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Champion Reveal: Kled, The Cantankerous Cavalier

Noxian soldiers say a lot of things about the murderous yordle known as Kled OriginalSquare Kled. They claim he's fought in every campaign ever waged by the Noxian legions, acquired every possible military title, and has never once backed down from a fight. These claims, like all stories about folk heroes, are dubious. But one part of Kled's legend is undeniable: when he rides into battle on Skaarl OriginalSquare Skaarl (his cowardly Skaarl the Cowardly Lizard steed) the Cantankerous Cavalier fights ferociously to protect what's his... and to take whatever he can get.[1]

Skaarl the Cowardly Lizard
Skaarl the Cowardly Lizard

Kled's semi-trusty mount, Skaarl, has its own health bar and takes damage in Kled's place when the two ride together. Any bonus health Kled picks up through items, runes, and masteries also applies to Skaarl. When the lizard's life bar is whittled down to zero, it'll Dismounted Skaarl the Cowardly Lizard run for the hills, leaving Kled to fight alone.

When fighting solo, Kled's abilities change and he gains movement speed while heading toward enemy champions. Kled can restore Skaarl's courage and bring the craven critter Skaarl the Cowardly Lizard 3 back by attacking towers, champions, or epic monsters.

Bear Trap on a Rope (Mounted)
Bear Trap on a Rope

Kled throws a literal bear trap tied to a piece of rope, dealing damage to all enemies it passes through and attaching to the first enemy champion hit. If the Cantankerous Cavalier sticks close to the struck target for a couple of seconds, he'll reel in the rope, Airborne icon pulling his hapless target towards him while applying a Slow icon slow and a decent chunk of damage. This ability deals bonus damage to minions.

Pocket Pistol (Unmounted)
Pocket Pistol

Kled fires his gun, blasting a wad of bullets in a target direction and Airborne icon knocking himself backward.

Violent Tendencies (Passive)
Violent Tendencies

Kled's basic attacks cause him to frenzy, granting attack speed to his next four basic attacks. The fourth frenzied blow deals bonus damage based on a percentage of the target's max health.

Jousting (Mounted Only)

Kled and Skaarl dash toward a targeted area, dealing damage to enemies in their path and temporarily gaining a burst of movement speed. If Jousting strikes a champion or large monster, Kled and Skaarl can Jousting 2 reactivate the ability to dash back through the struck target, again dealing damage.

Chaaaaaaaarge!!! (Mounted Only)

Kled and Skaarl charge toward a targeted location, building up a shield and boosting the movement speed of allies in their wake. Skaarl will home in on the first enemy encountered, ramming them to deal damage as a percent of the target's max health.

Kled Screenshots
Laning and Skirmishing

Kled needs to go ham. The Cantankerous Cavalier wants only to bring death to his foes, and Skaarl's courage system rewards Kled for sticking through a fight, even after the reptilian steed abandons its manic yordle master. To remount Skaarl, Kled has to take risks and play aggressively - if he manages to earn back the lizard-critter's trust, he can ride back into battle renewed by his buddy's fresh health bar.

In lane, Kled's strength fluctuates depending on whether Violent Tendencies Violent Tendencies is available. When it's up, the Cantankerous Cavalier can smash opponents with his empowered autos, but the ability goes on cooldown for a bit after it's activated, leaving Kled to depend on his other abilities to deal any meaningful DPS.

Since Violent Tendencies Violent Tendencies can't be toggled on or off and activates as soon as Kled uses a basic attack, inexperienced Kled players will often find themselves frenzying all over a harmless minion wave, even when it would have been better to save the frenzy for a more threatening opponent. For this reason, Kled will want to carefully farm using his other abilities if he thinks he's likely to engage an enemy champion in the near future.

Once Kled decides to go in for a trade, Jousting Jousting helps him stick to his target with ease. For trades that could go south, Kled will be able to just Jousting Joust back out after he's displayed his Violent Tendencies Violent Tendencies.

If Kled goes 'too ham' (if there is such a thing) and Skaarl abandons him, he's got two options to get his buddy back: retreat back to base like a damned coward, or do as the voices in his head keep telling him and go more ham. If the Cantankerous Cavalier goes after an enemy champion, he'll have a limited supply of bullets in his Pocket Pistol Pocket Pistol to regain Skaarl's confidence and bring it galloping home to papa.

If he's smart, Kled will closely watch Skaarl's courage bar and bait in opponents just as he remounts the yellow-bellied lizard to gain back his second health bar. With access to Jousting Jousting and Chaaaaaaaarge!!! Chaaaaaaaarge!!! restored, Kled'll be set to lock in the kill.

Teamfighting and Late-Game

Once laning phase ends, Kled contributes best to his team by acting as a skirmisher - he'll Violent Tendencies frenzy on any unlucky fool he can catch trespassing on his territory, using Jousting Jousting or Bear Trap on a Rope Bear Trap on a Rope to reposition or lock down dangerous opponents. Skaarl's extra health bar gives the Cantankerous Cavalier some tankiness, but it's relatively easy for an entire enemy team to focus down the lizard. If Skaarl abandons its post too early in a fight, Kled will be left stranded with little chance of survival.

