Posts Tagged ‘league of legends’


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 Recent events forced the shutdown of a legal stream on Twitch and a public response from Riot’s co-founder, Marc Merrill. On a surface level it looks like all is settled with SpectateFaker and we can put the debate to rest. But scrape off the political language and we find yet another emotional appeal to cover up a legal case. So let’s tackle the issues of recent weeks that neither Riot nor Merrill will.

 Table of Contents


A quick recap of events

SpectateFaker was a Twitch-hosted stream that would automatically broadcast games played by Sanghyuk ‘Faker’ Lee, using the Spectator Mode perspective. The service was enabled by Riot’s official streaming API and was non-profit. Last week, Azubu (streaming platform), who in September last year signed an exclusive contract with Faker, issued a Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown on the stream. The claim was deemed illegal, since neither Azubu nor Faker own the rights to the streamed gameplay.

Under the alias StarLordLucian, the person running SpectateFaker rejected Azubu’s notice and said he would turn the stream off if Faker personally requested it. Marc Merrill, co-founder of Riot, reacted by shaming StarLordLucian on Twitter for being a harasser and ‘e-stalking’ Faker. StarLordLucian then retracted the offer and stated he’ll wait for a legal takedown from Riot Games.

 SKT, the organization that Faker is signed under, issued a public statement that Faker didn’t want his name and gameplay broadcast on other platforms. SKT also confirmed the stream had a negative impact on Faker’s contract with Azubu.

 Following the incident, Riot posted an official response to the situation yesterday. They’ve since taken down SpectateFaker’s stream.


Breakdown of issues discussed

Let’s establish what the pressing concerns here are.

  • First, the elephant in the room – Azubu issued an illegal copyright claim and got away with it. This should have been the focus of debate from the start; had it not been for Azubu’s takedown notice, the case could had been solved through mere discussion between SKT and StarLordLucian.
  • On a micro level, you have Merrill bullying a member of the community and never apologizing to that member personally.
  • Moving on, there’s the fact that Faker is under an exclusive contract and his gameplay is being streamed on a competing platform.
  • Then there’s the issue of a legal use of Riot’s API being labeled as ‘harmful’ and, subsequently, taken down. This expands into a question of what Riot consider ‘fair use’ of their property, whose interests they are servicing and what Merrill’s official update proposes as changes going forward.
  • Why the false DMCA claim is relevant for us as either consumers of media or creators of that media.

 I’ll address the official response first before I dive into Azubu’s claim.

SpectateFaker Twitch Stream down


Analyzing Riots great big nonresponse

 Merrill’s update on the case is a vacuous ‘sorry you were offended’ PR statement and the only information one could take away from it is that Riot is shutting down SpectateFaker because they deemed it ‘harmful’. For a post that was supposed to address Azubu’s illegal claim, what use of the API Riot considers harmful and how streaming and spectator mode would be handled from now on, it does an appalling job explaining any of these issues. In fact, there is zero evidence here to suggest that anything will change.

The reason I’ve dubbed the post a ‘non-response’ is because it’s littered with buzzwords like ‘fair use’, ‘harmful’, ‘feedback’, ‘perceive’ and so on. It’s not an accident that many of the concepts Merrill entertains in his post are never elaborated upon – this leaves them free for Riot to interpret in the future. What is Riot’s definition of ‘fair use’ of one’s gameplay? Is it fair to stream your own gameplay that inevitably includes other people’s gameplay? And if other players perceive that as unfair, would Riot listen to their demands? What’s the legal justification for taking down a stream that targets an individual, but allowing streams that don’t target anyone, yet still show individuals playing? If the player argues he/she is being harassed, what would that entail? How does Riot perceive harassment? And how would a player even opt out of being spectated? These and many more relevant questions are yet to be answered.

We will intervene and shut down streams where we perceive that it’s causing harm to individual players. This will usually result from the individual player requesting the takedown (although it isn’t always dependent on it), so we’ll also make it easy for streamers to contact us with those kind of requests and look into them on a case by case basis.

Marc MerrillThe above quote contains that magical word Merrill uses on a whim to justify his take on the manner – ‘perceive’. It shouldn’t have to be stated that different people have different perceptions, yet both Riot and its co-founder are intent on giving the word some greater meaning beyond ‘personal bias’. For Merrill, making perception synonymous with truth would sugarcoat his blatant bullying of another person and make it look like a misguided campaign against moral injustice. “I  was wrong, but I had good intentions” is an ironic excuse to make when you’re the co-founder of a company that wants to lead by example.

Time to open the can of worms that is Riot’s definition of ‘harmful’. Let’s say a popular streamer or Youtuber shows footage of him/her repeatedly killing another player. This was streamed/uploaded without asking for the player’s consent and resulted in commenters making fun of or harassing that player for his or her poor plays. Can the player in question request a takedown on the grounds of harassment? According to Riot’s vague policies – yes, but the outcome is entirely dependent on how they perceive the issue. This is a terrible way to handle requests; it actively encourages individual bias and ill-intentioned claims. It’s not a wild stretch to suggest that popular, established content creators will get better treatment in this than newcomers.

Because Riot are free to apply their own perception to each case, your legitimate complaint against a big name on Twitch can be met with “this is technically not harming you”. If you are stepping over the toes of a contracted player or an otherwise profitable figure, you may face a vastly different definition of ‘harassment’ than if you had a complaint against someone who’s just picking up streaming or making Youtube videos. On the other hand, an influential figure can put the weight of sponsors behind his or her claim, turning a policy to ‘protect players’ into a game of who has the means to force Riot’s hand on an issue.

Double standards inevitably lead to malicious acts and a likely outcome of Riot’s non-response is that people will start abusing takedown requests for personal interests. Let’s look at a hypothetical scenario with a figure that the community has split opinions on like, say, Nightblu3. Someone caught on stream or a highlight who doesn’t like Nighblu3 can stretch the definition of ‘harm’ to where it seems OK to file for takedown, putting pressure on the streamer to dispute a needless claim. This, combined with my previous paragraph, is a projection of the issues Riot will run into when they treat a very sensitive topic like what constitutes harm as if it were a philosophy class for delinquents.

 Merrill’s loose language lets Riot act as moral police in private, where the community won’t be allowed to scrutinize their decision. Of course, the narrative suggests it’s all done in the ‘interests of players’ but the fact they’re left out of the debate directly contradicts that. It’s then much more realistic to expect that decisions will be swayed by the more influential party, be it a big streamer, a contractor, a sponsor and so on. A glaring example of that is the fact Azubu acted unlawfully, got what they wanted and weren’t even made to apologize to their action.

Such consequences occur when a company is free to interpret its policies however it sees fit. Take a morally neutral company, give it full control over the narrative and you will see bias on a regular basis – it’s inevitable. Given Riot’s expertise in PR language of zero substance, that bias might never become apparent unless exposed. The SpectateFaker fiasco is a template for dealing with future cases like this – turn a legal issue into an emotional appeal, sprinkle ideology on top and conclude that ‘lessons were learned’. Rinse and repeat.

Merrill’s response is part of a continuing trend with Riot that the decisions they make always set some moral standard that people should agree with. It’s a subtle way of discouraging criticism; Merrill’s framing of the issue makes it so if you oppose Riot’s decision-making, you are against community and player interests. These interests don’t have to mirror a particular player’s, but merely support what Riot believe is right. Regardless, you wouldn’t want to be on the ‘wrong side’, even if the concept is arbitrary.

 I’ll give you an example with the official poaching rules in the LCS that state players from different teams can’t approach each other on the topic of leaving one team and joining the other until the contracts with their respective teams have expired. This rule puts players in ridiculous scenarios where they have to rely on managers tossing their offers to another team or look for opportunities after Worlds for a period that only lasts a few months. Players whose contracts are running out risk being unemployed for a full year; often they’re forced into using linguistic trickery in the hopes someone understands they want to jump ship.

 These rules were put there and are enforced by Riot to retain the value of contracts and keep managers and sponsors happy. There are no player unions to discuss terms, nor are the actual players thrilled to be restricted in such ways. Yet Riot, instead of acknowledging the reality that they’re a business and are clearly acting to protect their financial interests, maintain the idea that this is beneficial for the players. Their stated reasoning is that the poaching rules “promote team continuity, prevent last-minute roster changes which damage team identity and cohesion, protect LCS tournament integrity and enhance fan enjoyment of LCS tournament play.” The fact is, many players are against these rules and want at least a 1 month grace period.

To put it in very simple terms – Riot do not and will not care about individual complaints if those complaints threaten a contract or a popular figure. Azubu felt their exclusive contact with Faker was threatened and that’s the whole reason this issue was escalated. These financial interests were shipped in polite packaging and stamped with Riot’s player-friendly manifesto.

 The bottom line is that Riot will continue to do what they wish. Nothing was really learned from the SpectateFaker debate; it merely led to a regurgitation of old slogans that seem to apply less and less to Riot as their control over the eSports industry grows. They’ve shown they want to test how far players will let them overreach, as was the case with the Season 4 LCS contracts that forbid players from streaming or advertising competing games. And they’re getting more competent at framing their decisions in a way that lets them act selfishly with minimum backlash.


Why an apology was vital why its missing

 StarLordLucian is far from the inconsiderate jerk Merrill would have you believe he is. The ‘conversation’ between him and Azubu began with Azubu filing a false DMCA claim. He refused to take the stream down, as there were no legal reasons for him to do. He further added he would agree to do it at Faker’s personal request. At this point, the whole issue could’d been resolved if Merrill had reached out to Faker personally, sent StarLordLucian the response and then discussed a punishment for Azubu internally at Riot.

 The next part is a spectacle of abusive language and an example of how low someone can sink to remain morally righteous in his own eyes. Instead of doing the above, Merrill accused StarLordLucian of ‘harassing’ and ‘e-stalking’ Faker, brought up several fallacies to guilt him further and ended on the now-familiar ‘we care about the players’ tune of complete hypocrisy. His uninformed rant was addressed in detail by both Richard and Thorin.

