Jhin and Illaoi: First Impressions of Worldwalker

Legends of Runeterra

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Jhin and Illaoi: First Impressions of Worldwalker

With the beginning of the Worldwalker reveals, we have the first two champions: Jhin and Illaoi. In this article, I'll comment on each and the potential that each has.

By Gabriel "Aerebi", 05/20/22, translated by Joey - Comment regular icon0 comments

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With the end of the Bandle City expansion, we now have a new card reveal season. The new set will be called Worldwalker and will have the first Runeterra champions. Jhin is a champion with no defined region, but it seems that he will create his own region using different criteria. The first two champions were already revealed and they are Jhin and Illaoi.

Jhin, The Virtuoso

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Jhin is an Ionia serial killer, arrested by Shen's father before the war against Noxus began. Jhin is obsessed with the number four and will always kill in groups of four people. The fourth victim is always the most dramatic. After many years in jail, Jhin was released from prison by an unknown group to create chaos and trigger riots and transformations in Ionia. He was equipped with Kashuri equipment, apparently made by The Maker, and uses the weapons alongside his own magic to create deadly works of art.

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In League of Legends, Jhin's number four pattern is present in all his abilities: his passive

Whisper

guarantees your fourth attack will be most powerful,

Dancing Grenade

makes a grenade that hits up till four targets,

Deadly Flourish

and

Captive Audience

mark their targets for four seconds and

Curtain Call

shoots up to four bullets. Besides that, the name itself - Jhin - draws the number 4 on your keyboard. For Legends of Runeterra, Jhin ended up becoming a global champion, as in his story he wanders a bit between Piltover and Ionia. His mechanic is tied to the number four, but less than in League. He costs 4 mana and is a 4/4, even after he levels up. But except that, the number 4 is only present in his level 2 skill and his champion spell. However, his playability is similar to the original game. He uses his traps to create attack opportunities and beyond that takes advantage of striking opponents that are disabled somehow. However, there isn't much relation between his level up condition and his playability.
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The new keyword

Origin

was created for the new Runeterra champions. This keyword makes it so that the champion itself counts as a region for deckbuilding, but in exchange for this limitation they allow the deck to have new opportunities. In Jhin's case, he allows that in exchange for using only one other region, you can use any follower that has an ability indicated by the little circle. This means you can use followers such as Crackshot Corsair, Desert Naturalist and even She Who Wanders in the same deck. This champion may match Yasuo in a stun deck. Both champions can make stuns work as sources of damage. Besides that, Jhin can stun opponents with his The Virtuoso ability, making him create Lotus Trap at each 3 abilities or spells played. Another more realistic possibility is a Burn focused deck. In this case, using followers from various regions which have skills which cause damage to the enemy Nexus, it is possible to build a deck quite focused on that. Cards like Legion Saboteur, Doombeast, Boomcrew Rookie and maybe even Commander Ledros as a finisher.
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Besides the champion, the related cards look very interesting too. They all have abilities so that they can be used freely with him. We have The Maker and The Stagehand which can be used in a potential Yasuo Jhin deck with recalls and stuns. We also have Captive Greyback for a more aggressive deck and Lord Broadmane which can end up in a Swain control deck. As a champion, Jhin looks a little weak. He by himself doesn't add up much to the deck. But I believe that is because we don't yet have all the followers with abilities which will come in this set. Besides that, by Jhin's reveal it looks like he was made to pair up with Annie, which hasn't been announced yet. However, Jhin isn't only the champion, but a full region which looks much more promising.

