**WARNING: It's a long read but I’ve split it in parts for readability.**
Hey everyone. I'm not a Shyvana main but I do play her a lot. She's been my first jungler champion and her fantasy, that of the half-dragon, remains one of my favourites among all the champions.
Sadly, she is lagging behind other champions in terms of efficacy and interestingness both. My aim is to make her both interesting to play and a viable pick, and here are the aspects I want to take into account in order to develop this new Shyvana (mind that since I consider her extensively from several perspectives, I will repeat myself a few times). And since Riot said they'd consider her for a rework after Volibear / Fiddlesticks (because she was n°1 pick in China), now seems a good time. **I do not aim to propose a final, complete kit for Shyvana, but instead to explore ideas and what direction she could take.**
Also, I know that a lot of ideas for her rework have been submitted over the years; part of what I say here is inspired by that, but I'm not going to list everyone. Know that if you posted your idea on a Riot forums thread, I likely read it. Thank you to all those who did so!
**A] What we have to work with:**
1) Her fantasy. Basically, her lore and what she represents. She's the half-dragon of Runeterra, a being that is unique because she brings together not only 2 races that are usually thought to be incompatible on many levels, but, on a more fundamental level, because she represents the core questions that make our society: nature VS civilization. Instinct VS Reason. Man VS Beast. She is the one who can bridge that gap, and whose potential is huge because she can tap power from both of her origins. Secondly, dragons. She belongs to the European kind of dragons, which have had many representations. Conceptually, though, dragons are meant to represent the pinnacle of life: they have conquered both land, air and sea, have immense physical prowess and sometimes possess magical abilities far beyond other races'. They can also speak or use telepathy, which puts them apart from mere animals. In addition, a dragon has many tools available; Riot has used the claws, breath and wings, but you also have the tail, the jaw and their massive weight. Third, fury. It seems to be hat separates her human form from her dragon one – and perhaps what separates humans from dragons (in Runeterra) – and is part of her inner struggle.
2) Her story. Though intrinsically linked to her fantasy, she also has a very 'basic' story: being the half-blood that she is, both worlds reject her. She's had trouble finding her own place and thus she has trouble knowing who she is. We've seen her lore deepened some with the introduction of the Runeterra map, and she seems to have gained a potential home in Demacia. Still, dragons are magical and with Sylas' rebellion killing Jarvan IV's father, it's unlikely he will view her as favourably as before. Also, she is supposed to be part of his personal guard but we didn't see her at all in the comic, making me think that Riot may have already decided to change her backstory. Still, the take here is: lonely, no real home or family, wishes to find her own place in the world.
3) Her stand in the champion roster. She is a bruiser, and that comes to me as an unchangeable element of her kit. She's currently in a bad mix of magical + physical damage and tankiness, but that too is here to stay. More on it later. She's a melee champion and I don't see a need for that to change. She's essentially a jungler as her passive and kit dictate so. Both need to change, but she being a jungler certainly does not. Her passive is currently uninteresting but has a lot of potential. It's what can make her truly unique, I believe. Her kit currently gives her a bit of everything: engage, tankiness, sustain, damage, burst, objective control, clear speed. But she's good at none of it.
In addition to her passive revolving around dragons and empowering her, I have one more idea which could make her both into a force to be reckoned with and give her a unique mechanic, what I call the ‘boss attack’. In many games, bosses have huge attacks which they channel, leaving them vulnerable until it is completed. I believe Shyvana’s dragon form could incorporate that kind of attack, which would add to the feeling that dragons are truly dangerous creatures.
**B] Why her current kit is bad**
I would argue that the faults of her kit are pretty obvious: her passive is uninteresting and hard to stack, her Q is uninteresting because there never is a reason not to use it nor does it require aiming. Her W is underwhelming because of the low damage and decay of the movement speed. Her E is far too slow in human form, and the cooldown means only one use per fight, and it is also the only thing that AP Shyvana has to deal damage (ult excepted, but AP Shyvana doesn’t go close range so I’m ignoring it). Her ult is definitely iconic but extremely hard to land because of how slow it is.
As I said earlier, Shyvana has a bit of everything but is bad at all of it: she can’t burst, can’t reliably stick to targets to deal damage, can’t tank much, has nearly no cc, little to escape and far too conditional ranged damage. She’s also outperformed by many junglers regarding clearing speed, map control and ganks.
**C] Ideas for the kit:**
Now, onto a more technical approach.
Her having versatility and being dual in nature means that it should reflect in her kit, and there are many ways of doing that. We already have champions with innate versatility: Ezreal, who can build ad or ap, Kayn who can choose to be an assassin or a bruiser, Champions like Galio, Gangplank or Pantheon who can choose to be more tanky or more damaging. We also have several 'transformative' mechanics such as Kayn (again) or Kai'sa.
