I have sent out the polls for the August 7 Champion recruitment. This vote will conclude on August 7 at 7:00 p.m. Pacific time.
Champions who don’t play well together
Everyone on the Piltover list is pretty chill. However, Noxus and Shurima have some options who really do not play well together. These Champions are mutually exclusive as recruitment options, and factions’ decisions as to which of these rivals to recruit impact the tone of their faction more than is the case with most Champion recruitments.
Noxus—Riven and Singed
The conflict between Riven and Singed is emblematic of the tension within Noxus. Riven left her exile during the Mirrorwater dispute to oppose the pending move to recruit Singed. That time, she succeeded, but Noxus revisited the issue during the war for Shon-Xan, bombing the Ionian countryside with techmaturgic weaponry. During the Hextech Revolution, Swain provoked a Reformist rebellion within Noxus in order to draw out his Reformist adversaries and massacre them with the sudden deployment of his hidden reserves, backed by HexKorps armored battalions from Zaun.
Riven represents traditional Noxian virtues of strength with honor and victory through personal valor. To Riven and other adherents to the “old ways”, the slaughter of noncombatants by artillery barrage shows cowardice rather than strength. It is the right of the strong to rule over the weak, but to kill a defenseless child with toxic hexbombs denies the child their rightful chance to one day become strong, and denies the warrior the honor of facing them in battle on that day.
In contrast, Singed and his brand of industrial warfare represent the “New Noxus” movement elevated to prominence by Grand General Jericho Swain and his determination to seize victory at any cost. A dead opponent is a defeated opponent; you can sing all the glorious war-songs you want once all your enemies are dead and you’ve won, but until then, making them dead is what counts. From this perspective, Riven and her kind are throwbacks to a primitive society obsessed with brute force and personal glory, doomed to extinction as technology marches onward.
As for Cassiopeia and other aristocratic traditionalists, though they are loyal to Swain, they find the “New Noxus” fanatics vulgar and excessive, and the Reformists foolishly idealistic. Setting aside ideology, they are wary of tying Noxus too closely with Zaun, and are scornful of the idea that Noxus requires Zaunite gadgetry to dominate Valoran.
Shurima—Kassadin versus Malzahar and Rek’sai
Icathia was once a principality of the Shuriman Empire. It became corrupted by the Void, triggering an ancient civil war with the Empire, which Shurima won. While Azir is wary of Icathian trickery, he does not fear the Void the way many modern Valoranians do. From an ancient Shuriman perspective, the Void is mere contamination, something that grows in the space between dimensions, like the insects and worms that thrive in the mud beneath flagstones. Such arrogance may, however, prove most costly in the modern world, in which Shuriman magic has almost entirely faded from Valoran and the Void continues to spread.
Azir realized that he had grossly underestimated the Void when, shortly after his resurrection, he set out to slay Rek’sai. The queen of the Xer’sai had emerged after the Battle of Shurima, and terrorized the Sai wastelands. Azir and his Summoners located the Sek’kedj, the fabled Spear of First Light, which an Empress of Shurima had wielded thousands of years ago when she slew Rek’sai. With this weapon, Azir succeeded in striking Rek’sai down…only to witness her violent return within a matter of months, when she tore back through the dimensional fabric and brought a surge of Void energy in her wake. Azir and Nasus crafted a spell that allowed the Summoners of the League to temporarily summon her to the Fields of Justice, draining her energy and giving the people of Shurima some respite, but she is now so tightly bound to Shurima that she phases back to the Sai desert within hours. There is also the small problem of certain Summoners who have mind-linked with her shrieking incoherent nonsense or attempting to burrow through walls—a side effect which remains fortunately rare.
Azir is now faced with a difficult choice. Kassadin urges him to join his crusade against the Void, but Azir fears that in so doing he might lead the newly reborn Shurima to its doom. Malzahar and other Icathians have sent emissaries to Azir’s court with promises of a fruitful alliance.
Note on Secondaries and Tertiaries
There are only three Champion recruitment opportunities left in the arc, counting this one. Because of the rules regarding Secondary and Tertiary pickups, it is strongly recommended that factions recruit a Secondary Champion this round. Tertiary pickups consume two pickups, but the final pickup of the arc is unrestricted. In other words, if you recruit a Tertiary this round, you’ll miss the second-to-last pickup, and then get only one more pickup this arc. In contrast, if you recruit a Secondary this round, you can recruit another Secondary next round, and then grab a Tertiary with the final pickup.
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I’ve created a general discussion thread here. You’re also, of course, encouraged to hit up your faction’s subforum for some secret strategizing.