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Champion Reveal: Illaoi

Most champions arm themselves with swords or guns or magic or whatever, but Illaoi OriginalSquare Illaoi's bringing a freakin' god to the Rift. One of the new breed of juggernauts, she's a slow but impactful solo laner in any game, with Prophet of an Elder God tentacles that offer huge zone control once they worm their way into a game. And while she lacks traditional gap closers to start fights, she can pull the Test of Spirit spirits from distant squishies and destroy them, rendering yet another Vessel Vessel for Illaoi's god, Nagakabouros.[2]

Prophet of an Elder God
Prophet of an Elder God

Illaoi periodically spawns a tentacle on a nearby wall. Tentacles interact with Illaoi's abilities and last until killed or left dormant a full minute.

Tentacle Smash
Tentacle Smash
  • Passive: Prophet of an Elder God Tentacles that hit enemy champions heal Illaoi for a small portion of her missing health.
  • Active: Illaoi summons a tentacle that slams down in a target direction, damaging all enemies struck.

Harsh Lesson
Harsh Lesson

Instead of attacking normally, Illaoi charges in for her next basic attack, dealing bonus physical damage before commanding all nearby Prophet of an Elder God tentacles to swing at her target.

Test of Spirit
Test of Spirit

Illaoi casts a spell that sends tendrils out in a target direction. If the tendrils connect with an enemy champion, they grasp the champion's spirit and tear it back to Illaoi. When spirits are attacked by the Kraken Priestess or her allies, it transmits a portion of its suffering to their now spiritless champion. If Illaoi and her allies are able to destroy the spirit, or if the spiritless champion flees too far from their spirit, they suffer a heavy Slow icon slow as they become a Vessel Vessel, and start spawning Prophet of an Elder God tentacles around them that attack both their host and their allies. Test of Spirit allows Prophet of an Elder God tentacles to occasionally swing at spirits and Vessel vessels, dealing physical damage to all enemies hit.

Leap of Faith
Leap of Faith

Illaoi leaps into the air before slamming her idol into the ground, damaging all nearby enemies and summoning a Prophet of an Elder God tentacle for every enemy champion hit. Harsh Lesson Harsh Lesson's cooldown is significantly reduced while Leap of Faith is active.

Illaoi Screenshots

Strong but relatively slow, Illaoi needs to be careful with her abilities, particularly during the early game. The tentacles she summons through Prophet of an Elder God Prophet of an Elder God pack a punch, but don't move with Illaoi, making her much stronger when she's able to hunker down in one spot. At the same time, her tentacles and abilities - particularly Tentacle Smash Tentacle Smash - deal massive area of effect damage and can push the minions towards enemy towers super easily. This is where Illaoi needs to be particularly vigilant: if she strays too far forward, she'll miss out on the extra damage her tentacles offer and render herself relatively defenseless against enemy ganks. Illaoi can definitely take a punch, but if she's caught out of position, she pretty much only has her health and resistances - along with the healing from Prophet of an Elder God tentacle strikes - to sustain her through the enemy onslaught.

Illaoi Relic

When she's well-placed for a fight, she definitely knows how to inflict pain. Illaoi can whale rival melee enemies down with Harsh Lesson Harsh Lesson and Tentacle Smash Tentacle Smash, and only adds to the hurt when she positions her enemy within reach of her Prophet of an Elder God tentacles. Ranged enemies can be more of a challenge, harassing Illaoi from a distance while staying far enough away to avoid her melee retaliation. But try as they might, they can't avoid Illaoi's punishment if she manages to steal her lane opponent's spirit. Test of Spirit Test of Spirit levels the playing field, giving Illaoi free access to her target's health bar even when their physical form is well away from danger. So, while junglers traditionally look for enemy kills or Flash flashes during ganks, killing an enemy's spirit will often impact the lane just as meaningfully. Their spirits crushed, Illaoi's counterpart becomes a Vessel Vessel for Nagakabouros, who starts sending Prophet of an Elder God tentacles to further test their newest victim.

Suddenly Illaoi's opponent, melee or ranged, has a whole heap of things to pay attention to. Prophet of an Elder God Tentacles spawn beside walls, so escaping or chasing to wall brush becomes a lot less... well, survivable. What's more, Illaoi's a bunch stronger when she can reliably fight alongside the Prophet of an Elder God tentacles created by her Vessel spiritless enemy, and can fire off Tentacle Smash Tentacle Smash and Harsh Lesson Harsh Lesson to coordinate the ever-increasing number of aquatic appendages populating the Rift. And while Illaoi's opponent is distracted by the various limbs sprouting around the Rift, they're all the more likely to miss a return visit from the Kraken Priestess' jungler.

