Champion Skins are an upcoming feature in Legends of Runeterra which will be released in May 2021 along side Guardians of the Ancients, the 2nd expansion of the Empires of the Ascended set.


What are Champion Skins?

Riot has not made any official announcements about Champion Skins except for their May release date. We suspect they will be implemented similar to Champion Skins in League of Legends -- cosmetic-only features which change the aesthetics of your corresponding Champion cards. This could manifest in many different ways:

  • Artwork for the Champion cards
    • This might also change the Champion images displayed before the match in the "VS" screen 
    • Artwork for associated tokens such as Quinn's Valor or Maokai's Saplings could change as well
  • In-game voice lines 
  • Level-up animations

Champion Skins will be the second cosmetic enhancement system added to Runeterra; the first was Prismatic Card Styles. We haven't heard any official comments on how the Champion Skins and Prismatic Card Styles will interact, but we anticipate that they would be two independent options. For example, you chose between vanilla artwork without Prismatic style, vanilla artwork with Prismatic style, skin-specific artwork without Prismatic style, or skin-specific artwork with Prismatic style.


What Are LOL's Champion Skins Like?

 

"Little Devil Teemo" from Halloween 2016 

In League of Legends, champion skins are released in small sets with a common theme. Runeterra players may recall last year's Spirit Blossom event in LOR; that brought with it associated "spirit-themed" skins for Cassiopeia, Lillia, Riven, Thresh, Vayne, Ahri, Kindred, Teemo, Yasuo, and Yone in LOL. Similarly, the K/DA All Out event brought associated "popstar-themed" skins for Ahri, Akali, Evelynn, Kai'Sa, and Seraphine. And we've already seen the preview of LOL skins for the upcoming Ruination event.

  

LOL's skins aren't limited to lore events, however. Skins have been released to commemorate holidays, celebrate e-sports events, or "just for fun" such as the Culinary Masters and Pool Party sets.

 


How are Champion Skins Obtained in LOL?

The most direct way is to obtain a new Champion skin in League of Legends is to purchase it outright using Riot Points ("RP"), a cash-only currency comparable to LOR Coins. Alternatively, there are multiple in-game systems for earning Champion Skins through gameplay. These systems revolve around 3 critical resources: "Skin Shards", "Skin Permanents", and "Orange Essence".

A "Skin Shard" is like a discount coupon towards a particular Champion Skin. Players have a few options for how to spend Skin Shards including:

  • Spend Orange Essence to Upgrade the shard (i.e., unlock the corresponding skin)
  • Disenchant the shard into a modest amount of Orange Essence 
  • Consume 3 Skin Shards to Reroll into 1 random Skin Permanent

"Skin Permanents" are also tied to a particular Champion Skin except that they function more like vouchers. They have similar options to Skin Shards except that they can freely unlock the corresponding skin (i.e., upgrades do not require any additional Orange Essence) and they give even more Orange Essence when disenchanting.

"Orange Essence" is an in-game currency dedicated for purchasing cosmetic options. Orange Essence is similar to LOR's Essence, the currency used to unlock the Prismatic Card Style for specific cards. It is possible LOR's Essence will also play a similar roll to LOL's Orange Essence when Champion Skins are introduced.