Sep 172014
 
Azir, the Emperor of the Sands
Azir, the Emperor of the Sands

The sands are shifting, gathering and assembling a new empire. The soldiers rise from its grains and stand proud to follow the command of their returned leader. Azir rekindles the flames of Shurima with his arrival but some say that he has been seen before, arriving from stranger lands. What secrets lie beyond the guise of the Emperor? Read further and find out.

Galactic Azir
Galactic Azir Splash Art Galactic Azir Model
Category: Regular
Price: 975 RP
Concept: Azir as an alien emperor.
Model: Major model changes for Azir, his staff, Sand Warriors and Sun Disc. New glow for Azir, his staff and Sand Warrior spears as well as new translucent bands for Azir.
Particles: New particles for his abilities, auto-attack, Sand Warriors, recall and death.
Animations: New recall animation.
Sounds: New sounds for his abilities, auto-attack, Sand Warriors, recall and death.
Splash Art: Is it a portal, space or decoration? From the look of things, the background is all three. The composition is vague and homogeneous without really accomplishing much. Azir doesn’t impress either as he’s aspect is almost as monotonous. This is mainly because the whole piece is painted in shades of blue. That’s not to say that it’s all bad as the idea of having Azir emerging from a gate to the stars isn’t bad. Besides, the colours are vibrant and the depiction clear; though still somewhat vague. The result is certainly a mixed bag. It could be said that this splash art gives an idea of Azir’s Galactic style but doesn’t make it easy to get a clear picture.
Rating: Star clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZeroStar clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZeroStar clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZeroStar clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZero
Conclusion: The idea of transporting the Emperor of the Sands to the stars is nothing surprising yet certainly appealing. The new model hints at that but doesn’t really feel otherworldly or even exotic. Actually, it seems to be a more glamorous and bluer version of his classic self; the base is clearly visible underneath also. Regardless, there are some additions that help define the skin’s identity like the new transparencies and glows. The new effects for his abilities are also important but they don’t always work that well. The new Sand Warriors, Sun Disc, vassals and electric energy that sometimes courses through Azir stand apart. However, the blue dust that replaces the yellow sands is underwhelming as it feels just like a re-colour. On top of that, the new sounds are barely distinguishable and don’t help define the space theme. When we add it all together, we find that Galactic Azir is a skin that accomplishes an appealing new identity for the Emperor of the Sands but that doesn’t manage to really feel extraterrestrial; the recall might be an exception. Still, it’s a really good skin so Azir’s fans will find much to like in it.

