Oct 262017
 
Death Sworn Katarina, Death Sworn Viktor and Death Sworn Zed
Tales from the Rift: Death Sworn

Death is no rest, it’s no end: it’s a beginning. It’s another life, another chance to right wrongs and pursue what in life passed you by. For some, their call is darker: it’s not about chances but about ending them; for others. Revenge will be swift and no one will know what had befallen them, until it’s too late. For others, it’s about reminiscing about the past. Look back to all that is lost and trying to keep the memory fresh. Some revel in their new undead life, others suffer, some are even indifferent. Which kind are you?

Death Sworn Katarina
Death Sworn Katarina Splash Art Death Sworn Katarina Model
Category: Legacy
Price: 1350 RP
Concept: Katarina as a spectral assassin.
Model: New model for Katarina, her swords and daggers. New glow for her hair, right arm and swords.
Particles: New particles for her abilities, auto-attack and recall.
Animations: New animations for her hair and new recall animation.
Sounds: New sounds for her abilities, auto-attack and recall plus processed voice-over.
Splash Art: A cathedral shrouded in shadows but not the type that are passive witnesses. The architecture is detailed and antique, what little can be appreciated. The shadows are blurs of darkness with generic, humanoid shapes. In the middle, a spectre glows under the moonlight. The context is straightforward, unoriginal but fitting. It’s a pity though that most of it is barely suggested. There’re large areas that show nothing concrete, like on the left side of the piece, even if they aim at hinting at something larger.
Katarina’s appearance is a wonder against the diffuse mess of the background. With sharp lines and colours along a soft use of light she easily catches the eye. The stance is quietly defiant and confident, practically showing Katarina’s classic personality but with a touch of the supernatural. In fact, she feels like the Sinister Blade that everyone knows and loves. The surface is different but the identity seems intact; which does have its ups and downs. The elegance in display by the ethereal blades, arm and hair is a high point of the portrayal. Unfortunately, she does look a bit monochromatic; though that’s due to following the in-game look. The pose doesn’t allow a good view at Katarina’s supernatural appearance. Sure, it’s dramatic and communicates her personality but asks for a sacrifice.
The result is a splash art with acceptable context whose potential is squandered thanks to a background that looks like a sketch. Katarina, on the other hand, stands tall in her new look though it all seems rather superficial even if quite eye-catching. As a presentation card the portrayal does all the job.
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: Somewhere between Lunar Wraith and PROJECT we find Death Sworn Katarina. The spectral feel is there but so luminescent and with such clean lines that there’s an unintended futuristic feel to Katarina’s look. The armour is lean and practical while the decorative lines have a modern feel. The clothes are convenient for an agile warrior and even have a casual angle due to the jacket; which also allow for a good amount of cleavage. Colours are too similar to each other. Darker tones should offer more contrast so that the glow could stand out better. The swords manage a slight antique feel, a bit like the armour which provide a slight supernatural tint. However, compared to the lean design of the Katarina’s clothes, her swords look too ornamental and even cartoony.
Most of the spectral feel comes from the glowing arm and hair; with help from the swords. The measured glow is classy and effective but it also has a digital or holographic feel. While this could be interpreted as a lack of focus on the skin the look is actually distinct and clear about its intentions. What it lacks is a sinister feel. After all, despite the chalk-white skin Katarina looks quite human and healthy. Regardless, it’s a refreshing approach that embraces the ghostly and leaves the obvious horror behind.
Particles tend to rely on soft white trails for the swords which indicate supernatural magic and swift movement. The effect is actually appealing and suitable but also repetitive. All abilities and even auto-attacks use the same effect. In terms of consistency, there’s nothing bad to be said. However, it goes over to the point of homogeneity and even monotony. Perhaps using more contrast between whites and blacks could’ve added some depth to the visuals. It’s worth noting that Voracity looks rather similar to the classic version.
Sounds are quite good with a metallic and lightly haunting tone to the blades which is attractive. They are so suitable that they could fit the classic version just as well. The sinister tone is downplayed; reasonably so as is the approach of the skin. Unfortunately, that also diminishes the supernatural angle which, added to how similar they metal clanks end up sounding, leaves the audio feeling a tad mundane. The processed voice-over adds some haunting echoes to Katarina’s voice which helps set the spooky tone.
The new animations for the hair are nothing noteworthy. Essentially, it means that her hair floats behind her at all times instead of flowing naturally. It helps with the subtle supernaturalism of the skin. However, it’s also a shy addition that doesn’t feel significant. The recall is mostly Katarina showing off her abilities with the supernatural. It works but doesn’t say much about this specific version of the ghost.
All things considered, for a spectral Sinister Blade, Death Sworn Katarina goes the subtle way which has many advantages but also disadvantages. The classy approach of the skin is refreshing and the elegance in visuals and sounds are welcome. Unfortunately, animations don’t collaborate much plus there’s a lack of variety in colours, particles and sounds. The idea that the model shows is good but it needs a variety to make the result more vivid. Still, Death Sworn Katarina is a good skin without doubt. It’s a pity that with some extra work it could’ve been great, though.

