A gifted swordsman with a dark past and elemental power: it’s hardly an unappealing prospect though it isn’t innovative either. Still, if the idea is well realized it could become an iconic character. On the other hand, it may as well end up as derivative and unexciting. Where does Yasuo stand?
The idea of a warrior blessed with unequalled skill and arrogance has been explored before. Growing confident in their superior ability, this characters end up humbled and repentant of their ways. Eventually, they redeem themselves not only in their eyes but also in those of others.
Yasuo stands practically in the middle of such a path of redemption: humbled and repentant but yet to make up for his past mistakes. Thus, we have the dark past of the solitary and moody warrior with surprising abilities. These abilities have been a curse and a blessing as well as they key to uncover the truth.
Rurouni Kenshin is merely one of many similar executions of this concept. It isn’t inherently bad to draw from a well established idea but there isn’t much here that hasn’t been heard before. Therefore, it suffices for a setup yet struggles to get someone invested in the character as it treads such familiar ground.
As a champion in the League of Legends, Yasuo fills the magical warrior role with wind being the chosen element. While his power largely overlaps with Janna, on the magical side, they both use it in different ways: one mostly defensively and the other offensively.
There’s also quite a bit in common with Master Yi: both Ionian swordsmen with superlative talents. In spite of their different appearances the core is almost identical. It could be said that Yi followed his path with humility while Yasuo needs it to return to it.
There’s also the fact that Yasuo is the closest representation of the ronin present in League of Legends. At a glance, he instantly says powerful samurai without a master. However, beyond his aspect the rest of his self shares space with other champions.
Yasuo is a champion that feels innately Ionian, considering its Eastern flavour, and that easily communicates its role and story with his image. The problem is that what he communicates is quite familiar. This might be both his greatest strength and weakness: he’s a champion easy to recognize yet only because he draws from well explored sources.
What do you think?