Champion Reveal: Rell, the Iron Maiden

Posted on at 11:12 AM by Aznbeat
Forge your heart into something strong. Unbreakable.” - Our newest champion, Rell, the Iron Maiden, has been revealed!
Continue reading for a first look at her abilities, biography, champion insights and more!

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Rell, the Iron Maiden Champion Page

Our newest champion, Rell, the Iron Maiden, has been revealed! Check out her champion page and bio!

"The product of brutal experimentation at the hands of the Black Rose, Rell is a defiant, living weapon determined to topple Noxus. Her childhood was one of misery and horror, enduring unspeakable procedures to perfect and weaponize her magical control over metal... until she made a violent escape, killing many of her captors in the process. Now branded as a criminal, Rell attacks Noxian soldiers on sight as she searches for survivors of her old “academy”, defending the meek while delivering merciless death to her former instructors."


Biography

Rell, the Iron Maiden 

"Posters across Noxus warn of a dangerous criminal, armed with a massive, blunted spear and borne atop a magical fiend, whose mere existence poses a threat to the safety and security of the entire nation. Even some within the steeled ranks of the Trifarian Legion have begun to worry that they will be sent after her to their almost certain deaths. 
What kind of monster could be behind such heinous, unchecked destruction? 
The simple answer is a sixteen-year-old girl. 
The complicated one is unforgivable. 
Rell was special from the moment of her birth—and fated to suffer for it. Born the daughter of a Noxian footsoldier and the heir to a fallen noble house, she enjoyed neither the trappings of wealth nor the gilded upbringing common to children of the lower aristocracy. Nevertheless, her parents had grand plans to mold her into someone who could shatter through Noxus’ dense political landscape. As Rell’s mother always said, “Excellence is measured in sacrifice.” 
Rell’s unhappiness grew with time, sparking something unique within her—a magic unlike anything seen in centuries: the ability to manipulate metal. To Rell’s parents, this was something to be exploited—for Rell’s own sake, of course!—and they tried unsuccessfully to apprentice her with many powerful mages who might whisk their daughter into the political or military elite. 
But someone else took notice of the young girl’s magic. Seeing in Rell a weapon who could one day face Noxus’ most hated, ancient foe, a certain pale woman visited the family with a dark bargain. Rell soon found herself the star pupil of a very special academy, hidden far from the capital and away from the council’s prying eyes. And though they rarely made appearances in her new boarding school, her mother and father never seemed more proud or more hopeful of their daughter’s future. 
It seemed, at least for a moment, that perhaps Rell would be loved after all. 
Then the true horrors began. 
Rell was first forced into combat with another student when she was eight, and, afterward, a kind of magic sigil was painfully grafted into her arm, amplifying her powers so that she could become even stronger. Yet while this had been framed as a training exercise, Rell never saw the boy again. She never saw any of her opponents again. 
Every day, she grew more powerful, honing her magic for martial combat. Her body became covered with sigils that amplified her magical abilities to impossible heights. In time, she could rip a vein of raw ore from deep out of the ground, twist the walls into deadly weapons, and superheat an opponent’s armor until it collapsed and crushed them. But her instructors desired even more from her—all in the hopes that Rell would be the most powerful soldier the empire had ever known. 
On her sixteenth birthday, after a particularly barbaric duel, she’d finally had enough. Casting her instructors aside, Rell tore past the guards and ripped open the doors of a forbidden wing of the academy, discovering the true nature of her school: Every opponent she’d defeated had been Nullified—their magic forcibly extracted from them and placed into the very sigils covering Rell’s body—and left as emotionless puppets devoid of memories. This was the price of her power, and she could never give it back. 
Worst of all was the headmistress who oversaw the procedures herself: Rell’s own mother. All of this had been for Rell, she said. After all... excellence is measured in sacrifice. 
Rell raged. 
To the small handful of faculty who survived her escape from the academy, it was like the earth had been torn open into a twisting whirlwind of razor-sharp slag. The building ripped itself apart, forming an impenetrable suit of black armor around Rell as she crushed those who stood before her, flattening seasoned soldiers with a lance heavier than a mountain. Bursting through the front gate on a steed made of rippling iron, she led as many of her classmates as she could to freedom—leaving the Rose scrambling to recover the Null and erase any trace of what their organization had done. 
But it was far too late. Soon enough, the surviving faculty members began to die in increasingly public ways, and the Null could no longer be kept secret. 
Rell is now a threat to Noxus, but not in the way the handbills proclaim. She is a self-styled defender of the meek, full of unchecked fury, distrustful of everyone, and merciless toward a government that turned a blind eye to years of suffering and abuse. Not because the empire was personally responsible—but because they stood by and did nothing. 
Riding atop her iron steed, Rell’s eyes are set on nothing less than the complete destruction of Noxus and saving any children who, like her, survived the Black Rose academy. 
And there is nothing in this world that can stop her."

