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What Could Have Been / League of Legends

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The dragon champion formerly known as Ao Shin.

With nearly a decade of development and constant updates, it's no surprise that many concepts in League of Legends — from champion designs, to gameplay ideas, to entire derivative projects — have never seen the light of day, only some of which are even publicly disclosed.

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    Champions A-G 



  • Ahri got her name from a Korean fan poll (originally "Ari"), featuring other potential names: Danbi, Nabi, Ruri, Chorong, and Dasom.
  • From her ORIGINS blog post in 2017:
    • Ahri went through a few changes during development, with one iteration notably lacking her fox ears, featuring her "tails" instead being parts of her dress. The change was done in an attempt to differentiate her from the nine-tailed fox archetypes she was based on, but she consequently looked too plain, prompting Riot to return to a "true version of the nine-tailed fox" instead of "an artificially unique one."
    • Originally her creators wanted to cram in as many references to nine as possible for her abilities, including a nine-hit passive for her Fox Fire, but was reduced to a more manageable three. Fox Fire also used to illuminate brushes like a ward, but was cut for technical reasons.
    • Ahri's ultimate originally had her "basically [become] an Ezreal ult," making her continuously dash and consume mana over time to travel up to an unlimited distance, damaging enemies she passed. Senior game designer Colt "Ezreal" Hallam claimed "We had to change this ultimate due to its interactions with the Dominion map, which is easily one of my biggest regrets on the character."


  • According to her Reddit AMA, Akali had a few potential abilities for her 2018 VGU:
    • One ability had her "ride" projectiles from other champions, which was considered crazy and novel in concept, but impractical and annoying in practice.
    • Another ability had her throw down 2 kunai with a rope in the middle, tripping enemies if they walked through it, similar to Irelia's Flawless Duet ability, but was cut for not being very fitting for an assassin champion.
    • It was originally planned that her Twilight Shroud would form a dragon-shaped billow of smoke (one of the teaser images for her rework featured this), but was cut due to visual clarity concerns.
  • Akali at some point featured a much longer katana in her arsenal, but was cut for making her appear too similar to Yasuo.


  • Festival Anivia got its name chosen from a wide list of titles, including "Parade Queen Anivia", "Carnival Anivia", Kaleidoscopic Anivia", and "Wings of Revelry Anivia".

Aurelion Sol

  • As listed below under "Cancelled Champions", Aurelion Sol was initially conceived as a storm dragon concept named Ao Shin, although it was suggested that his gameplay kit was significantly different during this phase.
    • Riot tested giving Ao Shin/Aurelion Sol permanent or long-duration-based flight that allowed him to ignore walls. It was considered too annoying for melee enemies to deal with and consumed too much of his power budget, so it was greatly redone into his current Comet of Legend ability.
    • A Twitch-based Riot Q&A (unfortunately since deleted) claimed that Ao Shin had an ability described as a global version of Lee Sin's Resonating Strike, where he could send out a storm cloud in a direction, marking enemies it hits for him to dash to as a massive bolt of lightning. It had apparently shown enough promise that Riot considered iceboxing it for potential future use.
    • Visually, Ao Shin/Aurelion Sol originally had a much more elongated and serpentine body described as 10-12 Teemos in length, with a gameplay element that he could wrap his body around enemies like a coiling snake. This was scrapped due to consuming much of his power budget (he'd have to be fast enough to maneuver around enemies and durable enough to survive them fighting back), as well as raising technical concerns like interactions with bush concealment.


