Hello everybody, and welcome back to another Fan Community Spotlight. Just last week when I had my first FCS on a fan-made Legends of Runeterra set, here's another one! I for one, am a fan of this surge of new fan-made Legends of Runeterra content and would love to see this ball keep rolling. We just had the 2021 Roadmap announced to us two days ago, so the timing works out perfectly.
This installment is a little bit different though because we're talking about only 4 cards in this installment. Why so few? Well, it's just because of the way these cards happened to be posted as well as the fact that I wasn't sure when I would get another opportunity to do an FCS on some more Runeterra cards.
Today, I've got Topandito with me to talk about the 4 League of Legends champions that they decided to make into fan-made Legends of Runeterra cards: Poppy, Tristana, Ahri, and Sion.
But now it's time for Topandito to take the table with the questions I asked.
How long have you been making your own cards?
Topandito: "In all honesty I'm relatively inexperienced in making cards. I have done a fair few Hearthstone cards off and on, though a lot of them I didn't end up sharing. A few times I managed to let them loose on HearthCards but usually I'm a nervous person when it comes to giving my ideas to the community. I played a lot of LoL in the past though so LoR really got my creative juices flowing and with current events keeping me at home I decided to be a bit more open with my ideas to see what sort of feedback I might get. At some point down the line I might even come back to them and make a forum post focus on adjustments, assuming real versions of these characters haven't already come about. "
2. What inspired you to make these particular cards? Can you give your thought process on each one?
Topandito: "A lot of these characters are ones that I grew attached to during my time playing LoL. Poppy was my number one Top Laner and I enjoyed her so much that I'd often take her into the Support or Jungle roles as well. The others are all in the same boat to lesser extents, being champions I played often or enjoyed a lot. Of course I also didn't want to make designs that were too forced so I stuck to ones that came more naturally. Some ones I considered doing where Nami, Renekton, Kayle, Xerath to name a few. The reasons I've hesitated though is because a lot of them didn't have designs that really popped for me. That or they were from factions not yet in the game and I didn't feel quite confident enough to work from the ground up in trying to decide what Shurima would be good at.
Poppy: Poppy is a champion that is always right in the middle of things, whether that is in the form of engaging the enemy or being the last to disengage to try and ensure a safe retreat for the team. That has been how I've seen her at least and that is what I wanted to capture. On top of that her personality is very warm and thoughtful, so I wanted to have her feel protective and selfless. I thought about making her more stun heavy but I decided to go a bit more defensive in her design. This was because a lot of Demacian champions right now very much push a more aggressive play style and I wanted to have her stand out. I think I got her design down pretty well but if I were to make changes I'd likely reduce her attack by one point or so just to make her a little less reliable in killing when she blocks. I'd also make her ability to be played at fast speed into a keyword of its own. The only reason I didn't is because I was using an out of date card making program at the time and it didn't offer the ability to make entirely new keywords.
Tristana: Tristana was a bit tricky for me. By the standards of Marksmen she is a lot less subtle than most given her use of a cannon over the usual rifle, pistol or crossbow that a lot champions in LoL use in one form or another. As an expected result of that she has a lot of Area of Effect abilities, and the most iconic part of her kit is the explosive she can plant on an enemy which grows in power as that enemy is hit by her. This was the part of her that I chose to focus on. I really liked the idea of creating a conflict of interests between the two players by making her aim to focus down a unit the enemy has, while also incentivising the opposing player to protect it from harm. If I were to change her at all I'd once again make the effect a proper keyword and I might decide to change her level effect to stop her from snowballing. That said she isn't a champion that would always be easy to level up so it might just be my habits of being overly cautious.
Ahri: Ahri is the champion that I'm the most proud of out of all of these actually, at least in terms of the idea. I feel like I captured her really well, even if it might not be the most powerful design in its current form. I focused mainly on trying to get her to feel like the high mobility mage that she is meant to be. The recall mechanic fit this idea perfectly so I decided to have her focus on being played and bounced repeatedly. Of course you're also very heavily incentivized to keep her on board at the end of each round since you don't want to pay her full price on the following rounds. This would (I hope) create a nice balance that you need to keep as a player in order to keep her safe. If I were to make a change to her effects I would consider giving her the Attune keyword. I had it on her when I first made her but removed it because I worried it might be too extreme of a push to allow her to generate spell mana. Looking back on it though it might've been a good idea since recalling your own units is really difficult to make work.
Sion: With Sion I feel like there are a few concerns that I have. Thematically I get the impression I did pretty well, he very much has that growing power that the Sion from LoL offers and he is very much a looming threat that your opponent needs to sweat about if he manages to level up and get that spooky Last Breath effect. As his visuals make all too clear this is what he is meant to be. He is one of the more visually terrifying champions in LoL and is driven by a need to kill so that he can feel alive again. These things I think I managed to capture. As much as I love to get the theme down pat though I do worry about Sion's balance. His Last Breath can be insane in the right situation but I feel like his cost makes him hard to drop reliably onto the board. I wanted him to be an end game bomb for decks that ran Noxkraya Arena or Reckoning so in the end I decided to just let the theme I was going for take priority. If I were to adjust him though I would consider reducing his cost by 1 or consider ways that I could keep him from being so easily removed."
Do you have anything behind the scenes you'd like to share?
Topandito: "I've not got a lot to say about the behind the scenes honestly, I just wanted to see what these champions might look like when they come to LoR. I would spend a late night mulling it over while I did other things and when an idea struck me I'd pop open the card creation page and see if I could cobble it into a coherent concept. "
What design philosophies do you have? What advice do you wish to spread to future creators?
Topandito: "My design philosophies are pretty simple really and they are the same philosophies I use for other projects like writing. I think a good card idea is like any other idea, if you try and force it to come out you'll just push it away instead. I'm not saying that my card designs are necessarily good, that is usually for others to say, since a creator always looks at things from a weird angle. What I mean is that an idea should be something that comes naturally, if you just mull it over for a while it will eventually take shape without you even realizing it."
Do you have anything else you'd like to share?
Topandito: "I'd actually like to give a bit of credit where its due. A lot of the changes that I mentioned for cards were suggestions on the forums that I made. Though I didn't get as much criticism as I would have liked, a lot of the people who did respond had some great insight and managed to offer ideas in a very constructive manner. I really appreciate those that took the time to analyze my work."
This was a bit of a shorter one than I usually do, but in any event, I hope you enjoyed reading this installment. Let us know what you think of the cards below and I will see you guys in the next installment.