Archive for the ‘Riot News’ Category

Sion QA Banner

Riot hosted a Q&A answering questions the community has about Sion’s rework. Here’s the summary:


Sion Q&A:


Design Relaunch Sion Banner



Why won’t there be a

Fruity Sebbles Final PortraitLike I mentioned in other posts, we’re not doing a Traditional skin for Sion, because ultimately we don’t believe that we can faithfully and fully deliver on an “Old Sion experience” with the Sion update within scope. For this particular post I’ll focus on the VO aspect:


Some players are really attached to the Arnie quotes, but that’s only really describing the English voice-over experience, for a reference most meaningful to only specific players around the world. I’m not saying that delivering on that isn’t valuable, but rather that we decided it was more valuable to focus on the more advanced and full VO experience for all Sions and skins that would be meaningful regardless of region or language.

Sion’s updated VO is more cohesive with his identity, and for the first time in League of Legends, he is able to ramp up and down in overall intensity as the battlefield conditions change. Retrofitting his existing Arnie VO into this new system and supporting it long-term so that the few players that currently own Sion are able to have what we believe to be a low-quality (non-cohesive and extremely short-script) experience, was not worth it, especially when taking into account how little the existing Traditional skins are owned or used in-game.

[ Link to Post ]



So old Sion didn’t fit LoL’s theme at all

IronStylus Final PortraitPersonally, my feeling is no. It’s the reason we didn’t just upgrade him in terms of fidelity. We broke him down and rebuilt him in probably the most intense of champion updates ever, and most likely ever to happen. While we have love for old Sion’s charm, I feel in my heart of hearts that the new Sion adds significantly more value than the old charm possessed.

[ Link to Post ]



What inspired his new ultimate

Scruffy Final PortraitWe tried a few different ultimates before we eventually found the one you see now. The first few focused on him smashing the ground and creating massive areas of new terrain (think of a giant trundle pillar). As you have likely inferred, those didn’t work out because they blocked off too much of the map space creating some awkward gameplay spaces.

We then decided to try the slowly accelerating charge that gave him CC immunity.Then we added the steering, then we made it go a huge distance etc. These things usually start in one place and over days of iteration we end up with something awesome.

[ Link to Post ]



Do you think his art style differs too much from LoL’s

IronStylus Final PortraitPersonally I see him fitting in with our current style and setting a bar as to how we execute in the future.

[ Link to Post ]




Will you be making a Pre-Death Sion skin

Fruity Sebbles Final PortraitSion from the Glory Days would indeed be really cool. For this project we focused entirely on the existing skins to make sure the funny ones were as funny as possible and the badass ones were as badass as possible, but who knows what’s in store for future skins .

[ Link to Post ]



Will Sion get an increased price and Traditional Skin

Fruity Sebbles Final PortraitFirst of all, Sion will definitely not be getting a price increase with the update. We’re still considering how the increased Champ update pipeline might affect overall pricing (if at all), but that’s still pretty long-term at this point.

As for your other question, Sion will not be getting a Traditional skin. We focused 100% of our effort on the base Sion and his existing skins, to make sure our new Sion is the best version of Sion we can possibly deliver.

[ Link to Post ]


Follow Up

Why did Karma, Sejuani and Trundle get Traditional skins

Ququroon Final PortraitHey Arkhammer,

As you’ve said, we did create three traditional skins a while back. In the past, we used Traditional skins as a way of allowing players to represent the older merits of a character that we may have glazed over during the creation process. We weren’t always confident in what we were shipping, and in extreme cases, necessitated a traditional skin to execute on them in a way they should have been done. This is shown to an extreme in the case of Karma’s fans, something that we know we could have done better.

The team has been doing updates for two years or so now, and we have a bit more moxie as to how this whole rodeo goes. We feel we’re able to better respect the old, while pushing the bar as hard as we can. We didn’t up and change Sion from an undead to a frozen warrior. He’s still the same exact fantasy he was before, just executed in a way that he was originally meant to be.

If the team as it is now existed in the past, there are mistakes that we wouldn’t have repeated. Karma wouldn’t have lacked her fans. Trundle would have better enveloped the ‘leper jesus’ he was so affectionately known for. Sejuani would have just realized that a bikini wasn’t appropriate snow wear. These are things that could be fixed in the future, but we prefer to continue moving forward, as there are still a large amount of characters that need some love coughpoppycoughevecough.

Essentially, we don’t feel like traditional skins are the correct answer- the only way to show our love for older content. We still push for constant and continuous improvement in our updates, but we want to do so in a way that best shows respect for older content as a whole package.

