Red Post Collection: Poppy Q&A, Meddler on Masteries, Tahm Kench Discussion, LC Podcast Episode 2, Ahri Statue, & more!

Posted on at 11:06 PM by Moobeat

This morning's red post collection includes a look at the Dec 2nd patch update, ZenonTheStoic with a follow up thread on Tahm Kench, a look at the new Ahri statue & story, a new episode of the League Community Podcast w/ Meddler, CertainlyT, and Ghostcrawler, a rundown of the Poppy update Q&A, and more!
Continue reading for more information!

Table of Contents

December 2nd Patch Update

The official 5.23 patch notes have been updated to reflect several bug fixes that went out late night on December 2nd.
  • WHOOPS - Caitlyn's Q - Piltover Peacemaker damage falloff after the first unit hit has been reduced to 33%, matching the tooltip change initially released with 5.23 
  • WHAT A SPOOKY BUG - Fixed a bug where E - Test of Spirit spirits that expire early (due to their vessels dying or breaking tether range) would chase Illaoi for a brief moment before vanishing 
  • LANEMOWER - Fixed a bug where R - The Culling wasn't dealing bonus damage to minions 
Rift Herald
  • STOP STARING - Rift Herald's eye no longer fails to close after being backstabbed by a champion with Hunter's Talisman (or its upgrades), preventing future backstab chances for the rest of the fight 
All-Star Icon Finishers
  • STAY DOWN - The finisher effects for the 2015 All-Star Icons no longer cause champions killed to visually reappear in a 'T' pose during lengthy death timers"

Lethal Charm - The Ahri Statue: Available 12/7

[12/7 UPDATE: The Ahri statue release has been postponed following community feedback. Read more on the announcement here.]

A new Ahri statue is heading into the merch shop on December 7th!

From the merch shop teaser page:
"Rising on a vortex of tails with deadly magic at the ready, Ahri has arrived. Designed by master sculptor Simon Lee in close collaboration with Riot artists, the Ahri statue was crafted to capture the power, elegance, and beauty of the Nine-Tailed Fox. From the twists of her tails to the whirling power of her orb, every detail was refined to bring League fans a faithful vision of this Ionian enchantress. 
Available 12/7"

The new page also includes a new Ahri story -

"The Ionian countryside burned. Noxian Legions ripped through the land like a serrated knife, their gleaming armor blood-red in the sinking sun. Blazing temples lit the waning daylight, and distant cries of anguish filled the air.

Nestled in the foothills of Tevasa Mountain was a village of perhaps a hundred people—but home to no great warriors. Some families fled. Some prayed. Others held their loved ones close and wept. Fifty brave souls prepared to fight. They cleaned the dirt from their pitchforks and bound knives to broom handles.

Mounting panic shone in the eyes of every defender; they knew they had no hope. With the dust of the Noxian advance already visible in the distance, there was little to do but make peace with their gods. The sons and daughters of Ionia took deep, steadying breaths of mountain air, gazed into the starry twilight, and waited for the slaughter soon to come.
Ahri’s nine tails swished: a nervous tic. Her sharpened senses warned of danger. Crouched in the shadow of a towering willow she listened, watched, and waited. She had observed the villagers for weeks: watching from afar, but never trusting herself to approach. She heard families talking over dinner, the laughs of women who might have been her sisters, and the games of children. Ahri would listen for hours on end, tearing herself away only when the longing grew too sharp.

Though she had little understanding of nations or politics, instinct alone told her something was very wrong in the world today. Curious, and fearing for the villagers, Ahri sniffed the air. She pinpointed the source of her disquiet, and dashed into the night.

Seven Noxian scouts eased through the brush, pushing ever closer to the mountain. Dark-eyed and wary, the men kept their hands on their weapons as they crept through the settling dusk.

Ahri found them in a matter of moments and followed them through the forest. She darted between the trees, suspicion mounting as she observed their movements. Of their mission Ahri could only guess, but she had fought enough battles to know killers when she saw them.

The squad’s captain scanned the undergrowth. Without breaking stride he whispered a brief order to the man at his back, who relayed it to the man at his. Ahri thought nothing of it, and continued her silent pursuit.

Suddenly, seven hands reached for seven arrows.

“NOW!” roared the captain. The Noxians loosed as one, and a flurry of hawk-fletched arrows flashed towards Ahri.

She dived from the bushes as two arrows sliced through her sleeve. Ahri ripped it off and dashed into cover, yellow eyes aflame with shock and fury. She would lose no sleep in killing these men.

Ahri opened her palms to the sky, and felt the raw power of her spirit coalesce. Her nine tails fanned out in all directions as she pulled white fire from the air with a snarl. With a flick of her wrist, Ahri summoned three motes of spinning flame. She dodged another volley of arrows before leaping for the nearest tree, coiling her tails to spring from its trunk, back towards her assailants. The Noxians scattered as she landed in their midst. The man closest to her thrust a knife, but the blade cut only air. Ahri danced through her foes with blinding speed.

The fiery motes around her engulfed the three nearest men. White flames seared them, but Ahri had more than brute force in her arsenal. She vaulted from tree to tree, rising higher with every bound. She spotted the squad’s captain crouched between a tangle of tree roots, his bowstring taut. Given half a chance, Ahri knew he’d put an arrow through her eye. She crept silently to the branches above the captain’s shelter and spoke, her soft words laced with beguiling power.

“Human,” she whispered. “Come to me.”

The captain’s features went slack. Through no will of his own, he set down his bow and walked from cover. He looked up, eyes wide with desperation and desire.

“Now climb,” said Ahri, blowing the man a kiss.

The captain, utterly in her thrall, scrambled for footholds on the tree trunk. Ahri summoned a sphere of lambent energy to her palm, its innocent appearance belying its vast power. She drew back her arm, allowed herself a vulpine grin, and hurled it downwards.

The orb streaked through the captain before flying back to Ahri’s palm, and his smoking body fell to the forest floor with a thud. The remaining scouts fled in terror, but running proved every bit as futile as hiding. Ahri vaulted from branch to branch, tails whirling behind her as she struck two men down with thunderous bolts of energy.

The last man collapsed in a tangle of limbs, clutching at his broken bones as Ahri landed gracefully beside him. She grabbed the Noxian’s throat, and put her face an inch from his.

“You brought this on yourselves,” she hissed, and snapped the man’s neck with a blast of concussive force.

