League of Legends has announced the latest champion to grace Summoner's Rift. She's Kalista, The Spear of Vengeance and the header character art has her sporting the same "deconstructed" hunched pose you'll see liberally sprinkled throughout America's Next Top Model photoshoots. Let's take a closer look.
I'll get onto what she actually does in a moment but I'd say Kalista would get a pretty good review for this on a classic-era America's Next Top Model panel. Miss J would adore the broken-down doll attitude and Tyra would be all "Girl, this is FIIIIII-ERCE – you know your angles!" Then Nigel would chip in with a comment about how you need to be able to find your light and probably hold Kal (they would be calling her Kal at this point) up as an example.
"Look at what Kal's doing with her eyes, making them entirely illuminated – you need to be able to do that." The other girls would stand there trying to look like they were taking the criticism well and wondering if Target sells eyeball LEDs or something. Paulina or Twiggy would be pleased that the product was so clearly in shot. Tyra would then affect an accent of indeterminate origin and tell everyone how right she was about the massive ebony extensions she ordered for Kal during makeover week.
She would make it to the final episode and then, during the pause before the winner gets announced I feel like she would probably do something like spearing the entire judging panel with an enchanted mascara wand and screaming "THAT'S FOR KATARZYNA*, YOU JERKS".
Anyway, here's how she works. Kalista is a character who's built around teamwork and especially strong communication with one of your allies in particular. She has the aforementioned Spear of Vengeance which she can use to create a bond between herself and an ally champion (with their consent) for the remaining duration of the game
In order to make full use of her skills you need to have her working in tandem with others so I'm wondering whether this is part of a push by Riot towards co-operation and rewarding good teamwork. In my experience, with characters which depend more heavily on others than usual they can either demonstrate great communication or become a fiery cauldron of resentment, chat-blaming and anger.
Ah! I've just checked the game design post and designer Bradford Wenban says, "Kalista is for players who enjoy or want to improve at taking the pulse of teammates and working together toward a win [...] Kalista highlights the cooperative end-state in which she and her ally are most likely to succeed and offers a tool kit to enable players to reach that state."
Here's an example of the teamwork aspect: Kalista has Sentinel as her W skill. The active bit of that gives a patrolling ward spirit which screams at the sight of enemies. The vision it gives helps take some of the warding pressure off supports. The passive aspect of that is called Soul-Marked and means if she and the character she's bound to hit a minion, monster or enemy at the same time they deal bonus magic damage.
"Tools to cooperate are interesting in that they include more than just formal power. In this vein, Kalista’s kit endeavors to facilitate teamwork by resolving incentives for selfish play and visually communicating intent."
*What do you mean "Time to let that one go?"