In the northern lands not everything is as quiet and dormant as the pristine and homogeneous snow shows. Among the stillness of these frosted lands armies assemble and unseen forces plot their ascension to power. In Freljord, prophecies mark the destiny of its people and direct their actions toward an ominous cataclysm. Come closer to the fire, warm your chilled bones, and listen to what these frozen wind tells.
|Concept:||Anivia after embracing the darkness.|
|Model:||New model for Anivia and her egg form.|
|Particles:||New dark ice particles for her abilities and auto-attack.|
|Animations:||New animations for her abilities, auto-attack, critical hits, flight, emotes, recall, tower channel, re-spawn and death.|
|Sounds:||New voice-over and sounds for her abilites.|
|Splash Art:||The darkness of the night is disrupted by the glow of an aurora borealis and the iridescent presence of a magical being. The idea behind the piece is attractive but the setting is mostly sky and a summit for Anivia to stand. That’s not to say that the portrayal isn’t good as it seems fascinating. Although The wings tend to look a bit dull in the edges, especially in comparison with the rest of the body, Anivia still appears magnificent. The ice formations framed by polished metal give her an aspect that elicits both royalty and predatory images. Unfortunately, the posture doesn’t let her shine in all her glory and what a wing doesn’t cover is occluded by another body part. The piece still manages to provide an intensely attractive portrayal but only around Anivia’s head. In the end, it’s a rather polarized splash art: magnetic where it works and dull where it doesn’t.|
|Conclusion:||Blackfrost Anivia aims to give the cryophoenix a more sinister nature but also adds some welcome royalty to her aspect. Her body being made of dark ice is lavishly decorated with polished metal which still shows a few dents. In fact, sometimes it’s difficult to differentiate between decorations and body as the remiges and retrices demonstrate. Her body seems a monolithic, hybrid construct with a subtle futuristic facet that essentially looks quite good and manages to mesh well in the fantasy setting.
The dark ice particles are good but don’t scream corrupted frost as much as they could’ve. They do look as tainted ice but not clearly frozen or dripping with decay. It’s something subtle and it may be just the shades. For instance, Crystallize makes a convincing wall with cold air around it yet seems delicate. On top of this, Glacial Storm doesn’t communicate the rage of a baleful blizzard. The falling shards are few and the cloudy vortex hardly equates to a vile tornado. It could be said that the blackfrost is darker ice with black air around it. The blackfrost itself doesn’t look bad at all but leaves the feeling that it could been more visceral about its intentions.
The multiple animations are a good addition in that they help make the casting of abilities clear. Furthermore, they add many nice touches that make evident Anivia’s supernatural nature and wicked personality. Thanks to them she appears more magnificent and, thus, more appealing.
Furthermore, the new sounds work well even if they don’t stand out in any particular way; except for her cries in Glacial Storm and Rebirth. In general, they fit the theme and provide the expected dose of chilling evil. Regardless, her new voice-over reflects very well her malevolence with a pinch of misguided benign intent. Therefore, instead of sounding simply cruel she is relatable but distinctly malignant.
All things considered, Blackfrost Anivia is a great skin for Anivia’s fans and an option worth considering for those that enjoy champions with a vicious facet. The skin doesn’t make the frosted corruption entirely clear but manages to display it in an appealing way. When considered as the sum of its parts Blackfrost Anivia surely raises above its flaws and becomes a pleasing re-interpretation of the cryophoenix.
|Concept:||Shyvana as an ice-wyvern battlemage.|
|Model:||New model for Shyvana and Dragon’s Descent wielding ice.|
|Particles:||New ice particles for her abitlies.|
|Animations:||New recall animations for both her forms.|
|Sounds:||No new sounds.|
|Splash Art:||To say that this piece lacks a setting is hardly an overstatement as aside from some signs of snow there isn’t anything else except for Shyvana’a dual nature. The presence of both of her personalities fills all the empty space but the borders of the piece still look empty and drab. Only in the centre of the piece can we appreciate Shyvana’s enticing figure and the dragon’s subdued portrayal. For all the allure and flair that her human figure displays her counterpart seems like a mere shadow of that self. On top of that, the restricted colour palette makes the piece a bit monotonous. Therefore, even if Shyvana is nicely depicted the piece leaves a sour taste.|
|Conclusion:||Human: Shyvana gives the impression of being an ice sorceress with a revealing outfit; which explains the lack of proper armour. This also makes her look a bit frail but not powerless. Actually, the design of her headdress and matching gauntlets evoke a sense of dexterity so that what she may lack in raw strength is made up by her agility. The clothes may not suit a warrior but they do reinforce her supernatural talents and hint at more than meets the eye.