Only one task remained.

Ahri had no qualms about gaining her humanity by taking it from men who had no use for it. She knelt over the fallen Noxian, feeling his pulse fade. She placed her hands to either side of his face. The light of his essence flowed from his eyes and mouth, and a thrilling sensation surged through Ahri. His humanity poured into her, and she felt the fox within withdraw with every heartbeat. Her tails curled in pleasure, her expression rapturous.

Yet even lost in that glorious sensation, Ahri heard the sound of approaching footsteps. The villagers, hearing the sounds of combat, were coming to investigate. She couldn’t let them see her like this, draining what remained of a dying man’s life. To their eyes she would seem a terrifying mystery: a damnable half-breed stray, neither human nor beast.

Reluctantly, Ahri turned from her feast, seeing shapes moving through the trees and bushes. She recognized the men and women she had watched from afar, remembering the friendship she hoped they might one day share.

But today was not that day, and Ahri turned to flee into the woods."
More on the new Ahri statue can be found here:

Follow up on Tahm Kench

ZenonTheStoic has also surfaced on the boards to talk about Tahm Kench, sharing the team's current thoughts on the River King and their plans moving forward!
"Following on from the Mordekaiser Update Follow-Up, here's our internal design review for Tahm Kench. Please see Statikk's post on Mordekaiser for more context on what these design reviews are. 
I'll paste the actual review in this first post, but I'll also have a much more in-depth and verbose explainer posted as the first comment on this thread. I hope you like words, cause I got a lot of em. 
I will leave this thread open until Monday. 
Original Goals:
  • Make a tank who is not defined by AOE CC or single target pickoff
  • Offer a powerful and cool support function through ally devour
  • Enable strategic map mobility for two people
  • Can be played in multiple positions: both solo and support
What's working:
  • Ally devour is a big, cool moment for Tahm and his team
  • Tahm is picked frequently as a support, mostly for devour
  • Tahm is played successfully in top, support, and jungle
  • High level of frustration playing against:
  • MS away from enemy means ally devour is never the wrong move
  • Tough skin means killing Tahm feels like not an option either
  • Ult is mostly used solo, particularly outside of competitive play
  • High damage output means Tahm often chases down and kills people where it feels inappropriate for a support to do so
Possible next steps:
  • Ally W no longer has MS away from enemy (going live in 5.24)
  • Encourage cooperative use of R: minimum wait time but quicker arrival
  • Reassess E tankiness: reduce shield duration and/or grey health duration
  • Investigate why some champions cannot opt out of fighting Tahm (more on this below)"
He continued:
"Greetings fellow riverboat captains! 
Tahm Kench has been swimming up and down Summoner’s Rift for a few months now. At this stage, we typically do a internal follow-up where we sit down and talk about what did and what didn’t work, guided by our original pre-release goals. We’re making that player-facing. Before we dive in (heh), let me just say we’re very much aware that a lot of you feel Tahm is very frustrating to play against. We hear you and none of the things I’m about to say should take away from the validity of what you’re feeling. We may disagree on the why and the what to do about it, but your feelings are valid and we’ve heard you. 
Alright, enough touchy-feely stuff. Let’s talk video games. 
When we set out to make Tahm Kench, we wanted to make a “tank’s tank”; someone who can become ridiculously hard to kill while having a strongly felt effect on the game (internally we call these “outputs”: how does the game change for everyone else because Tahm is in it?) We also decided in the very beginning of production that his outputs should fall outside the usual tank outputs of “AOE CC an entire teamfight” or “lock down / pull in one guy and enable your team to kill them”. 
Halfway through development we pivoted a little from wanting Tahm to be exclusively a gold-taking solo lane tank to embracing his support identity, but we liked the thought that we could deliver a champion who succeeds in different roles. We hadn’t made one of those in a while (Bard, Rek’Sai, Kalista, and Azir are all very strongly role-bound, and Gnar’s jungling is at best a super niche build) and we thought it’d be neat to enable player experimentation. 
Some things we obviously nailed: Tahm is tanky as all get-out and cannot be ignored. His output is a uniquely powerful ally saving move; not only is it strong, it is also super cool. Saving that low health squishy with a flash W creates a strong “holy shit Tahm, you just saved my life” moment for your ally. 
Here’s what didn’t work out: we expected that ally devour would be somewhat frustrating for the enemy, but we failed to predict just how bad it would be. We’ve clearly heard your feedback that the champion is frustrating to play against, but we also have other data points to back this up. When supports enter the top 3 of most banned champions, something tends to be off. Soraka’s recent rise in bans due to our changes to Grievous Wounds and the addition of the Windspeaker’s Blessing mastery is one good example of this. Clearly enough of you are so frustrated playing against Tahm that you’re happy to spend one of your three bans on him. 
So let’s talk about this. We have always known that uniquely strong safety moves will create frustration. Some amount of frustration is absolutely a necessary part of the game. Frustration at your plans not working out or the enemy outplaying you is an essential low moment in a PvP game like League, which buys us the high moments when things do work out. So frustration per se is not a bad thing. It’s when a moment feels unfair or like there was nothing else you could have done that we have a problem. 
Part of this was a last minute decision to give Tahm MS away from the enemy with an ally in his stomach. This came out of lane testing, particularly when Tahm and his ally lost their lane. It felt like there was absolutely nothing Tahm could bring to the table once the lane started to go against him. Particularly when the enemy kept ganking to drive the advantage home, Devour never seemed to help. We may have overreacted to feedback here. 
Devour should feel like a sacrificial move. The Tahm player should feel like he saved an important ally’s life at the cost of his own or of at least a good chunk of his health. The 20% movement speed away from enemies means that not only does Tahm save a friend, he thereby also buys himself more safety. Stripping this mechanic was a no brainer; expect to see this change for 5.24. 
There are two more contributing factors to the feeling of frustration I want to talk about real quick. One is that he just seems unkillable, and the other is that he outputs a buttload of damage. 
Tahm’s E is a necessary tool for a tank champion, but the exact tuning may be off. The active should be the button that allows him to wade into the thick of things and pick up an ally in need, and the passive should make it so he doesn’t just straight-up lose to any amount of poke. Our current feeling is that both the amount of time over which the shield decays might be too long (turning the shield from an anti-burst tool to a “lol I got two health bars” tool over the duration of a typical teamfight) and the delay before grey health turns back into health might be too long, making it too easy for Tahm to get to full shield. We’ve not made up our minds about this yet, but it’s on our radar. 
Finally, damage. Tahm has the potential to do an exceptional amount of damage for a tank. Abyssal Voyage’s passive is tuned to be very strong. On any champion who has the tools to get to you and stick to you easily this would almost certainly be problematic. But we cannot look at a mechanic in a vacuum (the poor guy would suffocate). Against most of our roster, Tahm does not have the tools to get to an enemy and stick to them. Nearly every ADC should be able to kite him, anyone with a mobility tool should be able to opt out of fighting him, and so on. We believe that as long as Tahm’s stickiness and catch potential remain as low as they are, it is okay for him to have the damage he does. 
There are edge cases that may need looking at here. For one, if you go into a 2v2 trade that turns into a 1v1 and you’re now in melee range of a Tahm who already has 3 stacks on you, you will likely not be able to get away from him without a kiting / mobility tool. Yes, there are certain champions that don’t have any of these tools and they just never can 1v1 Tahm, which feels bad against a support. So the TL;DR on his damage is: yes it’s very high, but the problem is that certain champs can’t opt out of fighting him when they should be able to. If anything, we’d look at that. 
We have some thoughts about the cooperative use of Tahm’s ultimate as well, but I’ve been going on for too long already. How do you feel about Tahm’s current state? Do you disagree strongly with any of the above?"

