The Worldwalker expansion is going live on May 25th and it already has the champions Jhin and Illaoi. Now the last champions that are going to be part of it were announced too: Bard and Annie, which offer combinations with these newcomers and with older champions in the game.
Bard, The Wandering Caretaker
Bard is a musical celestial being. He absorbs his surroundings through sounds, basically seeing with his ears, and he came before all other universal things, drifting in the great cosmos emptiness till the first things were created and he started hearing the sound of their creation. From the sounds that the stars' inspiration produced, the first Meeps, small semitonal energy creatures which were attracted to Bard. However, the harmony that Bard was living was one day shaken by a dissonant sound, something weird: a world which produced its own music. Intrigued, he went there to see what it was and discovered the world of Runeterra.
Though the music was chaotic, Bard found that it had an inherent beauty, but unfortunately it seemed to be destructive and he went to investigate. He got to Runeterra through Ionia, where he began to see the world for the first time and, to be able to walk through that world, created for himself a physical body with the trinkets he found from a traveling shawm-player, including the mask he owns. With his new body, he began to travel the world to try to find out which were the issues that were there.
He discovered that extremely powerful objects were in Runeterra and he began to collect them and keep them in safe places. Bard knows that these objects were put there by another celestial being and started to prepare Runeterra for a big conflict that is yet to come, so that the harmony of the world is kept.
In League of Legends, Bard is a support champion who helps his enemy by distributing healings with Caretaker's Shrine and stunning up to two targets and disabling many players with Cosmic Binding and Tempered Fate, respectively.
Besides that, he can create a portal using Magical Journey, which allows him to go through walls to rally his allies easily. His biggest differential is his passive Traveler's Call*, which creates his own quest in the game: collect the Chimes. By collecting chimes, he increases his power and attracts more Meeps, which he can use while attacking enemies to deal more damage and slow their movement.
In Legends of Runeterra, Bard's careful demeanor was represented by his search for Chimes that will be in your deck because of his level up condition, which consists in helping allies. His abilities Cosmic Binding and Traveler's Call were brought to Legends of Runeterra in a similar way. But Meeps didn't come at all to the game, which is a big loss for the champion, as they are part of his identity and history.
Bard has the potential to fit in many decks. His Origin The Wandering Caretaker creates chimes in your deck according to the number of Bards that started out in your deck, but that limits a lot this deck to one region and the cards that create chimes. Because of that, the champion goes well with a lot of decks that take advantage of buffed units well: any allegiance Demacia deck, elusive unit deck, overwhelm unit deck or a lifesteal unit deck and many more.
Any effect that causes buffs to go through in multiple units like For Demacia!, can level up this champion at once, but maybe they don't take advantage of his Level 2 that well. Any deck that has card draw will take the most of this champion because after he evolves, so decks that use units such as Sai'nen Thousand-Tailed which distribute buffs and buy cards will enjoy this champion a lot.
Besides the champion, we also had cards which are related to him. The cards that came out are very focused on this champion's Origin: they all create chimes, but the ones that look the most impactful are the new followers. We have Byrd, The Bellringer as an excellent 1 cost unit which guarantees a buff in your next round and still has nice attributes for a card of its cost and should see play even without the champion.
Besides that we have Esmus, Breath of the World which also guarantees buffs, but beyond the chimes it can also support other units. Maduli, The Gatekeeper is probably a big addition to the deck too, as on turn 6 we have about 18 chimes in the deck through Bard's Origin, so after doubling the effect we will have many others.
Bard looks to be one of the best expansion champions because of his flexibility, though he is limited when it comes to deckbuilding. He is a unit which will always enhance your other units, even if he is never drawn. Besides that, he offers plenty of different strategies, from aggro decks to combo decks, midrange or control. For sure a good bet to take on right at the beginning of the season.
Annie, The Dark Child
Annie is a young mage with fire powers who grew up isolated from the rest of Noxus. Her mother, Amoline, was a mage with ember related powers who escaped Ravenbloom Conservatory after taking in herself a fire demon to amplify her powers. Annie grew up isolated in the Mountains with her family and her teddy bear, Tibbers, a gift from her mother. One day, when she was still quite young, Annie began to burn up with a fever and her mother went to the river to get water to cool her down and, in this journey, she disappeared.
In the years that went on, Annie started manifesting her powers, which began as small innocent embers, as in fires and put out fireplaces. Until her father, Gregori, one day met a woman named Leanna and her daughter, Daisy. Leanna never got along with Annie, as she was scared of the emotional reactions of the girl.
One day, Daisy fell in a river while playing with Annie and Leanna blamed the girl. To punish her, she tried to destroy Tibbers, which only angered Annie and made her manifest her powers, burning everything around her. When the fire went out, Annie was alone after accidentally killing her parents. And, like so, began to wander alone through the woods.
In League of Legends, Annie is a mage who uses her skills Disintegrate to cause damage to one target with a quick cooldown, Incinerate to cause AoE damage and Molten Shield to protect herself and cause damage to enemies that attack her.
Besides that, she has Summon: Tibbers to bring out her teddy bear to its full form. Her kit becomes complete with her passive, Pyromania, which makes her fourth cast skill stun the opponents it hits.
In Legends of Runeterra, Annie came bringing her spells Molten Shield and Disintegrate. The first came as a skill when attacking and the second as her champ spell. Besides that, when she levels up she creates Tibbers in hand to be summoned in the future and, as in the original game, its arrival stuns and has the potential to cause AoE damage. Her skill count ended up partially related to her level up condition, but instead of counting to 4, we will count to 6 and they count for everyone's skills, not just her own.
Annie seems to be a very versatile champion with the potential to play in all types of decks. At turn 1 she is almost impossible to be blocked, guaranteeing 2 damage that turn and potentially in others, therefore it is a great addition to aggro decks, specially in the possible Jhin burn deck, as her and Jhin interact well with their skills.
Another potential for Annie is in control decks, as they are also decks which use spells. A good partner for that is Swain, as her skill contributes to his level up condition, besides Tibber interacting with damaged and stunned units, like Ravenous Flock.
The cards that came along with Annie also have big potential and show even more of their potential in control decks. Manasoul Student is a great addition to a potential Swain deck for allowing to stun more units with his level 2 and by enabling his level up.
Spell Slinger has a certain potential as aggro, but maybe it's highlighted more by being a stunning body with a little bit more flexibility than Arachnoid Sentry because it can also deal damage. We also have Ravenbloom Conservatory and Tybaulk, which help aggro decks a lot by enhancing the units and burn but also by increasing the power of your spells for control decks. We also have The Prefect, but she seems too slow for both types of deck.
Annie for sure will be one of the best champions in this expansion. Probably she is the best 1 cost unit in the game. Her flexibility allows her to be part of many different decks. For sure Annie is worth a quick craft as she, besides being flexible, must be some players' favorite, which will result in many decks being created.
The Worldwalker champions are one of the most interesting ones that Riot has ever created. They all offer something new to the game and have the potential to be played independently of other champions of this set.
Annie and Bard look the most interesting to me, but what about you? Which one would you like to try out first?
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