Rell Abilities Rundown

Check out Rell's abilities:
"Bend the enemy's armor and break through their lines with Rell, the Iron Maiden. Learn more about her metalmancing abilities below.

BE STRONG. BE RUTHLESS. BE COLD AS IRON.

Passive - Break the Mold 
Rell attacks very slowly, but temporarily steals a portion of her target’s Armor and Magic Resist to deal bonus damage based on the amount stolen. Additionally, Rell can siphon resistances from multiple different foes to grow extremely tanky. 
Q - Shattering Strike 
Rell stabs forward with her lance, breaking any shields and damaging all enemies hit (damage decreases after the first target). If Rell has an ally bound with E - Attract and Repel, she and that ally recover health for each champion hit by this ability. 
W1 - Ferromancy: Crash Down
(Can only cast while mounted) Rell leaps into the sky and transforms her mount into heavy armor, gaining a huge shield that lasts until destroyed or remounting. Upon landing, she knocks up all enemies around her. Rell can cast E - Attract and Repel and R - Magnet Storm during the transformation.

Rell has increased durability, low movement speed, and a movement speed cap while in armored form. After the transformation, this ability changes to Ferromancy: Mount Up. 
W2 - Ferromancy: Mount Up 
(Can only cast while in armored form) Rell rushes forward and transforms her armor into a mount, gaining a burst of movement speed. During her next attack, she charges her target to deal bonus damage and flip them over her shoulder. 
Rell has increased movement speed while mounted. After the transformation, this ability changes to Ferromancy: Crash Down
E - Attract and Repel 
Rell magnetically binds a piece of her armor to a target allied champion, granting them bonus Armor and Magic Resist while nearby.
Rell can recast this spell to break the bind and stun all enemies around and between her and her bound ally. 
R - Magnet Storm 
Rell erupts in magnetic fury, yanking nearby enemies toward her. She then creates a gravitational field around her, pulling nearby enemies in for a few seconds. The field doesn't interrupt her enemies’ other actions. 
THE ROSE WANTED ME TO BE A WEAPON. WELL HERE I AM. 
Lead the charge with Rell in patch 10.25!"


Champion Insights: Rell

 Here's Riot Cashmiir with Rell's champion insights - "The full metal equinist.":