[UPDATE: Several more responses from ZenonTheStoic below!]

When asked about the slow % on Tahm Kench's Q, ZenonTheStoic explained:
"You're right that the slow of Tongue Lash is very, very strong at rank 5. 2s at 70% is nothing to scoff at. This would probably be one of the first things to look at if we do decide to attack his stickiness. That said, here's the reason why he has such a strong offensive skill on his kit: without a strong offensive option at a range, Tahm's optimal play would be to always just sit next to his ADC and wait for trouble so he can instantly eat them. That still is the best play most of the time, but not all of the time. This push and pull on the player is essential to creating a set of meaningful decisions. It's not entirely clear to Tahm if he should just sit on his Kog'Maw or try to fish for a Tongue Lash into devour on the enemy frontline when the enemy may not be ready to fight. 
In lane you're right that there's a lot of power to it, and again if this is something we feel we need to address, the slow amount is an easy thing to adjust. However, all three ADCs you mentioned should have ways of keeping you at a distance. Jinx can Zap / Chomper you, Ashe can slow you in a hundred ways, Varus can use his slow zone. Theoretically, Tongue Lash should be tuned such that you can almost, but not quite, get to an enemy who's paying attention to you."

As for Tahm Kench's movement speed, ZenonTheStoic commented:
"There's a chance his base MS is a little high, but other than that, all the champions you mentioned should have ways of getting him from getting to them. I've been playing a whole bunch of support Tahm myself and I find that I get to the enemy only if they've squandered their safety tools AND stepped forward too much AND if their support is spending their CC budget on my ADC.
He continued:
"Tahm is actually not that slow! At 335 base movements speed he's in the third tier of MS. Here's a handy comparison: 

I would love if enemies ever felt that getting an impactful CC on Tahm with an ally in his stomach was a "2 for 1" deal, but I'm not sure we'll get there. Tahm tends to wait to eat an ally until AFTER the enemy has used their big CC on that ally, and even if there's a second big CC for Tahm, it's unlikely there'll be a THIRD for when the ally pops out again."

As for how Tahm's CC stacks up against to other ranks, ZenonTheStoic commented:
He may not have AoE cc, but he has an OBSCENE amount of single target CC 
With 40% cdr, like most tanks and supports get, Tahm has a 1.5 second stun on a 3.6 second cooldown, and a 3 second suppress on a 6 second cd. 
He can literally chain his Q infinitely, and W whenever someone starts to get too close to safety to bring them back away from safety. 
See the problem? 
And of course, all his skills do INSANE DAMAGE
Now compare this to the likes of Nautilus, Blitzcrank, or Rammus in terms of how easy it is for him to access this CC.

In order to CC someone from a medium distance, Nautilus can either hook with Q or cast R and follow up with whichever one he didn't use. He then gets to root them with his passive and slow them with his E. The important part is, he needs to hit one skillshot at 1100 or walk up within 850 range and it's game over for the enemy. All further follow up from this point is pretty much guaranteed.

Blitzcrank needs to hit one 950 range skillshot to displace you by that amount, knock you up, and silence you. Again: one successful hit and you're pretty much done.

Rammus has to get within 325 range to taunt you, it's true, but he gets to move at up to +140% MS to do so. Again, he needs to do one thing (get within range), which he has a potent tool to do, and then it's curtains for you.

By comparison, Tahm needs to hit his skillshot (800 range, fully telegraphed with ground particle), walk up to you with zero mobility tools, attack you two more times, and then give up the one ability that makes him incredibly strong (Devour--because let's not forget that while devour can do three different things, it can only ever do one thing per cooldown).

Pick-off tanks decide that you've lost the game in a very short window of time. Tahm has a whole ceremony he has to go through to pick you off. If you have any allies around you at all, you should be able to keep him from getting to you.
He also reiterated that he is looking for commentary on FRUSTRATION not power!
"You start out your post by saying that Tahm is over his power budget and then listing a number of ways that his spells do too much (and you're onto something for most of these, actually; they're all tuned very strongly). 
In this thread I'm looking at frustration much more than power. Power is easy to measure; frustration isn't. Power-wise, Tahm is actually in a good spot (pre-season may have given him a slight bump, but he was very weak before). 
Power is measured by win rate. Obviously you then have a bunch of conditionals to that winrate (what ELO are we looking at? How does this behave over time? How does the winrate change with game length? What positions are we looking at?), but in the end of the day, power is knowable. 
Internal tools show Tahm Kench at a 47-48% winrate in the last three weeks across all regions and game lengths, in Normal 5v5s, Ranked Solo 5v5s, and Teambuilder 5v5s at ELOs of 1500+. If we expand to all ELOs, I see him at 49%, but at a slight downward trend (suggesting that at lower ELOs people are doing a worse job playing against Tahm, but are learning). Pre-season bumped him up by about 2%, so he was at 45-46% before in high ELO. 
So again, if you're arguing that his power is too high, I will politely disagree, which is why I phrased this thread not in terms of power, but in terms of frustration. Frustration can come from power, but I don't think that's the case here. Janna has had 53/54% winrates literally for years now, and I never hear people talk about Janna as a highly frustrating character to play against (although Gosu may disagree with me here. Is Janna powerful? Absolutely. That E alone is ridiculous, and she is the queen of disengage. But is she frustrating to play around? I don't think so."

