A New Champion Approaches: Poppy, the Iron Ambassador

By Steve 'Pendragon' Mescon [1]

Prepare yourselves. The tiny but mighty Poppy Poppy has joined the League of Legends! This compact little warrior packs one mean punch with her mighty hammer, Devastating Blow.png Whomper. Boasting a powerful set of abilities, Poppy is ready to pulverize anyone who thinks it funny to make a short joke.

Champion Type
Abilities

Valiant Fighter
Valiant Fighter

Any damage dealt to Poppy that exceeds 10% of her current health is greatly reduced.


Devastating Blow
Devastating Blow

Poppy crushes her opponent, dealing her base damage plus a flat amount and 8% of her target's max health as bonus damage. The bonus damage cannot exceed a threshold based on rank.


Paragon of Demacia
Paragon of Demacia
  • Passive: Upon being hit or attacking an enemy, Poppy's armor and attack damage are increased by a flat amount for 5 seconds. This effect can stack 5 times.
  • Active: Poppy gains max stacks of Paragon of Demacia and her movement speed is increased 20% for 5 seconds.


Heroic Charge
Heroic Charge old

Poppy charges at an enemy and Airborne icon carries them for a short distance. The initial impact deals a small amount of damage, and if they collide with terrain, her target will take a high amount of damage and be Stun icon stunned.


Diplomatic Immunity
Diplomatic Immunity

Poppy focuses intently on a single target, dealing increased damage to them. Poppy is immune to any damage and abilities from enemies other than her target.


Riot Scruffy Talks Poppy

We chat with Riot Scruffy about his background, work on ChampUp, and the upcoming Poppy Poppy update!

Champion update: Poppy, Keeper of the Hammer

Unfathomable feats of strength. Victory over impossible odds. [2]
The hallmarks of a great hero are almost always obvious, especially to the person displaying them. Almost always. Poppy Poppy's been tasked with delivering a legendary hammer to a hero who will become legend. Journeying through Runeterra, she uncovers a number of would-be wielders, but never suspects the hammer might have found the right person already. The power of the hammer, the responsibility of her mission. And a whole swath of new abilities to show off her true strength. Poppy's kit's designed to show off her might despite her diminutive stature; whether peeling for your allies by chaining CC like Hammer Shock.png Hammer Shock and Heroic Charge.png Heroic Charge, or plunging into the heart of battle to separate a carry from the crowd, Poppy shows that sometimes all you need in your toolbox is a really big hammer.


Abilities

Iron Ambassador
Iron Ambassador

Every several seconds, Poppy throws her buckler as her basic attack, gaining range and bonus magic damage. Once thrown, Poppy can pick up her buckler to gain a Iron Ambassador 2.png shield, but if an enemy walks over her buckler, they'll temporarily destroy it. If Iron Ambassador kills the target, the buckler returns to Poppy instead of falling to the ground.


Hammer Shock
Hammer Shock

Poppy smashes the ground, dealing damage and Slow icon slowing enemies in a small area. After a moment, the crushed ground erupts, dealing the same amount of damage again.


Steadfast Presence
Steadfast Presence
  • Passive: Poppy gains bonus Armor and Magic Resistance. This bonus is doubled if Poppy is below 40% health.
  • Active: Poppy gains Movement Speed. While Steadfast Presence is active, she creates a magic barrier around her, Grounded icon stopping enemy dashes and dealing magic damage to enemies.


Heroic Charge
Heroic Charge

Poppy tackles an enemy, dealing physical damage and airborne them forward. Poppy deals additional physical damage and Stun icon stuns the enemy if they collide with terrain.


Keeper's Verdict
Keeper's Verdict

Poppy charges up her hammer for a mighty blow, Slow icon slowing herself as she winds up. With the second cast, Poppy unleashes a massive hammer smash, creating a fissure that deals damage and Airborne icon knocks back all enemy champions in a tiny area an enormous distance towards their base. The fissure length and Airborne icon knockback increase with channel duration.


Poppy VU Screenshots
Solo Lane

With a suite of potent CC, Poppy can combo her abilities to win trades and build towards her first major power spike with a completed offensive item.