 StarLordLucian retracted his offer to Faker and said he’d wait for a legal DMCA takedown from Riot. In doing so, he was accused of changing his position on the case, which was a reaction to the way he was being portrayed in the issue. Mind you, at no point did he refuse reasonable debate. He used free and legal means to host a stream through Riot’s API and agreed to cooperate with Faker on the issue; for his efforts, he received an avalanche of vitriol and bully tactics. And he’s the bad guy? If one side spends most of its time badmouthing the other, there can be no discussion.

Big Sorry

 If Merrill had apologized to StarLordLucian (which he didn’t and still hasn’t) it would had confirmed that the guy was mistreated and bullied by both Riot and Azubu into folding and taking down the SpectateFaker stream. It would had taken away the emotional angle Merrill still tries to pitch, along with Riot’s ‘community friendly’ facade that the co-founder has repeatedly referenced.

 On a more personal level, it would had shown that people who throw unfounded claims around don’t get to walk away without retracting them and issuing a public or private apology to the target of their claims. Merrill’s position in Riot doesn’t mean he can bully someone and then apologize for it to the ‘community’. An apology to the masses is a PR maneuver to preserve a brand’s image; an apology to the individual shows common human respect. If Merrill lacks it, he should acknowledge that he has his company’s interests in mind and not some ‘holier-than-thou’ concern about online harassment.

 This next topic will never be discussed transparently by Riot. How Azubu managed to claim copyrights on game assets and get away with it is an issue we ourselves have to bring relevance to, as responsible consumers of media. But before that, let’s examine the nature of the beast we’re dealing with.


Azubu an entity for money laundering

What is Azubu? The answer is, surprisingly, almost impossible to find. Few can say what the company is supposed to be. Azubu has no real profit source and yet managed to receive obscene amounts of investment to the tune of $35 million with which to fund the streaming platform The company is a registered business entity; its trademark is owned by a company called SYSK Limited. However, there is no evidence of Azubu’s existence or the products it claims to sell.

 Two years ago Korean media launched an investigation on the company and the facts they collected unanimously point to Azubu being a criminal enterprise used for money laundering. Azubu is, on paper, a German company with a main office situated in Berlin and a game studio in South Korea. But reporters on the spots found that neither the office nor the game studio exist. In fact, it was found out that Azubu’s main office was in South Korea.

 Azubu’s claimed CEO is Lars Windhorst who co-owns the company with Dr. Seok Ki Kim. Both figures have extensive criminal records.

 Windhorst moved to the shadow banking world of London after facing two bankruptcies in Germany. In December 2009 he stood on trial for 35 fraud charges of fraud, breach of trust and embezzlement. In 2010, he faced a civil suit for manipulating the share prices of a U.S. company called Remote DX.

 Kim’s past is difficult to trace. He’s currently wanted by the Korean government for stock market manipulations he conducted in the 90s. He was also planning stock fraud in Luxembourg. Kim is the ex-husband of the vice-president of CJ Group, a conglomerate headquartered in Seoul. In September 2013 Azubu sold its League players to CJ.  An investigation into CJ Group being involved in tax evasion launched about the same time as it did for Azubu. In September 2014 the company’s chairman was sentenced to 3 years in prison over claims of tax evasion worth over $150 million.

Newsgata Screen

 News outlets reported that Kim owns a paper company called Multi-Luck Investment Limited on the British Virgin Island. The company was set up for tax evasion; it is the only shareholder of SYSK (company who owns the Azubu trademark).

 Translations of Korean articles have elaborated on Kim’s plans for Azubu; the goal is to have Azubu gather enough reputation through sponsoring teams and tournaments so it can be put on the stock market. To iterate, KeSPA signing its players on exclusive Azubu contracts is a way to give the company legitimacy for future investors and stockholders. This is now impossible in Korea, since the media there have repeatedly exposed the shenanigans happening behind closed doors. Legal actions against Kim have been reported by reputable newspapers in Korea, such as Jo!ns and dongA.

 There are other, even more obscure figures at play here. One of Azubu’s former CEOs is Ilir Kusari. Following the trend of Azubu being run by criminals, Kusari was arrested in February 2014 for fraud and theft of huge sums.

 Azubu’s past is so shady that the company’s listed field of operation miraculously transformed from publishing computer games (no games have ever been published by Azubu) to selling wholesale and tobacco. Even without this evidence it’s clear that Azubu is not an actual business company.

 Of course, money laundering isn’t mentioned in Azubu’s audit reports. These reports provide a reasonable, not factual assurance that Azubu isn’t involved in fraud, which is why the company hasn’t faced federal court yet. All facts point to this: Azubu exists to attract investors through contracts and sponsor deals. The money it needs to sign these is obtained fraudulently and is subsequently laundered using the Azubu business entity.


Riots defense of Azubu contracts is absurd

 KeSPA’s exclusive partnership with Azubu pays players a fixed salary, irrespective of the actual revenue they get from viewers. For Faker personally, whether he gets 4,000 or 40,000 viewers is irrelevant. It matters to his contractors and so their interests become Riot’s interests.

 The reality is that neither Azubu nor KeSPA work to benefit players here. Riot are aware that Faker is being royally ripped off from being signed on with Azubu, yet continue to claim they’re defending his interests. If that weren’t enough, there is a plethora of Chinese streams that specifically target Faker and they’re not being shut down. In the context of this information, Merrill’s quest to prevent material harm to Faker is, really, a joke.

 Let’s assume, for a moment, that Azubu pays fairly. It is not provable that SpectateFaker caused a financial impact on the company. One argument would be that shutting down StarLordLucian’s stream would case all those viewers to switch to Azubu. This runs into the common ‘piracy fallacy’ that music labels and movie houses have refused to grasp over the years: it’s not guaranteed that if people were denied free access to your content they’d buy it. Similarly, if people who’d chosen to watch Faker on Twitch were forced to watch him on Azubu, there’s no evidence to suggest they would do so.

Azubu Traffic

Twitch Traffic

 Let’s make another assumption then, for the sake of exhausting arguments. Let’s say SpectateFaker was causing financial harm to Azubu. The stream existed as a legal competitor: it showed a different perspective of Faker on a different platform. The fact that all entertainment value – webcam, clicks, responses and so on – safe for Faker’s raw gameplay was stripped from StarLordLucian’s stream points to an issue with Azubu itself. If it couldn’t provide a service that would compete with an automated broadcast of Spectator Mode, then how could its monopoly be beneficial for consumers in any way?

 My argument here is a simple defense of free markets. Azubu’s contract is meant to choke competition and SpectateFaker challenged that. It wasn’t a popular service but a few hundred players found it preferable to Azubu. SpectateFaker also provided links to Faker’s Azubu stream. In a proper market, the scenario would had led to Azubu improving their stream to attract these players. Instead, one side received a DMCA takedown.

 Speaking of which, let’s finally tackle Azubu’s illegal claim which started the whole fiasco.


Legal background for Azubus false claim

Of all the parties involved, the only one who can issue a legitimate takedown here is Riot. They own every asset of the game and, as a result, can choose to take down any stream of League. Players sign away ownership of their gameplay to Riot in accordance with the official Terms of Service.  Riot have more control over their IP than regular video game publishers; their blanket policy claims ownership over all content, be it gameplay assets, audio, logos, streamed footage and so on. This is done to protect their IP. So why did Azubu, a company with no rights to any of League’s assets, file a claim against SpectateFaker, knowing their action is illegal? Because they’re a sponsor of KeSPA, a business partner of Riot’s, and so they know they can get away with it. It’s really that simple.

 I’ll make a point here before I give my understanding on why the claim was issued – from the very beginning, Riot, Azubu and KeSPA were all aware that the DMCA claim was unlawful. They ignored the topic not because they didn’t understand it or because there was some debate over ownership, they did so because they all saw it was a cheap, zero-risk way to bully StarLordLucian into shutting the stream down without Riot ever involving themselves in the case.

 I can only speculate here, since there hasn’t been an official explanation from Azubu (and there never will be one), but the DMCA claim was likely suggested by KeSPA and purposefully ignored by Riot. Had it not been for Travis exposing the issue initially, the community would had never caught on and Riot would had kept quiet.

As many have pointed out – and as we’ve given feedback to Azubu directly – their DMCA action wasn’t based on a valid legal claim of ownership.

This quote suggests that Azubu’s legal department was so incompetent that Riot had to explain to them they had no rights over Faker’s gameplay. Don’t be fooled; all the people running this show had knowledge of Riot’s Terms of Service and were  fully aware of their action. They knew that StarLordLucian couldn’t bring Azubu to court as the legal expenses would be too great for him to cover. They also knew (or had an agreement) that Riot wouldn’t pursue legal action in the case that StarLordLucian rejected the claim or made it public.

 Let’s establish the legal framework first. Faker has a streaming contract with Azubu. This means that Azubu have acquired the rights to have Faker perform his work exclusively on their platform. Faker’s stream is derivative content, i.e it uses the original (Riot’s game assets) to create something new (his own unique gameplay). That gameplay still belongs to Riot, as does any League player’s gameplay.

 If we assume that Azubu owns the ‘Faker’ brand, they could techcnically file for trademark infringement. This would entail that StarLordLucian’s stream was causing confusion between the two services for consumers (viewers). However, SpectateFaker showed a different perspective of Faker’s matches and on a different platform, so there’s no room to apply a Lahman Act claim. Besides, Azubu sent a DMCA claim, which doesn’t concern itself with trademarks.

If Faker’s work was transformative, i.e it used the original as a reference to inform like a review, critique, opinion, etc. would, and StarLordLucian was streaming that, then and only then could he or Azubu claim legal ownership.

DMCA 103 Provision

  In fact, the only content Azubu can argue they own is the version of Faker’s matches that’s shown on their streams, with his webcamera footage, his mouse clicks, etc. When you consider that even that ownership is highly debatable and that SpectateFaker didn’t infringe on it, there really aren’t any grounds left for Azubu to claim copyrights.

 Twitch, in this case, is protected by the safe harbor provision which shields service providers from the actions of users that lead to copyright infringement. The law, when applied to this case, states that if Twitch didn’t know about SpectateFaker, they weren’t responsible for any subsequent consequences. Upon finding out, Twitch is legally obligated to remove such streams but since Azubu’s claim was unfounded there was no pressure on Twitch to take action.

