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The Minds Behind the Rift

By: Kamal Rose

The Minds Behind the Rift Kamal Rose

Table of Contents Introduction : 6pg- 7pg Champion’s Creators

Bard : 8pg- 9pg

Kha’zix : 10pg - 11pg

Rengar : 12pg - 13pg

Kled : 14pg - 15pg

Yorick: 16pg - 17pg

Zed : 18pg - 19pg

Gnar : 20pg - 21pg

Jhin : 22pg -23pg

Kindred : 24pg -25pg

Aurelion Sol : 26pg -27pg

Draven : 28pg -29pg

Tahm Kench : 30pg - 31pg

Sion : 32pg - 33pg

Poppy : 34pg - 35pg

Ivern : 36pg - 37pg

Index : 38pg - 41pg


eague of Legends, is a game that changed my life. When I was younger, I never had any idea on what I wanted to be when I grew up. On my 12th birthday, I was gifted a sketchbook that only had 20 pages in it. Along with that i was gifted a computer that was all mine. I began to watch youtube and started watching this new game called, League of Legends. I was watching the The World Championships that was two teams playing against each other to take home the title of World Champions. It was America being represented by TeamSoloMid or commonly known as TSM and Korea’s powerhouse SKTelecom 1. While watching a game that I didn’t really know and watching these interesting characters that all had these different energy that you can feel being displayed while the pro players are playing was inspiring. I watch the whole tournament until the next day, and I woke up and felt that I wanted to make characters that was electrifying, characters that decimated the competition, characters that could desolate anyone that would cross them wrong. I began to sketch out character designs and had fun just imagining all of the great and powerful abilities that they would have to crush the opponents with ease. Within that weekend, I have created my own characters that all had abilities that made each individual one special. From that day forward, I feel in love with the game and character design. Now League of Legends has grew massively as a game and community. That is something that i am glad to say that I was proud of and excited to experience. Now I am creating this book to highlight the amazing artist that created my favorite characters that have been created and designed in League of Legends. Each artist has created wonderfully designed characters that people across the world love, hate, and wish they were not even made. The community has came together to voice opinions on the game and have also made amazing cosplay and custom cracked character designs that open the eyes and ears of the character designers that work at Riot Games. These artist are my inspiration that I look up to as an artist and I hope that this book does their work at Riot Games any justice, because the characters in the game have left and amazing impact on my experience in the game. Character design is what I believe to be a big part of any game or tv show. The characters and their personalities are created and tuned to fill a certain type or category that viewers and gamers will adore and detest. Many players of League of Legends adore the constantly changing game because of all the interesting character development and lore of characters that are intertwined together that create a wonderful and beautiful game called, League of Legends. With that said, I would like for you to open your mind , clear you throat, and listen up because this is The Mind’s Behind the Rift.

Welcome Summoner

Rabid Llama

The Creator of Bard, The Wandering Caretaker Rabid Llama started off working at Riot Games as an Associate Build Engineer. He primary worked as an implementer on Riot’s fault-tolerant binary-diff patching system from early development to worldwide release, which is still in use today. After three years, he moved up to work as an Associate Game Engineer. While working as a game designe, he acted as a generalist game engineer, filling tech requests from all parts of the League of Legends content team, including game designers, artists, animators, and sound designers. After working on the design team he start working as an Associate Technical Game Designer and began creating his first champion in League of Legends, Bard. Bard travels through realms beyond the imagination of mortal beings. Some of Valoran’s greatest scholars have spent their lives trying to understand the mysteries he embodies. This enigmatic spirit has been given many names throughout the history of Valoran, but titles such as Cosmic Vagabond and Great Caretaker only capture a fleeting aspect of his true purpose. When the unknowable structure of the universe is threatened, Bard steers all existence away from utter annihilation. Even if he is a wandering spirit, Bard first has to identify the best windows of opportunity to roam before he runs off - he can’t just abandon his marksman whenever he pleases. By making runs when his lane’s pushed or when his marksman has recalled, Bard can successfully roam without placing his teammate in imminent danger, then return to lane by the time he’s needed.

