Is the New League of Legends Champion Ao Shin or Virgil the Bard?
Riot Games has teased a new champion on the League of Legends website, arousing a lot of fan speculation as to who and what the new champion will be.
The teaser page depicts an older man atop a cloud-covered mountain, telling a story by a campfire to three young people; each part of the story he tells is illustrated by a different constellation representative of previous major events in League of Legends lore.
Hints in the Constellations
The first constellation the storyteller mentions is The Frozen Watcher, relating it to the "Battle for Freljord" event, which introduced the Howling Abyss map.
The second constellation is The Fall of Shurima, harkening back to the "Rise of the Ascended" event.
The Fall of Shurima
The third constellation, The Shattered Crown, is a reference to "Noxus Reborn," an event that told the story of the resurrection of Sion, the Noxian general who died as he defeated King Jarvan I of Damacia. This event signaled the re-release of Sion as a champion.
The fourth and final constellation is given several names: The Mountain Shrines, The Great Caretaker, and The Bard. This constellation is likely representative of the new champion, and could reference either of the two major threads of fan speculation as to who this new champion will be.
The fourth and final constellation is the source of much speculation, and teases fans with three different names - "The Mountain Shrines," "The Great Caretaker," and "Bard."
Mt. Targon and Ionian Speculation
Due to the style of the people's dress and the trees of the landscape shown on the outer edges of the page, many fans are speculating that the new champion will be from Ionia. Still others believe the mountainous locale could be a reference to Mt. Targon, though Mt. Targon's harsh landscape does not seem to suit the idyllic scene depicted in the teaser images.
Those fans that theorize the new champion is from Ionia speculate that it could be Ao Shin, a champion that was revealed but not released back in 2013 due to Riot's desire to take the time to do justice to the movements and abilities of a dragon character. The shield-like appearance of the constellation - coupled with the names "The Mountain Shrine" and "The Great Caretaker" - could support this, as Ao Shin is purported to be the celestial guardian of Ionia, and was slated for a 2015 release according to the League of Legends wiki.
Other fans, however, have zeroed in on the name "Bard," speculating that this could reference a popular fan suggestion on the Champ/Skins Concept board for Virgil, The Wandering Storyteller. The fireside storyteller image, the name "Bard" for the constellation, and the files for the teaser being named "Promo_Bard_Teaser" all make this as likely a theory as Ao Shin. Riot has taken fan suggestions into account for major releases before - most recently for the DJ Sona Ultimate Skin - so this is not outside the realm of possibility.
What are your thoughts on the upcoming champion? Who and what are you hoping for? We'd love to hear your ideas in the comments!