Red Post Collection: Patch 12.16 & TFT Notes, Udyr VGU /dev Blogs, TFT Uncharted Realms, & more

Posted on at 4:12 PM by Aznbeat
Today's red post collection includes the Patch 12.16 & TFT notes, /dev blogs on the Udyr VGU and Spirit Guard Udyr, the full rundown on the TFT: Uncharted Realms, and more!
Continue reading for more information!

Table of Contents

Patch 12.16 Notes

Check out the Patch 12.16 notes:
"It’s time to unleash the spirits and start stance dancin’—welcome to patch 12.16! 
With World’s slowly sneaking up on us, we wanted to let you know that this will be the first of several patches that will address balance issues at the highest levels of play. That said, this patch Udyr’s VGU will be hitting the Rift so be sure to give it a try! We’re also making quite a few ARAM balance adjustments, introducing a super-secret-special game variant to Ultimate Spellbook, and rotating the Mythic Shop.  
In other news, it's the last patch before TFT's midset, Uncharted Realms, so come on over to the Dragonlands to hit those ranked goals before exploring the new traits and units! Read more about the last patch changes here

Armored Titan Nasus, Cyber Halo Janna, Prestige Cyber Halo Janna, Strike Commander Camille, and Strike Paladin Lucian will be available August 25, 2022."

[Full Patch Notes Here!]

Udyr VGU: Rebuilding The Spirit Walker

Here's Small Baby Panda with a write up on the Udyr VGU now that it's heading to live with 12.16 - "The dad bod of the gods."
In the more than a decade since he was unleashed onto Summoner’s Rift, Udyr has become an icon in his own right. 
Running around the jungle like a possessed wild man? Iconic. Not having a traditional ultimate? Iconic. Flash, bear, slap? Iconic. 
But as zoomers like Zeri debuted on the Rift, papa Udyr found himself needing to get with the times. His kit and appearance had fallen behind the rest of the game, earning him the most votes for a VGU. 
We know it’s been a long road since that vote, but we hope the new Spirit Walker has been well worth the wait. Prepare to harness the power of the Freljord, stance dance like everybody’s watching, and, of course, run in and punch stuff. 
Udyr Awakened

When we take on a VGU, the primary goal is to preserve the things that players love about a champion, dial up their fantasy, and bring their kit and visuals up to modern standards. But doing an overhaul of a champion as old as Udyr is a huge effort, especially when numerous skins are involved, not to mention an Ultimate
As we mentioned earlier this year, we had a few core goals for Udyr’s VGU: preserving his stance-changing, melee identity; upgrading his visuals to modern League standards; and bringing his in-game portrayal closer to his recent lore. 
On the gameplay side of things, Udyr’s stance-dancing identity is what makes him feel so unique within the League roster. So his kit remains that of an immobile melee juggernaut, punching his way through the jungle.


“Udyr’s gameplay stands out because he’s so different from other champions. He doesn't have an ultimate, he only has four basic stances, and he can only use one at a time,” says game designer Stash “Riot Stashu” Chelluck. 
“Players were very clear about what they liked about him. A lot of the longtime Udyr mains I’ve spoken to gravitate towards him for his unique combination of versatility and simplicity,” explains Riot Stashu. “But his skills just fell a little flat in terms of execution. They weren’t quite as satisfying as they could be.” 
To up the satisfaction and make Udyr more versatile, the team wanted to create a kit where all of his stances felt useful, satisfying, and cohesive—and one form wouldn’t become his default state. 
Prior to the VGU, Udyr players would often plan their game around either a ‘Q max’ or ‘R max’ build, depending on the meta. (Because before this update, Q and R were essentially just damage spells.) Now, both abilities still deal damage, but R’s damage has been reigned in and combined with a slow to help the two stances coexist a little better. 
One of Udyr’s new passives takes this one step further by “Awakening” each of his stances and making them even more powerful. 
“The Q Awaken doubles down on Q's high damage output and offers all builds a potent burst option if they find their target isolated. The hefty base damage and AP ratio ensures it will be the stronger burst option compared to R, even in AP-heavy builds or lower Q-rank builds,” says Riot Stashu. 
R Awaken grants Udyr the flexibility that no other stance can—range. This, combined with some considerable base damage and slow power, ensures that even AD-building, Q-maxing Udyrs will find themselves in situations where only the R Awaken can give them or their team what they need. 
These were key changes that delivered more satisfaction, versatility, and power in Udyr’s gameplay. And with the addition of Freljord-infused stances, updated lore, and reimagined visuals, we believe the ‘Dyr is finally living up to his full potential. 
Spirits Gather 

Instead of completely reinventing Udyr’s kit, the team spent a lot of time deeply connecting Udyr’s gameplay with his wild Freljordian roots, martial arts training, and Spirit Walker identity. To bring Udyr’s kit and visuals more in line with the region he hails from, the team went back to the drawing board with his stances. 
Instead of bear, turtle, tiger, and phoenix stance, base Udyr now has claw, mantle, stampede, and storm stance. These new stances are rooted in the power of the Freljordian demigods: Volibear, the Iron Boar, Ornn, and Anivia.

