Jul 142017
 
Kayn, The Shadow Reaper
Kayn, The Shadow Reaper

For Kayn, The Shadow Reaper the conflict is internal but the consequences will reach far beyond the individual. The struggle between man and weapon is still about integration but also about domination. Will the odds of the battle decide who triumphs or can the will of one surpass the other? There is no definite answer. Whether Shieda or Rhaast take over shadows will extend wherever either of them go. The question is: what will you see when they reach you?

Soulhunter Kayn
Soulhunter Kayn Splash Art Soulhunter Kayn Model
Category: Regular
Price: 1350 RP
Concept: Kayn as a spectral reaper.
Model: Major model changes for Kayn and his scythe as well as his Shadow Assassin and Darkin forms. New glow for his left arm in his base form and animated glow for the Darkin’s horns.
Particles: New particles for his abilities, auto-attack and recall.
Animations: New recall animation with halfway modifications for each form.
Sounds: New sounds for his abilities, auto-attack and recall.
Splash Art: At a glance, there’s much to appreciate in the background. A mysterious cathedral under the moonlight shows its gothic architecture; that last part is a guess but probably true. The dim light ensures that details are suggested but never clear so that few concrete elements can be seen. Near the roof and on the floor to the left there are some rags of elusive meaning. Those on the floor could look like monsters or something, well, anything else as nothing is clear. There’s decoration all over that is difficult to see and also the statues on the sides. On the left would be the Shadow Assassin form and on the right the Darkin; in theory, as the right one looks armoured. As a reference to Kayn’s potential paths it’s a great touch. It’s also a decidedly weak reference due to the vague depictions and especially given the importance of both.
Kayn stands in the middle, back to the viewer with an attitude of youthful arrogance; which is suitable. Just like the background he looks monochromatic. The lines are sharp and well delineated at the top and lose clarity as we move down until we find fuzzy boots. The colours can look sharp with good use of lighting but, like the lines, they become blurred and messy as we move down. The scythe’s handle, his hair and left arm can look sketchy but the blade is, mostly, well depicted with a great display of mystery in the gem: does it contain or show water? Is it something else? A soul perhaps? Good questions for the theme at hand. The setting should raise some like those.
All things considered, this is a splash art that has a good conception but the final result needs an extra layer of depth and polish. There’s much to be seen but it isn’t clearly shown. Could the temple be a monument to other people that have wielded the scythe as well? There’s too little to start making guesses. Kayn’s portrayal is effective but straightforward and unimpressive. It isn’t bad but there’s nothing really evocative except for the scythe’s gem. This makes it a passable presentation card which oozes potential.
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: Conceptually, Soulhunter Kayn is a great skin. The idea of having the Shadow Reaper as demon hunter suits him perfectly. In his base, he’s a green hunter learning the trade and not fully aware of the great danger that the dark tool at his disposal entails. A youthful style with a casual feel joins a scythe that appears rustic yet with hidden potential; seeing from the blade and gem. As a Shadow Assassin he becomes the archetypical flashy demon hunter. With pointy hat, waving, long hair, colourful armour and matching scythe he’s certainly got the looks. When the Darkin takes over things take a grimmer look. Colours are subdued with shades of grey comprising most of the palette; though with enough variety not to feel monochromatic. The demonic armour not only matches Rhaast but also the scythe with its ornamentation and uneven blade. Unfortunately, while spectral the Darkin still seems rather similar to the classic form’s counterpart.
Particles take different colours for the brushstrokes that make the different abilities and auto-attacks but the general design is not only similar between them but also to Classic. For base Kayn a mix of white and black, with a slight emphasis on the white, is employed for auto-attacks, Reaping Slash and Blade’s Reach, similar to the Darkin form, while Shadow Step and Umbral Trespass use gold; as a fitting link to the Shadow Assassin form. The similarities to Classic Kayn are particularly noticeable for Reaping Slash. As a Shadow Assassin abilities embrace a more distinct golden tone that still feels to overlap with the base Soulhunter form. In the case of Shadow Step and Umbral Pass the tone is a bit more saturated. The Darkin form retains its white and black for all abilities and auto-attacks which makes it quite visually consistent albeit a bit too homogeneous. It does feel the more spectral of the forms while Shadow Assassin seems flashier and the base torn between the two; which makes sense. In all cases, Reaping Slash has some different designs but the irregular lines don’t have any defined style. Only the central line in the Darkin form stands out from the rigid template because the rest of the style is mostly owed to the different colours; as in the other abilities.
Ability sounds aren’t particularly notable. In fact, the base sounds seem to have been kept while a sepulchral twang is added afterwards; a howl may be a more accurate and less cynical word to describe it. While Shadow Assassin reinforces such addition with a higher pitch the Darkin form lowers the pitch and makes it more ominous; but only slightly in either case. Truth be told, the differences can feel subtle and will be difficult to notice in the heat of battle. The auto-attacks seem to be duller, less liquid and more viscous with more metal in the sound or perhaps the mind plays tricks as the difference seems quite slim.
The sole new animation is the recall. Just like in Classic, the three forms share the initial part where the scythe is left spinning. Then each form plays with the weapon in a different way that is, expectedly, not very different from Classic. While the identity of each form is kept, each form being inexperienced, flashy and supernatural respectively, they still feel quite familiar and similar to the Classic style.
All added together, the concept of Soulhunter Kayn seems tailor made for the Shadow Reaper. It may even be not far from his classic persona but, at any rate, it’s a great choice. The execution doesn’t make the most of the great potential. Instead it seems to go through the motions, adapting everything to the new models. The models have personality, especially base Kayn and the Shadow Assassin; though the Darkin form is ghostly enough. Particles are mostly re-coloured. There are some new designs but different for the sake of being so without a defined identity to support that of each form and the skin’s theme. The only new sound is an ominous howl that suits the abilities and theme but that feels like too little support for the fitting concept. The recall keeps the classic personality which suits the skin but something more specific and adequate would’ve better defined the concept.
With that in mind, Soulhunter Kayn is a skin with great potential that the by the numbers implementation doesn’t exploit. Instead of taking advantage of the similarities to work in defining differences much is shared between Classic and Soulhunter so that, at worse, they can feel like complementary yet similar takes on the same character.