Death Sworn Viktor
Death Sworn Viktor Splash Art Death Sworn Viktor Model
Category: Legacy
Price: 1350 RP
Concept: Viktor as a spectral warlock
Model: New model for Viktor and his staff. New glow for his third arm, head, torso and staff.
Particles: New particles for his abilities, auto-attack and recall.
Animations: New modified animations for his third arm and new recall animation.
Sounds: New sounds for his abilities, auto-attack and recall.
Splash Art: A magical circle on the ground, carved on the rock itself by the powerful magic of the warlock standing at its centre. Simple, perhaps too much, but it allows a good look at some of the most defining features of Death Sworn Viktor. Beyond the circle there’s nothing to see but the rough approach of the background adds to the grim personality of the figure in question.
Viktor also receives a depiction with rough lines and shading which emphasise imperfections and a visceral feeling of darkness. This taps right into the identity of the skin so that the piece embraces what the skin embodies. At times the roughness is a bit too much as the torso’s sketchy surface or some dim, simple glows show. In other areas, like metallic surfaces, arms, hood and third arm turned parasitic familiar it helps display the sinister feel of the skin effectively. The top-down perspective doesn’t add to the personality of Viktor and seems to only serve to show the magic circle. Fortunately, it doesn’t get in the way of showing his look and gives a different look.
All in all, this is certainly a straightforward splash art but one that is very effective. It has its flaws but also many successes which end up adding up to complement and transmit the feeling of dread that such a powerful warlock should elicit. Even if the piece can look spartan the result is certainly appealing. With an added dose of polish and perhaps a better use of perspective this could be one of League of Legends’ best splash arts.
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: It’s clear that Death Sworn Viktor shows him as a warlock of dark magic. The spectral, undead effect given by the glowing body against the dark armour is effective and the contrast appealing. The third arm reinterpreted as a sort of parasitic familiar, or a creepy third eye, is a wonderful addition. The model, with its evocative design brings forth the supernatural angle quite clearly in a ghastly and powerful interpretation of a magic user. The model can also feel a bit dichromatic. For the most part there’s a white glow accosted by black armour. There’re some slight blue tints but nothing else. There could be some extra variety of colours, different tones so that the design of the armour plates could be better distinguished. Also, the blue and white glows could’ve complemented each other with designs that weren’t so similar.
This similarity extends to the particles. Auto-attacks, Siphon Power and Death Ray look like ghostified versions of the classic abilities. That is, everything looks like classic but with different colours and some spectral glows. Still, the classic design is noticeable. Gravity Field has the advantage of a rather distinct magic circle design in its centre. This allows the ability to stand out; so much in fact that it’s reused in the recall. Chaos Storm also catches the eye; as an ultimate should. The spectral whirlwind of unknown depth is quite visually appealing. Sadly, the rest of the ability doesn’t feel as unique but there’s a feature to make the ultimate different, at least.
Sounds are strangely hi-tech in a way. They have a technological feel that is surprising. There’re some slight haunting tones to add the spectral touch but the feel is quite modern; even futuristic. It’s not that they sound bad but that they don’t reflect the visuals well. Far from being sinister or even supernatural they seem digital and, frankly, out of place.
The new animations added to the third arm mainly keep Death Ray consistent with the new design of the third arm. The rest of the abilities don’t show any major changes, if any. The new recall is an ideal choice for a warlock making his way out of a place. Using his magic for a quick ritual that transports him through space is exactly up the skin’s alley. The dedicated, careful approach that gives function more importance than style also respects Viktor’s personality; so that the recall is a great way of joining both his classic and Death Sworn identities.
All in all, Death Sworn Viktor is a skin that looks quite supernatural. The idea of a warlock that uses dark magic is great and while the magic isn’t that dark it does have its interesting moments. Sounds are peculiarly modern so that they don’t feel really spectral, which is puzzling. Regardless, for a warlock adept at powerful magics Death Sworn Viktor delivers.