And while Bard roams around collecting his chimes, he has plenty of tools to support his allies. Laying down a Caretaker’s Shrine or two near friendly turrets gives Bard’s teammates the sustain to recover lanes that are losing, or overwhelm ones that are winning, and all without the Wandering Caretaker staying in lane. Bard’s Magical Journeys cover long distances in specific locations, too, gifting friendly fighters and tanks quick access to the enemy team’s jungle, and mages easy access to their own blue buff. The portals needn’t propel just Bard and his pals through the jungle, though - coordinating them with allied movement means Bard can quickly move his damage-dealing allies into lane ganks and toward objective control. That said, Magical Journey is best used when his enemies are both seen and distant - they serve little use when enemy assassins simply follow Bard through the portal before claiming lives.

David “Volty” Abecassis: The Creator of Kha’zix, The Voidreaver David has a B.S. in Symbolic Systems from Stanford University, and was President of the Stanford Gaming Society for two years. While at Stanford, David worked at serious games start-up Seriosity, researching leadership and social behaviors in multiplayer online games. After college, he joined neuroscience-based market research firm EmSense, where he analyzed emotional and cognitive responses to games and other media. When he’s not playing League of Legends, David enjoys MMOs, real-time strategy games, tabletop games, and collectible card games. David wanted to make an alien that would be able to assassinate anyboy that walked passed him, thus Kha’zix was created. A vicious Void predator, Kha’Zix infiltrated Valoran to devour the land’s most promising creatures. With each kill he absorbs his prey’s strength, evolving to grow more powerful. Kha’Zix hungers most to conquer and consume Rengar, the one beast he considers his equal. When Kha’Zix crossed over into this world, he was fragile and ravenous. The animals he first encountered were too small to fuel the rapid evolution he craved. Kha’Zix focused his hunger on the most dangerous creatures he could find, risking his life to satisfy his need. With each kill he feasted and changed, becoming a stronger, faster predator. Kha’Zix soon chased his prey with unrestrained aggression, believing he was unstoppable. One day, while savoring a fresh kill, the predator became the prey. From cover a creature pounced in a blur of fangs and steel, tackling him to the ground. It roared in his face slashing and clawing, and Kha’Zix felt his blood spill for the first time. Screeching in fury, he sliced at the brute’s eye driving it

back. They fought from sunset to sunrise. Finally, near death, they reluctantly separated. As his wounds closed, Kha’Zix burned with anticipation at the idea of devouring one who could match the Void’s strength. He resumed his search for powerful prey with renewed vigor. Someday, Kha’Zix will feast on Rengar.

Paul “RiotZeronis” Kwon: The Creator of Rengar, The Pridestalker

On every wall of his den, the trophy hunter Rengar mounts the heads, horns, claws, and fangs of the most lethal creatures in Valoran. Though his collection is extensive, he remains unsatisfied, tirelessly seeking greater game. He takes time with every kill, studying his prey, learning, and preparing himself for the next encounter with the one monster he never managed to defeat.

Going way back to the beginning, we’ve been looking for what space to explore in the anthropomorphized animal department. We’ve done a decent amount of characters from different animal kingdoms and are starting to become cautious with the theme. We said that if one animal deserved to be a part of this menagerie that hasn’t been done in our game yet, it’s a lion. We worked hard with the concept team to find a space for Rengar that was independent enough from someone like Warwick. He had to feel unique but still be served well by the lionman motif. From there it was about smoothing out the idea of a trophy hunter and finding ways to differentiate him from other characters. We didn’t really find a spot for Rengar until we saw RiotZeronis’s amazing concepts.

Kilray: The Creator of Kled, The Cantankerous Cavalier Iain ‘Harrow’ Hendry is a Champion Designer working at Riot Games Inc. Before switching to Champion design, Harrow worked as a Narrative Writer and contributed to the stories of Hecrium and Kalista

Life isn’t easy for the men serving among the lowest ranks of the Noxian soldier class. To survive in that job you have to learn to love war, hate cowardice, and seize whatever bloodsoaked glory you can get. With this in mind, we began to imagine a character who would take those Noxian warrior values to the extreme - an ornery creature that relished riding into battle and chopping off heads. Someone who’d never back away from a fight, who’d always want to go HAM. Who better to represent the ideals of these troops than a murderous, mounted, yordle soldier?

