The Next Ultimate Skin (Part 3)

**EDIT: PLEASE READ BEFORE CONTINUING** **It seems as if these posts of mine continue to get traffic even long after they were made. I suspect some people Google the next Ultimate skin, and are sent here. If you are one of these people, just know that some info might be a bit dated. This thread is my most recent one, so, it should not be that dated, and most of the info you will find here still stands. Thanks for reading!** ---------- Hello Everybody! So around 4 months ago, I made a thread detailing my thoughts on the next ultimate skin. You can find that post [here]( Today, I'm here to give you an update on who I think could get the next Ultimate skin, because since last time, there have been plenty of legendary skins that change who we should look at when considering which champ will get it. Also, my "guidelines" (which I'll go into more detail later) also need updating due to the most recent set of skins revealed. So, without further ado, lets begin, shall we? --------------------- #The Guidelines In my previous thread, I laid out 4 guidelines that I thought Riot possibly tries their best to follow when choosing a champ for a legendary/ultimate skin. However, there are now just 3. Remember that Riot does consider Ultimate skins as glorified legendary skins, so, any rules that may apply to legendary skins also apply to ultimate skins. The list is as follows: * The champion must not already have a legendary/ultimate skin in their line up. * When choosing a champ for a legendary, this is most likely the one rule Riot follows the most. They don't want to overload a champ's lineup of skins with really expensive ones, leaving all the others out to dry, and they've stuck to this rule for a very long time. The last champion to receive a legendary that already had one was Cho'gath, with the release of Battlecast Prime. * Champions should be at least 3 years old. * The youngest champ to receive a legendary so far has been Yasuo, with the release of Nightbringer. He'll be 4 years old in December! * Finish the team (this rule only apllies to ultimate skins) * I'll go into more detail on this rule further down. In the first part of this thread series I've been doing, I had the pleasure of having Kindlejack, one of Riot's Asscoiate Artists, chime in on my thread and give some very interesting details into how the skins team works. As insightful as it was......he did essentially shoot down this entire list. There are no concrete guidelines Riot tries to follow when choosing champs for skins, and in fact, almost all of the artists on the skins team have their own personal set of guidelines that they follow that may not apply to the rest of the team. The selection process is far more simple at its core, to be honest. Generally, if Riot has an idea that they get excited about, chances are it'll be made into a skin. In my opinion, this actually _improves_ the overall quality of the skins, because Riot isn't hindered by anything but timelines, and even then, they give estimates on how long a skin will take, and will gladly push any project back, or even shelve it completely if it simply isn't reaching their quality standards. The one guideline I decided to remove from this list from last time is the "6 month grace period". What this means is that, if you look at how Riot has released skins in the past, you can determine that they would normally stay away from a champion for at least 6 months before starting on a new skin for said champ. However, even in my last thread, I stated that they could very well follow this rule the least out of all of them, and with the most recent set skins that has been put on the PBE (the "Immortal Journey" skins), this rule has been killed completely. Master Yi received the "Cosmic Blade" skin back during the release of Xayah and Rakan. Now, he's getting *another* skin that's part of this new skin line, only 6 months after Cosmic Blade was released (much to the dismay of many players). This one skin not only shakes up our guidelines into guessing the next Ultimate skin, it also means that Riot could very well be stepping up in production in skins, thus, the next Ultimate skin could very well be much closer than we once thought. -------------------------- #Viable Champs Looking at the guidelines I made, we can actually easily determine which champs are viable for not only legendary skins, but also ultimates as well. If we happen to use only the first 2 guidelines, we end up with 96 champs currently viable for a legendary skin. This number is never set in stone, always changing with champion releases, and more skin releases. However, we aren't here for _just_ legendary skins. No, we're here for the next Ultimate skin, and having to predict which champ will receive the next Ultimate out of 96 is nearly impossible. This is where guideline #3 comes in: "Finish the team". Now, what do I mean by this? Well, Riot likes to release skin lines that have the capability to host a full, real team in League. This means a Top, Jungler, Mid, ADC, and Support. The first batch of Pool Party skins follows this rule perfectly (Top-Renek; Jungle-Lee Sin; Mid-Ziggs; ADC-Graves; Support-Leona), and even the second batch does as well. If Riot does not release a full team of skins dedicated to a single theme, they will eventually finish it in the future. This is evident in the Star Guardian, PROJECT, and Blood Moon skins. The Ultimate skins already have an ADC A jungler a support and, of course, most recently, a mid laner So, all this leaves us with is a top laner. Granted, Riot hasn't released a "real" team of skins in quite some time, however, I can say with 99% certainty that the next Ultimate skin WILL go to a top laner. Why? Well, for prosperity's sake. It makes sense to release a set of skins that doesn't necessarily make up a real team for an established skin line (such as the most recent set