“There was a lot of opportunity to build really satisfying and interesting connections to the rest of the world, make him cooler, and spend the time and love on him that he deserves,” says Riot Stashu. 
When he goes into each stance, Udyr is not channeling the demigods themselves, but the animal spirits around him. The unique personalities of each animal spirit subtly reflect in Udyr, like the joyfulness of the bear spirits or the stubbornness of the boars.

But there’s a fifth demigod that introduced an entirely new level of power to Udyr. With his new “Awakened Spirit” passive, Udyr can now Awaken his active stance periodically, enhancing its effects. Awakening stampede stance, for example, grants Udyr even more movement speed and crowd control immunity for a brief period. 
This power was bestowed upon Udyr by the Seal Sister, a playful and powerful demigod who leaves no pot unstirred. Disguised as a strange old woman, the Seal Sister challenged Udyr to complete impossible tasks, all of which he inevitably failed. But she delighted in his efforts and gave him her blessing—the ability to amplify all of his stances. 
“Udyr has these two types of power as a Spirit Walker: One is an empathic power where he can hear and understand the wants and needs of the spirits around him, and then his other power is channeling animal spirits,” says narrative writer Dana Luery “griddlebones” Shaw. 
“And when he Awakens each stance, he’s tapping into this power that was given to him as a blessing by the Seal Sister in disguise.”

The most powerful Spirit Walker alive, Udyr seeks to preserve balance in the Freljord, a concept he never would have fully understood had he not left his homeland. During his training with Lee Sin, Udyr saw the cooperation and harmony that maintained balance in Ionia. This brought him to the realization that the recipe for balance in the Freljord is a different beast, built on continuous struggle. 
While the Avarosan attempt to unite the Freljordian tribes as one, Udyr believes doing so would undo the balance of the land. He’s no warmonger, but Udyr thinks the future of the Freljord depends on the inherent conflict and struggle that comes with living in such a brutal environment. The animals, spirits, and people of the Freljord must be pushed and challenged in order to grow and maintain that balance. This belief leads Udyr to offer his wisdom to the Winter’s Claw and Sejuani in order to hinder the Avarosan. 
Similar to Udyr’s gameplay, there was a great foundation to work from in the narrative department. Griddlebones says she had a great north star to work from in the short stories written by Michael “SkiptomyLuo” Luo and Odin Austin Shafer—but there was still a lot of work to be done to bring Udyr’s story into the present day. 
“A lot of it was working around the framework that already existed,” says griddlebones. “We now know a bit more about his relationship to the Winter’s Claw from his youth. We know a bit more about his time in Ionia and his time with Lee Sin. We know more about the people who he has loved and the people who he has left." 
Born of the Freljord

The team wanted to make sure that Udyr’s body type, hairstyle, and clothing enhanced who he is meant to be: A warrior shaman with a background in martial arts; A wild loner who hears the nonstop feelings and voices of the animal spirits around him; A bulky, strong survivor. 
He’s no Olaf-style bodybuilder, nor does he have a belly like Gragas. He’s a strong, burly, hairy wildman who can undoubtedly survive the harsh elements of the Freljord. Basically, he’s an absolute unit.

“Udyr’s personality, body, and mentality have been shaped by the brutality and the ferocity and the harshness of the Freljord,” says senior concept artist Justin “Riot Earp” Albers. “But the humility and practicality of how he looks belies the true power that he has been able to harness through training and discipline.” 
Udyr carries talismans related to each demigod that help him focus his channeling and tap into the right spirits—the spirits he knows will serve him best in battle (and on the Rift). He wears a bear claw bracelet, a boar tusk hanging from his belt, a buckle with the insignia of the ram, and a cryophoenix feather in his hair. And the cloth wrapping on his hand comes from his time training in Ionia with Lee Sin, a parting gift he promised to someday return in person. 
The team tried to add some extra flavor to Udyr’s visuals, but in some instances it didn't work out. The team initially included a pair of antlers, experimenting with how they could change with each stance, whether that be bursting into flame, freezing over, or turning into metal. But ultimately they decided to scrap the idea for clarity’s sake. 
“In theory the antlers seemed pretty cool, but when we tried them out in game, they just did not look good,” explains Riot Earp. “It was kind of an obstacle for him moving around and fighting, to have these big things sort of coming off of his shoulders. They looked cool in concept, but in game they just hindered his movement and readability.” 

The team also reimagined Udyr’s VFX to convey his power and personality, taking inspiration from Udyr’s tattoos, his Legends of Runeterra card illustrations, and fighting game VFX. 
VFX artist Luis “Riot Bloois” Aguas had to first create a strong foundation for Udyr’s visual style, before taking on his stances. “Udyr is mechanically straight forward, and visually I needed to communicate only the important things the player playing as Udyr or against Udyr needs to know so they can easily identify what is going on,” says Riot Bloois.
Next, building out VFX for each of Udyr’s stances was like working on four champions in one, while keeping it all in one cohesive package. 
“While color is the first and most common thing that sets Udyr’s abilities apart, I had to rely on shape language that made each stance unique from each other,” explains Riot Bloois. “I focused on confident, bold colors and strong shape language to link back to his narrative design and voice over.”