Sol “Solcrushed” Kim: The

Creator of Yorick, The Shephard of Souls

Yorick is not a popular champion. We’ll admit it! Out of the 132 champions in League, the bedraggled green guy has almost always been the least-played, least-loved champ on the list. But why? Sure, he’s a not-quitemeta, hard-to-balance champ, but we think the biggest reason for Yorick’s unpopularity is simple: Nobody wants to be a gravedigger. If you aren’t caught up on the latest Shadow Isles lore, here’s a quick summary: Long ago, Blade of the Ruined King item.png the Ruined King traveled to a place then known as the Blessed Isles; he wanted to use the Isles’s eternal waters to bring his wife back to life. But the waters were never meant to reverse death, and when the King lowered her corpse into the magic waters, they became corrupted. The resulting Black Mist that emerged from the pool caused a magical cataclysm that morphed the Blessed Isles into the Shadow Isles - a place where the dead find no resting place. Yorick, a former monk on the Isles, is more-or-less a good guy, but he’s being slowly corrupted by the mist, which clings to his back in the form of a cape comprised of thousands of agonized souls.

Runaan “RiotRunaan”: The

Creator of Zed, Master of Shadows Zed is the first ninja in 200 years to unlock the ancient, forbidden ways. He defied his clan and master, casting off the balance and discipline that had shackled him all his life. Zed now offers power to those who embrace knowledge of the shadows, and slays those who cling to ignorance. An orphan, Zed was taken in and trained by a great ninja master. Only one other student appeared to be Zed’s equal - the master’s son, Shen. It seemed Zed could never win the favor of the master, as every match between the rivals ended in a draw. Frustrated and jealous, he sought an advantage. The young ninja ventured into a sealed part of the clan’s temple, where he found an ornate, foreboding box. Sensing the dark knowledge within, Zed knew he should not open it, but he peered inside nonetheless. In an instant, shadows touched his mind, revealing techniques that had long been hidden. Now armed with a secret edge, he challenged Shen, and this time he defeated the master’s son. He expected praise and recognition in his moment of victory, but somehow the master knew Zed had used forbidden ways, and banished him.

Gradius“RiotGradius”: The

Creator of Gnar, The Missing Link Here’s the central question we posed ourselves: how can we create a new transform champion that feels fundamentally good to play as and against? Our answer was to make a champion with identifiable strengths and weaknesses in both forms, then limit the player’s ability to control which form they play in. After months of testing, we ended up with the (sometimes) adorable ball of fluff known as Gnar.

So how’s he different? Well, Mini Gnar Mini Gnar’s one of the most Hop.png mobile champions in the game. He boasts good Hyper. png sustained damage and Boomerang Throw. png kites incredibly well, but when he does get caught, he dies fast. On the other hand, Mega Gnar Mega Gnar is a colossus. He’s tanky and surprisingly bursty, with strong area of effect and crowd control to boot. But he’s slow, meaning his enemies can pretty much get away simply by walking in the opposite direction. Removing control of the Rage Gene. png transform from Gnar means that he has to anticipate when he’s about to Mega Gnar pop (or er... Tired unpop?) and position and prepare to play in a completely different way, adding extra complexity and depth to his gameplay. This also means that - for the first time - learning how to play during the Rage Gene.png transitions between Gnar’s forms is just as important as mastering the play styles of his two forms.

August “Gypsy” Browning: The Creator of Jhin, The Virtuoso Early sketches focused on a mysterious robot cowboy bounty hunting sniper - not the easiest elevator pitch - but the concept quickly hit the proverbial icebox as we focused on other further developed concepts. A couple of champs progressed from concept into production, in fact, while our sniper chilled out in his icebox, including Kindred a certain death-centric duo. After we figured out Kindred Kindred’s theme, we felt that Mark of the a bounty system was a better fit for them, so pulled the mechanic from the sniper. Without the bounty hunting, we were still left with a mysterious robot cowboy sniper - still a cool idea, and still something we wanted to explore. So we came back, set on executing this long-range sniping fantasy. Initially, we just gave him a sniper rifle, but the range and speed still felt too close to Caitlyn Caitlyn, so we started thinking of ways to differentiate him. We eventually settled on the concept of Curtain Call.png a constructible weapon, something that looked like Whisper. png a short-range sidearm for basic attacks, but that could be assembled for long-range sniping with his abilities. The idea stuck, so August started looking at ways to necessitate planning and execution, emphasizing carefully timed and placed shots as opposed to your average marksman’s attack speed-fueled barrage of withering basic attacks. As we started discussing the concept internally, we quickly realized that the term ‘sniper’ felt wrong - there was just too much overlap with Caitlyn Caitlyn, and the term implied that everything he did would be at supreme range - so we started thinking about a better development term for the character.

