The ultimate predator's many things: methodical, determined, and unrelenting. Meet Rengar, the Pridestalker, one of the most-feared hunters in all of Valoran, whether he's slashing his way through foes or leaping from the shadows of the brush to take enemies by surprise. Rengar's monstrous, most-sought prize, however, remains at large, missing from the Pridestalker's impressive trophy wall.
While in brush or stealth, Rengar will leap at the target when using his basic attack. Rengar builds 1 Ferocity with each ability he uses on enemies. When reaching 5 Ferocity, Rengar's next ability becomes empowered, granting it a bonus effect.
Rengar's next basic attack deals bonus damage and grants him increased Attack Speed for a short duration.
Ferocity Bonus: Rengar deals enhanced damage and his Attack Speed bonus increases.
Rengar lets out a battle roar, damaging enemies as well as gaining bonus Armor and bonus Magic Resistance for a short duration.
Rengar activates his predatory instincts, stealthing and revealing all enemy champions in a large radius around him. He gains Movement Speed and rapidly generates Ferocity while stealthed.
As a top-laner or jungler, Rengar's brutal strikes and roars tear through his enemies. When you use any of his abilities on an enemy, you generate a point of Ferocity. Once you've stored five Ferocity points, Rengar's skills become available instantly and the next skill activated gains a powerful new secondary effect. Players will have to strategically manage their Ferocity, activating the appropriate ability for each precarious situation. Rengar's passive also grants his auto attack a leap when used from the brush or while invisible, giving this apex predator immense ganking potential from hiding.
Rengar's ultimate ability, Thrill of the Hunt, grants him invisibility, extra movement speed, and Ferocity points. The true power behind Rengar's
ultimate is his visibility of enemies under the fog of war. Rengar enters an all-consuming hunting mode, allowing him to see enemy locations and their hearts beating faster and louder as he closes in.
No hunter would be whole without his trophies and Rengar is no stranger to collecting the prized remains of his downed prey. Playing as Rengar grants optional access to the Bonetooth Necklace, a unique store item that collects trophies as he racks up kills and assists. Slaying enemies will increase the power of the necklace and new bonuses unlock when trophy thresholds are met. You're never forced to purchase or use the Bonetooth Necklace, but are rewarded for an aggressive playstyle if you choose to use it.
The Fields of Justice have never been more dangerous than when Rengar, the Pridestalker, prepares for the hunt. With a new resource system, an optional item in the shop, and a dynamic passive that interacts when he's stealthed or in the brush, Rengar's bringing many new mechanics to strike down his prey. To learn more about these new mechanics, we went straight to the source and talked to Trevor 'Classick' Romleski about Rengar's kit.
A new item is available in the shop called the Bonetooth Necklace, an item that is only purchasable by Rengar. Can you tell us about this new item?
Classick: We wanted to find some cool gameplay that lets you become the trophy hunter, gives you the feel of being Rengar. Since he's the ultimate trophy hunter we wanted to make it feel like Rengar was getting more and more powerful as he collected trophies from his kills. He becomes more self-fulfilled, since that's his big thing: he looks for the biggest prey. We tried to create a sort of side quest if you choose to go with the Bonetooth Necklace. If your focus is on picking up kills and gaining power over time, it might be a good decision.
So Rengar's item is optional?
Classick: That's correct. The Bonetooth Necklace is not integrated into Rengar's inventory when the match begins. You have to purchase it from the shop. Rengar can't begin the game with the necklace, so he won't snowball too early. This is a departure from Viktor who begins each match with his item in his inventory. Viktor's augment feels like it's a part of him, built onto him as opposed to Rengar who has the option of wearing his item or not. You can also sell the item back to the shop after you purchase it, in case you change your mind about going down the Bonetooth Necklace path.
The Bonetooth Necklace has an "opt-in" feel, where you can choose to participate in the side quest and rack up kills to get more powerful, or not. It's up to you how you want to play Rengar. It's riskier play, sure, but it can pay off. And if your trophy-hunting exploits don't go exactly as planned, you don't feel like you've lost much. You can always sell back the item and swap your playstyle.
Here's another cool part about the necklace: you gain trophies on kills and assists. In order to discourage Rengar players from kill stealing against their own team to collect trophies we made it so assists also count, slowing up the rate at which you add stacks to the necklace, but stopping this specific type of potential abuse. You can play Rengar and not worry about having to stack up kills alone.