We can’t stress enough just how many Rioters around the globe worked on Udyr’s VGU, reimagining and redesigning visuals, gameplay, narrative, sound design, and more, not only for his base model, but for his many skins too. Spirit Guard is now the most ultimate of ultimate skins, blackbelt Udyr got a masterful makeover, and yes, Definitely Not Udyr is as goofy as ever.

The ultimate hope is that both longtime Udyr mains and players who’ve never stance danced a day in their lives will appreciate the love and listening that went into this project. 
“I want players to feel like the Udyr that they read about has come to life,” says griddlebones. “And that that's who they’re playing.”"


Updating Spirit Guard Udyr

Here's Riot Cashmiir with an article on updating Spirit Guard Udyr - "From “this should be base” to “he’s serving face”."

"For years Udyr has been the embodiment of old League. Outdated graphics, simple kit, low poly model. He’s a relic of the old Summoner’s Rift, when raptors were wraiths and buffs had friends. And yet, he has an Ultimate skin. 
Ultimate skins are the pinnacle of a champion’s fantasy. They’re a moment to celebrate the most exciting version of who they could be. But they’re also a ton of work. They’re essentially treated as new champions with new models, rigging, animation, VFX... the whole shebang. 
So when everyone’s favorite stance-dancing, handful-of-polygon-having mountain man won the VGU poll, his dev team took one look at his Spirit Guard skin and thought, “Well, f*&^.” 
Ionian Harmony 
Unlike skins where champions are cybernetically-augmented superhumans or UwU weeb teens, Spirit Guard Udyr is just more Udyr. The biggest difference between base and Spirit Guard is that where normal Udyr left Ionia to return to the Freljord, in Spirit Guard he decided to stay. 
“Instead of rewriting Spirit Guard’s story, we took what already existed and expanded on it,” explains senior narrative writer Elyse “Riot apothecarie” Lemoine. “We knew he stayed in Ionia and didn’t return to the Freljord, so we asked ourselves why? What about Ionia kept him there? What was more important than the promise he made to protect Sejuani?” 
The answers to these questions lie within the Hirana Monastery. Or more specifically, with a certain blind monk who trains there. 
After training with Lee Sin in Ionia, Udyr achieves a level of spiritual calm and balance that he had never felt in the Freljord. And so he decides to stay in Ionia with his longtime friend and partner. 
“In Ionia spiritual balance comes from harmony and coexistence. Udyr realizes that the world has a different idea of balance depending on where you’re located,” Riot apothecarie shares. “And as someone whose job it is to bring together the spirit and physical worlds, it’s his job to bring harmony and balance to them both. He achieves this global perspective of what it means to be a spirit walker, and it keeps him from returning home—for which he has a lot of regrets, but he’s also moving forward on this really intense journey in Ionia.” 
So the team had the story. Udyr stays in Ionia to be with his roommate Lee Sin. They then used that to explore how the skin would look in-game. 
“When I began thinking about what an updated version of Spirit Guard Udyr would look like, I knew we wanted to deliver on the narrative story that Riot apothecarie landed on. So instead of trying to reinvent the skin, we just wanted to focus on modernizing,” shares senior concept artist Justin “Riot Earp” Albers. 
Similar to Udyr’s new base, the updated Spirit Guard skin features Udyr in his gloriously new bulky stature with a few... minor differences. 
“It was important to us that we keep Udyr’s body-type representation close to the strongman that we were using for his new appearance. But unlike his base skin, Spirit Guard reflects his lifestyle of living and training with the discipline and balance he’s experiencing in Ionia. All of this reflects back on his body. So it’s very similar to his base, except he’s got a little more definition and tone,” Riot Earp laughs. 
A slightly more muscular physique isn’t the only thing from Ionia that made it into Spirit Guard Udyr’s skin. 
“A lot of the visuals I did for Spirit Guard Udyr were based off of the world guide for Ionia that the Legends of Runeterra team made. A lot of the shape language for their architecture, the patterning for their clothing, even the symbols in their calligraphy,” says VFX artist Luis “Riot Bloois” Aguas. “I tried to blend that Ionian style with the Freljordian demigod-inspired style we landed on for his base. Because this skin is really a mixture of those two parts of Udyr.” 

The team felt they had a good foundation for who the updated Spirit Guard Udyr would be. But there was just one problem: The new-and-improved Udyr left his former spirit animals in the dust. What would that mean for Spirit Guard Udyr? Would this version of the big ol’ beefcake call to his new Freljordian spirits in Ionia? Or would he find new spirits in Ionia to guide him on his journey? 
Spiritual Harmony 
“We decided to keep the original spirit animals when updating Spirit Guard because we felt it would be a good way to give back to original Udyr players. It’s a nice nod to his original spirits, but they also feel right at home in Ionia,” Riot Earp explains. 
The team decided to swap the colors for bear and tiger stance to better reflect updated base Udyr’s visuals 
Part of the reason Spirit Guard Udyr chose to stay in Ionia is due to the peace he found with the spirits there. 
“One of the biggest differences between base and Spirit Guard Udyr is that in his base he has a slightly more contentious relationship with the spirits he channels. Spirit Guard Udyr’s relationship is much more symbiotic,” shares Riot apothecarie. “He has formed individual relationships with each of these spirits, and understands their unique personalities. They have a mutual respect and understanding. So when he channels the Ionian spirits he actually walks with them—he projects both of their thoughts and they speak as one.” 
To show this symbiosis, the team wanted the spirits to physically be with Udyr. 
“At one point I pitched an idea that the spirits would be on at all times and would mimic Udyr’s attacks and abilities. It was cool in practice, but it got insanely busy insanely fast,” recalls Riot Bloois. “We ended up cutting it because there wasn’t enough Udyr on the screen, and it started to feel like the character was more about the spirits than about Udyr himself. So we looked for other opportunities to showcase the spirits.” 
One of the ways the team did this was to focus on his Awakened and fully upgraded forms. How could they make these feel as cool as possible? 