Illaoi Concept 16

Once teams start gathering to contest neutral objectives, Illaoi takes up her rightful place at the forefront of her team's formation. She's a beast around stationary objectives, particularly when she has enough lead time to set up her Prophet of an Elder God tentacles. They don't just offer her team extra damage in taking down DragonSquare Dragon, but also add disruption should the enemy team move in to stake their claim. And while Illaoi will generally prefer to steal the spirits of squishy targets, landing Test of Spirit Test of Spirit on a frontline enemy still offers Illaoi and her team options. The spirit will be tankier (its health and resistances reflect those of her target), but by focusing it down, Illaoi's allies will force their enemies to make a tough choice: contest the objective and fight through the ever-growing Prophet of an Elder God tentacled gauntlet, or give up the objective entirely.


As teams fully group, Illaoi works best securing her team's frontline and waiting for the perfect Test of Spirit Test of Spirit cast. Once she's landed the ability and her team's destroyed the captured spirit, Illaoi's all set to force her way through to the enemy backline. Though she doesn't have a particularly reliable way of getting to the backline, she can still use Harsh Lesson Harsh Lesson to charge her way in. And once she's there, just like any other juggernaut, she's an absolute nightmare to deal with, with Tentacle Smash Tentacle Smash and Harsh Lesson Harsh Lesson offering Illaoi the means to lay the slap down on multiple enemies. Most importantly, her presence in the heart of the enemy team will often force them to spread and scatter in fear of the Kraken Priestess' monumental Leap of Faith ultimate. While Leap of Faith is theoretically only as powerful as the number of enemies Illaoi lands it on, the ability itself has a huge psychological impact on the enemy team. Either they split up as Illaoi calls on her god, or they risk fighting under a cluster of enraged Prophet of an Elder God tentacles. Neither ends well for Illaoi's enemies.

Works well with: Struggles against:

Orianna OriginalSquare
Orianna - the Lady of Clockwork

Orianna covers Illaoi's weaknesses and accentuates her strengths. Command Dissonance Command Dissonance and Command Protect Command Protect speed up and shield Illaoi as she makes her way into the heart of the enemy team, and there aren't many things more satisfying than comboing Command Shockwave Command Shockwave into Leap of Faith Leap of Faith. There will be Prophet of an Elder God tentacles.

Vayne OriginalSquare
Vayne - the Night Hunter

Illaoi, just like Nasus OriginalSquare Nasus or Darius OriginalSquare Darius, is an absolute beast once she gets up in her target's face, but lacks any real means of actually getting there. Vayne's a particularly slippery catch, able to Tumble Tumble away and Condemn Condemn Illaoi into walls, all while constantly whittling the Kraken Priestess down with Silver Bolts Silver Bolts.

Blitzcrank OriginalSquare
Blitzcrank - the Great Steam Golem

Whenever League's rustiest robot enters the Rift alongside Illaoi, the two quickly form into a deadly tag team. If the Kraken Priestess misses her target with Test of Spirit Test of Spirit, Blitz can just Rocket Grab grab them outright, pulling them into Illaoi's sea of tentacles before Static Field silencing them and Power Fist knocking them skywards to halt their escape. Beep boop indeed.

Janna OriginalSquare
Janna - the Storm's Fury

Howling Gale Howling Gale and Zephyr Zephyr give Janna and her team a bunch of ways to slow Illaoi's relentless pursuit, but it doesn't end there. Allies running toward the Storm's Fury enjoy higher movement speed thanks to Tailwind Tailwind, while if all else fails, she can call on Monsoon Monsoon to send Illaoi flying back and heal up whatever damage she's done.

Lulu OriginalSquare
Lulu - the Fae Sorceress

Lulu, like Orianna, gives Illaoi plenty of means to get in the midst of her enemies while shaking off their timid attacks. Whimsy Whimsy propels the Kraken Priestess forward while Help, Pix! Help, Pix! shields her from incoming damage. A well-aimed Glitterlance Glitterlance should allow Illaoi to close range, before Lulu finishes off her support masterclass with Wild Growth Wild Growth, knocking her enemies skyward and giving Illaoi the chance to follow up with her own Leap of Faith ult.

Ziggs OriginalSquare
Ziggs - the Hexplosives Expert

Satchel Charge Satchel Charge and Hexplosive Minefield Hexplosive Minefield give Ziggs plenty of opportunities to keep distance with Illaoi. And while the Kraken Priestess undeniably thrives in wombo combo team comps, Ziggs has a huge Mega Inferno Bomb ult of his own to toss into the fray and help balance the scales in big teamfights.

