Kalista, the Spear of Vengeance revealed
Treacherously murdered, rose as a specter, twisted by the horrific power of the Shadow Isles. In death, she offers Runeterrans a proposition: surrender your to the Spear of Vengeance and she will exact retribution on your betrayers.
Kalista is a marksman who cooperates with herto deal substantial sustained damage, access her full repertoire of abilities and wither her enemies under her relentless assault. Kalista's potential is unlocked by solid communication and cooperation with allies rather than raw mechanical skill. While still capable in her own right, Kalista misses out on bonus damage and effective use of her without direct cooperation from her .
In lane, Kalista follows the familiar marksman pattern of farm and harass with one important difference:makes kiting part and parcel of her kit. With it, Kalista can reposition after every basic attack, hopping in and out of danger to attack opponents and gain superior positioning. allows Kalista and her to speedily crush down each minion, forcing their opposition to farm under turret and nearly guaranteeing a level two ding ahead of their opponents. With the lane pushed, Kalista can send a up the river to keep watch for incoming threats. This ability takes some vision pressure off her support, allowing both to spend less time at base and more time dictating the pace of the lane.
For trading, Kalista landsto proc , poking with terrifying speed. While Kalista decides when to answer , her , often a support, ultimately decides where it'll make its impact. If either Kalista or her land significant crowd control on an enemy champion, makes the perfect tool to damage and lock down enemies, setting Kalista up to sling the fatal spear.
Without massive range or a reliable escape, Kalista relies on backline positioning and attentive protection from her allies. Before any teamfight breaks out, Kalista should useto try to spot out sneaky enemies on the edges of the fray. With the battle underway, Kalista metes out strong, consistent punishment with basic attacks, staying safe with precise management of . Given time and dependable peel, Kalista's spears rocket from the backline of every skirmish and teamfight. The damage and add up quick, making Kalista a decisive executor with .
Theversatility makes it good for peel, a wombo starter or a rescue for your - used to its full potential, it can be all three. Against dive comps, a timely stops a chase dead in its tracks and serves as a counter-engage for your team to follow up. If Kalista's is caught out, a quick spirits them to safety, burning whatever crowd control the enemies expended and offering the option of dis-or-re-engage. Brave Kalista players (and braver ) can kick off wombo-combos or follow up on a hard initiation, creating the space Kalista needs to clean up the fight from the back lines.
|Works well with:||Struggles against:|
|Leona - the Radiant Dawn
Tanky supports like the Radiant Dawn are perfect for. After being tossed into the fray by Kalista, Leona can hang onto to zoom around teamfights applying crowd control where needed. Bonus points for proc-ing and at the same time.
|Zyra - Rise of the Thorns
Kalista's slow basic attack leaves her vulnerable to the lockdown of. The Spear of Vengeance must carefully manage to survive this lane opponent.
|Janna - the Storm's Fury
On face, it may not seem like a great idea to toss the fragile Janna into the enemy team, butand combine to split enemy teams asunder.
|Ezreal - the Prodigal Explorer
Ezreal's kit dulls the edge of Kalista's spears: He outpokes her withand can escape the danger posed by and with a quick .
|Malphite - Shard of the Monolith
Imagineand smacking sequentially into the enemy team - the area of effect knockup double tap will win you most fights.
|Master Yi - the Wuju Bladesman
causes problems for Kalista since her primary tool applies a slow. If Kalista and her can't nail Master Yi with , she's likely to be chopped up, .
- Champion Insights
- Kalista, game design by CertainlyT
Champion diversity helps us accomplish one of our key goals, that each game of League feels different than the ones before it. Just as important as champ diversity is player diversity. Some opponents are risk-averse, some fight early and often. Adjusting to the unique rhythm of each game is critical to success. But League is a team game. Reading and reacting to your allies' demeanor is equally important to victory.is for players who enjoy or want to improve at taking the pulse of teammates and working together toward a win.
As designers, we are constantly trying to help players succeed. Building scenarios that overwhelm or confuse players is simple, laying the foundations for success is the challenge. As such, Kalista highlights the cooperative end-state in which she and herare most likely to succeed and offers a tool kit to enable players to reach that state.
It is important to light up the right paths for players, to make the unseen momentarily visible. A champion's focus is an opportunity to let the player grow their general skill in that area so that they can bring that strength to bear in other contexts. Consider the jungle for a new player: they're not likely to see the value of farming it, of denying farm from the opposing jungler and of doing all this while controlling larger map objectives.is an amazing tool for jungling that emphasizes a successful way to play. Mastering teaches the player how to jungle, enabling him to succeed on other champions in that role.
Now think of this in terms of Kalista's focus on facilitating cooperation:
- Passive - Soul-Marked: If Kalista and her attack an enemy within one second of each other, they deal bonus magic damage to their target.
is designed to reveal effective duo-lane teamplay. Often in bot lane, a fight devolves into two 1v1's happening near each other, rather than a 2v2 that's won through cooperation between allies. passive emphasizes what's often the optimal play in these situations: focused fire.
Equally important to helping the player understand the criterion for success is giving them the tools to get there. 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.