  • Azir had a several-year-long development cycle, once leaked at some point as a sand mage named Seth, and the two concepts were confirmed to be related. Part of this was due to Rioters struggling to find a unique creative niche for him, resulting in countless kits being scrapped even after his "emperor" theme was decided upon.
    • As detailed in Azir's ORIGINS blog post, Seth was originally envisioned as "an aspirational fellow who wanted to turn everything into a desert, thus spreading the realm of Shurima across the land." Sand was tested as an active gameplay element, where casting abilities spread sand across the map, granting further casts on sand bonus effects like extra range, knockup, and in one iteration the ability to summon a giant Sand Worm to attack enemies. It greatly interested Rioters, but was unfortunately cut due to technical concerns as the extensive particle effects were simply too intense for lower-end computers, and as a result, the "desert expander" character concept died with it.
    • One infamous ability by Colt "Ezreal" Hallam was described as "sand hands," which conjured two giant hands of sand that would "rise from the ground and after a delay move together, pushing everyone in between together and squishing them in."
    • One version of Seth/Azir by ZenonTheStoic had him using sand as a resource that had to be gathered, which "made a triangle of obelisks for the ultimate fight arena and spammed sand missiles from sources of sand."
    • GypsyLord once devised an ultimate that caused a sandstorm that globally slowed all enemies.
    • Before Azir gained his turret-summoning passive, one of his abilities had him summon "a windmill of death", a tower that shot four rotating beams of lethal light.
    • Several versions of interacting with Sand Soldiers were tested, such as sending soldiers to block incoming skillshots, sending walls of soldiers to knock enemies backward (which was then retooled to become his final ultimate), and ordering soldiers in auto-attack range to become damage-dealing skillshots to the nearest enemy (reworked into his current Q). Also, his soldiers originally wouldn't actually attack enemies unless Azir personally landed an auto-attack on it first.



  • According to a now-deleted 2015 PAX East interview, Braum was originally envisioned as a Demacian champion, but it was deemed too serious for his "jolly defender" theme, motivating his move to the Freljord.
  • An early design for a wall wielding champ was a young woman from Piltover with a large hextech battering ram named Ceecee.


  • Before his departure from Riot in 2016, IronStylus did concepts for a Caitlyn visual update before it was officially deemed "abandoned."


  • Her Hookshot ability went through several early experiments, with one iteration described as having the ability to shoot up to 5 hooks in a row to loop around walls. It was fun, but was scrapped for being too impractical in combat and unwieldy to use.


  • Diana's current version of Moonfall was inspired by an earlier iteration of a tested ultimate ability, which was a channeled AoE that slowly darkened the area with a crescent moon that would become a full moon if fully charged, shattering the area with true damage based on a resource called "Scorn". It was replaced and greatly toned down into its current version for being "toxic and nearly impossible to counter."


  • Ekko's ultimate went through a few iterations:
    • One version had him return himself and a targeted enemy champion to where they were 4 seconds ago, but was deemed too busted as it made chasing down enemies too easy.
    • A much more drastic version had him rewind every living unit in the game, resetting all their health, mana, cooldowns, positioning, etc., cut for being too disorienting and cheap.


  • When Evelynn's 2017 VGU was originally announced, Allure was named Lust Dust, but was changed on release at the last minute.
  • According to her Champion Insights:
    • Several earlier attempts at a core visual design —specifically to communicate that she was a stealthy demon— made her more monstrous while under stealth, including giving her "spider legs, cracked porcelain skin with shadows pushing their way out, [and] the cavity of a missing eye you could peer into and see three eyes within." It was considered a little too much, and they decided to tone it down to its current state in order to preserve the "attractive succubus" concept.
    • One early attempt at preserving her signature high-uptime stealth but making it manageable was by making a full quarter of the map in a constant shroud which would move around the map and be visible on the minimap, with Evelynn only becoming invisible if she was in it. This particular concept was scrapped as it was too chore-like and didn't have satisfying payoff.


  • His "Captain Gangplank" skin had a few potential names in development, including "Dread Gangplank", "Dread Pirate Gangplank", and "Maurader Gangplank".