Gravelord Azir
Gravelord Azir Splash Art Gravelord Azir Model
Category: Regular
Price: 1350 RP
Concept: Azir as a necromancer.
Model: New model for Azir, his staff, Sand Warriors and Sun Disc. New glow for Azir, his staff and Sand Warrior spears. New mask and spaulders as remains for his death.
Particles: New particles for his abilities, auto-attack, Sand Warriors, recall and death.
Animations: New recall animation.
Sounds: New sounds for his abilities, auto-attack, Sand Warriors, recall and death plus processed voice-over.
Splash Art: Under a dark, heavy sky hordes of undead soldiers raise at the command of their lord. As far as context goes the piece has a good setup. The multitude of soldiers makes for a quite a powerful frame for Azir but only the ones on the front look detailed, from the waist up, and the rest are sketchy. Even those that look well depicted are unevenly presented. It could be understandable if we were seeing myriads of soldiers, a vast army that covers as far as the eyes can see. However, such magnificence is suggested instead of shown. As the supporting cast to Azir the soldiers don’t have a presentation according to their relevance; even more so considering Azir’s portrayal. The fact that two thirds of the background is empty sky doesn’t help the setting either.
What the soldiers lack in detail and complexity Azir proudly displays. It’s reasonable that the lord would look better than the vassals but the difference is too marked. Azir’s legs do look a bit diffuse which is noticeable when comparing with the rest of his body like the arms. However, from the waist up he stands with all the grandeur expected of a sovereign. The metallic plates are vibrant and the torn cloth meticulous; even his staff glows with an eerie light as his eyes do. The colours keep a spooky feel without being monotonous and so Azir steals the show as he should.
When all is added together we find that Azir is the central figure of the piece, as expected, but the secondary cast isn’t really up to par. The context is meaningful but also uneven and suggested more than shown with much wasted space. The evocative depiction of Azir seems lost in a sea of struggling elements that don’t know how to rise to his level even as they are commanded to do so. This makes the splash art uneven and a bit disappointing but the fantastic portrayal of Azir remains one of the most inspiring available.
Rating: Star clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZeroStar clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZeroStar clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZero
Conclusion: Due to great model work and interesting particles the haunting horror professed by Gravelord Azir is eloquent and attractive. In general terms, Azir and his soldiers follow the usual aesthetic of a necromancer and his raised vassals. However, the simple elegance of the staff and helmet added to the iconic spaulders define a personality that feels different despite the familiarity. The soldiers also have good armour designs but not as elaborate; yet the helmets and halberds stand out. The skeletal arms visible in the splash art are omitted in three dimensions and perhaps that something that shouldn’t be hinted if it’s not to be delivered. After all, it would make the soldiers much more believable as undead. They lack any clear signs of life beyond the grave and could just as well be spirits.
Some particles are much more than re-coloured sand. When soldiers are to dissolve away they are accompanied by ghostly apparitions that cement the concept behind the skin. Such a great choice isn’t echoed by the rest of the abilities and in some occasions can appear only adapted as a white supernatural smoke. The feel is different but such trails appear simplistic in contrast with the presence of ghosts. One thing which greatly helps the skin is the Giger-esque design of the shields held by Emperor’s Divide soldiers. Their armour also has a complex design and appears interesting and alien like something from beyond. They certainly eclipse the normal soliders and even compete with Azir’s armour in how good they look. That makes the simpler aspects of the competition puzzling if so much could be done in this case.
The sounds have a haunting feel that doesn’t take prominence in any facet of the skin. They support the new style well but fail to make an impression of their own. The new recall is a reasonable display of power but doesn’t capitalize on the theme as such actions would fit regardless of the source of Azir’s power.
All things considered, it seems like Gravelord Azir is a skin of highs and lows. It has some evocative horror designs in certain areas and in others it merely adapts things in a mundane way. It’s a rather interesting skin but it seems that too much of the potential isn’t realized and only surfaces in some specific areas. Also, the fact that it offers almost as much as Galactic Azir makes the higher price difficult to explain; the processed voice-over isn’t impactful. There isn’t anything that feels significant enough to distance the skins besides the concepts. For that reason, Gravelord Azir is a good skin but only suggests the brimming greatness that it can achieve so it’s better to catch on sale.

