Champion Reveal: Taliyah, the Stoneweaver
- Threaded Volley
- Passive: Taliyah gains increased movement speed when traversing worked ground.
- Active: Taliyah rips up the ground around her, firing a volley of five stone shards in a target direction while moving freely. Casting Threaded Volley converts the area into worked ground for a few minutes. Additional Threaded Volley casts over worked ground will yield just one rock projectile.
- Seismic Shove
Taliyah marks a target location. After a brief delay, the ground erupts, knocking up and damaging all enemies caught in the blast zone. Taliyah can recast Seismic Shove before it erupts to throw the victims in any targeted direction - even over walls.
- Unraveled Earth
Taliyah scatters boulders onto the ground before her. Opponents who dash through the fractured earth take damage from an explosion. After a few seconds, any remaining rocks in the field erupt, dealing a second wave of damage.
- Weaver's Wall
Taliyah briefly channels before summoning a massive wall of spiraling rock that tears through the Rift in a target direction. Taliyah can reactivate Weaver's Wall while channeling to ride atop the wall as it emerges. Taking damage or inputting a move command in any direction will cut her ride short.
Taliyah is all about control - she dictates when and where she fights by setting up a gauntlet of traps for her lane opponent to navigate. To win trades, she can close off a section of a lane with Unraveled Earth and knock her opponent into the trap with a well-placed Seismic Shove. With her opponent exposed, a quick Threaded Volley will melt their health.
Spamming Taliyah's abilities in lane will slowly diminish her dueling power, however, since ground which has been worked by Threaded Volley won't produce enough missiles to effectively stave off fast-approaching attackers. Experienced Taliyah players will work around this by carefully working strips of ground in a trail leading to their tower. She can use the exhausted pathways as an escape route when thirsty enemy junglers come barreling into her lane.
If she's winning trades and dodging ganks, Taliyah excels at pushing waves into towers with her area of effect attacks. Once she's pushed her wave, her passive lets her bust out her rock-board and surf over to a friendly lane with tremor-inducing speed. She'll cruise alongside the map's walls, constantly gaining movement speed before blasting into a buddy's lane. Building an item like gives Shurima's greatest (and only) surfer the means to dart around even faster, making her roams especially deadly.
If you thought Taliyah's ganks were cataclysmic because of her passive, just wait til she hits level six. Weaver's Wall lets her roam to other lanes with ease, and the wall she rides in on can block off escape routes for the poor soul(s) she chooses to gank.
Clever Taliyah players will use her ult to instantly apply pressure to far-flung objectives on the map. The enemy team's taking Dragon? Excellent: just cruise over there and fill up the pit with Unraveled Earth, then blast the enemy jungler out of the fight using Seismic Shove. They're fighting Baron but taking lots of damage? Sweet: simply line up your ult to wall off the Baron pit with them in it, sealing the squishies in the oven to prepare a delicious feast for your teammates.
Taliyah's strongest items allow her even greater control over her opponents’ movement. When she dings a fleeing enemy with Threaded Volley while wielding , Icy will make it that much easier for her to land her signature knockup-into- Unraveled Earth combo. Items that boost her low in-combat movement speed help the Stoneweaver quickly maneuver herself into the best spot to control any battle.
In teamfights, Taliyah's area of effect abilities give her masterful power over her enemies' positioning. She might use Seismic Shove to hurl incoming juggernauts away from the fight, then slow the enemy team's exposed backline with carefully-planted Unraveled Earth. Taliyah's damage-less ult means that she won't bring major burst power to fights, but she can unearth her Weaver's Wall to split their team in half, giving Taliyah and her team the chance to gang up on exposed opponents before moving onto those left behind.