Odyssey Kayn
Odyssey Kayn Splash Art Odyssey Kayn Model
Category: Legendary
Price: 1820 RP
Concept: Kayn as an ambitious, elite soldier.
Model: New model for Kayn and his scythe plus moderate model changes for his Shadow Assassin and Darkin forms. Translucent blade for Kayn’ scythe, new glow for Shadow Assassin’s body, translucent hair and scythe as well as new animated glow for Rhaast’s torso and scythe.
Particles: New particles for his abilities, auto-attack, emotes, high-speed run, death, respawn and recall for each form.
Animations: Adapted animations for his abilities, auto-attack, critical hits, standing idle, walk, high-speed run, plus new animations for his tranformations, emotes, death, respawn and recall for each form.
Sounds: New sounds for his abilities and auto-attack for each form. New sounds for his emotes, high-speed run, death, respawn and recall. New voice-over with new quotes when buying items, specific interactions with certain champions, starting the game and killing enemies.
Splash Art: The setting isn’t clear, perhaps a spaceship or advanced facility. Given how diffuse everything is it seems that’s not important. What matters are the victims of Kayn’s power: one losing his life essence or energy breaking his body, it’s ambiguous, and the other being slashed or kicked or thrown away.
Kayn stands in the middle with holograms of his Shadow Assassin and Darkin forms. They are rather blurry but the former seems to be more neglected while Rhaast’s head and torso are clear enough. Kayn is depicted with precise lines but colours lack vibrancy and his lower body is quite diffuse. The upper body is clear in details but not even metal appears bright in presence of so much light. The scythe is clearly seen but appears sketchy and the perspective makes it look small; much more than in-game.
In general, the splash art delivers the essentials with a bit of context but nothing concrete about what is going on. The portrayal is serviceable without letting Kayn impress and the hints at his transformations are small, welcome additions. This results in a good splash art that has evident room for improvement; which should’ve been a priority for a legendary skin.
Rating: Star clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZeroStar clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZero
Conclusion: Odyssey Kayn presents him as a deadly warrior bent on improving himself to become invincible but he does look like a rather extravagant aristocrat with little care for practicalities and more than a passing resemblance to Zorg, from the Fifth Element. Colourful and eye-catching armour as well as scythe are more concerned with looking good than being effective; let’s say nothing of the hairstyle. His other forms are much tamer in comparison. Shadow Assassin looks like the spectre of a prince; which is apt given his imperial ambition. The Darkin form looks like a demon with expected fire-based influences. Neither, then, diverges much from the classic forms but instead add a different approach to the same concept.
Particles tend to be re-colours for the various slashes that the scythe is bound to do. Each form has particles which match the respective model’s colour scheme but there’s no new design for them. Shadow Step is a highlight with the holographic distortions used. The effect is very attractive but also seems detached in a skin that has barely any technological elements. Umbral Trespass stands out with the portrait of each form on top of the axe. The rest of the particles are nice but the classic design remains, which is a letdown.
Sounds seem to keep the classic design but adapted to the visuals. Kayn’s sounds have more metal, Shadow Assassin a more digital feel and Rhaast are more flame-like so that each form has a style but it’s a change on the surface. The overall design of the sounds isn’t distinct enough to represent the skin’s theme. The voice-over is adequate with quotes that support the theme but too many which don’t contribute.
Animations seem mostly adapted to the new bodies rather than different. There’re the expected new additions like emotes and recalls but in terms of abilities and auto-attacks everything is quite similar to Classic. A couple of changes that stand out are the scythe spinning on its own when Shadow Assassin employs Reaping Slash and Blade’s Reach; simply a more pronounced effect than in classic. Emotes are charming yet remarkably disconnected to the skin’s concept; mostly jokes based on its design. The transformations, despite their similarity to classic, and especially the recalls are better at representing the theme and each form’s relationship to ora; Shadow Assassin’s recall in particular.
On the whole, Odyssey Kayn is a skin that reuses too much from the classic base. It gives the impression that the skin is legendary because of the complexity of adapting three forms instead of the depth of the adaptation. This is particularly notable as many areas feel shallow but where the skin dares to put the concept forward, like the recalls, it shows that there’s ample potential which goes untapped. What we are left with is an uneven skin with some nice features, like the animated glows and ultimate portraits, which end up being little touches that stand out.