  • Mega Gnar had a few different abilities during prototyping:
    • His Wallop was originally both a stun and had an auto-attack chaining effect, simplified to just the stun for clarity and to avoid overloading his kit.
    • His Crunch originally knocked up enemies on landing, which felt satisfying and thematically cohesive, but this feature was cut since it seemed Mega Gnar already had enough CC in his kit.
    • Gnar's ultimate was completely different, and was essentially the precursor to Tahm Kench's Devour when used on an enemy champion. It also tested well, but Riot opted to save the mechanic for an entirely new champion as a core part of their kit (eventually becoming Tahm Kench) rather than tacking it onto one half of Gnar's involuntarily transforming kit.
  • Gnar's W originally had no damage cap against monsters. This changed when playtesters discovered that Gnar in the Jungle was a complete Game-Breaker.


  • His Gragas Caskbreaker skin was potentially instead named "Gragas the Wanderer", "Cleric Gragas", and "Gragas Stoutbrew".

    Champions H-M 






  • According to her ORIGINS blog post:
    • Jinx herself originally had a more traditional design with a standard voluptuous hourglass figure (and also a lot more tattoos), which proved to be a problem as she was too generic, eventually developing her into her Small Girl, Big Gun archetype in the final product.
    • Gameplay-wise, Jinx was conceptualized as "a weapon-swapping ADC, like a ranged Udyr" where each main ability simply switched what gun she'd use for her basic attacks, with her ultimate changing based on her current stance. After trying out all sorts of weapon combinations to see what would fit (pistols, rifles, crossbows, tasers, taser crossbows, semi-automatic machine guns, mini-guns, grenades, a rocket launcher, and even a flamethrower) and finding this exclusive gameplay pattern boring, Riot consolidated her weapon-swapping into a single ability with just two distinct options, her current Switcheroo! ability.
    • Several ultimate abilities were also tested:
      • Drop the Hammer summoned a cannon to fire a bomb onto any position on the map, but because its detonation time was 10 seconds, it was incredibly easy to simply walk away.
      • Homing Missiles fired six missiles to automatically chase down enemy champions, dealing instant death if they couldn't avoid them.
      • WTF Missiles fired a massive swarm of missiles that would travel in unpredictable directions, cut for being... well, too unpredictable.
      • Circle of Cats fired a bomb across the map that surrounded the first enemy hit with magic smoke, causing enemies who crossed it to turn into harmless kittens, which was considered too impractical and indirect for Jinx.






  • Kled's abilities went through multiple changes during prototyping:
    • Instead of Beartrap on a Rope, Kled had an AoE flurry ability where he repeatedly striked all enemies in front of him, akin to Pantheon's Heartseeker Strike but mobile. The "melee flurry" aspect was reworked into his current Violent Tendencies.
    • In place of Violent Tendencies, he had a completely different ability where he tossed a net that stunned enemies in an AoE, cut for not being a great fit for him.
  • His "Sir Kled" skin went through a huge namepool before settling on its current title. Among the runners-up were "Kled the Cavalier" and "Grass Knight Kled".

Lee Sin


Miss Fortune

  • Her "Captain Fortune" skin went through a few potential names, including "Baroness Fortune", "Queen Fortune", "Mistress Fortune", to even simply "Sarah Fortune".
  • A voiceover update was toyed with around 2018 as Riot was doing voicework for her Gun Goddess skin, but it ultimately did not come to pass. According to Riot Meddler, some lines were recorded and tested, but their internal feedback was immensely divisive with too many differing opinions of what her proper characterization should be, causing the update to be shelved.



  • While Morgana's half of her and Kayle's dual 2019 update was primarily expected to be merely cosmetic, several new potential abilities were tested on her.
    • One tested replacement for her passive had her become "enraged" when at low health, making her deal true damage per second to nearby enemies and giving her a massive surge of movement speed and spell vamp. It was cut for being too intense for the rest of her otherwise perfectly functional kit.
    • Another attempt at a new passive had her gain movement speed towards enemies she had damaged or were hit with crowd control from allies, which was cut due to negative playtester feedback.
    • Yet another attempt at a new passive gave her bonus auto-attack range towards enemies she snared, which also allowed her to steal health.
    • Yet another passive, this time based on her ultimate, gave her an "ascending power tiers" mechanic similar to Kayle, each level granting her bonuses like movement speed towards enemies (which was kept), massive healing, and true damage.
    • A version of her Tormented Shadow was also tested that would deal bonus critical damage to enemies on low health.