Once a teamfight has ended, Taliyah is able to press her advantage with speed and grace. Her passive lets her rapidly cruise alongside jungle walls, catching up to escaping enemies or making her way to a far-flung tower. Once late-game hits and she drops a third point into her ultimate, its range increases enormously - she can steal an enemy blue buff after a fight, then Weaver's Wall to double-time it all the way to the enemy's Brambleback camp for the double-buff.
|Works well with:||Struggles against:|
|Lucian - the Purifier
Enemy frontliners will find themselves eating a relentless volley of rocks and bullets when running down Taliyah and Lucian. Plus, if the Purifier ever finds himself caught out, the Stoneweaver can ult to summon a rock wall near his location. Lucian's Relentless Pursuit lets him easily dash over the wall to safety.
|Zed - the Master of Shadows
Taliyah is safe from nimble opponents so long as she's got earth between her and them, but she struggles against baddies who can dodge her rock barrage and slip past her defenses. She'll want to stay well out of the Master of Shadows' ult range, or she'll find herself marked for death.
|Lee Sin - the Blind Monk
Lee Sin's powerful ganks combined with Taliyah's deadly roams make the mid-game very scary for their opponents, but they jive especially well in teamfights. When Lee uses Dragon's Rage to punt enemy laners into Taliyah's Unraveled Earth, the kicks and stones will probably break their bones.
|Malphite - Shard of the Monolith
The Stoneweaver works best at the edges of teamfights, but Malphite has a way of bringing the battle straight to his targets. The Shard of Monolith's hard CC and engage are anathema to Taliyah - It's hard to weave stone when a living boulder knocks you ten feet into the air.
|Poppy - Keeper of the Hammer
Taliyah ganks are extra devastating when the Keeper of the Hammer uses her Heroic Charge to pin enemies to the Stoneweaver's wall. In teamfights, Poppy can unleash her hammer to deport opponents to the far side of the wall, splitting teams even further.
|LeBlanc - the Deceiver|
Champion Insights: Taliyah, the Stoneweaver
By Cactopus 
When was the last time we released a traditional mage?
If you ask champion designer Daniel 'ZenonTheStoic' Klein, he'll argue that every recent AP champ has had some odd, non-magey twist: Aurelion Sol feels untraditional because of his orbiting stars, Ekko is more of a Diver or Skirmisher, and Azir has Marksman-like qualities. Vel'Koz is totally an artillery mage, but many players took him bot lane to play Support. You've got to go all the way back to Lissandra to find a champ that really fits the 'traditional mage' label, and she was released in April, 2013.
We wanted a champ that felt like an old-school League of Legends mage. "Then it hit us", says ZenonTheStoic. "What about an earth mage from Shurima? The idea seemed like fertile ground."
- A girl leaves the desert
The Shuriman Desert isn't the easiest place to grow up. After Shurima fell, the people of the empire were scattered to the winds, eventually forming nomadic tribes. We imagined a young nomadic girl who was born with a strange and rare power. Magic is a rare thing in Valoran, so no one in the tribe could teach the girl how to control or manage her abilities.
Taliyah's gift is her ability to manipulate rock, but she was raised by nomads - people unlikely to have much knowledge about making things out of stones. Rock structures are too heavy, too permanent. Taliyah grew up surrounded by shepherds, textile artists, and weavers, so in order to understand the power within her, she began to think of it as being like weaving cloth. Others see rock as a hard, immutable material, but to Taliyah, the earth teems with strands of sediment just waiting to be looped and sewn together into a new tapestry. The problem is, stoneweaving tends to make more of a mess than weaving garments. If Taliyah isn't careful with her powers, she could accidentally hurt the people around her.
"Taliyah's need to understand and gain more control over her chaotic power is a major part of her story", says narrative writer Ariel 'Thermal Kitten' Lawrence. To achieve that control, Taliyah would ultimately have to leave her tribe, embarking on a journey to find a teacher that could help her harness her potential.
In some early concepts, we considered making Taliyah a 'spite' mage, a cruel sorceress who slings curses and hexes (and otherwise bad vibes) at opponents. Curses on you, your children, your couch, etc. Some Rioters are pretty amused by the idea of a permanently-salty champion, but we'll have to revisit it at a later date.
