Zelos, the Wrath of the Rejected
His eyes opened to the pitch blackness they had become accustomed to. He had no reckoning of what day or week or year it was; his sense of time could only be based around the meals put in his cell, which he had long since lost count of. One was waiting there for him, he could barely smell, taunting him to walk over and gobble it up, a wooden bucket of gruel and a cup of water. He could not eat it with his hands, for the chains that bound his arms and legs to the wall gave him only enough slack to sit, a position he hadn't moved from since he had been assigned to the black, windowless cell. It always smelled of death, but the smell was different every so often; he surmised that his neighbors had given up hope, again and again and again. Still he sat here.
His gaze fixed on the platter and its meal, and with a mental exertion, he lifted it up into the air and towards himself. There had been little to do in this cell outside of train his mind, and as was his ritual, he sent the contents hovering around the room this way and that, the force he exerted with what will remained to him making every movement exacting. Not a drop of water was spilled, nor was a glob of gruel wasted. He lifted them up and down in rhythmic motions, keeping his mind occupied for a time, before bringing them to his mouth to consume. The taste was bland, but it was one of the only things he could grasp onto to prove he was still alive, and not eternally suffering in some afterlife.
His meal finished, he left the empty containers exactly as they were arranged and pushed them into what he knew to be the slot the meals came through. There were two small shutters, always locked, that were alternated in order to give him his food; his Noxian captors had ensured that no light be allowed inside. His body had long since wasted, but he refused to give in to the butchers.
His mind strayed to the image he relived every day. Himself, a younger, stronger man, kneeling before King Jarvan III in all his regal garb. His story of the plight the Ionian people would face if Demacia did not intervene. His request that Demacia represent them on the Fields of Justice to solve this matter bloodlessly.
The look of sadness on the face of the King was disgusting, as if he empathized with their cause. If he did, why did he say such a harsh and careless word as 'No?' But that was his only answer, and all it left for Zelos was a shamed journey back towards his homeland.
One that a Noxian patrol had interrupted.
His thoughts were cut short by a blinding light. No, the light couldn't be more than a near-dead candle, but being the only light he had seen in... He didn't know how long, the flickering tongue of fire looked bright as seven suns. He didn't know what to think or do. Before he knew it, his chains were loosed from the wall, and he was being carried, his arms and legs still bound together. The blinding light of the prison that grew brighter still as he neared what he thought was its entrance kept him from seeing a thing.
He heard a portcullis rattling open, and felt grass on his feet. Finally, standing still in the daytime sun for a few minutes, his eyes adjusted. On either side of him lay half a mile of stands filled to the utter brim with Noxians, all cheering and jeering, stuffing their faces with confections and sending their adoration towards a buffoon that stood before him, a man possessed of a mustache that reached all the way across his face, a grin that begged to be punched out, and a wicked pair of axes that he twirled around at a pace that gave Zelos pause.
A thundering sound, the voice of a man, announced throughout the entire arena: "We have an Ionian for Draven to brutalize for you today! He's been locked up for ten years but refused to die, so High General Swain decided to let you all see his end!"
These names meant nothing to him. What came next did.
"If this prisoner can make it to the end of the yard alive, he's free to go! But not one has ever done it! Place your bets on how far he gets before he dies!"
That's it? he thought. Zelos looked down at his body; he could see all of his bones underneath his taut, emaciated flesh. A challenge, but one he would accept with grace.
The crowd cheered in unison with the announcer. "Three! Two! One! RUUUUUUUN!"
Zelos walked. Step by stumbling step, he learned to use his legs like he had when he had been a toddler, a skill that he had not practiced in... ten years. Such a long time. The buffoon was caught off-guard, and he halted mid-throw to laugh at him.
"I can't even claim that this was a good kill!" the buffoon boasted. "This is just pathetic. Bring me a real prisoner!"
The crowd chanted in return, "KILL! KILL! KILL!"
The buffoon obliged, and with a great windup of one of the axes, sent it hurling towards Zelos.
The Ionian saw the blade coming, heard it shimmering through the air, but thought only of his desire... His desire for what?
The axe stopped mid-flight. His will held it tight by its grip, the blade still spinning wildly but losing momentum. He thought of how his master had stood on a roof without being touched by a single waterdrop in the heaviest rainstorm that he had ever lived through. He allowed the axe to drop harmlessly to the ground, and kept walking. One foot in front of the other. He was walking more straight now.