Think of the active on, it relieves your support (and likely ) of some pressure to keep up vision. That way they'll more often be available to work together to deal bonus damage and wreak havoc with . This sort of design allows us to emphasize tighter, more consistent teamwork without making Kalista so communication dependent that you practically need to play in the same room as your .
Champion Insights: We are the Spear of Vengeance
By Riot NaKyle 
- Baby Steps
began development just as the smoke cleared from launch. The champion team faced a new challenge. Years of female marks(wo)men featured similar shape language and gobs of guns, bows and even bow-guns. A consensus formed: the time had come for a different approach to a female marksman.
Most champions begin life as an amorphous idea blob. Someone's inspired and does what inspired people do: bring their thoughts to life and share them like crazy. If that idea resonates, artists draw, designers noodle and storytellers write. When that happens, a new champion is on the way to becoming an identifiable embryo.
Concept artist Larry 'TheBravoRay' tackled the post-conundrum. Inspired by and his lightning bolts, he imagined a tall, athletic woman throwing a spear over and over again. But given that marksmen attack repeatedly all game, every game, he needed a conceit that kept her spears supplied.
Larry spoke about his approach to the issue: "I wanted to do the archetype of the fallen warrior." He sketched a few undead representations of martial females to explore the idea. "I wanted players to think, why is she in this state? Why does she look like a wraith and how'd those spears get in her back? What's the major momentum for this character going forward? From there I think we kinda knew. Brad 'CertainlyT', the champion designer, started talking and throwing ideas in and that helped drive the concept as well."
In early days, in-development champions earn codenames by what makes them stand out. Shortly after Larry's concepts began making the rounds, Spectral Legionnaire entered active development.
- Teams in teams
Champions spring from tight-knit teams of craft-experts, where two people rarely have the same skills and expertise. Within the broader champion team, there are multiple, fully-functional teams and each is focused on one particular new champion at a time.
Even if these teams carry the responsibility to understand exactly who, what and why the champion should be in the game, they share their work widely, soliciting opinions and expertise from tons of Rioters. Even Ryze and Tryndamere pop in to see what's being cooked up.
- Defining Kalista
Kalista was still taking her first steps when Anthony 'Ant in Oz' joined Riot's narrative team. She'd be his first project and he leapt right onto a charging train. "We sort of knew she was betrayed and that was like a quarter of who she was. So my first task was to try and write a few stories to flesh out some ideas and see which of those stories resonated with everybody working on the champ. You can see very quickly when people get excited about a story and that gets them re-enthused about the champ... that's when you know you've hit a good mark."
On Brad's (design) side of things, he'd been prototyping cooperative gameplay designs with the hope they'd find their home in Kalista's kit. In co-op, the fun's in accomplishing objectives together, not simply doing similar things while standing near each other. This rule of thumb meant the relationship between Kalista and another champion required shared purpose and an even footing. The idea thematically lined up with Kalista's martial bearing. Soldiers train to fight as a unit with common objectives - similar to the peer relationship in duo lanes.
When Anthony saw the early designs, he jumped. "This was a good example of the background and the story getting inspired by the gameplay direction. I think that goes back and forth between gameplay, narrative, and all the different artists. We all feed off each other. I think that's a really healthy, natural way for things to work."
What began with Brad's exploration of how players could cooperate evolved intothat allows another champion to yield their soul to Kalista. With a thematic and narrative conceit in place for Kalista, Brad solidified how duo lane players could best work together to farm, score kills, and save each other's butts.
- Problem Child
One particular problem still hovered over Kalista's gestation. There was consensus that she would be a wraith, but striking the balance between who Kalista once was, a proud warrior, and who she is, the Spear of Vengeance, proved difficult.
Larry talked about a particularly dark time: "There was a lot of feedback when people (internally) started seeing the character... they said, 'She looks too much like a zombie'. And that was the key word, 'zombie, zombie, zombie'. It was okay that she was undead, because that was the point, but the non-intelligent zombie was not what we wanted." The artists on Kalista's pod cooperated with illustrators on the splash team to rejigger her face, helping her become the purposeful, relentless hunter they imagined.
Anthony spoke about another breakthrough on the identity front. During VO (voiceover) development "there was a realization that she wouldn't say 'I' very much because she's more than one entity, really. So it became 'We are the Spear of Vengeance'." This shift allowed the team to make a clearer statement about who she is and explore the relationship between Kalista and the souls shewith. In seldom instances, when she remembers her past life, she still says 'I', providing a small glimpse into her harrowed past.
Brad emphasized trust as the key to navigating Kalista through difficult challenges and into the game. "We were constantly faced with problems. Solvable problems that we worked through together, but meetings were less jokey. There was more spit-balling, more discussion on how to solve things... if I list the things that I'm proud of this team for, it'd be a long list for this champion in particular."
Larry continued the line of thought: "It's all a bunch of professionals collaborating together... every guy and gal is a pro at what they do and when we get tough feedback, we trust. Like if it's gameplay feedback, I trust Brad is gonna understand and act and do things properly. Same thing with stories, or art or animation... " Offering a final comment, Brad said "It's just something you have to be really excited about, you know? Not making a champion, but making this champion."