League of Legends has a lengthy champion development cycle—a lot of hard work goes into creating the characters that fans know and love. As the game continues to develop, more distinctive designs emerge all the time. Even older champions get lovingly brought in line with modern standards. In a game with so much diversity, however, there'll always be concepts that get sealed away in Riot's vault never to be seen again. Here are some of the would-be champions that briefly saw the light before being condemned to the darkness of League of Legends history.
CeeCee, the Hextech Engineer
CeeCee was a Hextech engineer who was originally designed to be a support character. Her giant mechanical workbench would allow her to sponge incoming attacks and engage fights for her AD Carry. CeeCee’s initial conception began when Riot were looking to mix up how supports carry out their roles. They wanted to make a unique support champion that gave players different ways to interact with their AD Carry beyond healing, providing buffs, and stunning/snaring.
However, during CeeCee’s development it became clear that the shield concept became the main focus point of her design. Riot didn’t want to create watered down-version of this new mechanic, so they dropped the engineer concept and began development on a pure shield champion. CeeCee would later go on to become the burly mustachioed hero, Braum.
Mardok, the Fisher of Souls
Many years ago archaeologist Dr. Mark Strauss mysteriously vanished while on an expedition to the caves of South Arden. The dark energies that he was investigating twisted him and granted him undeath. However, Dr. Strauss was stripped of all his fleshy features, which left his bones exposed and gave his eyes a yellow glow. A mere husk of his former self, Mardok only lives to fulfill his unrelenting hunger for the life force that sustains other creatures. Although the Fisher of Souls was never created, he did go onto to inspire the creation of Fizz who uses Mardok’s concept ultimate, Chum the Waters.
Well Soterios, the Hydrosoul
Soterios would gather men and toss them below the thrashing waves until water filled their lungs. Once rendered unconscious, Soterios would Rebirth the individuals by bringing them back to shore, and pressing his holy hands upon the victim's chest until they were reborn into the world as acolytes. Soterios became so fanatical that he tried to Rebirth himself in order to further his power. However, his Rebirth didn’t go as planned and the drowning High Priest made one last plea to the higher powers. Soterios became Reborn by the Immortals and renamed himself Well, the Hydrosoul and lives only to do the bidding of the higher powers that saved him.
Seth, the Sand Mage
Seth’s abilities focused on the manipulation of sand and dust to cast spells and receive buffs from within the sand's radius. This mechanic has very close similarities to Taliyah’s Worked Ground ability, but unlike the Stoneweaver, Seth could only cast certain abilities when in the presence of sand, meaning that his playstyle involved utilising this mechanic in order to deal consistent damage. The design team shifted to more of a command/emperor focus and realised that this was the theme they wanted to capture with Azir. Seth was cancelled and Azir took his place.
Ivan, the Mad Bomber
The hex-explosives expert was said to have had OCD and been obsessed with his sparkling teeth. He maintained his pearly whites with the utmost care, ensuring that he could give his victims a vicious smile before they went up in smoke. However, the Mad Bomber’s tanky design didn’t really fit his playstyle, as Ivan was actually a very squishy champion in-game. Riot didn’t want to mislead fans with his design, nor did they want to give Ivan increased tankiness as well as high damage output. Instead, they scrapped Ivan and used the bombs and armour concepts to create both Ziggs and Nautilus who both make use of the Mad Bomber's art and abilities.
Omen was a four-legged demon-like creature who had a toothy smile and sharp spikes protruding from his back and tail. While the design looked great, Omen was scrapped as Riot couldn’t decide if he was a melee or a ranged DPS character. This lack of direction for the champion caused Omen to remain in limbo for a while, even though the fiendish creature was halfway through his development cycle, Riot realised he wasn't shaping up to be a champion they were happy with. RiotFeralPony told players that Omen's ultimate was conceived as either an artillery style Bullet Time with a smaller circle at further range, or as a Cannon Barrage that wasn't global and had to be channeled. Omen would later be taken to the vaults with Riven being released in his place.
Averdrian was a mage that could utilise astral magic and appeared to use magical force fields to block incoming damage and unleash deadly AoE attacks on his opponents. It was initially thought Averdrian had been reworked into Heimerdinger, however Steven 'Coronach' DeRose confirmed this wasn’t the case in a forum post that dispelled the rumour. Data extracted from the game files found that Averdrian had the following abilities: Lockdown, Detonate, Consume Spirit, Astral Beam and Astral Barrier. These spells support the theory that that Averdrian was a control mage who could stun and lockdown his opponents in order to deal high amounts of burst damage.
Ever since League of Legends was released, players have been asking Riot for a dragon champion. It finally looked as though fans had been heard when Ao Shin was teased in the Spirit Guard Udyr Comic and subsequent concept art. Ao Shin was meant to be a powerful storm dragon and guardian of the natural world. The inspiration for his name: Ao is the family name of the mythological dragon kings, who rule water and weather, while Shin can mean many things, one of which is prosperity. It also means a rising storm. Ao Shin embodies this elemental duality, capable of raining good fortune on his allies and bringing stormy ruin upon his foes.
His development proved problematic for Riot as production difficulties held back Ao Shin's release until 2015. His release was then further delayed to early 2016 because of kit, tech and theme difficulties regarding the champion. However, Riot has since confirmed that that Aurelion Sol was Ao Shin’s spiritual successor, bringing the would-be storm to an end for good.