E3 2011: League of Legends' newest champion, Yorick, in action

Lucas Sullivan

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Riot Games is about to fill a gap that's been missing from the League of Legends champion roster: the minion-commanding overlord. Now, this doesn't mean having just one pet. Nope, Yorick the Gravedigger is all about constantly spawning creatures to do his bidding, using their short life-span to buff himself before summoning a new batch to assault the enemy. We got to see Yorick played live at Riot's secluded E3 booth, and we definitely liked what we saw of the necromantic bruiser. Come get a look at how this gravedigger keeps himself in business by murdering enemy champions.

Right off the bat, it's impossible not to feel intimidated when staring down Yorick in your lane. The champion is simply massive--a ghoulish hunchback that makes Sion look like a toddler. Yorick looks like he could go toe-toe-toe in a fistfight with Cho'Gath--which is perfect, considering he's primarily a melee bruiser champion. His face obscured by a tattered hood, Yorick lumbers around with a collection of lanterns and skulls on his coat, whacking his targets with a massive, rusty spade.

But his abilities are what set him apart from the rest of the crowd. Yorick's able to summon three varieties of his minions, which corporealize as spectral ghasts/wraiths/ghost-thingies. These ghasts are doubly efficient: when summoned, they attack the nearest champion while simultaneously buffing Yorick or debuffing the opponent.

All of Yorick's abilities are subject to change, but here's what we got to see yesterday from his creepy minions:

  • Necrotic Ritual: Summons a green Decay ghast that explodes in a cloud of poison, slowing the enemy and dealing damage over time.

  • Devouring Ritual: Summons a red Ravenous ghast that siphons life from his attacks and channels it to Yorick. It also empowers Yorick's next attack with a hefty amount of lifesteal.

  • Spectral Ritual: Summons a blue Spectral ghast that embodies the powerful Summoner Spell Ghost, with increased movespeed and the ability to walk through units. Best of all, he bestows the same buffs to Yorick for the duration of his brief existence, ensuring that Yorick can chase down his target.

It's important to note that these ghasts don't work like your average pet: they can't be controlled, and they die fairly quickly (in the build we saw, they lasted around 4 seconds, though it's planned to increase the duration to around 6 to 8 seconds). It's possible to summon all three ghasts at once if you're quick on the draw, and from what we could tell, his effects definitely stack, turning him into a damage powerhouse when all three ghasts are active. To beef him up even more, Yorick's passive gives him stat bonuses depending on which ghasts are active.

His ultimate ability wasn't yet finalized, but the preferred concept for it sounds amazing. Yorick would pound his shovel into the ground, sending a shockwave forward that wakes the dead beneath the soil. This slam causes skeletal hands to burst through the dirt--if an enemy champion gets caught in the shockwave, the skeletal hands will grab their feet, locking them in place. This skill-shot, lined nuke could be potentially devastating in a teamfight, much like Amumu's, and would make for a great gank initiation from the jungle.

All in all, Yorick looks to be the perfect way to kick off a new mechanic, minions, in a balanced-but-formidable form. We can't wait to play him when he's released after the Season One championship, cackling as our ghasts last-hit creeps and champions alike to fill the fresh graves. Be sure to keep a lookout for our previews of the next two heroes, coming soon!

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