Going Underground: Rek’Sai Burrows Into LoL

Obligatory arm stretched towards the screen pose

With the cellophane wrapping barely peeled back from Kalista’s shiny new spectral spears, Riot have announced their next new League of Legends champion; Rek’Sai, The Void Burrower.

“Why would you want to borrow anything from The Void?” you might think. “Does it have a library now or something?” That is because you’re not paying attention. I said BURROWER not borrower.

Rek’sai is a monstrous former Void inhabitant come to wiggle across and underneath the Shuriman sands devouring nomads and generally being a terrible neighbour. “When we started working on Rek’Sai it was with two concepts in mind: Burrower and Land Shark,” is how Riot put it. I’m currently looking at her and trying to decide what her pose reminds me of and I’ve realised that although she looks closer to a scorpion, her stance is closer to that of an earthbound dragon – you know, when they’re all furled wings and elbows.

Going underground

Anyway, what’s her deal? It’s mostly about burrowing. While underground she gets Tremor Sense which shows all enemy movement in an area around her (so she’s kind of a mobile ward capable of picking out or just avoiding foes as they run about), loses a bit of vision range and gains movement speed. When unburrowing she knocks up and damages surrounding enemies. Some of her other abilities also alter depending on whether she’s over or underground at the time. Laying tunnels is key as her ult lets her charge towards them from anywhere on the map.

Riot are billing her as a jungler, fit to frolic in their newly renovated jungle:

“Clever use of her tunnels gives Rek’Sai unparalleled mobility through her jungle and into the enemy’s domain. Once there, she works best counter-jungling her opponent into obscurity before ganking enemy laners from the unconventional angles her tunnels provide.”


  1. Nevard says:

    It’s nice that they finally have a real monster character that uses “She” pronouns, given that their only previous was Anivia who isn’t really a monster so much as a large, regular bird. And she isn’t even sexy, or based around giving birth!
    Games are so unwilling to make monstrous female characters when they can avoid it for some reason (you can probably guess the reason).

    • Crismaister says:

      I would actually refer to a monster with IT, rather than HE or SHE.

      • Nevard says:

        You probably shouldn’t, if the monster has personally expressed a preference for one or another!
        More explicitly gender neutral characters would be great but we can take those away from the scores of male ones, rather than the sole female one.

    • Philomelle says:

      On the downside, she’s not really a character and the pronouns mostly exist to play on the “Xenomorph Queen” trope. Her ability names support it, as one of them is called “Queen’s Wrath” and the other is named “Fury of the Xer’sai”, with nobody knowing what Xer’sai means but most assuming that it’s her species.

      Otherwise, she cannot really be called a character. Her voice files are literally seven minutes of someone making silly gurgling noises into the microphone.

      • Nevard says:

        I agree, but every little helps. At least it is something, it’s definitely not the best they could do.

  2. Jamesworkshop says:

    clearly written by a hater of LoL ;)

    • Catsplosion says:

      With reason. Google DOTA 2 Weaver and see how clearly copied this character is.

  3. Lars Westergren says:

    So she is invisible while burrowing? Does she get revealed by whatever LoL call sentry wards?

    Really cool with MOBA heroes that introduce whole new game mechanics. Difficult to balance though.

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      Philippa Warr says:

      Nah, not invisible from what they say – she has that visible fin like a shark. But the tremor sense stuff means she can detect enemy team from a fair distance so it’s intended to generate that sense that *someone* might be watching or tracking you.

      • Nevard says:

        What made me wonder was if she is visible but unable to be attacked, if you can just see and hurt her (apparently it doesn’t even hide her health bar, making her far easier to spot than just a fin) then burrowing seems to do mainly be a disadvantage (as now you can’t see as far as your opponent), though it may be supposed to just be a tool for longer-range detection into places where people can’t see but you can hear.

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          Philippa Warr says:

          Well, burrowing lets you lay tunnels you can then zoom to using your ult so there’s that as an escape option, plus unburrowing has a knock up effect. The passive also means there’s a health regen element to burrowing and one of the skills – the Q I think? – has a burrowed option where you can skillshot to reveal and damage an enemy (or enemies)

        • honuk says:

          based on what I’ve watched of streamers on the PBE, burrowing is a disadvantage. and so is just about everything else regarding this champ. it’s early, but she seems really weak.