Part of Udyr's new kit is to Awaken his spirits. He unlocks their truest potential and empowers their base gifts. When Udyr Awakens a stance, the corresponding spirit animal appears. 
“Turtle stance was really challenging to figure out. I always pictured Udyr as a mountain man living in the woods, but there’s an elegance to his Spirit Guard skin that you don’t have in his base,” says senior animator Eric “FattyLeesPlease” Lees. “His activations are all really, really quick. Riot Bloois did an amazing job of making everything clear and readable, but I had maybe 10 frames of animation to sell the spirit coming out. Turtle’s protective and solid, but still harmonious. There’s really only so much you can do. I hope it landed somewhere that really sells that, and that it plays up the spirit turtle’s personality.” 
In addition to Udyr’s evolution forms, they also decided to focus on his weapons. 

“We wanted a way to differentiate from base where he has spirit arms on top of his normal man arms. So we carried over the weapons that he has on the pre-rework skin,” Riot Earp shares. “He has spirit claws in tiger form, magic spirit turtle shell armor, golden celestial shoulderguards for the bear, and then fiery arm gauntlets for the phoenix. And when you max them out they all become empowered.” 
The 28Mb Challenge 
Udyr’s a big boi. In personality. In spirit(s). In size—both in- and out-of-game. But League needs to be able to run on a potato. A huge amount of players only have access to 32-bit processors. So while the team was figuring out how to make Spirit Guard Udyr live up to his Ultimate status, they also had the challenge of getting it within the allotted memory constraints. 
“Everything in League has a memory budget. Each champion, skin, emote, even the map itself. Champions are allotted 20Mb of memory, Epic skins get 25-26Mb, Legendary 26-27Mb, and Ultimate skins get a max of 28Mb,” explains rigging technical artist Dawon “Riot WONY” Lee. “I often say no to some concept and ideas to keep things within budget. But Spirit Guard is an ultimate skin, and we wanted to give a new experience to players. So I had to try not to say no to a lot of ideas, and instead we tried to cut down on memory elsewhere.” 
Spirit Guard Udyr’s memory during development went as high as 50Mb—well outside the allotted 28Mb 
Between the base stances, max stances, Awakened forms, spirits, weapons, emotes, and dad bod, the team needed to find ways to cut down on the “cost” to make sure they could deliver on the feeling of an Ultimate skin. 
One of the ways they achieved this was by re-using rigs and models. 
“We worked really closely with our creative studio in Hong Kong to make sure that we were being smart with our modeling resources,” says 3D character artist Jason “00Y00” Namgung. “It took a lot of thought and planning to make sure Udyr didn’t have three unique models for every stance, with base spirit, Awaken, and max stance... Plus his non-spirit base stance at the start of every game. That would just be so many resources in the files.” 
The team tried to reuse as much as possible, treating each stance’s evolution as additive instead of a transformation. Basically this means that Udyr’s stances each have a single model, with visual effects and bonus models signifying the difference between each level. 
Spirit Guard Udyr finally within his memory budget 
“Yeah, the spirit animals themselves also share the same rig, so we didn’t have to use as many bones and joints for them,” adds Riot WONY. “The main difference between them is their animations and obviously the physical appearance, but underneath all that they’re really one model. We also tried to cut down on his hair textures. Texture files are often the biggest ones in-game, so we wanted to keep those simple and limited.” 
That’s right. Hair. Did you really think we’d skip over the ponytail? 
“Udyr’s ponytail is a pretty hot button issue,” laughs Riot Earp. “Some people love it, some hate it. But he needed some value breakup. We also wanted an easy base hairstyle to differentiate from his upgraded hair in each Awakened stance, and that’s where the ponytail comes into play.” 
“I think it fits his character more, too! He’s a more refined, elegant champ now. Having his hair in his eyes just doesn’t fit anymore,” adds FattyLeesPlease. 
“Yeah! And Ionian champions love ponytails. Both Lee Sin and Yasuo have ponytails, too!” Riot Bloois adds. 
“Ponytail lover or not, I’m obsessed with the turtle stance braid. Ionian spirits should be hairdressers,” Riot apothecarie jokes."


Teamfight Tactics Patch 12.16 Notes

Check out the TFT patch 12.16 Notes:
"Welcome Realm Charters! 
It’s the last patch before our mid-set, Uncharted Realms, and we’re shipping light changes to keep balance tight and team comp diversity high as you reach your dream rank. The wordcount will be light here, but don’t fret, we can always catch up with one of the many Uncharted Realms info drops below. 

[Full Patch Notes Here!] 