[ Link to Post ]



Will we at least get to play Sion with his old voice-over

IronStylus Final PortraitI’d like to see our sound gent C3sound speak to that but I know there were some serious technical issues in getting all that hooked up. Also, speaking to the audience of Sion players, the voice is really specifically an NA component, and considering the amount of work it would take to technically add back in the old VO, that effort was directed entirely to giving players the world over a quality experience.

[ Link to Post ]


Follow Up

The majority recognize the Arnold Schwarzenegger humor

IronStylus Final PortraitSorry, let me clarify. English is what I’m referring to. (sorry to lump all that together :P)

Yes, while English speakers and fans of Western media that involves Arnold is charming to us, we’re sort of in the minority actually. By a wide margin the accent, the mannerisms, the reference, aren’t understood by a huge chunk of the world.

Again, I appreciate the charm, but 1) those fairly “cheesy” chunks of old content don’t really translate, and 2) we wanted to really let the new Sion shine and not be diluted by things we wanted to evolve past. We have a lot of confidence in new Sion. This is indeed a bit of a blank slate, but we decided that after a huge discussion on the matter. The call was not made easily.

[ Link to Post ]



Who was in charge of Sion's rework development

IronStylus Final PortraitWe don’t really have anyone “in charge”. The entire team is there to make sure they’re making a holistic product. Though we do have this guy Fruity Sebbles who’s our producer on the team. It’s ultimately his responsibility that we make the thing we’re trying to make.

[ Link to Post ]



Were Sion’s looks inspired by The Mountain from GoT

HUGEnFAST Final PortraitFrom a visual standpoint I can definitely say that the personality, tone, and imagery that I got from The Mountain when reading A Song of Ice and Fire was very inspirational when designing Sion’s look.

[ Link to Post ]




Backstory Sion Banner



What's the relationship between Sion and Galio

Riot Entropy Final PortraitThere’s a natural opposition between the two that I wanted to lay the groundwork for. The dichotomy between the eternal guardian and the undying destroyer felt really compelling for a rivalry that would endure ages. Plus there’s a certain irony to the fact that Galio is an artificial being who’s gained a sense of humanity and Sion is a man who’s become more of a warmachine than anything.

“Time to cut your strings, puppet.” If only he knew.

[ Link to Post ]



What was the story behind old Sion’s peg leg

HUGEnFAST Final PortraitThe main idea behind the peg leg was to show history. After decades upon decades of battle, even the greatest warriors are bound to lose a limb or two (or heck, even die once or twice in Sion’s case).

[ Link to Post ]




Is Sion’s new axe the one he used in life, or a newer one

HUGEnFAST Final PortraitIt is the very same. The statue, in a way, is art; a stylized interpretation of Sion by a Noxian master sculptor. Also, just like Sion changed and evolved over the years, so did his axe, in its own way.

[ Link to Post ]




What are those red energies emanating from Sion’s torso

HUGEnFAST Final PortraitThey are the life essence of his slain enemies. They are souls stripped of all but what he needs. He’s like a soul juicer.

[ Link to Post ]





What role in the ritual did the dagger in Sion’s head serv

HUGEnFAST Final PortraitIt’s like a key in an ignition.

[ Link to Post ]






Gameplay Sion Banner



Will Sion be stunned if he ults into player-made terrain

Fruity Sebbles Final PortraitYes, he’ll stun himself on Anivia walls and such. If you have the reactions to to put a Cataclysm around him, then more power to you!

Related note: being stuck inside a Cataclysm with a Glory in Death Sion is not a positive experience.

[ Link to Post ]



Do stuns cancel the channel of Sion’s new Q

Scruffy Final PortraitThe spell does not go off, but he is given a cooldown refund (sets cooldown back down to 2s).

As a Sion player, I often feel like if I’m eating CC for my team I’m doing my job. He’s great at “soft taunting” enemies to focus him instead of his squishy allies.

[ Link to Post ]


Fruity Sebbles Final PortraitIf the Sion player is is stunned, knocked up, or silenced during his Q, the channel is interrupted but he is refunded a bunch of his cooldown so he can use it again more quickly. That way, it’s satisfying for the opponent to be able to stop his Q, but not crippling to Sion’s combo.

[ Link to Post ]



Why does Sion spin his axe if he hasn’t channeled his Q

HUGEnFAST Final PortraitThe Q only knocks up enemies after being charged for more than 1 second. The different animations are to indicate the difference between a partially and fully charged Q.

