She is the Emperor’s enforcer, the fiercest hero of the Jade Kingdom. Her bloodlust in battle knows no equal and even draws admiration beyond the kingdom. It’s said that her jade gauntlets are a gift of eternal devotion from a demonic admirer.
He is the Emperor’s blade, the mightiest warrior of the Jade Kingdom. Neither armies nor mountains are a match for his jade sword. It’s said that he’s the only one with the power to lift the magical blade carved from a great cloud serpent.
He is the Emperor of the legendary Jade Kingdom. Some say his staff holds the heart of a forest spirit. Others that he can summon armies from the very soil he rules over. All agree that his power is no illusion and shouldn’t be defied.
|Concept:||Vi as an imperial guard.|
|Model:||New model for Vi and her hextech fists. New jade textures for her teacup when taunting Caitlyn.|
|Particles:||New particles for her abilities, auto-attack and recall.|
|Animations:||New recall animation.|
|Sounds:||New sounds for her abilities, auto-attack and recall.|
|Splash Art:||Brief but effective in context there’s some sort of building where Vi makes short work of an unidentified assailant. There’s much that the setting omits and its secondary nature is obvious not only by how little room there is for it but also by the blur that covers it.
Fortunately, that’s only to give further relevance to the large depiction of Vi. Although dim in colour there’s variety in intensity and tone alike. Some areas are more diffuse than others: compare his thigh or left hand to her left boot or right hand. Regardless, the impressive stance manages to convey her strength without preventing a rather complete view of her aspect. There’s no brilliance in her eyes and the swirls of motion and power on her right arm are solid and threadlike. Still, on the whole the portrayal is captivating.
In spite of an uneven depiction of the champion this is a portrayal that catches attention with its earnest display of raw force. The background fills space more than anything else so, a bit more attention to the setting is possible and would help the context. Nonetheless, this is a magnetic splash art despite its issues.
|Conclusion:||The idea of an imperial guard isn’t unfitting for Vi though the choice of weapon, large gauntlets, seems unorthodox; to say the least. With that aside, Warring Kingdoms Vi is an interesting skin that decks the Enforcer in richly ornamented, golden armour. The detailed plates provide ample evidence to her privileged position in the army and also offer a look that can be a tad overloaded at times but that manages to stay interesting. The armour isn’t comprehensive enough to protect her entire body, like her classic persona, but there’s a perceivable lack of exaggeration, though not of decoration, provided we ignore the hextech fists. The gauntlets do ask for an extra dose of suspension of disbelief, though. Fortunately, their evocative design makes up for their impracticality.
Particles tend to be polar opposites in their visual design. While their cartoony swirls are attractive their monochromatic simplicity adds an unnecessary dose of dullness. The auto-attacks are quite nice but Vault Breaker and Excessive Force are more interesting when the fists are being charged with power than when the eventual impact arrives. Denting Blows uses a simple but fitting shield which seems lacking in comparison. The same can be said about Blast Shield: it stands out but looks simple. Finally, Assault and Battery starts somewhat unassuming for an ultimate but the cartoony splash of damage for the knock down surely catches the eye. Even at their best particles feel simple but their designs always makes them pleasing to look at.
Sounds rely on metal scraping for Vault Breaker and powerful gusts of wind for Excessive Force. Both sounds are joined together for Assault and Battery which makes for a nice though timid aural effect, overall. Auto-attacks and Denting Blows don’t sound different enough to be noticeable and are noteworthy for that reason. The recall is a great display of force aided by her gauntlets in the form of a kata which adds a suitable martial angle to her identity.
Adding it all together, Warring Kingdoms Vi is an uneven skin. It has a nice model with some nice particle design and sounds but there’re problems. The particles are simplistic in their cartoony appeal and sounds seem shy supporters. The recall manages to convey all the strength of the skin’s identity, as seen in the splash art, but unlike the actual abilities. This makes for a skin that is attractive but feels underdeveloped.
|Concept:||Azir as a warring lord.|
|Model:||New model for Azir, his staff, Sand Warriors and Sun Disc. New glow for Sand Warrior spears. New Go board for his recall and fan for his joke.|
|Particles:||New particles for his abilities, auto-attack, recall and death.|
|Animations:||New recall animation.|
|Sounds:||New sounds for his abilities, auto-attack and recall.|
|Splash Art:||The avian Emperor summons a Sun Disc before the masses while his trusted lieutenants stand guard. For how diffuse and sketchy the background is it manages quite a bit of context. The couple of obvious cameos are the strongest point. The setting makes sense but the fog is so intense that it feels too relegated. Besides, the crowds look like a rice salad.
The stark contrast in sharpness between Azir and the background is obscene. The relevance of the Emperor is clear enough so if the background skimps on quality to reduce the workload then it’s an utter disappointment. Back to Azir, he’s a good example of the potential of the whole piece. Even if his lower body isn’t displayed his bird nature is eloquently presented. The colours tend to be dim but there are a few highlights on metallic surfaces. The feathers and fur are convincing despite uneven presentations. However, the magic emanating from his staff seems too weak as if dissolved in thin air. Regardless, this is an evocative portrayal that asks for more to be shown.
All added together, this is a piece with a fantastic, even if uneven, portrayal of Azir backed by an offensively simplified background. There’s really little excuse for the stark contrast in quality. It only speaks of the fine conception of the piece when the setting, despite its issues, manages to support the portrayal. Sadly, there’s much to be fixed for this piece to reveal all of its impressive potential.
|Conclusion:||Even though the initial impression given by Warring Kingdoms Azir is great the skin ends up revealing its inconsistencies quite easily. The idea is actually quite fitting for the Emperor of the Sands: a Warring Lord. The new model does a great job at communicating the concept without betraying his base fantasy. The peacock features gives a royal angle to the avian physiology. The gold and fur decorated armour reinforces that aspect while also remaining practical. It’s all finished with the elegance of the tiara attached to the head’s feathers. The staff is ornamented with an added burning core at its tip. The new Sun Disc is a great match with its burning core surrounded by gold and jade in a way similar to the staff.