Jordan “RiotWerks” Xnton: The Creator of Kindred, The Eternal Huntress

These two animals: the stalwart Lamb with her ornate bow, and the shadowy Wolf with his tongue lolling out of his mouth, felt both quirky and ominous. I started researching the anthropomorphism of death throughout numerous cultures and found that many of humanity’s first known myths were centered around gravesites. The team agreed that Kindred was a unique grim reaper, spoken about in whispered tones by those who narrowly avoided death, and seen by all in life’s last moments. To help clarify what made the characters distinct, we took a look at what a Lamb’s death looks like in comparison to a Wolf’s. To accept Lamb is to rejoice in life and depart in serenity. To run from Wolf means a violent and terrifying end. The masks proved pivotal to the champ. By having Lamb wear Wolf’s mask - and vice versa - we tapped into a yin-yang dynamic, which helped us crack their personalities. We gave in spades to one what the other lacked. In this case, Lamb knew much about the world, but felt very little, whereas Wolf felt everything, but lacked in the knowledge department. We loved the idea that these two never fought over kills, or were ever at odds, because, in the end, the Lamb and the Wolf are two parts of one whole.

Glem “Longwingy” Lim: The Creator of Aurelion Sol, The Star Forger Late 2013, we gave a super early preview of an eastern-inspired, serpentine storm dragon named Ao Shin Ao Shin that was in the first phases of champion creation. Then, in the two years that passed (aside from a few comments in low-key conversations) we went silent. Totally a mistake on our part, and the mystery around this dragon has only increased over time. We’ve seen the question of “Ao Shin where?” pop up all over the place, including being one of the most asked questions in our recently hosted preseason Q&A in China. Now that 2016 is upon us and production schedules are being finalized for early this year, we finally have an update: the dragon that we previewed in 2013 has evolved tremendously over time. As such, we will not be releasing the champion that you know as Ao Shin, but in the first half of this year we will be releasing a dragon champion. His name is (tentatively) Aurelion Sol Aurelion Sol. We can’t say much more about Aurelion Sol, but we did want to share some of the challenges we faced and lessons we learned. While the major news is out of the bag, you can still read on if you want hear how the dragon formerly known as Ao Shin evolved over the course of two years. And now we present to you Aurelion

Neeks Naman: The Creator of Draven, The Glorious Executioner For a ranged Attack Damage champion like Draven, proper positioning is extremely important for maximizing your damage potential while remaining safe. For Draven, however, good positioning will also allow you to utilize your primary damage ability, Spinning Axe, to its fullest potential. Upon activation, Draven’s next basic attack will deal bonus damage and cause his signature throwing axe to bounce high into the air. Catching the axe will refresh the effect, causing Dravens next basic attack to also become a Spinning Axe. After a couple of catches, Draven can even activate the ability a second time to utilize two Spinning Axes at once! Since positioning is so important to for this flashy ranged carry, we’ve also equipped Draven with some additional skills to keep him on the offensive. Activating Blood Rush will give you just the boost of speed that you need to get out of trouble, keep up the chase or rapidly reposition to catch a falling throwing axe. As an added bonus each time you make a successful catch, the cooldown for Blood Rush is refreshed, allowing you to activate it again to maintain momentum. Additionally, the slow and knockback from Stand Aside can help you chase down a fleeing enemy so you can continue your onslaught.

Zenon the Stoic: The Creator ofTahn Kench, The River King The first few steps of our ideation process usually involve us setting a broad goal and then chucking around as many ideas as possible before we start whittling things down, centering our efforts around the ideas and hooks that really appeal to us. Knowing we were designing a tank, we started brainstorming literally anything, and a few weeks later, had five or six pretty solid concepts for League’s next tank. Then the culling began! After killing a few of our darlings, we had two solid ideas that we really liked: Big Mouth and Horror Tank. They each had unique hooks: Big Mouth used its mouth as a central tool, while Horror Tank was more of a vision denial and darkness terror. ZenonTheStoic, being a hairy German metal fan, was a big fan of the latter, funnily enough. We started toying around with ideas as to what these guys could look like, when Gem came up with this charming young chap: Initially this sketch wasn’t necessarily tied to any particular champion, but as Zenon toyed around with vision denial mechanics, and we tinkered with Big Mouth as a fish character, the two ideas kinda slowly formed into one. Plenty of fish species have pretty cavernous mouths, and more importantly, the look tapped into a pretty well-known devourer archetype in games (think Kirby, Yoshi, or PacMan) which hadn’t yet appeared in League. Also, by creating a large-mouthed champion who literally ate other characters, we had super strong clarity between the character’s visuals and their gameplay... aaaand we could totally nickname the guy “Fish Tank”. It was perfect.