[ Link to Post ]




What’s with the weird mechanics on Sion’s new E

Scruffy Final PortraitThe E was a move that we wanted to be both a soft setup for his Q and provide some interesting play for him in lane around the minion line. It’s early iterations actually had an extremely short (almost melee range) initial cast and he could only hit far away opponents by punting minions. This was actually working out very well when he was in lane, but in mid/late game when a lot of fights were happening away from minions he didn’t have much use for it. This resulted in us extending the first cast’s range a bit to allow for some medium range use without minions.

[ Link to Post ]



Does the hitbox on Sion’s Q follow the indicator area

Scruffy Final PortraitThe Sion Q actually matches the indicator area, It’s a truncated cone.

[ Link to Post ]






How do we know much we’ve charged the knock-up on Q

Scruffy Final PortraitCurrently the best way to see how much charge you have reached is to look at the cast bar that appears right above the ability icons (bottom center of screen). We didn’t really come up with any ways of showing the actual knock up number as he charges without it appearing overly “HUD” like or gamey. I think players will likely get a feel for how much power they will get out of different length charges.

[ Link to Post ]



Why does his passive use a static Attack Speed

Scruffy Final PortraitWe want to let Sion player build pretty tanky and still feel like their passive gives them significant damage threat. This is where the attack speed and % health on hit come in.

[ Link to Post ]




How does Sion’s passive interract with revives

Scruffy Final PortraitSimilar to Karthus and Kog’Maw, Sion will first revive with Zilean or Yorick’s ult. After those have expired (or he dies again) he will go into his passive.

[ Link to Post ]





How does the hitbox on Sion’s ult match his model

Fruity Sebbles Final PortraitThere is a little bit of forgiveness if you “shave” the edge of a wall, but you’re right Sion is a big dude now. Threading the needle between walls and turrets for example is not recommended, though technically possible for the most elite Sion pilots.

Invisible corners on the map can be more annoying to Sion than to most other champions. Thankfully the Summoner’s Rift Update will help this quite a bit by cleaning up some of collision zones and better matching the map visuals to the gameplay space.

[ Link to Post ]



Funny Unrelated Sion Banner



Any hilarious bugs you encountered while testing Sion

Fruity Sebbles Final PortraitMy favorite was when Azir and Sion were both in testing, and when Sion would ult the Azir wall, he’d get knocked back– but he’d still be in the charge. So he’d bounce off the wall over and over, trying to get through faster and faster. It looked like an enormous Noxian fireball jumping on a Shuriman trampoline!

[ Link to Post ]



In the splash art, is Sion seen through the eyes of Helmet bro
Ququroon Final PortraitYeah… Helmet Bro isn’t exactly the luckiest dude around. I’m not sure how they keeps finding themself in these situations.

[ Link to Post ]




Will Sion get a train skin

Riot Entropy Final PortraitConductor Sion WOULD LIKE TO SEE YOUR TICKET RIGHT NOW!

[ Link to Post ]





Now that Sion’s reworked, will you move on to Urgot

IronStylus Final PortraitHonestly I’m looking forward to work we’ll eventually do on Urgot :D

[ Link to Post ]





Are Fiora’s and Warwick’s reworks still being worked on

Fruity Sebbles Final PortraitAs of this moment, Fiora and Warwick are not in progress. Soon after Sion is out, we’ll be updating this page that documents upcoming Champion updates with who’s coming up next.

[ Link to Post ]




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

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


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



Fnatic Skins Banner


Season 1′s World Champions now have their skins in the store!

Three years ago, eight teams clashed in the inaugural League of Legends World Championship. Barons were slain and towers toppled over the course of three days as a new bar was set for high-caliber League play. After the smoke of the final destroyed nexus cleared, it was Fnatic who remained to lift the Summoner’s Cup for the first time. And now they’ve the skins to immortalize that moment.

Pick up the Fnatic skins for 750 RP each, or score all five with the Fnatic Bundle to get 25% off at 2812 RP (5688 RP if you need the champions). These skins go on sale September 24 at 1pm PDT before heading into the vault on October 31 at 11:59pm PDT.

Commemorate the first League of Legends World Champions!