 To sum up, Azubu had no legal grounds to file for either copyright abuse or trademark infringement. Twitch also had no responsibility to take down SpectateFaker so the only party that could legally act was Riot. The legality of the case should had been the main priority for Merrill to explain in his official response. As it stands, we’ve no evidence that Azubu will ever be held liable by Riot.


False DMCA claims are a HUGE issue

 Video games have been a massive industry for years now, but the laws protecting people’s creative work with them didn’t get with the times. Content creators on Youtube struggle with DMCA claims: they can have their videos taken down because a portion of the audio matches licensed music, even though that audio runs as background to their original content. Twitch ran into this a year ago when they decided to mute VODs for fear of copyright claims on tracks used. Companies can file for copyright abuse almost unimpeded and they rarely face repercussions; they can issue takedowns, have them rejected and lose nothing in the process. A content creator, however, gets a strike and after three strikes it’s lights out.

 In extreme cases, publishers can issue DMCA claims against criticism, trampling over First Amendment Rights with frightening ease. Even big names like TotalBiscuit are not safe from the abuse of copyright law.

 The line in the sand with regards to DMCA claims is already moving with fast pace towards an ocean. If Riot continue to ignore what KeSPA and Azubu did wrong, then they are empowering the scum of tomorrow to do what they did. And it’s content creators and their fans that will reap the consequences of Riot’s inaction.


Will no one go after KeSPA and Azubu

 Why is it important that we don’t let Azubu and KeSPA get away with law abuse? From a legal standpoint, the DMCA establishes civil liability for knowingly making a false claim. But there’s a greater looming concern here. If Azubu’s ‘punishment’ for copyright law abuse was a slap on the wrist, what’s stopping other sponsors or companies from repeating their strategy? Azubu and KeSPA acted unlawfully, got what they wanted and Riot’s response to it was they ‘gave them feedback’. Not only that, but the co-founder of Riot ran to their defense, demonized a community member in the process and managed to excuse himself from ever apologizing. The decision to make an example out of StarLordLucian and let the real crooks flee the scene is, to put it purely and simply, disgusting, and it should weigh on both Merrill and Riot.


 I’ve laid a groundwork of evidence and arguments here for a case that I believe still needs settling. But my words shouldn’t be the sole voice of your opinion. I encourage you to critique me where you find it necessary and get as many sources on the case as you can. I only hope is that this article will spark a conversation between players and Riot and we get right people to own up and take responsibility for their actions.



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



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Table of Contents


All PBE updates from Patch 5.5 cycle:


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Ypherion New PortraitHi all,

Let’s talk about the 2015 season jungle. Up front: we knew the preseason changes were going to make things significantly tougher, but it’s clear we’ve misstepped along the way in both communication and design. Not only have we not done a great job of sharing our thoughts (present and future), but our subsequent changes to the jungle from patch 5.1 to 5.4 have been nerfs to jungle diversity rather than continuing to deliver on our preseason goals.

First, let’s see how we got here. From the beginning we knew that “strategic diversity” would basically become a meme for the 2015 season, but it’s still something we strongly believe in. A lot of players might associate champion diversity with strategic diversity, but it’s more about one feeding into the other. The former is only about what champions get played – even if they’re doing the same thing – while the latter emphasizes champions who can enable a variety of other strategies on a team (objective control, wombo, lane pressure, etc). With Jarvan IV, Vi, and Lee Sin all fulfilling identical roles (with priority given to whoever’s strongest), we know we’re not there.

In line with the above thought, our goal with 2015 was to support a rock-paper-scissors game of jungle styles: ganking, farming, and counter jungling. What we ended up discovering, however, was that counter jungling wasn’t actually a proper response on par with ganking and farming, so jungling went back to who could gank or farm the best (or both).

It’s clear that we’ll need to reconfigure what available playstyles there are for junglers out there, but for now our big focus is getting jungler diversity up before attempting to tackle the larger problem of strategic jungler playstyles (versus champion playstyles like playing Amumu vs. Vi).

So what do we want to do, and how can we get there? High-level we’re still pursuing strategic diversity in the jungle (and, well, all of League of Legends), but we also realize we need to get champion diversity up to support it. Finally, while we intentionally made clearing camps harder and riskier to better differentiate jungler strengths, this has also made the jungle position less satisfying and fun for junglers, so we’re investigating other ways to improve this.

Short-term, here are some tactics:

First, we’re going to be pushing our experimental jungler tank item to the PBE with this patch. We’ve actually been working on it for a little while behind the scenes, but – as we mentioned earlier – haven’t done a great job of communicating that. TL;DR: Juggernaut is being reworked into Cinderhulk, a new Sunfire-esque item build that gives both tankiness and extra clear speeds to the junglers in need.

In terms of auxiliary changes to help get tank junglers get their satisfaction back, we’re going to be looking at a bunch of tank junglers this patch to see if we can give any small buffs in the early game, along with buffs to Gromp’s Poison Armor Smite reward and some early monster damage nerfs. This does mean we’ll need to look at specific dominant champions who are standing (or pouncing) well above the pack, but we’ll have to tread a fine line of balance here. The goal is to get junglers feeling satisfied and empowered to play the position, but we need to be wary of a world where they’re doing so at the cost of everyone else.

Finally, what’s in store for the future? We still believe in creating a compelling set of unique jungle actions beyond just ganking and farming, but haven’t firmly locked down additional paths to support. We have a few ideas we’re really excited about, but we’re definitely looking at making Poacher’s Knife and Skirmisher’s Sabre more robust and exciting items for the future. We’re also going to be examining the feeling of the jungler “potion tax” where junglers always need to be chugging away to stay healthy.

On the communications front, we failed to recognize the stacking pain we’ve been causing junglers through the patches, and that’s something we want to improve. We need to get better at engaging in a healthy dialogue with players while also highlighting our short and long-term goals for the future, and we will.

Wrapping it all up: if it wasn’t clear from our multiple revisions throughout the years, the jungle is a tough position to get right. The jungle needs to test multiple capabilities while also providing the space for a jungler to have impact on the game through different actions, even though right now it’s more focused on high-damage and ganking prowess (which sounds familiar, we know). That said, we’ve never been more confident in our long-term goals – as ambitious as they are – but we know it’s not fair for junglers to languish while we work toward that vision.

We’re definitely committed to opening up the jungle without just giving out power haphazardly, but we’re also hoping that by keeping these communication channels open you’ll help us guide the jungle to a more compelling, diverse, and healthy position in League. We really appreciate your feedback, and we’re excited to continue sharing more of our plans in the future.

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Any planned changes to Poachers Knife

Riot Axes New PortraitI agree that one of the reasons Poacher’s Knife fails because it doesn’t do anything if your opponents take appropriate steps to stop your counterjungling. We’re working on an update to that item (no details yet). One of the goals is definitely ensuring that it’s a valuable item even if you don’t get a chance to steal camps, and ideally there’ll be some fringe cases where it’s the ideal jungle item for you even if you don’t plan to invade.

I would like it to include at least a soft push towards counterjungling on that item, but certainly not the current version where you get nothing if you don’t counterjungle.

As far as trying to make junglers into just one role, that is absolutely contrary to our goals. I realize that that’s how the current jungle feels, but that’s one of the big reasons we feel compelled to act – it’s a problem to be fixed.

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Players just dont find counterjungling to be viable

Riot Axes New PortraitYou’re right. If we want counterjungling to be a thing, we have to make it a thing.

The design of Poacher’s Knife assumed that we had made counterjungling broadly desirable. The move speed and such were intended as a useful tool for someone who already planned to do that. The bonus gold was intended to help players understand what to do with the item, NOT to be the primary benefit for counterjungling.

Clearly, that’s not what happened.

We do see counterjungling on live, but it is sporadic and opportunistic – junglers whose plan is mostly to gank lanes happen to see the enemy jungler ganking bot, so they take a camp and get out.

In the short term, we’re going to be embracing that kind of counterjungling and supporting it with an item that might help you do it a little more but isn’t aimed at hardcore, dedicated counterjungle; it might cause you to reprioritize actions a bit, but you’re still doing basically what junglers do. You called out vision, so I’ll just say – vision is a GREAT tool here in some form.

In the longer term, we’d like to land in a place where dedicated counterjungling is a valuable action to take regardless of what item you choose, and then make sure Poacher’s Knife is a strong tool to help you achieve it. You already want to steal that camp if you can get away with it; Poacher’s Knife helps you do that.

[ Link to Post ]


Would you guys consider making the jungle easier to clear

Ypherion New PortraitWe need to be careful here, but you’ll see some, relatively light, changes in this direction in the next patch or two.

[ Link to Post ]




The recent nerfs harmed your long term goals with the jungle

Fearless New PortraitSo, I personally didn’t communicate the reasoning for a lot of the jungle changes recently in a way that made them look like anything but some pretty harsh nerfs. I understand how painful some of these changes are, and more importantly, how they created a feeling that we weren’t responding to the pain with anything more than further nerfs.

Many of those changes were foundational for the changes we’re going for in 5.5. As an example, giving tanks this sort of power increase and the ability to freely swap between Rangers and Stalkers meant that they quickly power cleared their way to their often mega powered level 6, and then doubled down with lock down power without a trade-off. That change also creates a lot more space for each of the jungle items to have more definition, knowing that each item represents a real choice, not a swap option each time we base.

We really wanted to talk about the changes we were setting up, but there’s a tremendous danger if Cinderhulk hadn’t been successful, for example, and the main reason that we’re sharing our plans for the future now. There is still a risk that things change very quickly for us, but better to deal with that as we have to.

[ Link to Post ]

The jungle might become bette but right now its not fun

Pwyff Final PortraitWe get where you’re coming from on this, hence why we’re going with these changes sooner than later. There’s certainly a world of ideological design versus player pain and immediate value, and we’re always trying to find the balance between the two.

[ Link to Post ]

New Jungle Enchantment Cinderhulk and changes to Gromps Smite Buff

A new enchantment was added to the PBE recently for testing. It’s aimed squarely at low-damage tank junglers who need it to clear camps faster.