Sadly, not all is good. The model for the new Sand Soldiers is disappointingly simple: they appear as normal humans in rather conventional, though gold tipped, armour. The spears are quite traditional even if the blade looks like a short sword. The shields displayed during Emperor’s Divide are interesting, at least; with the golden face of the Emperor on the front. Particles rely on curled puffs of stylised gold dust that don’t feel too different to the classic golden sands; except for the occasional clear curl. Sounds are also familiar, at times more haunting, at times more metallic, but always similar to the classic style. Conversely, the recall follows on the royal theme with its presentation of a Go board: a game fit for a king.
In summary, this is a skin that offers a few good models but disappoints in many other areas. When all is added together, it’s clear that the adaptation stays too close to the traditional. It almost wants to make it all believable with its human soldiers and subtle particles. However, the idea of a peacock emperor clashes with that intention at the base. Instead of taking advantage of the unavoidable fantasy it iss relegated in favour of an angle that may appear more plausible but that ends up being dull and boring.
|Concept:||Garen as an imperial guard.|
|Model:||New model for Garen and his sword.|
|Particles:||New particles for his abilities, auto-attack and recall.|
|Animations:||New recall animation.|
|Sounds:||New sounds for his abilities, auto-attack and recall.|
|Splash Art:||In theory, this splash art intends to complement Warring Kingdoms Azir’s as a different perspective of his Sun Disc summoning. Unfortunately, the background is unable to effectively recreate the scene. The scenario is different, there’s the obvious absence of both Vi and Jarvan IV, the atmosphere is different as if happening during another time of the day and the colours are more varied and less restrained overall. Perhaps it’s another Sun Disc that Azir is summoning far in the distance but that strikes as too convenient an excuse.
That said, the background is notoriously scarce with details preferring to suggest in sketchy ways. That’s how the entire staircase with soldiers and Azir included looks. The building behind it displays a peculiarly crisp looking wall and softly shaded roof but the ones in the distance as well as the clouds return to the draft feel. It shouldn’t surprise then that the soldiers and buildings to the right, which are more concealed, fare much worse: they are only a general hint.
Garen isn’t a stranger to this draft tendency. The cartoony portrayal manages to convey his imposing size and relevance. Sword and armour’s elaborate details are pleasing to notice; especially the sword’s guard, left spaulder and vambrace as well as the cuirass. Sadly, the rest is noticeably sketchy. The cartoon feel alleviates some of the disappointment as it doesn’t require a photorealistic feel as the loincloth, surprisingly, reveals. Still, from the thick brushstrokes of the rope belt and its buckle to the simple lines of face and hands, there’s much that needs to be polished. In general terms, it’s an effective portrayal yet one that doesn’t resist a close look.
On the whole, this is a splash art that needs a good layer of polish. There’s a good base with a relevant context to accompany a nice depiction of its central character. Unfortunately, the sketchy feeling and ineffective background end up making the piece seem less meaningful that it can actually be.
|Conclusion:||Even though it can seem a simplification, Warring Kingdoms Garen looks like a dichromatic imperial guard. There’s essentially ornamented armour profuse in gold contrasting the darker plates of an unknown metal joined by an equally decorated sword of huge proportions. It strikes as simple yet that doesn’t mean that it’s plain because this streamlined approach makes Garen look different from the usual soldier; though the limitations of the approach are evident.
Particles follow a similar trend with bright-golden, heavily stylized slashes and swirls of magic. Only Judgment stands out with its orbiting though static dragon. Sounds follow a similar path, there’re metallic clanks for Decisive Strike and Courage and gusts of wind for Judgment. Both are used in conjunction for Demacian Justice. Particles, as well as sounds, are simple in their approach but stand out in their stylisation. The recall doesn’t dare to be the dissonant note: it’s a display of martial skill with the sword finished with a banner: simple and to the point.
Therefore, the simplicity of the model, particles and sounds give the skin a unique feel. Sadly, it’s a feel that is restricted by the rigid design and lack of elaboration on the many aspects that make up the skin. While effective, the minimalistic stylisation can end up like oversimplification. Regardless, it manages a style that sets itself apart from the norm so it’s worth considering.
In this set of Lunar Revel skins there is an identifiable approach: good models with streamlined though stylised particles and simple sounds. Recalls tend to be more effective at communicating the identity of each skin than the abilities are; which is a letdown. That doesn’t make the skins unappealing but it’s clear that more work would’ve been able to better realise the idea behind each skin. One by one, this is how each skin adds up.
Warring Kingdoms Azir is a skin that bases all of its appeal on its royal peacock emperor concept. The model used for Azir as well as the Sun Disc present a fantastic picture that the rest of the skin seem bent on combating in favour of a more realistic take. This ends up making the skin uneven and prevents it from realising its best features. Thus, what appeal the skin has ends up dissolved in duller, presumably more plausible, characteristics.
The minimalistic stylisation of Warring Kingdoms Garen makes for an interesting proposition that stands out with its distinct approach. Sadly, the effect can end up too simple and at times even plain. For that reason, despite the unique style of the skin it can feel like it skimps on details even where appropriate. Still, it’s a skin that stands out from the usual.
Warring Kingdoms Vi is an uneven skin with a great model and recall aided by shy particles and sounds. The cartoony design of the particles is appealing but they seem plain in their sole colour. The timid sounds don’t help communicate all the force that the skin implies. Still, it’s a skin with a certain charm despite the feel that extra work is necessary.