Galio’s rework has almost landed, and finally, one of League’s oldest champions feels viable again. The poor gargoyle had an abysmal pick rate for a long while. At last, he will see the light of day again. There’s just one problem: mumblings among some players that we’ve seen part of his kit before, Galio’s ultimate.
The Colossus's R, Hero’s Entrance, sends him careering through the sky to defend a chosen ally. From midlane, the winged protector will be able to stretch his influence upward to top lane, or downward to defend his ADC when necessary. Hero’s Entrance is the hybrid baby of Pantheon and and Shen’s ultimate abilities, and whilst it has its own unique flavour (a knockup plus magic damage), it will almost certainly have similar use cases, IE see fight brewing across map > wait till opportune moment arises > jump in and cause merry hell.
Its familiarity is such that Hero’s Entrance doesn’t feel particularly exciting or fresh. The fantasy ultimate is always one which is unique, though it’s worth noting that after 130 champions, that task becomes more and more difficult. The grumblings of dissatisfaction, however, are missing the more intriguing aspect of Galio’s ultimate: how it stitches into Riot’s grander plans.
Over the past couple of years, the champion development and rework teams have integrated long-range mobility into the kit of a huge number of new champs. Galio, Ryze, Rek’Sai, and Tahm Kench have joined Twisted Fate and Shen in ability to crash a party from afar, teleporting huge distances across the map, some, bringing with them clusters of allies. Meanwhile, champions like Aurelion Sol, Taliyah, Kled, and even Warwick have speed-boosts built into their kit that allow them to travel across the map with startling haste.
The global reach of new champion abilities doesn’t stop there. LeBlanc and Yorick, another pair of champions who’ve been under the knife recently, don’t have the ability to teleport or move exceptionally quickly, but do possess kits which can affect the game on a global scale: Yorick by pushing a lane he’s no longer in, and LeBlanc by convincing her enemy she’s on the wrong side of the map.
It was once the three-hit passive that was in-vogue, with Gnar, Yasuo, Vel’Koz, and Ekko all arriving within a short timespan. Now we’re entering a new era in which champions are built to engage from enormous distances, or more easily respond to cases where their team has been out-positioned by the enemy. It’s now completely feasible to build a team – let’s say for the sake of argument containing Ryze, Rek’Sai, Tahm Kench, and Taliyah – where the entire team can relocate, and that’s before the use of Teleport summoner spells is considered. Lane swapping and multi-teleport ganking is commonplace in pro-play, but more and more it seems like Riot are encouraging all their player base to embrace these higher-level strategies.
It’s hard to know exactly how this tendency toward mobility will affect the game, should it continue for the next 10 or even 20 champions Riot chooses to release and rework, but the more champs that can zip about Summoner’s Rift, the greater the impact will be. A real possibility is games which tend to finish faster due to the ease of four-person ganks and the subsequent fall of towers. Long-range mobility makes it easier to respond to aggression, but generally speaking will probably result in riskier plays where someone, be that the aggressor or defender loses out.
What’s clear, however, is that Riot intends to make global influence a core design tenet of a large proportion of new champs. We’ll have to wait and see how the likes of Galio, and those who follow him, will come to shape League’s future.