The new Awakening expansion is coming on August 31st, starting out the Darkin Saga, and with it we will have five new champions for Legends of Runeterra. Three of them have already been revealed: Kayn, Master Yi and Norra, the first exclusive Legends of Runeterra expansion.
Besides that, the new expansion will also have a new type of card: Equipment, which work in a similar way to units with Attach.
Kayn, the Shadow Reaper
During the Noxus' war against Ionia, the noxians made the decision to use the Ionian's kindness against them. To do that, they put children in the front lines of battles. Kayn was one of these children. After a battle, he was found alone by Zed, who saw in the kid potential to be one of his disciples, turning him against his own country.
Kayn was trained by the Shadow Order, became a specialist in all weapon types and magic and was Zed's most loyal follower. Because he was so trustworthy, he was sent on a mission to seek a special weapon that the noxians had found. There were rumors that it consumed those that tried to use it and was so dangerous that it was bound and covered. Kayn intercepted the noxians that carried the artifact and his arrogance made him grab the weapon. The weapon, a Darkin called Rhaast, tried to consume him, but he was strong and resisted, putting both of them in an unique situation: either Kayn resists and defeats Rhaast or he fails and Rhaast defeats him.
In League of Legends, Kayn is a jungler that can work as an assassin or a bruiser, depending on which path you choose. Throughout the match, the player can choose between letting Rhaast win or Kayn, which in this case becomes the Shadow Assassin.
His passive ability is the one that guarantees this choice and grants benefits from it. Rhaast heals a percentage of damage dealt and Kayn deals more damage to enemies the first few seconds of combat. Your other abilities are Reaping Slash in which he leaps and attacks, Blade's Reach, which is a long range attack with the scythe and Shadow Step, which allows him to move inside walls. Finally, his ultimate is Umbral Trespass, in which Kayn hides within an enemy's body and comes out afterwards dealing damage and leaping in a direction.
In Legends of Runeterra, Kayn has similar skills. When he levels up, he can choose which shape to take: Rhaast or The Shadow Assassin. Both forms have similar effects to the original game ones: Rhaast increases your damage while healing the Nexus and himself, and the Assassin increases his attack each time he attacks, taking advantage of the Elusive keyword to deal more damage. The scythe also was translated to the game through the new equipment, and like so we have The Darkin Scythe, Corrupted Scythe and Shadow Scythe. The only Kayn ability that was transformed in a card is Kayn's Shadowstep, which allows him to chase off guard enemies, as does his original skill.
As a Runeterra champion, Kayn has an Origin, called The Shadow Reaper, which allows the inclusion of any Cultist in his deck. Using these cards, you will be guaranteed to draw a Kayn, which is important, as Kayn needs to strike and attack to be useful in the game. Besides the champion having his own value, the most important is his Scythe. Even if he dies, his Scythe survives and guarantees that another unit can get the benefits hoarded by it.
Kayn will be a great tool for game control, working similar to Thresh to slay problematic enemy units and create value surviving after these attacks. He must fit into Demacia decks that use Rallies (Golden Aegis) and Free Attacks (Cataclysm), as well as strike cards such as Concerted Strike and Single Combat to level up this champion.
The Cultist cards that came with Kayn work based on the new Equipment. Among the most striking cards we have Forsaken Baccai which might be an excellent addition to Shurima decks due to its skill to Predict and become a 3/2, but this second bonus might not be that relevant if Shurima and other regions that want to be played don't get many Equipments.
Momentous Choice is a great spell in case you've equipped an ally, as it works like a cheaper Twin Disciplines, though the effect is partially reduced. Furious Wielder might be the spell that will allow for Kayn to be played outside of Demacia, though it might turn out to be a worse Bloody Business.
Kayn doesn't seem to be an impactful champion. His skills seem too slow for the game as it is right now and his benefits are not that great to compensate for the region limitation that he puts forward. But if the game slows down or a swarm meta comes back, this champion might be excellent. Besides that, it is possible that he hasn't had his champion pair revealed yet. Due to his focus on equipment, we might see Ornn as his companion, in case he comes in this expansion.
Master Yi, the Wuju Bladesman
Yi is the last Wuju style master, from the Bahrl region in Ionia. Many years ago, before the war against Noxus, the Wuju bladesmen studied sword techniques for personal improvement. This school's goal was never violence, but self knowledge. However, when the war started, Yi thought it was his duty to fight against noxians. By doing so, he inspired other Wuju students to fight too. Scared of these warriors, Noxus sought the origin of this style till they found Yi's village. There, they attacked the region using the same poisons they used against Riven's group and devastated the village and the school.
Yi fought in the war till its end, losing all his companions and when he returned he found out that he was also the only one left from his school and village. He blamed himself for abandoning his land and because he was responsible for their attack. And, as the last Wuju master, he kept his techniques to himself, because he felt that like so, the techniques would be lost with him.
During his meditations, he met a vastayah named Kong who wanted to duel him. Yi won every duel, but he recognized his foe's potential and accepted him as a disciple, naming him Wukong and giving him one of the school's artifacts, made by the blacksmith Doran. After that, Yi increased his disciples, according to the new cards that were released in this expansion.
In League of Legends, Master Yi is a melee fighter who deals fast and dangerous attacks. He can be very powerful, but if he is the victim of debuffs he can be slain easily. His passive, Double Strike, allows him to attack twice from time to time. His main skill, Alpha Strike strikes many enemies in a fast attack leaving him invulnerable during its execution.