Champion Insights: Illaoi

By Conor 'fizzNchips' Sheehy[3]

Illaoi insight banner

We met up with some of the folks behind Illaoi OriginalSquare Illaoi's creation to find out how they turned some early ideas into the battle priestess preparing to test the Rift. Here's their story.

Design notes by Beat PunchBeef
Art notes by Hdot
Narrative notes by WAAARGHbobo

Before Illaoi was a thing, we had this cool idea of having a character in our game literally punch the spirit out of their target. We had to shelve it as we were still finishing up Rek'Sai OriginalSquare Rek'Sai, but once we cycled back around into new champion ideation, we were super happy to find out that our pod had been tasked with creating League's next brawler. Brawlers like punching, we could have ours punch spirits... things were starting out great.

Illaoi Concept 10

We were a little way through ideation when the champion update guys spun up a new team tasked with identifying roles in the game and making sure all the champions in that role brought a unique playstyle to a game of League. They're the guys who most recently updated the marksmen, but before that, they tackled a whole new class: the juggernauts. These were League's lumbering, tanky, melee class. The champion update team rounded up all the champs who fit their juggernaut definition, and as they did, we realized that our new brawling champion would fit perfectly into that bunch. But they were all guys, even the Nasus OriginalSquare dog-shaped ones, so we started thinking about a lady to mix things up a bit.

The Battle Cleric Juggerdame
Illaoi Concept 11

Before we started on this new lady brawler's look, we knew we wanted to do something different. This isn't a commonly known fact, but a huge chunk of League's female characters actually share an identical (or near identical) face and body, and are only differentiated by their hair and clothing. We wanted to try something different, and so set about creating someone significantly apart from the crowd for our brawler. She's a bunch bigger, obviously, but alongside her larger frame we gave her a larger personality, too. We wanted her to be confident and comfortable in her own skin, a woman who knows exactly who she is and what she wants. We started tooling her up to be someone who was genuinely beautiful in her own unique way. The sketching began in earnest.

Illaoi Concept 12

Armor quickly became a pretty contentious point. Brawler was known as Battle Cleric at one point, a name which naturally led to us giving her buckets of armor. But straight away that didn't feel right. Armor implied tankiness which implied Brawler was someone you hit, rather than someone who hit you. We pulled off the armor to emphasize her muscles, which in turn accentuated her confidence and power. Taking her armor away brought her tattoos into play, too, which played up her strong religious aspect and gave her a more immediate connection to her god. At one point, her tattoos actually came to life and formed her Prophet of an Elder God tentacles, although that overlapped with Braum OriginalSquare Braum and even Udyr OriginalSquare Udyr a little too hard for our liking. Eventually we settled on Brawler carrying a Harsh Lesson symbol of her god around as she traveled, an idol which she could wield to conjure aspects of her deity.

And what about those tentacles? They first squirmed their way in with Brawler's Tentacle Smash Q, which stayed pretty much constant throughout her development. But as we got further in, as we really started figuring out who Illaoi was - how central her god was to her - we started looking for ways we could make her tentacles more central to her kit. We tinkered around with a few ideas, the coolest of which involved Illaoi actually showing her Leap of Faith ulted enemies the truth of the world around them. We had an overlay in place that changed the whole map, revealing tentacles snaking all over the walls and structures around them. It was awesome to look at, but ultimately the tentacles were just there - they didn't actually do anything. Then we got to thinking: what if they did?

Illaoi Concept 13
Day of the Tentacle

Adding independent tentacles to Illaoi's kit was really the last piece of the burgeoning champion's puzzle. By adding them in, we gave Illaoi a really unique space within the juggernauts: she'd be the set-up queen, a champion who grew in strength when she settled in an area and had enough time to grow a tentacle or two. The independent tentacles fit perfectly into her theme, too. By adding them in, Illaoi players would never feel alone in-game, while Illaoi's enemies would always feel outnumbered against her, even 1v1. Everything worked together, and after months of iteration, we had a kit-locked brawling champion with a compelling and consistent playstyle, look and character. Illaoi.

Illaoi Concept 14

Player Choice: Battlecast Illaoi

Choose the Next Illaoi Skin

Illaoi Resistance Concept 01

Thanks to everyone who voted! Voting is now closed, but we’ll be announcing the winner on November 20, 2017!