If Kled manages to hang onto his cowardly reptilian friend, though, he'll achieve his true potential as a single-target slayer. He can repeatedly slow and dash toward a lone, fleeing opponent using his Bear Trap on a Rope Q and Jousting E, making him incredibly deadly on cleanup duty. You don't disengage from a fight with Kled whenever you want. You disengage from Kled when either he or you is dead.

Kled's single-target stickiness makes him great at responding to enemy split-pushes, since he can use his Chaaaaaaaarge!!! ultimate to blast into lane with a big ol' shield that'll boost his 1v1 duel potential. The speedboost effect left in Chaaaaaaaarge!!! Chaaaaaaaarge!!!'s wake lets him bring some friends along for the party as well.

A well-timed Kled Chaaaaaaaarge!!! ult is the perfect way to force a teamfight - if you're grouped, your whole team can ride your slipstream and smash into the enemy frontline with you. But Chaaaaaaaarge!!! Chaaaaaaaarge!!! is also Kled's best (and nearly only) way of quickly moving onto an exposed flank.

Of course, even Kled shouldn't go charging into battle against a whole army by himself. A little help from some friends might help him out.

Works well with: Struggles against:
Lulu OriginalSquare
Lulu - the Fae Sorceress

Kled may have two health bars, but he's hardly a tank. The Fae Sorceress' Help, Pix! shields and Whimsy buffs grant Kled the fortitude to go in on engages he'd normally be too squishy for, or, if he's been dismounted, to stay calm and keep Violent Tendencies frenzying.

Lux OriginalSquare
Lux - the Lady of Luminosity

It's tough for Kled and Skaarl to remain in the fray if they're up against an opponent with both crowd-control abilities and burst damage. If the Lady of Luminosity catches the yordle-lizard duo with a Light Binding Light Binding, she may be able to Final Spark Final Spark them to pieces before they can respond.

Garen OriginalSquare
Garen - the Might of Demacia

Kled's immobile allies aren't so immobile when they Chaaaaaaaarge!!! Chaaaaaaaarge!!! into battle with him. If the Might of Demacia lends his heart and sword to Kled, they'll both have the speed and strength to smash straight through the enemy frontline.

Janna OriginalSquare
Janna - the Storm's Fury

Enemies that can disengage and slow Kled are a pain in his fuzzy arse. A quick Howling Gale Howling Gale or a Monsoon Monsoon is all it takes to turn a Chaaaaaaaarge!!! Chaaaaaaaarge!!! into a Chaaaaa-aaawww...

Kindred OriginalSquare
Kindred - the Eternal Hunters

Kled always has to make a choice once he's been knocked off his mount: stay in the fight to try and restore Skaarl's courage, or pack it in and Recall Recall to safety? With Kindred around, the choice is easy - Lamb's Respite Lamb's Respite gives Kled a free ticket to keep going ham so he can remount his spineless critter and continue the battle stronger than before.

Tristana OriginalSquare
Tristana - the Yordle Gunner

The Yordle Gunner's late-game Draw a Bead range will make an unmounted Kled think twice about hanging around teamfights, and both Rocket Jump Rocket Jump and Buster Shot Buster Shot negate one of the Cantankerous Cavalier's greatest strengths: sticking to his opponent.

Champion Insights: Kled, the Noxian Meme

By Ryan 'Cactopus' Rigney[2]

Kled Insights 1

If Noxian soldiers made memes, what would they look like?

A weird question, maybe, but you can find the answer by cracking open a history book and flipping back to the 1940s, when American GIs were tramping around Europe during World War II. Around that time, a pre-internet meme started to appear as graffiti across the continent - an image of a little bald man with an enormous nose peeking over a wall. His name was Kilroy.

It's unclear exactly where Kilroy came from or who first drew him. Some say Kilroy was named after a man who worked as an American shipyard inspector in the '40s, but a very similar drawing is said to have appeared among Australian soldiers as early as the first World War. Whatever the case, American GIs couldn't resist doodling Kilroy all over territory they'd conquered, even if it got them thrown into the stocks for a night. To the soldiers, Kilroy was an icon representing their victories, their values, their identities. Kilroy was the spirit of those soldiers.

Just like Kled OriginalSquare Kled is the spirit of enlisted Noxians.

Kled Insights 2
The Fuzzy, Bloodthirsty Spirit of Noxus
Kled Insights 3

Life isn't easy for the men serving among the lowest ranks of the Noxian soldier class. To survive in that job you have to learn to love war, hate cowardice, and seize whatever bloodsoaked glory you can get.

With this in mind, we began to imagine a character who would take those Noxian warrior values to the extreme - an ornery creature that relished riding into battle and chopping off heads. Someone who’d never back away from a fight, who'd always want to go ham. Who better to represent the ideals of these troops than a murderous, mounted, yordle soldier?

We set to work developing a champ that would encourage hyper-aggressive gameplay. We didn't yet have any real idea of what the character would look like, so our designers slapped together a prototype using existing assets. The first model was literally Gnar GentlemanCircle Gentleman Gnar riding around on a tiny Hecarim OriginalSquare Hecarim.

"When you got dismounted, the little Hecarim OriginalSquare Hecarim would run away and the Gnar OriginalSquare Gnar would be left by himself", says champion designer Iain 'Harrow' Hendry. "Sometimes", he says with a smile, "you need an expressive prototype to sell an idea."

When designing Kled's abilities, we went out of our way to avoid giving him anything that felt defensive or 'safe'. Everything Kled does is about incentivizing and rewarding aggressive, risky actions. He has to charge straight into battle to get the shield from his Chaaaaaaaarge!!! ult. Even when he uses his unmounted 'disengage' move, Pocket Pistol Pocket Pistol, he's firing a gun blast to knock himself back.

We've always thought about Kled as 'light cavalry', as opposed to Sejuani OriginalSquare Sejuani's 'heavy cavalry' role, but there are other ways we wanted to differentiate Kled from the boar-riding jungler. One thematic problem for Sejuani OriginalSquare Sejuani is that her mechanics don't emphasize interaction with Bristle OriginalSquare Bristle, her boar. If we removed Bristle OriginalSquare Bristle altogether and Sejuani OriginalSquare Sejuani was just a big ol' lady, it wouldn't necessarily make a difference to her gameplay.

So, we wondered, how could we fix this for Kled? What sort of relationship might he have with his mount?

When it comes to nimble AD champs designed mostly for the top lane (we call them 'skirmishers') your options include folks like Yasuo OriginalSquare Yasuo, Riven OriginalSquare Riven, and Tryndamere OriginalSquare Tryndamere. Each of these champs is designed for the kinds of players who like going in deep, usually a bit further than they should. All of these characters, says Harrow, are sort of tryhard champs. "These are super-serious people with super-serious swords", he says. "The goal was to make Kled a little more playful than his skirmisher peers."

Kled Insights 4
A Yordle and his Gutless Lizard-Bird-Thing
Kled Insights 5

Kled may be a yordle, but that doesn't mean he has to be cute. "Cuteness isn't valued by the Noxians", says art lead Edmundo 'odnumde' Sanchez. "He's sort of a weird little goblin, and that was the vibe we were going for. He's supposed to look very wicked."

Skaarl the Cowardly Lizard Skaarl, meanwhile, needed to appear a bit more goofy to fit its 'cowardly mount' theme. We went through a bunch of animals during early explorations of Skaarl's design, including a rhino, a frog, and a buzzard. While all of these sound like Donkey Kong Country mounts, the design direction is sort of appropriate given the role Skaarl plays - it's cartoonish, like a critter that could pop out of a barrel. "I don't think the Donkey Kong vibes were intentional", says odnumde, "but we were aiming for whimsical, so it worked out that way."

Before working on Kled, Narrative writer Odin 'WAAARGHbobo' Shafer had just finished writing VO lines for Jhin OriginalSquare Jhin. After spending months writing gems like "Life has no meaning, but your death shall" he was ready to move onto something a little more lighthearted. Yordles are lighthearted, right?

"We wanted them to be a comedy duo", Shafer says. "The idea is that Skaarl doesn't want to go into combat, but Kled really wants to go into combat. So Skaarl will run off at some point, causing Kled to freak out. Their dysfunctional relationship is built directly into the mechanics."

The process works both ways, with the mechanics informing the character as the character informs the mechanics. Once we were certain that Kled would spend time fighting both on his mount and off it, Shafer gave Kled two stages in his voice-over lines.

Kled always wants to go ham, but once he gets knocked off of Skaarl he actually starts going more insane and more aggressive. Kled may have lengthy conversations with Skaarl, but Skaarl has the intelligence of a dog - mostly Kled is projecting onto his reptilian pal when he talks to it. He loses a part of himself whenever Skaarl runs off, resulting in some way crazier lines of dialogue.

There's one exception to Kled's 'aggressive or nothing' design: the ability to re-mount Skaarl just by returning to base. This was a sort of compromise around player expectations. For every other champ in League, successfully Recall recalling to base offers a complete reset; we felt it was important to preserve that with Kled.

Kled Insights 6

The cantankerous cavalier is more than just a crazy old yordle. All the aspects of Kled's character - the violence, insanity, and his refusal to back down from any fight - are things that would make him an icon for the soldiers of Noxus. Not just an icon, but a meme. The dankest Noxian meme ever.

Kled Insights 7

Inside Kled Dev with Harrow and more!

This week, designer Iain 'Harrow' Hendry, writer Odin 'WAAARGHbobo' Austin Shafer, and artist Edmundo 'odnumde' Sanchez share the behind-the-scenes story on the development of Kled OriginalSquare Kled, the Cantankerous Cavalier.


Kled, the Cantankerous Cavalier - Login Screen

Kled, the Cantankerous Cavalier - Login Screen

Kled's Theme
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