The buffoon was caught off-guard again, and the crowd gasped in unison. Now he sent the other axe Zelos' way, and Zelos merely guided it around him into the stands. He kept walking. Freedom and vengeance lay ahead.
The buffoon stared daggers, or perhaps axes, at him as he rushed by to collect his axes. Zelos kept walking. The chains made it hard to assume a posture that was comfortable, but upright or not he would make it to the end.
The crowd started cheering now, "Whirling Death! Whirling Death!" The rising excitement gave him pause, but he felt what was coming next: Both axes were now slicing along the ground towards him like some macabre wagon's wheels. He was getting sick of the games, and so as he heard the blades cutting within a foot of him, he thrust his mind out, sending them sailing back with equal momentum. He heard the buffoon actually scream as he dodged out of the way, and heard both axes embed themselves in the stony wall at the base of the Noxus spire.
He saw a line of bones that must have marked the point of escape, and he stepped over it. Everything grew silent. No crowd, no announcer, no hot-headed imbecile casting jibes at him. He simply kept walking. He was done with that nonsense.
He headed west. He found a good rock, and used it for hunting. Knowing day from night was a relief. His mind still revolved around one thing.
He crossed the mountain range, his feet growing bloody from walking along the harsh rocks barefoot. He stepped through the forested valley, knowing his destination in his heart.
He walked up the meticulously carved stone steps, admired the statuary adorning the entrance, and stepped through. Inside the building were dozens of robed figures whose embroidery indicated hailed from all realms of Runeterra. He saw many warriors and mages there that struck him as champions, though he had met none of them. His will guided him forward, to a pair of stone doors.
"You're not allowed in there," said a summoner whose blue and gold suggested Demacian descent.
"I don't have to take orders from those who would let a nation die in its time of need," Zelos replied. There was so much more he wanted to say, but he held it all in and pushed the doors open with his wrath and stepped inside.
He waited for a few minutes. The doors closed behind him. Once again, utter blackness. He felt himself returning to the cell, but willed himself out of it. He had no time for games.
A woman appeared on a balcony as the room once again flooded with light. She didn't seem interested in games either. She offered him a single question: "Why do you wish to join the League of Legends?"
He thought for a moment, just one, and then replied. "Because the League of Legends failed my people, as did its potential allies in Demacia. I wish to join the League of Legends to use it to bring war to their doorsteps. If they won't join us, they will serve us."
What does this champion mean for the League of Legends?
The release of Zelos was a calculated move by Swain to incite full-scale international war via the proxy of the League of Legends. Finding the warrior's imprisonment in some notes left by Boram Darkwill, he found that he would be an ideal catalyst to bring Ionia back to the battlefield. Whether Ionia attacks Demacia, weakening their prime enemy, or Noxus itself, giving them a chance to reclaim the province that was lost, is of little concern to Swain; he's consolidated his power, Noxus has put forth many powerful new champions into the League, and the time is ripe for conquest, something all Noxians aspire to.
What is the fantasy this champion represents?
If his brother Irelia is a warrior who uses telekinesis, Zelos is a telekineticist who uses swords. He is meant to appeal to players who enjoy melee carries as well as short-lived ranged combat in the style of Kayle. He is further meant to be a symbol of righteous anger aimed at those who have spurned him. He uses a combination of ranged telekinetic swordplay and brutal physical battery in melee to achieve his ends.
What is the visual style of this champion?
Zelos is intended to look a broken man. Hunched over, emaciated, and possibly loosely wrapped in garb from his homeland, he still wears the chains that bind his arms and legs to each other to remind all other Ionians of the torment he suffered, all Demacians that he remembers, and all Noxians that they will never break him.
What sets him apart from other champions is his collection of floating swords. Three longswords and a claymore hover around him, the claymore usually situated on his back. The swords should look diverse in origin, to give the impression that these are not a set, but rather piecemeal weapons he's assembled for his vengeance. Anything that could be spared from the Vault would be suitable for him.