When she can set up her opponent near a wall, it generally means bad times ahead for the unsuspecting victim. Using Heroic Charge.png Heroic Charge to stun the enemy champion against the terrain, she sets up both hits from Hammer Shock.png Hammer Shock, dealing a burst of damage and leaving them open to additional basic attack harass.

While Steadfast Presence.png Steadfast Presence will often be used in team fights to keep opponents from diving her squishier allies, during laning, Poppy can use her Steadfast Presence.png W to keep enemies with dashes from evading the heavy end of her hammer.

Careful management of her Iron Ambassador.png passive is also essential to success in lane. You can use your Iron Ambassador.png buckler to last hit minions, trading basic attacks with your opponent because of your Iron Ambassador 2.png shield when you automatically get the buckler back. Keep in mind that if the buckler hits the ground, you can pick it up for the shield, but if your opponent runs over it, they'll crush it out of existence (or at least until your Iron Ambassador.png passive comes back up) That interaction can turn into a mind game with the opposing champ, because when you use the ranged attack for a bit of poke, you can set up Hammer Shock.png Hammer Shock when they go to stomp on your buckler to fire both hits of the Hammer Shock.png Q off.

Unlocking Keeper's Verdict.png Keeper's Verdict at level six opens a number of new options for Poppy's dueling potential: quickly activating the Keeper's Verdict.png ult without channeling simulates a souped-up Alistar Alistar Pulverize.png Pulverize, while a fully channeled Keeper's Verdict.png Verdict can even up a 2v1 or turn the tide entirely with jungle support. And don't underestimate the length of the knockback: battering the enemy laner with a fully charged Keeper's Verdict.png ult just as your wave is about to hit their tower means they'll miss a ton of experience and gold.

Jungle
Poppy Hammer

Creeping around a forest crowded with monsters is considerably less frightening when you're wielding a giant mallet, and the Keeper of the Hammer is more than capable of heading into the jungle, harvesting gold from camps and ganks.

The tight confines of the jungle paths keep her well-stocked on walls to Heroic Charge.png heroically charge into should the opposing jungler wander in unwarily. Her innate tankiness and strong trading potential makes her potent in woodland duels, while her considerable crowd control makes the featherweight fighter a terror during attempted ganks.

Setting up a Keeper's Verdict.png Keeper's Verdict while hidden inside the brush can dramatically turn the tide when counter-ganking, because she can near-instantly transform 3v2s and 2v1s into a numbers advantage for her team.

When Poppy heads into the jungle, having allies who can help speed her up or combo with her crowd control will make for more effective ganks, but the tiny tussler is designed to be a powerful roaming jungle in her own right.

Teamfighting

When it's time to transition to more teamplay, Poppy joins the frontlines as a strong tank. With the passive stats from Steadfast Presence.png Steadfast Presence, she's surprisingly durable while still capable of outputting damage in the right situation. In early mid-game teamfights, Steadfast Presence.png Steadfast Presence's active effect will keep the backline from using dashes to flee as her team collapses on them. A well-timed Keeper's Verdict.png Keeper's Verdict can turn a 5v5 scrum into a 5v4 slaughter, but she'll have to pay attention to enemy crowd control. Because Keeper's Verdict.png Keeper's Verdict is channeled, it can be interrupted by opposing champions.

As enemies acquire more armor and health, Poppy smoothly swaps roles to take on the responsibility of keeping her friends alive. Steadfast Presence.png Steadfast Presence stops enemy assassins from diving (as long as they don't use blinks - but blowing their Flash.png Flash might still be worth, depends on /all chat) while the threat of Keeper's Verdict.png Keeper's Verdict will have even frontline tanks concerned they might be taking a trip back towards their fountain, far away from the fight.

One trick with Keeper's Verdict.png Keeper's Verdict is that the knockback effect is actually a very small AoE, not single target. If you can get the enemy team closely grouped together (with Orianna Orianna's Command Shockwave.png Shockwave, perhaps) you could potentially knock more than one of them out of the fray. Then your team can either chase the weakened foes down, or secure one of those nifty objectives strewn about the map.

