Dec 172014
 
Winter Wonder Orianna, Poro Rider Sejuani and Snow Day Malzahar
Snowdown Showdown 2014

Poros, poros everywhere! When once snow was the star now it’s all poro-covered lands as far as the eyes can see. What’s one to do under such circumstances but mesh with the surroundings? Adapt your clothing to this new era and fit in among the poros. It’s all that’s left to do, lest the Poro King frown at unsuitable vassals.

Winter Wonder Orianna
Winter Wonder Orianna Splash Art Winter Wonder Orianna Model
Category: Legacy
Price: 975 RP
Concept: Orianna as a ballerina from a musical snow globe and her ball as a clockwork poro.
Model: New model for Orianna and the Ball.
Particles: New particles for her abilities and auto-attack. New poros for her recall.
Animations: New recall animation.
Sounds: New sounds and music for her recall.
Splash Art: The snow is left outside while a cosy fireplace warms oneself up. The wooden cottage has a welcoming feel and is full of little touches like the poro carpet and other elements around the fire. On a table, a snow globe contains Orianna as she makes her performance accompanied by a poro version of the Ball. Her depiction is charming and useful with great use of matte colours as well as some well placed sparkles and reflections. Material textures tend to look flat so both wool and fur don’t convince and metal appears as plastic. Nonetheless, for a toy doll it’s reasonable that cheaper substitutes were used instead of the real thing.
All across the piece colours are subdued but clear and elements are identifiable. There’s a bit of unnecessary blurriness here and there yet nothing that affects the piece much. More important though is the fact that the composition is very attractive and the piece brings its charm through effectively. Thanks to a great setting and a fine portrayal this splash art serves as a wonderful presentation card for Winter Wonder Orianna. Therefore, it joins the club of the best splash arts present in League of Legends.
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: Without being impressive Winter Wonder Orianna is a pleasing skin. The appearance is charming and fitting drawing from Orianna’s artificial playfulness. The concept is appealing and the aspect is more than a mere change of clothes. Even though the base isn’t modified at all it’s a good adaptation.
The Ball reinforces the theme with its poro-based aspect and new particles. Between the auto-attack and abilities the particles manage a different look but the Command visuals are mixed. The auto-attack, Dissonance and Protect look great with their new designs. Sadly, the modifications for Attack and Shockwave are disappointingly simple.
In the end, fans of Orianna and snow will find the skin to have an enchanting style. It surely feels like the skin could’ve been more, specially as part of Snowdown Showdown, but it still is quite good.

Poro Rider Sejuani
Poro Rider Sejuani Splash Art Poro Rider Sejuani Model
Category: Legacy
Price: 975 RP
Concept: Sejuani wearing warm clothes, wielding a frozen poro snack and riding a giant poro.
Model: New model for Sejuani, Bristle and her flail. New poro for her recall and death.
Particles: New floating snow particles for her abilities and auto-attack.
Animations: New recall animation.
Sounds: New sounds for her abilities, auto-attack and recall.
Splash Art: For those that wanted to know what a poro charge is this piece has a clear answer. Sejuani and Bristle send flying snow and poros alike as they advance; leaving behind some recognizable faces. Those faces can be difficult to identify as most of the background and even poro-Bristle are rather blurry. There seems to be a hint to a race or some other event but the setting isn’t clear about it. Sejuani is clearly displayed yet her face seems alien: it doesn’t look like her. The warm clothes are displayed well with appropriate quality. Her flail, though, seem to compete and even try to gather more attention than the actual characters. As a try at humour it’s not that effective. The result is mixed: the elements are present and are good. However, the implementation and composition doesn’t let them shine as they could.
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: For the most part, Poro Rider Sejuani is just a re-model. It’s quite a good one as the new aspect is very appealing though mostly due to the presence of poro-Bristle.
The new clothes for Sejuani bring back to mind her Bear Cavalry wardrobe. Whereas, her new flail seems like a joke that isn’t as good in practice as it is in theory.
Bristle, however, steals the show with his new poro persona. It is, without a doubt, the main attraction and what really gives the skin its identity.
The particles seem underdeveloped. While it’s understandable that Sejuani’s classic ice particles work quite well the added floating snow is a flimsy addition that can pass unnoticed. Perhaps confectionery would’ve been a better theme for the particles because they feel lacklustre.
In conclusion, Poro Rider Sejuani is a charming skin thanks to poro-Bristle. It’s a skin that feels as a re-model which is unbecoming of Snowdown Showdown but, at least, it has a big, furry saving grace.

