As the League of Legends was established to prevent further Rune Wars on Valoran, the neutral aligned summoners called forth exceptional individuals, referred to as "Champions", to battle on the Fields of Justice in order to settle disputes. These champions have joined the League for various reasons. Some are soldiers who have pledged their allegiance to a particular nation and fight in their nation's interests. Some are renowned warriors who seek to prove themselves against Valoran's most powerful beings. Some are prisoners of the League, forced to do the League's bidding as punishment. Some may even be strange creatures from other worlds, hoping to bring stability or further discord to Runeterra. For whatever the champion's reason, they have gained the interest of the League of Legends.
In order to join the League, a potential champion, who has proven to possess extraordinary qualities, must travel to the Institute of War to undergo a Judgement. There, a designated summoner will probe their mind in order to determine the individual's motives. In truth, the intentions of the potential champion has little bearing on whether they are accepted into the League or not. The primary purpose of the Judgement is to determine whether the individual is capable of exposing their mind to the summoner, which would allow the two to share their mental thoughts and act as one. Should the potential champion pass their Judgement, as well as agreeing to the call of the summon, they will have become an official League champion.
DevelopmentRiot Games develops new champions for League of Legends, and each champion is individually designed to have unique abilities and traits that a player must use wisely. Some champions use brute strength and power, others use deadly and cunning precision, while others use supernatural vision and magic, etc.
There were 40 champions released at launch, with one released approximately every two weeks. About 8–10 champions are in development at any moment. Each week there is a rotation of ten champions that are available to play for free. For those that bought the Collector's Edition, 20 champions are automatically unlocked; another 20 can be unlocked by buying the Champion Bundle through the game client. All champions, however, can be unlocked with Influence Points or Riot Points at the Riot Store in-game.
Champions RetrospectiveSad Mummy, a Madman of Zaun, a Blind Monk, a Nine-Tailed Fox and a Dark Child, the League of Legends has seen the introduction of some crazy, unconventional, and downright badass characters over the years.
Creating compelling champions is our passion, and a great deal of care and effort goes into handcrafting every one of them. Your passion fuels our own, and we learn a lot from your forum discussions and heated battles on the Fields of Justice. In this Retrospective, our co-founders, Brandon “Ryze” Beck and Marc “Tryndamere” Merrill team up with some of the Rioters behind the champions to give you a taste of the “secret sauce” that makes a League of Legends champ.League of Legends Champions Retrospective(06:14)
Champions generally fall into certain categories based on their skills. These are also called tags and are used on the attributes space on each champion main page and Ability Details page.
- Unlocked: The champion has been unlocked and can be used at any time.
- Free to Play: Reserved for the 10 free champions of the week. They are indicated with a (!) sign in the top right corner of the champion icon.
- Locked: The champion is unavailable for use. They are indicated with a grey picture of the champion.
List of champions
As of 27 February 2014 there are currently 118 released champions, with the latest being Vel'Koz, the Eye of the Void.
Completed champion Visual Upgrades
This is a list of champions who have received a visual upgrade along with the date.
|Kayle||Visual Upgrade and Kit Rework||2011-07-25|
|Tryndamere||Visual Upgrade and Kit Rework||2011-07-25|
|Katarina||Visual Upgrade and Kit Rework||2012-08-09|
|Twisted Fate||Visual Upgrade||2012-10-03|
|Sejuani||Visual Upgrade and Kit Rework||2013-04-02|
|Master Yi||Visual Upgrade and Kit Rework||2013-07-30|
|Sivir||Visual Upgrade and Kit Rework||2013-10-29|
Upcoming champion reworks
- Kit Rework
- This scale of rework covers changes to a champions kit beyond number tweaks. Animations and other visual effects may be updated, but the champions model and core theme are untouched. In some cases, the kit rework will "correct" the kit to match the intended theme. For example: Evelynn, Taric and Xin Zhao.
- Visual Upgrade
- This scale of rework covers changes to a champion's model and artwork. This will often include a more up-to-date voice-over and lore, and may include bug-fixes and minor balance changes - but will not change the champion's core theme. For example: Soraka, Annie and Twisted Fate.
- Ryze - Model already finished. 
- Kit Rework and Visual Upgrade
- This combines the above two categories. The scale of the kit rework is usually slightly larger than a kit rework alone as the developers can plan for more in-depth visual effects and model changes. The champion's core theme remains in-tact. For example: Katarina, Master Yi and Sejuani.