Meddler on Keystone Masteries

When asked about their current thoughts on the new masteries and keystone masteries introduced this preseason, Meddler explained they plan to add more row 2 & 4 masteries soon!
Pretty happy so far, though our expectations weren't that things would be perfect from the start. Our goals were to make masteries that were noticeable in game, that modified how you and other players played to a moderate amount and that had some meaningful choice to them. We feel we're hitting the first two goals fairly well. Choice is present in some cases, though some Masteries do feel mandatory or pointless for some champions.

One of the next things we'll be doing is gradually fleshing out the Tier 1 and Tier 2 keystones to 3 choices each. Intent there is to offer options for champions that aren't drawn to some trees at present to offer more choice between trees while also offering choices between masteries at a tier for those already using them. We also want to help out some classes that aren't currently being well enough served (assassins in particular). Additionally there's still a fair bit of balance tuning needed on some of the existing masteries, where there are potentially interesting choices to be made once the numbers are refined into the right spots.

The 5 point stat masteries by contrast aren't intended to be choices generally. Stats are much, much easier to optimize, but do need to be provided to give champions appropriate functionality and define how attractive each tree is to any given champion. We're fine with those often feeling predetermined at some tiers as a result, with some options on certain champions depending on how you want to play.
As for if they ever plan to rework the rune system, Meddler commented:
"Eventually, yes, we'd like to do some work on Runes to make them a more interesting and less raw stats based system. At a guess that would probably still include some stats of course, but in a more engaging way. 
In terms of timing though that's not project we're currently working on or have scheduled. It'd be good stuff to do, but it's in the 'someday' category, rather than the 'soon' or 'planned for sometime in 2016' baskets, since we feel other work is more important first."

Final days for Figure Fest

Riot Merch's FIGURE FEST sale is ending soon! Through December 4th, you can pick up any figure for 30% off and a larger discount when you buy and two figures! Deals end at 11:59 PST on Dec 4th!

With the start of FIGURE FEST, Riot also launched seven new champion figures!

League Community Podcast Ep. 2 

Next up we have the second episode of the newly launched League Community Podcast! This episode includes Meddler, Ghostcrawler, and CertainlyT discussing the 2016 preseason!
"Welcome to episode 2 of the League Community Podcast, a series in which we take you behind-the-scenes with Rioters to hear about their backgrounds and work on League. You can expect an installment every couple weeks or so, with Rioters from all over dropping by to share their stories and perspective. If you’re listening on iTunes, be sure to rate and review, and tell us what you’d like to see more of! 
In this installment, we sat down with Andrei “Meddler” Van Roon, Brad “CertainlyT” Wenban and special guest host Greg “Ghostcrawler” Street a couple weeks back to talk about the design process behind updating the game for Season 2016."

Interested in more? Check out episode one of the League Community Podcast with Riot Scruffy!

December Early Sales! 

As part of the recent change to discounts and sales, now through December 7th over 30 recently released skins are now on sale for one tier below their normal price!
"To kick off our new series of Early Sales, over 30 skins released in the last 4-6 months are now on sale from December 3 00:00 PST through December 7 23:59 PST
Remember, you'll also get extra bonus RP when you purchase RP from November 29 00:01 PST through December 7 23:59 PST. "
Early Sale - Mega Version
Screenshots and video previews for each of the over 30 skins on sale can be found here.

Speaking of sales, don't forget about the upcoming Snowdown and legacy sales starting soon!

Incoming: Some Introductions! 

Following his earlier feeback thread on what to bring to the new Dev Corner board, Pwyff posted up earlier today that they will be running through introductions for key members from the balance team!
"Hi gang, 
As we're getting to figure out dev corner content for 2016, we thought it would also be good to get some of our more prominent designers and design leads introduced so you can get a feel for what we're working on and who's focused on what. We're doing this to set the foundation for a series of personal dev blogs on evergreen topics like our balance philosophy, champion design, systems interactions, and so on. 
Over the course of the next few weeks, you'll hear from some of the team with a rundown of their interests, past work, and what they'll want to write about next year. They'll also stick around for a bit during the day to field questions or source any topic inspiration from you! 
So if you really want to hear more about designing Cinderhulk from our lead systems designer, or what went into the recent batch of marksmen updates, hang out! 
I'll try to keep you updated every Monday on the upcoming schedule of designer introductions. All in all, before the holidays kick in, you should at least hear from: 
  • Greg 'Riot Ghostcrawler' Street - Design Director, League of Legends
  • Andrei 'Meddler' Van Roon - Lead Designer, League of Legends
  • Mark 'RiotScruffy' Yetter - Lead Designer, Champions & Champion Update
  • Joseph 'Fearless' Graylock - Lead Designer, Gameplay Systems
  • Brian 'FeralPony' Feeney - Lead Designer, Live Gameplay
  • James 'Statikk' Bach - Lead Designer, Champion Update
  • Jeevun 'RiotJag' Sidhu - Designer, Live Gameplay & Champions
  • August 'gypsylord' Browning - Designer, Champions & Gameplay Systems
  • ... and me.
See you soon~"

Dragonmaster Swain not in the works

Following his comment much earlier in the year, Riot Whist noted that the popular fan idea Dragonmaster Swain is not in production for release in 2016.
"Just so nobody has any new expectations that will get crushed: Dragon Master Swain is not slotted for production at any point in 2016 currently. There was a glimmer of hope for the skin in 2015 when I posted that, but it wasn't able to happen. 
Sorry, I share your pain :\"

Janna Main - Janna Mechanics 

Next up we have Riot Jaws interviewing Janna Mechanics, a master tier Janna main who has blown into town to offer tips  and thoughts on playing Janna!
"There’s nothing like your first main. That connection with a champion and the excitement of locking them in game after game can be difficult to put into words.