Meditate allows him to heal himself and reduces the damage he is dealt when he is meditating. Wuju Style allows him to deal more damage when the skill is activated. And, finally, his ultimate, Highlander, increases his attack speed and movement speed and also reduces the cooldown time of all his other skills.
In Legends of Runeterra, the champion was adapted to keep his powerful attack but also quite vulnerable style. He has low health points, however his attack can grow indefinitely through his Flow effect, a new keyword for effects that happen when you've used two spells or abilities in the previous round. This skill is one of the representations of his Wuju style, and another one of these is his spell that has the same name, Wuju Style, which also brings out Meditate. His other skill that was also adapted to his kit was his Alpha Strike, which is his level 2 ability.
Yi was also well represented as a master of his style and focused on his self-improvement trait. He rewards a forward thinking game style and also rewards a use of protection and attack buff spells. As a champion, his Lore and League of Legends kit were well translated.
He must fit well into decks that take advantage of cards such as Golden Aegis and Cataclysm by slaying units with each attack he does and taking advantage of Ionia's protection spells. He might work well with Shurima to use low cost spells and also protection spells in possible decks with Akshan, who also benefits from low cost spells targeting allies.
I'd bet as well in decks with Gwen to take advantage of buffs through Hallowed and being two champions that can carry matches if not answered. Another possible option focused on the new equipment cards is to match Noxus and Ionia to take advantage of Great Hammers or Furious Wielder.
Besides Master Yi, we also had his followers. The main ones are Vastayan Disciple and Disciple of Doran. The first guarantees a trustworthy card draw and works really well with Yi's effect of reducing the cost of spells. Meanwhile, the Disciple creates a Preparation in hand which helps activate Flow effects and prepare spells such as Deny to be played out of the blue in future rounds if you use the spell previously.
We also have Jun, the Prodigy, Soul Sword and Mistfall as cards that work as an equipment package. However, by its own Ionia still doesn't have cards for this kit to be consistent. With Shurima or Noxus, we have a bigger synergy considering this aspect.
The champion looks strong, but it might have a higher learning curve. However, with his interesting kit, he might awaken the interest of many people and we will see many functional decks with this champion. For sure a good purchase.
Norra, Yuumi's Master
Norra is Legends of Runeterra's first exclusive champion. We don't know yet if she will be released in other Riot Games titles. That opens a lot of doors to many future possibilities, as we can see many characters showing up just to this card game, such as Arcane's Silco, Mel and Sevika or the player's favorites such as Cithria and Corinna. This also means that I had to make up the title I used for this champion. It is possible to read more about exclusive champion speculations by clicking here.
According to Yuumi's story, Norra one day went out and left the Book of Thresholds behind, going somewhere dangerous and the cat went after her master, worried. According to her cards, Norra went to the Realm's End, a place outside the space-time of Bandle City. Lost there, she tried finding her way back home through Portals, which are her specialty. With a lot of difficulty and with the help of Realm End's entities, Yuumi and Norra were finally able to meet again.
The only information we had about Norra was that she worked with Portals, so her card fits well into that. Through elusive attacks, Norra creates a Mysterious Portal, a new type of Boons, such as Bard's trap Chimes, that work summoning random 2 or 3 cost followers. In her level 2 form, Norra increases the portals' power, making them summon 4-7 cost followers. The devs have already told us that the portals will only bring out useful units to the player, without play effects or any negative summon effects.
Norra will probably fit well into decks that use many created cards, as it helps her level up. Piltover, for instance, works with Rummage, Jury-Rig and Boom Baboon that can level up Norra and immediately draw cards.
Another option might be a more control style with this champion, maybe using Ionia to protect her and control games while she guarantees (possibly) powerful unit summons.
Other cards that were released are less impactful. We had Junk Construct, possibly the best one of them all. We also had The Tea Maker which has low stats for her cost. Another option is Realm's Caretaker which might be used in the decks due to increasing the power of a full board both in defense and offense, but it might be used as a 1-off only. The last unit from this kit is Living Library which might be a good unit, having Elusive and card draw, something very important to this deck, but it is too expensive for most swarm decks.
The spells are dependent on how your deck will work. Portalpalooza is a good end game card and should be excellent with the champion on board, which is even better by the fact that it is the champion's champion spell. As for Eclectic Collection, it might not see much play because it depends on a full board to have its effect and its high cost suggests a game style contrary to that. Even so, it might see play as a 1-off in some decks as a finisher if your deck can draw cards towards the late game.
This champion seems powerful, though it depends on luck. Because of the low stats on some units, it seems the kit is being released a bit nerfed already, which might be a good sign. Should be an excellent pick for casual players, but competitively it might be too risky.
The new champions all bring out new interesting mechanics and new possibilities. They show that we might see changes to old cards, as a potential Flow add to Eye of the Dragon and Deep Meditation. Or maybe the update of some followers like Commander Ledros to the rank of champion in the future.
With three new champions revealed, there are still two left. Because this expansion is focused a lot on equipments, I would say one of them is going to be Ornn, which has already begun to be revealed for some time now. What are your guesses for the next ones? What did you think of the ones that were revealed so far? Tell us all about it in the comment section.