Uncharted Realms Gameplay Overview

Here's Riot Prism with a full gameplay overview for TFT: Uncharted Realms - "Dragon magic has changed the world of Dragonlands, awakening new units and traits."
"Welcome to… 
With 24 new units, 5 new Dragons, 4 new traits, and a new Dragon unit designed exclusively for TFT, there’s a TON to sink your claws into. All that (and more) goes to PBE on August 23rd, and to live servers with patch 12.17! But before we get started, be sure to check out the new cosmetics that were uncovered with the shifting lands and learn a bit about our Dragon changes while you’re at it, because they’re pretty different this time around! In fact, the entire landscape of the Dragonlands has shifted through powerful earthquakes and magic induced terraforming. That’s just what you get when you have a bunch of Little Legends running around playing with draconic magic. But you know what? I’m not here to point fingers (but it is your fault); I’m here to provide some information about those new units and traits. 
But before that, let’s see what units weren’t cut out for exploring the Uncharted Realms! 
Departing the Dragonlands 
The Dragonlands are changing. Hidden lagoons and magical caverns have opened up, and some traits and units have been washed away. Let’s see who's been cleaned out: 
  • Trainers’ star pupil, Nomsy, is now the expert. While these Trainers may be gone, you’ll likely see them again:
    • Heimerdinger
    • Tristana
    • Lulu
  • The time to Revel is long past. The Lagoon is super effective at dousing these firecrackers. These fire workers are out of a job:
    • Tahm Kench
    • Jinx
    • Corki
    • Sona
  • They say Legends never die. But that’s just a line from a pop song. It’s time for these Legends to become just that…legends:
    • Anivia
    • Ornn
    • Volibear will remain, but will no longer be a Legend
  • And then there’s those who just didn’t pass Dragon Academy. Say goodbye to these chronic class cutters:
    • Aatrox
    • Taric
    • Ashe
    • Thresh
    • Shen
    • Kayn
    • Nami
    • Elise
    • Illaoi
    • Ryze
    • Ornn
    • Neeko
    • Talon
    • Pyke
With these washed out explorers leaving Dragonlands, let’s see who’s riding the new wave by discussing our new vertical first! 
Shifting lands means shifting sea fronts, and with them, the awakening of the spirit of the tides, Sohm. Our new fishy friend would’ve been happy hidden from the rest of the world, but they’re also happy to be accompanied by a trait full of fun sea-goers—he’s less happy about the coral bleaching that is happening at an unprecedented level. 
Lagoon: Lagoon units gain Ability Power and Attack Speed that increases at trait breakpoints (3/6/9/12). Additionally, a Seastone appears on the board, storing power when Lagoon units cast Abilities. 
As you empower your Seastone you’ll unlock more loot, with a couple of surprises to boot! The Seastone stores and tracks power throughout the game, with more impactful loot coming as you reach deeper thresholds. 
Check out what the tide brought in: 
  • Malphite: Tier 1 Bruiser
  • Taliyah: Tier 1 Mage
  • Kai’Sa: Tier 2 Dragonmancer
  • Zac: Tier 2 Guardian
  • Seraphine: Tier 3 Evoker
  • Zeri: Tier 3 Cannoneer
  • Nilah: Tier 4 Assassin
  • Sohm: Tier 4 (7 Gold), Dragon, Mage
Lagoon gives you a flexible frontline with Bruisers or Guardian (Zac). Kaisa is your go-to carry for playing Lagoon as a reroll comp. Give her a blue buff and she’ll fill the Seastone fast. You can also use Kai’Sa as an item holder for Sohm, but we’ll get to that later. Nilah can take your Attack Damage items and make good use of them as an Assassin, but make sure to add another Assassin to the mix before slamming that Infinity Edge on her.
Ah, you may have noticed Sohm, one of our new Dragons who’s been developed from the ground water up just for Uncharted Realms. Let’s take a brief intermission to talk about Lagoon’s TFT-exclusive Dragon! 
Sohm: Tier 4 (7 Cost) Lagoon, Dragon, Mage 
  • The spirit of the tides, Sohm formed the great reefs of the Dragonlands as a home for his fishy friends. There he preferred to be forgotten to the world, just Sohmbody that you used to know, but times have changed and now Sohm has reawakened to protect —-will you help him?
  • Ability: Sohm sends out the tide to an unmarked target, marking them with a Tideblossom and dealing magic damage to enemies along the way. Tideblossoms transfer to a nearby target if the enemy dies. After 3 casts, Sohm’s next cast instead summons a vortex under each Tideblossom, dealing even more magic damage to enemies in the area.
  • Strategy: Sohm loves the water, and everything blue, so be sure to give him a Blue Buff. Because Lagoon already supplies AP for him, adding a Jeweled Gauntlet and Infinity Edge can really put him over the edge!
Not everything that has emerged from the fluctuating lands of Uncharted Realms is as pristine and serene as a water Dragon at a Dragon spa. 
Darkflight: The unit in the Darkflight hex is sacrificed at start of combat, granting a copy of a random item they have to each Darkflight champion as well as bonus health that increases at trait breakpoints (2/4/6/8). 
Non-craftable items and Emblems are corrupted when they're copied, instead becoming Darkflight Essence. 
Let’s meet who leaps through the night: 
  • Aphelios: Tier 2 Cannoneer
  • Rell: Tier 2 Cavalier
  • Rengar: Tier 3 Assassin
  • Swain: Tier 4 (7 Gold) Dragon
Darkflight is a medium sized trait that focuses on duplicating items at the cost of sacrificing a unit. Pick your ideal item that you'd love for each Darkflight champion to use like Hand of Justice or Warmogs, or use it to make multiple copies of a utility item like Zephyr or Zz'Rot. Don't forget that you only get to duplicate one item from the sacrificed unit, so just equip what you need!
No longer a Dragonmancer nor a Ragewing, Swain has moved up in the world… literally with his newfound ability to fly and command dragonlings. 
Swain, Dragon Tyrant: Tier 4 (7 Cost) Darkflight, Dragon 
  • Ability: Swain releases his dragonling flock, launching dragonlings toward nearby enemies that each deal magic damage to their target, then return to Swain and heal him for a percent of his missing Health.
  • Swain serves as a new carry-with-sustain option using his control over weaker Dragon-kind to carry out his bidding…
  • With the new trait Darkflight, he has potential both as a full AP backliner, or as a frontliner with tank items. Finding healing Augments like First Aid Kit, or Celestial Blessing can allow you to index further into damage while placing him aggressively.

