Neeko is Riot Games’ New Shapeshifting Champion

League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games.
League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games. /

After nearly six months, Riot Games has finally released the next champion to grace the Fields of Justice, Neeko. As a shapeshifting mage, she’ll be sure to pummel enemies with bursts of magic while leaving them wondering just who it is they’re really fighting.

I had the luck and good fortune to be invited to Riot a few months ago to playtest some upcoming content for them. I’m not allowed to say much, but I can say that Neeko was part of that playtest, so I’m thrilled to finally see her revealed to the public. Before we get into the most unique aspect of her kit, her passive, let’s take a quick look at the rest of her ability set.

  • Q – Blooming Burst: Neeko deals damage in a target area. If the burst kills an enemy or damages an enemy champion or large monster, the damage will apply again, up to two additional times.
  • W – Shapesplitter
    • Passive: Every third auto deals additional damage and increases Neeko’s movement speed for a short period of time.
    • Active: Neeko turns invisible and gains bonus movement speed until she reappears. She also sends a temporary clone of herself in a targeted direction.
  • E – Tangle-barbs: Neeko sends out a skillshot, rooting and damaging enemies in a line; the last enemy champion hit is rooted for longer. If E – Tangle-barbs hits more than two enemies, it grows in size, speed, and root duration.
  • R – Pop Blossom: Neeko charges for a short time before jumping into the air, slowing enemies in a large AOE and gaining a shield. When she lands, she deals a large amount of damage and stuns enemies.

Most of Neeko’s kit is fairly run-of-the-mill; targeted AOE damage, skillshot roots, and AOE nukes aren’t new mechanics in League of Legends by any means. Where Neeko really shines, however, is those abilities’ synergy with her Passive – Inherent Glamour, which allows her to shapeshift into any of her allies for a short period of time.

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This is especially powerful when combined with W – Shapesplitter and R – Pop Blossom, as both can be cast while disguised without revealing her. That means Neeko can shapeshift into an allied Shaco and then cast W – Shapesplitter while Shaco casts his ultimate, Hallucinate. That adds up to four Shacos and a big headache for an enemy.

Neeko can also use R – Pop Blossom while under the guise of an ally. Doing so allows the charge-up time of her ult to remain hidden and will not reveal Neeko until she leaps into the air. As a control mage, Neeko is likely to have a low HP pool, which means impersonating an ally at the right time to nuke and stun the enemy backline will be crucial to her success.

Although Neeko will likely primarily be played mid-lane, don’t be surprised if you see the curious chameleon creeping around bot-lane as a support. Landing an E – Tangle-barbs sets up easy poke with a triple Q – Blooming Burst, and she has plenty of ways to dissuade and survive ganks. Keep a close eye out for Neeko in a few weeks, and try not to get too confused when she hits the rift.

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What do you think about Neeko? What position will she be mostly played in, and will she be as frustrating as many are already speculating her to be?