"Noxus has a problem. No, it’s not just Demacia’s penchant for spinning nationalists, the creeping threat of the Black Mist, or the ever-increasing number of demons in Runeterra. Their problem is closer to home. And it’s metal as f&^%. 
Mordekaiser is inevitable. And Noxus must stop at nothing to defeat him. 
But what does that look like? Are they willing to throw aside all morals to construct their ultimate weapon? And what happens when it turns against them? 
Rell happens. And Noxus is not prepared. 
Fueled by Rage 
When the dev team first started working on Rell, they had two things to go off of: dark support and tank. That’s not quite enough to make a character, so they did what anyone would do: turn to the artist. 
“We really loved the idea of creating a tanky support. It’d been a long time since we’d made one—Braum was actually the last,” says senior concept artist Justin “Riot Earp” Albers. “But unlike Braum, we wanted her to have a darker past and personality. I explored a few different options, but everyone was really attached to the metal bending concept. After we landed on that, we just had to decide where Rell came from.”
When darkness, strength, and armor are involved, there’s one area of Runeterra that just really works: Noxus. It’s a land of inclusivity, tolerance, and opportunity —at least, to those willing to put aside ethics for a chance at power. 
The Black Rose , who run Noxus’ clandestine operations, are interested in some horrible things to further the empire’s expansion and power,” explains narrative lead Jared “Carnival Knights” Rosen. “Demon calling, Void magic, resurrecting and controlling dead gods... A little of this, a little of that. And one of the things this group of crappy 1000-year-old aristocrats have discovered is sigil magic, which has the ability to rip the magic out of living things and then forcibly put it into someone else.” 
So when the team was looking for a way to explain Rell’s “dark past,” they focused on that dark side of Noxus.
Born to an agent of The Black Rose and a ranking Noxian soldier, Rell’s magic manifested at an early age—in the incredibly rare form of ferromancy, or metal manipulation. Perfect for combatting Mordekaiser, a revenant attached to metal. So her parents did what any truly patriotic Noxian would: They sent her to an academy for magical kids, to be turned into weapons for Noxus. 
Rell spent years at this facility, forced to fight the other students under the guise of “learning from one another to improve.” And she defeated every single one. 
But as she bested the other students and grew increasingly powerful, they began to disappear. Torn from her life, just as the instructors tore the magic from their bodies and implanted it into Rell, their ultimate weapon . 
“The magic from the other kids is placed into Rell with the sigil magic, which empowers her own latent powers,” explains Riot Earp. “But the process is incredibly painful, for both Rell and the other students. I focused a lot on adding the sigils to her arms—especially the one that holds her lance—to make sure it’s clear when playing her. I wanted the pain that she underwent to be clear to players, so they understood her past.” 
When Rell defeats other students, they either die from their wounds or the staff tears the magic from their bodies to implant into Rell. And that process leaves them null, in a zombie-like state devoid of magic and emotion. 
But Rell never signed up for this. She doesn’t want to fight her friends, the only ones who ever showed her compassion and love. And once Rell finds out she’s been lied to and forced into harming others... She’s furious at everyone and everything. And she tears the entire place down. 
“Anger is such a hard emotion to empathize with, and we wanted to make sure players could understand where Rell was coming from. All of the pain she’s gone through, the heartbreak,” says narrative editor Elan “Qulani” Stimmel. “It’s also one of the reasons we decided to make Rell young—it’s much easier to understand and relate to a young person’s fury. Most teenagers are filled with angst, and that’s without discovering their life has been fueled by lies.” 
This is where we meet Rell. She’s free from the facility. The Black Rose got what they wanted. Noxus’ greatest weapon is finally unleashed. 
Ferromancy Unbound 
“I wanted to make Rell the tankiest tank the world has ever seen. I had this idea of a heavily armored character who sunders the ground she walks on, making the earth beneath her collapse from her might,” says game designer Stash “Riot Stashu” Chelluck. “Unfortunately that’s hard to display in League, and I still needed to make sure she thematically felt like she was manipulating metal. I was looking for neat ways to map her ferromantic powers into her gameplay, to really make her feel powerful and hard hitting without feeling like a mage.” 
That meant the team needed to understand what exactly ferromancy is. How does it work? What does it look like in League? And how do they make sure Rell feels like a tank, not a metal-slinging mage?
“I wanted to make sure that Rell visually reads as a tank,” says Riot Earp. “When I was designing her armor, which is made from metal from the school, I wanted to make sure it read that she’s incredibly strong and powerful. The metal part of her armor is bulky and dark. So to balance this I gave it a dress-like silhouette.” 
Rell crafted her armor using her ferromancy. It acts as a sort of magnetic field that allows her to control latent metal in the ground, metal that touches her directly, or any that comes close to her. What she can’t do is reach hundreds of meters across a battlefield to pick up a single person and crush their bones armor. 
“Because Rell needs to be close to her enemies to manipulate their armor, and she plays as a tank, I needed to make sure that her gameplay fit that,” Riot Stashu explains. “Her ultimate became the best way to illustrate that particular tank fantasy. She becomes supercharged with power and enemies in her vicinity get pulled in, but it doesn’t interrupt their casts or channels.”
But that still doesn’t explain what ferromancy looks like in League. How do you make something invisible clear in a game that requires clarity? 
“When I started on Rell I didn’t really have any idea how to give ferromancy clear effects. It’s funny, I actually started by looking at magnets,” shares VFX artist Kyle “RiotPrismaPrime” Valentin. “I don’t really understand how they work, but I know that the way they pull is incredibly strong, and it’s often portrayed as distortion in the electron molecules in the air.” 
After some tinkering with different effects and forms of light manipulation, RiotPrismaPrime landed on something he felt was uniquely Rell: chromatic aberration. By focusing on color distortion, RiotPrismaPrime made it appear as if light bent differently around Rell when she cast her abilities. And by adding her highlight colors of red and yellow, it added a more earthy, ragey element that demonstrated her personality. 