Synergy
Works well with: Struggles against:
MorganaSquare
Morgana - Fallen Angel

Morg can tee Poppy's targets up with long-duration Dark Binding.png Dark Bindings, turning enemy champions into enticing nails for the pint-sized pulverizer to pummel. But we do want to point out that while Poppy does mostly synergize well with folks like Morg and Amumu Amumu, Keeper's Verdict.png Keeper's Verdict is sometimes less a hammer smash and more a double-edged sword slash. In teams that want to keep enemies nearby for hugs and wombos, Poppy can get carried away... erhm... carrying away opposing champions with Heroic Charge.png Heroic Charge and Keeper's Verdict.png Keeper's Verdict.

EkkoSquare
Ekko - the Boy Who Shattered Time

Knocking a would-be assassin a mile back towards his base is all well and good, but it doesn't do a whole lot against someone who can Chronobreak.png return right where he was with the click of a button. It doesn't help that the second part of Ekko's Phase Dive.png Phase Dive is a blink, so he can bypass Steadfast Presence.png Steadfast Presence en route to smacking someone with his bat. Add in his Parallel Convergence.png percent health damage and ability to Phase Dive.png maneuver out of her Heroic Charge.png Heroic Charge hotspots, and you have a recipe for a champion Poppy'd rather not see suit up against her.

Kog'MawSquare
Kog'Maw - the Mouth of the Abyss

Poppy specializes in peel, and works perfectly in team compositions designed to protect an Void Ooze.png ooze-vomiting, Bio-Arcane Barrage.png arcane-barraging void puppy. She can Heroic Charge.png keep diving juggernauts and stalking midlaners from closing on her ally, while saving her Keeper's Verdict.png ultimate peel for a hypercarry-saving mallet slap that flings the erstwhile assassin flying off over the horizon.

JannaSquare
Janna - the Storm's Fury

Both Janna's Howling Gale.png Howling Gale and Monsoon.png Monsoon can interrupt Keeper's Verdict.png Keeper's Verdict, and generally speaking the Storm's Fury is more than capable of keeping Poppy away from targets she'd prefer thumping with a giant hammer. Because Poppy lacks a real gap-closer, Janna's extra movement speed from Tailwind.png Tailwind doesn't do the yordle warrior any favors either.

Jarvan IVSquare
Jarvan IV - the Exemplar of Demacia

Not only is J4 one of the best examples of the kind of guy Poppy figures should wield the hammer, they also have great synergy in teamfights and top lane ganks. The terrain created by Cataclysm.png Cataclysm is fantastic for Heroic Charge.png charging heroically into, but J4's knockup Demacian Standard.png E - Dragon Strike.png Q combo can also help Poppy land both hits of a Hammer Shock.png Hammer Shock.

IreliaSquare
Irelia - the Will of the Blades

Irelia hits Poppy where it really hurts: right through Steadfast Presence.png Steadfast Presence's bonus resistances in the form of Hiten Style.png true damage. While Irelia can't Bladesurge.png Bladesurge through Poppy's Steadfast Presence.png W active, she can stand toe-to-toe with the Keeper of the Hammer and trade basic attacks. Having Stubborn to a Fault.png extra armor and MR below 40% health is normally enough to keep Poppy in the thick of a slapfest, but true damage ignores those fancy numbers, leaving Poppy in a dangerous spot.

Champion Insights: Poppy, Keeper of the Hammer

By Conor 'fizzNchips' Sheehy [3]

Poppy VU concept 1

Poppy Poppy's champion update's been on the list since before there even was a list. With the Keeper of the Hammer making her debut on the PBE, read the story of how it came together.

Design notes from Solcrushed

Narrative notes from JohnODyin

Art notes from Lonewingy

Poppy VU concept 2

We started exploring Poppy more than a year ago. With her outdated visuals and awkward, imbalanced kit, she's long been a candidate for a champion update, but getting it right meant expanding on the limited things we knew about her (she had fewer than twenty lines in game) while finding a new gameplay design that would fit with her character and satisfy fans of the little-yordle-that-could.

Poppy's the Demacian yordle. That was clear from the beginning. But as a champion proud and loud about her love for Demacia, it was important to keep her from seeming like a mini-Garen Garen. So while she can fangirl for Garen Garen and kneel to Jarvan IV Jarvan IV, she has to stand out as her own yordle. Demacian in her own way.

The solution we arrived at was embracing the notion of an unaware hero. She was given a legendary Hammer Shock.png weapon and tasked with finding the hero worthy of wielding it. She's an answer to the question, what would a hero be like if they had all of the strength, courage, and potential of legend, but no idea of it?