Cinderhulk (New Enchantment)
  • Grants 350 Health and 25% Bonus Health
  • Total cost is 2200 Gold, Recipe cost – 350 Gold (if applied to Stalker’s Blade or Ranger’s Trailblazer the recipe cost is currently 150 Gold, but it’s not intended)
  • UNIQUE Passive – Immolate: While in combat, deals 15 (+1 per champion level) magic damage a second to nearby enemies. This increases up to 100% based on time in combat.

Cinderhulk Enchantment


Fearless New PortraitHey all,

We have some big changes for jungle tanks on the PBE today. As you might have seen from our highlight post on the jungle, we’re looking to solve some of gaps between tanks and the rest of the pack with a new tanky enchant as well as making Gromp explicitly reward tanks over other junglers.

First, what was wrong with Juggernaut? First, it wasn’t explicitly improving clear speeds for tanks in comparison to other junglers. Others get to build incremental increases in damage with their components, but tanks just got… tankier without much else. Juggernaut also failed to feel like the foundation of a tanky build, as much as it was simply a decent chunk of stats that could make anyone more durable.

Enter Cinderhulk.

This new enchant builds out of a new component, Bami’s Cinder, which grants +300 HP and a mini Sunfire aura (now the Immolate aura). This gives tanks a boost both in their durability and their ability to get through camps. Once upgraded to Cinderhulk, the enchant gives champions a version of Immolate that ramps up with time-in-combat, rewarding those who are happy to get into the middle of a fight and stay there. The base health on Cinder Hulk is lower than Juggernaut (350 down from 500), but in the place of base stats, Cinderhulk now grants +25% bonus health. This means jungle tanks get more for their gold as they build tanky.

Along a similar line, we wanted Gromp’s Smite buff to do more for tanks that can need the bump in clear power, while not making it a universally powerful clear tool. Gromp’s poison armor now scales up with the bonus health of the owner, allowing tanks to opt into extra clear speed when they need it.

These items are aimed at 5.5, so we’re looking to get lots of coverage for bug fixes and polish to make sure we can see these hit live as smoothly as possible. We can’t wait to test these out with you all!

[ Link to Post ]

So youre buffing tanks in the early game because they cant get to buying the new item

Pwyff Final PortraitThis is our challenge as well – what conclusion we did come to was that Cinderhulk leads to a stronger “endgame fantasy” (aw yiss season 2014), but you have to want to get to that world to start feeling satisfied. Rengar might not have the greatest lv1 clear but you know he’ll “turn on” at some point, so you know the tradeoffs. Right now tanks just don’t feel as satisfying in the early levels so they can’t see the future.

Some psychological thing about not being able to synthesize the proper mental frame of mind to appreciate something in the future because you assume you’ll be in the same state as now. That was a confusing sentence, sorry.

Anyway tldr would be we’re looking to make early clears a little more satisfying so players on these tanky junglers can feel like they want to get to the Cinderhulk and beyond. It’s partially perception design and partially power design. But we’re definitely trying not to ‘double down’ on these buffs.

[ Link to Post ]

Have you considered adding an item that helps support focused junglers with vision

Riot Axes New PortraitIt’s something we’re considering. Not sure if we’ll end up shipping something like that or not, but the idea definitely has merit.

[ Link to Post ]



Cinderhulks bonus health increase might benefit bruisers more than tanks

Fearless New PortraitTotally reasonable feedback, but there are some elements getting over looked here. The first would be build order. It’s pretty rare that a fighter goes jungle item into Randuins. Fighter’s generally are going to opt into damage items, and eventually grab some health. This means that Cinderhulk is less effective for most of the game for them.

Tanks, on the other hand, will often opt into builds that are very defensively oriented. The nature of defensive stats also mean that the effective health growth on tanks means that even with early frozen hearts, Cinderhulk is going to make tanks noticeably more tanky, while also giving them better access to their gold income.

This is still a bit simplistic, but there’s a reasonable case for Cinderhulk favoring Tanks, and if we find that the current tuning doesn’t make this true, we have the space to change that quickly as needed.

[ Link to Post ]

Are Warrior based junglers or bruisers going to end up building this too

Fearless New PortraitWe are considering changes similar to this for other Enchants. Right now, Warrior and Magus are both pretty extreme power spikes, but don’t do much to amp up the rest of your build. There’s very likely some very cool opportunity space to make these items feel better and more like the item that makes all your other items better.

[ Link to Post ]

Is anything similar to this planned for Magus or Devourer junglers

Fearless New PortraitIt’s possible, but they’ll get less effective health out of their builds, as they spend more gold on offensive stats. Having some space for them to opt into that trade off is ok. If it ends up being dominant, we’d likely reduce the base health the item gives, and look to increase the long term scaling.

[ Link to Post ]

Wont the burn aura attract Baron Dragon aggro

Fearless New PortraitThe damage on Cinderhulk only turns on during combat, meaning that if you haven’t taken damage or attacked, the fire aura isn’t on. This is built specifically for the situations you list.

[ Link to Post ]

So when can a jungler pick this item up to help them

Fearless New PortraitGromp can fill in some of the gaps, but Bami’s Cinder is the first item to build after the machete upgrade.

[ Link to Post ]



Single Posts March 1 Banner


More updates and tweaks coming to Gragas on the PBE

[ Note ] Gragas received buffs to his base mana pool and the maximum damage on his W to monsters. You can check out the buffs HERE.

Vesh Final PortraitWill probably add a couple more small ones like more ult CD reduction per rank and potentially a bit better scaling base stats. stay tuneddd

edit: to be clear by the way this is just a band-aid, not anything in place of actual gameplay/rework changes. those are still coming _^

[ Link to Post ]


Why did you buff Nidalees Bushwhack damage on the PBE

[ Note ] On the PBE, Nidalee’s trap no longer deals a % current HP damage, but the base damage has been buffed and a 0.2 AP ratio has been added. You can view all her changes HERE.

Meddler Final PortraitWe’re testing a nerf to Nid’s traps specifically to target her jungle clear speed. She’s currently an extremely fast clearer which, given all the other tools she has, is a strength we don’t think she needs.

[ Link to Post ]

Follow Up

So youre changing Bushwhack to slow her jungle clear speed

Meddler Final PortraitThat’s correct – we’re not trying to push her out of the jungle entirely with these changes, but we are looking to noticeably reduce her clear speed. Her W’s damage against monsters would be significantly lower under this version, given how much health they have, , even with the buffed base damage.

[ Link to Post ]



Why are you buffing the AP Ratio on her Swipe Cougar E

Meddler Final PortraitNot sure about the buff to E, the designer working on these changes is out this afternoon so I don’t have full context.

[ Link to Post ]



Why does Sonas ult have a scaling mana cost

Meddler Final PortraitCan’t think of a good reason off the top of the head, inclination is to standardize that to 100 like most other mana using champs with regular ults. I’ll bounce the idea off the balance team, see whether we want to throw that change into the next possible patch.

[ Link to Post ]



FAQ on the updated player tooltips

[ Note ] You can now view the ‘recent playstyles’ of players on your friend list.

NinjaTabby Final PortraitHey guys! I am one of the devs that worked on this feature and want to answer some of your questions.

Where’s my updated tooltip?

We’re still in the process of rolling it out. We’ve enabled it in NA and LATAM regions so far. We are rolling out slowly so that we can keep an eye on any issues that may come up and isolate them without affecting other regions.

What do these icons mean?

As many of you noticed, these icons are consistent with Team Builder. The first icon represents the position you typically play the displayed champion in. The second icon represents the role you most commonly fill with that champion.

What even is “Recent Playstyle”?

Our goal with this is to help people looking at you get a quick idea of what you like to play. We look at your recent games, find the champion you play most often, and then the role and position you most often play with that champion. We have special handling for game types where you don’t have agency over you champion choices. This includes the random display for people who play a lot of ARAM, and exclusion of data from other game modes (such as Nemesis Draft).

We think there might still be improvements on what is shown here, so please keep the feedback coming!

[ Link to Post ]


Clarity on Veigars E delay and possible buffs in future patches

[ Note ] Veigar received extensive changes in Patch 5.4. You can check them all HERE.

Meddler Final PortraitOur conclusion was that an instant stun, at that range, at that cooldown was blocking Veigar from being a healthy (and therefore able to be made powerful) champion. Adding a delay was the best way to preserve what we felt was the core of the skill (lock down an area, at a range that doesn’t require Veigar to be completely in the middle of the fight).

As a general update our initial take is that Veigar’s looking too weak after these changes. Options we’re looking at include having E stop dashes once the walls are up (people attempting to dash out get stopped and stunned), starting the delay at the start of Veigar’s cast time rather than at the end and reducing the delay on W. None of those are guaranteed changes yet of course, but that’s the sort of direction we’re thinking.

[ Link to Post ]

Follow Up

When can we expect these buffs to be up on the PBE for testing

Meddler Final PortraitIt’s likely we’ll have at least some follow up changes in the next patch (5.5). It will take a little while for people to adapt to the changes to his kit though and for us to assess how that goes. Design changes for patch 5.5 are tentatively scheduled to lock mid next week and that means if bigger changes are appropriate they’ll be in 5.6 (or potentially later).

[ Link to Post ]


Upcoming buff to Varus in Patch 5 5

Meddler Final PortraitThe niche we’ve got in mind for Varus is a combination of poke and moderate ranged initiation/counter initiation, primarily via his Q and R respectively. We’ve been feeling he’s a bit weak at those for a while and have been gradually buffing him as a result. That’s involved increased mana regen late last year to support poke and increased R width recently to improve his ult’s reliability. Additionally in the upcoming patch (5.5), we’ll be changing his Q cooldown to begin at start of channel, not when he fires the arrow off. That should give him access to more Q casts late game in particular, and make charged shots (as opposed to saving the Q to proc Blight) a bit more attractive.

[ Link to Post ]

Kassadin will receive compensation buffs

Meddler Final PortraitWe’ll be buffing Kassadin. Not sure if any details have been worked out yet.

[ Link to Post ]




DJ Sona Fan Art Collection

DJ Sona’s debut album has inspired a wave of awesome community creations. Check out this creative collection of Kinetic, Concussive, and Ethereal fan art to celebrate your favorite track! Don’t forget to click the artists’ names to see more of their work.

