Champion VGU Poll
With the beginning of the new season, Riot have once again allowed the community to vote for one of five champions to receive a visual and gameplay update (VGU). This year, the options are Nocturne, Skarner, Shyvana, Tryndamere and Kog’Maw.
Having been released over 10 years ago in March 2011, Nocturne is certainly showing his age: his kit is outdated and not particularly interactive, and his model fails to capture this living embodiment of nightmares. Despite this, Nocturne has managed to remain as a good pick in the jungle thanks to his ability to lock down targets with his ultimate and its unique AoE darkness mechanic. He has only gotten stronger over the last few patches with the introduction of Axiom Arc and buffs to lethality items.
If Nocturne wins the poll, Riot has stated he will retain his ultimate while his base kit will be updated to be deeper and more satisfying, suggesting there will be more opportunities for outplays and skill expression.
Skarner falls into a similar camp as Nocturne: he was released in 2011, has an ancient and dull model, and an overly simplistic kit outside of his iconic ultimate. Riot have attempted to update Skarner in the past with the introduction of his Crystal Spires granting him bonus movement speed, attack speed and mana regeneration, but these changes didn’t address Skarner’s core issues.
Should Skarner win the poll, the visual style of a crystal scorpion would be redesigned to express a “clearer, more exciting source of power”. Every ability except for his ultimate would be overhauled, though their basic ideas and elements may remain the same.
Unlike other champions in the poll, Shyvana has really struggled to find her place in the meta and lacks a clear identity. She can be played mid, top or jungle and can have an AD, AP or tank build, but this means her power is spread far too thin and she doesn’t thrive in any particular role or with one type of build. Additionally, her base kit while in her human form is noticeably weak and playing her feels like you are just waiting for her dragon form before you can do anything meaningful. However, Shyana’s 10 year old visuals hold up much better than other champions in the poll.
If Shyvana wins, the visuals would further push her character as a warrior transforming into a dragon, while her gameplay would add more power to her dragon form while making it more distinctive from her human form abilities.
Considering he is one of the most tilt-inducing champions to set foot on the Rift, many players were delighted to see Tryndamere included in this poll. The combination of Tryndamere’s ultimate, his unique emphasis on crit, and ability to split push to victory regardless of how well he is playing makes playing against Tryndamere incredibly frustrating. Meanwhile, his simplistic kit means he isn’t particularly fulfilling to play either. Nevertheless, he is still a popular champion thanks to his strength and has found success in the top lane for multiple seasons.
Should Tryndamere win, several elements would be retained, such as his split pushing strength, unique-crit scaling, and a straightforward kit. Importantly, his ultimate would also be retained so if you are voting for Tryndamere because you hate his ultimate, you might want to think again! Instead, the update would focus on addressing his healing, early-game strength, and effectiveness in team fights.
The last champion available in the poll is Kog’Maw, who is a rather surprising pick compared to the other champions. Kog’Maw is one of the best hyper-carries in the game -- particularly when paired with Lulu -- and has found some occasional success in the mid lane as an AP poke mage who shreds through targets from afar with his ultimate. Nevertheless, his passive is problematic and inconsistent with his role as a backline threat.
If Kog’Maw wins the poll, his visuals would be updated with a Void aesthetic to ensure he looks similar to other champions hailing from the Void. As for gameplay, his entire kit would be reworked for an emphasis on a hyper-scaling yet vulnerable AD carry. Riot have stated they will try to incorporate the artillery AP aspect of his kit, but it may be sacrificed in favour of AD hyper-scaling abilities.
The poll includes some great candidates for VGUs, so make sure to cast your vote before January 19th when the poll closes!