His combat animations will involve his body more nodding and lurching generally in an enemy's direction. The action is all taken care of by the swords, that fly through the air to slash and stab at enemies. His critical strike could involve a sword stabbing downwards at an angle, a reference to Irelia's equilibrium strike, as they shared essentially the same training. However, his strikes should be more fierce and wrathful than disciplined; it's his will to seek vengeance against all of his homeland's foes (real and perceived) that drives him, not a sense of duty.
What are his proposed abilities?
His playstyle is meant to be one of constant positioning control, offering potent split damage between two targets, defense against targeted ranged attacks and spells, and maneuverability. He is rewarded for using his abilities with increased damage, as his anger in the moment clouds his judgment, but as he is overcome with rage, he loses focus and cannot use his abilities until his anger is vented or he cools down and remembers why he's fighting.
Zelos' abilities generate charges of Fury, up to a maximum of five. For each charge of fury, his next melee basic attack will deal 6% increased damage and consume a charge. Upon reaching five stacks, he gains 30% increased damage for five seconds, but cannot use any of his abilities, and the fury disappears afterwards. If he stands still for five seconds without taking or dealing damage, his fury resets to zero.
Rationale: This passive is meant to encourage him to use his abilities in combination with his auto-attacks, but with a price that over-use without managing the resource will lock him down, much akin to the precedent set by Rumble. It's manageable so long as he remains in melee with a target, but should he reach the pinnacle of rage too early, he may be left out in the dust and miss the opportunity to secure a kill. Using this resource wisely will be a core part of his gameplay.
Ability One: Equal Hatred
20/18.5/17/15.5/14 Second Cooldown
Generates 2 Fury
Zelos sends one of his swords to harry target enemy for six seconds.
If he attacks that enemy, his attack range becomes six hundred, and he deals 10/20/30/40/50 bonus physical damage to the target. These attacks do not consume Fury.
If he attacks another enemy, the sword will deal 40/45/50/55/60% of the physical damage he deals to the enemy affected by Equal Hatred.
Rationale: His Marquee ability, this is his bread and butter that allows him to fight from range when necessary and deal split damage when needed. It's similar to Kayle's ability Righteous Fury in that it allows a primarily melee character to temporarily become ranged, but it is intended to choose a single target to receive the brunt of his anger, forcing him to commit to damaging that target, whether through attacking another target or fighting them from range.
Ability Two: Freedom
30/28/26/24/22 Second Cooldown
Generates 4 Fury
Zelos concentrates his will to deflect an attack back at its origin. For the next second, he will deflect the next line skillshot, ranged attack, or single targeted spell that affects him back at the point of origin, caster, or attacker for 40/45/50/55/60% of the initial damage of the ability or attack.
Rationale: Reflection mechanics have long been held up as something Riot may be interested in pursuing, so why not a psychic warrior driven by revenge to get back at those pesky casters and AD carries? It has a prohibitively high fury cost, meaning very often when he uses it he'll lock himself out of ability use, but it can be just the solution to a Crystal Arrow, Pyroclasm-affected Disintegrate, or most appropriate, Whirling Death. This allows him a unique form of offensive survivability in fights if he can time it properly, survivability being something that many melee carries sorely lack. By allowing skill to make up for a weakness every now and then, players are pushed to make risky moves in order to achieve their violent aims.
Ability Three: Cut to the Chase
12/11/10/9/8 Second Cooldown
Generates 3 Fury
Zelos rushes forward towards target location (Max range 600), slashing to his sides as he moves before bringing his blades to a deadly point. Enemies in an oval area between him and the target location take 40/80/120/160/200 (+0.6/Total AD) damage, while enemies struck at the end of the slash take 50% bonus damage.
Rationale: While the numbers can (and should) be worked around in testing, the idea is to give him an offensive dash that rewards matching it to enemy team placement. The idea of unique skillshot arcs set forth from Diana inspired this ability, as it is essentially a pair of elongated crescents meeting at an end point denoted by a circle similar to the way Crescent Slash is handled. This ability can be used to engage on targets or escape, and rewards rushing through a defensive line to appear right in the face of a vulnerable target, as all will have less health as a result of the exchange
Ability Four: Warbringer
Generates 5 Fury on Champion Hit
Zelos hurls his greatsword in a straight line across the map. If the greatsword strikes an enemy champion, he will instantly appear at their location and deal 150/225/300(+Total AD) damage.