Snow Day Malzahar
Snow Day Malzahar Splash Art Snow Day Malzahar Model
Category: Legacy
Price: 975 RP
Concept: Malzahar as a cryomancer wearing warm clothing.
Model: New model for Malzahar and his voidlings. New poro for his recall.
Particles: New particles for his abilities, auto-attack and death.
Animations: New recall animation.
Sounds: New sounds for his abilities, auto-attack, recall and death.
Splash Art: Mostly a suggestion, the background barely displays some trees and snow aside from a huge and unremarkable Void portal. The invasion of furry voidlings is a good touch and they add some necessary personality to the setting. Malzahar is nicely depicted emerging from the portal: the rippled right leg is a great indication. The colours are sharp and his clothes detailed even though the fur appears simplistic. Additionally, the textures of his cowl, mask and boot seem flat and devoid of life; unlike the rest of his body. All in all, it’s a splash art that provides a fine portrayal of Malzahar before a background that amounts to nothing with the voidlings being its only redemption.
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: As a long overdue new skin Snow Day Malzahar shows that some dedication went into its development. The adaptation isn’t without its flaws but it accomplishes an interesting frost angle. Malzahar’s model is nothing revolutionary: just warm clothes. Added to his new ice powers he reminds of Captain Cold but the reference stays as a suggestion. The poro-voidlings don’t really fit their role that well. They mix cuteness and monstrosity but the result appears clumsy despite the recall’s clear explanation. They look like a furry crab that doesn’t capture the appeal of neither classic voidlings nor poros.
The new particles are rather nice and while they aren’t impressive they largely convey the ice aesthetic. Still, Malefic Vision’s bubbly visuals look strange: they make the enemy appear drunk like Gragas. Maybe a tiny snow storm would’ve better communicated the ice theme.
In addition to this, Nether Grasp looks simplistic for an ultimate; which is a letdown. The new sounds help convey the theme. They are subdued and don’t attract attention but they supplement the visuals effectively.
All things considered, Snow Day Malzahar has a clear and attractive identity. The changes don’t always make the most of the theme but the skin ends up being quite good. Fans of ice mages and Void Prophets will find it an interesting option.

Conclusion

The Snowdown Showdown skins of 2014 are rather good but don’t always exemplify the quality expected from legacy skins tied to an event. The recommended skin is Snow Day Malzahar. The clothing isn’t impressive but the particles and sounds as well as the poro-voidlings give the skin a distinct identity. There are some rough edges but, overall, it’s a nice option.

An interesting alternative is Winter Wonder Orianna. The concept is fantastic but the implementation doesn’t make the most of it. In particular, her abilities go from having clear visuals to looking practically unchanged. For fans of Orianna it’s certainly a tempting choice but they’ll have to accept some low points in the execution.

Finally, Poro Rider Sejuani is all charm thanks to the gigantic poro mount. Bristle notwithstanding, the skin doesn’t offer much: just warm clothes for Sejuani, a whimsical flail and some falling snow for her abilities. Fortunately, poro-Bristle comes to the rescue and steals the show; which allows the skin to stand out. If you accept it for what it is then it’s quite a likeable skin to get.

  10 Responses to “League of Legends: Snowdown Showdown 2014 Skins’ Review”

  1. I have a few constructive points I would like to make about the discussion of blurriness in splash arts.

    It is normal and necessary for artists to subtly blur the background in order to emphasise its focal point and add depth to a piece of work. And this is deliberate and effective. Normally: dark colours, cool colours and blurriness recedes into the background; while light, warm colours and sharp objects come forward.

    Note that if indeed the background were sharpened, the splash art would be awfully off focus, flat, and would lack the necessary depth. More importantly, this will significantly detract from the focus of the splash art: the champion itself. (Remembering that the splash art is concentrating on the Champion and the background is not as important)

    From the skins above, for example, Winter Wonder Orianna achieves this balance of sharpness and ‘blurriness’ perfectly: Its focal point being Orianna’s facial expression. Not to mention, the beautiful contrast between the orange fiery light tones and the dark blue shadows adds to this 3D effect.

    So I feel that in most cases, as a practicing artist myself, blurriness is necessary and key if its used correctly, and it takes much practice to get it right. Certain elements need to be out of focus or ‘blurred’ so it does not detract from the subject.

    I hope that the constructive feedback that I have given has helped, and I hope you understand that blurriness is not always a negative but is instrumental to any artwork.