Dragon: as an ice wyvern there is a degree of draconic style mixed with some ice shards to finish the idea. However, at a glance the dragon form doesn’t seem impressive. It hardly evokes a reptile and the ice is more decorative than part of the creature. At least, it looks regal thanks to the gold decorated headdress and mane. Still, the colours are limited and the design far from innovative.
Fortunately, the new ice particles come to the rescue with a clear and satisfying dose of frosty flair. They not only further the theme but cement it in the skin allowing it to provide an attractive spectacle. In conclusion, she doesn’t seem much of an ice warrior and as an ice dragon she’s rather unoriginal. However, the skin has a fine and unmistakable theme that ends up being attractive despite its issues.
|Concept:||Volibear dressed as an ursine shaman.|
|Model:||New model for Volibear.|
|Particles:||New lightning and runic glow for his abilities.|
|Animations:||New animation for Thunder Claws and recall.|
|Sounds:||No new sounds.|
|Splash Art:||Amidst flaming projectiles and over spears Volibear charges forward with fury and lighting coursing through him. It’s an attractive premise but it’s mostly suggested rather than executed. The mountains are diffuse and distant which added to the placement of Volibear leaves all the action out of view; we only have ample amounts of sky instead. This does make Volibear the centre of attention but leaves the frame lacking. Volibear is depicted rather well with a good amount of details yet a rather abrupt use of depth of field. While the central area of his body is clear the lower body and right arm look drab. Additionally, his fur seems waxy and solid which disappoints considering the intricate dents, cracks and scratches over his armour and the subtle but interesting electricity charges. All in all, it’s a splash art that does its job but that leaves Volibear in a field of suggestions.|
|Conclusion:||As far as re-models go Runeguard Volibear isn’t exactly original. It mixes a bit of fur clothing with armour and etches a few runes on the latter along a braided beard. The result can pass for an Ursine shaman but seems a bit drab and unexciting. This is where the runes come into play as the new particles make good use of them. Not all abilities benefit from them. To be precise, Frenzy is largely unmodified sans a lightning when biting and Majestic Roar plus Chosen of the Storm receive a new whirlwind effect and glow. In fact, the skin finally reveals its appeal when using Rolling Thunder and, especially, Thunder Claws. The former makes his armguards’ runes glow and the latter lights the entirety of his runed armour. While the spectacle may be brief it surely is attractive and gives the skin a distinct personality. On the whole, Runegurad Volibear is a good skin with an alright aesthetic and a formidable show when lightning courses through the Thunder’s Roar.|
Freljord may be a place where the scenery can get monotonous but that certainly isn’t the case with its denizens. This trio of skins is quite recommendable and offer distinct and appealing themes that always end up providing something interesting.
Blackfrost Anivia garbs the cryophoenix in the role of a sinister supernatural being wielding a tainted power. The skin isn’t as visceral about its theme as it could but executes it well enough. It’s certainly better for Anivia fans but those that like a shade of evil in their champions will find much to like.
Ice Drake Shyvana turns the dragon lady into an ice wyvern. As a human she isn’t wearing enough to pass for a hardened warrior. As a dragon she is unexciting and homogeneous in looks. Still, when the ice particles are added to the mix we find an attractive ice maiden with a hidden side that is worth giving a chance.
Runeguard Volibear isn’t dressed to attract attention as he seems rather humble. His runed armour appears as just enough to protect himself, until they start glowing with the rage of the lightning. Volibear may not give a great first impression but when the time comes for battle he offers quite a spectacle.
In conclusion, these three skins are all good products that can be enjoyed despite their issues. They all offer something to make up for their flaws and accomplish a satisfying execution of their themes.