Conclusion

Although release skins could take advantage of the readily available assets to give shape to whole new concepts Soulhunter Kayn is proof that is still not the case. The concept suits the Shadow Reaper very well to the point that certain aspects can, but don’t have to, be shared. The implementation does a good job with the models but when it comes the time for the rest of the features it simply adapts without giving the identity a distinct feel. This leaves the skin feeling attractive enough but not because of the effort put into its development only due to the potential it has.

Odyssey Kayn is the first alternative and also legendary, even though it doesn’t really show it. The concept may be interesting but the execution can very well be superficial. Thus, we have a skin which is rather uneven with some nice features and many shallow areas. The result has appeal but with the caveat that the breadth of three forms seems to take up all the legendary resources instead of the depth of the implementation.

  24 Responses to “League of Legends: Kayn Skins’ Review”

  1. Great in-depth analysis as always <3

  2. One thing i don’t understand is why the left side of his hair is black on the in-game model and white on the splash. That’s seems oddly inconsistent. Really liked the re view n.n

    • Well, there’s light coming right on that side and its opposite of the viewer. Regardless, it does look too bright for being black hair. It may just be another inconsistency between splash art and in-game model. There’s much worse, to be fair, but, frankly, there should be none. After all, splash arts are the presentation cards of skins so they should be accurate instead of promising something that is unattainable.

      • Yeah i thought that too, but the part closest to his hair doesn’t ahave light going through it’s just white. But yeah there are a lot of those. Just that this one is to obvious to miss i guess jaja. Specially because it runs the trend that one part of his hair is another color (in the base skin blue for example).

        • Yes, it’s passable but certainly noticeable if you pay attention. Sometimes you have to get used to stuff like this; especially when you find worse problems in the splash art. At least this one can be ignored at large, others are simply too obvious.

  3. Can you guys do a skin review for Ornn. I think it’s out in pbe.

    • We’ve seen it. It seems different enough to Classic but also not very effective in communicating its thunder concept. We’ll have a review ready once the skin is released.

  4. I just bought the skin and i like it very much.. though the custom skin is cool too so i dont find it necessary to spend rp on the skin.. my opinion ?

    • Soulhunter is good but it’s not something groundbreaking that no one should miss. There’s quite a bit shared with the classic counterpart so it’s not a necessary purchase.

  5. I don’t like this new skin. It feels so shallow for a legendary skin. I mean the odyssey concept is cool but could have done it better.

