League of Legends has revealed its newest Champion/part-time K-pop star, Seraphine. The addition comes after months of teasing and fan speculation after the character popped up on several different social media posts. Going back to June, several accounts popped up on Twitter, Instagram, and Soundcloud with the same style that fans of League of Legends quickly assumed was associated with Riot Games’ depiction of its Champions.
The accounts make no direct mention of Riot nor League of Legends (the Twitter account does not follow either the Riot or League of Legends accounts), however K/DA (League of Legends‘ own fictional, in-universe K-pop group) announced that it was collaborating with Seraphine on a new song in September. Seraphine’s official twitter account, which at the time of writing has 314k followers, is the latest unexpected marketing ploy after announcing a streetwear collaboration with AAPE.
Earlier this week, Polygon reported that the accounts were indeed for League of Legends‘ latest Champion, Seraphine. The rundown of her abilities make Seraphine appear to be a support mage. She comes with a stacking passive that give her basic attacks more range, a magic attack that does more damage based on her target’s missing health (Q – High Note), a buff that boosts both herself and her allies’ movement speed and a shield (W – Surround Sound), a straight line attack that damages and slows her target (E – Beat Drop), and lastly a spell that damages and stuns champions and also adds to her above mentioned passive buff (R – Encore).
Seraphine will also launch with an Ultimate tier skin, which are the most prestigious and elaborate of their kind (though they’re typically reserved for long-time Champions). Players will be able to upgrade Seraphine’s Ultimate skin via several missions that chronicle the Champion’s rise from Soundcloud musician to global pop icon. However, the reveal has been met with a fair amount of criticism (adding to an already tough week for League of Legends), as fans on Twitter have accused Riot of putting more time and effort into Seraphine’s marketing as opposed to her actual kit, which is already strikingly similar to Sona’s.
Putting so many resources towards the promotion of a new hero is definitely an interesting decision on Riot’s part, although the company has already made several attempts at growing League of Legends‘ brand, like announcing a new line of toys. Still, Seraphine’s rollout starkly contrasts the subtle and impromptu addition of Samira a few months back, so it can be jarring for players.
And again, there is the issue of Seraphine’s role and abilities almost entirely overlapping Sona’s, a Champion that players already repeatedly demanded a rework for. With the release of Seraphine in the upcoming 10.22 patch, Sona will likely largely be abandoned by the player base in favor of the more useful Seraphine. While different, Riot’s approach to Seraphine is yet another example of the company’s commitment to trying to grow League of Legends‘ name, instead of improving it.