SKT T1 Azir
SKT T1 Azir Splash Art SKT T1 Azir Model
Category: Legacy
Price: 975 RP
Concept: Azir wearing modern, casual clothing.
Model: New model for Azir, his staff, Sand Warriors and Sun Disc. New glow for Sand Warrior spears.
Particles: New particles for his abilities, auto-attack and recall.
Animations: New recall animation.
Sounds: New recall sounds.
Splash Art: In terms of background, we can guess that the few flashes and lights around the champions intend to reflect an arena where they have proved their skill and ended triumphant. That’s all guesswork because there’s nothing concrete to reveal it. Although there’s little room for a setting, what is available is mostly filled with empty colours.
The rest is the shared display of the six champions. Colours are saturated but the excellent use of lighting allows for a contrast that makes the depiction full of detail, in places. There are simple surfaces, especially on the outskirts of the piece so it’s the champions on the centre that tend to receive the best work. It’s enough to compare how much of each champion is displayed and occluded to find the areas in-between where details are lacking.
Kalista manages to insinuate herself quite clearly while enjoying some great use of light. The highlights on the golden speak and the transparent ones on her back also catch the eye; better than the sketchy jacket. Alistar appears a bit simple in the large surface of his body but the head is sharply depicted. Metal and hair are nicely shown but cloth disappoints. Ryze stands in centre stage and is the only one whom more than posing is also displaying his magical might. Still, his face can seem cartoony and his legs foggy. Much more pronounced is that effect on Azir. In spite of the daring pose his back is mostly and empty shadow so there isn’t much to see. Only his outline and most salient features are noticeable. Elise seems to be web-slinging into action but the intense lights dull the colours of her body. Still, the evident contrasts manage to make her face clear. Renekton is the one whom struggles the most to catch a share of space. His face looks good though it’s not as vibrant as other areas of the piece. His body, is submerged in a blur that conceals what isn’t visible but also what is; like his arms. The blade is surprisingly hidden in darkness, which may make some sense, but is a letdown.
Overall, this is a splash art that provides an uneven distribution of space for the champions. Large ones struggle in small areas while smaller ones receive full depictions. It’s not just that, the portrayals themselves are also uneven with sharp areas against blurred ones. The composition isn’t bad at all. The daring and dynamic call to action is a classic choice that works well in any team. However, the result doesn’t take advantage of it and seldom organizes the champions in ways that make the most of their unique personalities. It shows that its an abbreviated display of champions and so the portrayal suffers for it.
Rating: Star clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZeroStar clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZeroStar clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZero
Conclusion: Wearing a colourful jacket, simple trousers, tabi as well as silver-golden vambraces and a helmet, which match the winged staff, we find the Emperor of the Sands. Add to that the straps attached to his arms and we find that SKT T1 Azir looks a bit all over the place. There’s a degree of casual clothing but also some armour with a sci-fi touch though never actually managing to be so. The appearance remains in the limit between the fantasy camp and the modern world. This leads the skin to look unfocused. The Sand Warriors further spread the dichotomy as they look like normal people out for a trek yet wielding silver spears and shields. That’s not to say that the look isn’t appealing but there’s little rhyme or reason to it. The Sun Disc, a clear homage to the SKT logo strikes as simple and defies all explanation.
If the model seems unfocused then it’s no surprise that so are the new particles. They are a mix of blue and yellow that aim to follow the general colour scheme. However, said scheme relies more on dark tones and blue than yellow. It still gives a consistency to the skin that rounds the execution of the theme.
Nevertheless, when all is added together, SKT T1 Azir feels a bit all over the place. It adapts the Emperor with a degree of modern casual style but the fantastic elements stand out as they aren’t integrated with a contemporary interpretation. The result is eye-catching and stands apart from available alternatives. Still, despite having potential to be more than a team ad it remains only that. As such, it’s an acceptable skin that can but doesn’t reach as high as it could.

