Overthinking it: League of Legends – Sensible female champions?
How did I get here? Well, I don’t play League of Legends because MOBA-style games are generally not my thing, but I do have several friends and acquaintances that do, and one of them linked this image of Diana and Leona to me.
Since I hadn’t heard many good things about the female LoL champions and their dress sense, this image kinda intrigued and impressed me. In fact, Diana’s armour may be one of the best female armour designs I have ever seen. So I started talking to mister Jarenth who linked me more images of Miss Fortune and Sona. While I initially was willing to give the pirate the benefit of the doubt, I did see that things were a bit dire. So I got the idea to check out all the female champions, and see how they held up.
I found a total of 34 female champions, including Anivia, even though she’s not humanoid. I evaluated the way they were dressed, tried to figure out what sort of profession they had, how appropriate the clothing was for that profession, did some comparisons, deliberations and minor soul-searches, and placed them in three categories. 8 of them ended up in Pro, 6 in Neutral and 20 in Con. I will try to give some short explanations for why with all of them. Keep in mind this is all (mainly) first impression stuff.
Edit: A 35th champion has been added: Kayle, who I completely missed when looking over the list myself.
Edit II: Added the 36th female champion: Nami.
Edit III: Added the 37th female champion: Vi.
Edit IV: Added the 38th female champion: Quinn; Updated Karma’s profile to reflect her revamp.
Edit V: Added the 39th female champion: Lissandra; Updated Sejuani’s profile to reflect her revamp.
Edit VI: Made it so all the small images link to larger versions.
Edit VII: Added the 40th female champion: Jinx.
All artwork below accredited to Riot Games.I will list the champions by category:
While the idea of a Cryophoenix is a little bizarre, I can’t really make any assertions of sexualised design, pandering or inappropriate clothing. I do think it’s worth nothing that Anivia is the only non-humanoid identified as female, unless you count Cassiopeia. Safe Pro.
I hope I don’t really have to explain this one, but she’s a little girl in a pretty dress who wears a backpack for her stuff (sensible and practical), wields magic and has the most sinister teddy bear I’ve ever seen. She’s even wearing sensible shoes, so I feel pretty safe in calling this one a Pro.
As I said; One of the best female armour designs I’ve ever seen in fiction. Fully covering, no overt boob-plate, no boob window, no high heels, no bare midriff, and it seems to be actually made out of metal. A lack of helmet is really the only thing I could nitpick at, but honestly not a huge issue for a game. Whoever designed this one: Good work. Definite Pro.
I missed this one on my first and second examination of the list, because it honestly didn’t register that this helmet might hide a woman’s head. This armour design is actually quite amazing, and just as impressive as Diana’s. Seeing how well Riot can do these champions just makes it sadder seeing the others that so blatantly pander. A nice, golden Pro.
So this one is titled the Ice Witch. I’ve been studying the full picture for a while trying to figure out if she’s human or not. Going by the bio, I guess she once was, but now she’s something else? I actually like the outfit. For a Witchy McCasterson those robes fit well, and there’s not like there’s any super-boob-socks going on or any silly openings on display. I can’t actually see her feet because of the ice crystals, but let’s give her the benefit of the doubt. Those shoulderpads though… if she raises her hands, do they hook on her helmet? I can only assume the helmet is there to help her concentrate on her First Sight*, being a witch and all. I’ll give her an observant Pro.
*Because of the confusion inherent with this term, I will explain it using Terry Pratchett’s definition. People, as a whole, see what they want to see. What they expect to see. That’s how it works for most people, most of the time, and it’s a defensive mechanism to preserve our sanity. For people of the witchy persuasion, this is known as Second Sight. First Sight is seeing what is actually there. Second Sight can be confused by glamours and illusions and just our own brain trying to protect us, but First Sight always gives the full and complete truth of what you are seeing. Even for practised and experienced witches using First Sight is usually quite draining.
Okay, her hat is the size of her entire body, and her hair is easily twice the size of that, and she looks absolutely awesome. Proper wizard’s hat, wizard’s robe, wizard’s staff, sensible trousers and pointy shoes. Her size makes no sense, but I love this design. Guaranteed Pro.
I was unsure about this one at first, so I did a Google Image search to see if I could find more angles to help make my decision. Apparently she’s a wizard or priest or some sort of magic user, and she wears sensible boots. Okay, the boob-plate is silly as always, but her attire covers her body well, striking a nice line between practical and sexy. So I gave her a place in Pro.
Okay, considering the size of her head I’d think a helmet would be in order, but I’m willing to assume she knows how to duck behind her shield. The armour is well-crafted, seeming to be a fine mix of impressiveness, protection and versatility. The kind of figure you can easily see dominating a battlefield in spite of her size, which really only puts her in better reach of vulnerable knees, ankles and crotches. With a spiked mace. A shiny Pro.