Janna Mechanics, a Master-tier Janna main with over 5000 games on the Storm’s Fury stopped by to share his origin story as well as talk about how he keeps up with his competition while juggling schoolwork and managing a collegiate LoL community. He also broke down a TL;DR for Janna players looking to peel, bounce, and shield their way to victory. 
How did you get into League of Legends?

I was introduced to League of Legends by an internet friend of mine who also introduced my best friend to the game. They had both been playing for a week, and encouraged me to give it a try and play with them. I quickly fell in love with the game, and LeBlanc, who was my first main champion. I started playing League of Legends at the same time Yorick was first released in the summer of 2011.

You are currently a full-time student at McMaster University, a Master-level player AND a co-founder and Co-President of McMaster’s League of Legends Association! What are you studying and how do you maintain your high level of play while juggling all of these responsibilities?
I am studying Computer Science. The main goals I have with this degree is a future in game development. I hope to work at Riot Games someday; a degree in Computer Science is extremely valuable in helping me achieve that dream.

Keeping up with everything is definitely a juggling act! Because I’ve had time to hone my skill at League of Legends, hovering in Master tier is actually pretty easy. Once you learn to identify the weaknesses of high diamond players, climbing through that tier does not require too much time commitment. However, if I wanted to approach Challenger in solo queue, I would need to take time away from my studies and running my club. Because Challenger requires weekly commitment and consistency, I’m happy just chilling in Master tier while I’m in school. During the Holidays and summer, I definitely push hard and strive for Challenger.

With respect to running my club, I am not alone. I have two co-presidents -- two people I met the year I founded the club (my co-founders) that help me organize and sustain the club. We each bring different skills to the table. Through struggles and hardship we have learned to work together effectively and efficiently. Sophia and Dennis are the reason I can run the club, keep up with my studies, and squeeze in some solo queue games. I am definitely guilty of sacrificing my studies to play one more game of solo queue at 2 am though.

What got you hooked on Janna?

As I mentioned above, my first main was LeBlanc. I had consistently picked her (she was one of the free week champions at the time) throughout my quest to level 30. At some point before level 30, I realized the only champion I ever really struggled to play against was Morgana, so naturally I started playing her. I began playing strictly Morgana until level 30, and played her for my first few ranked games in season 1. After hitting level 30 and playing some ranked games, I realized that getting to play mid lane was a frustrating experience, so I turned to the least-sought after role at the time: support.

Janna happened to be a free champion that week, and I had recently come across my firstfunny league-related video on YouTube which happened to be about Janna. While the video was funny, it intrigued me enough to give her a try after seeing her kit in action. Janna’s Monsoon is an ultimate that has an impossible to reach skill ceiling. After over five thousand Janna games, I still mess up my monsoons. There is always room to improve on how I use my ultimates, and that leads me to locking her in champion select game after game.

What do you do if Janna gets picked away or banned?

During last season’s North American Collegiate Championship (NACC), I expected Janna to be banned/taken away from me every single game. Now I’ve adapted and prepared other champions, so I get excited when the enemy team picks up Janna, because I know how exactly to ruin her day. In response, I tend to pick Soraka, Morgana, or Nami.

Morgana especially gives Janna a frustrating game, as a binding is a death sentence to Janna, and black shield nullifies her peel. Soraka will win laning phase against Janna and keep up with her roams through the use of Wish, as well as being able to silence that game-changing monsoon or shield. Nami is able to out-trade and out-lane Janna, and easily engage on her through tidal wave -- which is also great for stopping that monsoon heal.

If you could describe Janna’s playstyle in a sentence, what would it be?

Janna’s playstyle focuses on reaction-based gameplay.

Knowing what your opponent is capable of, and responding to it correctly defines a good Janna player.
  • Howling Gale (Q) is most powerful when used to disrupt your opponent’s channels, dashes, jumps, and cut off their pathways.
  • Zephyr (W) must be used cautiously, as it slows Janna as well.
  • Eye of the Storm (E) requires the Janna player to constantly re-calculate their opponent’s damage output and potential, and determine the best target to shield.
  • Monsoon (R) has immense utility which generally is most effective when used after the team fight has begun already - it’s a reaction.That’s not to say Janna is incapable of making plays. A well placed Howling Gale can catch people in clumps and set up a wombo, and Monsoon can definitely be used aggressively (Flash ult to isolate someone!). Janna generally shines when reacting to her opponents in skirmishes and teamfights.

If someone is playing Janna for the first time, what is the most important thing to bear in mind?

The best advice I can give to any Janna player is to never use your ultimate without a specific purpose in mind. Are you trying to push a specific enemy away? Are you trying to isolate an opponent? Are you cancelling a channel? Are you simply healing your team mate?

Knowing exactly what you want to do with Monsoon reduces the number of messed up/useless ones. There are team fights where an opportunity to use Monsoon doesn’t come up. Generally players recommend just dropping ultimates in a teamfight. I agree with that on most champions, but certain champions (Janna, Bard) have ultimates which are pure utility and can benefit your opponents if used incorrectly. To ensure you aren’t saving your opponents accidentally, know what you want to achieve with a Monsoon before using it.

Janna’s laning looks pretty passive on the surface. How do you exert pressure in a Janna lane?

Auto attacks are free to use, and whittle down your opponents slowly. When it is safe to do so (did your opponents just use their main engage tools? Are they going in for CS and can’t attack you?), get some auto attacks in! Janna’s auto attack range is fairly low however, so don’t spend too much time trading with someone who has a higher attack range.

Outside of auto attacks, Eye of the Storm can be used when your ADC wants to aggress. Janna generally doesn’t aggress on her own, it’s a team effort. If your ADC wants to exert some pressure, back them up - that’s how Janna exerts pressure. Alternatively, if you really want to make awesome plays pre-6, charging up a howling gale can be a death sentence to your opponents. Place it from the side, be unpredictable about it. If you master the technique of landing charged howling gales, you’ll set up ganks and exert pressure you wouldn’t normally anticipate from a Janna. Just make sure you don’t spam it - Howling Gale is expensive to use!

What is Janna’s main role in teamfights?

In team fights, Janna must identify three things:
  • The teammate that needs immediate saving,
  • The teammate that is important to keep alive
  • The opponents that need to be peeled. 
If a teammate is close to death and interception from Janna will keep them alive long enough to win the fight, they are worth saving. Otherwise, Janna should focus on keeping her most valuable teammate alive. She must also consider her opponent’s threats: do they have dashes that need cancelling (Jarvan, LeBlanc, Kha’Zix, Gragas, Diana etc.)? Do they have champions who channel abilities that need to be disrupted (Vel’Koz, Miss Fortune, Galio etc.)? Do they have a hard-diving champion that can’t re-enter a fight once they burn their main engage (Irelia, Nocturne etc.)?