[ Link to Post ]



















大 貓





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


PBE 27 02 Banner

PBE 27/02


[ 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.


All PBE updates from Patch 5.5 cycle:



Champion Changes



Azir Final Portrait

Arise Final IconArise! [W]

  • Sand Soldier range increased from 325 to 375



Gragas Final Portrait

  • Base mana pool increased from 300 to 400


Drunken Rage Final IconDrunken Rage [ W ]

  • Maximum damage to monsters increased from 250 to 300



Lissandra Final Portrait


Ice Shard Final IconIce Shard [ Q ]

  • Base damage decreased from 75/110/145/180/215 to 70/100/130/160/190



Nautilus Final Portrait


Titans Wrath Final Icon Titan’s Wrath [ W ]

  • On-hit damage decreased from 40/55/70/85/100 to 15/30/45/60/75


Riptide Final IconRiptide [ E ]

  • AP Ratio decreased from 0.5 to 0.3
  • Mana cost decreased from 60/70/80/90/100 to 40/50/60/70/80
  • Cooldown decreased from 10 seconds at all ranks to 6/5.5/5/4.5/4
  • Slow duration reduced from 2 seconds to 1.25



Nidalee Final Portrait


Bushwhack Final IconBushwhack [ Human W ]

  • Damage changed from 20/40/60/80/100 + 10/12/14/16/18 (+ 0.02 AP) % of target’s current health to 40/80/120/160/200 ( +0.2 AP)


Pounce Final Icon Pounce [ Cougar W ]

  • Base damage decreased from 50/100/150/200 to 40/80/120/160


Swipe Final IconSwipe [ Cougar E ]

  • AP ratio increased from 0.45 to 0.55



Skarner Final Portrait


Crystal Slash Final IconCrystal Slash [ Q ]

  • Base physical damage and on-hit magic damage have both been increased from 18/28/38/48/58 to 20/30/40/50/60


Fracture Final IconFracture [ E ]

  • Base damage increased from 40/60/80/100/120 to 40/75/110/145/180



Tristana Final Portrait


Rapid Fire Final IconRapid Fire [ Q ] 

  • Rapid Fire’s cooldown is decreased by 1 second each time Tristana auto attacks a target which has Explosive Charge on



Urgot Final Portrait


Terror Capacitator Final IconTerror Capacitor [ W ]

  • Shield value now additionally increased by 5% of Urgot’s maximum mana



Vi Final Portrait

  • Movement speed decreased from 350 to 345


Assault and Battery Final Icon Assault and Battery [ R ]

  • Base damage decreased from 200/325/450 to 150/300/450
  • Ratio decreased from 1.5 of Bonus AD to 1.4 (on live the tooltip is wrong, actual live value is 1.5 currently)



Volibear Final Portrait

Frenzy Final IconFrenzy [ W ]

  • If Frenzy is cast on a jungle monster, its cooldown  is halved 



Xin Zhao Final Portrait


Battle Cry Final IconBattle Cry [ W ]

  • Heal on every third hit increased from 26/32/38/44/50 to 30/35/40/45/50


Audacious Charge Final IconAudacious Charge [ E ]

  • Base damage increased from 70/105/140/175/210 to 70/115/160/205/250



Zac Final Portrait


Elastic Slingshot Final IconElastic Slingshot [ E ] 

  • Knock-up duration increased from 0.5 seconds to 1 second



Item Changes

The Juggernaut enchantment has been removed and replaced with the following:


Bami’s Cinder (New Item)

  • Builds out of Ruby Crystal + 600 Gold (Total cost is 1000 Gold)
  • Grants 300 Health
  • UNIQUE Passive – Immolate: Deals 5 (+1 per champion level) magic damage per second to nearby enemies. Deals 50% bonus damage to minions and monsters.

Bamis Cinder

Bami Cinder Effect

Bami Cinder’s particles are identical to those of Sunfire Cape.


Speaking of which, Sunfire Cape now builds out of Bami’s Cinder rather than Giant’s Belt and its passive has been renamed to Immolation.

Sunfire Cape


Cinderhulk (New Enchantment)
  • Grants 350 Health and 25% Bonus Health
  • Total cost is 2200 Gold, Recipe cost – 350 Gold (if applied to Stalker’s Blade or Ranger’s Trailblazer the recipe cost is currently 150 Gold, but it’s not intended)
  • UNIQUE Passive – Immolate: While in combat, deals 15 (+1 per champion level) magic damage a second to nearby enemies. This increases up to 100% based on time in combat.

Cinderhulk Enchantment


Texture Rebalances

Cho’Gath’s default looks have received a fresh coat of paint. You can find the updates to his skins HERE. Also, Nightmare Cho’Gath was also updated here but I don’t have access to the skin.


Chogath Classic Model 2

Classic ChoGath Model 1



The Dragon pit now has a dragon-figure ornamentation on the floor.


Dragon Pit Update



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


PBE 26 02 Banner


PBE 25/02


[ 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.


All PBE updates from Patch 5.5 cycle:



New Splash Arts

Headhunter Akali’s splash art is here! You can find a full preview of the skin HERE.





Victory Defeat Screens Animated

The long-ago promised victory/defeat screens are now here in full glory! Videos by FrostyNinja:



New animations for default Wards

Default wards (no skins) now have their pillar placed on the ground, followed by the gem falling on top of it. No particles or effects.


Texture Rebalances

Second batch of texture updates! You can check the first one, which includes retextures for Janna and Taric HERE.

Kassadin’s base model has received a slight recolor. You can find previews of all his updated skins HERE.



Kassadin VU 2



Base Kassadin Updated 1


Hextech Janna


Victorious Janna


Gentleman Cho’Gath


Loch Ness Cho’Gath


Jurassic Cho’Gath


Bloodstone Taric



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



Champion Skin Sale March 2 Banner

The following champions and skins will be 50% off until March 2nd:

Ezreal Final Portrait

Fiddlesticks Final Portrait

Nami Final Portrait

Grungy Nunu – 375 RP

image (3)

Ice Drake Shyvana – 487 RP

image (2) (1)

Spectral Fiddlesticks – 260 RP

image (1) (1)


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


PBE 25 02 Banner


PBE 25/02


[ 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.


All PBE updates from Patch 5.5 cycle:



Bard the Wandering Caretaker


Bard_0 (1) Bard_Square_0 (1)



Bard Final Portrait

Base Stats

  • Level 1 Health: 535
  • Level 1 Mana: 350
  • Level 1 Movespeed: 330
  • Attack Range: 550
  • Level 1 Attack Damage: 46
  • Level 1 Armor: 21
  • Level 1 Magic Resist: 30
  • Health-per-level: 85
  • Mana-per-level: 50
  • Base Health-per-second: 1.08
  • Base Mana-per-second: 1.2
  • HP-per-second per level: 0.11
  • Mana-per-second per level: 0.09
  • Attack Damage-per-level: 3
  • Armor-per-level: 4


Basic Attack


Traveler’s Call Final IconTraveler’s Call [ Passive ]

Ancient Chimes: Bard’s presence causes sacred chimes to appear on the Fields of Justice. Collecting a chime grants Bard a brief burst of movement speed, experience, and mana. Chimes remain on the ground for 10 minutes.

Meeps: Bard’s presence attracts small spirits known as meeps to his side. Whenever Bard attacks, a meep throws itself at his target, dealing 30 (+0.3 AP) extra damage before disappearing back to the spirit world. As Bard collects more chimes, the meeps that follow him grow in both number and power.


When Bard collects a chime, his running animation turns into a swirly flight.


The locations of chines are marked on your minimap and the number of chimes collected and how many meeps follow you can be seen atop the UI bar.


Cosmic Binding [ Q ]

Cooldown: 10 seconds at all ranks  || Mana Cost: 60 at all ranks

Bard fires an energy bolt, dealing 85/115/145/175/205 (+ 0.5 AP) magic damage to one or two enemies. The first target hit will be slowed by 60% for 1/1.2/1.4/1.6/1.8 second(s). If the bolt hits another enemy or a wall, any enemies hit are stunned instead (same duration).



Caretaker’s Shrine [ W ]

Cooldown: 12 seconds at all ranks || Mana Cost: 100/105/110/115/120

Bard raises a health shrine that immediately offers 30/60/90/120/150 (+0.2 AP) health, but restores up to 70/110/150/190/230 (+0.45 AP) health as it gathers power for 10 seconds. The shrine’s effect also grants 50% decaying movement speed for 1.5 seconds. Bard can have up to 3 shrines active at once, which remain until visited by an ally or crushed by an enemy.



Magical Journey [ E ]

Cooldown: 26/24/22/20/18 seconds || Mana Cost: 30 at all ranks

Bard opens a one-way corridor through nearby terrain. Both allies and enemies can use the corridor by right-clicking on any part of it while near its entrance, with allies travelling 10/20/30/40/50% faster than enemies. The corridor disappears after 10 seconds.



Tempered Fate [ R ]

Cooldown: 130/115/90 seconds || Mana Cost: 100 at all ranks

Bard sends magical energy arcing to a target location. On impact, all champions, minions, monsters, and turrets in the target area are put in stasis, becoming invincible, untargetable, and unable to act for 2.5 seconds. Epic monsters are also put into stasis, despite normally being immune to disables.




Elderwood Bard

Elderwood Bard will be sold for 975 RP after Bard is released. He’ll also be available in a bundle together with the champion.


For his recall, Elderwood Bard bows to his meep friends who bounce around him.


Basic Attack


Traveler’s Call [ Passive ]


Cosmic Binding [ Q ]


Caretaker’s Shrine [ W ]


Magical Journey [ E ]


Tempered Fate [ R ]



Headhunter Akali

Headhunter Akali will be available in store for 1350 RP after Patch 5.5 hits live.



For her recall, Headhunter Akali fuses her kamas together, spins them and her suit is then covered with a pink grid.


Mark of the Assassin [ Q ]


Twilight Shroud [ W ]


Crescent Slash [ E ]


Shadow Dance [ R ] 


Secret Agent Xin Zhao

Secret Agent Xin Zhao will be sold for 975 RP.


