I'm sure most of us have seen, but new Void lore is live. And while on the whole, I do really like it (especially the short story "Where Icathia Once Stood") I have one big gripe. Well, that's a lie, I almost never have only one gripe. But I do have one gripe that I think is most relevant.
Malzahar never meets Kaisa nor Kassadin. Ever. Presumably Kaisa and Kassadin spoke a lot (though the particulars of their relationship are never elaborated on, and they aren't even mentioned by name in each others' biographies), but Malzahar never speaks to either of them. I know the JoJ has long been non-canon, but one strength the Malz vs Kass storyline had over this newly imagined one is that Kassadin was present for the Void mishap and failed. Malzahar personally plucked Kass's daughter and sacrificed her to the Void. Kassadin and Malz clashed, and had a standing unresolved conflict BEFORE and AFTER, only it had escalated. Do you see what I'm getting at? This was way more personal for both of them.
I'm not suggesting Riot return to the exact plot detailed in the Journal of Justice, but I feel like this is a trap writers fall into very frequently. Having a protagonist and antagonist never face off before the "final showdown" is a mistake, and one that's easily avoidable. Obviously, Malz, Kass and even Kai'Sa will hopefully have opportunities for this in the future, but I feel with a few small tweaks, this could have been avoided.
I see a few options they could have gone with:
Option 1: Malzahar comes to town, preaching about the Void, Kassadin shrugs it off as the ravings of a lunatic. Kass leaves for one of his jobs. Meanwhile, Malz talks to Kaisa and being the spunky, brave, just-wants-to-help girl she is, she takes some of his advice to heart. She doesn't just "accidentally" release the goats, she purposefully brings the goats (giving her more agency in the story) to the spot Malzahar told her about. Boom, Void stuff happens, the story continues as is. They don't even have to name Malzahar specifically, they can just say "The Prophet" or "creepy hooded lunatic". That can be part of Kass's bio to figure him out and stop the Void, etc.
Option 2: Keep some of the JoJ's dramatic tension, have the big Void blowout happen when Kassadin is around, and he can stare Malzahar in the eyes as the Prophet cackles and leaves. Kassadin is a safe distance or escapes early or something, but is unable to go in and save his family. And this way he can still be Void-touched maybe, I think that was a big loss, too. Kaisa can have the story of Option 1 or her lore as is.
I think these little changes could amp up the drama way more. Suddenly, there's a name and a face to these arch-rivals. Kassadin doesn't just randomly hear about him in a drunken stupor or anything, the motivation is immediately present. Malzahar knows about this guy, too, even if he doesn't realize what a threat he will turn out to be. I was also disappointed by the complete lack of Kassadin fighting any Void-related things (alcolytes, monsters, nada) in his bio. Again, having him be present would help this.
Its small things like this that I think can go a long way in improving Riot's writing. That said, as I mentioned earlier, Where Icathia Once Stood was fantastic. The Void felt properly terrifying, learned some about Icathia and probably met a certain Champion... And the writing itself is good, too.
Please discuss your feelings as well. I am curious to see what everyone thinks of the new stuff. :D