Splash Art & In-Game Look of each skin



From left to right: Fnatic Corki, Janna, Gragas, Jarvan IV and Karthus

 Corki_7 Janna_6 Gragas_8

JarvanIV_6 Karthus_5


Fnatic Corki


Fnatic Corki Updated 2Fnatic Corki Updated


Fnatic Gragas


Fnatic Gragas Model 1 Fnatic Gragas Model 2Fnatic Gragas Q


Fnatic Janna


Fnatic Janna Model 1 Fnatic Janna Model 2


Fnatic Jarvan IV


Fnatic Jarvan Updated

Fnatic Jarvan E


Fnatic Karthus


Fnatic Karthus Model 1 Fnatic Karthus Model 2



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

Sion Rework 2 Banner


The official page for Sion’s rework is up!


To take a life is a simple enough thing, yet no-one perfected it quite like Sion. He led army after army through the jaws of death, charging through the massed ranks of Noxus’s enemies time and time again until his burgeoning city-state stood above all nations. But even the mighty fall, and though Sion’s death shocked the people of Noxus, it ultimately also brought them safety from Demacia’s now leaderless forces.

But Sion’s story did not end with his death. Seeking to exploit the Noxians’ hero worship, Noxus’s Grand General took the drastic step of attempting to return their greatest champion from death. But if taking a life is a simple enough thing, restoring life is anything but. Sion rose again, but as something different. Without his intelligence and martial prowess, he was reduced to a simple killing machine, destroying anything – friend or foe – that stood in his way. Unable to control their weapon, the Noxians locked their former champion away. Centuries passed before another Grand General returned to Sion’s tomb determined to fully resurrect the great champion once again.

Death is no longer an obstacle for Sion – every time he falls, his commanders simply piece him back together and revive the once great man. But within his sundered body lies a soul desperately searching for the sense of self he once had, and when that sense is most awakened in times of war, then war shall be had.




Glory in Death [ Passive ]

  • Sion turns berserk once he loses all his health, gaining a full life bar along with significant attack damage, attack speed and lifesteal as he bleeds out. His abilities are all replaced by Death Surge, which gives him a huge but brief movement speed boost. Sion dies once his health drains out.



Decimating Smash [ Q ]

  • Sion plants his feet, rooting himself as he winds up and swings his axe in a broad area before him. Decimating Smash deals increasing damage the longer it’s charged, and once it’s at least half-charged, knocks up all caught enemies when unleashed.



Soul Furnace [ W ]

  • Passive: Sion earns bonus max health every time he kills a unit.
  • Active: Sion creates a bloody shield around him. If the shield stays intact for its duration, it explodes, dealing magic damage to all nearby enemies. Sion can also detonate the shield early by reactivating the ability.



Roar of the Slayer [ E ]

  • Sion bellows in a target direction, damaging, slowing and shredding the armor of the first enemy struck. If Roar of the Slayer hits an enemy minion or jungle monster, Sion’s scream also knocks them back a significant distance. The thrown minion or monster then damages and slows all other enemy units hit.



Unstoppable Onslaught [ R ]

  • Sion starts charging in a target direction, building up speed as he moves and trampling enemy minions along his path. He can cancel his charge early, at which point he slams the ground, dealing area of effect damage to all nearby enemies. Otherwise, Sion charges an extremely long distance, only stopping once he hits an enemy champion, wall, or reaches the end of his charge. If Sion charges into an enemy champion, he knocks them up and deals area of effect damage; if he hits a wall, Sion stuns himself briefly and deals area of effect damage around him.






Sion’s a stubborn and tanky behemoth capable in both the solo lanes and jungle of Summoner’s Rift. With slow and telegraphed attacks, Sion thrives when he chains his assault together, and revels in the thick of battle.




Sion’s early game power lies in the brute strength and implied threat of his abilities. Smart positioning allows Sion to aim Decimating Smash – which deals plenty of damage along with a hefty knock-up when fully charged – over both his and the enemy’s minion frontline, forcing Sion’s opponent to choose between securing valuable last hits and staying healthy in lane. But as he levels up, Sion’s able to start asserting his dominance with increasing confidence. Using Roar of the Slayer to slow his rival and shred their armor, Sion can line up and reliably deliver more meaningful damage with Decimating Smash. Meanwhile, Soul Furnace gives him a shield strong enough to negate a meaningful chunk of the enemy’s retaliation should his opponent go toe-to-stump with Noxus’s faded glory, or offers enough defense to keep Sion alive as he retreats.