I love this. I really do. I checked a few alternate images to make sure, but yeah. I love this character design. Even the bird has gotten a light plate to deflect arrows. She’s a ranged character with a fully covering outfit with strategic armour plating and a nice colour-scheme. And it’s feminine, graceful and honestly sexy. It all seems very well thought out, and I can find no fault with this. They’ve even given her sensible footwear. Good job, Riot. I mean, I knew you had it in you after seeing Diana, but it’s nice to know that wasn’t a fluke. I’ll give this one a straight-shooting Pro.
Most definitely an engineer. From everything I see, she is all about the boom, and having the biggest boom available. I really can’t fault anything on her armour design. She even has a handy backpack for bombs. Practical and sensible Pro.
This is the reason I created the Neutral category in the first place. While not bad enough to go in Con, I also didn’t feel comfortable putting her in Pro. Her armour looks to be 80% the same as Lux’s, but unlike Lux this is a sword wielder, and as such I don’t find the light covering on the stomach and hips to be all that acceptable. Maybe it’s some form of soft metal or thick leather, but it honestly looks more like cloth.
The initial instinct here was to put her straight into Con, but taking a second look things weren’t as bad as I first thought. Good boots, armoured leggings, hip guards, covered arms, and sensible-looking shoulder pads. The exposed sides and strapless chestwear means I don’t feel like putting her any higher than Neutral though.
This was a bit of a tricky one, as this little image doesn’t really show too much, apart from deepening the mystery of how her spine works. But I searched around and found some model viewer images and alternate poses, so I have gotten some more insight. Her outfit is okay. While I don’t really understand why she has one leg exposed, the tattoo is pretty rad, so I’ll forgive that. I honestly do not understand how those shoulderpads stay on though. Possibly glue. And the top covers her up well, so I do like that. Okay, it’s just cloth, but she’s a caster, and she needs to be fast and agile. Which brings me to the only point of contention. High-heels. They look more like plateau shoes than pointy heels, but still. Running around with that stuff is far from sensible, even though you could call it badass. If you feel like it. It is with a sad heart that I’m bumping Karma down to a balanced Neutral.
Based on that first image I was linked I was fully prepared to place Leona in Pro in spite of the rather overt boob-plate, but then I saw this image and noticed the high heels. I’m sorry, but there’s just no way. She’s wearing plate armour, has a huge shield and a large sword. Balance is a real issue, as she might need help to get up should she fall over. So while I’m a little sad to do so, I felt I had to place her in Neutral.
This one actually threw me for a loop. A clockwork woman? Using a giant ball as her weapon? And obviously crafted to appeal to a certain ideal. She is still a robot though, so with that in mind I felt it was best to place her in Neutral.
I was initially tempted to put her in Con as well, but I did my best to look at her practically, and taking her barbarian background into consideration. Considering the way she holds the sword, I can extrapolate her most likely combat pose, which would explain the shoulder and calf guards being where they are, and her being relatively exposed elsewhere to reduce personal weight and increase agility. So while her design smacks of pandering to a degree, I feel pretty confident in placing her in Neutral without checking to see if there’s an image of her footwear.
This is a significant improvement on the old skin, I’ll give it that much. True, the weapon looks less menacing, she’s forgotten her shield somewhere and the war-piggy looks more silly, but at least she’s clothed in something that both looks like it can keep her warm, and possibly even protected. Not sure why they switched which side her horn is on, but that doesn’t matter. What does matter is that boob-plate. I’ve seen Riot do female chestplates right on character like Diana, so there’s really no excuse. This might actually be one of the worst offenders, and in any real situation would likely get her killed. See, a chestplate is supposed to deflect blows away from the chest. This one will guide them right to the centre. If someone came at her with a lance, they’d shatter her. So while it is a huge improvement over the bikini in terms of coverage, I can’t in good conscience elevate her higher than a fur-lined Neutral.
This one took some soul-searching and a Google Image search to try to find a better angle on her. Considering she’s a ranged character her outfit makes a fair amount of sense, and I don’t think crossbows have a large amount of recoil, so I’m not looking too harshly at the high heels here, even though they’re still enough to keep her out of Pro, if only just. Then I found the boob window on some other artwork, and noticed I could just about see it here as well. I let her stay in Neutral though, even though it was a close call.
They were very wise in picking this angle for the artwork, because it obscures the thing that places her firmly in Neutral: the boob window. I wouldn’t have known if I hadn’t already seen several images of her before she was placed on the official online list. And it’s a shame, because I kinda love her outfit apart from that. Okay, the gloves are silly big, but I can roll with that. She’s actually wearing trousers, and thigh guards, and a largely sensible chestpiece apart from the window. She even has good boots! So very nearly a Pro, but I’ll have to settle for giving her a pounding Neutral.
