I’m not a genius with names, so I use Hag as a placeholder, but this concept aims to explore the archetypal space of the classical Witch, the ugly, ancient, clever Hag of Eastern/Northern European folklore. League has lots and lots of young people. And this champion would give the opportunity for a character who proves that youth and good looks always lose to old age and treachery.
The goal is to offer a game play experience about snaring enemies in a literal web of schemes and plans. Now normally one imagines ‘schemes’ and ‘webs’ as things you don’t see coming. But considering how tilting assassins who heavily utilize invisibility are (*side eyes at Eve*) I don’t think anyone wants control mages to be invisible any more than they absolutely have to be. So I’ve (mostly) opted for an alternate approach: instead of the invisible web of lies and tricks, let her opponents interact with her web. Thus playing against the Hag would aspire to be a mind-game about whether she can kill you and how far you can stick your hand (or face) into the net before getting caught.
Ixtal has hidden itself away from the world, and those few who venture near its borders tend to meet terrifying fates. There are some who guard Ixtal from outsiders, but often as not explorers meet their end by the hand of some other power. One of the ‘other’ powers lives in a small swamp on the South-West side of Ixtal and has owed no allegiance to any power great or small in her centuries long-existence of petty magic and scheming. The locals know to avoid certain areas of the swamp. Some few claim to have taken gifts to a Witch living deep within the swamp and begged out arcane tools to cure or kill as their heart desires. But none know where they found her or even what she looks like, instead many claim to have seen familiars that she sends out as eyes and ears. On occasion a bold or foolish explorer will arrive, intending to hunt down the witch. But they were not the first and definitely will not be the last - the Hag lives here, and catching her is like trying to catch a spider in her own web.
Obviously, this lore stands alone. And in the new year videos Riot implied that they want to try to tie new champions in to existing ones and stories better. So I figured I would offer a few suggestions for ways that this archetype could fit into the world of Runeterra and the sorts of interactions she could have with existing champions.
1. Neeko and Nidalee are on an adventure, shenanigans ensue when they stumble into the Hag’s domain, resulting in Nidalee and Neeko-disguised-as-familiar having to beat the Hag at her own game of (sort of) cat and (definitely not) mouse.
2. Ezreal goes adventuring into the Swamps for a relic, disturbs a million (more) voidlings, ~~still doesn’t learn his lesson, ~~and discovers that Hag has actually been keeping the void at bay and out of her swamp for centuries.
3. Hag adopts Yummi by accident before realizing that she’s not a familiar and the cold, hard cockles of her heart are stirred to help this useless fluffball (maybe in exchange for a peek at book?...might her cockles run deeper than expected?).
4. A famous chemist from Zaun and his rude, motley band of acolytes go looking for a rare variety of flower that grows in the Ixtal swamps at the behest the Chem-barons. Hag takes issue with this interest, leaving the people of the town trapped in a crossfire between the worst of civilization and the worst of pastoralism.
[I’m not remotely attached to the damage numbers here. However, there is a reason gave most of her spells ammo with long refresh timers, more on that farther down. ]
_Reinforcement of the Ancient, Passive:_ Despite being hundreds of years old, Hag uses magic to keep her body strong. Though she has low base hp, Hag gains 1% damage reduction (up to a maximum of 80%) and 1.5% increased healing from all sources for every 100 current mana.
_Puppetry Decoys, Q:_ the Hag creates a targetable puppet within 600 units. Puppets have 250-750 +20% bonus hp health and gain her passive damage reduction. Creating a puppet does magic damage of 40-90 in a 75 unit radius (this is not intended to be a major damage source - more of a cs-ing tool, hence no ratio). The Hag can use any puppet within 600 units of herself to auto-attack any target within 120 units of the puppet (damage is the same as a normal auto-attack). The Hag can have a max of 3-6 puppets active, and can create and store a new decoy (max of 1-4) every 14 seconds.
_Entrapment, W:_ the Hag and all Puppets throw out binding threads that reach 800 units towards the cursor. Units struck by the threads take 40-90 +40% AP damage. Units struck by multiple threads take the same damage, are rooted for two seconds, and marked for three seconds. Auto-attacking marked targets does 70-145 +65% AP +3% current HP damage and heals the Hag for 15% of post-mitigation damage. The Hag can store 1-3 charges of this ability (one every 15 seconds) for use every 2 seconds. Champions rooted by W within 2 seconds of having been marked are rooted for 1 second not 2.
_Child’s Play, E:_ the Hag’s nearest puppet to the cursor rushes 500 units in the direction of the cursor. Units passed through are slowed by 20/25/30/35/40%, take 100 +60% AP damage, and take on-hit damage (including proccing W-marks). If the decoy passes within 220 units of the Hag, she goes invisible for 1 second and is ghosted with 20-50% movement speed for 2 seconds. The Hag can store 2-5 charges of this ability, one every 20 seconds.
_Cornered, R:_ If Hag is brought to bear, she still has one trick up her sleeve. After a brief pause (~1 second), the Hag channels and binds all enemies within 325 units of her, and rises upward, suspending them all in the air. Doing this holds the enemies airborne and costs Hag 150 mana per .2 seconds until she recasts to drop the enemy or runs out of mana Cornered does 40/60/80 +10% AP damage per .2 seconds it was held.
**Builds: three main builds.**
1. Pure damage. Tear > GLP > Archangels > Ludens > Lichbane all in a row. Relies on high damage and amplified healing. This the build the NB3/Prof Akali types use to make Hag look broken in custom games. However, if you’re snowballing and your lane opponent has no idea what they are doing - this build will be bonkers. Take no damage, and heal it all back.
