Riot wrapped up 2020 with tanky support Rell, bringing the year’s total of new League of Legends champions to six. With the new season kicking off soon, Dot Esports’ staff ranked the cohort based on three criteria.
Riot had a busy year with champion releases of varying kits, aesthetics, and impact. While some were successful and got plenty of action in pro play, others needed extra balancing and even caused controversy. When ranking the six champs—Sett, Lillia, Yone, Samira, Seraphine, and Rell—we took three things into consideration:
- Gameplay: Is the champ’s ability kit unique and creative? Does it offer something new to the MOBA?
- Design: Is the champ’s look, lore, and bio unique and creative? Does it offer something new and relatable to Runeterra?
- Meta: What’s the champ’s place in the meta? Did they require multiple patches to be balanced? Do they have pro play presence?
Here are our rankings for League’s 2020 champions.
Dot Esports’ staff unanimously ranked Seraphine last—and it’s unsurprising.
Whether it was the pop star’s contentious marketing on Twitter, her controversial lore that was fixed soon after (Bracken souls? Really?), or the “Sona 2.0” complaints, Seraphine had a rough start out of the gate.
League fans were concerned with the champion’s Twitter account, especially after Seraphine began tweeting about her anxieties and insecurities. The marketing ploy proved unpopular, with Golden Guardians academy head coach Barento “Razleplasm” Mohammed commenting that a “marketing account using self-doubt & mental health to come across as relatable is Sadge capitalism.”
After her ability kit was revealed in October, fans immediately likened her to Sona. Her Surround Sound (W) ability shields nearby allies and grants movement speed, also restoring health to teammates if Seraphine’s already shielded. One can argue this fuses Sona’s W and E into one skill. Pair that with the pop star’s ultimate, which charms enemies with a similar hitbox to Sona’s Crescendo, and there are definitely some similarities.
But League champion producer Ryan “Reav3” Mireles argued that she’s a “VERY skillshot reliant champ” and she feels “unique” due to her passive that lets you recast spells.
The Starry-Eyed Songstress might’ve had a rocky debut on the Rift, especially with her champion spotlight video amassing over 110,000 dislikes on YouTube. But she’s here to stay. If her role in the League meta stabilizes, fans may be willing to forget her controversial beginnings.
As the newest League champ, there are still plenty of question marks for Rell. How will she affect the meta? Will she need extensive nerfs or buffs? And will the new item system overhaul be friendly to her?
Despite the unknown, Rell’s kit is, at first glance, ADC-friendly. She can heal, siphon stolen MR and armor to an ally, stun, knock up, taunt, and peel for days. While she moves at a snail’s pace when she has her heavy armor on, Rell can still close the gap by jumping on her steed.
Though she admittedly needs more time on the Rift before we can make a more astute assessment, Riot will likely follow up with tweaks if she’s overpowered or underwhelming.
But her story—a poor, unhappy 16-year-old who was raised as a weapon by her own mother—is sorrowful and alluring. While she doesn’t exactly have a happy ending, Rell is dedicated to defending the meek and destroying Noxus.
Everything about Yone’s release was perfectly executed.
Riot began teasing him as a “masked assassin” and a “slain swordsman,” who needed to make “peace with his past—or be consumed by it.” Rumors quickly swept through the League community that the new champ would be Yone, Yasuo’s older half-brother. And considering that Yasuo slayed his brother in self-defense after being accused of a murder he didn’t commit, this only intrigued fans more.
Yone made his debut with the Spirit Blossom event, which was wildly popular due to how great Spirit Bonds were at storytelling and expanding lore. The champ was also revealed alongside the Kin of the Stained Blade cinematic, an amazing 10-minute trailer where the two brothers finally reunited to kill an evil demon.
The Unforgotten was unfortunately disabled for Worlds 2020 and fans didn’t have the opportunity to watch their favorite players whip him out on the Rift. And his ability kit does harbor similarities to Yasuo’s. Unlike Seraphine, however, Yone sharing similar abilities to his brother makes sense. They’re both swordsmen who trained under the same master—obviously their fighting styles would be alike. But Yone’s Soul Unbound (E) is a unique and fun ability to use, distinguishing him enough from his brother.
Riot can sleep soundly knowing Lillia is on the Rift.
Prior to releasing the dreamy jungler, Riot said she’d require a “pretty heavy investment to get over the initial learning curve.” Devs asserted that mastering the champ would be worth the time, adopting a new “long-term balance” philosophy. This meant that new champs would appear weaker and have lower win rates at first. But that would improve as fans played her more. And with Lillia, the new balance framework paid off.
Lillia underperformed at first, but Riot stayed true to its word and withheld buffs until the player base got more experience with her. Months later, the champ enjoys a healthy win rate, hasn’t been tweaked in consequent patches (aside from a couple of minor bug fixes), and had a 62 percent pick-or-ban rate at Worlds 2020, according to Leaguepedia.
That being said, her lore and gameplay aren’t super exciting. She’s a bashful fawn who harvests dreams and is forced to venture out of her magical forest because her “tree-mom gets sick,” according to her Champion Insights page. While that’s endearing, it’s not too riveting. And aside from landing a Swirlseed from downtown, her kit isn’t exactly revolutionary. She has a place and role on the Rift, however, and has eased her way into the League meta.
Sett is another 2020 release that’s gotten consistently picked in pro play at almost every role. At Worlds, for example, Sett was picked or banned almost 58 percent of the time. And he appeared in the top lane, mid lane, jungle, and support.
His flexibility gave Riot devs a headache, however. Sett was released in January with Patch 10.1. He was then nerfed in Patches 10.3, 10.5, 10.8, 10.16, and 10.18. It became evident that the reason he was able to be played in so many roles was because he was just too good. The Boss had high base stats and base damage on abilities, as well as great tankiness with his Grit mechanic. While he may be mostly balanced now, it did take the good part of 2020.
While Sett may seem like a true badass (which he is), his story is relatable and captivating. Before becoming the Boss, Sett was regarded as a “half-beast” since he was an Ionian vastaya and a Noxian human. With his father gone, he quickly resorted to silencing bullies with his fists and became the king of the Noxian pits. He then forcibly took the pit for himself and accumulated all the wealth he could ask for, supporting his lonesome mother along the way.
Though it was extremely close, Samira tops the list of Dot Esports’ 2020 rankings.
After being murdered, preyed upon, and tossed around like a sack of potatoes for years, AD carry mains needed something to keep them queueing up for the role. Enter Samira.
The Desert Rose helps ADCs feel like assassins, jumping into the fray with guns blazing and destroying anyone in their path. And she can stop any projectiles thrown her way with a Yasuo-esque Blade Whirl, as well as get close and personal with melee attacks.
She’s admittedly overtuned and was nerfed several times since her release. But she rewards players who can properly use her complex kit and provides a unique take on the marksman role, a position that was definitely begging for it. And she’s fun as hell.
Samira is a fearless and skilled daredevil. There’s no doubt that she’ll find a spot in the competitive meta in 2021.
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