Hi! I’m Riot DrPh8, a concept artist that helps to design skins, and I’m here to talk about ILLAOI. She’s gone two years without some skin love (please don’t quote that out of context), but the time has finally come.[4]

We’ve been looking at skin options for her for a while now, and along the way realized there was a wide range of fun directions we could take. We narrowed the list down to the ones we’re most excited about, but this time around we want to leave the final call in your hands. Vote on which skin you want to see us create, and after the winner is announced, we’ll be updating you regularly on its development.

Every two weeks we’ll post our progress to Nexus—and get your reactions and input.

You have until 23:59 PST on November 13th to vote!

Here are the concepts! These names aren’t final. None of this is final.


Part machine, part human, Battlecast Illaoi fights for the survival of all organics against Viktor CreatorCircle Creator Viktor's 'Evolution'.


She’s beaten ancient curses, discovered hidden temples, explored the depths of the ocean, and survived it all unscathed.


Infected during a mission in space, Deep Space Illaoi and her 'friend' now roam the universe looking to add to their family.

The Next Illaoi Skin is...

The people have spoken, and they have chosen:[5]

Illaoi Resistance Concept 03

We got over six million votes from around the globe, and the organics’ last hope against Creator Viktor has prevailed.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • Battlecast 45%
  • Adventurer 25%
  • Deep Space 30%

But what about the Illaoi mains? Are they stuck with a skin selected by the un-washed, non-Nagakabouros-loving masses? We had to know:

Illaoi Resistance Concept 04


The hardest of the hardcore tentacle followers who have played over 1,000 games on the Kraken Priestess overwhelmingly chose Battlecast, too.

Illaoi Resistance Concept 05


Battlecast has undoubtedly bested her foes, who now must retreat into the concept folder.


Okay, now that we’ve got the skin picked, it’s time to make it! We’re aiming for release in first half of next year and, if all goes well, it’ll take about four months from when we start development to when it’s live.

We’re going to try something a little different with this one. We know a lot of you are interested in the making of skins and want to be a part of it, so we want to take you inside Riot as we bring Battlecast Illaoi to life. We want you to be able to follow along as we make the skin—from concepting, animation, sound design, naming, and all other aspects of what actually goes into making a League skin—so we’ll post a development update every two weeks here on Nexus.

If you’ve ever been curious about something in the dev process, or if there’s anything you especially want to see, let us know and we’ll show you (if we can).

Battlecast Illaoi: Concepting

With the vote closed and the winner announced, it’s time to start locking down the complete concept for the next Illaoi skin, Battlecast Illaoi (name TBD). But before we can finalize the concept, we first need to work out some details about the theme.[6]


Battlecast uses a lot of metal and tech, but it’s grimy and imperfect. Contrast this with something like PROJECT, which is sleek/shiny, or with Program, which is more digital/cyber. Battlecast is sci-fi, but the tech isn’t as advanced or clean as some of those other universes, so it’s got a retro, dirty sci-fi feel to it. Additionally, we have to nail down what makes Illaoi special in this world. She’s not a machine—she’s an organic rebelling against the machines. How does that change how we approach the skin?


As we start to concept a skin, we want to avoid just copypastaing a theme onto a champion and saying, “Looks cool, time to go home!” We really try to think hard about both the theme and the champion, and then find a place that makes sense for both of them within an alternate Runeterra. For Battlecast Illaoi, we came up with a brief backstory about who she is, why she’s here, and why she’s carrying a giant robot head:

Creator Viktor’s machines destroy and hunt humans in this war-torn world. But his plan quickly runs into a problem. Viktor attempts to assimilate Illaoi, but she proves too strong. Illaoi breaks free from her bonds and, armed with only her new robotic arm, she tears the head from the giant mechanized guard and carries it with her. She quickly learns that the components implanted in her allow her to interface with Viktor’s machines and central computer system. Hacking into it, she is able to escape to relative safety, where she starts planning her resistance.

Illaoi Resistance Concept 06

There was lots of debate over Illaoi's outfit. In the end, we looked for a solution that balanced the concept that players voted on and what might make more sense for Illaoi as a character.

A key goal for any skin is that it communicates a clear theme and general story within the first three seconds of a player seeing it in-lane. Building stories like this before sketching out ideas helps inform our designs. Her clothing, machine oil warpaint, color scheme, and of course the giant robot head, were all chosen to scream out this story.*

Now it’s up to us to use the model, visual effects, animations, and sound effects to make Illaoi the most badass resistance fighter the machines will ever face.

  • It’s worth noting that a lot of times, these napkin-written stories are used more for inspiration than they are as lore, and sometimes they change or are never overtly confirmed or spoken.

Illaoi’s tentacles are her defining feature, so nailing these is vital to the success of the skin.

We had the mech-hand in our early concepts, but got some feedback from the gameplay team that the idea of a “hand-tentacle” was going to be an issue.

