League of Legends is a game that has grown significantly over its long lifespan. Its initial 40 champion roster now features over 150 characters with various skills and abilities. Season 10 saw a number of these newer champions dominate across the professional scenes as well as solo queue. So let’s take a look at the newest additions to the game and how they would go on to influence the way the game was played.
Champions that first saw competitive play in 2020
Senna: The Redeemer
Released into the universe as Lucian’s wife, Senna is one of two champions who were revealed during the tail end of 2019. Her announcement came during the League 10 Year anniversary event, close to that year’s World Championship. Therefore, the only major tournament of the year that she saw play in was at the year end All-Star event.
Senna is the game’s first support marksman. This dual identity ensured her a spot near the top of the meta game for almost the whole year. One play style saw her act as a more traditional AD Carry, farming minions and scaling into the late game. The alternative play style had her focus more on gathering the souls spawned by her passive, Curse of the Black Mist. This play style, known as ‘fasting senna’, generally saw her paired with a juggernaut like Wukong or Sett or a mage like Zilean. Her global ultimate, Dawning Shadow, allowed her to contribute to fights from anywhere across the map.
Senna was arguably one of the most consistently good AD Carries throughout the year despite any changes to her. The versatility of her kit ensures that she may continue to be a force in the meta for years to come.
Aphelios: The Weapon of the Faithful
Fighting for the Lunari alongside his sister Alune, Aphelios was the second AD Carry to be released in a row, and the last champion of 2019. He was the newest creation of League of Legends most controversial champion designer, CertainlyT. Aphelios came with all the hallmarks of such a character. A steep learning curve on a powerful kit, new mechanics along with the only person guaranteed to have fun in a match – the Aphelios player.
Aphelios’ kit didn’t come with the standard four abilities and a passive. Rather his passive gave him access to five different weapons, each with one unique ability. He can switch between two of his guns at a time.
Calibrum grants bonus range, Severum gives lifesteal and movement speed, Gravitum grants crowd control, Infernum deals area of effect damage, and Crescendum shots ricochet, allowing him to attack faster the closer he is to his target.
Upon release, the champion absolutely dominated the Rift, primarily due to clarity issues. Entire teams could be wiped out from fog of war by an Infernum powered Moonlight Vigil (R). It could be hard to tell which guns he had equipped at all times.
His unique, but arguably, out-of-place, kit made him extremely hard to deal with when played well. In pro play, that made him a must pick or ban for all of Spring Split.
These concerns would eventually be addressed through patches. Repeated nerfs and adjustments couldn’t seem to drive down his overbearing effectiveness, largely due to how different his kit was. In Patch 10.15, Aphelios finally stopped being a must pick in pro play. However, Aphelios would still terrorize the competitive scene for more than half a year. His reign saw the rise of memes and criticisms thrown towards both CertainlyT and the balance team. His presence in competitive has taken a hit and now only shows up as a counter pick. It is unlikely that Riot will want to see a return to his dominance anytime soon.
Sett: The Boss
Smashing his way onto the Rift, Sett is the most versatile champion of the recent releases. He saw play across just about every role throughout the course of the year. He could build as a juggernaut or a pure tank. The primary cause of this was due to the champion’s relatively low skill floor and incredible tankiness. His simplicity allowed for him to use a large number keystones depending on his role. Conqueror for top lane, Phase Rush in the jungle, Fleet Footwork mid, Omnistone and Aftershock for support.
Sett did see his fair share of nerfs throughout the year in an attempt to curb his dominance. While he was slowed down, it was impossible to completely remove him for the professional scene. The health scaling on Haymaker (W) and Show Stopper (R), combined with his crowd control were just too valuable, no matter his position.
Lillia: The Bashful Bloom
A dreamy fawn, Lillia was the last champion released that was allowed to be played during the 2020 World Championship. Lillia’s release couldn’t have come at a better time. The game shifted towards a farming jungle style. Lillia, along with Hecarim, Evelyn, Graves, and Nidalee, would be some of the more popular jungle champions heading into Worlds. With a similar learning curve to Sett, she had a flatter learning curve, but would still be used by the best junglers in the world to achieve great success.
The Champions That Followed
There have been four champions announced since Lillia’s release. Yone the Unforgotten, a duelist and brother to Yasuo with similar crit scalings. Samira the Desert Rose, a champion with ranged and melee basic attacks with an all-in combo playstlye reminiscent of the Devil May Cry series. Seraphine, the Starry Eyed Songstress, an enchanter mage who prior to release, received her own social media account to promote her. Finally, Rell the Iron Maiden – a tough Noxian support, set to release in the last patch of the year.
Without official high level competition until January of next year, it is difficult to determine the level of influence each character may have on the pro scene. That being said, there is most certainly potential for each to leave their mark.
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