Warring Kingdoms Azir
Warring Kingdoms Azir Splash Art Warring Kingdoms Azir Model
Category: Legacy
Price: 1350 RP
Concept: Azir as a warring lord.
Model: New model for Azir, his staff, Sand Warriors and Sun Disc. New glow for Sand Warrior spears. New Go board for his recall and fan for his joke.
Particles: New particles for his abilities, auto-attack, recall and death.
Animations: New recall animation.
Sounds: New sounds for his abilities, auto-attack and recall.
Splash Art: The avian Emperor summons a Sun Disc before the masses while his trusted lieutenants stand guard. For how diffuse and sketchy the background is it manages quite a bit of context. The couple of obvious cameos are the strongest point. The setting makes sense but the fog is so intense that it feels too relegated. Besides, the crowds look like a rice salad.
The stark contrast in sharpness between Azir and the background is obscene. The relevance of the Emperor is clear enough so if the background skimps on quality to reduce the workload then it’s an utter disappointment. Back to Azir, he’s a good example of the potential of the whole piece. Even if his lower body isn’t displayed his bird nature is eloquently presented. The colours tend to be dim but there are a few highlights on metallic surfaces. The feathers and fur are convincing despite uneven presentations. However, the magic emanating from his staff seems too weak as if dissolved in thin air. Regardless, this is an evocative portrayal that asks for more to be shown.
All added together, this is a piece with a fantastic, even if uneven, portrayal of Azir backed by an offensively simplified background. There’s really little excuse for the stark contrast in quality. It only speaks of the fine conception of the piece when the setting, despite its issues, manages to support the portrayal. Sadly, there’s much to be fixed for this piece to reveal all of its impressive potential.
Rating: Star clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZeroStar clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZero
Conclusion: Even though the initial impression given by Warring Kingdoms Azir is great the skin ends up revealing its inconsistencies quite easily. The idea is actually quite fitting for the Emperor of the Sands: a Warring Lord. The new model does a great job at communicating the concept without betraying his base fantasy. The peacock features gives a royal angle to the avian physiology. The gold and fur decorated armour reinforces that aspect while also remaining practical. It’s all finished with the elegance of the tiara attached to the head’s feathers. The staff is ornamented with an added burning core at its tip. The new Sun Disc is a great match with its burning core surrounded by gold and jade in a way similar to the staff.
Sadly, not all is good. The model for the new Sand Soldiers is disappointingly simple: they appear as normal humans in rather conventional, though gold tipped, armour. The spears are quite traditional even if the blade looks like a short sword. The shields displayed during Emperor’s Divide are interesting, at least; with the golden face of the Emperor on the front. Particles rely on curled puffs of stylised gold dust that don’t feel too different to the classic golden sands; except for the occasional clear curl. Sounds are also familiar, at times more haunting, at times more metallic, but always similar to the classic style. Conversely, the recall follows on the royal theme with its presentation of a Go board: a game fit for a king.
In summary, this is a skin that offers a few good models but disappoints in many other areas. When all is added together, it’s clear that the adaptation stays too close to the traditional. It almost wants to make it all believable with its human soldiers and subtle particles. However, the idea of a peacock emperor clashes with that intention at the base. Instead of taking advantage of the unavoidable fantasy it iss relegated in favour of an angle that may appear more plausible but that ends up being dull and boring.

Conclusion

As a release skin Galactic Azir does a lot and much of it is good. The model changes and effects convey a distinct appearance as practically everything from the skin is different; but also based on the classic version. In addition to this, the skin doesn’t really feel alien and mostly appears as a blue alternative to the classic yellow. In the end, it’s a good skin with a variety of additions to offer so it’s far from a bad choice.

The horror of a necromancer is captured by Gravelord Azir but in certain areas better than in others. There are fantastic designs side by side with common adaptations and so the theme doesn’t capture the imagination as it should. It all comes together nicely but the brief sparks of genius in the design humiliate the simplicity of the rest. For fans of horror skins it’s a passable option and Azir fans will get more from Galactic. If you catch it on sale it can be an acceptable option.

With a faint contemporary feel, SKT T1 Azir is a skin that can’t escape its team endorsement nature. The look never breaks the dichotomy between the modern, casual style and the fantastic angle so the lack of focus is felt. Nonetheless, the colourful visuals are attractive and make the skin stand out. If taken strictly for what it is, it’s a good option.

Warring Kingdoms Azir is a skin that bases all of its appeal on its royal peacock emperor concept. The model used for Azir as well as the Sun Disc present a fantastic picture that the rest of the skin seem bent on combating in favour of a more realistic take. This ends up making the skin uneven and prevents it from realising its best features. Thus, what appeal the skin has ends up dissolved in duller, presumably more plausible, characteristics.

  32 Responses to “League of Legends: Azir Skins’ Review”

  1. Glad to see this review up! I’ve been debating on purchasing this skin for the longest time, so I plan to use this review as some much-meeded help. Also, I noticed there seems to be a slight difference in sound for Azir’s W on this skin when compared to his Classic skin. Do you hear it, too?

