Did you see her? Come on, she’s right there. Careful, she likes to blend in with her environment. She’s crafty, curious, and above all… cute. League of Legends next big release is a new champion. And you might just see her. Or… maybe not?
This year, we encountered two hard-hitting champions to Riot’s monstrous roster of characters. We dove deep into Bilgewater with Pyke, a melee support who assassinates prey in the blink of an eye. He hates betrayers, and quietly sneaks up on enemies, dragging them down to drown at the bottom.
Next in line was Kai’Sa, a hybrid damage marksman hailing from the Void. Embracing a symbiotic relationship with a monster, she is perfectly adapted to handle any situation. She is the ultimate hunter.
League of Legends Reveals a New Champion on the Roster
The Curious Chameleon
Her name, is Neeko.
To give some clarity on her appearance and origin, Neeko is a member of an almost-extinct Vastayan race called Oovi-Kat. After a cataclysmic event almost wiped out her race and homeland, she traveled all around Runeterra to discover her life’s purpose. Along the way, she met dozens of new faces and situations that have sparked her curiosity. But more than anything, she wants to have fun and be herself. She wants to be just Neeko.
In-game, she is a burst mage with a dazzling and colorful arsenal of spells that will catch the opponent off-guard and keep them second-guessing. She has many tricks up her sleeve, which emulate many other champions in the game like Zoe or Leblanc.
For now, let’s take a look at her spell kit.
Her passive, Inherent Glamour allows Neeko to disguise herself as an ally champion. However, taking damage or dealing damage will break the illusion, further increasing the cooldown. This is a total mind game with the opponent, as it allows so many opportunities to turn the tide on a team fight or a skirmish. Fitting well with her theme as an elusive creature, this passive is amazing.
Her first spell, Blooming Burst, sends a projectile to a target location, dealing magic damage in a small area. However, if it kills an enemy or deals damage to a champion, the burst can trigger again up to two more times. Some of the skill can lye in this spell, as it allows room for resets and aggressive gameplay. The cast range and area of effect damage is just enough to make her laning phase fun and playful.
Her second spell, Shapesplitter, passively deals more magic damage on every third auto attack, granting bonus movement speed as well. The active component is another mind game, but on steroids. Going invisible for a brief movement, Neeko, normal or disguised by her passive, sends out a clone of herself in a different direction. This is essentially Leblanc’s passive as a spell, but it is amazing nonetheless. This will surely be irritating to play against as the average bronze player, as this will allow even more opportunities to make plays as Neeko.
Her third spell, Tangle Barbs, sends out a projectile in a linear direction, dealing magic damage. It also snares enemies that pass through it, in addition to increasing in size speed and duration the longer it travels. This will probably be Neeko’s primary form of engagement, as it can pass through multiple enemies. You probably don’t have to worry about missing this spell often during laning phase, as it can penetrate through lane minions and such.
Her final spell, Pop Blossom, is the ultimate burst tool to wipe out an entire team. Whilst charging, Neeko jumps into the air to massively deal damage, slow and stun enemies when she reaches the ground. Not only does she gain a shield from this spell, but if she is disguised, enemies will not see her initial charge. An area of effect damage tool with crowd control. Sounds familiar, right? Not many mages have this kind of tool, but this spell can ultimately shift the outcome of a fight, and delete frail targets. Use this wisely, but you will be surprised and amazed by how much damage this spell can do.
Overall, Neeko seems to be a powerful champion, as all new champions are upon release. A bold prediction could say she might replace popular mage champions in the competitive scene, such as Leblanc, Zoe, Viktor or Malzahar. She has burst and DPS damage, sustain, survivability and area of effect crowd control. As a mage, she has many tools to her disposal. However, she might have a niche placement within the competitive scene as she doesn’t have tools for helping other teammates. However, she has a powerful kit nonetheless.
Professional teams should take advantage of her as soon as possible, before she gets the nerf hammer, courtesy of Riot Games.
Even more fascinating news is she is the first homosexual champion. Fully confirmed by senior narrative writer Matt Dunn, her plethora of affectionate quotes towards female champions fully confirm her sexual orientation. While she seems to be a tad hostile towards male characters, she doesn’t totally hate them. On top of that, she even has in-game quotes hitting on female characters such as Shyvana and Nidalee.
Many reactions from gamers and members of the LGBT community have been positive, especially for accurately describing the transition and reality of being queer. It truly is amazing when video game characters mean so much to a community on such a personal level. Fans from all over are already asking for Neeko-themed merchandise. There is already an ocean of fan-made artwork of Neeko. The Neeko train of love is alive and well.
Riot Games relationship with the LGBT community has always been good, and to see Neeko as another example of strengthening that bond is heartwarming.
As for now, Neeko is on the public beta environment for League of Legends, and will ship on patch 8.24. Stay tuned, and watch out for her upon release. She won’t be hidden for much longer.