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Illaoi, The Kraken Priestess

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Illaoi is the Truth Bearer of Nagakabouros, the priestess responsible for testing the strongest so that they can pass through their God's trial and, for that, she carries with her the idol called

Eye of Nagakabouros

.
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Nagakabouros, the God of movement, has many names: Serpent Mother, Bearded Lady and Great Kraken; and her beliefs are simple: all creatures have a purpose, all living things have desires and the creatures' purpose is reached by trying to achieve their desires. Illaoi is described as a woman whose physical form can only be compared to the size of her faith. She likes to enjoy life, doing whatever she wants, as per the beliefs of her God. She was the one responsible for bringing the Buhru's religion, the people from the Serpent Islands, to Bilgewater, the pirate city in the archipelago. Besides that, she is the one responsible for the fight against the Shadow Islands living dead, which her religion considers stagnant abominations incapable of change. In her travels to Bilgewater, Illaoi won over and then broke Gangplank's heart, and she has shown quite an interest in Braum throughout the Ruined King game. In League of Legends, Illaoi's main weapon are the tentacles that she creates passively. She can use them to attack enemies by commands in her other abilities, such as

Harsh Lesson

, which makes her tentacles attack just after her, and

Test of Spirit

, which yanks out the opponent's soul, making it a target of the tentacles themselves, which then can even target the opponent in case the spirit is destroyed. Besides that, she can attack with a temporary tentacle using

Tentacle Smash

. Her biggest potential to create tentacles is in your ultimate,

Leap Of Faith

, which creates tentacles for each champ hit.
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In Legends of Runeterra, the tentacles were a little amplified. Instead of having many threats, we will have usually just one big Tentacle which grows with the new keyword

Spawn

. When the keyword is triggered, a tentacle will be created or enhanced. Spawn 2, for instance, will create a 2/2 tentacle or will enhance the existing tentacle in +2/+2. In the rare case you have more than one tentacle on board through effects such as Iterative Improvement, only the strongest tentacle will get the buffs. Illaoi shows your connection to her God drawing her strength from the tentacle's strength. She is as strong as her tentacles are as they gain power every time they attack. Your Tentacle Smash came through the card of the same name and your

Leap of Faith

is represented in the level 2's art and card description: "A life lesson: If ever you have the chance to leap from the rigging of a fine ship and crash like thunderous repentance upon your foes, do so. It is most invigorating". The

Test of Spirit

wasn't represented in the game, but maybe in the future we will see something about him, since it is one of the most important traits of the character as much in League as in her Lore.

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The Priestess looks very flexible as a champion. Even though she is a little stuck in her archetype, she can fit very well with other regions. Demacia makes it easy for her and the tentacles to attack and strike more times. But Freljord is also a good match as it offers protection to the tentacles with Udyr's stance and other defensive spells. Another defense focused option might be Ionia with Twin Disciplines and Deny. And it might be that Shurima, alongside Renekton is a good call too with Rock Hopper and Merciless Hunter, so that Illaoi can attack with the safest targets. But within her own region, Illaoi might get along with Miss Fortune. In this case, she would be more support rather than a wincon, as Miss Fortune always takes advantage of many followers on board, as weak as they may be.
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The cards that came with Illaoi also offer many new options, even though they are part of a limited archetype. The Sea's Voice and Burhu Lookout are cards which will always be a part of Illaoi's deck and Nagakabouros is the deck's finisher which finally showed us the image of the God. Cards that may fit in other decks are Buhru Leader which can be used on the units with scouts created by the Island Navigator to Rally in Miss Fortune's decks, and also we have Eye of Nagakabouros as one of the best card draws in the game, which can summon an ally as a burst action. Illaoi and her package look very fascinating, but the champion, though she looks strong, might take a while to find a home. Still, it must be a good investment for her flexibility.

Conclusion

We will still have two more champions to be revealed for the Worldwalker set. But Jhin and Illaoi have already given us plenty of interesting options, especially Jhin, which created new tools to create decks. Which champions do you think are still to come? And which other Origin options will we have? Comment your thoughts down below.
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Gabriel "Aerebi"

Legends of Runeterra player for the WINGS team, in love with the Runeterra universe and really like games in general, including board games. I don't play with the best decks, I play with the decks I like.

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