In an apparent leak, Riot recently revealed the newest champion for League of Legends to be Zeri, the Spark of Zaun. This sparky addition to the champion roster is currently on the Public Beta Environment (PBE) and will be available to play on live servers from January 19. 2022’s first new champion was announced on January 4 in an unusual fashion, as typically the champion biographies are dropped on the League of Legends Universe website concurrent with the champion reveal on PBE. However, at the time of her announcement, Zeri’s splash art would not load in on what appeared to be a clearly unfinished Universe page, and she was nowhere to be seen on PBE.
Despite Zeri’s unconventional League of Legends reveal, Riot has quickly made up for it and provided a champion trailer, biography, and ability rundown, as well as revealing her release skin to be Withered Rose alongside Elise, with Janna and Akshan receiving Crystal Rose counterparts. Zeri is in the marksman class and was meant to be released as 2021’s final champion as an Attack Damage Carry, but due to delays in Vex the Gloomist’s release, Zeri was bumped into 2022. Seemingly following in the footsteps of her forebears, Zeri’s kit seems to allow for high mobility in the bot lane. This is mirrored in the kits of Akshan and Samira (the two most recently released AD Carries) who also have in-built dashes or movement abilities, quite contrary to the typically more immobile champions in the marksman role.
In regards to her lore, Zeri hails from Zaun, a nation whose formation is explored in Riot’s recent Netflix League of Legends show, Arcane. Zaun is an undercity district clogged by fumes from cracked industrial pipes that leave it in perpetual smoggy twilight. Zaunites are ruled over by the greedy Chembarons, and the whole nation is always portrayed in a creepy, grimy green color palette. Although Zaunites tend to be thieves, black market peddlers, or have other questionable occupations, these people thrive in their vibrant city and their own rich culture. Zaun has a symbiotic relationship with its sister city, Piltover, which is the cultural center of the continent, thriving in art, trade, research, and technological innovation. Arcane explored Piltover’s rise to its position as the city of progress through the invention of hexgates, as well as explaining its previously united state with smoggy Zaun.
Zeri Is The 158th League Of Legends Champion
League of Legends has a massive monthly player count that is keen to see what the new champ is all about. Zeri’s biography describes how she is born to working-class Zaunite parents and possesses a unique relationship with electricity, as each giggle or cry manifested with a shock or a spark. As she grew, it became clear that her electric charm and abilities were linked to her feelings, following emotional outbursts that caused blackouts in her neighborhood. In her adolescence, Zeri used her powers to rescue local Zaunite civilians from a catastrophic mining accident caused by greedy over-extraction ordered by the Chembarons. This sent shockwaves through Zaun and Zeri continued to stand up for the safety of her neighborhood. She even fashioned her own tech-ware jacket to contain her electricity and keep it hidden from the Chembarons.
The beginning of this story may bring to mind another Zaunite vigilante seen in Arcane, as Ekko ran the Firelights who fought for a cleaner, safer Zaun. Zeri’s story continues with the destruction of a Chembaron supply line that was destroyed by a lightning strike, after which the local Chembarons formed an alliance and beat Zeri, who returned home defeated. However, she returned to a grateful neighborhood that rallied around her in support and helped her rediscover her courage. Zeri’s mother fashioned her a rifle that uses Zeri’s electrical emotions as its ammunition. Zeri continues to stand up for her Zaunite family and friends, truly becoming the spark that ignited their courage.
Overall, Zeri really feels like a superhero who is fighting the corrupt, greedy Chembarons as a mage utilizing science to control her magic. The repetition and importance of her neighborhood in her story seem to force readers to create links to another young vigilante, Marvel’s Spider-Man, seemingly making her a good fit in the roster for the upcoming Project L fighting game. Interestingly, her story references possible upcoming aspects of Season 12; her story seems to tease the Void as it describes the Chembarons finding something under Zaun more powerful than Hextech. The Void has been confirmed to be located underneath Zaun in the stories of other champions, including Ezreal and Malphite. Hence, it seems that a Void-based event is likely to occur in 2022, which is also teased in a recent dev video in which Reav3 humorously references the upcoming Void champion.
Zeri’s Full League Of Legends Ability Rundown
Zeri’s passive is called Living Battery, and allows her to gain movement speed whenever she receives a shield. Zeri will also absorb the energy of enemy shields when damaging them, converting them to shield herself. This ability will mean Zeri will have synergy with enchanter supports with shields, like League of Legends champions Lulu or Janna, as well as against these high sustain enchanter lanes with this leeching ability. She will likely also have decent sustain against ganks from self-shielding junglers too, like Arcane‘s own Vi or Ekko.
Zeri has a second passive on her Q ability that means her basic attack deals magic damage, scales with AP, and is treated as an ability. Her Q active is called Burst Fire, which shoots a burst of 7 rounds that deal physical damage to the first enemy hit. Burst Fire scales with AD and is treated as an attack, with the first round applying on-hit effects. Its cooldown matches Zeri’s basic attack timer, and casting it stores up energy in Zeri’s Sparkpack, as a part of her passive. When fully charged, her next basic attack will slow and deal bonus damage. This ability seems to continue the exciting trend of Zeri’s kit, speeding her up whilst slowing enemies down. This is not entirely in opposition to the previous League of Legends Yordle champion, Vex’s kit, who is focused on anti-mobility. This ability will involve building up her passive bar, allowing for huge amounts of damage output in a short amount of time provided players weave zap autos and Q gatling gun with her passive well.
Zeri’s W ability is called Ultrashock Laser, which upon casting fires an electrical pulse that slows and damages the first enemy hit. This ability is comparable Jinx and Jhin’s W abilities with a slightly shorter range, though if the pulse hits a wall it will fire a long-range laser from the point of impact. This second part of Ultrashock Laser seems reminiscent of a smaller version of Lux’s ultimate, Final Spark.
The newest League of Legends champion is a young, cheerful woman with a golden heart, a sparky personality, and an overall cute design. This has not broken the mold of the attractive champion design seen in 2021. The last ‘creature’ champion was Yuumi, released in mid-2019, and the last non-cute champion was arguably Pyke, who was released an entire year earlier in 2018 and recently features in the story-based RPG, The Ruined King. While Zeri’s kit and design seem exciting and reasonably well-executed, some players may be disappointed with the continued cutesy, good-hearted theme. However, Riot has promised that 2022’s champion releases will include a Void monster jungler and a dark alignment enchanter support.
Source: League of Legends/YouTube
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