What about the concern that this snowball item might make Rengar's power feel inconsistent?
Classick: You'll notice that the Bonetooth Necklace gains and loses its power at a slower, more consistent rate than other snowball items. You can rack up kills and benefit from the bonuses that the necklace provides, but unlike other snowball-type items in game you only lose a small number of trophies from the necklace on death. You're not going to feel the pendulum swing of power that might come with an item like Mejai's, so advancing with the necklace isn't going to feel like a waste of time if you die at a high trophy stack. You shouldnt rapidly change in power unless you have a huge number of kills or deaths in a short period of time.
What about this item snowballing in competitive play?
Classick: Competitive play was one of the reasons we went with an opt-in item, really. The competitive scene changes rapidly and the option is there for Rengar players. In many pro-level games the number of kills is usually lower than that of a normal game on Summoner's Rift, so the item might not look as attractive. Rengar is not just his item - it's an aspect of his play that you can choose to take part in or not. His viability is not based on the Bonetooth Necklace. It acts as an investment like a snowball item, not an integral piece of his kit.
Ferocity is a new type of resource. Could you explain how Ferocity works?
Classick: Rengar builds up a point of Ferocity each time he lands an ability on a champion or minion, up to five points. When you hit five Ferocity points, Rengar's abilities come off cooldown and you get to make the choice of which empowered ability you want to use. We wanted to make it so you never felt like you were wasting your empowered ability; it's kind of like you get a new set of three empowered spells to use. This was a very important piece of the kit.
Basically, we didn't want players to be upset at the choice they were making preemptively. For instance, if you hit five stacks with his Q, but wanted to use his Q as your empowered ability, you stand around waiting for Q to become available again. With this system you get to use any of your three empowered abilities when you hit max Ferocity. There's a lot of mindshare being used up when you have to cautiously link up your abilities so that your final empowered spell is the one you wanted to use and we wanted to avoid that.
Since Rengar is a build-up character, exploiting his enemy's weaknesses while he builds up his points for an empowered finishing move, we decided to always have those three finishers available no matter what. Rengar is about making the right decisions and being methodical, and being given the tools to do it without constantly second-guessing your decisions. Your empowered spells do not overlap with normal play - they appear when they are available, you make a choice, and you continue to play.
What challenges did the Ferocity system pose?
Classick: We designed Ferocity to be forgiving, which meant you had to design abilities that could be used two in a row and still be balanced. You still want the tension there, so you can choose whether to spam one ability or not, without either being too punishing or too overpowered. That's why a lot of his skills are targeted attacks, so when things get mighty hectic during a teamfight, it's obvious where you can use his abilities. Finding abilities that flowed together, all felt good, and not straight-up overpowered were his biggest challenges.
Could you tell us a little about Rengar's basic attack leap from brush and his personal stealth?
Classick: Rengar is a brush monster. Rengar's leap attack from the brush and stealth originally started as a joke, actually. We thought it would be funny if he could just lunge out of the brush at you, since he was a freaking lion. At the same time, I wanted to shy away from the "leap on E" type of attack that a few champions already have and give him more of a situational leap. I really like Shyvana's gap-closer; she has to use it based on the situation because it's tied to her ultimate ability. Rengar becomes more powerful in the right environments and less powerful if his opponent can successfully counter-play by moving the fight away from Rengar's powerful spots. Environment counter-play was definitely a focus.
So yes, he can move rapidly through the brush, while providing his opponents with options for playing against him. Rengar feels territorial: he owns his brush. You're entering his lion's den, so to speak. Having that feeling of dread and terror that Rengar might be prowling in a bush is something we want you to feel, capturing his territorial nature. You're going up against a lion where he is king.
While playing against Rengar, however, you have to use your own skills to avoid his play style. If you're in top lane, for instance, there are plenty of counter-play options that involve skirting the bottom part of the lane to avoid his brush leaps. Aggressive brush warding can alert you to Rengar's position.
What happens when there is no brush to use?
Classick: You keep the leap when Rengar enters his stealth from his ultimate ability, Thrill of the Hunt. The leap works exactly the same from stealth, you'll see the ring and be able to use your basic attack to jump on your desired target. Even without brush, Rengar can activate his ultimate and close the gap on his fleeing target, or jump behind enemy lines and land on top of a squishy carry. He picks his target and collects his trophies.