Generally, I’ll recommend Janna players to determine where they can place a charging Howling Gale that will benefit them in three seconds, and if they really need it (or it will miss because they mis-predicted), launch it instantly. Slow the opponents who burned their dash cooldowns and are trying to re-engage, and constantly shield the appropriate target.

Monsoon is her back-up. When your howling gale wasn’t enough to keep your opponents away, or your entire team is in a position where healing them will win you the fight -- use your ultimate! It can achieve all that howling gale achieves, but more effectively and with a neat heal attached.

Who is your favorite AD to lane with as Janna?

Nothing compares to a good Vayne player. If I am laning with a good Vayne, we will win laning phase very easily through outplaying our opponents with slippery mechanics and chaining Condemn and Howling Gale. Monsoon works amazingly with Condemn, and Vayne loves that eye of the storm AD. If we get rolling early-game, nothing can stop Vayne with a Janna. This does however require the Vayne player to understand our potential, and know how to play the champion. Flash tumbling into the enemy Riven probably isn’t going to work out for us.

If someone is looking to climb the ladder as a support main, what should they focus on improving?
With respect to support specifically, the greatest advice I could ever give to a support player is DO NOT DIE WHILE TRYING TO GET VISION! This gets more important as the game goes late. You will lose objectives, pressure, and the entire game for getting caught while warding. Understand when it is safe to ward, and when you should wait until you have more team mates ready to back you up. If there are enemies missing, and you are unsure of their last position, do not go out to ward. When you have a good understanding of your opponent’s positions, go ahead and ward the safe spots. Getting caught less means you’ll be around to make those game-winning team fight plays.

Thanks for taking the time to chat with us! If readers want to reach out, where can they find you?

I appreciate your interest in my experiences! I had a ton of fun answering the questions, so thank you for taking the time to create this article!

Readers who are interested in reaching out to me can contact me here on Twitch at

I tend to have a full friends list so I can’t add everybody who sends me a friend request, but if you really want to contact me, twitter and twitch are great! I stream more often when I am off school, so keep an eye out for when I go online. I answer every question I see in twitch chat, so if you’re a bit shy/don’t have twitter, that’s another option!


Janna Mechanics is going to hang out in the comments to answer your questions for a couple of hours, so ask away!"

Community Collab | Helmet Bro: The Animated Series - Fiddlesticks 

Next up is the latest entry in the Helmet Bro animated series featuring Fiddlesticks!

Poppy Q&A 

As we've grown acustomed to, the team behind Poppy's upcoming champion update  gathered on the boards to answer player questions on the little yordle and her giant hammer!
Here's Riot GogoUsagi to get us started:
"Hey guys,

We've gathered a bunch of the folks who worked on Poppy for some Q&A about the Keeper of the Hammer! Whether you're interested in Poppy’s gameplay, story, art, or sound, ask away and we'll be happy to answer!

Check out these links if you need to get up to speed:

Poppy, Keeper of the Hammer: Check out Poppy’s reveal.

Champion Insights: The story behind Poppy’s champion update.

The Arsenal: Forging Poppy’s Hammer.

A Hero’s Calling: A weapon holding the hope of a kingdom has found its champion. She just doesn’t know it."
As usual, we've sorted the Q&A responses in to several topics!


When asked about Poppy's update's release date, Ququroon shared:
When does the patch with the Poppy rework go live?
5.24, assuming nothing breaks. o/"
When asked about the biggest challenge when updating PoppyQuquroon  commented:
What was the biggest challenge in redesigning Poppy? Would you consider Poppy better or worse than the Sion rework?
Well, I'd rather not pit them against each other, because they succeed on different angles, buuuut. 
There's definitely a lot of things we learned from working on Sion, that we have applied on Poppy (and things we've learned on Poppy that we'll be applying towhoever is next Taric). 
And while it wasn't the hardest, it was a big challenge: ensuring that we maintained Lollipoppy."

When asked if Poppy's legacy skins will return with her release going to live Riot Stellari  commented:
"The legacy skins will be made available for a limited time once she goes live."
[NOTE: Two listed as returning as legacy skin sales and Ragdoll as part of legacy snow down skins!]


As for the thematic of Poppy throwing her shield for her passive,  Solcrushed  explained:
"I feel it shows the scrappy and resourceful side of her (no one who got formal shield training would throw it!) where she gives it everything it takes"
When asked how many abilities Poppy's W will stop, RiotKarateMonkey  clarified:
I just posted this as a bug report but i'll ask hereis poppy's w supposed to stop consecutive dashes from the same champ? (riven, lee, kalista) Because she doesnt right now
Poppy's W will stop only one dash per champion per cast."
RiotKarateMonkey  also commented on Poppy's W + Ahri's R and Nocturne's R:
Can Poppy's W block Nocturne's Ult or Ahri's Ult? Is it just all dashes ever or only certain dashes?
Poppy's W can block Ahri's, but not Nocturne's. Nocturne's Ult is CC immune."
As for why Poppy's R was changed completely, Solcrushed explained:
I kind of feel like her old ult was a big part of her identity and I didn't see anything about why it's being removed from the game. The "1v1 me bruh" feel was really fun.
Nerfing Diplomat Immunity to a balanceable level made it either feel too similar to other spells (Trynd etc) and lose what made it special. Sheer power level was very important to Diplomatic Immunity feeling like Diplomatic Immunity"

Ququroon  also commented on why the new R doesn't do tons of damage:
Is her ult's damage getting buffed? It literally feels like it does zero damage.
The power of the ability is in the massive distance (or knockup), so we prefer if it didn't do tons of damage."

Solcrushed also commented on why Poppy's new R makes those hit untargetable:
Hey there! Why does the ult make the enemy untargettable, even when it's only used for the knockup?
Power budget and differentiation. 
We wanted to keep this from becoming a better Lee Sin R or the like"

As for the inspiration for the longer range knock back on Poppy's new R, Solcrushed explained:
Hey,my second thought on her new ult was like: "What did they smoke to come up with this?"Sooo, how did her ult come to be? Especially the thing with being drawn to his own spawn pool.
We were looking for something that really played up the 'disproportionate power' part and asked ourselves 'what is the most visually impactful feat of strength we could have in the game?'"

