As many League of Legends fans will already know, Udyr is getting a massive rework to both his visuals and his in-game abilities. A beloved character in the hearts of the community, including early adopters of the super-popular MOBA and competitive players alike, this massive undertaking came at the request of a community poll earlier in the year.
As such, we’ve broken down every change coming to Udyr with insights from the development team responsible sprinkled throughout. With hopes of preserving his original style, modernising his look, and converging his lore to recent events, has the team reformed Udyr for the better? Let's find out!
Udyr’s new abilities and gameplay
The new Udyr is a Juggernaut, intended primarily for jungle, but top is an alternative kept in mind with this rework. While he has a collection of revamped abilities to use in game, he’ll still be charging headfirst into fights and switching stances to apply different effects. In this way, he’ll feel very familiar to pre-existing Udyr players on live servers right now.
Passive: Udyr has four basic stances, each related to a Freljordian demigod. Every 30s he can awaken his active stance by recasting it. This refreshes the stance, and provides bonus effects. In addition, Udyr has Monk Training. After casting or re-casting an ability, Udyr’s next two attacks gain 40% attack speed.
Q: Wilding Claw. Udyr goes into Claw Stance. This gives attack speed, and causes the next two attacks to deal bonus burst damage. When awakened, the attack speed bonus is increased, and the next two attacks arc lightning that bounces up to six times. If no alternative targets are nearby, these can hit the original target.
W: Iron Mantle. Udyr goes into Mantle Stance. Gain a shield, with your next two attacks restoring health. When awakened, the shield is refreshed (and stacks on top of any shield you already have). You also recover a large amount of maximum health over two seconds.
E: Blazing Stampede. Udyr goes into Stampede Stance. Gain a burst of movement speed, with your first attack against each target stunning them. When awakened, the movement speed bonus is increased, and you can crowd control immunity for a brief time.
R: Wingborne Storm. Udyr goes into Storm Stance. This summons a glacial storm, damaging and slowing nearby enemies. Your next two attacks increase the storm’s area of effect. When awakened, the storm detaches from Udyr and tracks to the enemy he most recently attacked. This also does more damage.
Stash Chelluck, gameplay designer for Udyr, filled us in on the thought process when creating this new moveset. “We wanted to keep the kit similar to what it is on live servers right now. It’s still all about getting in close and dealing damage, leaning into the identity of his old version… Old Udyr felt flat without the punchy moments you’d see from newer champions. The awakened system is an answer to that”.
He continues, “We also tried to preserve his build diversity, so AP, AD, and tankier build should still be playable.” Although, Chelluck later stated that building with some tankiness is recommended due to his hard-engage melee playstyle.
Udyr’s new visual design
As the world of Runeterra’s most powerful spirit walker, now located in the chilly Freljord, Udyr had to be redesigned to reflect his current position in the world. With the Udyr VGU, the champion is older, and dressed to fit his new home.
Art lead Justin Albers broke down all the key changes: “This new skin reflects the places Udyr has been, like Ionia in the past where he trained with Lee Sin, and of course now the Freljord. His physical build reflects the frozen place he’s in, he’s bulky and clearly physically strong to reflect the rough environment. As an ode back to his time in Ionian past, he has Mai tai style wraps on his hands which he get from Lee Sin, as well as his Ionian beads around his waist.
We asked whether ageing up older characters will be something we see more of in the future as Riot goes back and redevelops older characters in the roster and pushes them to the modern-day lore as they have with Udyr. Dana Shaw, narrative designer at Riot Games, responded by stating that while it’s certainly an option moving forward, it's one of many. "It allowed us to connect Udyr to the Freljord and give him something to do that wasn’t tied to Sej. It’s certainly one of the strategies we have in the toolbox in the future”.
Spirit Guard Udyr changes
While the new Udyr skin is obviously the main event with his update, old school fans of the champ will surely want to know how the first ever ultimate skin for League of Legends will be improved alongside it. For Udyr, rather than make it an ultimate version of his new Freijordian version, we get a what if? Udyr, that shows us what he would have turned out like had he stayed in Ionia. This means, the classic tiger, turtle, bear, and phoenix stances are back too!
Spirit Guard Udyr has celestial weapons that appear around his fists depending on his stance, as well as fully realised animal spirit gods appearing behind him as he attacks. This skin, according to product lead Lexi Gao, is meant to pay homage to the old stances, with Albers following up to state that the intent was to bring the skin up to modern standards while keeping things faithful.
The new Udyr is playable right now in the League of Legends PBE, and is expected to make it to live servers in patch 12.16. Are you excited to give the new Udyr a go? Let us know below!