Pyke – A Mistaken Champion Design

Riot Games, makers of the widely popular MOBA strategy game, League of Legends, has recently done a new champion reveal for a Bilgewater champion and it is interesting. In this post, I will analyze the effectiveness of Pyke’s design as a champion in League of legends.

Visual Design

In game screenshots of Pyke. Source: Surrender@20

If you are familiar with League of Legend’s champions, then you and I can both agree that Riot Games knows how to make a visually appealing champion. Now with that said, Pyke is no exception.

According to Pyke’s background description, he was once a sailor of Bilgewater, but after drowning and being abandoned by his crew, he became an undead creature who seeks to get revenge form those who let him die.

Pyke’s visual design is on topic and accurate with his background for the most part. His primary color is deep sea green, complimented with touches of white and red. He wears the jaws of some mystical Bilgewater creature on his upper body, expressing that he has probably slain many large mystical creatures since he became undead. His red bandana across his mouth, with spiky teeth designs send a message to his enemies to fear him. And his hollow eyes speak vengeance to those who dare look into them.

Overall, I find Pyke’s visual design to be very on topic and accurately communicates what he is supposed to represent.

Now let’s talk about the troubling part of Pyke’s champion design.

Gameplay Design

Riot Games company designed and released this champion in hopes of it being a support champion. In case you are not familiar with that a support is in League of Legends, and many other MOBA games, a support is meant to aid the attack damage carry (ADC) in the bot lane by providing pressure, vision, sustainability, etc in hopes of getting the adc fed and increase the chances of winning the game.

The problem with Pyke’s kit is that, there’s no possible way for him to be a considerably effective support champion because he lacks the ability to provide any value to the adc as a support. Yes, his passive allows him to heal off a significant amount of damage that he takes, and he also has a thresh hook. But that’s not enough to make an efficient support champion. In the current meta, champions that provide heal and shields to their adc rule the bot lane because it enables their carries to have a riskier play style. But Pyke’s kit feels like it would benefit more from the support taking up the role of the risk taker as his stun ability requires that he walks up to the enemies, forcing him to be more upfront. The problem with this is that a good bot lane could simply ignore Pyke’s engage and focus down the ad carry because he has been left completely vulnerably by his so called support. If anything, Pyke may be that one champion that autofilled supports play because they kind of don’t want to support. Hell, he may even become labeled as a troll support, kind of like how Teemo is considered an ad carry by Riot Games.

Pyke’s kit does not fit into the current support meta. Personally, I feel he would be more viable in any other lane except for bot lane. Releasing a risky champion like this makes me wonder if maybe Riot Games is looking to change up how the bot lane is played. Who knows — maybe shield supports will stop ruling the bot lane and Pyke will reign supreme. It will be interesting to see how the League of Legends community reacts to Pyke after his official release.

This is my first blogpost, and I plan to post many more character design analysis posts in the near future. If you like this post, please show some support as I would greatly appreciate it. I aspire to be a concept artist so I hope doing character design analysis will grow my skills as an artist and I hope to share my work on this blog along my journey. Thank you for reading, I will be back with more!

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