Rationale: Warbringer is his initiation move. It's his chase move. If used ingeniously, it could even be an escape move. His ultimate ability will call on him to appear underneath the target and rise up spinning his greatsword like a helicopter, his mental power ripping him through space and time purely for the purpose of engaging in combat and for no other reason. Because it gives him maximum fury, it calls on him to immediately engage in melee with whoever happened to be slammed by it. It can be used for assassinations, or just starting a fight completely on his terms, giving him a few seconds of deadly melee damage. A greatsword flying across the map will be an iconic sight, and his deadly attack with it when it hits an enemy will strike fear in the heart of Demacian and Noxian alike.
Technical Note: To make this ability not-suicidal, it should disappear just before hitting an enemy summoner platform. Coding it to disappear on collision with the regeneration trigger should accomplish that.
What are the proposed base stats?
Attack Range: 125 (Consistent with most melee)
Movement Speed: 335 (Considering movement speed changes in Season 3)
Base Health: 444
Base Damage: 56
Base Attack Speed: 0.66
Base Health Regen: 7/5
(All numbers subject to change, as they are levers to be pulled around in playtesting)
What are his relationships with other champions?
Draven: Draven treats Zelos as the 'one that got away,' and Zelos despises him for making a mockery of his supposed execution. Should there be an optional quest included on this character, it would be between Draven and Zelos as they settle the score on more even terms.
Irelia: Irelia is his sister, and is incredibly worried that after fearing he had died for so long he appeared a creature of anger and vengeance, barely recognizable as her brother. What's more distressing, however, is that his tale of Demacia's refusal to aid them in the war that destroyed so much of their home seems to justify his indignant rage towards the city-state.
Swain: Swain sees Zelos as his tool to turn the League of Legends into a battlefield instead of a sporting event. He still holds a grudge against Ionia for winning its freedom through the organization, and wants to see the nation walk straight into his trap on the Fields of Justice.
Jarvan IV: Jarvan knows that the reason Demacia declined to help was out of fear of inciting a full-scale war with Noxus, but he holds no respect for Zelos and his desires for conquering his homeland. If he has to fight for the fate of his people on the Fields, he will do so without hesitation, and would not flinch at conquering Ionia to prevent them from attacking them ever again.
And whew. Officially in 'requesting feedback' mode. I aspire to work at Riot some day, and this is a concept I've been kicking around in my head for a couple months now that I'd love to bring forward, either as a full designer or as a member of the creative team. Reiteration is the most important part of game development, so have at it with your spinning axes.
This is impressive, actually. Really great fantasy fulfillment plan, and a great foil to Irelia's more focus fire kit and personality. His abilities syngergize well, and seem strong without being too strong. Overall, a solid kit, and definitely a champion to fear. The simple terror of being at your second lane turret recalling with 30% or less HP when a greatsword comes hurtling out of the fog of war, and suddenly a very pissed off Zelos is on your back...I don't even want to imagine it,
Just a couple of questions.
1. W: Freedom. By initial damage, do you mean damage with scaling, or without it? Because a very fed Lux, Ezreal, Draven etc could find themselves very low when their 600 damage nuke suddenly hits them for over 300 damage. It's not a bad or broken skill regardless, but this is general curiosity.
2. Cut to the Chase: What is the dash range? Is it a smaller dash or a larger one? Would it be optimal for follow up to Warbringer and would it be a good skill to attain maximum fury on before your abilities get locked down?
3. Overall cooldowns? Base range? Movement speed? Maybe I'm stupid but I don't see them.
To summarize: A brilliant concept, both fun, paranoia inducing, and non toxic. I hope something like this sees work and introduction into the League one of these days.
I'll get onto those stats right now. I was thinking as far as Freedom goes, it would work with scaling. There's precedent for hurting your opponent for being powerful in Veigar. The actual numbers could vary, but I think that its multi-use nature means that more often than not you'll be using it to fend off carry auto-attacks.
Also note that Lux's laser isn't considered a skillshot because there's no projectile, only a box that gets damaged!
Aaaaand numbered a bit. I personally am a bit shaky when it comes to exact numbers because it's more a science ascertained through playtesting than a dead-set goal, but numbers are nice.
I would buy this champion and play him vigorously, very well done, i see a lot of effort has been put into this and I'd love to see this champion on the fields of justice
Very impressed keep up the good work i hope that Riot takes a look and would love to see him in battle
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