The hand concept was pretty popular when we put out the vote; making a change of this magnitude isn’t something we take lightly. Unfortunately, it’s part of the development process that a lot of interesting ideas get left on the cutting room floor—even stuff we love. Gameplay gave us some insight into their reasoning, though: During Illaoi’s development, the champ team tried a few different tentacles for her and learned that solid or opaque tentacles made teamfighting a nightmare. Illaoi would ult and no one could see what was happening because of all the tentacles flopping around. It can already be difficult keeping track of everything during a teamfight, and transparent robo-hands kind of don’t make sense, so we weighed our options and decided to keep exploring.

Illaoi Resistance Concept 07

We all learned what “Trypophobia” is with concept B when a Rioter called it out. The more solid metal tentacles suffer from the same issue as the robo-hands: no transparency.

“These are some great explorations. I think I'm reading 'eternum' more than Battlecast at the moment. 'C' feels really close though. The exposed cables underneath feel really good. I think if we make it feel a bit more hard-edged and more like bulky iron rather than sleek titanium, it will nearly be there. For Battlecast, think something more along the lines of tanks, or weaponized tractors. This feels too much like sleek sc-ifi at the moment.” – MechaHawk, Art Lead

One idea was to have the tentacles be solid when idling, but more ethereal when attacking, that way we could give them the solid look we wanted without the included gameplay issues. But when we looked into that approach, we realized it would require completely reanimating the tentacles. We like the idea, but the animation concerns are enough to make us keep looking.

Illaoi Resistance Concept 08

A quick proof of concept for what solid-to-ethereal tentacles would look like in game.

Finally, we get a little closer with these:

Illaoi Resistance Concept 09

The glowing red look is a key element of Battlecast technology, and these new tentacles are capturing that well. We aren’t as concerned with these cluttering the game because they will be mostly ethereal, while hopefully still feeling solid and appropriate for Battlecast. We think the base needs the most work from here (figuring out where Illaoi’s tentacles come from is one big challenge in designing visuals for her).

Illaoi Resistance Concept 10

Going back to our original concepting story: Once Illaoi has decapitated her robotic guard, she uses its dismembered head to fly to safety. Alright… but what EXACTLY does that look like?

Illaoi Resistance Concept 11

We’re looking at her totem as not only a weapon, but a remote control for the machines and her main mode of transport. A flaming skull probably doesn’t fit this well.

Illaoi Resistance Concept 12

A little totem flambé maybe?

Instead, we’re opting for something a little in between:

Illaoi Resistance Concept 13

Finally, we have just about everything we need to lock down the look of the skin:

Illaoi Resistance Concept 14

This is the 90% final look for her. Through development, we will need to make tweaks and adjustments, but this is pretty close.

Now that we have the concepts close to finished, we’ll be figuring out how to take Illaoi’s kit into the Battlecast Universe."

Battlecast Illaoi Final Update[7]


The recall animation you're currently seeing was selected because:

We generated a bunch of ideas for the recall in our initial creative meeting for Illaoi. Some of them were pretty crazy, but we decided to keep this one fairly self-contained without a ton of visual props to interact with. The community seemed to like some of the jetpack ideas from the previous post, so we thought incorporating that into the recall could be cool.

We also really wanted her to interact with the robot head since it’s such a major part of the skin. This recall seemed to be a good mix of action and fun and hits the Battlecast tone. We blocked some poses and showed it to the team. Everyone seemed to like it, so we moved forward with animating.

We thought it’d be light-hearted and still fit the Battlecast theme if Illaoi started the head up like a lawnmower to get it going.


The initial idea for the audio effects on Illaoi’s spoken lines was to put processing on all of it, creating a parallel, angry voice layer that’d phase in and out on important keywords as she spoke.

However, we need to keep in mind that we localize everything we do, which can make effects like this difficult since both the translations and delivery of the voice lines can be different across languages.

Due to the enormous number of lines Illaoi has (one of the highest in the game), and the extreme margin of error once we account for all the languages, plus the fact that she has a very complex kit (looking at you tentacles!), the original plan to create an angry Battlecast layer that phases in and out is probably out of scope. Additionally, heavily-affected VO processing would feel pretty at odds with Battlecast Illaoi’s story and visuals.

So we’ve had to drop that idea. Instead, we’re looking at doing heavy processing on her E lines (there are over 60 of these), which are the trippy, delayed ones that sound like she’s in your head.


Illaoi, the Kraken Priestess - Login Screen

Illaoi, the Kraken Priestess - Login Screen

Illaoi's Theme

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