Okay, I can’t fault her on her footwear, and I know Kitsune are creatures of illusion, confusion and distraction, but even so I felt pretty certain in putting her in Con. Her chest looks about to burst out at any moment. The chance of upskirt shots seems high. Also, how are those sleeves staying on?
No. She’s supposed to be some sort of ninja, yes? Agile and fast? With that poorly constrained chest it must hurt like hell. Not to mention there’s a bit too much exposed skin for effective camouflage. Perhaps it still works, but this one goes in Con.
An archer from the frozen north? Dressed like this? You’d think any good archer would know that an exposed cleavage like that is basically a target for other archers to get you straight in the heart. Sorry woman, but you’re a definite Con.
The steampunk is strong in this one. She scores some points for excellent boots and a smashing hat, but this girl is supposedly a sheriff. What’s with the belts on her calves and that skimpy dress? Is that belt pushing up her boobs supposed to be where she keeps ammo and gunpowder? Because her waist belt doesn’t seem to have anything. Confusing Con.
There is absolutely nothing sensible or practical about this ensemble. I’m not even sure how it holds together. And high heels just to add insult to injury. Is she supposed to be a succubus? Even so that’d be a flimsy excuse for this get-up. And the spikes on the back of her shins look like they’d make crouching quite painful. Can she even sit without getting stuck? Spiky Con.
She’s some sort of wind sorcerer, right? That outfit certainly looks like it’d fly off with a slight breeze. The only practical application of those clothes is to make sure the game doesn’t get an 18 rating. Is a proper robe really too much to ask? Floaty Con.
… no. No no no, nope. The design is cool, I love the bazooka, and there’s nothing bad to be said about her boots, but… come on. There is absolutely nothing sensible about her outfit otherwise. Showing so much skin, wearing garish stockings, having 2-metre long hair braids and using an ammunition belt to secure the bra… no doubt it gives her a thoroughly unique look, but this one is definitely an insane Con.
When you use blades it makes perfect sense to have your entire midriff exposed, because no one would think to stick you in the stomach and disembowel you. Nope nope nope. Hint: That’s not a distraction, that’s a big target. Daft Con.
Jarenth showed me the first artworks of this one, and after that first image with Diana and Leona I was willing to give this one the benefit of the doubt. Especially considering this is basically how Rita dresses when she plays pirate. If Miss Fortune sails in tropical waters such attire might make sense, and sailors don’t wear armour anyway because that’d make you sink if you fell overboard. But then I saw the high heels. Always the high heels. On a ship in constant movement, no less. And she was bumped down from Neutral to a salty Con.
They’ve added a titillating mermaid. Marvelous. While I fully understand why she’s not dressed, they still saw fit to give her an extensive cleavage. Just please no. It makes me sigh deeply. I guess I can call her a bubbly Con.
This seems like they started drawing her armour, but got interrupted halfway. Her knickers are showing, and that spike on the bottom of her boob-plate looks like it’ll pierce into her abdomen if she bends forward. And those gloves just don’t look practical in any fashion. Smoldering Con.
While the new artwork doesn’t show her dress as being quite as open as the old one, I still wouldn’t consider this appropriate battlefield attire. The dress still looks half a second away from running off and forming its own band. Also, she kinda reminds me of a female version of that villain guy from Final Fantasy X. I saw the other skins for her as well. They weren’t much better, apart from possibly the Silent Night one. Musical Con.
I don’t even know what this is. A unicorn turned humanoid? Certainly another pretty face. I found a larger version of that image, which showed me that she has hooves. I guess that might explain why she has no trousers, but I don’t feel like it excuses it. If they’d made an actual purple unicorn instead I would have put her in Pro instantly. There’s already the Cryophoenix, so why not? Cloven Con.
I question the logistics of that outfit. How does she put it on? Take it off? Are those straps attached to the outfit, or are they separate? Is it all done by magic? And it seems it’s not so much cleavage as it is another boob window. Fantastic. Glow-eyed Con.
Aside from bearing a resemblance to a certain Batman villain, there is an impressive amount of pandering on display here. Okay, she’s ranged, but there’s nothing stopping an arrow to chest or stomach. Even those parts that are flimsily covered don’t look like they’d stop much of anything, apart from an 18 rating. Oh wait, I already did that one. Bah, it bears repeating. Weedy Con.
So that was all 35 female champions that I could find. If there are more, I wouldn’t mind adding them to the list. Perhaps you disagree with my opinions here, and that’s fine. It’d take some impressive arguments to change my mind on any of them though.