I can't believe it took me until now to notice, but the last four champions added to the game have serious implications for League as we know it.
Gnar, Azir, Kalista, and now Rek'Sai each break some sort of design principal that developers have insisted we would ***never see under any circumstance, ever***.
Mechanics that we were told would break the game. Aesthetics that would drive away customers. Concepts that didn't belong in the game that league wanted to be. Look at this:
**Gnar** - The champion's entire identity centers on a mechanic that is completely out of the player's control. Sure, they have input, and there is enough telegraph to call it random, but there is no direct control over his transformation. Getting poked while small, now you change. Taking CS for a while, now you change. Interacting with almost anything for some duration of time, you will change at some point, **willing or not**. In the past, Riot has said that random chance, even with some mild influence is an unhealthy mechanic. Some people find this infuriating, but others love it. It adds an interesting new option for gameplay that is fun and refreshing that makes Gnar unique.
**Azir** - Azir has to micro manage more than one unit and one pet. He can control the battlefield by simultaneously controlling himself and up to three soldiers. His entire kit rotates around this principal. Riot has stated that such a champion would be too confusing and too much like DotA to consider adding to the game. Azir is here now, and has a Shurima sized army of fans.
**Kalista** - Riot has stated that they would never release a champion that could directly interact with another teammate's champion in a way that takes control from one player's hand. Kalista can grab an ally and take them with her at the push of a button, regardless of what that ally wants. There will be troll Kalistas out there, but the ones who take the champ seriously can make some of the most incredible plays I've ever seen. There is so much potential in this champion for greatness - just wait for competitive matches. Kalista will blow minds in the professional field, and be amazingly fun in the casual play when taken seriously.
**Rek'Sai** - I'm sure everyone remembers Omen. This champ was scrapped before Riven's release for being too unrelatable, too generic, too strange, and overall too inhuman. The community at large *begged* Riot to reconsider scrapping Omen. The champion looked like the monster everyone wanted for so long, and was being deleted for being so. Fast forward to Zyra. Everyone was hyped for a female monster champion, and were greeted with a scantly clad women with a few leaves covering key points. While Zyra is a cool and interesting champion, people were outraged that male monsters could look as crazy as Cho'Gath, but female ones had to keep a human form. Riot placed the same argument as with Omen, and left it at that. Now though? Now we have a female monster that is as far as human as it can get. It doesn't speak...it growls. It doesn't have eyes. It's mouth can't make expressions. It's body looks so streamlined to kill, it can barely gesture. It is the most monster-y champion EVER, and it is a *she*. How cool is that!? It blows my mind, and I love every part of it.
So what does this all mean? Riot is finally becoming open minded to more interesting champion design. With well over 100 champions now that follow the "easy to learn, hard to master" gameplay, and "relatable humanoid" aesthetic, they are finally branching out and making more interesting characters. Characters that are hard to pick up on your first attempt. Characters that you don't understand their entirety at a glance. Characters that aren't typical shapes and sizes.
***This is the best thing to happen to league in ages.***
Almost every fundamental design rule Riot has set up has been broken. The only one I can think of is "no invoker style champions that fuze abilities", and at the rate that rules are being broken, this could happen VERY soon. This means that old precedents are gone. The sky is the limit. ***anything is possible***. This has been what I have dreamed about for league since season one, and it is finally happening.
Riot, I just have to say: Well done. Your champ designers have been on point lately. This is what the game needed, and I look forward to seeing where things go from here.
EDIT: I've been away a while, and am surprised and happy to see this is still going. Tham Krench really impressed me with an ability that interacted directly with allies the way it does! Plus all the wonderful shenanigans with Gangplank's rework were phenomenal. Riot is still rocking, and I am still thoroughly impressed!