With Dragons on the mind, let’s introduce a few more of our new Dragon units! 
Uncharted Realms’ Frequent Flyers 
Alright, the title of this section is a bit of a lie, because not all of our new Dragons can take flight, but who am I to crush their dreams? 

Nomsy: Tier 3 (6 Cost) Dragon, Mage, Prodigy 
  • Fireballs!: Nomsy shoots a Fireball at her target. Upon impact it explodes releasing even MORE fireballs!
  • Prodigy: Every game Nomsy will be able to summon a new Trainer: Heimerdinger, Tristana, or Lulu. Her summoned Trainer will have their trait and spell from Dragonlands, but they’ve been adjusted to scale with Nomsy’s power.
  • Not only does Nomsy summon her old Trainers, she’s also learned from them. Nomsy benefits from the trait of their past Trainer. Heimerdinger makes Nomsy a Mage, Tristana a Cannoneer, and Lulu an Evoker.
  • Nomsy and her summon share a Trait, providing two towards that specific trait breakpoint, because that’s the power of friendship!

Zippy: Tier 3 (6 Cost) Dragon, Guild 
  • Ability: Zippy shields himself and somersaults toward the highest percent health enemy, dealing a percent of his Attack Damage as physical damage and knocking them back slightly.
  • Zippy is a hyperactive Dragon. He just wants to roll around and mosh. Zippy’s tanky, disruptive, and downright goofy.
  • Zippy shores up your frontline in the mid-game and provides a surprising amount of crowd control. While he can carry as well, he's REALLY bad at focusing down targets. It's not his fault. He gets distracted easily.
  • Neither of our tier 3 (6 cost) Dragons can appear in Blue/Grey Loot Orbs, because hitting one of these units during early PVE rounds would be as unfair as playing against me.

Terra: Tier 5 (8 Cost) Dragon, Monolith 
  • Passive Trait, Monolith: Reveal three hexes that grant units starting combat in them Damage Reduction
  • Ability: Terra slams the ground causing an earthquake around them, dealing physical damage based on a combination of their Armor, Magic Resist, and Attack Damage. At the end of the earthquake Terra's scales are hardened for 6 seconds, granting Armor and Magic Resist.
  • A juggernaut of late game comps, this Legendary Dragon brings effects that are powerful for late-game flex players! Terra can hold a combination of tank and AD items, and always provides great utility to your team via Monolith hexes 
Shifting Traits in Changing Lands 
We’ve got a couple of new trait breakpoint changes. Most of these are to allow us to swap out units, but we also had the goal of adding more flexibility with comp diversity. Expect a bit of rebalancing for these traits as well.

Dragonmancer (3/6/9) >>> (2/4/6/8)

Jade (3/6/9/12) >>> (3/5/7/9)

Ragewing (3/6/9) >>> (2/4/6/8)

Guardian (2/4/6) >>> (2/4/6/8)

As with the land, so goes the sky. Astral has been reworked. After each player combat, you’ll get an Astral orb. The more Astral units you have, and the higher star level they are, the more valuable the Astral orb will be. We’re also adding a bit more Ability Power to the trait! 
On top of Augments tied to our new traits, we've added some more unique Augments. We won't have time to check out all of them, so I’ll mention a few favorites here, but remember the exact numbers are likely to change as we head to PBE. 
Lucky Gloves (Gold): Thief's Gloves will always give your champions items that they can use well. Gain a Thief's Gloves. 
Lucky Gloves is my go to Augment when I am too dizzy to itemize correctly. After taking it I focus on grabbing brawler’s gloves, but a better version of myself would also prioritize the correct carry items—self improvement is hard. 
Scoped Weapons (Gold, Prismatic): Your units that start combat in the back 2 rows gain +2 Attack Range and 15% Attack Speed.

The Prismatic version of this Augment grants infinite attack range and even more attack speed. Me Scoped Weapons Olaf no pivot.

Dragon Imperialist (Gold): If you only have 1 Dragon, Dragons execute enemies they damage who are below 25% Health.

