PBE first impressions—Nunu and Willump’s full-scale update is the best one yet

CHOMP.

Image via Riot Games

There have been a ton of gigantic, full-scale champion updates over the past couple of years. This week, Nunu’s was loaded onto the PBE for us to try, and we have some pretty strong opinions about it.

We think this is the best large-scale champion update that Riot has done so far. This means we believe it’s better than Galio, Warwick, Urgot, Akali, and definitely, definitely Aatrox. Don’t take that the wrong way, though, we definitely liked those as well (except maybe Aatrox), but Nunu’s is just so, so very good.

Let’s take a look at what exactly Nunu’s update accomplishes—or should we say Nunu and Willump’s update. Instead of taking Nunu’s old identity and replacing it with a better one, like Riot did for Galio and Warwick, the design team managed to simply perfect what he already had. He felt very goofy and lighthearted, and every game for a Nunu player had something new to laugh about. Riot took that feeling and made it this dynamic duo’s entire identity.

This style of champion update is similar to what Riot did for Evelynn and Swain rather than the other updates. Before Evelynn’s update, she was a BDSM-loving, sex-joke-making succubus. After the update, her voiceover was way more fleshed out, and she didn’t look like a Troll doll anymore. She actually looked like a succubus. Her new abilities didn’t quite hit home, however. Her charm and ultimate feel good to use, but her Q and E remain a bit generic and low-impact.

That’s not the case for Nunu and Willump, though. Not only does the duo feel even more whimsical and hilarious than they did before, but their abilities reflect it perfectly. That even goes for the abilities based on former ones, too—Absolute Zero and Consume. That’s something Evelynn can’t say about Hate Spike or Whiplash.

There are two updates that come close to feeling just as satisfying as Nunu and Willump, and those two updates are Sion’s and Swain’s. Both updates captured what made each champion feel like themselves while perfecting it with either new abilities or newly-imagined versions of their former iterations.

They came close, but they don’t have this dance, so they didn’t quite make the cut.

On top of feeling just incredibly fun to play, Nunu and Willump are pretty darn strong, too. Their camp clear in the jungle is very healthy, it’s pretty quick, and they have way more crowd control to help with ganks than the previous Nunu used to. He’s not too strong or too weak, he just seems effective. That’s something a lot of recent updates have struggled with, such as Akali and Aatrox.

That giant snowball makes for some absolutely bonkers ganks, too. Sometimes you’ll completely miss your target with it, and then it’ll roll on past them and whack someone else, which is almost even better.

If you’re like us and you can’t wait for Nunu and Willump to be playable in the live game, don’t worry. They should arrive with Patch 8.17 in a little under two weeks.