The Championship skins celebrate each world tournament with a dash of blue and touch of gold. There are enough options to build a full team and the looks are quite consistent as well as attractive. More than colour changes, the skins incorporate distinct styles that allow a new look at the champions as triumphant, regal warriors. How have the skins approached each champion? Are the results always convincing and attractive? Read further in this skins’ review and find out.
|Concept:||Riven wearing dark blue armour and wielding a massive blunt-pointed sword.|
|Model:||New model for Riven and her sword: broken and re-forged.|
|Particles:||New blue particles for her auto-attack, critical strike, abilities and recall.|
|Animations:||New recall animation.|
|Sounds:||No new sounds.|
|Splash Art:||Behind Riven a volcano seems to have erupted in blue flames and lava, though it could also be an unusually rocky iceberg melting. The thing is, while the blue theme is firmly laid the setting is surprisingly ethereal. Riven stands over a nearby rock resting her sword on its blade. This helps mask its whimsical design just as her posture hides the numbers on the armour. Regardless, she looks quite good: the plates shine bathed by the blue energy, her hair flows reasonably well, and the blade drips blue energy around. On the whole, it’s a very nice splash art, even if it seems ashamed of the seasonal nature of the skin.|
|Conclusion:||Championship Riven is a seasonal skin despite the splash art trying to ignore it. Let’s start with the look and then delve into the details. The armour isn’t a full suit but Riven isn’t exactly known for wearing good protection. Still, for an armoured Riven the skin works despite its peculiar aspect; practically the same can be said about her hairstyle. The subdued and limited palette makes the skin a bit too homogeneous which is a pattern that the sword, strangely, doesn’t follow. The broken blade has a very interesting, ornamented design but when complete it surely stands out from the norm with its blunt end.
Still, the general reference to Season 2 can be overwhelming as the complete sword tries to imitate a two. Coupled with the numbers on Riven’s back and chest they become a strong reminder of how the skin doesn’t actually belong to the fictional Valoran. Therefore, all this many references break the illusion and immersion into the game world. Fortunately, the new blue particles add a lot of visual flare to compensate for the rather unassuming, seasonal look; though Valor does stress the latter. Truth be told, the particles are rather dull with an homogeneous, pale blue largely lacking in contrast of tones. Regardless, the shapes and animations are appealing and fluid.
With regards to the vintage and 2016 versions of the skin there are only a couple of in-game differences and none significant; there’s also a loading screen border for vintage. Vintage Championship Riven has a crown on her head and a new glow on the sword when Blade of the Exile is active. The glow is a good addition that would fit any of Riven’s skins but the crown tends to pass unnoticed. It’s a small gesture that doesn’t add up to much though it certainly isn’t unfitting or unwelcome.
All things considered, it’s a nice skin that feels too attached to its seasonal nature. Nonetheless, considering its limited availability, appealing aesthetic and reasonable price it’s a good product for Riven and nostalgic fans.