    • Good to know that you find it useful.

      We gave a closer look to his abilities and auto-attacks and it does seem like there are some differences. However, they aren’t significant nor really help add to the advance technology that should be available to an emperor from space.

      Nevertheless, there are some changes so we’ll add it; thanks for the notice.

    • Hi, would it be worth it to buy the skin at the 50% off sale?

      • Certainly, Galactic Azir is a more appealing proposition at half its price and the skin is rather good. The problem is that it doesn’t feel as sci-fi as it should. It may be a flawed skin but it’s not bad at all. So, if you like it, then the sale is the best chance to get it.

  2. Would you recommend buying the bundle with the skin at a reduced price?

    • The problem with release bundles is that while you get a discount on the skin you pay full price for the champion. In fact, it’s cheaper to unlock the champion with IP and then pay full price for the skin. Although, depending on you IP reserves it can take some time.

      Usually, we recommend waiting for sales as classic skins, nowadays, are quite good and a paid skin doesn’t actually fix the champion’s shortcomings as they used to. Besides, new content is constantly added so what now is irresistible tomorrow is old news.

      Waiting requires patience but it pays in the long run. Unless you really like Azir and his Galactic skin and just can’t wait it may be better not to jump on the first chance to get it. We agree that it’s not a bad opportunity but make sure that you will really make the most of the purchase. It’s not a small investment so as not to give it a good amount of thought.

  3. In your opinion what is the best legendary skin (1830 rp)? I’m thinking of getting one and I like all of them, I just want a second opinion

    • (1820 rp sorry)

    • It really depends on what theme you prefer and which champion you like to play. Any of the legendary skins at four stars, which is the maximum we have awarded so far, is quite good. You can get an easy look at all legendary skins’ ratings in the Skin List with a convenient link to the respective reviews.

      If you have something more specific in mind we’ll gladly help in what we can.

  4. Galactic Azir clearly has new sounds for his recall as well. You’re welcome.

    • Oh, and also for his death.

    • These oversights are becoming an habit. Thanks for the notice, we’ll be more careful in the future.

      • Um, I feel like I have overdone it lately with corrections, especially about recall sounds. Noticing you have not yet added the new sounds for Galactic Azir’s recall and death, or for other skins’ recalls such as Jade Fang Cassiopeia, should I stop pointing out missing recall sounds? Because I think there are several more but I feel like I am spamming the same thing over and over.

        • Not at all, we appreciate the help. It’s strange that we missed Cassiopeia because we clearly remember checking the recall sounds. Azir’s just been corrected as well as Darius. The Shadow Prince Malzahar review is next.

          If it’s more convenient you can make a big list of missing sounds. The amount of champions and skins has become difficult to manage.

          • Thank you very much. I will now try to make a list of the remaining missing recall sounds I find. I might miss some and some might not be correct but I’ll try my best:
            Panda Annie
            Zombie Brand grunts when he recalls but I doubt we can count that
            Dragonslayer Braum
            Battlecast Prime Cho’Gath (minor)
            Dragonwing Corki
            Primetime Draven (very minor)
            Void Fizz
            Steel Legion Garen (also has new thunder effects for the recall)
            Dino Gnar (both forms)
            Pool Party Graves
            Hazmat Heimerdinger
            Debonair Jayce
            Riot Kayle
            Pool Party Leona
            Hired Gun Lucian
            Steel Legion Lux
            Arcade Miss Fortune
            Headhunter Nidalee (very minor)
            Dragonslayer Pantheon
            Woad Scout Quinn
            Pool Party Renekton
            Night Hunter Rengar
            Dragonblade Riven (minor)
            Ice Drake Shyvana (both forms, very minor in human form)
            Championship Shyvana (both forms)
            Snow Day Singed
            Warring Kingdoms Tryndamere
            Arctic Ops Varus
            Neon Strike Vi
            Officer Vi
            Runeguard Volibear
            High Noon Yasuo
            Project Yasuo
            Special Weapon Zac
            Snow Day Ziggs
            That should be everything. You’re welcome and keep working hard.