Poppy VU concept 3

Poppy's the underdog, even when she's packing the biggest hammer in the fight. Poppy's a walking contradiction. Small, but unbelievably tanky. First into the fray, but last to believe in herself. She's earnest to the point where you can't quite trust her, but honest to the extreme that you know you have to.

Hammering home her personality keeps her identity distinct among the yordles, while showing off an alternate take on the traditional Demacian warrior. Whether defending a small village besieged by a nefarious Dragon Dragon, or a sidelane squishy under assault by a gank-hungry jungler, Poppy's coming to save the day. She just might apologize afterwards.

Like a giant Demacian hero, but yordle-r
Poppy VU concept 4

Balancing the contradiction inherent in her character and then expressing it through gameplay, art, and story proved a unique challenge. At the same time we were puzzling out how to really put the hammer down in terms of her story, it was our chance to figure out how Poppy should look. Some champs are dark and grim like Thresh Thresh or horrifying like Hecarim Hecarim. And others have a snaggletooth. Unlike a champ like Sion Sion, Poppy's in-game visuals were outdated, but not far off from the way a yordle decked out in Demacian dress would appear.

The one thing that really stood out was the hammer. Her story, gameplay, and art all center around her weapon, but it wasn't always the biggest thing about her. So we re-rolled the drop. Now her hammer is twice the size of the diminutive yordle, representing the burden of her quest to find the hero of legend and the power she packs into a small frame.

To show off those unique sides of her that make her different from other Demacians (and yordles) we've played up the extremes of her personality in art and in-game visuals as well as the story and gameplay: she's introspective and full of doubts but also eager and full of energy. She shoulders the burden of her quest with pluck and courage, but her humility leaves her with a glaring blind spot. She can't see that she might be the Demacian hero she's been seeking the whole time.

Poppy VU concept 5
Poppy VU concept 6
Frontline Demacian juggeryordle
Poppy VU concept 7

No part of a champion update happens in a vacuum, and while we explored different storytelling and visual possibilities for a pint-sized brawler, we were also experimenting with gameplay kits. When we first brought Poppy into the ol' update workshop, we had to deal with one of the most powerful, but least compelling abilities in the game.

Poppy's old Diplomatic Immunity.png ultimate, Diplomatic Immunity.png Diplomatic Immunity, could render her immune from damage and crowd control from everything that wasn't trapped in a glowing gold cylinder of sadness. Diplomatic Immunity.png Diplomatic Immunity defined her kit, and pushed her play pattern towards 'assassinate the backline with absurd damage out of nowhere'. That squishy-squasher style didn't make sense given Poppy's original story or the direction we were taking her, and Diplomatic Immunity.png Diplomatic Immunity was so powerful, Poppy's entire kit had to be limited because of it.

After initial explorations, it became clear that straight up nerfing Diplomatic Immunity.png Diplomatic Immunity meant losing what made the ability cool and unique. Once we made the decision to remove it instead, we could play around with new signature abilities to anchor the kit around. After trying a few different themes, we circled back to her story and focused on one aspect of her character in particular - disproportionate power - which led to her new Keeper's Verdict.png ultimate. With the exaggerated hammer slap of Keeper's Verdict.png Keeper's Verdict in place, we found we were able to really push Poppy's strategic niche of tanky disruption to eleven.

Poppy VU concept 8

Poppy's new unique gameplay identity embraces her small-stature/big-hammer duality. Despite being one of the smallest champions in the game, she brings a ton of crowd control that's perfect both for causing commotion in a big scrum and flattening bad guys one-on-one.


The Arsenal: Forging Poppy’s Hammer

By Rumtumtummers [4]

Poppy VU concept 9

Reworking Poppy Poppy was a chance to tune up her biggest, baddest character elements while giving her completely new play patterns. We knew the Hammer Shock.png hammer, her signature weapon, would be critical in solidifying her refreshed identity; like Jinx Jinx's Switcheroo!.png rocket launcher, Nautilus Nautilus' Staggering Blow.png anchor, or Riven Riven's Runic Blade.png sword, Poppy's hammer is an integral part of both her kit and her personality. We had to get it right for both to ring true.

In short, it was hammer time.

