The next big champion releases and updates in League of Legends

Some champions are being updated from top to bottom, and there will be completely new additions to the Rift soon.

Jax going forward.
Image via Riot Games

With over 150 champions in League of Legends and plenty more on the way, it’s easy to get lost in Riot Games’ plans for adding more characters to the popular MOBA.

These updates vary depending on what kind of changes the developers are introducing. Sometimes, it’s only a visual update. Other times, they focus on bringing a champion’s gameplay under the scope. And from time to time, they do both.

This approach allows the devs to constantly keep the game fresh. New champions shake up the meta and open additional gameplay opportunities for players, while the updates breathe new life into champs who are beloved by the community without taking away their main aspects and mechanics.

Still, with multiple updates and new champs in development, the timeline of upcoming champion updates can get confusing. Don’t worry, though. If you’re looking for a list of changes to League champs in the second half of 2023, search no more as we’ve got you covered.

Latest new champion: Naafiri, the Hound of a Hundred Bites

Naafiri character art from League of Legends
Naafiri is the next champ coming to League. Image via Riot Games

As the 2023 season kicked off, Riot announced two new champions who were meant to enter League’s roster sometime this year. Milio, a male enchanter, has already joined the team. And now, it’s time for Naafiri, an upcoming Darkin assassin, who finally made her way into League—alongside her ravenous pack—with Patch 13.14 on July 19.

As an assassin, Naafiri thrives in one-vs-one combat, which is exactly what she’ll be doing as primarily a mid laner. The core component of her kit is her ability to grow her pack as part of her passive, spawning dogs that actively target the specific enemy Naafiri herself is attacking. Unlike Yorick and Malzahar’s personal minions, these Packmates actively hunt alongside Naafiri and are both durable and vicious.

Naafiri’s Q, Darkin Daggers, has her throw a skill shot forward that pierces enemies and inflicts bleed, with a second charge that will deal bonus damage to champions already bleeding. Her Packmates will then capitalize on a successful hit on an enemy champion by jumping straight to them for even more damage, leaving foes surrounded by the pack mentality of a single champion.

“The lone hunter starves.” Image via Riot Games

And if enemies are trying to escape with whatever little health they have left, Naafiri can simply target them with her W, Hounds’ Pursuit, which has her lock onto a target and jump into them, even over terrain. Should her Packmates be low on health after a skirmish, she can replenish their health bars with her E, Eviscerate, which also acts as a small area-of-effect dash of damage.

The true fury of Naafiri is released upon using her ultimate, The Call of the Pack, in which the collective minds that make up the Darkin assassin become even more plentiful and vicious, empowering the champion’s speed and vision. Similar to Master Yi, this ability’s effects will begin anew for each takedown Naafiri gets, making her a fearsome snowball threat that enemies will have a difficult time running from.

Naafiri was added to League alongside the Soul Fighter summer event, which her base skin is a part of. As with all new champion releases, she initially cost 7,800 Blue Essence or 975 Riot Points before lowering to 6,300 BE the week following her debut in the store.

Next new champion: Briar

April’s champion roadmap also teased another upcoming champion, Briar, who has been confirmed to primarily be intended for the jungle role. The devs have noted that she’s a champion created around “the idea of exploring an uncontrollable hunger, and what happens when sometimes that hunger takes over.”

A bloody altar lightened up by candles around.
Briar’s promotional art shows an altar of some kind. Image via Riot Games

Though Riot revealed that information regarding Briar—including when she’s expected to join the cast of champions on Summoner’s Rift—is expected to drop before the end of the summer, a supposed leak has provided fans with what appears to be the entire splash art for the upcoming champion. While the source of this leak and its legitimacy remain unclear, it depicts Briar as a seemingly blind vampire shackled by a pillory for unknown reasons.

Regardless of whether this leak truly displays the insatiable hunger that is League’s next champion, fans should expect to hear more about her in the coming weeks.

Next visual update: Jax, the Grandmaster at Arms

The latest champion roadmap shed some details about the next visual update, and it’s coming for a beloved champion who would be frightening if he had a real weapon—Jax. 

Visually reworked Jax stands on the Summoner's Rift.
New Jax looks magnificent. Image via Riot Games

Despite receiving a visual update, Jax still won’t have a real weapon. Instead, he’ll be using a lamp post from his hometown of Icathia, which is the last and only thing he saved from it before it was lost to the Void. Besides, the artists bolstered his character, making him look like a real fighter who’s ready to stand on his own. 

Jax’s new look is expected to ship sometime this year as well, with no specified release date available so far.

Next champion rework: Skarner, the Crystal Vanguard

Skarner won January 2022’s VGU poll, with the community choosing him as a clear-cut favorite to receive a visual and gameplay update. Since then, the devs have been working tirelessly on updating both his looks and gameplay, which has obviously excited Skarner mains. Unfortunately, though, there’s still a long wait before its eventual release.

Reworked Skarner concept art, with the champion posing as if he was in battle.
The first sketches of the new Skarner show a much more deadly scorpion. Image via Riot Games

In the April 2023 dev update video, Jeremy “Brightmoon” Lee postponed Skarner’s VGU update for early 2024. 

In the developer blog from March 2023, the team revealed a bunch of issues when reworking the jungler, both gameplay and lore-wise. They underlined how they’re aiming to make him an exciting champion to play while still staying true to his identity as a scorpion. They also pointed out they wanted to rehash his lore and mentioned identity but have failed to find an idea on how to do that, at least up until the point of that blog being published.

Related: The LoL community is noticing that the skills of average players are better than ever

Upcoming art and sustainability updates: Lee Sin and Teemo

Following the success of the art and sustainability updates (ASUs) for champions like Caitlyn and Ahri, Riot is looking even deeper at more champions from the growing cast that could use a bit of love in this form and has chosen Lee Sin and Teemo as the next ASU recipients. As of now, Lee Sin’s ASU is scheduled to release early next year, while Teemo will follow behind in the second half of 2024.

A more expressive, slightly taller Teemo can be seen in various poses.
A look at some concepts for Teemo’s updated design in his ASU. Image via Riot Games

Much of the changes made to Lee Sin are being touted as “quality of life,” which includes various fixes to his model and updates to his animations that adjust him to modern standards. Though we haven’t been shown exactly what this ASU will entail, the dev team noted that they want to explore “a lot more [of] what Ionian martial arts look like,” using real-world practices as a base.

Meanwhile, the team acknowledged that Teemo’s design has remained fairly consistent over the years and that his ASU will tackle the champion’s proportions and model details, including some changes to his iconic outfit. The Swift Scout will also be getting some new facial animations that allow him to express himself better—likely a blessing for players who enjoy spamming Teemo’s laugh emote.

At this time, Riot has not provided further details on the Lee Sin and Teemo ASUs nor their release dates. It is also not likely that other champions will receive ASUs before these two are added to the game next year.

This article will be updated periodically as new information is released.

About the author
Mateusz Miter

Polish Staff Writer. Mateusz previously worked for numerous outlets and gaming-adjacent companies, including ESL. League of Legends or CS:GO? He loves them both. In fact, he wonders which game he loves more every day. He wanted to go pro years ago, but somewhere along the way decided journalism was the more sensible option—and he was right.