In the ancient civilization of Shurima, the mage called Xerath practiced magic with undying passion. He believed that with enough magical power, he could gaze into the heart of Runeterra to know the secrets of history and the universe beyond. Such magic was beyond the limitations of a mortal body, but Xerath obsessively pursued a path to infinite power nonetheless. With every breakthrough he grew more and more powerful, yet not without consequence. Xerath's increasing arcane abilities wrought havoc on his physical form. Desperate, he undertook a dangerous ritual to transcend his dying body. The outcome would be immortality or self-destruction. Violent magic unleashed during the ritual caused devastation throughout Shurima, but when the dust settled, Xerath emerged as an ascended being of pure arcane energy.
Free of flesh and bone, Xerath held nearly infinite power at his command. However, in the wake of his chaotic ritual, the mages of Shurima feared his careless disregard for life would bring ruin to the kingdom. After a terrible struggle they subdued Xerath, but they could not destroy his ascended form. Instead they trapped him within an enchanted sarcophagus and sealed him in an underground tomb. Eons passed, civilizations rose and fell, and Xerath's imprisonment was lost to memory. For centuries, Xerath's vast power tore away at the sarcophagus and weakened its spell. Finally, he willed forth a burst of magic that shattered his prison, but its core remained, containing Xerath and his power within its broken pieces. Seeking to rid himself of this burden, he was drawn to the magic of Valoran'snexuses and found he could absorb their power. Yet the nexuses had gatekeepers: petty mages known as summoners. Xerath knew his key to true freedom from his prison lay in gaining their trust, and he offered his power to the League of Legends.
“I have no need for vengeance. Time has brought ruin to the mages of Shurima and I alone remain.”
Aside from the vaguely human shape within the shattered remnants of his sarcophagus, there is very little indication that the being called Xerath was ever a man. His presence is cold and unfeeling, with nothing to be read upon the iron mask one might call his face.
He does not pause to observe the hallway around him. Xerath approaches the massive doors to the Reflection Chamber and, with a sweep of his arm, they open before him.
The doors had only just closed behind Xerath when a sandstorm obscured his vision. Violent, stinging wind surrounded him, and he realized in horror that it began to eat away at his very form. The shattered pieces of his sarcophagus withered into wisps of sand. Worse still, Xerath felt himself grow weak. As his prison disappeared into the storm, the arcane energy that made up his form faded with it, replaced by flesh and bone.
The sands of time had turned against him. He was human again.
Around him, the storm took shape in the darkness. He recognized the sandstone walls and the statues that rose from the floor to the ceiling. These regal figures clasped scepters to their chests, and their eyes, plated in gold, gazed eternally down upon those below them. He was in the Temple of the Falcon, where all the mages of Shurima practiced their craft.
The peers of Xerath’s youth sparred beneath their Magi ancestors. They threw fire and ice and twisted magic into the shapes of blades, honing the arcane into weaponry. Such was the charge of mages: the greatest masters of magic would stand victorious over Shurima’s conquered foes.
Xerath watched silently at the temple's wall, entranced by the light from their spells. Nothing whetted his thirst for understanding as the pure arcane. Its dull glow called to him, and in its depths he knew there lay a thousand secrets.
“Why do you not join them, Xerath?”
The voice broke his focus. Tabia, one of his fellow mages, stood beside him. Her sudden appearance and the look of her smile made him stumble with his words for a moment. “Ah... well… we have our differences.”
"You are a mage of Shurima," Tabia said. She moved closer to him. “We have the same path. What differences do you mean?”
“The way they bend their magic,” he replied, turning his gaze back to the other mages.
“They make weapons of it, but they don’t understand. The more you force your control over it, the more you lose your true connection to the arcane.”
"Magic is chaotic. You know the lessons. Without a mage's guiding hand, we can only hope to control what the arcane does and does not destroy."
"Yes, but if it's pure power we want..." Xerath cupped his hand. In the curl of his slender fingers, a blue-violet flame sparked into existence. He knew he could shape it as he wished, but he simply let it burn.
On its own, with only the slightest prodding, the flame grew. Soon it burned fiercely in his hand, its raw power coursing through him and warming his very core.
“All it needs is a vessel,” he said.
He turned his gaze up from the flame to see Tabia looking at him, not his magic. She smiled again, and her beauty drew his mind away from the arcane. Between them, the flame grew stronger…
…and then reality blurred around him.
The temple darkened and Tabia’s face faded from his view. For a moment he remembered the summoners' trick and the Institute of War, but pain drew him back into another memory.
Sheer, limitless power set him aflame from the inside out. Deep within, at his very core, he felt a searing agony where the fire burned too hot, threatening to burn its way to the surface, to consume and destroy him.
The arcane needed a vessel… but his frail human form could only hold so much.
Xerath grimaced. “I will not allow this mortal body to stop me." He held out his hand. Arcane fire sprung from his fingertips, crackling with power as it formed runes that hung briefly in the air.
The burning, blinding-white magic quickly grew to a tumultuous wind around him. An ancestral statue shattered, its pieces crashing to the ground and shaking the foundation of the temple. It took all of his strength and will to hold the spell. Even then it swelled and flared, threatening to break free.
But a voice rose above the chaos. “Xerath! Stop!”
Xerath’s hold over the ritual wavered as he turned towards her voice. She stood at the foot of a Magi ancestor, her dark hair a stark frame to her pale, beautiful face.
"You mustn't do this," she shouted, her eyes burning fearlessly. "It will consume you. It is killing you already, and you would only let it do its work faster!"
"Tabia," Xerath pleaded, his voice hoarse and trembling. "Please, you don't understand…"
The spiraling arcane twisted and pulsed like a storm above them. Xerath felt it slip further from his grasp.