Death Sworn Zed
Death Sworn Zed Splash Art Death Sworn Zed Model
Category: Legacy
Price: 1350 RP
Concept: Zed as a spectral ninja.
Model: New model for Zed, his shadow and shurikens. New glow for his head and claws plus small ghost flying around him.
Particles: New particles for his abilities, auto-attack, death and recall.
Animations: New modified animations for his abilities and auto-attacks plus new recall animation.
Sounds: New sounds for his abilities, auto-attack, death and recall.
Splash Art: With some luck it can be guessed that the action takes place within some sort of temple. The few lines on the background could indicate some arches but that’s as far as it goes. Perhaps we are in front of a tomb or maybe the blur is so intense that no one can have a proper idea of what’s going on. Sure, there are shadows and they seem to be of the kind to be wary of. However, only a couple can be distinguished and the one on the left barely has a human shape. The one on the right does seem to resemble someone familiar, because of the helmet, but it’s also rather blurry.
In the middle of it all we find a dim spectre with sketchy armour. The perspective intends to show how imposing this figure is to be but it’s too subtle. Also, there’s no transparency to the spectral body and the light it emits doesn’t seem to affect nearby surfaces much. This results in a plastic-like ghost with a head of cotton that tries to escape from the blur yet is a victim of it. Truth be told, as far a fear and scares are concerned Zed is completely unable to communicate any sort of dread. The general idea isn’t bad but a good layer of polish is necessary to elevate this portrayal to something more effective.
Frankly, this splash art is appalling. It’s not that it’s terribly done but it wholly misses the point of what it intends to evoke. Zed’s new look is visible and, even if unimpressive, the depiction works. However, there’s no dread, no fright, no feeling to be gathered from the piece. It seems so devoid of the supernatural that it disappoints.
Rating: Star clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZeroStar clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZero
Conclusion: A ninja with supernatural powers is nothing out of the ordinary. Death Sworn Zed ups the ante by also making the ninja a spectre. The body almost glows with unearthly energy though the armour is quite stylish. In fact, that’s an aspect that goes far from the sturdy armour Zed is known for. This time is about good looks with curved designs and lots of undead body unprotected. Strangely, the fact that cements the undead facet goes straight through his armour: the swords stabbing his back. Practical as always, Zed uses them so they aren’t merely decorative. The Wolverine-like claws have a nice, soft glow but their design seems derivative. Still, they are flashy enough considering the approach of the model. The model does look a bit monotonous, though. Made up entirely of shades of blue Zed looks like a shadow himself; even if he’s supposed to be a spectre. The dark greys used for his shadows are good and differentiate the two well enough; perhaps too much as the palettes are too different.
Particles are consistent yet also homogeneous. They employ white and blue swirls and trails that end up looking quite similar to each other. Auto-attacks stand out for the horizontally displaced glow that seems to be pushing the soul away from an attacked enemy with an ectoplasmic splash; though the animation seems simplistic. Razor Shuriken’s use of the swords stabbing Zed’s back is great but the rest of the particles aren’t noteworthy. The ghosts that fly away once a shadow dissipates are also a highlight. They add an apt supernatural feel though the playful flight may be too lighthearted for a skin with sinister inclinations. The ghosts that swirl around Zed and shadows for Shadow Slash are also nice but so brief that they are barely noticeable. The swords used for Death Mark seem simplistic. The ghosts that fly around the target are clear but for an ultimate something more elaborate than what’s used in the rest of abilities is expected. The death animation is identical to Classic but now adapted to the new look. The ghost that flies over the portal is perplexing because Zed is still around; unless he uses a spirit as a gate.
For the most part, sounds use the expected slashes backed by a few haunting screams and howls. The slashes seem reused from classic and the haunting sounds are fitting but too sparsely used. What really stands out is the liquid impact used in auto-attacks and some abilities. They support the white ectoplasm seen in auto-attacks for an added dose of ghost-based nature. Sadly, their use is too sparse.
Animations for auto-attacks and abilities are different but only a little bit. They actually adapt the actions to the new claws and swords on the back; instead of shurikens. On paper, it seems like a good idea but in practice there’s nothing that stands out: the change is minimal. The recall seems to have a Bishamon reference with Zed being a cursed armour that falls to the ground with the spectre flying away; perhaps to curse another. While there’s some unnecessary melodrama at the beginning and the ghost flying around aren’t given proper context it’s a fitting addition.
On the whole, Death Sworn Zed is a supernatural ninja that has ghostly tendencies but isn’t really sinister. On the contrary, the ghosts that so often fly around in playful swirls can even be considered funny. The design also uses elements which aren’t sufficiently exploited. For example, the swords on the back aren’t given much relevance despite seemingly being the way Zed died. The result is a skin that tries to be a haunting spectre but ends up being a lighthearted ghost. This is still appealing but far from the potential horror a Master of Shadows could be capable of; especially beyond the grave. The wasted implications of his end and manifestation only add to the letdown.

Conclusion

Death Sworn Katarina is a skin with an interesting, spectral feel that is classy and attractive. Sadly, there’s not enough variety in the skin to make each aspect as distinct as the approach of the skin is. The result is good, nonetheless. There’re no areas that are bad but they don’t take advantage of the good features as well as they could. With some extra variety and vibrancy the skin would be great.

With great visuals we find Death Sworn Viktor. It’s a skin that clearly communicates the warlock feel with powerful spells at his disposal. Such spells aren’t always very different from classic or dark enough but they have a couple of distinct features; so do the sounds for their unsuitable hi-tech feel. In spite of inconsistencies, it’s a skin that delivers on its premise.

Distinct despite flaws, Death Sworn Zed is a skin with spectral aspirations that ends up being just ghostly. The skin has good ideas but they are often unexploited. Besides, the ghosts that often fly around feel too playful and far from frightening. This results in a skin that has appeal but not the kind that could be expected. The fact that several elements are also not taken advantage of means that there’s too much untapped potential.

This set of skins has good features but tend to have identities which aren’t taken advantage of as much as they could’ve. The style is often good but the approach seldom brings the appeal of the concept to the forefront. It’s a matter of simplicity and wasted opportunities that join together to leave the skins in a worse place that they could’ve ended. Without shadow of a doubt, Death Sworn Katarina and Death Sworn Viktor are the most interesting. Death Sworn Zed is lacking and it shows.

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