Riot's Poppy rework: Is this really even Poppy anymore?

Poppy is a League of Legends champion that's received little love over the years. But did she really need to be totally redone?

League of Legends is always looking to rework their champions -- not only graphically, but mechanically. Sion, to provide an example, underwent drastic changes last year. Riot does this from time to time, often receiving praise from the community for giving underplayed champions a much-needed tune-up.

Recently, Riot posted the details regarding their rework of Poppy, a hero who has received little love over the years.

Obviously, Poppy wasn't the most played champion. She wasn't very strong, and she wasn't very interesting, but have the new changes really done much to make her a more compelling character?

Let's take a look.

First off, we can see that Poppy's visuals have been totally reworked.

Gone is the stern, sour-faced yordle that has been a part of League's cast since the start. However, the improvements to her appearance are clearly on-par with the graphics upgrade that Riot has been pushing for some time now. While her original appearance was more iconic, she definitely needed a bit of a pixel-lift, so it's understandable why Riot would want to change her up.

Her mechanics, however, highlight the glaring issue with Riot's "reworks" of their characters: when they take their old champions and alter them mechanically, what we get are characters that may as well be new champions. Meanwhile, the original design is scrapped and left to rot.

Let's take a look at the changes.


New: Iron Ambassador

Every several seconds, Poppy throws her buckler as her basic attack, gaining range and bonus magic damage. Once thrown, Poppy can pick up her buckler to gain a shield. But if an enemy walks over her buckler, they’ll temporarily destroy it. If Iron Ambassador kills the target, the buckler returns to Poppy instead of falling to the ground.

Old: Valiant Fighter

All physical and Magic Damage dealt to Poppy that exceeds 10% of her current Health is reduced by 50%. This does not reduce damage from structures.

Evaluation: Riot loves to implement character minigames nowadays, and the new mechanic is clearly the more interesting of the two. Of all the changes Riot made to Poppy, this one is the most sound. While Poppy's old passive had the ability to make her exceptionally tanky against enemies capable of bursting people down, it was largely unnoticed most of the time, and with her poor mobility, she would usually get blown away regardless.

Q Abilities

New: Hammer Shock

Poppy smashes the ground, dealing damage and slowing enemies in a small area. After a moment, the crushed ground erupts, dealing the same amount of damage again.

Old: Devastating Blow

Poppy crushes her opponent, dealing attack damage plus a flat amount and 8% of her target's max Health as bonus damage. The bonus damage cannot exceed a threshold based on rank.

Evaluation: Neither ability is particularly exciting. One of the core issues with Poppy, however, was the fact that she had a hard time getting into range of her foes. The new ability solves that; however, this trades out one of the more iconic aspects of the champion: if she gets close to you, it's going to hurt. Without this ability, Poppy no longer has a bursty effect that allows her to go on the offensive, meaning Riot has stripped her of real incentive to get in and start beating on people.

W Abilities

New: Steadfast Presence

Passive: Poppy gains bonus Armor and Magic Resist. This bonus is doubled if Poppy is below 40% health.

Active: Poppy gains Movement Speed. While Steadfast Presence is active, she creates a magic barrier around her, stopping enemy dashes and dealing magic damage to enemies.

Old: Paragon of Demacia

Passive: Upon receiving damage from or dealing damage with a basic attack, Poppy's Armor and damage are increased for 5 seconds. This effect can stack 10 times.

Active: Poppy gains max stacks of Paragon of Demacia and her Movement Speed is increased for 5 seconds.

Evaluation: This ability is still similar, but the rework has provided players the added bonus of being able to wall off dashes and dealing some area of effect damage. This, combined with the alterations to Poppy's Q, make her appear to be a more proactive champion, an initiator that needs to ride off the coattails of her allies in order to truly be efficient, rather than a terrifying juggernaut that can go in solo to destroy a specific champion.

E Abilities

New: Heroic Charge

Poppy tackles an enemy, dealing physical damage and carrying them forward. Poppy deals additional physical damage and stuns the enemy if they collide with terrain.

Old: Heroic Charge

Poppy charges at an enemy and carries them further. The initial impact deals a small amount of damage. And if they collide with terrain, her target will take a high amount of damage and be stunned.

Evaluation: Thankfully the same. At the very least, players will still avoid getting into corners with Poppy.

Ultimate Abilities

New: Keeper's Verdict

Poppy charges up her hammer for a mighty blow, slowing herself as she winds up. With the second cast, Poppy unleashes a massive hammer smash, creating a fissure that deals damage and knocks back all enemy champions in a tiny area an enormous distance towards their base. The fissure length and knockback increase with channel duration.

Old: Diplomatic Immunity

Poppy focuses intently on a single enemy champion, dealing increased damage to them. Poppy is immune to any damage and abilities from enemies other than her target.

Evaluation: Probably the biggest issue behind this update is the removal of Diplomatic Immunity. Without this ability, Poppy simply doesn't have anything going for her as a unique champion. The core abilities Riot has presented us here are solid, but it's a very bland kit. 

Poppy's ultimate was one-of-a-kind, but it is now going to be replaced by the one thing that you can get in League in spades: an area of effect knockback.

Not only is this significantly less intimidating than Poppy suddenly going ape on one champion under turrets or entire groups of enemy champions, but it totally reworks the idea of Poppy mechanically. And yes, I know Riot clearly uses the term "rework" when they change their characters, but that should not mean reconceptualizing a champion that has been around for years. Even if the champion's playerbase was small or practically nonexistent, the character has suddenly become something different than what it was.

In Short:

Riot's redesign clearly does some things right, like giving Poppy much-needed mobility and some slightly more interesting mechanics to play around with. However, she is losing some of her distinct, mechanical Poppy-ness -- it seems like some of her abilities should have just been tacked on to a completely different hero.

What do you think: do Riot's redesigns take away the distinct feeling of the characters they once were, or do they improve upon them?

Published Nov. 25th 2015
View Comments
  • Spaghetii Summer
    I agree. Poppy was VERY OP in the right hands, but this rework does not make Poppy feel like Poppy. I think you nailed it when you said her new kit is very bland. Her passive could have easily had some number changes to stay relevant. Her new ult is so depressing. Her ult is what made Poppy, Poppy. Every new champion has some sort of knock back or knock up. She'll be played for a week and forgotten again.

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