_My idea is to have a champion who is unique in her interaction with the map (i.e, the dragons) and can choose her own path, magical or physical._
1) Her passive: fury should remain her resource, as it fits her lore and transformative mechanic. That too should remain since it's part of her identity, but whether you transform or not should also be more important. The dragon form should be overall stronger, but also require you to truly commit in order to benefit from the change. A risk/reward choice, to put it simply. I would also keep the dragon-killing as part of the passive. However, the benefits should be tied closely to the dragons killed, to keep with the idea of the elemental drakes. Each drake could either give a specific stat or empower a specific abiility.
Here are a few examples: **FD**; adaptive force, improve scorch %maxhealth damage, increase fire abilities' radius / **OD**; lifesteal & spellvamp, slow added to E / **CD**; movespeed , dash distance or dash speed (see 3) for dash), displace distance / **MD**; durability (health, armor, magic resist, damage reduction), stun duration / Elder drake: would let her re-use her ultimate ability, or lower its fury cost.
2) Q spell: Bruising. It should be a physical ability with a relatively low cooldown, which could be reduced by AS instead of CDR (a bit like Yasuo’s Q) in order to enable the attack speed builds that the current Shyvana enjoys. For the human form, it could be a frontal cleave like her current dragon form’s. The animation could either use fire or, better fitting for a physical ability, show a temporary extension of her arms into her dragon forms’ (and this would emphasize the fact that Shyvana is always ‘on the brink’ when fighting).
For the dragon form, I imagine a lengthened cooldown for a much more powerful ability: Shyvana would first sweep with her tail in front of her for a slight displace before coming down in a brutal slam, briefly stunning the targets in the radius. Animation speed would in this case also be improved by AS.
3) W spell: Mobility. Exit with the MS increase, in with the dash. A dragon does not move fast when it’s on the ground. Human form: a medium-range dash ending with a physical attack. Dragon form: a dash with increased range leaving a trail of fire in its wake, finishing with a physical AOE. The fire trail would apply scorching (her current E’s passive).
4) E spell: Dat Fire. The obligatory breath of a dragon. Currently her only interesting ability in dragon form, it still stands for improvement. In human form, it’s hard to implement it in a satisfying way. I would transfer her current W’s AOE magic damage here and make each damage tick mark enemies witch Scorch. In dragon form, this would become passive and the real breath would take its place: on activation, Shyvana has two choices: either a simple press to trigger a cone-shaped breath of fire, or maintain for 0.5 seconds to instead launch a fireball that explodes, much like her current E. Both of which would spawn a zone of fire resembling the passive part of the spell’s.
However, this attack would be the ‘boss attack’ I mentioned earlier. That is: while either channeling the breath or readying the fireball, Shyvana would leave herself vulnerable from the front, making any aa or skillshot hitting her from that direction and from a distance of, say, 500 would deal additional %maxhealth damage (maybe interrupt but that might be too harsh. Also, 0.5s for switching from breath to fireball, it’s not the total cast time). The damage of the ability would obviously be great enough to justify the weakness. This would also contribute to forcing enemies to come into close range if they want to negate her threat, which would put them almost into melee range.
5) Ultimate: DRAGON! Now that we’ve put the dash into W, it seems sensible to remove it from the ultimate. Instead, I would make it a simple trigger, but with added benefits: Shyvana would transform while uttering a loud roar and unleashing an explosion of fire, both fearing all enemies in a medium radius and heavily damaging them in a short radius. The ability could possibly be re-cast while in dragon form, either with a long cooldown (30-40s) or by costing fury.
I’ve tried incorporating most of the abilities that I could either find or think of: the scorch, using more parts of her body, the elemental drakes etc.
None of what I’ve written is meant to be balanced, but instead an idea of how I believe her kit should look like. I’ll also point out that while her backstory is subject to change, I’ve only leaned on its core components which are likely to remain the same. Or they could change, if they have a good reason to. Point being: if something you think of can be cool for her, don’t reject it because it doesn’t suit her: first try to determine if her story or nature could be changed to fit your idea. A rework can change the entire character, after all.
One thing I did not mention in her kit concept is the dual path of might VS magic. My idea was to either have weak base damage and high scaling with AP and AD (with distinct abilities,) but that would leave out the option of tankiness. Instead, I thought of implementing a Kai’sa-like system where her abilities’ effects would change depending if she’s leaning more on the AP or AD side. I couldn’t think of a good way of differentiating each yet, though. With the elemental drakes’ effect, such variability could also amount to too much and make her too hard to learn or get used to facing.
Above all, my aim in making this kit was to maker her interesting to play and add a real element of choice to her abilities: where to dash, when to ult, where to aim the Q, which dragons to fight for depending on what build you are going for, whether you want to risk the vulnerability window of her E or not. Yet, none of it is too technical when put together. Her abilities are still straightforward and don’t require Sayen-level positioning, timing or math.
Alright, that’s all from me! Tell me what you think everyone :)