- Weaving a beat
One design goal for Taliyah was to capture the chaotic potential of her powers on the Rift, as if her powers are barely-contained. We achieved that by making her ult - her most powerful ability - feel crazy strong. "In fact, we specifically tuned it to feel almost too fast", says ZenonTheStoic. "It's like she's not totally in control."
Because Taliyah strives for self-control, using her basic abilities shouldn't feel like you're wildly ripping apart the earth or smashing big boulders together. Taliyah wants her stoneweaving to feel elegant, structured, even rhythmic.
When she hurls her Threaded Volley at you, the rocks fly in a measured thump, thump, thumpthumpthump pattern. Her other spells are similarly composed of lots of smaller rhythmic effects. When someone gets thrown through a field of Taliyah's Unraveled Earth, it doesn't blow up all at once. They pop one-by-one in the order they were touched, like a deadly piano glissando.
The weaving metaphor also manifests in the way Taliyah uses her ultimate ability to construct a map-spanning wall. There are many ways to build a wall - she might have done it with piles of layered stone - but instead, she laces threads of rock together in a line that looks a lot like stitching in a piece of cloth. She's reshaping the Rift, not destroying it.
In early playtests of Taliyah, we toyed with the idea of giving her some big, destructive abilities. One was an alternate ultimate that allowed her destroy any chunk of map terrain on the Rift. She could knock out entire base walls, chunks of the jungle, even the back side of the baron pit. There were obviously concerns from the art team about how to make this not look stupid in game, but the bigger problem was that this power didn't seem like a Disruptor spell. It was primarily a way for her to open up paths for her allies, which made it feel a lot like a support ability. We killed the ability early in development - it just didn't fit our original vision for a classic, self-sufficient mage.
On a surface-level, Taliyah's insistence on weaving rock elegantly might lead you to think that she's similar to Jhin; after all, they're both destruction artists. The difference is in their intentions: Jhin uses the tools at his disposal to create art. For him, art is very much the purpose, the end-goal. Taliyah does what she does because she has to in order to protect her people. Artistry is just the only way she knows how to express it.
- Silly hats and wizard cats
So, she's a traditional earth mage. But how do you make a someone look like they've got rock powers?
There are a few easy tropes designers can use to make characters look magical. "You can put a wizard hat on almost anything and it'll look like a sorcerer", says concept artist Hing 'Hdot' Chui. "Put a wizard hat on a cat and boom, it becomes a wizard cat. You'd look at that cat and think 'he probably knows some spells'." Unfortunately, it just wouldn't make sense to throw a wizard hat onto a nomadic desert girl.
One of the key aspects of a mage is the idea that their power is an innate ability. This could manifest as pulses of arcane energy emanating from their skin or burning electrical currents coursing through their veins. The trouble with these elemental effects is that they tend to be very glowy. Earth isn't glowy at all.
The artists working on Taliyah also had to keep the Stoneweaver's appearance consistent with her kit. Before we were sure what her spell lineup would look like in-game, we explored giving Taliyah a sort of stone 'spool' accessory she would use to gather rocks before unleashing them on enemies. The issue here was that Taliyah would only realistically use such a weapon up for charge-up abilities, and she has none.
In the end, the solution was to actively downplay her power. Many of League's champions are in their prime - they're kings, warriors, or gods. Taliyah is just a sixteen-year-old girl with a power she doesn't yet fully understand. She's rough around the edges, so we gave her messy, wind-swept hair, and the color palette of her costume is drawn from the redstone flats of Shurima. We also dug the idea that she used her powers to craft the rock mantle she wears around her shoulders. This reinforces the idea that, to her, rocks don't weigh anything.
"Taliyah is still powerful, but she's got room to grow", says artist Evan 'Somnicidal' Monteiro. "And, in the end, isn't it more fitting for an earth mage to feel down-to-earth?"
Inside Taliyah Dev with the Designers
This week, designer Daniel 'ZenonTheStoic' Klein, writer Ariel 'Thermal Kitten' Lawrence, and character artist Willem 'Tokkelossie' Van Der Schyf share the behind-the-scenes story on creating the Stoneweaver.