    • We completely agree with you: blurrines is necessary and key if its used correctly. That’s our issue in most cases, the field of depth is too abrupt or the blurriness is too thick and obscures the background. Within reason, as in Winter Wonder Orianna for the most part, it can allow the spotlight to lay on the champion. However, if not used properly then everything becomes diffuse; even the champion in some cases.

  2. Hey Zero,

    you are sure about the point that these snowdown skins are legacy?
    I mean if you klick on “limited availability” in the League shop you dont see the new skins of 2014 only the skins of the last years.
    Please correct me if i am wrong.

    Regards LaYn

    • You’re right but the release announcements do say that they’ll be available only until the 6th of January, 2015. In Harrowing something similar happened: the skins were under the ‘limited availabiilty’ filter but the announcement didn’t mention anything about their availability.

      As far as we know, they are legacy skins. If we find out otherwise we’ll update the reviews as soon as possible.

  3. Hey guys,
    I wanted to buy a skin for myself fron this year’s snowdown skins like I do every other year but I am torn between Malzahar and Orianna. I dont play both of them that much because I bought them recently and I like them both equally. I consider their skins as good. Of course, you can tell that there was more effort put in making Malzahar’s skin but I think that the Orianna one is very good looking and well done although there are a few things missing in the particle department. Her desing is the better from the two because I dont like Malzahar’s position of his body at all. He seems humpbacked and his clothing is nothing spectacular. I am not sure. If you can help me, I’ll be glad to hear your point of view :). Oh and btw do you consider making reviews of ward skins and summoner icons?

    • Truth be told, the skins aren’t that far in terms of quality. If Winter Wonder Orianna had new sounds for her abilities she could be on par with Snow Day Malzahar. Even though Malzahar has better particles Orianna has a nicer model.

      To choose between the two you have to take into account their differences. Orianna has a nice model, uneven particles and only an extra recall; besides the new Ball. Malzahar has an acceptable model, good particles, acceptable sounds and a new recall; besides the new voidlings. In terms of amount, Malzahar has more features. In terms of appeal, Orianna is more charming even if the skin is missing some extra additions.

      In the end, you can go for quantity or quality. That’s not to say that Snow Day Malzahar is bad because the additions are, at the very least, functional. None of his additions stand out but together they add up quite well to realize the theme.

      However, Winter Wonder Orianna does less but what she does good she does very good. For instance, when the particles are nice they surely stand out; like in Dissonance and Protect or her auto-attack. Besides, the model is enchanting.

      Both skins have their advantages and disadvantages. You could always wait until next year and get the 2014 bundle with a 20% discount. If you want to buy one now then the key is to decide based on what you like the most. You mention that you like Winter Wonder Orianna but that you can’t ignore the work put into Snow Day Malzahar. If you like Winter Wonder then go for it. It’s better to get less of something you like than more of something that you have issues with.

      We are considering making ward skins’ reviews as it has been requested before. Summoner icons’ reviews could be something to consider too; though they don’t even matter in an actual game so it wouldn’t be a priority.

  4. Thanks for the advice! I will buy WW Orianna. What is your opinion on the ward skins for this Snowdown. The astronaut one is probably the best for me because there are significant changes to the sounds, particles and animations. I will probably buy the astro one but the gentleman one has the best model among the three of them but not so good particles and animations.

    • Truth be told we haven’t seen the ward skins. We just gave them a quick look and we mostly agree with you. The poro ward is mostly an idle poro on a pedestal so the slowed down animations for astronaut are a bit more interesting. The gentleman model is a bit better, moustache and top hat, but the animations are simple. As far as sounds and particles go we didn’t notice anything remarkable but it was just a glimpse so we could’ve missed something.

      If you like Winter Wonder Orianna then that’s the one to get. Snow Day Malzahar might be more elaborate but if you don’t like it much then chances are that it won’t be as enjoyable. As always, personal preference is the ideal argument to decide. Elaborate changes are nice but if you don’t like the theme then it’s just quantity.

  5. Are these snowdown skins gonna be available at the same time this year? Sorry if its a stupid question…

    • Don’t worry, we are glad to help.

      As Snowdown legacy skins they will most probably be available by the end of the year in the next Snowdown. There might be a bundle as well including all the skins that will have a small discount which can help get them all in case you like them for a bit less RP.

      The same would apply to other event skins like Harrowing, Lunar Revel and Championship. Skins for other events, like football or winter games may return when an associated event is happening in real life but that’s left to Riot’s discretion.

      Finally, retired legacy skins usually return at the end of every year for the annual Legacy Vault sale. The skins are not only made available but also discounted so it’s worth waiting until they go on sale in case you are looking to get any of them.

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