    Champions N-S 



  • Xypherous originally intended Nautilus to have an ultimate that involved picking up an enemy champion and spinning them around him, but it sadly didn't pan out. He also wanted Nautilus to have a base movement speed even lower than the bottom-of-the-barrel 300 Nautilus has right now, but said they wouldn't let him make it any lower.
  • Nautilus' "Worldbreaker" skin went through several potential titles shared with its skin line, including "Era of Gods", "Mythic Retribution", "Finis Mundi", "Forsaken", and "Dawn of Ruin". One was even simply just "Na'tilus".











  • Rek'Sai was envisioned as a "Burrower" champion from the start, a concept which went through different versions in development.
    • She initially started with the idea of being under stealth while underground, but it was quickly discarded as it was simply too much for her kit.
    • One of her unburrowed Q abilities was a simple passthrough dash, similar to that of Fizz. Another was a channeled "Void Cleave" ability that ghosted her and had her deal constant damage to all enemies in front her.
    • Initially, her unburrowing ability was merely a stance change without the knockup, which was instead part of an ultimate consisting of slow-moving stealth and untargetability.


  • Riven was originally pitched as "Gooder than good" according to her designer Xypherous. She also had an alternate backstory about her being an exile from Demacia, which was changed just before release. This is the reason for the Redeemed Riven skin, which was released with her on launch but looks notably Demacian and seems unfitting both in appearance and name-wise to her current backstory.
  • Riven's Runic Blade passive used to be called "The Art of War", which can be seen in her original Champion Spotlight.
  • Riven's ultimate (where her shattered BFS magically reforms in her hands) was an idea from very early on, originally tested with a more drastic transformation animation, but unfortunately had to be cut to fit her fast-paced gameplay, it instead being indicated by a voice line. As for what her ultimate would actually do, however, many versions were tried:
    • One version had her gain a rage meter very similar to Shvyana, continuously charging up while attacking and allowing her to stay in the form longer. This was cut since Riven was already an aggressive champion, making it overkill.
    • One version made her abilities reset her auto-attacks, and her auto-attacks reset her abilities, which was canned because "It was just... kind of terrible."
    • Another ultimate made her deal a sonic boom on activation, knocking opponents back and creating distance, which was cut for being counter-intuitive for an aggressive melee fighter.
    • Another gave her the ability to shoot Frickin' Laser Beams every time she used an ability, which was greatly reduced into a single Wind Slash for being overkill.


  • Ryze Whitebeard skin was potentially instead named "Ryze the Azure Conjurer", "Ryze the Ageless Conjurer", and simply "Wizard Ryze".





  • Regarding Swain's 2018 full visual/gameplay update, his newly-updated kit could've gone in a plethora of different ways. One shared element to his kit which was removed relatively late in development was a transformation inspired by his original ultimate, but bound to a regular ability; while transformed, Swain couldn't cast any spells but he'd slowly drain health from nearby enemies and gain extra movement speed, and could empower his transformations by absorbing the souls of fallen enemies for bonus damage. This was greatly retooled back into an ultimate after resulting in several problems with balance and thematics.


    Champions T-Z 



  • Trundle's "Worldbreaker" skin went through several potential titles shared with its skin line, including "Era of Gods", "Mythic Retribution", "Finis Mundi", "Forsaken", and "Dawn of Ruin". One for his skin was simply just "Tr'ndle".

Twisted Fate

  • His "Cutpurse" skin was chosen out of several other potential skin titles, namely "Seadog Twisted Fate", "Reckless (Twisted) Fate", and "Wanted (Twisted) Fate".








  • In 2010, it was hinted that Riot was toying around with the idea of a double blade samurai champion but was put on hold, "though he may come back some day," hinted to have been a much earlier version of Yasuo.



    Cancelled Champions/Skins 

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