I found in playtests that Rengar was weak in defense situations, like defending inhibitors. Adding in the leap to his ultimate as well as brush made it so the crucial gap-closing component was still available to players but also limited enough that he definitely feels like he's got more of an advantage when there is ample brush to use. The ultimate acts as temporary brush, in a way.
Do you anticipate any crazy brush plays?
Classick: I can only imagine the awesome moves that our players are going to pull off with Rengar. I'm especially excited about the fights that play out in high-brush density areas like near Dragon, the tri-bushes, or near the red and blue buffs. Rengar is going to be leaping all over the place, but he's king of the jungle, so you should be ready for it. There is a lot of Flash interplay with his leaps that could prove tricky in the right hands.
In order to bring a ruthless hunter like Rengar to life, the designers had to fuse every aspect of champion design into a predatory experience that feels as ferocious as the champion himself. Getting players inside Rengar's head for the primal hunt was the biggest challenge in his creation. What began as a tricky proposition eventually became a compelling champion with an ultimate ability that sums up the brutal and methodical Rengar playstyle.
Marco 'OCRAM818' Bustos (Associate Sound Designer)
Alex 'Skribbles' Yee (Associate Creative Designer)
Trevor 'Classick' Romleski (Associate Live Designer)
What were the biggest challenges when building Rengar from a design standpoint?
Skribbles: Going way back to the beginning, we've been looking for what space to explore in the anthropomorphized animal department. We've done a decent amount of characters from different animal kingdoms and are starting to become cautious with the theme. We said that if one animal deserved to be a part of this menagerie that hasn't been done in our game yet, it's a lion.
We worked hard with the concept team to find a space for Rengar that was independent enough from someone like Warwick. He had to feel unique but still be served well by the lion-man motif. From there it was about smoothing out the idea of a trophy hunter and finding ways to differentiate him from other characters. We didn't really find a spot for Rengar until we saw RiotZeronis's amazing concepts.
Trevor: With Rengar and Warwick, we knew there was a differentiation. Warwick is more feral and picks up the trail of his bleeding prey and chases them down. Rengar is more of a methodical hunter.
RiotZeronis, how did you iterate on Rengar's concept art to turn him into the ferocious predator we see today?
RiotZeronis: Rengar went through a bunch of iterations that just didn't seem to fit in our game world for one reason or another, and as time went on we were less-than-excited. I was tasked with doing another pass at him and it was particularly challenging for me because I had never really done an animal character or champion before. I've never made a lion man before. After a ton of lion research and a huge lion collage next to my desk, I started to draw. I wanted to capture his lion-ness but give him some accentuated features. I just had to make him work.
I drew him as badass as I could with a fuller mane and exaggerated trophy hunter elements with his bone pauldrons and handmade armor he put together while out in the wild. His adornments are his stories. Also, he's got an eye patch, and that gives every character more depth. I gave him a variety of weapons and had to explore a ton of options. Some of his original weapons were too close to Draven's axes so they were cut. I didn't even know that the animations would use the knee weapon that I drew on him.
Skribbles: The weapons had to be about overpowering and attacking, something that Rengar would fashion and use.
OCRAM818: You gave us a lot to work with, man. We just ran with everything.
Skribbles: RiotZeronis's art was crucial in turning Rengar from just a lion man into THE lion man.
OCRAM, you seem really excited about Rengar. What qualities did you focus on for his sound design?
OCRAM818: Rengar is awesome, man. He's a hunter. He's a lion-man. He's vicious. With his sound design, I could go a bunch of different ways but I stuck with one or two key elements that really told you who Rengar was. He's got to sound ferocious since he's the ultimate hunter, but at the same time methodical and stealthy, so you dont know that he's coming. Lions, tigers, and other hunting cats don't like their prey to know that they've got the scent.
How different was designing Rengar's sounds versus a champion like Zyra?
OCRAM818: Rengar's sounds were easier than plant sounds, definitely. Metal objects make creating sounds much easier. He's got his sword, his claws, and his dope-ass knee pad. We love his knee pad.
Classick: You'll give your enemies a swift knee to the abs once in a while, along with other attack animations for his claw and sword.