of Star Guardian skin), but the "ultimate line", as you may like to call it, has yet to get even it's 5th champion. Thus, I am almost completely certain a top laner will get it, and I will be **_extremely_** surprised if this is not the case. So, this cuts our list of 96 champs down to just 25. They are: -{{champion:266}} {{champion:114}} {{champion:3}} {{champion:41}} {{champion:86}} {{champion:150}} -{{champion:39}} {{champion:59}} {{champion:24}} {{champion:126}} {{champion:85}} {{champion:54}} -{{champion:57}} {{champion:111}} {{champion:80}} {{champion:78}} {{champion:133}} {{champion:58}} -{{champion:98}} {{champion:27}} {{champion:48}} {{champion:23}} {{champion:62}} {{champion:6}} -{{champion:83}} Now, mind you, this list changes over time. It could shrink considerably, or grow. Also, notice, I did add in champs that have recently gotten reworks (i.e. Yorick and Galio). A rework keeps a champion from getting a skin, but once the rework is released, they are immediately put back on the list (just look at Mecha Zero Sion). There are also champs I left out for that very reason (i.e. Morde and Swain). ----------------- #The Prediction Now, here comes the fun part. This is where we want to try and dive into the minds of the Artistic team over at Riot. Now, remember that the list above is nothing but speculation. Riot could easily throw us a curve ball, and give {{champion:516}} the next Ultimate skins. It is HIGHLY unlikely, but they can do it. In order to make my prediction, I actually looked at how the past 4 Ultimates were designed. Pulsefire Ezreal could more than likely be considered a Legendary by Riot's current standards, however, the unique tech of it changing its model when you level up allows it to keep its Ultimate status. Riot has even stated that trying to update the skin to their current standards will be a nightmare, due to the amount of unique tech and coding this skin has (not to mention, its 4 different models in 1). That said, they just did take steps to try to bring it up to par with even their legendaries, giving it new textures, particles, animations, and I believe even more voice lines surprisingly. When Riot designs a champion, one of their main goals is clarity. They want both the player playing the champion, and playing against the champion, to be able to understand just what the hell is going on at any given time. Udyr does this by having a small cut out picture of an animal pop up above his head whenever he changes stances, not to mention his model shifts to the specific stance. Well, with Spirit Guard Udyr, they took this clarity, and cranked it up past 11 until the knob broke off! Not only do you have FIVE different models (at the start of the game, he starts with an idle model), these models also transform into more dynamic models once you max level a particular stance. Oh, and lets not forget that the animals HAVE MODELS OF THEIR OWN!!! There is SO MUCH packed into this skin, it is more than well deserving of the Ultimate title, and more than likely Riot's baseline as to what the Ultimate skins should achieve. This was more of an experiment than anything for Riot. They incorporated the dynamic leveling of the past 2 skins (the music becomes more pronounced and dynamic the more you level certain abilities), and added in more than one model (essentially, this skin is 3 in 1). But what makes this skin obviously stand out is its music. Never before have we seen something able to change the music of the game. Its always been the same, and we've listened to it enough that it has become nothing more than background noise, lost within the noise of battle. But DJ Sona changed that for the better. Its too bad we don't have other similar tools in game like DJ Sona, because, lets be honest, who still truthfully listens to the in game music? It's not that its bad, its just that its been around for so long. And, lastly, but certainly not least, our most recent Ultimate skin. One goal of all ultimate skins is to push Riot's tech and art to the absolute limit, which not only unlocks certain aspects of skin design they couldn't do before, but also teaches them a great deal of skin design as well. Each of these skins has allowed them to create future skins with even more interesting tech and aesthetics behind them. For example, DJ Sona's hair enabled Riot to make Arcade Ahri's tail change colors in a far more natural way (smething that Arcade Hecarim could also use for his tail). With Elementalist Lux, I suppose the goal was to see exactly how interactive they can make a skin. In the past, we have had only small options to change the model of our skin. Neon Strike Vi can lower and raise her goggles, and Night Hunter Rengar can raise and lower his hood. Really the only skins that allowed even more customization of the model in game were Spirit Guard Udyr, and DJ Sona, being able to switch between the different models at will. Elementalist Lux takes this entire concept and knocks it out of the goddamned solar system. Sticking with the Ultimate skins unique aspect of becoming more complex as you progress through the game, this skin actually builds up energy when damaging champs. Once enough energy is gathered, you then have the option to transform Lux into a completely different model based on the element you chose _twice_, allowing you to choose from **TEN DIFFERENT MODELS**, each model of which is actually at a higher quality than most regular skins. If you don't count the unique VO that came with the entire skin, each model the skin comes with can be worth 1350 RP on their own. Now, looking at these skins does give you a slight idea as to what kind of champs Riot looks at for an Ultimate skin. Ezreal is the only outlier here, because he, as a champion, doesn't bring very much to the table. This, makes sense, however, since Pulsefire was the very first Ultimate skin. It was, more or less, an experiment