When asked about any cancelled or scrapped abilities they tried out for PoppySolcrushed shared:
Oh boy I'm on time!
Uh, so what were some other notable ideas you went through for the poppy rework?
Any testing with funny bugs for her rework?
There was a 'ride the giant' ult where she climbed onto the target and could periodically yank him toward a direction. Way too much clarity and frustration issues.

Background / Story

When asked about the changes to Poppy's lore from what we've seen so far, Riot Stellari  noted:
Okay, so Poppy has definitely been one of my favorite champions for a few years now and I've been dying for a rework for her for a long time (which looks amazing by the way). I'm absolutely in love with her new lore (which I believe many people share the same feelings as me on). She has the most amazingly dynamic lore out of every champ in my opinion, now. But I'm just curious, what inspired you guys to come up with such a drastically divergent lore from her original?
One of the reasons the team changed her bio was because we have a lot of Champions with stories nearly identical to hers. During the Bilgewater event, we released a chapter in the novella about Miss Fortune seeking revenge for her dead parents, and using the weapon they gave her to attain it. 
Personally--and I'm not the narrative writer, so this is just an opinion--I find Poppy's new story to be very endearing. It's very human (yordle?) to be confident, but also not understand your own strengths. She's a badass yordle with Imposter Syndrome! I had the most fun working on her, I think."
As for Poppy's strength and if the hammer has special properties, Chanmanu commented:
How can Poppy carry that huge hammer with her small stature, outside of "It's magic"?Also, is the Hammer magical in nature, kinda like Thor's, and only chosen ones can wield it? Or is it just a normal, high-quality hammer?
It's a magical hammer and Poppy is very strong for her size."
Chanmanu continued:
How can a yordle hold this hammer with only one hand? Are yordles are stronger than we think? Or is she special?
As for her personality changes, Solcrushed commented:
Sup guys, good work on Poppy.So, Poppy's personality has gone a pretty significant change. She went from this really rough-around-the-edges and no nonsense character to a fairly cheerful girl and perhaps a bit naive about her current mission and who the hero is. Was this change something that was really difficult or did you guys know right off the bat that Poppy needed a personality rewrite?
We knew we needed to move her personality beyond just being angry and stubborn relatively quickly. 
Finding a noble Demacian hero that did not feel like a mini-Garen, that wasn't easy."

Riot Stellari also explained what Poppy may refer to the hammer as:
Whay does she call her hammer :D
"My Hammer"? XD 
Hammer of Orlon, when she's being official and sincere. 'My hammer' or 'the hammer' when she's being casual (like, I am writing this on my laptop...but it's actual rito's laptop). 
In my own headcannon, Mr. Hammersworth"

As for Poppy's comment of "I don't get yordles. Too Fluffy" to other yordles, Riot Stellari  shared:
Great job on this rework! Definitely worth the wait ^.^ 
Could you elaborate a bit on what she means with what the wiki says is her taunt to ("I don't get Yordles. Too fluffy.")? Seems to be kind of an odd comment, considering, well, Poppy herself is a yordle :P. Does she feel closer to Demacia then she does to Bandle City, then?
She says that to all Yordles. XD But she generally feels yordles are too disorganized -- she's definitely drawn to orderliness of Demacia."
Riot Stellari  continued:
I want to ask how she now thinks about other yordles ?
What she think about :D
Well, I couldn't answer with specific yordles -- but she finds yordles a bit fluffy and disorganized. XD"

Art & Animation

As for Poppy's full set of new splash arts and if we can expect more updated skin splashes, Riot Stellari  commented:
Now that you've done the full splash selection thingy for Poppy's update, does this mean more splash art upgrades for older champions/newer VUs?
Yes, it's something we'd want to do -- Poppy was the first step towards that!"

As for Poppy's red muffler, Ququroon explained:
I really love the Hero motif Poppy has now! At what point did you guys decide to give her that sick "Kamen Rider" type red muffler?
Early on in her concept, we played around giving her a flowing red scarf. It's one of those things we keep wanting to put on people. It's a heroic thing, so of course we'd look to put it on a heroic champion. 
However, the scarf was competing heavily with her pigtails though, and it was way too busy. We still liked the red read there, so we trimmed it down to a muffler."
When asked about her snaggletooth, lonewingy  explained:
I was wondering where the idea to give Poppy a snaggle tooth came from. It only adds to her cuteness.P.S. I am super ridicously over-the-top excited for her rework to go live! And to everyone who worked on her: you all did a great job, can't wait to play my favorite yordle!
It adds more character to her and provide distinctive trait on her appearance, to separate her from looking like Tristana and Lulu with pigtails :)"
Riot Stellari  also commented on Poppy's facial hair.
Why female yordles have hairless face including Poppy, any chance we get a female yordle with fur on her face?
She does have hair on her face~ Look at the splash closely. :)"
When asked why Poppy's hair is now blonde instead of white,  lonewingy  explained:
What was the reasoning for changing her hair color from white to blonde? I really liked her hair color and it went well with her blue face.
The team wanted to make sure she doesn't look like A relative to Tristana. And so Poppy have her own unique space visually"
As for the statues lining up behind Poppy in her splash art, Chanmanu commented:
A question about her classic splash art: are those real soldiers or statues?
Those are Demacian soldiers. It represents Poppy's search for the hero of Demacia."

As for if the next champion will have full facial animation like PoppyPartiest Cat noted:
I love the animated face and stuff, are you going to do face animations on the next Champions too?
Yordles are always the best candidates for this kind of thing (big heads = lots of visual real estate) but people seem to love it (us too!), so we'll do our best to look into adding it where we can. No Promises™, but we're always looking for opportunities to make champs more expressive!"


When asked about the inspiration for Poppy's login theme music, ProtoShredanoid commented:
"Hello! Regarding the music - we really wanted to capture both the Demacian and the Yordle aspects of Poppy. We ended up really liking the contrast of the low brass representing the strength and seriousness of her Demacian side and the playful flute for her Yordle roots. The first few theme ideas ended up sounding too solemn, but when I experimented with playing a lighter, more uplifting (Dorian), sprightly variation of Demacia Rising on flute, the piece fell into place. There is also the element of the flute not fully fitting with the low brass and the rest of the orchestra which I believe to be very fitting for a Yordle in Demacia."

