League of Legends is now over 10 years old after being released in early 2009. With more than 150 champions in the game, some of the MOBA’s oldest champions are a bit tired and run down, both in terms of graphics and gameplay.
The most recent champion reworks—including Fiddlesticks, Volibear, and Mundo—have been VGUs instead of simple visual updates. VGUs differ from regular visual updates in that they change the skill kits of the reworked champion, or even just one of the abilities. An example comparison includes Morgana and Kayle, where the former retained most of her original kit as part of a visual rework, while the latter received a substantial skill change.
Looking forward to the next updates for older champions, we can expect not just visual and ability updates, but also a deeper understanding of the characters and their lore. Ultimately these reworks aim to evolve the champion into what they were always supposed to be.
Here’s what will be hitting the Rift later this year and in 2022.
Recent update: Dr Mundo, the Madman of Zaun
The latest rework on the Rift comes from the Madman of Zaun himself. Dr Mundo emerged from his appointment with Riot’s dev team more bold and bigger than ever. With a chemically enhanced physicality, modern undercut, and improved abilities, Mundo stole the spotlight when he released in June, just in time for the beginning of the 2021 LEC Summer Split.
His rework highlights his strength and experiments with Zaunite chemicals that he uses against his opponents and on himself. With his new look Mundo is more dynamic and ready to bring his super-tank regen on the Rift while still feeling like a simple champion for players to use.
Recent releases: Akshan, the Rogue Sentinel
The Rogue Sentinel sure brings a fresh air to the game, not only with his visuals and unique gameplay, but also with his distinctive ability: he can bring allies back from the dead.
Akshan has his own style, and he best embodies the excitement players have for new mechanics. Even his ancient weapon is something he has modified to fit his combat style, which focuses on helping your allies by saving them while securing kills. In fact, by killing the “scoundrel” that terminated one or more of your allies, you can bring them immediately back from the dead without having to wait for the grey-scale screen to reset.
Upcoming champion: Vex, the Gloomist
If Akshan embodies the sassy and reckless Sentinel of Light, the next champion can be described as his complete opposite. Welcome Vex, the Gloomist.
She’s the first yordle to be released after Kled arrived on the Rift in 2016, and since the gloomy mage will launch during the Ruination year, she plays a big part in Viego’s story. Her lore, visuals, and abilities bring something new to the game, proving how Riot always finds ways to excite fans. This time the team succeeded by giving the player an annoyed and angsty yordle who will remind you of your teenage years both with her style and with her abilities.
“Every so often, Vex’s next basic spell fears and interrupts dashes,” game design manager Bryan “Riot Axes” Salvatore explained in the Vex champion insight. “And whenever an enemy dashes near Vex, they’re marked with Gloom and then her next basic attack, Q, or W deals bonus damage and refunds cooldown on the fear. Basically, the more an enemy dashes, the more damage she deals and interrupts their dashes.”
The Gloomist will be released on Sept. 23 in Patch 11.9 along with a new set of Dawnbringer and Nightbringer skins.
Upcoming update: Udyr, the Spirit Walker
After Riot published the Season 2021 polls results, we knew Udyr would be the next champion to receive a VGU rework. The developer will release the new Spirit Walker next year with a refreshing new look and possibly new abilities that will shape his style best.
Udyr’s new abilities could be linked to Freljord’s demigods such as Volibear, Anivia, and Ornn, according to Dana Luery “griddlebones” Shaw, narrative writer for League.
“Udyr wouldn’t be drawing on their power directly… but perhaps the animals that most closely resemble the demigods are enveloped in their spiritual energy and can lend him their own enhanced strength,” Shaw said.
Like most VGUs, this update will dig deeper into who Udyr really is and what his powers and connections to the other champions of the Freljord are. We know Udyr fights to keep the balance in his region by using two kinds of strengths, physical and spiritual, so we could expect his update to be both about his abilities and his basic power.
Possible updates: Shyvana and Skarner
As for 2022, Riot released a public poll at the beginning of 2021 asking fans to choose which champions needed a rework. Even though Udyr emerged on top, Shyvana and Skarner also gained popularity and ended in second and third place in the poll against other champions such as Nocturne and Quinn. It’s possible they could be the next ones to receive a VGU since their visuals and abilities are not as polished as the latest champions released.
First on the list by popular vote would be Shyvana, the humanoid dragon who transforms into a fire-breathing dragon form. Her latest skin “Ruined Shyvana” is a good indicator of what she could become once reworked. Following Shyvana is the Crystal Vanguard, Skarner, who, like most of the older champions, is in desperate need of a visual update.
While both champions’ abilities are unique and shape their personalities in the game, they pale in comparison to the most recent champions. Skarner and Shyvana are in need of big changes if they want to make a comeback on the Rift.
What’s in store for 2022
After Udyr’s rework, we could not see another one any time soon, since Riot seems to have its priorities set elsewhere, according to the details released on Preseason for 2022.
Improving existing game systems and fixing the reward progression seem to be the main changes coming to the Rift in the next season. From more changes to the dragon-related maps to some crucial fixing in the items’ system, the new season is packed with updates. Will there be space for more champions’ updates?
Riot has a lot to work on, and there are always new and more exciting champions being released. More information about what will happen next year is expected in this September’s Quick Gameplay Thoughts and later this October in the “LoL Pls: Preseason 2022” announcement.
This article will be updated periodically as new information is released.
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