If you're an avid League of Legends fan, you've probably heard a little bit about the two champions slated for release after Yorick : Leona, the Radiant Dawn, and Skarner, the Crystal Vanguard. (If not, have we got a scoop for you!) But save for a mention here or there about their abilities, these two champions haven't gotten much exposure beyond two spiffy pieces of concept art. That is, until now.
See, we at PC Gamer like to go one step beyond the provided fact sheet on Leona, the Radiant Dawn, and Skarner, the Crystal Vanguard. To us, it's not enough to deliver the hard facts alone; we want to tell you what we think of what's been revealed so far, and speculate on what the champions' other abilities might be, basing our guesses on clues we've picked up during our chat with Riot Producer Travis George and the stated overall concepts behind these champions. If it turns out a month from now that we were right, you can go ahead and call us the Nostradamuses of LoL. If not, well, these ravings of a madman will serve as a cautionary tale to those curious of the effects of a severe over-exposure to League of Legends. Either way, I hope it'll make for an entertaining read.
What we know for a fact: Leona is the long awaited response to fans demanding that there be a true, in-your-face-absorbing-your-damage female tank in LoL (Poppy and Kayle don't cut the mustard in long-term tanking scenarios). Riot heard the cries for a gal guardian, and Leona was built from the sturdy foundation of fulfilling a tank role. Brandishing a sword and shield (another first for the series!), Leona's best described, in the words of Travis George, as a "bad-ass female sun knight." The fiery blaze of the sun appears to emanate from Leona's shield, and her armor evokes that of a Warcraft paladin, albeit with a nice coating of "League of Legends sauce" (George's words, not mine). Though everything discussed here is subject to change, her planned ultimate sounds like just about the coolest thing ever, like a super-move straight out of Final Fantasy.
Her ult seems perfect for kicking off a teamfight and trapping your enemies so that your teammates can unleash AoE-ability hell on them. Imagine with me for a moment: Sona ults, Leona drops a freakin' asteroid on their heads, then Fiddlesticks and Miss Fortune let loose their ultimates while the entire enemy team's HP bars melt away. Tears of future happiness are dripping down my cheeks just thinking about it. Lore-wise, Leona serves as a stalwart member of a sacred order of knights—no doubt she's a pure-of-heart ally of Demacia.
What our Magic 8-Ball said when we asked it about Leona:
Similar abilities exist in Bloodline Champions, and they're incredibly satisfying for both parties, despite what you'd think. If you're the one hitting the blind, you chuckle to yourself as your enemy runs around wildly swinging while your allies get away clean. If you're the one being blinded, it gives a rush of adrenaline and you get massive bragging rights if you somehow nail an enemy even when you can't see.
What we know for a fact: Skarner is all about isolating an enemy and unloading with single-target melee damage. This crystalline scorpion is said to be a rudely-awakened member of an ancient race who's an equal-opportunity killer if it means defending his people. Don't let his appearance fool you: Skarner has next to nothing in common with DotA's Sand King, save for the fact that they're both predatory arthropods. George just sees him as another unique entity in LoL's "huge, eclectic mix" of characters, and a nice addition to the non-humanoid category since Nocturne hit the scene.
Skarner's perfect for those with a one-track mind: through a combination of lifesteal and stacking debuffs, this aggressive scorpion will whittle away at the target's health with capabilities much like Trundle's incredible strength in one-on-one fights. That isn't to say that Skarner is useless in a teamfight—his claws actually house some vicious crystal pistons (you can see them in the concept art, highlighted in the lighter purple) that will deal cleave damage to nearby enemies even as he focuses down one target. But what if you can't get to your target because they're being babysitted by their allies? That's where Skarner's ultimate comes in.
The half-forgotten Skarner prophecies that came to me in a fever dream:
Way back in April, Riot teased us with a silhouette and some sweet zoomed-in concept art for the Monkey King , who looks to be a fighter hailing from Ionia. Based on the central character of the Chinese epic Journey to the West , this simian staff-wielder looks like it'd be tons of fun, if only we could play him! But he may not be that far off. Judging from the video, his idle, taunt, and dance animations look complete, as well as his character model. It's been stated that Skarner is a long way's off—my money's on Leona being released after Yorick, followed by our good friend the Monkey King. I mean, honestly—if you don't want to play as a champion who served as the inspiration for Dragonball Z's Goku, you need to get your priorities straight.
So, you've heard what we have to say about the upcoming champions. What do you think? Let us know your predictions in the comments—I for one will certainly be checking back here once the champions are released, just to see who was scarily close to being right. Either that, or who's a cheater from the future with all the answers, à la Biff Tannen.