As for Poppy's R sound effects, RiotKarateMonkey  explained his process:
Story behind retooling "demacia rising" from league music vol.1 for her theme?And about her backstory: will it be revealed where she got the hammer from? And are there any changes to how her father died and all that.Oh and how did the sound team make her ultimate sfx its one of the most badass sounds I've heard in league.
To make her ultimate SFX I went to the local hardware store and bought a bunch of bricks, cinder blocks and a really big hammer. I then brought it into our Foley room and Poppy ulted all over the place."


As for Poppy and Tristana's size relative to other yordles, Ququroon  explained:
Tristana and Poppy are now taller than every other yordle. Will you eventually update other yordles like Lulu and Teemo to be their height?
Tristana and Poppy are adhering to new yordle proportions, which have crazy things like knees. This allows us to do a lot more with their animations, which allows us to make them more expressive, feel better for gameplay feel, etc. 
The other yordles will eventually be updated in a similar fashion."
Ququroon  also commented  on the previous existence of Meglings:
Story question. How does she relate to tristana. I know trist used to be a megling, but has that been removed, are they both of the same 'sub-race'?
In League's past, Meglings were a separate race from Yordles. Quickly into the game's release, we genocided unified Meglings with Yordles, making them a single race.
Tristana and Poppy are both Yordles, but have no direct relation to each other."
As for champ up and yordles in general, Ququroon  commented:
"I've been really happy and satisfied with the progress made on the GYUP (though it really just became us working on a couple). At the beginning of this year, female yordles were... mostly just potatos, but now they're much further along. 
There's still a lot of yordles that need updating though, but we did make a sizeable chunk. Of the 11 Yordles, 4 are updated to new proportions (Heimerdinger, Gnar, Tristana, Poppy). We'll be getting to them in time (hi Corki?), but there is still work to be done. 
Also, somewhat related, but the new proportions do allow us to have a greater deal of freedom. Final Boss Veigar and Omega Squad Teemo also employ these to great effect."
lonewingy also commented on distinguishing yordles:
is it difficult to come up with ways to make yordle champions distinctive? compared to humans?
In terms of distinction, if you meant facial distinction it's always hard because you see these characters in the game almost no bigger than a size of a quarter. That's why we always lean on diversifying their silhouettes. Yordles are easier silhouette wise to make it distinct because we can exaggerate their ear shape, proportions and animation more than humans needs to be more grounded and subtle proportional changes. Then again both are not always easy."

When asked about the proper size scaling of Poppy and yordles in the world, Chanmanu commented:
So how big are Yordles? The splash makes her look about knee-high compared to the soldiers. Does that mean she is about 50cm tall? How would they look if they were properly scaled in-game?
As cool as it would be to have champs to scale in game, it would not work well for gameplay. Also consider how huge Malphite or other juggernauts would be or how big towers and base buildings would need to be. Champs and game assets are scaled the way they are so that the game will be fun as opposed to being accurate to scale. Instead of showing it in game, we leave a lot of the fantasy of the world to come through in splash art, comics, animations, and other supplemental materials. A good example would be the the New Dawn cinematic!"
Chanmanu  continued:
Tristana and Poppy are now taller than every other yordle. Will you eventually update other yordles like Lulu and Teemo to be their height?
Yordles don't necessarily need to be the same height and we determine their heights individually as we work on them. Personally, I would like Lulu and Teemo to be smaller than Trist and Poppy." 

Group Questions

Riot Stellari  Group Answers #1
I have a couple of questions: 
1) Is Galio still one of her friends, is he still following her? 
2) Does she not like the company of other Yordles? If so, why not? 
3) What made you decide to go with the comic format like you did with Ekko? Have those 2 ever met? That would be cool.
Hey~ I'm the brand manager for Poppy (and all Champion updates + Kindred in the past) and also produced the comic. How we decide what to make depends on a lot of factors--production time, scope of the update, what medium or format really sells the Champion and the team feels will resonate (and a lot of other things!) 
For Poppy, I felt that a lot of what makes her so compelling is her small stature + big hammer, and also her crazy ulti -- couple that with her endearing story about being a hero, but not realizing it. It's a super human, relatable story. I felt that needed to be told visually. John had a great story for her and Jason and Dan could tell it with beautiful art, so we felt that a comic told that story in the best way given the constraints. This was the most fun project I've worked on. :) 
As for whether or not they've met. I'm not sure. XD"
Solcrushed  Group Answers #1
I have a few questions. What took so long? :P (I am quite excited for the rework though)
  1. Do you think she will become a viable pick for major championships in the future?
  2. Since I have started playing with her in season 3, I have always imaged her with a "magical girl" skin. Seeing as the hammer is magical, she is unaware of being a "hero" herself and as she gives off a sort of Tsundere attitude (also let's not forget her looking like she came out of an anime), do you think there's is any chance she'd get a "magical girl" skin or something similar to star guardian lux? I can see her fitting that quite well.
  3. On poppy itself, is her attack range increased from before?
  4. With what does her abilities scale? I know w scales with magic and armor (the passive I mean), but her q, e and r, are they AP or AD? (seeing as she is using a magic hammer) [I can't do PBE]
  5. When will she be implemented in the normal League of Legends?
  1. I think she has the tools to become one
  2. I will refrain from commenting here to hide my true inclinations
  3. Not now, we may do it depending on how the currently ongoing attack range increases are going
  4. AD mostly
  5. Hopefully with the next patch!"
Solcrushed  Group Answers #2
From a gameplay standpoint, I'm wondering about her passive. While the rest of her kit showcases a very 'in-your-face' kind of attack style (You can even use an uncharged Ult for a simple Knockup), her passive doesn't seem to fit with this style besides the shield. Do you see this passive as something of a catch-up mechanic if Poppy falls behind, or is it something more like "Poke enemy down before going all in".
What other variations of her ultimate did you try out? I'm sure you had a crazy idea or two.
The shield is intended more to create zones where fights happen (although it also serves poke, fallback and item synergy) which is why the shields love flying into walls. It will drop much closer to Poppy in teamfights though.

One I remember is a global ally targeted AOE knockback that had separate cooldowns for each ally. I was toying around with the idea of her being a superhero who swings in to save civilians in distress"

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