For his recall, Secret Agent Xin’s spear retracts into a briefcase.


Crescent Sweep [ R ]



  • Inner turrets now have 1300 Health, increased from 1000
  • Shields on inner top/bot turrets decreased from 200 to 30

[ Note ] Inner Mid turrets no longer grant a shield or have shields of their own. You can view the PBE changes to turrets HERE.



Texture Rebalances


Classic Janna


Tempest Janna


Frost Queen Janna


Classic Taric


Armor of the Fifth Age Taric

  • Bloodstone Taric


Classic Warwick


Big Bad Warwick


Tundra Hunter Warwick


Firefang Warwick


Hyena Warwick

[ Note ] Grey Warwick, Urf Warwick and Feral Warwick have received texture updates as well, but I don’t have access to them.



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



DJ Sona has been enabled in the store! You can pick her up for 2450 RP until March 1st (Sunday), after which she’ll go back to her original price of 3250 RP.


Below you can find a full preview of DJ Sona and all the extra content you get when you purchase her, as well as an F.A.Q.




Concussive Stance


Kinetic Stance


Ethereal Stance


Here are a few examples of how transforming DJ Sona looks like. You can switch between stances at any time using either the /toggle chat command or by pressing CTRL + 5.


Recall Animations

For her recall, Sona hovers above her musical board and flies upward.


For her joke, DJ Sona’s musical board shuts down. She tries to turn it on, then shakes it and finally throws it on the ground. It then reactivates.


For her taunt, DJ Sona does a backflip, lands on her board and points in front of her.


For her dance, she does the Caramelldansen.


Her laugh is a standard laugh, though she does it more cutely.


All of Sona’s Auras


All versions of Power Chord [ Passive ] charged


Basic Attack and Hymn of Valor [ Q ] enchanted attack


All variations of Power  Chord [ Passive ] being fired


Hymn of Valor [ Q ]


Aria of Perseverance [ W ]


Song of Celerity [ E ]


Crescendo [ R ]


Kinetic Stance

All of Sona’s Auras


All versions of Power Chord [ Passive ] charged


Basic Attack and Hymn of Valor [ Q ] enchanted attack


All variations of Power  Chord [ Passive ] being fired


Hymn of Valor [ Q ]


Aria of Perseverance [ W ]


Song of Celerity [ E ]


Crescendo [ R ] 


Ethereal Stance

All of Sona’s Auras


Basic Attack and Hymn of Valor [ Q ] enchanted attack


All variations of Power  Chord [ Passive ] being fired


Hymn of Valor [ Q ]


Aria of Perseverance [ W ]


Song of Celerity [ E ]


Crescendo [ R ]


Death Animations


Dynamic musical styles 

Throughout the game, DJ Sona can spin one of three evolving songs – Kinetic, Concussive and Ethereal. Each one has its own distinct style and transforms Sona entirely, from her outfit and turntable to the look and feel of her abilities. She kicks off every gig in Kinetic but typing /toggle in the in-game chat cues up the next tune. The tracks will always go in order of Kinetic → Concussive → Ethereal → Kinetic, no remixes allowed.

Warning: Switching tracks mid-teamfight threatens to ruin your team’s rhythm.


Music sharing 

Music’s also made to be shared. If you’re on a team with DJ Sona, you can tune in to her beats by bringing up the in-game scoreboard. On the left side of the screen, next to her portrait, you’ll see a button. Click it and Sona takes over your in-game music, pumping her own songs through your speakers. Though you can’t pick what piece she performs, you can pull the plug on her show at any time by clicking the button again.




Fulllength music

Download all of DJ Sona’s music for free now, after she goes live, her songs will also be available on a variety of platforms.

[ Download DJ Sona’s Music ]


Profile Border Summoner Icons

Broadcast your musical style with unique icons and banners. Equip one of the DJ Sona summoner icons to add that custom border to your profile page.











DJ Sona is an ultimate skin, just like Pulsefire Ezreal and Spirit Guard Udyr so it’ll be sold in the store for 3250 RP. While ultimate skins come with a higher price tag, these skins are offer up an intensely reimagined version of the champion that adds something completely brand new to the game. Learn more about ultimate skins and other skin tiers here!



DJ Sona will be available to purchase in the store for the foreseeable future. :)



Like other ultimate skins, she comes with 3 icons that provide unique summoner profile banners when equipped. Here is an example of one of the profile banners:



DJ Sona will have three forms that you can toggle through by typing “/toggle” or pressing ctrl + 5. Each form creates a unique musical experience that only she and her teammates can hear. This experience evolves dynamically as the game progresses.



KINETIC – high-energy beats


CONCUSSIVE – hard-hitting rhythms


ETHEREAL – atmospheric vibes


Each form has a unique set of visual and sound effects.



Her teammates (not enemies) can opt in to hearing by pressing a button located next to Sona’s champion portrait on the left side of the screen when you pull up the tab menu.



You can opt out by pressing a button located next to Sona’s champion portrait in the tab menu. If you’d like to reenable the music later on, simply click on the button again.



There are 3 radio edit versions of DJ Sona’s music that are designed to be representations of the three forms. They can be downloaded for free here. Her music will also be released on select other platforms after she goes live. Keep your ear to the ground!



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

Patch 5.4 Notes

February 24th, 2015


Patch 5 4 Notes Banner

DJ Sona is here to honor the olafing of Kassadin:


Patch 5.4 Content

Patch 5.4 will hit live early tomorrow! Here’s a schedule for all regions:



Pwyff Final Portrait Hello Summoners,

Welcome to patch 5.4 – the one where we follow up on patch 5.2 with some mage love. Up front: the new +120 AP item is currently slated for a future patch (soon(tm)), but this hasn’t stopped us from working on the few mages that needed help in a post-DFG world. Actually, like we mentioned in the patch 5.2 foreword, the impact of DFG’s removal hasn’t been all that noticeable in champion performance, but there were two we knew would have identity crisis (that’s the plural) in the aftermath: Mordekaiser and Veigar.

When we went into deep examination of what made Morde and Veigar who they are, we realized that a lot of their identity came down to “blow this fool up (and get a ghost!).” Unfortunately, amping up a play pattern like that makes for some sad times in the world of counterplay, so we had to take a longer look to see what could be done. Ultimately we’ll explain more in their individual context paragraphs, but the rundown of the issue is this: when a champion is tuned around a fine line between “functional” and “oppressive,” balance isn’t a question of number tuning; rather, it’s all about finding a healthy direction where that champ can prosper without getting paranoid about fame. Can you imagine a world where Veigar is the best – and most popular – champion in the game? That’s a tough vision to sell for his opponents, and we want to make sure his success is warranted. Check out those contexts for more information, but this is an important philosophy to keep in mind as you read through these notes!

And that’s it for this patch foreword – best of luck on those fields of justice. As a random tip for success in your solo (or duo!) queue adventures, remember that sometimes it’s better for everyone to do the wrong thing in perfect harmony than for one guy to do the right thing in angry isolation. But that’s only applicable for a team game of League of Legends and is probably incorrect for anything else. Sorry.

[ Link to Post ]




DJ Sona will be ~25% off (2450 RP) for the first four days following her release before returning to her normal price of 3250 RP.




Concussive Stance


Kinetic Stance


Ethereal Stance


Here are a few examples of how transforming DJ Sona looks like. You can switch between stances at any time using either the /toggle chat command or by pressing CTRL + 5.


Recall Animations

For her recall, Sona hovers above her musical board and flies upward.


For her joke, DJ Sona’s musical board shuts down. She tries to turn it on, then shakes it and finally throws it on the ground. It then reactivates.


For her taunt, DJ Sona does a backflip, lands on her board and points in front of her.


For her dance, she does the Caramelldansen.


Her laugh is a standard laugh, though she does it more cutely.


All of Sona’s Auras


All versions of Power Chord [ Passive ] charged


Basic Attack and Hymn of Valor [ Q ] enchanted attack


All variations of Power  Chord [ Passive ] being fired


Hymn of Valor [ Q ]


Aria of Perseverance [ W ]


Song of Celerity [ E ]


Crescendo [ R ]


Kinetic Stance

All of Sona’s Auras


All versions of Power Chord [ Passive ] charged


Basic Attack and Hymn of Valor [ Q ] enchanted attack


All variations of Power  Chord [ Passive ] being fired


Hymn of Valor [ Q ]


Aria of Perseverance [ W ]


Song of Celerity [ E ]


Crescendo [ R ] 


Ethereal Stance

All of Sona’s Auras


Basic Attack and Hymn of Valor [ Q ] enchanted attack


All variations of Power  Chord [ Passive ] being fired


Hymn of Valor [ Q ]


Aria of Perseverance [ W ]


Song of Celerity [ E ]


Crescendo [ R ]


Death Animations



Updates to Splash Arts and In Game Portraits

Katarina’s splash art and in-game portrait have been both updated.




Kayle’s splash art has also received a few tweaks. Most notably, her armor is shinier.



Tristana’s splash art has been updated to reflect her reworked looks.

Tristana_Splash_0 (1)

Tristana_0 Tristana_Square_0 (1)




Updated Zilean Spell Icons

Zilean has new icons for all his spells! From left to right: Passive, Q, W, E and R.