With Dragons no longer being unique, this Augment is sure to make you feel nostalgic for the first half of Dragonlands, but it’ll also allow you to unleash the TRUE power of Imperialist Swain!

Consistency (Gold): Gain double streak gold.

If you’re the type of player that likes to play open fort (loss streaking on purpose) and then turn it around to win streak to first place, this Augment is for you!

Age of Dragons (Prismatic): If you only have Dragons, every 5th attack from a Dragon fires a Dragonsoul blast that deals magic damage equal to 12% of their target's max Health. Gain a Nomsy and 2 random Tier 4 Dragons. 
Ah you made it to the end. Just as a reward, I’ve got a cool cheat sheet for you. There’s a high quality version somewhere around here.

Wow that was a lot, but it’s still just scratching the surface. There’s lots more gameplay to explore, but I should leave some discoveries for you to uncover. If you want to learn more about our changes to Dragons (and the Treasure Dragon) check out the /Dev article with Mort and I, and if you want to learn more about the new cosmetics give this one a read. Finally, I know it can be hard to keep all the dates for our release straight amidst your busy schedule, so we had an artist mock this up for you to help!

TFT: Uncharted Realms Pass and More

Riot Prism continues with a rundown on the Pass - "Everything you need to know about the Tacticians, arenas, and the Uncharted Realms Pass!"
Welcome to the Dragonlands: Uncharted Realms! Portals all around the Dragonlands have burst open with an outpour of new Champions and Traits, as well as Dragons! That means more fun and games for Pengu and Co, who aren’t just looking for new comps, but also new places to celebrate their hard (or hardly) earned victories. Thankfully these Uncharted Realms are chalked full of secret spas, tranquil lagoons, and Dragon filled pools, all arriving with patch 12.17
Uncharted Realms Pass 
With the Uncharted Realms Pass, you’ll be able to earn rewards such as Little Legend eggs and emotes just for playing! The Pass is your map for these Uncharted Realms of unlockable content (he did the name thing), but if you want to take full advantage of the Pass content, such as exclusive Little Legends, arenas, and more, then you can purchase the Pass+ for 1295 RP. If you upgrade to the Pass+ later, you’ll retroactively receive everything you would have unlocked with the Pass+ active. Progression for the Pass unlocks day one of the mid-set at 11 AM (Pacific Time) alongside other store content. 
Let’s talk Pass+ exclusives! Enter the Grotto of the Secret Spa, our newest T3 arena found in a cavern with pristine pools warmed by dragon fire and water enhanced with scale nourishing minerals. The Spa is exclusive to those Pass+ holders who explore all of the Uncharted Realms Pass+ and is the final reward to soak up your passt success. 

Now that you know about the exclusive spa access at the end of the Pass+, let’s check out the local Sauna Sprite you’ll be greeted with just through playing! That’s right, the Pass Sprite is a free reward for all players. 
I just want to pinch that Sprite’s cheeks! As for our Pass+ exclusive Little Legend, Regal Koi Starmaw, I would never pinch those cheeks—you don’t pinch Starmaw royalty. 
With the Pass+ you’ll get Regal Koi Starmaw at one, two stars, and three stars without having to give them the royal treatment of Star Shards. Good thing there are plenty of Star Shards to pick up along the way with the Pass+ as well!

As you chart the new territories of the Dragonlands and progress through the Pass+, you’ll unlock four new aquatic booms. Skipping across the gentle pools to gently smash into your opponent’s Tactician is the Skipping Stone boom. If that didn’t cause your foe to kick the bucket, the Bucket Yeet boom just might. Then there’s the Dragon Float Splash boom for those who want to send their enemies on a lazy river ride to eighth place. Finally we’ve got a boom inspired by cats with a career in keyboard tapdancing—the Dragon Geyser boom.
You’ve worked so hard this year. You keep worrying that you take up too much space, so much so that you can’t relax, but you—you’re the space that inspires astronauts, and you deserve a spa day. So for now, let’s kick back at the three T1 spa themed arenas unlockable through the Pass+: Poggle’s Pools, Umbra’s Retreat, and Ao Shin’s Summit Spa.
This time around the Pass+ will offer Little Legend eggs that are limited to each of the new Uncharted Realms species: Bungo and Prancie. Throughout your Pass+ explorations, you’ll get two Bungo and two Prancie eggs. To learn more about those Little Legends (alongside our new Mythic) just keep reading! 
New Draconic Little Legends 
Our new Mythic, Dragon Trainer Pengu, has taken their Elder Dragon cosplay to another level by helping a baby dragon find their lost mother. Dragon Trainer Pengu has a 5 percent drop rate in Splash Resort Chests (390 RP/TC), which also have a chance at granting our new Mythic Arena, Choncc’s Splash Resort (more on this later).
Dragon Trainer Pengu is searching high and low for Dragonlands secrets like new OP comps and magictific discoveries. But maybe their greatest discovery will be the friends they’ve made along the way—-yeah right, it’s obviously their new sea shanty—just listen below!
As we explore the new realms of the Dragonlands, we’re bound to run into never before seen draconic Little Legends. One such is Bungo, but just because they’re a local here, doesn’t mean they’re not ready to make your lap their new home. We’ve also got the refined and stylish Prancie, who refuses to be associated with that slobber-ball of a dragon, Bungo, even though they drop from the same egg. Speaking of—Bungo and Prancie can be bought directly for 750 (rare) /925 (epic) RP/TC or hatched from Uncharted Realms Eggs for 490 RP/TC. Dragonmancer Chibi Lee Sin will have a chance at dropping from this egg as well, and is guaranteed to arrive in your inventory by the 37th egg. More on him later. 
For now, let’s get familiar with Bungo.

