League of Legends Champion Revealed: Yasuo, The Unforgiven

The next champion for the League of Legends is revealed to be Yasuo, the Unforgiven. His abilities use wind to make him a dangerous brawler with some team utility.
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It’s that time again, Summoners!  Riot Games has revealed the new champion for League of Legends.  Yasuo, the Unforgiven was the lone master of a wind technique from an Ionian martial school who left his post and returned to find himself accused of slaying the person he had been assigned to protect.  Now he wanders to find the real killer and exact just retribution while being hunted by his own people.

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For those of us in the League, however, it means we now have access to a melee brawler with some dangerous damage-over-time potential.  A couple of entirely unique tricks also make him potentially game-winning against certain team compositions.

Passive: Way of the Wanderer

Yasuo’s passive seems to have two sides to it.  Intent which doubles his critical strike chance and Resolve which grants him something called Flow as he moves.  He gains more Flow the faster he is moving.  When Yasuo’s Flow is full, he gains a temporary shield after the next time he takes damage.

Intent will be worth watching for, as a doubled critical strike chance can make single crit items like Youmuu’s or Infinity Edge exponentially more powerful while it lasts.  Given his ability to use abilities repeatedly in combat, being able to have a shield for part of the fight will also pay dividends both in lane and after.

Q: Steel Tempest

The Unforgiven’s Q damages enemies in a line.  Hitting with the ability gives Yasuo Gathering Storm stacks for a short time.  If he is able to get three stacks, the next Steel Tempest will send a whirlwind that launches foes into the air when it strikes them.  In addition, if cast during Sweeping Blade, Steel Tempest will hit all enemies around Yasuo.

This ability will be extremely important when we get to Yasuo’s ult.  For now it is simply a source of damage and hard CC, and the champion’s only interrupt.  It seems like it will be a reliable one, but not one he can use immediately.  Mages should have a chance to get off their burst if they start with it, but they need to be wary if Yasuo has been engaged for long enough to get his stacks.

W: Wind Wall

The passive on this ability charges Flow faster while Yasuo is dashing during Sweeping Blade.  The active sends forward a short wall for a few seconds.  This wall blocks enemy projectiles that strike it.

This ability will probably have the greatest effect on the overall game when used properly.  A list of projectiles this ability can block would include things like Varus’s auto-attack, Nidalee’s spears, and even Ashe’s Crystal Arrow.  This ability can, in fact, block ults, and used properly it certainly will.  Being able to deflect clutch abilities of that amount of power can easily be game-winning in skilled hands, and while it will likely be difficult to use so well, the effects will be spectacular.

E: Sweeping Blade

Yasuo’s Sweeping Blade causes him to dash a set distance through an enemy and mark them briefly.  The ability does more damage if used several times in succession, but cannot be used against a marked target.

This will likely be the ability Yasuo does most of his burst damage in a teamfight with.  Dashing through each enemy one after another also gives him some potential in an anti-carry role, especially if he reaches the carry just in time to use the knock-up on Steel Tempest.  How long the marks it places last will be extremely important in teamfights, but likely not so much in lane since the ability’s wording suggests it can be used on minions.

R: Last Breath

When activated, Last Breath teleports Yasuo to an airborne enemy and briefly suspends them and other nearby airborne enemies while doing damage.  Once Yasuo lands, he also gains armor penetration against the original target’s bonus armor.

This is why Steel Tempest is so important and why Yasuo will need to watch champion composition carefully.  His ult is only usable against an airborne foe, but the effect could be extreme.  Taking an enemy who is already airborne and holding them that way for even longer gives Yasuo a literal one-man crowd control chain.  Knocking multiple foes up with Steel Tempest or waiting for an allied Alistair or Janna to knock up an enemy team can let Yasuo hold them there even longer, creating some wildly one-sided fight potential.

Yasuo looks to be able to throw out a surprising amount of damage during teamfights while bringing truly unique and potentially game-winning utility to teams.  Unless his damage ratios are godawful, he is going to be a force to be reckoned with.

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Writer, gamer, and generally hopeful beneath a veneer of cynicism.