    • Indeed, there’s too much Classic Kayn in Odyssey. It’s understandable that Kayn is a bit like three champions in one; not exactly but let’s consider the benefit of the doubt. Regardless, a legendary skin is to go and do what other skins don’t. It’s changes a champion into something new and different from Classic. The concept, as you mention, is interesting and well exploited has the potential for a great skin. Sadly, Odyssey Kayn leaves too much undone.

  6. Odyssey kayn 2 stars? This is just great skin animations and sounds . Because of price? I think its worth for 1820rp.

    • For a legendary skin we found Odyssey Kayn pretty lacklustre. The animations are quite similar to classic and the sounds keep the classic base. We checked several times to see if we were missing animations in the speed of the action and found out that changes were mostly adaptations rather than new actions. A legendary skin is supposed to transform the champion in all aspects and we don’t see that in this skin.

  7. I really feel like they missed the mark entirely with Odyssey Kayn. The base Kayn model should be much more subdued and far less flamboyant (as you mention), especially considering how it’s described in the story they released. Also as you said, the two forms are way too similar to the base forms. Very disappointing as a legendary skin.

    • Exactly, you can see the classic design in too many aspects of the skin. For a cheaper skin, that could be excusable if the features are attractive. However, a legendary skin is supposed to reimagine a champion and that’s not happening with Odyssey Kayn. Indeed, a disappointment.

  8. LOL 2 stars for odyssey kayn? You can close this site m8.

  9. If you were to make a choice between Odyssey and Soulhunter, which would you think is more worth to buy?

    • Depends what you expect from the skins. If you want Odyssey Kayn to be a good legendary you’ll find out it doesn’t fulfill its premise. Soulhunter Kayn is a complementary take that plays too close to Classic. You could say the same about Odyssey and that’s way the problem is worse as a legendary.

      We’d say that if are considering any of these skins a sale would be welcome. They have problems and, at least, a lower price would mean that you don’t spend a lot on a skin that doesn’t do as much as its price tier can deliver.

      In the case of Odyssey Kayn you can get it in an early sale; around six months after release. Soulhunter Kayn can appear in any regular sale and at 675 RP it would be the recommended purchase as the skin would be rather cheap and it delivers enough for its price tier. Odyssey Kayn is more ambitious and has some things to like but 1350 RP, sale price, is much higher.

      In the end, it depends how much you like and play Kayn so as to justify a legendary skin or not. Besides, that, Soulhunter is a less risky proposition considering the lower price on sale. It offers less but the execution of both skins rely a lot on Classic so there aren’t as significant differences as there should be.

  10. I just wondered, if ,ummm, you noticed that Raasth isn’t “Odyssey Raasth” but actually “Dark Star Raasth”? Did you notice it? Anyways, I think so, too, that Odyssey Kayn was a bit of a letdown. Soulhunter Kayn, in my personal opinion is an borderline ” ehhh” type for me. Odyssey Kayn brought hope to me as a Kayn main but crushed it too. I didn’t like the Soulhunter and now… Odyssey’s quite disappointing. I hope they do another skin that’ll do Kayn some justice. Which’ll you prefer: Blood Moon Kayn or “The Balance” Kayn (connected to the whole VERSUS storyline, you know, Yasuo, Riven, Garen and Darius thingy)? Which do you think will finally be a great skin for Kayn? Also, don’t mind the guy who said you should close your site. He’s just a prick.

    • It’s possible that there a degree of the Dark Star theme in Odyssey Kayn’s Rhaast. However, it doesn’t follow the design close enough to be fully Dark Star. It could be a bit off the beaten path and still qualify. Truth be told, that would be up to Riot to say if it qualifies or not.

      We agree that Soulhunter Kayn is just good and Odyssey doesn’t do all it could to be really exciting. A new skin should learn from previous mistakes but that’s only hope. Still, given Kayn’s identity, Blood Moon could be a very interesting theme. Balance Kayn would work well due to the fact that he could choose to go with order or chaos depending on which side wins, which is already part of the skin.

      Regardless, Blood Moon could have a similar choice or something of the sort of which kind of evil is released, no good choices. Blood Moon also seems like it would naturally fit Kayn’s aggressive style and dark identity. In the end, if done well, either theme could shine. The real problem is often how deep the adaptation is to realise each concept’s identity.

  11. But odessey is my favorite skin in the game O_o

    • No problem with that. There are things to like in the skin and your personal opinion should dictate which skins you get and enjoy. We simply give our opinion combining the conceptual and technical merits of the skin versus the price. It’s just our view, no better or worse than anyone’s. Enjoy the skin.

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