Hello, *Concepts & Creations!*
I'm a big fan of doing gameplay updates as a design exercise, and my recent experiment was **Shyvana, The Half Dragon**. I've re-titled her to **The Hidden Flame** because of her struggle with revealing her true nature in Demacia, and because **The Half Dragon** is a silly title.
The goal of this gameplay update was the following:
* Play up Shyvana's draconic nature so it's more than an occasionally seen buff.
* Create more opportunities for skillful play in Shyvana's kit.
* Preserve Shyvana's fast clear and strong objective control.
* Strengthen Shyvana's teamfight threat.
* Keep a balance of spells and auto-attacks in her gameplay pattern to allow current players to find a build they like.
I've also purposely neglected to include numbers. If the design can stand on its own and have interesting gameplay options, balancing the numbers is merely a matter of testing and tuning. As such, I find they detract from an initial kit presentation, so I have included them only where necessary to explain the design or give a rough estimate of durations.
#**_~~Unfettered Wings [Passive]~~_**
**Ability Description:** *Updrafts* spawn at various points of the map. Shyvana may right click on an updraft to channel briefly. If the channel completes, the channeled *updraft* is put on cooldown and Shyvana enters Flight Form, changing her abilities and gaining increased movement speed based on her level and the ability to move through narrow walls. Flight Form abilities have independent cooldowns.
While in Flight Form Shyvana cannot attack, but her health regeneration is increased after five seconds out of combat.
>**Design Notes:** Part of making Shyvana feel more like a dragon is giving her more opportunities to be one. As she’s always been a mobile, ganking character letting her strategically take to the skies feels like an appropriate direction, and tying it to a channel time means that Shyvana isn’t able to reliably use this as an escape.
>This does decrease Shyvana's dragon-centric playstyle, but I think that's a worthwhile sacrifice for increasing her ganking, increasing her map presence, and doubling down on her draconic fantasy. After all, it's more dragon-like to *be* a dragon than it is to *fight* dragons.
>As a note, the health regeneration and ability to pass over small walls are both added as potential release valves. If it turns out too strong or too defensive, either or both can be removed without impacting the main feel of the ability. Allowing Shyvana to pay a speed tax for sustain, however, felt like an interesting option.
#**_~~Tooth and Nail / Dragon’s Descent [Q]~~_**
**Active [Tooth and Nail]:** Shyvana slashes out in a semicircle, dealing physical damage to targets struck and applying on-hit effects. She may recast this ability after a short delay to slash a second time.
If Shyvana is in her Inferno Form she gains a third cast of this ability. The third cast bites down in a short line, dealing increased physical damage, briefly but heavily slowing targets struck, and restoring a portion of Shyvana’s health.
Auto-attacks reduce the cooldown of ***Tooth and Nail***.
**Active [Flight Form -- Dragon’s Descent]:** Shyvana dashes to the target location, shifting back into her normal form in a burst of scales and flame. All enemies in the target area take magic damage and are slowed for a duration. At level 16 Shyvana instead shifts back to her Inferno Form.
>**Design Notes:** Twin Bite was never an especially interesting ability, and didn’t have a lot of draconic flavor to it. I’ve chosen to double down on two things here: Shyvana’s multi-target damage and the furious combat style of a dragon. In human form Shyvana still gains a double-hit style effect with two slashes, but in her dragon form she completes it with a massive damaging bite that grants her the durability she needs to thrive in a teamfight.
Dragon’s Descent is also shifted here to give Shyvana more reliable diving power, but the requirement of being in Flight Form means that it isn’t on demand and Shyvana still needs to prepare for her engages. This seems like a reasonable compromise to gating her engage based on her ultimate.
#**_~~Burnout / Queen of the Sky [W]~~_**
**Active [Burnout]:** Shyvana raises herself off the ground, surrounding herself with burning winds. For the next several seconds she gains movement speed, can move through units, and deals magic damage to nearby enemies. Auto-attacks extend the duration of this effect up to a cap.
While this effect is active Shyvana can fly over narrow walls, which are marked with some sort of particles.
While Shyvana is in her Inferno Form the radius of the effect is increased.
**Active [Flight Form -- Queen of the Sky]:** While airborne Shyvana channels, although she does not stop moving. When the channel complete she flies high into the air, removing herself from the map for 3.0 seconds and remaining visible as a shadow to other champions. While under this effect she can move through terrain, and may still cast ***Dragon’s Descent***.
>**Design Notes:** Not a ton of changes on Burnout, save that it now lets an earth-bound Shyvana gain a bit of her mobility from Flight Form. The ability is otherwise functional, fun, and somewhat iconic, so I’ve kept it.
Queen of the Sky offers a short-duration opportunity for a really clean and tricky engage, but requires even more set-up time than Flight Form. It helps capture the feel of the aerial predator hunting you, and a reasonably low duration should avoid this being oppressive or feeling impossible.
#**_~~Fire Breath / View From Above [E]~~_**
**Active [Fire Breath]:** Shyvana blasts a line of dragonfire in the target direction, dealing magic damage to enemies struck and applying ignited to them for several seconds, stacking up to four times. Ignited enemies take increased damage from Shyvana’s abilities and attacks for each stack on them.
When Shyvana is in her Inferno Form she instead breathes in a cone. Enemies struck by the central line of the cone take increased damage and gain an additional stack of ignited.
**Passive [Flight Form -- View From Above]:** While airborne Shyvana gains additional vision range.
>**Design Notes:** Fire Breath is a functional ability on live but very all-or-nothing, and its high AP ratios lead to a rather bursty AP Shyvana build. By pulling out some of that power from a single cast and backloading it into sustained combat we help reward skilled play and consistent skill-shot landing while also offering a fallback for failure cases. Changing the dragon form to still have an empowered line in the center helps the player learn the spell, and still bakes skilled usage into the dragon form.
View From Above is just basic utility to help encourage the proper playstyle, which heavily relies on taking Flight Form prior to combat if you don’t have other things to do.
#**_~~Unleashed Flame [R]~~_**
**Passive:** Shyvana gains fury passively over time, increased when attacking.
**Active:** Shyvana erupts in flame, dealing magic damage in a wide area, entering her Inferno Form, and swinging her tail around to knock up enemies struck. While in Inferno Form she drains fury every second and gains bonus health, armor, and magic resistance while she has fury remaining. Additionally, her basic abilities have bonus effects. Shyvana may only cast Unleashed Flame when she has 100 fury.
Entering Flight Form exits Inferno Form and refunds all remaining fury.
At level 16 Shyvana permanently enters Inferno Form and no longer drains fury. When she has 100 fury she may still cast ***Unleashed Flame*** to trigger the area effect.
>**Design Notes:** I wanted to avoid Shyvana having too much mobility given the shift of Dragon’s Descent to her Q, so the dash is gone here in place of a big burst of explosive dragonfire and a dragon-style tail sweep to help sell her as a big teamfight threat. I also opted for a permanent transform at level 16, as if Shyvana’s fantasy is getting to be a big dragon in combat I wanted that to be something you could achieve.