2. Pure tank. Tear > Righteous > Abyssal > Archangels > Tank. Mana + HP is ludicrously efficient, and allows a supportive style where you rely on being unkillable inside a web of decoys and threads.
3. Hybrid. Tear > ROA > Archangels > IBG > Lich. Mana, AP, resists, HP: it’s all there. And IBG slow w/lich proc into root, then passive proc with second lich proc. Ouch, not a web you want to be caught in.
Mid. Taking the Hag into the midlane is an art form. Even moreso than most champions the Hag is powerful when she has mana and weak without it. Combined with her sub-par waveclear laning phase will be hard. However, once Hag gets a bit of mana and ap she can turn the entire midlane into a web of death that can easily rotate to objectives. Strong gank assist means Hag will/should thrive with powerful early-game junglers who can follow-up on rooted opponents.
Supp. Because of the targettability of Hag’s decoys they do not time out until replaced. This allows the Hag to create a space of control that does not need refreshing. Want your Vayne to farm easily against a Lucian/Leona? Bring a Hag - and tell the Leona to keep her distance. After 6 just forget about tower-dives. Hag will struggle into poke lanes though - attempting her version of a Shurmia-shuffle will burn a scads of cooldowns, take forever, and leave her without ability charges for the fight she just started.
1. Puppet destruction. Considering her low-range targetable puppets, once higher-range champions get a couple items, they’ll destroy her puppets so quickly that Hag will need to rely on fast set-up or fog-of-war to get her hits in. Champions like Sivir or Anivia will be able to obliterate her puppets after just an item or two. From even slightly behind, many champions will be able to kill the puppets quickly and efficiently. A clever Hag will find counterplay in using her puppets to get cooldowns without eroding her team’s hp pool.
2. Waveclear/manipulation. Overwhelming waveclear forces Hag to spend abilities and mana to match. Hag wants to minimize mana expenditure outside of fights because her Passive is based off of CURRENT mana, meaning that anyone playing against a Hag who can burn her mana before a fight is at a serious advantage. Ryze, Malzahar, Neeko, et al should be very powerful in lane against her.
3. True Damage. A significant amount of Hag’s durability is bound up in damage resistance. While this is absurdly powerful against lethality or magic penetration, champions that can bring a spike of true damage will find Hag to be much less scary. Cho, Ahri, Camille, etc. Also ignite.
4. Range. The Hag has no engage tools. Which means that champions with long range and even relatively mediocre kiting ability are at a significant advantage. Xerath, Vel’koz, Lux, and other artillery mages will find the Hag easy to kite away from.
5. Cleanses. Hag’s entire combat pattern involves stringing her opponents along and repeatedly rooting them until they realize they can’t beat you. Champions with cleanse abilities are able to bypass and break her entire combat pattern. Olaf, Gangplank, Rengar.
1. No effective cooldowns. Hag has a lot of ammo-system spells. It will be a difficult balancing act to get Hag to a place where she can effectively lay down a web for use quickly while not having a web down permanently. The hope is that long cooldowns on ammo-type spells creates a circumstance where Hag can’t put decoys everywhere all the time, but if managed properly will have a web-in-waiting.
2. Mobility Creep. While Hag herself is immobile, it’ll be a lot easier to avoid Hag’s web of cooldowns if you’re a more modern champion with lots of mobility. This could easily lead to a circumstance where Hag is oppressive vs older champions and weak/goes even vs newer ones.
3. Late-Game Ults. While cool, unique, and thematic Hag’s ult in the lategame could be oppressive. The ability to choose how long a crowd control is brings the specter of a Hag being ‘caught out’ and being able to simply ult and wait for her team to arrive. The ult may well (read: will probably) need some sort of exponentially increasing cost designed to enforce a practical max ult timing.
4. Effectively infinite late-game mana. I don’t think it would be at all healthy if Hag can just hang out in lane, waveclearing and sitting permanently in mid while never dropping below 20% damage reduction.
Why Hag skins can be cool. Puppets. Her puppets don’t have to be versions of her. Thematically it makes sense to have a Hag who is doing business through decoys. But she could also have familiars or other monsters who do her bidding. This allows skins to bring in secondary associated creatures. A couple possibilities I find super cool here. a) a skin where the players can choose her puppet from among some designs and b) her puppets being the player’s equipped little legend (possibly too confusing on aram though).
Knitted Hag. Puppets are various knit creatures which throw out yarn to bind opponents. Instead of a cane, the Hag uses an over-sized knitting needle.
Papercraft Hag. Similar in concept to Knitted, all the monsters are origami creatures and folded chains bind enemies to the ground.
Elderwood/Coven. Hag is a witch, the potential is obvious here. Summoned monstrous puppets and twisting shadows pin enemies down.
Tanglethorn Hag. Vines bind enemies, and the decoys could either be thorny-shadow creatures or a rosebush (creating a beauty-in-pain contrast if you want a less-evil aesthetic).
A/V Hag. This one I would call just hilarious. Having worked Audio/Visual for bands, weddings, etc the idea of having this little old lady running around carrying mic-stands, summoning speakers, and tangling her enemies in cables is hilarious. Instant S-tier skin if she gets lumped into the kpop world and just sort of disdainfully mumbles famous kpop lyrics the whole time while talking smack at KD/A and True Damage members. Secret Pentakill fan.
Ruined Isles Hag. Alternate Runeterran location - ghouls as decoys throw shadows and enemies. Really lean in to the evil vibes.
Grandmother Hag. Puppets are grandchildren, and all her lines when rooting enemies are about “sit down and stay awhile” or “nonsense, you can’t leave yet”. Ult is “family meeting everyone!”.
That's all. Quite a wall of text. Questions, comments, and obscene gesticulations all welcome.