that happened to work out. Udyr, however, is very unique in that his stances make him unlike any other champion. I believe it was Phreak who once said that learning certain champs is easier than others due to how they perform. ADCs perform very similar to each other, essentially learning one means you've learned them all. A champ like Ryze, however, has no comparison, and thus, is more difficult to pick up. Udyr is a champ similar to Ryze in that there is no real comparison to him. Also, his stances laid a very good foundation for Riot to build off of. Sona was chosen from a very simple fact about her: she is the only champ in the game directly associated with music (and no, Bard doesn't count). Making a DJ version of her was just easy! So easy, in fact, that they took the idea, and ran with it. The end result was being able to change the music in game. Lux, when looked at a certain angle, isn't all that unique actually. However, I'd say that this makes sense, since they wanted a skin with just so much in it, choosing a champ with a relatively easy model to work with would speed up the process quite a bit. However, the Elemetanlist theme simply makes as much sense for Lux as the DJ theme does for Sona. So, the champ we want to look for is both possibly unique, and has a potential idea that is easy enough for Riot to take off with. So, after all of this, I have compiled my top 5 champs for the next Ultimate skin ranging from least likely, to most. **5: Poppy** Yes, yes, I know she recently got Star Guardian, it's actually why she's number 5 on my list. That said, I think Riot is **VERY** proud with how Poppy turned out. Sure, her gameplay needed a little tuning, but her lore, and character design couldn't have come out better. Would they push themselves on her design? Maybe. We'll just have to find out **4: Kennen** Kennen may seem like an oddball on this list, considering he's half marksman. However, even during his "AD" phase, plenty of people we're still playing him top lane. Being an oddball actually kind of helps him in this regard, since we are looking for fairly unique champions, and being a lightning ninja rat that can lock down an entire team is pretty damn unique. **3: Jayce** Jayce has 2 reasons as to why he's on this list. First is his kit. He is one of only 3 champions in the game that has a total of 6 different abilities (we're not counting his ultimate). Since Udyr's kit is one of the big reasons Riot chose him for Spirit Guard, it does make you realize that there is alot of stuff they can do with a Jayce skin. Second is actually Pulsefire Ezreal. In PFE's *original* lore, Jayce was the guy who designed Ezreal's suit. I'm not sure if this new lore still has that as a fact, but, Riot could certainly play on that. Not by making *another* Ultimate Pulsefire skin, but, tying together the 2 skins in some unique way. **2: Wukong** One common thing among the Ultimate skins is that they are all champs who were released a REALLY long time ago. Udyr is by far the oldest of the 4, having been released almost 8 years ago, and the first champ to be released after the original 40 (bet you didn't know that bit of trivia, did you?). Ez is next, having been released over 7 years ago, and then both Sona and Lux are just about to turn 7 years old, having been released only a month apart (September 21st for Sona, and October 19th for Lux). Wukong, although not nearly as old as the other 4, has been in this game for a LONG time, having just turned 6 in July. If you were to ask anyone for a list of most recognizable champs in the game, chances are, Wukong would be in their top 10. You may not see him much now, but, I'd say there are very few champs in this game more deserving of at least a legendary than Wukong. **1: Shen** Speaking of age........guess who was released only 8 days after Ezreal? Alot of people are very disappointed that Shen was not a part of the Immortal Journey skin line. The teaser that was released in China had everyone thinking that Shen would be getting his legendary. Unfortunately, the sword in the teaser turned out to be Janna's "sacred sword". However, there is a part of me that feels that Riot may not be completely done with us just yet. Sure, I could be riding the illogical hype train right now, but the teaser seemed to resemble Shen's sword *too* much. In fact, in a recent comment on a Reddit thread, Riot Stellari discussed that Janna's sword isn't actually hers.....she simply guards it. It has WAAAAAAY too much power for her to properly control, so, she needs to keep it sheathed. What if that sword she's guarding is actually Shen's? Kind of like a fallen demi-god warrior of sorts? Yes, I did make a thread explaining why Shen may not be the best fit for this skin line, but, they were able to make Janna's skin work. Now, arguments could be made that making an Ultimate skin fit a skin line would go against tradition. However, those people would forget that we just recently had our first skin released not too long ago that ties in with one of our Ultimates, that being Pulsefire Caitlyn. So, that opens up the door for an ultimate skin to be released that does have ties in some way to a current skin line, and I can't think of anything better than the most recently revealed skins. ---------------------- #Conclusion And there you have it folks! Please remember, that all of this is just speculation. I could be right, or I could be dead wrong. Either way, it will certainly be interesting to see what Riot cooks up next. Feel free to give your own ideas to who might be getting the next Ultimate skin, and why. I'd love to hear your guys' reasoning. ------------------------- **TL;DR** I predict that Shen will be the next champ to receive an Ultimate skin. There are plenty of reasons for this that I won't go into since I just stated them all above in the article.
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