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            Philippa Warr says:

            Wonder if it’s a case of getting used to how she works. Perhaps lunchtime stream watching will reveal more…

          • Philomelle says:

            It’s mostly the case of her not fitting into League’s meta.

            The three cornerstores of League’s meta are damage, mobility and disables. Mobility in this case involves blinks, jumps and dashes because of how much advantage they get over simple movement speed. Tanking is largely discouraged unless your character is covered in disables and has insane base damage, which would be why most tanks have their damage nerfed so quickly after release or rework; everyone simply plays them as damage dealers with disables.

            Despite being labeled as a mobility champion, Rek’sai only has one instance of “powered” mobility – a blink with very specific activation circumstances (she must have been to that corner of the map and used a specific ability beforehand) and a gigantic cooldown. The rest of her is movement speed. On the other hand, her damage is 90% melee-range DPS based around auto-attacking, with a secondary ability that allows her to deal true damage if she can stay on top of the enemy for long enough to put 10 attacks in. Which she likely won’t be able to, because every meta-encouraged champion in League has a blink or a dash and she has no “powered mobility” or ranged disables that would allow her to catch up.

            At most, her place in the meta would be Tryndamere 2.0 – backdoor and push enemy lanes while they’re distracted elsewhere, use Ult to escape when they come in for a gank, be completely useless otherwise.

          • honuk says:

            people definitely play tanks as tanks, but everything else you said is correct.

          • Hmm-Hmm. says:

            The lack of vision for Reksai when tunneling seems especially punishing. I am not sure why Riot would think she makes a good jungler if her mobility is limited and her vision impaired. I’d sooner think of her as a top lane character with abilities to join team fights through her ultimate.

            But we’ll have to see what she’s like in actual play.

          • Philomelle says:

            I did add unless the character is covered in disables and has insane base damage. People definitely play certain tanks as disruptors, but almost nobody plays them for their intended purpose of drawing fire and meatshielding for the team because Riot’s tank design is largely crap.

            Hell, if you remember, Maokai got nerfed within one week of his rework because everyone played him as an assassin and rushed Deathfire Grasp. Sejuani is similarly being reworked to shift more of her damage toward melee and health instead of ability power, all because the only high-ranking player is Mister Oink and he plays her as a mid-laning assassin mage.

          • Asurmen says:

            Almost no one plays them like that in high ranked games. Meanwhile, the rest of the world…

          • Philomelle says:

            Mister Oink is a Diamond I player and the only Sejuani main in that bracket. He has over a thousand games and a 53% winrate with her. He plays her exclusively as an AP mid, builds her with a Deathfire, Void Staff and a Lichbane. Look him up.

            And yes, everyone in Diamond played Maokai as an AP assassin with a Deathfire as his core item for the first week after his rework. That’s pretty much the whole reason why Riot nerfed his W and added a duration to his Ultimate.

          • Asurmen says:

            Philomelle, you do realise you’re just proving my point, right?

  4. IonTichy says:

    Wow, that design looks so fresh and not at all boring /s
    Next champ after this: some gunner chick with big ..erm..guns…..then again some loudmouth male hero with a huge sword.

    • Lars Westergren says:

      An insectoid dragon-dog-landshark feels fairly fresh to me? Your second sentence do sound more like what I’ve come to expect from games in general and MOBAS in particular though.

      • X_kot says:

        Maybe it’s just me, but it looks like they strapped a fin on the back of Skitskurr from DOTA. The color scheme and the bug-like face are very similar.

    • Asurmen says:

      I swear people have complained about lack of uniform design behind LoL heroes, but all the Void characters have tended towards that insect/fish monster design.

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    samsharp99 says:

    It’s a shame they released a champion sort of like Skarner instead of making Skarner a vaguely viable champion.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      In terms of looks or gameplay? If the former, I was thinking more of Cho’Gath and Kha’Zix myself.

  6. lumni says:

    Definitely refreshing to find an article about League of Legends on this website for a change. Between all Moba’s it’s still midly popular ;-)
    I’m not sure if I particulary like the champion but as I shortly described on learn lol I like what
    Riot is trying to do. With the latest batch of champions and changes to the game it really feels like they’re trying out new stuff and actually trying hard to sculpt a larger scape of possibilities in the game. This means that it opens room for old champions to shine again, as they could be remade or reworked with newer mechanics to claim their lost niches.

    But hey, that’s just my opinion.

  7. Catsplosion says:

    Such an original design.. It doesn’t look like DOTA 2’s weaver at all.