Small character; big impact

Poppy's original Devastating Blow.png hammer and Paragon of Demacia.png shield were designed to fit her small stature. "Before, Poppy had a Yordle hammer and a Yordle shield", explains concept artist Gem Lim. "But we wanted to do more with it." The team realized that by choosing one primary item for Poppy to wield and over-emphasizing it, they could create a champion with a silhouette and style different from any other champion in League. "Instead of equal attention for the hammer and shield, we toned the Iron Ambassador.png shield down and made the Hammer Shock.png hammer ginormous", says Gem. "What struck me the most about Poppy was this sense of disproportionate power. She's a small character who does big things. The hammer should communicate that."

Poppy Hammer 1

ChampUp played with several hammer designs while working on the Poppy update

Poppy's new champion-smasher wasn't custom-made to fit her; it's a regular-sized hammer she wields with incredible power. "The new hammer is more than a weapon", Gem says. "Its humongous size contributes to her silhouette and her movement. No champion moves like her. When you see her swing that hammer, it's so different from Sion Sion with his Decimating Smash.png axe or Garen Garen with his Judgment.png sword." Senior narrative writer John O'Bryan adds, "It's almost like she puts all of herself into every swing." The new hammer design contributed to Poppy's new Keeper's Verdict.png ult and each of her re-tuned abilities.

Gem emphasizes the idea of a tiny character packing a big punch: "We want people to feel that crazy disproportionate power. Like, 'Oh, look at the cute little--- ouch!' It's over-the-top and unexpected."

A hero's journey

Poppy's hammer is an important part of her personal journey. 'A Hero's Calling', which offers players a glimpse into Poppy's world, is centered on the hammer and what it means to her. O'Bryan elaborates, "Even she doesn't think it's hers. She thinks it's a tool for someone else." Scaling the hammer to make it a normal hammer size helps emphasize the idea that Poppy doesn't necessarily believe the hammer is hers to wield, that somewhere in the world is a hero meant to carry it. The hammer existed long before Poppy took possession of it.

Poppy Hammer 2

Poppy's hammer has hints of Demacia and a human-sized scale

Though she's been carrying the hammer for a long, long time, Poppy hasn't yet realized that she's what gives the hammer its strength. O'Bryan explains, "If you were to ask Poppy, she would probably think she's nothing special. Everything she's doing is because of this hammer she's carrying around. But really, it's all coming from her." Players know one thing Poppy doesn't: the hammer is right where it needs to be.

The immovable object

Poppy's new weapon is meant to emphasize core elements of her personality. "She's purposeful", says O'Bryan. "Nothing can stop her; if you knock her down, she's going to keep getting back up." The team behind the Poppy update wanted to give a sense of solidity to Poppy, the idea that to get to Poppy's team, enemies have to go through her. "When others run away, Poppy runs forward", says Gem. "She's indomitable."

The hammer is a symbol of Poppy's strength, her unflinching dedication to her task, and her worldview. "Poppy doesn't think of herself as a small character", O'Bryan says, "because she really isn't." Gem says, "She's the pebble you thought you could kick, but couldn't. There's no one like her."

Dev Blog: The Animation of Poppy

By Paul 'PartiestCat' Jarvis [5]

Poppy Animation 1

Hey everyone! Paul 'PartiestCat' Jarvis here. I was in charge of driving the style and direction for how Poppy Poppy moves and wanted to give you all a little behind-the-scenes look on how we approached the animation for Demacia's tiniest Hammer Shock.png hammer delivery service.

SQUASH, STRETCH, AND SMEAR

Okay, quick animation history lesson. There's a set of animation principles that most animators follow that dictate and drive the choices we make when building out the motion for characters and they cover topics like posing, exaggeration, and visual/emotional appeal. One principle in particular - squash and stretch - is something we've adapted as a fundamental aspect to League's in-house animation style. Broadly speaking, squash and stretch helps a character feel organic and alive. It's used to emphasize weight, momentum, and speed of objects by warping and distorting their shape. When we use more extreme versions of these distortions to connect our most important 'key' poses, we call them smears or 'smear frames'; single distorted frames between broad actions. Using smears helps to sell impacts on spells, attacks, or any super-quick motion. A champion's animation needs to feel awesome in fractions of seconds, and smears help by adding texture and flavor between exaggerated motions.

Back to Poppy.