- Texture Update
- This scale of rework focuses on champions whose models, rigs, animations, and other framework are in pretty decent shape, and all they need is some geometry tweaking on the model and texture polish for quality and readability's sake.
- Complete Relaunch
- Unlike the previous classifications, a complete relaunch involves an overhaul to the champion's identity - focusing on some aspects while abandoning others. This affects the champion's lore, personality, art and model. The degree of the kit rework varies. For example: Karma and Trundle.
- Unknown Scale
- An unidentified character that resembles a cloud with legs made an appearance in Jinx's promotional video. Could this be an upcoming champion? Zac featured a similar spoiler in the Mac trailer.
- A new support champion has been confirmed to be released in early 2014. Further information about this champion has not yet been revealed.
The following champions were placed on hold or otherwise:
- "Seth" - code name for unnamed Sand Mage. Confirmed to be on hold by Morello
- Urf the Manatee – April Fool's "mascot" (Made into the Urf the Manatee skin for Warwick in '10 and Urfrider Corki skin for Corki in '11, as well as the Fisherman Fizz for Fizz in '12).
- Seth the Sand Mage was shelved, possibly in similar fashion as Omen was shelved.
- Avasha (concept art later incorporated on Riven)
- Eagle Rider (likely redesigned into Quinn)
- An elemental hydra champion hinted by Ezreal.
- A female engineer/mechanic (later heavily re-purposed as Vi) 
- Iron Engineer (concept art likely incorporated on Blitzcrank)
- Komachi, a pure tank scythe champion being developed by Xypherous (concepts recycled on Thresh)
- Gavid, the Plant King (several abilities later implemented on Zyra)(Probably redesigned into Maokai)
- Priscilla the Spider Queen (redesigned into Elise)
- Rob Blackblade the Dashing Rogue
- Tabu the Voodoo Shaman
- Well the Water Wizard (likely redesigned into Nami)
- Tiki (concept art likely incorporated into the Totemic Maokai skin)
- Twin Yordle motorcycle champion, one with bombs, other with rocket launcher; was being developed by FeralPony (half of the character concept turned into Ziggs)
- ↑ League of Legends Champions Retrospective
- ↑ Ao Shin Sneak Peak
- ↑ Morello foreshadows Fiora changes
- ↑ ricklessabandon on Galio changes
- ↑ ricklessabandon mentions possible Viktor gameplay rework
- ↑ Solcrushed reveals that he is working on Viktor
- ↑ Xelnath discusses Yorick's rework
- ↑ Meddler talks about Urgot's upcoming rework
- ↑ Gangplank And Darius Reworks In Development
- ↑ Gangplank And Darius Reworks In Development
- ↑ Alistar has plans for VU but he's not on high priority
- ↑ RiotNarya mentions Cho'Gath update
- ↑ Morello mentions that Evelynn and Twitch will at some point receive art upgrades
- ↑ IronStylus confirms Karthus is on "The List"
- ↑ IronStylus confirms Kassadin is on "The List" for a Visual Upgrade
- ↑ IronStylus confirms Nunu is on the way for VU
- ↑ PAX - Ryze VU
- ↑ IronStylus confirms Singed is on "The List"
- ↑ GrumpyMonkey confirms future Taric visual upgrade
- ↑ Zileas mentions Poppy Upgrade
- ↑ Morello admits that Warwick's kit is a lackbuster
- ↑ Warwick will have VU
- ↑ Kit rework
- ↑ Red Post Collection: More on Rammus "TU"Tentative 3.13 Ahri discussion, 3.13 Zyra context, and MORE!
- ↑ ricklessabandon mentions Annie, Nidalee, Sion and Sivir Upgrades
- ↑ Grumpy Monkey responds to Man... Sion's model is terrible Thread
- ↑ Meddler talks about wanting to update Zilean once other champions are taken care of
- ↑ IronStylus states Grumpymonkey has ideas for the new Zilean
- ↑ @Morello, was 'Seth' shelved?
- ↑ 
- ↑ Ezreal hydra
- ↑ http://na.leagueoflegends.com/board/showthread.php?p=36477808#36477808
- ↑ Xypherous confirms that Komachi is canceled
- ↑ Community Infographic
- ↑ Ezreal mentions Tempus in his 14th answer
- ↑ Tempus on "permanent hiatus"
- ↑ @Ezreal