Zilean_Passive Zilean_Q Zilean_W Zilean_E  Zilean_R



Champion Changes



Janna Final Portrait


Tailwind Final IconTailwind [ Passive ]

  • Movement speed buff to nearby allies increased from 5% to 8%
  • Janna no longer gains the movement speed buff from Tailwind
  • Range increased from 1000 to 1250


Zephyr Final IconZepyhr [ W ]

  • Passive movement speed buff increased from 4/6/8/10/12% to 9/11/13/15/17%




Jarvan IV Final Portrait

  • Base armor increased from 24 to 27


Demacian Standard Final IconDemacian Standard [ E ]

  • No longer grants Armor




Kassadin Final Portrait


Riftwalk Final IconRiftwalk [ R ]

  • Initial mana cost decreased from 75 at all ranks to 60 (stacking mana cost decreased from 75/150/300/600 to 60/120/240/480)
  • Range decreased from 700 to 450




Katarina Final Portrait


Voracity Final IconVoracity [ Passive ]

  • Now reduces Katarina’s cooldowns only if a champion she has damaged in the last 3 seconds dies



Mordekaiser Final Portrait


Mace of Spades Final IconMace of Spades [ Q ]

  • Health cost decreased from 25/32/39/46/53 to 20/25/30/35/40


Creeping Death Final IconCreeping Death [ W ]

  • When cast on ally, grants the effects of Creeping Death to Mordekaiser. Additionally, when Mordekaiser and that ally move toward each other, they gain 60 MS while Creeping Death is active
  • Health cost decreased from 26/32/38/44/50 to 20/25/30/35/40



Rengar Final Portrait


Bonetooth Necklace Final IconBonetooth Necklace

  • BTN is now a part of Rengar’s buffs and is separate from Trinkets



Sona Final Portrait

  • Base damage decreased from 52 to 50
  • Base health decreased from 497 to 482
  • Movement speed decreased from 330 to 325
  • Mana-per-5 increased from 8 to 9



Veigar Final Portrait


Baleful Strike Final IconBaleful Strike [ Q ]

  • Changed to a skill shot that stops on the second unit hit
  • Grants 1 AP for each unit killed
  • Range increased from 650 to 850
  • Cooldown changed from 8/7/6/5/4 seconds to 7/6.5/6/5.5/5


Veigar Q 1

Veigar Q 2

Here’s the width of the skillshot and how far it travels.


Veigar Q 3

Veigar Q 4

And here’s the “bounce” mechanic in action. Seems to work identically to Lux’s Light Binding.


Dark Matter Final IconDark Matter [ W ]

  • Mana Cost reduced from 70/80/90/100/110 to 70/75/80/85/90
  • Cooldown reduced from 10 seconds at all ranks to 10/9.5/9/8.5/8


Event Horizon Final IconEvent Horizon [ E ]

  • Has a 0.75 second delay with a warning particle before the walls appear
  • Mana Cost decreased from 80/90/100/110/120 to 80/85/90/95/100
  • Cooldown reduced from 20/19/18/17/16 seconds to 18/17/16/15/14
  • Range increased from 650 to 700


Veigar E 1
Veigar E 2

There is now a swirling mist that indicates the delay on Event Horizon.


Leprechaun Veigar, Final Boss Veigar and Bad Santa Veigar have received new animations for the swirly mist.


Leprechaun Veigar E

Leprechaun Veigar’s E particles


Final Boss Veigar’s E particles


Bad Santa Veigar E

Bad Santa Veigar’s E particles 


Primordial Burst Final IconPrimordial Burst [ R ]

  • AP Ratio decreased from 1.2 to 1.0  (Ratio on enemy’s AP unchanged)
  • Mana Cost decreased from 125/175/225  to 125 at all ranks
  • Cooldown reduced from 130/110/90 seconds to 120/100/80



Xerath Final Portrait


Shocking Orb Final IconShocking Orb

  • Maximum stun duration decreased from 2.25 seconds to 1.75




Zilean Final Portrait

  • Auto Attack range decreased from 600 to 550
  • Base armor increased from 17 to 19


Time Bomb Final IconTime Bomb [ Q ] – New

Cost: 60/70/80/90/100 Mana || Cooldown: 12/11/10/9/8 || Range: 900

  • Zilean tosses a time-delayed bomb to a location. The bomb sticks to the first unit which comes within a small area around it (prioritizes champions). After 3 seconds it detonates, dealing 75/115/165/230/300 (+0.8 AP) magic damage to all surrounding enemies. Placing two bombs on a unit detonates the first bomb early, stunning all enemies in the blast for 1.1/1.2/1.3/1.4/1.5 seconds.


Changelog for Time Bomb:

  • Mana cost decreased from 70/85/100/115/135 to 60/70/80/90/100
  • Detonation time decreased from 4 seconds to 3
  • Cooldown changed from 10 seconds at all ranks to 12/11/10/9/8
  • Damage decreased from 90/145/200/260/320 (+ 0.9 AP) to 75/115/165/230/300 (+0.8 AP)
  • Second bomb now stuns!


Time Bomb 1

Time Bomb 2

Visual effects and skillshot indicator for Zilean’s new Time Bomb [ Q ]


Time Bomb Stun 1

Time Bomb Stun 2

New stun effect of Time Bomb [ Q ]


Rewind Final IconRewind [ W ]

  • No longer reduces the cooldown of Zilean’s ultimate.


Zilean New W

New visuals for Rewind [ W ].


Time Warp Final IconTime Warp [ E ]

  • Slow/MS buff increased from 55% at all ranks to 40/55/70/85/99%
  • Duration of buff/debuff decreased from 2.5/3.25/4/4.75/5.5 seconds to 2.5 seconds at all ranks
  • Mana cost decreased from 80 at all ranks to 50/55/60/65/70
  • Cooldown decreased from 20 seconds at all ranks to 15
  • Cast range decreased from 700 to 550


Zilean E SLow

Zilean E Haste

New slow and haste effects for Zilean’s Time Warp [ E ].


Chronoshift Final IconChronoshift [ R ]

  • Duration of revive buff decreased from 7 seconds at all ranks to 5
  • Cooldown decreased from 180 seconds at all ranks to 120/90/60 seconds



Item Changes


Warrior Enchantment Final IconEnchantment: Warrior

  • Attack Damage decreased from 45 to 40


Sweeping Lens Final IconSweeping Lens [ Free Trinket ]

  • At level 9, the cooldown is decreased from 120 seconds to 75 seconds, up from 120-60 seconds.



Nerf to Smites Range

[ Note ] Smite’s range targeting has been changed from center-to-center to edge-to-edge. This means its range has been decreased against champions, but against most monsters its relatively the same, since their hitboxes are way bigger.


Smite Final IconSmite

  • Range decreased from 760 to 500 (not so noticeable, check [ Note ] for details)


Chilling Smite Final IconChilling Smite

  • Range decreased by ~150 units



Relative Team Colors UI

The relative team colors interface has now been properly implemented. When active, allies will always be colored blue and enemies – red, regardless of which side of the map you’re on.

Relative Colors Button

Relative Team Colors Screen

Semi Locked Camera Option

This option lets you off-set your camera a bit while playing with camera lock. Below you can see the maximum off-set.

Semilocked Camera

Semilocked Camera Screen


  • Fixed a bug that made unskinned wards… large
  • Fixed a bug where Panda Teemo’s R – Noxious Trap explosion wasn’t properly playing particle or sound effects
  • Fixed a bug where Xin Zhao’s Q – Three Talon Strike’s third strike would occasionally not knock opponents up
  • Restored Thresh’s max distance indicator for W – Dark Passage
  • Super Teemo has remembered how to fly while using W – Move Quick
  • Pulsefire Ezreal’s (well, PEARL’s) custom VO when first leveling his basic skills now plays 100% of the time



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


PBE 24 02 Banner


PBE 24/02

Headhunter Akali is in this patch, but only by name, not files. =P


[ 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.



Bard Unavailable

Some of Bard’s files are in this patch, but unfortunately he’s not available for testing yet. You can check out his full preview HERE.



Bard_0 (1) Bard_Square_0 (1)



Debonair Galio

Debonair Galio will be available in store for 750 RP.


Debonair Galio 1

Debonair Galio 2    


PBE Bugs Feedback Thread Debonair Galio

KateyKhaos Final PortraitFlying into the Debonair line is Debonair Galio! He’ll be perching himself on the Rift, ready to take on any opponent in style!

Debonair Galio will be 750 RP and includes:

New model and texture!

Debonair Galio is now available to play on PBE! We always find bug reports and feedback super helpful, so feel free to comment in the thread below! Likewise, if you’ve got any questions, post ‘em here, and we’ll do our best to answer them!

[ Link to Post ]



Secret Agent Xin Zhao

Special Agent Xin Zhao will stalk you until you pay up – 975 RP. Currently unavailable for testing!



PBE Bugs Feedback Thread Special Agent Xin Xhao

Galetta Final PortraitTime to investigate…

Special Agent Xin Xhao has taken on a special assignment.

Location: The PBE.
Assignment Details: Listed Below.

  • New model and texture!
  • New Recall animation!
  • New briefcase particles on his (R) Shield.

This skin will be 975rp.

Your feedback and bug reports are extremely helpful to us, so please check out Special Agent Xin Zhao and let us know what you think! Feel free to drop any bugs you find in this thread as well!

See you on the Rift!

[ Link to Post ]



Kassadin Visual Update

Kassadin and all his skins have been visually updated!


Classic Kassadin

Kassadin VU 1

Kassadin VU 2


Festival Kassadin

Festival Kassadin VU


Deep One Kassadin

Deep One Kassadin VU


Pre-Void Kassadin

Prevoid Kassadin VU


Harbinger Kassadin

Harbinger Kassadin VU


Kassadin Voidwalks in

Ququroon Final PortraitCheck your (force) pulse, because the Kassadin update is on PBE! [when it’s up]

The man who simply walked into the void is receiving an update to his visuals! Kassadin is a rather old champion, so it’s without question that he’d be needing some polish. Though dated, Kassadin’s personality and theme had some strong notes that we looked to maintain with this release, rather than recreate. As such, our goal with this update was to strengthen what was currently in game.

In this update, we wanted to bring his model, texture, animations and icons into the modern era. He had received updated particles not too long ago, but they did receive a slight update as well. His skins have also received like love, including the long requested flip on Harbinger’s blade.

Some questions to keep in mind as you take a look at Kassadin!

  • Does this still read as Kassadin to you?
  • Do you feel that anything you find core to Kassadin is missing?
  • How do you feel about Kassadin’s skins?

We’d really appreciate it if you’d take a look at Kassadin, and let us know of any bugs and/or feedback that come your way. Your feedback helps to guide changes we can make, as well as helps us grow as a team.

Interested in a little more context on this update? Check out this ChampUp post!

[ Link to Post ]



New Katarina Spell Icons

From left to right: Passive, Q, W, E and R.




New Kassadin Spell Icons

From left to right: Passive, Q, W, E and R.