Bungo is a goof. Their energy levels are that of a puppy, but the impact of that energy is more similar to well… a dragon. Check out Bungo’s variants below: Bungo, Honeybuzz Bungo, Rosebloom Bungo, Jade Bungo, Astral Bungo, Dearest Bungo

Our fanciest Little Legend yet, Prancie demands your utmost attention—just don’t expect much in return. They’re part of the youthful Sonic Draconic and add their much needed vocals (and style) to the crew. Check out the variants of our one true Queen, King, or anything with showered with bling: Prancie, Koi Prancie, Ragewing Prancie, Jade Prancie, Darkflight Prancie, Everfrost Prancie

Choncc’s Splash Resort 
You’ve enjoyed basking in the sun at the Splash Party arena, but did you know that was Choncc’s first venture into the tourism industry? That’s right—and with the experience of a successful beach party venue, Choncc’s transitioned their industry and relaxation expertise into an all new vacation destination: Choncc’s Splash Resort. 
As the Mythic tier arena of our mid-set, you’ll have to ride an ancient turtle to a hidden cove where the Splash Resort lies, but you can also access Choncc’s Splash Resort via the Splash Resort Chest at a two percent drop rate (guaranteed by the 61st Chest). This is the same Chest that you can find Dragon Trainer Pengu in alongside Little Legends from past sets. 
Choncc’s Splash Resort is complete with mineral pools, hot springs, and freshly stocked fishing holes—just be careful not to fish up Choncc’s most valued client, Regal Koi Starmaw. So kick back and soak up the first places, while cleansing those toxic eighths in an arena that responds to your gamestate with win (and loss) animations, changes over time, and unique ceremony animations. 
Check it out below!

Uncharted Realms brings the iconic ward hopping, carry dropping Lee Sin into Chibi life. And this blind Chibi Monk is sure obsessed with vision…wards. Chibi Lee Sin can be found polishing his wards on the Convergence, or tossing them out to jump to for the perfect angle to kick the enemy —is that a target dummy? 
You can pick up Chibi Lee Sin directly from the shop for 1900 RP/TC and they’ll come with their signature boom, Resonating Strike, that you could equip to other Tacticians too if you really want to. Check it all out below.
For those looking to rise with the storm to first place, you can opt for Chibi Dragonmancer Lee Sin. Having earned the blessing of Ao Shin, Chibi Dragonmancer Lee Sin never misses an Insec (League of Legends for jumpy jump kick on enemy carry).
Chibi Dragonmancer also comes with a finisher animation that occurs when he wins a round resulting in a player's elimination. The animation proves that even cool guys never look at explosions, even when they’re blind.
You can get Chibi Dragonmancer Lee Sin (with their finisher) as a rare drop (2%) from an Uncharted Realms Egg (490 RP/TC). Chibi Dragonmancer Lee Sin will always drop by your 37th egg.
Uncharted Realms Bundles 
What better way to chart these Uncharted Realms than with a chart for our bundles!
Ranked Rewards and More!

You’ve harnessed the magic of ancient Dragons and borrowed from the forces of Draconic Augments, leaving your mark on the world of Dragonlands. And if you’ve made it to Gold or higher during your time unintentionally terraforming these lands, then there’ll be a special Dragonmancer Yasuo emote for you to flex with!
Finally, if you played Hyper Roll and finished Blue, Purple, or Hyper tier in then you’ll get another emote to flex with—and this one’s got Poggles! POG!
And that about covers it—well, not ALL of it. There’s still our /Dev about Dragon changes and Gameplay Overview articles for you to check out. Definitely do so ‘cause I hear the author for those is even better than the author for this one. Finally, I know it can be hard to keep all the dates for our release straight amidst your busy schedule, so we had an artist mock this up for you to help!"

/dev TFT: Here Be Dragons

Finally, here's Riot Mort & Riot Prism with a write up on the Dragon changes for Uncharted Realms - "Riot Mort covers all the changes being made to Dragons and the Treasure Dragon in Uncharted Realms.

  • Dragons are no longer unique.
  • Dragon is now a vertical trait.
  • Dragons now cost 6,7, and 8 gold across the Tier 3, 4, and 5 rarity respectively. Yes, we have tier 3 Dragons now! Read the Gameplay Overview article to learn more about those units.
  • There are two new Treasure Dragons. The Chaos Dragon and Order Dragon each appear in 30% of games, with the remaining 40% of games bringing back the classic Treasure Dragon. The same version of the Treasure Dragon will appear for all players.
  • The Chaos Dragon can contain Emblems, Ornn items, Champion Duplicators, Spatulas, and pretty much anything we can throw at players.
  • The Order Dragon is centered around giving the player a Radiant item to power up their team."

Other Games

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  • Awakening Trailer
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  • Norra in Awakening

Wild Rift
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