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League of Legends: How to unlock Champions

How to permanently unlock new Champions in League of Legends.

In League of Legends any playstyle is accommodated, and that’s all thanks to the sheer wealth of Champions for players to choose from. In stark contrast to Overwatch's lengthy waits for new heroes, Riot’s Champion turnaround is incredibly fast. Just as soon as one’s released, it's seems like there’s always another one waiting in the wings to be revealed.

While it’s fantastic for the game and its player base, the vast quantity of Champions can be very overwhelming, particularly for new players. You can play the game for months and years even, but still not get a chance to pick up and play all the Champions on the roster.

You’ve got to grind out all manner of matches and quests, or spend some of your hard earned cash to unlock new Champions. It goes without saying that this process can be quite confusing to the uninitiated, so we’ve put together a guide that’ll take you through all the different ways you can unlock new Champions in League of Legends.

Blue Essence

What is Blue Essence?

Blue Essence is the main currency used to unlock all manner of things in League of Legends. You’ll earn it through match play, by completing Missions, or disenchanting Champion Shards contained in Champion Capsules that are awarded when you level up.

Accrue enough Blue Essence and you’ll be able to permanently unlock new champions.

How do you get Blue Essence?

Here are the ways you can start building a large pile of Blue Essence. Our Blue Essence guide contains more detail if you need it.

  • Once you reach Summoner Level 5 through match play, you’ll start receiving Champion Capsules every time you level up. These contain Champion Shards that can be disenchanted to receive BE (Blue Essence), activated (by using BE) or upgraded to permanently unlock the Champion.
  • Play particularly well - or just act as a great teammate - and you'll earn Honor which'll contribute to your Honor ranking. Level up your Honor rank and you'll receive Honor Capsules which have a chance of containing Champion Shards which can be disenchanted like the rest.
  • Complete Missions like “First Win of the Day” and it’ll earn you a nice BE bonus. There are other Missions too and many of them will be event specific.

More great League of Legends guides:

Champion Shards and Hextech Chests

What’s a Champion Shard?

Champion Shards drop randomly from Hextech Chests which you’ll earn if you or a teammates achieves an S tier match performance.

You can interact with Champion Shards in 3 different ways:

  • You can Upgrade a shard by using a certain amount of Blue Essence. This will unlock the Champion permanently.
  • You can Activate the shard to “rent” a Champion for a total of 7 days. This will consume the shard, so you won’t be able to use it again until you stumble across another.
  • You can Disenchant a shard to convert it into Blue Essence.

How do I get Hextech Chests?

As you know now, getting hold of Champion Shards largely relies on cracking open Hextech Chests, but how do you actually earn them?

S Ranks

You can get hold of Hextech Chests by earning an S rank on a Champion you own. Once you’ve done so, you won’t be able to earn another chest with that specific Champion until the beginning of the next season.

If someone in your premade group earns an S rating, you’ll receive a chest too! Just keep in mind that it’ll count for the Champion that you were playing, not theirs.

Finally, it’s worth mentioning that you’ll only earn Hextech Chests if you’re playing a Champion you’ve unlocked permanently, and there are limits to how many you can hold in total and earn within a week.


Hextech Chests are purchasable with real world currency from the store as well.

You can purchase one Chest for 125 Riot Points (RP) or 195 RP for a Chest and Key.

Fork out cash for 1950 RP and you can get hold of a bundle of 11 Chests and Keys.

Have a look through our guide on how to get more RP in League of Legends for more information on how this currency works.

How do I open Hextech Chests?

Play matches and there’s a chance a Key Fragment will drop. You’ll need to combine 3 Key Fragments to create a Hextech Key which will open a Hextech Chest.

You can earn up to 12 Key Fragments in a 4 week period. Simply put, play the game and you’ll steadily build up a supply over time.

Store Purchases

As we’ve mentioned a little above, you can permanently unlock heroes using Blue Essence or RP.

Here’s a quick overview of how this system works.

  • Champions can be bought with Blue Essence that itself can be earned through a variety of in-game means. It does not require any real world money to obtain.
  • Champions can also be unlocked with RP that can only be obtained through microtransactions.

Here’s the full range of Blue Essence and RP Champion costs.

RPBlue Essence

The most recent heroes cost the most, while those who’ve been out for a little while will cost less.

Free Champion Rotation and Champion Sales


Every week there’s a Free Champion Rotation that’ll give you the chance to play a number of Champions that you might not own. They won’t unlock permanently, but if you’re new to the game you’ll be able to try out a total of 14 Champions, which is a pretty good deal if you ask us.

Champion Sale

More often than not there’s at least a few Champions on sale in the store. RP prices (not BE) are slashed for a limited time, so it’s a prime opportunity for those willing to fork out real world currency to bag heroes at bargain prices.

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