a system that required nine separate attack animations, catering for an even quadrant of 360 degrees each with minimum blending into each other. Here’s what that actually looks like:



As a final flavor pass we also included our in-house Jiggle Tech on several of Braum’s accessories like the necklace and rope! This gave some additional secondary animation which complimented the main animation nicely and gave a more overall polished touch.

Finally, one of my personal favorites is Braum’s ultimate, which is a great example of the various elements I’ve talked about above coming together to create an epic in-game moment.



That’s about it for now! Hopefully I’ve given you some insight into how our champion animation process works here at Riot. We’re always striving to raise the bar for each other and ourselves, because introducing new tech and better work into the game creates interesting and exciting challenges for all disciplines involved. I truly believe in the phrase “technology pushes art and art pushes technology”.



If you have any questions, feel free to ask me at @NoL_Chefo or e-mail me at



PBE 26 09 Banner


PBE 26/09 Contents:

  • Texture Rebalances
  • Sion Voice-Over
  • Champion Changes
  • Item Changes


[ Reminder ] The PBE is a testing ground for changes. What you see here may not reflect what you see in Patch Notes. Remember that developers want your feedback so if you disagree with a change, you can always submit your thoughts on the PBE Community Forums.


Previous PBE Updates for Patch 4.18 Cycle:



Texture Rebalances


Classic Blitzcrank


Blitzcrank TU 1


Boom Boom Blitzcrank


Blitzcrank TU 2


Piltover Customs Blitzcrank


Blitzcrank TU 3


Definitely Not Blitzcrank


Blitzcrank TU 4


New Sion Voice-Over (by SkinSpotlights):



Here’s a full preview of Sion’s rework on the PBE.



Champion Changes



Akali Final Portrait

Twilight Shroud New IconTwilight Shroud [ W ]

  • Now grants Akali a 60/70/80/90/100% Movement Speed buff while in the shroud, which decays over 1 second after leaving the shroud
  • No longer grants Armor or Magic Resist



Gangplank Final Portrait

Cannon Barrage New IconCannon Barrage [ R ]

  • Now deals damage everywhere in the AoE, rather than at random locations in the AoE
  • Duration increased from 6 seconds to 7
  • Cooldown decreased from 120/115/110 seconds to 125/110/95
  • Now lists cannonball damage as damage-per-second.



Item Changes


Randuin's Omen New IconRanduin’s Omen

Passive Attack Speed decrease when hit increased from 10% to 15%




If you have any questions, feel free to ask me at @NoL_Chefo or e-mail me at