Just when you thought Noxus couldn’t get any creepier, a vampiric renegade from the Grey Legion has come crawling out of the shadows to join League of Legends’ ever-growing champion list.
Who is Briar?
Briar, the Restrained Hunger is a “failed” experiment of the shadowy Noxian organization known as the Black Rose. Heavily tied to their Grey Legionnaires – bloodthirsty zombie warriors reanimated to fight again – Briar is a similar experiment, but more vampiric in nature. Unlike the refined and suave Count Dracula-style vampire represented by Vladimir, Briar is slightly more feral and bestial, an insatiably hungry ghoul that sits somewhere between Nosferatu and Gollum in terms of aesthetics. After breaking away from her creators, Briar is on a mission to figure out what she wants to do in the world, make a few friends and eat a few snacks along the way.
Behind the scenes at Briar
Clearly, Briar is a project that the team at Riot is very excited to work on, and much of that is reflected in the bubble and charm that is so crucial to the character’s personality. Max Folkman is the narrative writer behind Briar, who is the first Champion he has given narrative direction to while working for Riot. Folkman indicated that there is something crucial to Briar’s characterization in terms of innocence – she may be a voracious, blood-sucking ghoul, but she is not necessarily evil – Briar is a very primary representation of vampirism as a need to seek food and feed compulsively.
As she explores the world with her regained freedom, Briar is looking for kindred spirits to connect with and make some sense of the world while controlling her hunger. Earlier, this was kept in check by Briar’s pillory – the large, runny, spiky set of manacles clamped around her hands and head – but in times of great bloodlust after her escape, Briar manages to free herself from this restraint. Interestingly, Folkman noted that Briar’s pillory is similar to Riven’s rune blade, both in terms of aesthetics and functionality – it can be split up and reshaped, and this can lead to some interesting narrative moments between the two characters when they meet. Folkman’s favorite interactions Briar has, however, are with Sion, with the unwieldy general being the poster boy for the Grey Legion and Briar being their biggest failure.
Briar’s skill design was led by Riot August, who said she originally had an ultimate deal of 1,000,000 real damage to herself and then resurrected, feasting on nearby champions. As fun as this sounds, it is a “bit” over the top, but sums up what Briar is about for August – losing control. Briar reused some parts of an old Naafiri kit for this purpose and was born, with a kit centered around buffing and self-taunting, barring players from entering the champion’s actions when going into a feeding frenzy on an enemy. August noted that Briar – unlike many recent champions – was not designed with competitive professional play as a particularly important part of the discussion, but instead is a fun character for the design team and for fans that is functionally and philosophically unique in its gameplay from League of Legends’ pre-existing roster. Intended for the jungle, but with the option to curve into the top lane, it will be interesting to see how this coin flip strategy plays out on the gap.
Briar’s Passive is Crimson Curse – Briar has no innate health regeneration, but instead gains an urgent cure as her health declines. In addition, Briar’s attacks apply a stacking bleed that deals damage over time and heals Briar for a fraction. Briar heals for any remaining bleeding damage when an enemy dies.
Briar’s Q skill is Head Rush – Briar jumps to a target, stuns them and breaks their armor. During a blood rage, Briar stops prioritizing Champion targets when she casts this skill on a minion.
Briar’s W skill is Blood Frenzy/Snack Attack – Briar breaks out of her pillory and enters a Blood Frenzy in which she gains attack speed and movement speed and her attacks do damage in an area. During the Blood Frenzy, Briar relentlessly pursues the nearest enemy (prioritizing champions) and can reactivate the ability to take a bite out of her target on her next attack, dealing additional damage based on the target’s missing health and healing her based on the damage dealt.
Briar’s E ability is Chilling Scream – during a Blood Frenzy, Briar can cast this ability and will begin channeling, taking less damage and healing some of her maximum health. The scream damages and slows enemies hitting, while also ending the Blood Frenzy. When fully charged, the scream hits back and stuns enemies who hit walls.
Briar’s R skill is Certain Death – Briar kicks a hemolite, which travels a great distance and marks the first enemy hit as prey. Briar then rushes to her prey, fearing surrounding enemies upon arrival and in a state of hematomania, gaining additional Armour, Magic Resist, Lifesteal and Movement Speed, and the effects of Blood Frenzy. Briar will pursue the enemy until one of them dies, or she breaks out of hematomania with Chilling Scream.
Briar takes a bite out of the chasm as of today, Sept. 13.