"You do not need this," she said, and there was pleading in her voice, too. "Stop it now, and you can heal. You can have life again. I can help you," she paused. "Come home."
Xerath's will faltered. Perhaps she was right. He imagined himself at home, away from the Magi and the arcane forever, and all the pain it had caused him. The way it had eaten at him from within, all gone. Perhaps...
Tabia mouthed something, but Xerath could not hear her. The statue above her shuddered and began to collapse.
At the sound of Tabia’s scream, the rest of the statues and the Temple walls began to crumble with the force of Xerath’s spell. He'd lost control. At its center, he covered his face with his hands, shouting her name in agony. His brief vision of home and escape from the arcane had been lost as soon as he’d found the strength to reach for it.
It was too late to stop the spell. It would consume him, too, and he trembled in terror at the prospect. All of his efforts for naught... everything he'd worked for, lost.
Unless he finished the ritual.
He hesitated. Part of him wished to accept death, but a greater part still remembered what he'd set out to do—to become something greater. To transcend the mortal body that held other mages back.
He had nothing left but this. Though his whole body ached with weakness, Xerath steeled himself.
I will become eternal… or I will die.
He raised his arms and the writhing mass of magic above him again gained some semblance of form, but still it expanded, destroying the remaining Magi statues and the temple's walls. Xerath pulled the spell inward with all the strength he could muster, blocking out what he could see of the temple collapsing around him.
For a moment, in the chaos of the arcane, he could see a reflection of himself: a pale, emaciated man, aged well beyond his years.
As the spell engulfed him, Xerath's eyes were full of fear.
In an instant, the chaos subsided. Xerath was back in the Reflection Chamber, and a hooded summoner stood before him.
"All that power," said the summoner, "And now you are a prisoner."
"An inconvenience," Xerath replied, his voice echoing through the chamber.
"Yet not what you envisioned when you took control of that spell. Do you have regret, Magus?"
"I do not."
The summoner scowled. "You sacrificed yourself, your people, and the woman you loved... all for power. Power you can no longer reach."
"As I said," Xerath continued. "An inconvenience. I will be free."
"Why do you want to join the League, Xerath?"
At this, Xerath paused. "The burden of my prison was brought about because the mages of Shurima could not comprehend what it was I pursued. I will not allow my goals to be misunderstood again. Consider my work with your League, summoner, a show of good faith."
The summoner regarded him quietly for a moment before giving a curt nod. "As you say. How does it feel, exposing your mind?"
Xerath turned away. “I am no longer the naïve student you have exposed," he said, "My previous existence means nothing."
Xerath's image and release date were leaked from the November 2011 issue of PC Gamer.
"This caster champ, a being of pure energy, perfectly captures the feeling of uncontrollable power. He charges up energy with each spellcast, temporarily increasing the damage and cost of subsequent spells. Playing him will be a tricky balancing act between knowing when to open the floodgates and pour out your damage, and when you're better off taking the slow-and-steady route."
Announcement made in the Sneak Peek by Average Gatsby:
At Riot Games a big part of our corporate culture is breaking down barriers through innovation. And, while we’re on the subject, this seems like as good a time as any to introduce our latest champion. Meet Xerath, the Magus Ascendant. Previously one of the most powerful mages in Valoran, Xerath’s learned the hard way just what sort of trouble accepting constraints – in this case a gigantic, enchanted sarcophagus – can get you into.
Of course, even a chained Magus Ascendant is somebody you want to avoid underestimating.
Announcement made in the Mechanics Preview by Morello:
Xerath, the Magus Ascendant, is our newest mage-type character in League of Legends. His playstyle offers a new way to perform the mage-carry role; long range barrages and sieging.
The cornerstone of this is in his ability Locus of Power. This makes Xerath immobile, but gives his spells massively increased range and defense penetration. This really allows him to set up and barrage an area before becoming mobile again to perform a more standard mage role.
Using this range gameplay, Xerath has wide-area spells he can use to really saturate an area with major damage. Arcanopulse, his bread-and-butter ability, shoots a short-delay beam at the area, zapping anyone hit for significant damage. Arcane Barrage, his ultimate, allows him to launch up to three massive explosions at a long range, both doing area denial and good team damage. To protect himself, Mage Chains is a reliable single-target spell that will allow Xerath to stun an enemy if he hits him with a subsequent spell.
Xerath is something we liken to a Howitzer or artillery piece. He should really appeal to people who enjoy very long ranges and like aiming skillshots and leading targets. We’re excited to offer a new mage paradigm to League of Legends, and will be continuing to add new ways to play existing roles into the game.
If you’ve been waiting for that new Xerath skin that really gets you all hot and bothered, your long wait is over. Scorched Earth Xerath is exploding onto the Fields of Justice for all you budding pyrotechnicians, fireworks enthusiasts and anybody else who thinks the process of combustion is really, really cool. Featuring an appropriately incendiary complement of new spell effects befitting his fiery new look, this is one take on the Magus Ascendant you won’t want to miss.
Arcanopulse: Fires a long-range beam of energy, dealing magic damage to all targets hit.
Locus of Power: Xerath anchors himself to a source of magical power, increasing the range of all spells and granting him bonus % Magic Penetration. Although he is immobilized while Locus of Power is active, his movement speed increases upon disabling the ability.
Mage Chains: Deals magic damage to an enemy and marks them with Unstable Magic. The next spell Xerath strikes this enemy with stuns them.
Arcane Barrage: Calls down a blast of arcane energy, dealing magic damage to all enemies in an area. May be cast up to three times before going on cooldown.
Ascended Form (Innate): Xerath feeds on arcane power, making him increasingly resilient to physical harm. He converts a percentage of his Ability Power into Armor.