  • Inhibitor turrets now grant 50 Gold, decreased from 175, and don’t grant any experience (down from 100)
  • Nexus turrets now grant 50 Gold, decreased from 150, and don’t grant any experience (down from 120)

The inner mid turrets no longer grant shields or have shields of their own.

Inner bot/top turrets still grant shields and have shields.

Champion Changes


Sion Final Portrait


Decimating Smash New IconDecimating Smash [ Q ]

  • Mana cost decreased from 45/50/55/60/65 to 40/45/50/55/60


Soul Furnace New IconSoul Furnace [ W ]

  • Mana cost decreased from 65/70/75/80/85 to 60/65/70/75/80


Roar of the Slayer New IconRoar of the Slayer [ E ]

  • Mana cost increased from 35 at all ranks to 35/40/45/50/55



Item Changes

The new 120 AP Item and Mandrake Ward are back for testing!


Ohmwrecker Final IconOhmwrecker

  • Now grants movement speed passively when near destroyed turrets too (on live the passive only works for active turrets)


Raptor Cloak Final IconRaptor Cloak

  • Armor granted increased from 30 to 40
  • Passive now works on destroyed turrets (same as Ohmwrecker)


Righteous Glory Final Icon Righteous Glory

Health granted increased from 500 to 650


Zzrot Portal Final IconZz’Rot Portal

  • Armor and Magic Resist granted both increased from 50 to 60
    • Passive now works on destroyed turrets (same as Ohmwrecker)



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



Here’s the official preview for League’s newest champion, Bard!


The celestial vagabond known only as Bard dwells beyond the physical universe in realms unknown to man. Manifesting when others threaten the cosmic equilibrium, the ancient caretaker acts with speed and intent, only returning to his endless watch once he has steered Runeterra from catastrophe.


Traveler’s Call Final IconTraveler’s Call [ Passive ]

Ancient Chimes: Bard’s presence causes sacred chimes to appear on the Fields of Justice. Collecting a chime grants Bard a brief burst of movement speed, experience, and mana.

Meeps: Bard’s presence attracts small spirits known as meeps to his side. Whenever Bard attacks, a meep throws itself at his target, dealing extra damage before disappearing back to the spirit world. As Bard collects more chimes, the meeps that follow him grow in both number and power.



Cosmic Binding [ Q ]

Bard fires out a burst of spirit energy in a line, damaging and slowing the first enemy struck. After Cosmic Binding hits an enemy, the burst of energy continues through, searching for secondary targets. If it hits a wall, it stuns the initial target; if it hits a second enemy, it stuns both targets.



Caretaker’s Shrine [ W ]

Bard conjures a health pack that gains power for a few seconds. Allied champions who walk over the pack gain health and a brief burst of movement speed, while enemies can stand on the pack for a moment to destroy it.



Magical Journey [ E ]

Bard conjures a portal on a target wall. The portal tunnels through to the far end of the wall, granting one-way passage to all champions, friend and foe, who enter it.



R: Tempered Fate

After a brief delay, Bard places all units in a targeted area – friend or foe, including champions, minions, monsters and turrets – in stasis. Frozen units are immune to all damage until the effect wears off.




Bard is League’s first support to gain advantages solely from moving around Summoner’s Rift. By constantly collecting his unique chimes, he covers plenty of ground at all stages of a game, and offers his team both solid sustain with his health packs and unrivalled team mobility with his long range portals.


Even if he is a wandering spirit, Bard first has to identify the best windows of opportunity to roam before he runs off – he can’t just abandon his marksman whenever he pleases. By making runs when his lane’s pushed or when his marksman has recalled, Bard can successfully roam without placing his teammate in imminent danger, then return to lane by the time he’s needed.

And while Bard roams around collecting his chimes, he has plenty of tools to support his allies. Laying down a Caretaker’s Shrine or two near friendly turrets gives Bard’s teammates the sustain to recover lanes that are losing, or overwhelm ones that are winning, and all without the Wandering Caretaker staying in lane. Bard’s Magical Journeys cover long distances in specific locations, too, gifting friendly fighters and tanks quick access to the enemy team’s jungle, and mages easy access to their own blue buff. The portals needn’t propel just Bard and his pals through the jungle, though – coordinating them with allied movement means Bard can quickly move his damage-dealing allies into lane ganks and toward objective control. That said, Magical Journey is best used when his enemies are both seen and distant – they serve little use when enemy assassins simply follow Bard through the portal before claiming lives.

Bard offers more than pure sustain and mobility, though, and fires out solid poke whenever he’s in lane thanks to Cosmic Binding. Though it deals meaningful damage on its own, the slow (and if procced, stun) give Bard surprising ganking potential, particularly when used in conjunction with Magical Journey. Enemies will have to think twice about escaping through the bottom and top lane brush when Bard can pin them to the nearby wall with a well-placed Q.

Once Bard hits six, he gains countless opportunities to secure and protect objectives across Summoner’s Rift thanks to the incredible versatility of Tempered Fate. If the enemy team’s tower diving a stranded ally, casting the ability over them grants them a few precious seconds of invulnerability while Bard’s team comes to the rescue. The ability has offensive uses, too, like freezing a lone enemy while Bard’s team closes in for the kill, or freezing an enemy turret while Bard and his allies get to work on diving their suddenly unprotected targets.


The Wandering Caretaker has plenty of ways to control areas of the map come mid game. Even if his team arrives late to a dragon attempt, Bard can cast Tempered Fate over the dragon before creating a Magical Journey into the beast’s pit. Suddenly what seemed like a simple dragon kill turns into a contested dragon buff and a full-scale teamfight. Here, Bard’s role changes to backline utility support. By planting a few Shrines around his team’s objective, he gives his team an automatic sustain advantage – allowing his frontline tanks to temporarily pull back to top their health back up, or squishier allies to recover if they get chunked down. Cosmic Binding becomes increasingly useful in tight areas, too – without large spaces to escape to, it’s much more likely to tether against a nearby wall or second enemy, stunning both units while Bard’s team secure valuable kills. Provided he’s collected enough of the chimes through the course of the game, even Bard’s meeps offer solid utility, slowing and damaging fleeing enemies once the fight is over.

Finally, Magical Journey offers Bard the chance to bring copious amounts of mischief to Summoner’s Rift. Baiting the enemy team into following him through a portal before stunning them with Cosmic Binding can bring about a quick and brutal ace, or drag them out of position, letting Bard sacrifice himself as his team emerges elsewhere from the fog of war to tear the enemy’s defenses apart.



Works well with:

Caitlyn – the Sheriff of Piltover

While other Marksmen might suffer on their own, Caitlyn has all tools she needs to survive while Bard roams Summoner’s Rift. Her Piltover Peacemaker rounds clear waves quickly and safely, her Yordle Snap Trap can keep her relatively safe from enemy junglers, and if all else fails, 90 Caliber Net often gives her enough mobility to escape from otherwise deadly spots. When Bard’s in lane, well-aimed Cosmic Binding casts help the Sheriff land her Piltover Peacemakers, too.


Udyr – the Spirit Walker

Udyr’s a beast once he gets to his target’s face, but traditionally has troublegetting there in the first place. That’s where Bard comes in – Caretaker’s Shrine gives the Spirit Walker the speed he needs to accelerate him into the heart of most enemy teams. And even if the enemy still gets away, Bard can help with accurate Cosmic Binding casts, and, if needed, Tempered Fate.


Amumu - the Sad Mummy

The Sad Mummy has one of League’s strongest team fight initiation combos, but Bandage Toss into Curse of the Sad Mummy is only effective when Amumu actually lands his Q. Bard can speed Amumu into position with a smart Magical Journey before slowing his mark with Cosmic Binding. Even if he misses, Bard can simply fire Tempered Fate at his team’s target while Amumu walks into position to unleash his ultimate.

Struggles against:


Rek’Sai – the Void Burrower

The quickest way to kill a wandering support is with an aggressive jungler, and none see further than Rek’Sai. By using Tremor Sense to track the roaming Bard, Rek’Sai can tunnel in, knock up and kill the Wandering Caretaker before escaping to safety. If Bard’s jungle is well warded, Rek’Sai can reposition with Void Rush to claim her kill, too.


Draven – the Glorious Executioner

Bard can only comfortably roam when his Marksman faces up against opponents who favor sustained damage over burst. Draven, with his brutal early game power, is anything but that, and will comfortably shred much more of his target’s health than Bard’s Shrines could hope to restore.


Leona – the Radiant Dawn

Similar to Draven, Leona exacerbates Bard’s weaknesses by being a classic lane bully. In a favorable two vs one lane, Leona’s all the more likely to activate Eclipse before using Zenith Blade and Shield of Daybreak to close in and stun Bard’s lone marksman, even under tower.



Bard, game design by Rabid Llama

We’ve looked at the idea of roaming supports before. Alistar was one, for a while, before he roamed so well you guys transitioned him into a death-dealing jungler thanks to his nigh on unstoppable W+Q combo and extreme tower diving capabilities. So we made changes, nerfed his extra monster damage, and put him back in his traditional support pants. But we still liked the idea, and so started thinking of ways that we could bring a new champion into League that had all the hallmarks of a roaming utility support.

At the same time, one of the champion concept artists had drawn up a really compelling character. He was strange and otherworldly looking, so we started figuring out how we could join these two pieces – roaming support and this character – together. After trying out a few different mechanical hooks (he was, at one stage, a pretty bardy Bard, with a musical theme and an instrument that was more central to his abilities), we ended up with a cosmic character, a caretaker who existed to protect relics and places scattered around the world.

So how’s he different in game? Well, Bard’s roams to empower both himself and his allies. Each chime he collects soups up his Meeps passive, and as he travels, he’s incentivized to help out his other lanes and jungler with Caretaker’s Shrine. Crucially, they don’t require him to hang around, so Bard can pop into mid, drop off a shrine, then carry on towards top on the hunt for more chimes. Each chime gives him a short movement boost (so he can jet around at a decent pace), experience (so he doesn’t miss out on too much minion xp), and mana. All this means he’s rewarded for roaming, and can (hopefully) leave his marksman during laning without handing them a big fat death sentence.



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


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