The recent 5.22 League of Legends patch introduced a slew of offseason changes updating the game for the 2016 season, but one of the biggest was the surprise addition of a new champion: Illaoi, the Kraken Priestess.
The Kraken Priestess, a sturdy tattooed warrior with a Polynesian style, brings a god itself, Nagakabouros, to the Summoner’s Rift, using its influence to rend the spirits of her foes and exert pressure as a force in League.
Illaoi fits the mold of a juggernaut, the name Riot Games used in a recent patch that updated a number of immobile warrior champions into deadly weapons if they get close enough to deal their damage.
In the case of Illaoi, that damage comes from the tentacles of Nagakabouros and a kit that uses them to great effect. Her passive, Prophet of an Elder God, will occasionally spawn a tentacle at a nearby wall that she can use to smash her foes. The tentacles stay on the map until they are killed or remain inactive for a full minute, meaning when Illaoi haunts a lane, she becomes more and more dangerous.
Her Q, Tentacle Smash, gives her passive healing every time a tentacle attacks, and lets her wield one directly, dropping it in a line in a target direction, damaging any foe struck.
Then she can apply a Harsh Lesson with her W, empowering her basic attack to charge at an enemy and deal bonus damage while commanding every nearby tentacle to attack the same target.
Then she can use Test of Spirit, her E, to in a way catch foes. It’s a skillshot that shoots out a shadowy tentacle which pulls the spirit of an enemy to her. Then Illaoi and her teammates—including any nearby tentacles, which will automatically attack spirits—can crush that spirit, dealing damage to the spiritless champion and making them a “vessel” of the god if the spirit dies. That slows the champion and causes them to spawn tentacles around them attacking them and their allies. It’s a complicated ability that will certainly be an interesting one in practice. How useful is applying a slow after such a long period? How strong is spawning tentacles near an enemy who may have disengaged from your team? Regardless, landing this skillshot will allow her to dish out harass against ranged foes who would otherwise be safe from her largely immobile kit.
Illaoi’s real power, though, will come with her ultimate, Leap of Faith. Hitting R will cause her to jump into the air and smash the ground, damaging nearby enemies and causing a tentacle to spawn for every enemy hit. Then she gets cooldown reduction on her W, allowing her to dash between foes while smashing them with an army of tentacles.
Landing a perfect ultimate with Illaoi will be difficult but devastating. Imagine spawning five tentacles around the entire enemy team, and then making them attack each target? It has massive potential for area of effect damage.
The Kraken Priestess is certainly an interesting champion that offers some unique interactions to the Summoner’s Rift. Similar to Gangplank and a number of other recently introduced champions, she interacts with the map in novel ways that also force her foes to change their play style. Her effectiveness will in large part be determined by how her, her team, and her foes play around the power her tentacles provide. Illaoi can zone enemies out in unique ways. Her Test of Spirit ability is an interesting concept: She may not kill a foe with it, but scouring their spirit will make laning difficult for an extended period of time, with tentacles spawning to harass and a significant slow effect.
As for where she fits in the metagame, a juggernaut in the top lane seems likely. But some players are already using her in the jungle, as showcased by this jungle clear from the Public Beta Environment:
Overall Illaoi is a champion whose power level we won’t be able to understand until we really see her in action. It’s difficult to predict how effective a champion that seems to require significant setup will be on the Summoner’s Rift, she certainly looks like an interesting addition to the Summoner’s Rift.
Image via Riot Games
Rostermania is in full swing. Check out our recap of all the changes to date.