Even if the enemy laner decides to shove lane and force Sion to last-hit minions under his tower, he still has a couple of tricks to help him earn the gold he needs to itemize. Standing outside his turret’s range, Sion can take advantage of Soul Furnace’s shield to tank minion damage as he winds up Decimating Smash, which is broad enough to pummel an entire minion wave. And with the enemy laner far from their tower, Sion’s perfectly positioned to call on his jungler and take a kill. He’s a beast during friendly ganks thanks to Decimating Smash and Roar of the Slayer, which provide enough crowd control to let his ally deal their damage. Things are a little less favorable during enemy ganks, however: with slow base speed and no dashes, Sion’s an extremely immobile champion who relies on his shields, slows and health to keep him alive as he trudges back to his tower.

That immobility disappears – albeit briefly – once Sion hits level six. Unstoppable Onslaught is a monstrous ability, capable of charging Sion halfway across Summoner’s Rift. It has numerous uses, including chasing down fleeing enemies and escaping otherwise deadly encounters. Most enticing, though, is the roam potential Sion gains with his ultimate. Though he’s somewhat cumbersome to aim as he charges, there are few sights more awesome than a full-speed Sion barreling directly toward an unsuspecting suspect a full lane away.




With his sturdy frame and area of effect abilities, Sion’s also well-placed to make his presence felt in the jungle. All of his basic abilities give him tremendous clear speed, and while he can attempt ganks before he unlocks his ult, he needs to either approach his overextended victim from the direction of their own turret, or work with crowd control-centric allies to deal his full damage salvo. Once he earns access to Unstoppable Onslaught though, things change significantly. The ability’s extreme range and tricky aim make Sion most effective when he ganks up the lane. By starting his charge well behind the action, Sion’s able to barrel into the thick of the fight with relative reliability, knocking his target into the air before butchering them with Decimating Smash and Roar of the Slayer.





While Sion’s a terrifying enough prospect in the early game, he truly comes into his own once teams group and fight together. He thrives in the heart of battle, triggering Soul Furnace before charging in with Unstoppable Onslaught to initiate the bloodshed. Once in the enemy’s midst, he works best aiming his abilities to strike as many targets as possible, disrupting his opponents with both the crowd control and sheer damage output of his attacks. Sion’s presence demands attention, but even after the enemy team finally cuts the great man down, their work’s not done. Glory in Death provides Sion with a chance to enact his revenge after falling, giving him huge attack damage and attack speed and making the undead juggernaut a colossal threat even beyond the grave.





Works well with:



Ashe - the Frost Archer

Enchanted Crystal Arrow, Volley and Frost Shot all slow Sion’s enemies, allowing him close distance and set up his punishing but slow attacks.



Nautilus - the Titan of the Depths

Sion and Nautilus combined form an unrelenting crowd control nightmare for the enemy team. Together, they have more than enough slows, stuns and knock-ups to disrupt multiple targets while their damage dealers take their toll.



Zilean - the Chronokeeper

Though Sion’s a somewhat lumbering giant, Zilean’s Time Warp gives him all the movement speed he needs to chase down targets and power into the enemy team. Zilean can also plant a Time Bomb on Sion to complement his staggering area of effect damage.


Struggles against:



Lucian - the Purifier

The movement speed boosts from Ardent Blaze and dashes from Relentless Pursuit make Lucian a nimble and slippery target for Sion’s sluggish attacks. Death comes quickly to Sion’s enemies, but the Undead Juggernaut has to get his hands on his victim first.


Azir - the Emperor of the Sands

Azir isn’t just nimble enough to dash away from Sion – he also has plenty of zone control and crowd control of his own to hinder Sion’s already lumbering gait. And while Unstoppable Onslaught is an immense engagement tool, Emperor’s Divide blocks Sion’s charge and nullifies his immediate engagement potential.



Swain - the Master Tactician

Nevermove and Decrepify give Swain the tools he needs to keep Sion at bay, and while other mages meet a quick demise at Sion’s axe, Swain has the inherent tankiness – particularly when he activates Ravenous Flock – to withstand his damage output.


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

Summoner Name Change Sale

September 25th, 2014


Name Sale Banner

A summoner name change has been announced from today to September 2nd!



With the 2014 Season almost coming to a close, it’s a great last chance to show off your skills and creativity. From September 25th to October 2nd, summoner name changes will cost 650 RP, which is 50% off the normal 1300 RP price.

We can’t wait to see your stunning new aliases on the Fields of Justice!



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



Champion Skin Sale 29 09 Banner

The following Champions and Skins will be 50% off until September 29th:




Cassiopeia Final Portrait

Janna Final Portrait

Zac Final Portrait


Dark Crystal Ryze – 487 RP



Mad Scientist Singed – 375 RP



Sewn Chaos Orianna – 260 RP



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

Categories: LoL News, Riot News Tags: