League of Legends got their first glimpse at what is believed to be the next new champion after Riot mistakenly uploaded a work-in-progress splash art to the Public Beta Environment (PBE).
The image was captured and posted by u/Starierre, and shows a female champion with glowing blue eyes, and a massive weapon on her back. The art looks more or less complete, albeit with a concept design
The leaked art has led to plenty of speculation about the potential new champion, and while Riot have yet to officially comment on their next release, here’s everything we know or can guess about the character so far.
Who is the new champion?
Official details on exactly who the new champion might be are naturally non-existent, but there has been some speculation about the character’s identity and origin.
One of the more popular theories is that this could be Senna, the wife of existing champion Lucian. So far as the current lore is concerned, Senna was captured by Thresh and her soul trapped, but it’s certainly possible that Riot could explain how she came to escape the Chain Warden and acquire what looks like a very large weapon.
There has also been some speculation that this could be a new character hailing from either Piltover, if the weaponry and glowing blue eyes of the champion are a result of hextech augmentation, or perhaps Zaun, with some players highlighting a potential likeness to Ekko – although his own weapon is actually Piltover-made.
What role will the new champion play?
The one bit of concrete information we do have about the next champion is the role they’re expected to play. According to Riot’s 2019 champion roadmap released in April, the champion after the AD assassin – who turned out to be Qiyana – will be a “non-standard marksman”.
Exactly what “non-standard” means in this context remains to be seen, but it’s likely that the new champion will spend most of their time in the bot lane.
That being said, players have found ways of using marksmen is solo lanes – a recent example being the rise of solo lane Tristana, for instance – and perhaps the ‘non-standard’ element of the new champion will involve something that allows them more viability outside of the duo lane that is the typical domain of marksmen.
When will the new champion be released?
We’re back into the realm of pure speculation when it comes to the release schedule, although there are a few reasons to think that the champion might not be too far off. For a start, a nearly-complete splash art suggests that at the very least, the visual design of the champion has been more or less finalized.
While it’s possible that Riot could have a fair bit of tuning left to do before being ready to test the character on the Public Beta Environment, according to [email protected] mod @SpiderAxe30, the next champion wont be Riot’s last for the year – there could even be two more after that.
Release plan for the Champions team from Q3 and Q4 is the marksman made by August, Earp and Interlocutioner followed by a champion made by Stashu and started by CertainlyT, Kindlejack and Interlocutioner and lastly a champion by CatchesAxes, Lonewingy and JohnODyin.
— Spideraxe (@Spideraxe30) August 6, 2019
If Riot are intending to release three new champions before the end of the year, it seems likely that they’d need to be getting the next one out fairly soon if each release is going to have its own space before being overshadowed. It wouldn’t be too surprising for a reveal to arrive in a matter of weeks rather than months.
The previous champion, Qiyana, was released on June 26, just over six weeks after the previous new addition Yuumi arrived, so it's very feasible that another champion could be coming soon. That being said, League of Legends doesn't have a consistent release schedule or interval between champions, so predicting the future based on the past is unlikely to provide too much insight.