League of Legends' most iconic map is getting a huge makeover, ridable monsters, and an infestation of gross alien insects

The new voidborn Rift Herald in League of Legends.
(Image credit: Riot Games)

Summoner's Rift, the core map in League of Legends, is one of the most iconic maps in all of gaming, existing in largely the same form for years. But nothing stays the same forever, and Riot has decided that for Season 14, it deserves a major shake-up.

Both the core terrain and layout of the map are changing in some areas, mostly around the river, and monsters are getting a void-style makeover that brings some big new features for some of them. All of these changes will be on the PBE later today for you to try out, or you can wait until early January for their official launch as part of the new season. 

Top and bot lane are more equal

(Image credit: Riot Games)

Top lane changes:

  • Red side terrain is now similar to blue side.
  • Brush moved to the middle of the river.

(Image credit: Riot Games)

Bot lane changes:

  • Red side terrain is now similar to blue side.
  • New path added for red side to enter the river, complete with tri-brush.
  • Brush close to red side wall moved to the middle of the river.

The updates to the core layout of Summoner's Rift that will likely have the biggest impact are the changes to the top and bottom lanes. Riot's new design for the areas around the river is intended to make red and blue sides more equal when it comes to movement, meaning you no longer have an easier escape or ganking route to one lane depending on your side. 

In the top lane you would assume these changes would help blue side more, given the red side’s easy access to the lane from their jungle has been removed, and there's a big curved wall in the way. However, the removal of the brush from the blue side of the river could actually end up making ganks a lot harder. 

Bot lane seems to go the other way, with this being an improvement for the red side. No longer do you have a massive trek back to lane if you are forced into the river and can’t get back. And you have a nice new tri-brush to hide in. 

Mid lane is bigger

(Image credit: Riot Games)
  •  Brush on both sides moved back away from the lane.

Compared to the other two lanes, mid remains relatively untouched, but the one change coming its way seems like a good one. The brushes on either side of the lane have been moved back into the river a decent amount, which should make it harder for enemies to appear out of nowhere and instantly bop you in the face. The aim of the change is to make less mobile champions more viable in the mid lane, and I can see that certainly working out as intended.  

There are three different Barons, with unique pits 

(Image credit: Riot Games)
  • New wall added opposite Baron and Dragon pits
  • Visual update for Baron
  • One of three Barons will now spawn at 20 minutes
  • Each Baron type has a different pit and unique ability

The big boy himself is evolving for Season 14, and it seems like the most exciting change of all. Now, just like the Dragon, there are multiple types of Baron that can spawn, and they each have their own custom pit and an ability that suits it. 

Hunting Baron is the classic design you know already. Territorial Baron puts a wall in the middle of the entrance to his pit, creating two entryways either side. All-Seeing Baron basically turns his pit into a long tunnel, which he chills in the middle of. The unique abilities for each one were not shown in the press briefing, but we are told they will all be designed to work with the new pit designs to make each fight its own tricky challenge. 

This is the first big change to Baron in ages and I can’t wait to try it. He's become a bit predictable over the years and often you don’t really need to think about what he's doing and can just focus on what the enemies are up to if they contest. Now you’ll need to consider how you have to position in the new pits and, at least until it all gets figured out, Baron should have some fun surprises for us. 

The Baron's joined by voidgrub allies 

(Image credit: Riot Games)
  • Voidgrubs spawn in the Baron pit, and can be killed for buffs.
  • Kill five and you gain voidmite allies.

Ok, this one takes a bit of explaining, but bear with me. Voidgrubs are here to take the place of the first Rift Herald, although the Herald is still sticking around later. At five minutes, three voidgrubs spawn in the Baron pit, and when one is killed it has a respawn timer. A total of six can spawn in a single game, although three is the maximum at one time, and they release tiny voidmites to fight you when they are attacked. 

When you kill one, you get a buff that gives you damage over time and bonus damage to structures, which is cool if a little underwhelming. However, should you kill at least five of the possible six voidgrubs that will spawn in a game (they disappear at 14 minutes to make way for the Rift Herald, so you need to be quick) you will periodically summon your own voidmites who will help hit structures. 

Just how important these little guys will end up being remains to be seen—I suspect the bonuses they confer may feel a bit minor in the grand scheme of things, but they're cute enough to become community favourites regardless.

You can ride the Rift Herald 

(Image credit: Riot Games)
  • Rift Herald gets a new void-inspired look.
  • You can ride on the Rift Herald's back and control him. Yes, really.
  • Blue and Red buff monsters get stronger at 20 mins.

The Rift Herald remains largely unchanged apart from a new look, but you can now interact with him in a new way. When he is summoned you can right-click on him to ride on his back, controlling where he goes and what he does—although you’ll be knocked off when you charge a tower or wall. 

Then, after 20 minutes, the Blue Sentinel and Red Brambleback will respawn the next time they are killed as Voidborn Sentinel and Voidborn Brambleback, who are bigger, stronger, and have a cool new look as well. When you kill these void versions of them, your whole team gets the red or blue buff instead of just you. 

A similar thing happens to the Rift Scuttler, who comes back post-20 minutes as the Voidborn Scuttler and will send out a massive Scryer’s Bloom effect, revealing all champions and wards in the surrounding area when killed. 

And the rest

  • Mythic items are being removed.
  • Small tweaks to Drakes.
  • New music.

There are a few more, smaller changes. Mythic items are getting the boot—but I don't think anyone's mourning that loss too much, considering how underwhelming they felt and how much they stifled item build experimentation. There are also a couple of changes to the different Drakes, with the Infernal Rift now featuring cinders that you can collect to gain temporary buffs that will drop on death, and some tweaks to terrain on Mountain and Ocean rifts, but nothing massive. And there's some new music—listen out for that while fighting the various voidborn monsters!