“While ferromancy isn’t a new concept in fantasy or sci-fi, it’s new to Runeterra, and needed to be audibly different from other forms of magic,” explains sound designer Darren “Riot DummerWitz” Lodwick. “And it should be distinguishable from other metal-wielding champions like Mordekaiser and Leona. So I used a bunch of different methods and sources, like grinding metal, dry ice, and a lot of processing to make the metal sound fluid.” 
A Knight and Her Steed 
“One of our other goals with Rell was to hit on the ‘armored and mounted knight’ thematic,” says Riot Stashu. “And because I wanted her to be so tanky, I needed to figure out how it’d work with her gameplay. We wanted her to be this unstoppable, slow-moving tank, but that kind of feels bad in League because the game relies heavily on movement, positioning, and dodging. But I couldn’t stop thinking of that idea, and I needed to find a way to make it palatable.” 
Because Rell has the ability to manipulate metal to her will, she clearly wouldn’t spend all day walking around, lugging heavy armor everywhere... right? She’d need something that freed her up to move faster. 
Finding the right mount for Rell ended up taking more work than the team expected. It couldn’t be too cute, because it’s Rell we’re talking about. She’s on a mission to hunt down the faculty at the academy and slay them where they stand, she’s not going to ride a rainbow unicorn to do that. But anything that was too... otherworldly wouldn’t give the clear “mounted knight” read. 

“I explored a few options for the appearance of Rell’s mount,” shares Riot Earp. “I tried a lot early on like abstract metal figures or a basilisk. But none of them worked because they were visually confusing. So I decided to stick to a horse, but make it more metal and hollow. This way it’s clear this isn’t the type of horse you’d feed carrots to.”
Rell’s form swapping let the team explore two very unique gameplay fantasies: the tankiest tank and the mounted knight. Because she can swap between these two forms (on a cooldown, of course) they were free to lean hard into each. When Rell dives the backline and dismounts, she moves incredibly slowly, but has more armor and magic resistance. She’s looking for the fight, and she won’t run from it. 
“When Rell makes the decision to enter the fight and dismounts, she’s stuck in that form for a while,” Riot Stashu shares. “The upside is that we made her really tanky, so she can survive for a bit, but she’s not unkillable. She actually got the nickname ‘the int horse’ during playtests. She can get to any fight on her horse, but she’s fully committed to it once she dismounts. But that’s okay. Players will figure it out, and once they do it’ll feel amazing.” 
But there was a small hiccup in the mounting fantasy the team wanted to hit. It was hard to animate... Like really hard.
“Making Rell’s mounting animation feel good was really challenging. The horse is the avatar of her rage and magnetic powers, and I wanted it to be this cinematic moment for players so it would match the fantasy of her riding into battle,” says senior animator David “davehelsby” Helsby. “Each individual piece of her armor needed to be animated, and it needed to be visually clear while still delivering on that exciting moment. I spent a lot of time visually lining up each piece of metal from the horse to her biped armored form.”
There’s another reason for wanting Rell to embody the “mounted knight” thematic... Remember the null children from the academy? She certainly does. 
“At the end of the day it could be easy to look at Rell and think that she’s just angry, full of hate, or out for revenge... And while I’m not saying that’s not true, her ultimate goal is much softer than that,” says Carnival Knights. “She commiserates with these kids more than she can with anyone else. And she’ll stop at nothing to save them. In many ways she’s a gallant knight. She wants to defend those who can’t, starting with the other kids.” 
The Life Lost 
Rell could have been different if anything in her life had changed. If her parents hadn’t handed her over to the Black Rose, if she hadn’t discovered the truth of the school, or if she’d been shown a sliver of love. But that’s not what happened. 
And while Rell won’t dwell on the past, that doesn’t mean she can’t find a little joy in the life she has now...

“The first thing I thought of when I heard Rell was a teenager and had a mount was a coin-operated horse ride—like the ones outside of grocery stores,” recalls davehelsby. “I’ve seen teenagers ride them a lot. And it’s so interesting because you see a person on the cusp of being an adult, but there’s still a bit of kid in them. I just feel like that made sense for Rell. She has a lot of adult responsibilities on her shoulders, but she’s still a kid, and she deserves a little fun.”"

 

Look for more on Rell when she hits the PBE in the 10.25 PBE cycle!

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