          • Thank you, the list will be quite useful to make the reviews more accurate. As you can imagine this will take a while but we’ll try to get the reviews updated as soon as possible. Thanks again for your help.

  5. Out of curiosity, what are your thoughts on the upcoming Gravelord Azir skin? It’s a concept that the community’s been requesting for quite some time now, and I think Riot did a pretty good job of delivering.

    • The concept is quite good and the skin has some very nice features but much of it simply adapts Azir to the new style. We don’t find a cohesion on the skin or any significant additions to explain the high price. Currently, it seems a good skin but lets down with its unfulfilled potential.

  6. Now that I’ve informed you of Gravelord Azir’s processed voice-over and you’ve added it, don’t you think it’s appropriate to also mention it somewhere in the conclusion of the skin’s review? Specifically, you mention that it offers just as much as Galactic Azir, but the voice over is the exception there. It certainly isn’t a highly notable voice over, I was puzzled the first time I played with the skin and didn’t notice the voice having changed. (though it could have been a bug since it was on the PBE)

    • We probably should clarify that in the review. After all, it’s not exactly the same. Thanks for the headsup, we’ll add it.

  7. I just realized Gravelord Azir has a new death animation. Instead of dissolving into sand he sinks into the ground, leaving his shoulder plates, mask and staff behind.

  8. Are you going to review the new Warring Kingdoms Skins?
    I already bought it for Azir but I’d like to see the rating for it ^w^

    • We’ll try to have the reviews as soon as possible. We can assure you that none of the new skins are bad but we do have some caveats about them.

  9. In my opinion, I do believe that the new skin of Warring Kingdom Azir deserve a higher rating because even though the splash art back ground is fairly blurred, it is because its putting focus on the actual character as I can say for myself, the design is kinda bland, However, overall the design is good as the full “King” kinda feel is portrayed in this splash art, while in the other one (with the exception of gravelord azir), I don’t feel like it gives off much of a charismatic impression.

    On the whole it accurately portrays the historical armor design of a Chinese warrior in the old times. Furthermore, The spears are actually in a shape of a traditional Chinese weapon called a guandao that was used by a famous general called Guan Yu. The effects, however, are very similar and I cannot deny that it’s not the best theme.

    In conclusion, my point is that I do not believe that this skin is less great or not as good as Azir’s other skins but these are my own opinions and some facts. I hope this informs you about the historical link that is delivered with this theme and skin.

    • We don’t take into account the splash art for the rating. The splash art review is just an assessment of how well a skin is presented. We think it’s a relevant inclusion due to Riot’s insistence on using splash arts instead of in-game screenshots to identify skins. However, as a splash art is irrelevant then playing the rating only encompasses what the player actually gets once the skin is on the battlefield.

      We like the idea behind Warring Kingdoms Azir but we also find that it’s too conventional in its implementation. We see some of the royal style and some of the Chinese influence on the skin but it should be more than some style and influence. It should be a skin that embraces its theme but if you remove the few elements with a royal and Chinese link then everything looks generic.

      If we add that at the 1350 RP price tier a skin is supposed to go beyond the superficial and realise a different personality for the champion then the problems pile up too much. On paper, it’s a nice idea. Sadly, the execution leaves much to be desired.

  10. I think that the Warring Kingdoms Azir is a really good skin. Why did it only get two stars? 🙁 I think it should at least have three, if not four.

    • We found it lacking with respect to what a skin at the 1350 RP tier can do. We also found it too reliant on the classic style and also focused on making everything plausible. Trying to make it all believable makes the skin lack strength in its identity. Adding it all together and seeing good alternatives available, even at a lower price, we found that the skin had major faults. It still it is a skin with some appeal but there are problems that prevent it from captivating with its identity.

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