Image via League of Legends (Licensed)
The next League of Legends champion is a cantankerous cavalier named Kled.
The diminutive yordle knight rides his cowardly steed Skaarl into battle, using the lizard with a lolling tongue as an extra health bar to dash in and out of the fight. The battle-scarred dragon-rider is apparently a military legend in Runeterra, League’s inconsistently lored world, and his design reflects both the inanity and comedy of the yordle race, League’s cuddly little furballs, living in a warn-torn world. Kled’s missing one eye, every bit the grizzled war veteran, his toothy smile reflecting the glee with which he enters battle. Skaarl is his comedic foil, a goofy, frilled reptile puppy with a design borrowing heavily from lovable Chris Sanders creations Stitch and Toothless.
Skaarl doesn’t just add flavor to Kled’s design; his kit is built around the lily-livered lizard.
His passive ability is Skaarl himself. When Kled is mounted on Skaarl, he gains an extra health bar, with all damage dealt to him hitting Skaarl instead. When Skaarl’s health runs out, he flees the battle, leaving Kled to fend for himself. Attacking towers, champions, and epic monsters will bring Skaarl back into the fray, giving Kled an instant boost by adding another health bar.
While mounted, his Q is the accurately named “Beartrap on a Rope,” firing a rope with a hook that latches onto the first champion hit, dealing damage to all enemies it hits. If Kled stays near the hit enemy champion for a few seconds, he’ll reel it in, pulling the enemy champion towards him while dealing damage and slowing them, allowing Kled to get them in range of his deadly lance.
If Skaarl has already run for the hills, Kled’s Q instead wields his trusty pistol, launching a cone of bullets that damages foes and knocks himself backwards, similar to Caitlyn’s net launcher. That gives Kled the ability to run from fights until he can woo back his yellow-bellied basilisk.
Kled’s W, Violent Tendencies, is a passive that’s active no matter where Skaarl is. In many ways, it's central to his kit. Kled’s basic attacks give him a buff that raises his attack speed for his next four attacks, with the fourth dealing bonus damage based on a percentage of the target’s max health. Note that this is a passive ability with a cooldown, meaning smart players will wait to proc it until they can use the bonus to harass their foes. Hitting a minion might put the W on cooldown at an inopportune time, so farming will be a complicated dance for Kled players—but one where skilled operators will shine.
The cavalier’s E and R abilities are only usable while mounted, which makes sense considering they play off the speed of the trusty steed.
The E ability, Jousting, does exactly what it sounds like: charges at a foe while wielding a lance. Skaarl dashes to a target location and Kled smacks all foes in that path with his trust lance before receiving a burst of movement speed. If Kled lands a hit on a champion, E can be re-activated to cause Skaarl to dash back through that champion.
The yordle’s ultimate ability, the aptly named “CHAAAAAAAARGE!!!” (That’s eight A’s and three exclamation points, to be precise), makes Skaarl roll into battle, zooming toward a target location on the map while building up a shield and boosting the movement speed of allies behind him. Skaarl will charge into the first foe encountered, dealing damage proportional to their max health and knocking them back slightly. Considering the power of Sivir’s own team-wide movement speed ultimate, CHAAAAAAAARGE!!! should be a powerful tool for engaging fights. Whether it works to escape them, though, likely depends on the mechanics, because Kled can’t just use his R to run in the middle of a fight—Skaarl isn’t that cowardly, he’ll bash into a nearby foe instead of fleeing.
Kled is the first yordle added to League since the prehistoric munchkin Gnar in August of 2014, and hopefully it was worth the wait.