OCRAM818: We create building blocks for various types of sounds or styles, so I've got this great library of swords and metal hitting stuff from working on Hecarim, Draven, and Darius, along with a ton of fencing sounds for Fiora. Every sword in the game has to sound different, you know, since they're all different weapons. For Rengar, I threw a bunch of sword sounds together in my blender and reversed their playback for sword slices and hits, sort of the way I did flesh ripping sounds for Volibear. I took some of that as well to give Rengar a different sound for each one of his weapons. The claw sounds like it's taking off some flesh. The sword sounds different from the jagged knee.
How did Rengar's ferocity play into the sound design?
OCRAM818: The Savagery ability was vicious and I had to match the sound to the red coloring of the ability. I used low tones when it's active and on-hit it sounds juicy with some bone cracks. His Battle Roar was difficult, since we have a lot of characters that roar, such as Warwick, Udyr, and Volibear. We didn't want his AoE to be some simple roar. Everything has to sound unique. For Rengar's AoE roar I went with a spatial sound so you feel the roar around you versus a battle cry or a forward-directed scream. The roar feels as if it's projected out like a sonic boom.
For Bola Strike, I went back and thought about one of the hardest ability sounds I've ever worked on: Sejuani's ultimate. That sound kicked the **** out of me. For some reason it was really hard to make and epic throwing sound for her. When Rengar came along and I saw that he had a thrown bola attack, I said, "aw man, we're going down this path again." We went through so many iterations of Sejuani's ultimate that I knew Rengar's would suffer the same fate. The approach changed and we wanted to sell the element of what's happening. First, it's a gentle fwoo-fwoo-fwoo-fwoo-fwoo as you hear the bola let loose through the air. Then, for the impact, it had to feel like the bola was wrapping around you instead of a 'smack' contact.
The ultimate has a ton of cool elements, especially when he enters stealth. I went with a 'fade-in' approach, with a whooshing sound as you become invisible and then an impactful sound when you finally enter stealth so it feels like that's your moment of true hunter power. It wasn't an impact sound, though. I created these, like, lion explosions. You'll feel like his ultimate tries to suck up the ambient noise and sound from around the world. You activate the ability get sucked into Rengar's head, separating you from the game and his mind, his vision.
I wanted to hook up a sound to the particle effects with the beating hearts from the ultimate. I went to RiotParticleMan and we hooked up the timing for the heartbeat to add in some extra ambient noise and make sure the thumping syncing up. The more champions around, the more heartbeats you'll hear. As your enemies get closer their heartbeats get louder.
Wait, back up. Did you say lion explosions?
OCRAM818: Hah, I did. I made these sound files that I called lion explosions. Over time, I've made so many explosions. I threw a bunch of explosions and lion roars into my sound mixer; I didn't even listen to it - I just exported it out, gave it a listen, and it sounded like a bunch of explosions going off but with lions in it. Was it awesome? Yes it was. So now Rengar's got some lion explosion sounds.
Why is Rengar's ultimate so important to his design?
Skribbles: Rengar's ultimate is amazing. Thematically, visually, every aspect of the thing comes together to bring you into Rengar's head.
Classick: The ultimate works to give Rengar the feeling of entering the ultimate hunting mode or stance and ties together every aspect of his design so well. He's one with the hunt. Rengar is ready to choose his target and go after the biggest game. When he pops his ultimate and begins chasing someone down, and the heartbeat gets quicker and quicker, it really immerses players into the Rengar world and makes you feel like an apex predator.
RiotParticleMan, could you give us a rundown of the ultimate and the visual effects that you had to bring to life?
RiotParticleMan: It's pretty cool. A lot had to come together with the ultimate to make it a successful ability, to invoke the right feeling. You've got design with the stealth tracking and mechanics; you've got sound that wants to give it the right feel. Everything about Rengar comes together nicely.
Skribbles: For me, I love that Rengar's ultimate can be such a help for his team. There's a bunch of ways to use it that change up his initiations and retreats. Also, I had to stop myself from adding too many lion puns into his voiceover work.
How did Rengar's personality come out in his spell effects?
RiotParticleMan: A lot of our characters are lighter, happier. Rengar is large and angry, so I wanted his abilities to have a lot of weight behind them. The way to accomplish this with Rengar was to go deep and dark. Many of our spell effects are additive, meaning they brighten up your character. With Regnar, we went subtractive, reversing the look of his kit. It's not dark magic, like Veigar or some of the void characters, but deep, visceral reds. It's also not clean like Diana, who has a very clear aesthetic to her effects. Rengar's stuff is savage and wild. The bola is fun because it transforms from a bola into a five-point net and the effect looks really cool.