|Concept:||Thresh as a blue, armoured spectre.|
|Model:||New model and blue particles for Thresh. New model for his scythe and lantern.|
|Particles:||New particles for his abilities, auto-attack and death plus blue souls.|
|Animations:||New recall animation.|
|Sounds:||New recall sounds.|
|Splash Art:||The background is as fuzzy as the ghostly vapours that cover most of it. There are some indistinguishable formations but aside from a trophy pillar there’s nothing else to see. Thresh strikes a dynamic pose but that also prevents a good look at his appearance. It’s possible to get a general idea of it but the perspective isn’t the most useful. Besides abundant vapours, the shading seems a tad too saturated and homogeneous despite being effective. There are some dents here and there, to add some depth, but the portrayal is straightforward and too centred on his lantern. On the whole, Thresh’s look is depicted but it requires some extra work to have a useful notion of his aspect.|
|Conclusion:||Championship Thresh doesn’t innovate in terms of concept. Actually, it’s mostly the same Warden but in blue. The armour and weapons do receive new designs and the overall aesthetic is different; maybe more modern. Yet, at large, there aren’t any significant differences sans the new colour scheme. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it provides a distinct and appealing identity to the skin. Additionally, besides the recall there isn’t much of a hint at the skin’s seasonal nature except for the season logo on the front and back of the cuirass; and that may be for the best. This way, it smoothly meshes into the fantasy realm. All in all, Championship Thresh is nothing novel but is a rather nice option for Thresh fans.|
|Concept:||Shyvana as a blue dragon warrior.|
|Model:||New model for Shyvana and Dragon’s Descent. New blue flames for her gauntlet and dragon maw.|
|Particles:||New blue flames for her abilities.|
|Animations:||New recall animations for both her forms.|
|Sounds:||New sounds for each recall.|
|Splash Art:||The background is three things: diffuse, straightforward and a complement to the foreground. It only suggests Shyvana’s dragon form without much in the way of details or setting. It’s reasonable but not that useful or impressive. Shyvana stands in direct contrast in a vivid and eye-catching depiction. Strangely, she seems to be casually passing by but the pose allows a good look at her aspect; though from the knees up only. The lighting and detailed surfaces allow the portrayal to stand out and become the piece’s saving grace. Thus, it’s a splash art that gives a great view of human Shyvana and leaves the rest as a hint.|
|Conclusion:||Human: from the lines and proportions of the armour a slight cartoon angle is noticeable. That distinct style helps the skin define its identity so that it’s not simply blue Shyvana. Besides, it results in an appealing appearance that still feels battle-ready without being unnecessarily dark.
Dragon: the dragon form is even more overt about the cartoon style. She still looks dangerous but far from a fearsome monster of destruction. Nevertheless, the design is sleek and stands out with appeal. The use of colour lacks variety though because it seems a bit monochromatic despite some timid touches of yellow.
Added to the new models there are new blue particles that are nothing revolutionary. In fact, they appear somewhat similar to Ice Drake’s; despite the differing themes. They manage to make the skin cohesive and allow the models to shine with their own light. Regardless, they fail to make an impression. In the end, it’s a fine skin with a unique aesthetic that doesn’t repeat the style of other skins. It surely doesn’t feel just like blue Shyvana even though the particles appear like that.
|Concept:||Kalista wearing blue armour and wielding engraved spears.|
|Model:||New model for Kalista and her spears. New blue glow for Kalista and her spears.|
|Particles:||New blue particles for her abilities, auto-attack and recall.|
|Animations:||New recall animation.|
|Sounds:||New sounds for her abilities, auto-attack and recall.|
|Splash Art:||In a blur of blue a platform is the only context for the glowing apparition in front of us. The idea is straightforward but the background is so diffuse that there isn’t much context. The only thing that disrupts the monotony is the souls attacking soldiers. Kalista’s portrayal escapes from the fuzziness for the most part. Her face is clear with a skin texture not fully human. The armour is detailed with several dents and nice use of reflections. It’s a pity that her legs are hidden due to the perspective but also diffuse because of the prevailing fog. Something similar happens to her arms but her left one makes sensible use of the effect to display distance. Additionally, the glowing spear she wields, more than the ones on her back, has a pleasant supernatural glow; faintly echoed by her eyes.
All in all, it’s a fine piece with a weak setting and a good portrayal. Kalista’s depiction could be better and to a point it’s uneven. Regardless, it’s a good presentation card despite the flood of blurriness.
|Conclusion:||In simple words, Championship Kalista is a blue version of the Spear of Vengeance; much like Blood Moon is the red one. A closer look allows discovering a richly armoured Kalista hurling golden engraved spears at her enemies or friends; she doesn’t discriminate. The blue design as the main element is undeniable but there’s a bit more to the skin than just a new colour.
The blue particles keep the look consistent. There’s nothing impressive and it could even be said that the colour is the only significant change but the new design of the spears adds some personality to the look. The new recall is a clear ceremonial reference which, as it doesn’t break any walls including the fourth, stands as a reasonable addition.