Colt “Ezreal” Hallam: The Creator ofSion, The Undead Juggernaut More than anything, old Sion was just confused with no clear sense of identity. Some of his abilities worked with attack damage, some with ability power, and he sort of functioned as a tank. Thing is, no matter how you built him, you’d end up actively forgoing the effective use of a number of your abilities and stats. On top of that, there were almost no interesting interactions in his kit: Sion had a fixed play pattern with zero skillshots, and abilities that gave players really few opportunities to express their skills or mastery. Basically, when we got together to start working on Sion, we knew we’d pretty much start from scratch with his design because almost none of it – aside from his W and passive health gain - was compelling or consistent. Whenever we update a champion we begin by taking everything we know about them and paring down all that information until we identify the essential elements, the immutable traits that are so core to the champion that changing them might very well turn them into an entirely different character. It might have been easy to write off old Sion entirely and start from scratch, but at the end of the day the core concept of “hulking undead warrior” has always been a solid foundation. The problem was a lot of the elements we hung on that skeleton weren’t complimentary to that core identity. We took Sion down the humorous route, made him bright and colorful, and gave him Arnold Schwarzenegger inspired voiceover, all of which ultimately undermined what was cool about the core concept. This time around we decided to play the concept straight and holistically construct a truly fearsome warrior through identity, art and gameplay.

Steven “Coronach” De Rose: The Creator of Poppy, The Iron Ambassador Steven lived in Arizona where he worked at MSI Orthotic Lab prior to joining Riot. In the past, he worked on mods, including Wizards’ Islands for Morrowind and maps for Unreal Tournament. Steven has a hardcore MMO background dating back to Everquest, and raiding with Afterlife in World of Warcraft. Poppy was once a very different yordle. For as long as she could remember, she had been in search of a purpose. Feeling alienated by the chaotic whimsy of other yordles, she preferred to soak up stability and structure where she could find it. This drive brought her to the human settlements of western Valoran, where she gazed in wonder at the caravans striping the countryside in an endless file. Many of the people there looked tattered and weary, but they stumbled on in pursuit of some ephemeral better life that might lie just beyond the horizon. Orlon passed the hammer to Poppy on his deathbed, and with it, his hope of an enduring kingdom. It was only then that Orlon told her the story of his weapon’s creation, and how it was never truly intended for his hands. He explained to Poppy that the hammer was meant to go to the Hero of Demacia–the only one who could keep Demacia whole. As her friend drew his last breath, Poppy swore to him that she would find this hero and place the weapon in his hands. But what Poppy possesses in resolve, she lacks in ego, as it never even occurred to her that she might be the hero Orlon described.

Blake “Squad5” Smith: The Creator of Ivern, The Green Father

“In the hundreds of years since then, he’s been wandering around the forest taking care of it,” says FauxSchizzle. “He cares for all the creatures of the forest, and he has this strange, looming sense in his mind that, if he does his job well, one day he’ll earn the right to become the tree he cut down.”

“Ivern used to be a man, a long time ago,” explains FauxSchizzle. “He was a sort of Freljordian conquistador, the first one to discover Ionia.” While exploring the Ionian forest, he happened upon a sacred tree called a Godwillow. Back then, Ivern was a miserly, vicious man; seeking the tree’s power for himself, he cut the Godwillow down. But as wood cracked and fell, the tree’s magic essence lashed out and gripped the Freljordian, reaching deep within him and bonding with his troubled soul. Tree and man became one, and in that moment all of Ivern’s violence, selfishness, and cruelty was drained out of him. The void in his heart was replaced with childlike wonder and gentle curiosity. He was filled with a joyful zest for life.














Gnar 20-21

Jhin 22-23



Aurelion Sol




Tahm Kench






Poppy 36-37

Ivern 38-39

The Minds Behind the Rift  
The Minds Behind the Rift