The ultimate is really the ****. Everything about this character culminates in this ability. We made these thematic decisions early on and it shows, since we were able to do stuff like sync up heartbeats to sounds.
Can you give us a walkthrough of the ultimate?
RiotParticleMan: It's a full screen change. The screen goes red and you can see enemies in the fog of war. At first we were just going to show the characters with an icon over their heads or something equally as lame. Instead, we went with the Rengar skin that gets overlaid on top of enemy champions that shows you their veins, all red and bloody. Then the heartbeat comes in and scales with how close you are to your prey. It feels very hunter. I also figured out all of this in my shower, which is where I get my best thinking done.
You decided to create a ring around Rengar when he enters brush or stealth to show how far he can leap onto enemies. Why did you go with the ring?
RiotParticleMan: At first, there were icons and such over enemies' heads to show you how far Rengar could leap. Multiply the number of icons over champions' heads and minions' heads and it was a mess. Instead, we brought up the ring that fades in when you enter brush or invisibility that would show you exactly how far you could jump. It was a fairly seamless solution to what could have been a very messy visual problem. Gameplay reigns supreme, so my visual assets have to dictate and make it very clear where you can go and who you can leap to. To avoid confusion with visual cues is a priority going forward.
Skribbles: That reminds me, I forgot how much actual research we had to do about lions. We had to figure out what were the major thematic elements of lions were in order to build off of.
What was your lion research like?
Skribbles: We learned many interesting facts about lions. Lions have small hearts relative to other animals, so they're pretty much capable of short bursts of speed to get on top of their prey. This actually worked fairly well thematically since Rengar feels like an assassin in many ways and can quickly go from stalk to pounce. Sneak in carefully with all of your energy, jump out with a wild flurry of attacks, and sneak back into the brush.
Classick: There were lots of YouTube videos and articles about lions on my computer.
Skribbles: Next time we're requesting a field trip to the zoo.
Classick: Lions are fairly counterintuitive to what people actually think about them. They are huge predators and are incredibly strong but still prowl around and sneak up on their prey. You'd think this massive creature wouldn't have to even start with the prowling. This was a problem when designing Rengar and his whole character: how do you make this imposing lion feel like a stealthy assassin while also making him feel like a bruiser who could go hand-to-hand in lane?
Skribbles: It's also a myth that only female lions hunt. Female lions do a majority of the hunting but males can and do join in, especially when the pride is going after bigger prey.
We have really learned a lot about lions today, haven't we?
Skribbles: Wait! There's more! There are even lions that have names based on the people they've successfully stalked or hunted. Like, people in villages in Africa. Manslayer lions.
So you went out and found the most badass lions in the world and based Rengar off of them?
Skribbles: Pretty much.
2017 Season Update
Rengar's pre-season changes are about giving him tools to be the Biggest Game Hunter in the League. With revamped Ferocity and a fresh Bonetooth Necklace, Rengar's ready to savor the Thrill of the Hunt. 
While in brush, Rengar's basic attacks cause him to leap at his target. Leaping to enter combat generates one Ferocity. At four Ferocity, Rengar's next ability is empowered, granting special effects and increasing his movement speed.
Rengar gains trophies whenever he takes down a unique enemy champion. For each Trophy, Rengar's attack damage is permanently increased.
Slashes enemies in an arc in front of Rengar, followed by a piercing strike, dealing physical damage and generating one Ferocity. If cast with four Ferocity, each strike's damage is massively increased.
Roars, generating one Ferocity, dealing magic damage, and healing Rengar for a portion of the damage he's taken in the last few moments. If cast with four Ferocity, Rengar removes all existing crowd control effects and prevents incoming ones for a short duration.
Tosses a bola in a targeted direction to deal physical damage, generate one Ferocity, and slow the first enemy hit for a short duration. If cast with four Ferocity, the bola roots the first enemy hit for a short duration instead.
Thrill of the Hunt
Rengar's predatory senses take over, stealthing him for a long period of time. While stealthed, Rengar gains movement speed and can see the nearest enemy champion to him from very far away. Rengar can leap to the revealed champion for a guaranteed critical strike.