All in all, there isn’t anything particularly extraordinary about Championship Kalista. However, it’s a skin that does well what it sets out to do. The spectral blue style is effective and the regal appearance is distinct even if not really original. For fans of Kalista and colour-based skins it’s a fine choice but if you’re looking for something deeper then you won’t find it here.
|Concept:||Zed as a blue-armoured ninja.|
|Model:||New model for Zed, his shadow and shurikens plus new blue surrounding ripples.|
|Particles:||New blue particles for his abilities, auto-attack, death and recall.|
|Animations:||New recall animation.|
|Sounds:||New recall sounds.|
|Splash Art:||The dark and foreboding feel of the piece is evident at a glance. However, there isn’t much that is actually revealed after a closer inspection. The background isn’t very clear: there’s an opening in a low ceiling from where a light, moonlight perhaps, falls and spreads into the room. Against the walls there are some classic Zed armours or shadows but the intense mist doesn’t show much. Four visible acolytes surround the Master of Shadows with one offering a blade; with which intentions it isn’t even suggested. There are also sparks of unknown origin which, in fact, seem out of place. The result is a setting that gives a perception of gloom but that doesn’t develop it.
Zed’s portrayal shares many similarities. The control of power and its supernatural nature is implicit but the quality of the depiction is evidently uneven. From the waist down Zed is buried in a mist that barely lets some details emerge. The upper half is a completely different matter. The precise lines, bright highlights and sharp colours make the metal vivid and believable. Even the engravings on the armour and shurikens are noticeable. The blue glow on the eyes, back and forearms give the armour an unsuitable futuristic air; though they look great. The idea of magic seems opposed before the modern design of the armour; stressed by the glows. The pose does give Zed’s presence a mysterious angle but the fact that his appearance isn’t fully visible, and not just because of the pose, makes such a proposition ineffective. Too much is concealed, even his actual reason to be there. His outstretched left arm and head position may imply communication with one of the acolytes yet it’s all too subtle to draw more from it.
In consequence, this is a piece with great potential and many hints at possibilities that are never developed with more elements; even subtly. The setting has a nice, dark feel and Zed’s depiction is attractive. Regardless, both are unevenly displayed and the whole situation gives little to no concrete information about what’s going on. The result is a splash art that catches the eye but then dilutes the attention in an array of suggestions that are never given a proper purpose.
|Conclusion:||Not unlike previous skins in the same line Championship Zed is quite a straightforward skin. Unlike them the result fails at being more than the sum of its parts. The new, multi-layered blue armour is well designed. It seems functional yet good looking and has a measured air of royalty to it. Even the blades have an accompanying design that suits the general feel. While it’s nothing extraordinary it’s certainly a good appearance with modern lines that define a suitably aggressive and lean look.
The particles are direct. They mostly display blue smoke, which is appealing, and blue swirls; which are unsurprising but consistent. The smoke ends up being the most significant change as the rest is the same old classic stuff but in blue. The recall ties in with the regal style of the armour and manages to be more than a mere tournament reference.
All in all, though the blue ninja aesthetic is communicated there is a perceived lack of attraction in the changes. Everything works towards specifically defined goals and it all seems effective. However, as it’s all so direct the result has less impact than in should. The model is good and so is the blue smoke. The rest of blue particles keep everything consistent but there’s nothing that identifies the skin; colour aside. In spite of all the work, Championship Zed struggles to end up being more than Blue Zed. Seeing as this is a special, legacy skin it’s a pity that it fails to set itself apart from the many re-models with re-coloured particles and a recall tagged on that already exist.
In most cases, Championship skins are great options for the respective champions. They aren’t always better than other skins that each champion may have available but they seldom disappoint. The best ones might be Riven and Shyvana due to how they stand apart from their other skins. The models have specific styles and so do the particles; which enable the skins to feel unique. Even though there’s an obvious reliance on a change of colour these skins are much more than that.
Kalista and Thresh have the competition of the Blood Moon skins which offer a richer concept. Visually, they can be a blue option that is almost as good and a bit royal. Still, though not as evocative as Blood Moon, the Championship skins have distinct appearances that make them well worth any fan’s time. They may not be the first option but they are a really good one.
Finally, Championship Zed loses a bit of steam in comparison with past skins. On the one hand the new model is quite interesting and the blue ninja aesthetic is appealing. However, the skin relies too much on the change of colour; in fact that’s the feel that the new particles give. The new model is quite good for an armoured ninja but the overall result is too straightforward.