Yordles are squishy. I don't mean that literally, but their short stature gives them lots of wiggle room for us to exaggerate how they move. Poppy has a tiny frame, so it's also important that we can make her motion broad enough to not be hidden under her big Yordle head. Ideally, she should never look like she's made of rubber, but her motions should have a certain extra snap to them to keep her feeling energetic and punchy.

We kept the same mindset with the motion of her hammer, but I'll get to that below.

EXPRESSIVE

Historically, League isn't the kind of game that normally needs facial animation. The camera angle and distance from your champion normally means a character's face only takes up a handful of pixels on-screen at any moment and extra detail actually makes it harder to understand what is happening. As animators, we wanted to challenge that idea, and our early tests actually showed us that her expression changes were fully readable and felt like they added a lot to her personality.

In terms of her character rig (the set of bones that allow us to move our characters around) Poppy is the first champion in League to be built from the ground up to support such a wide range of facial expressions. Every champion has a budget in terms of rig complexity, so we had to be smart about how we fine-tuned her model and facial setup. Many high-end character rigs in modern games have more bones in the face alone than all of Poppy combined, so the challenge was to give us the widest control with the least amount of resources.

Poppy Animation 2

Poppy's facial rig

Just to get technical stuff out of the way, Poppy's face is only 11 joints in all:

  • 3 per eye (pupil, upper eyelid/eyebrow, and eye shape)
  • 3 to shape the mouth
  • 1 for the upper bridge of teeth
  • 1 for the jaw

After working closely with our tech artist (and waves and waves of iteration) we landed on what you see above. We were able to get a surprising amount of flexibility out of such a simple setup!

The first thing I did with Poppy was to carve out a set of base expressions to feel out her emotional range, and then develop them until that we all felt confident about the direction. Once we had a solid foundation, we were able to focus on the expressive timing - finding punctuated moments during and after her abilities and attacks where the expressions could be clearly seen. When you only have a fraction of a second to sell an attack, communicating a clear change in mood is really important.

...Fool me twice... HAMMER!

Poppy's hammer is just as important as she is and we really wanted to reflect that in her animations. Why not give her hammer the same degree of personality that we give to the Yordle that wields it? We spent some time going back and forth about what kind of shapes we needed the hammer to make, which parts we wanted to push and pull, and which parts needed to twist, distort, or grow and shrink.

Squashing, stretching, and smearing is just as important for the hammer as it is for Poppy, so we needed to crank it up to 11. The head of the hammer scales to cartoonish sizes for single frames so you can really feel the force behind the swing, and the neck of the hammer bends to compensate. With a little sorcery and a lot of clever rigging we were able to build really clean smear trails for the hammer that gave us a nice, stylized alternative to motion blur. It's a more traditional animation method that meshed really well with how we normally animate our champions.

Media

Poppy, Keeper of the Hammer - Login Screen03:09

Poppy, Keeper of the Hammer - Login Screen

Poppy's Theme
Related Music


Pentakill Mortal Reminder OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO League of Legends Music04:40

Pentakill Mortal Reminder OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO League of Legends Music

Related Videos


  • Poppy Concept (by Riot Artist Augie Pagan)
  • Scarlet Hammer Poppy Concept
  • Poppy Update Concept 1
  • Poppy Update Concept 2
  • Noxus Poppy Update Concept (by Riot Artist Kienan 'Knockwurst' Lafferty)
  • Lollipoppy Update Concept (by Riot Artist Kienan 'Knockwurst' Lafferty)
  • Blacksmith Poppy Update Concept (by Riot Artist Kienan 'Knockwurst' Lafferty)
  • Ragdoll Poppy Update Concept (by Riot Artist Kienan 'Knockwurst' Lafferty)
  • Battle Regalia Poppy Update Concept (by Riot Artist Kienan 'Knockwurst' Lafferty)
  • Scarlet Hammer Poppy Update Concept (by Riot Artist Kienan 'Knockwurst' Lafferty)
  • Star Guardian Poppy Model (by Riot Artist Cody 'Sstrikerr' Bunt)
  • Star Guardian Poppy (w/ Lulu) Splash Concept 1 (by Riot Artist Esben Lash Rasmussen)
  • Star Guardian Poppy Splash Concept 2 (by Riot Artist Esben Lash Rasmussen)


References