15 September 2015 - 20:53

This pair of spirits is your latest League of Legends champion

After days of teasing, Riot Games has revealed the next champion in League of Legends
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After days of teasing, Riot Games has revealed the next champion in League of Legends.

Kindred, the Eternal Hunters, is actually a pair of two separate spirits. The white furred, bow-wielding Lamb, who wears a black wolf mask, and the shadowy feral spirit Wolf, which circles around its partner. The two feature a kit playing off their duality—as well as the Wolf’s fangs and the Lamb’s weakness.

The pair’s passive ability, Mark of the Kindred, gives new meaning to jungle play. Lamb marks an enemy champion and Wolf marks a jungle mob for death, and the pair receive a permanent stacking attack bonus every time they succeed in hunting their mark. That should give Kindred ability to scale into the late game, but the more interesting part of their kit are their active abilities.

Their Q, Dance of Arrows, is a simple ability powered up by its interaction with the W, Wolf’s Frenzy. The Q is a dash followed by a burst of arrows at three nearby enemies, a simple escape and poke packed into one, a necessary part of any ranged champion’s kit. But Wolf’s Frenzy can turn it into a potent weapon. By hitting W, Kindred sends Wolf on the offensive, throwing him to a targeted spot where Wolf mauls the foe Lamb attacks or his closest enemy. Inside Wolf’s Frenzy, Lamb’s Dance of Arrows has a greatly reduced cooldown, allowing him to play with his foe in a manner similar to the popular Vayne, who uses her vault to dash around and avoid enemies in close proximity. The W also provides a heal on hit after stacking a buff thanks to movement, meaning Kindred should be able to clear jungle camps easily by starting the Frenzy and dashing around, building the passive to restore health while dealing area damage to the jungle minions.

Also similar to Vayne is Kindred’s E, Mounting Dread. It’s a targeted ability that applies a slow and deals a chunk of max health percent damage, if Kindred can land three attacks after applying it.

That seems to set Kindred up as a champion that may lack some of the same gank potential of many other popular junglers, considering the duo’s crowd control capability is limited. But building passive damage through hunting the right targets could make Kindred a late game monster, a sentiment echoed by Riot Games champion designer “Wrekz” on his ask.fm, noting that Kindred’s low base stats make them a poor duellist, but in the late game after building up through their passive, the pair is a monster.

Plus, Kindred’s ultimate, called Lamb’s Respite, will almost certainly have the ability to change games.

The Respite places a large zone under a targeted ally that literally prevents death—for both friends and foes alike. While inside the zone, champions cannot drop to a critical level of health. When it expires, everyone within it is healed for a flat amount.

In many ways that’s an ability that doesn’t seem to fit the ideal of hunting spirits or really the kit of a jungler at all, but it could provide the new champion with some unique capabilities. When ganking lanes, it has the potential to turn trades favorable by saving a teammate instead of securing a kill, like many other ultimates are designed to do. One key aspect of the ability is that it doesn’t prevent damage until a champion is just above critical level. That means that, if an opponent pulls hugely ahead in a fight, Kindred can drop Lamb’s Respite and use it to take their foe to critical health while damage against them is prevented. In big team fights, that kind of power has the potential to change entire games.

Overall, Kindred is an interesting and novel concept, if one that seems tough to fit in the game’s current meta. But that’s part of the beauty of a design like this—it might have potential to shake things up, or at least offer a different flavor to picks.

Image via Riot Games

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