Udyr Rework is a masterclass in League of Legends reworks

For the longest time, Udyr sat in a weird space in the League of Legends scene. The Spirit Walker was one of the first champions released, and as a result had a rather simplistic kit. However, as the game grew over the years, Udyr’s kit slowly started to become outdated. He became outclassed by other champions in his role who could do his job, but better.

Despite his status as a misfit in the champion pool, Udyr mains felt a bit of trepidation when Riot announced a rework for him. A common criticism of League of Legends is it’s apparent insistence on overloading the kits of their new characters. Many wanted their lovable angry furry man to retain his identity after rework.

Well, after watching the trailer for Udyr’s rework, fans can breathe a huge sigh of relief. Much to everyone’s delight, Riot decided that they didn’t need to add three dashes and a three-paragraph passive for The Spirit Walker. Instead, they kept the core concept of Udyr’s gameplay, while making some thematic additions to his kit to keep up with the new champions in the game. ,via League of Legends YouTube,

Let’s take a look at the changes made to Udyr’s kit and visuals, and compare them to the rest of Riot’s reworks and champion releases.

Udyr Full Champion Rework

Visual and Thematic Changes

One of the biggest criticisms of Udyr prior to his rework was how much he stuck out like a sore thumb visually and thematically amongst the Champion roster. Being a product of the first days of League, the Spirit Walker didn’t have exactly the same deep lore like his newer counterparts. His model was also horrifically outdated. Simply put, he looked AWFUL on the Rift.

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The updates to Udyr’s design allows him to fit better inside the League landscape. First off, his new model just looks cleaner and more distinct than his old model. Before, he used to give off the vibe of a weird drunk old man who stumbled into his powers. His new looks now makes him more like a tribal chief, or a lone wolf who has spent decades honing his craft in the mountains.

Based on the trailer and info given about him by Riot, Udyr has also been placed inside the wide, wide world of League lore. Astute fans will notice that three of Udyr’s “new” forms are references to certain Freljordian gods that we know and love. Volibear, Ornn, and Anivia are all referenced in the rework, featuring heavily in the gameplay side as well. The fourth god is less known to casual fans: the “Boar” is a god referenced in Tryndamere’s lore as the god his tribe worships.

Gameplay Changes

The gameplay changes, though, are what fans have been mostly curious about. Udyr’s identity is simple: he’s a power farming jungler with little mobility but has insane dueling potential against most junglers. While mains badly wanted an update to his kit, they were hoping that they wouldn’t go the good ‘ol Graves route and completely flip the Champion’s identity upon rework.

So far, the early results seem to indicate that this new Udyr is the same old guy his mains used to love: just with a few new tools to help him out in the new meta. Let’s take a look at his passive first to see what has changed.

Udyr’s passive is largely similar to his old passive: he gets four basic abilities/stances that he can interchange with to deal different types of damage. The main difference, though, is the absence of the move speed buff innately given to him when switching stances. Instead, he gains an Awaken mechanic: Udyr can recast his current stance to gain an extra effect for the same duration.

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The cooldown for an ability to be Awakened is 40 seconds, reduced by 5% for every basic attack landed by Udyr. This means that for Udyr to be successful, he needs to be able to stick to his enemies, just like his old counterpart.

Udyr’s new Q, Wilding Claw, is what replaces his old Tiger Stance. Much like the old Tiger stance, Udyr gets an attack speed buff upon activation of this stance. His next two attacks also deal more damage. However, the real fun happens when Wilding Claw is Awakened.

When Wilding Claw is Awakened, Udyr gets an additional attack speed buff. Similarly, his two empowered autos get more empowered, dealing extra damage to isolated targets.

Udyr’s W, Iron Mantle, functions similarly to his old Turtle Stance. Upon activation, Udyr gains a sizable shield. The character also gains some lifesteal during the period. Upon Awakening this ability, Udyr gains a larger shield, double lifesteal and healing, and also regenerates a set amount of HP over time.

Unfortunately, the good ‘ol “Flash Bear Slap” combo will now have to be replaced. Instead, we’re getting “Flash Ram Slap”… which just doesn’t sound right. Other than that, though, Udyr’s E, Blazing Stampede, is still the same old stun we had from the Bear Stance. There’s a minor tweak in that he gains move speed upon activation, AND he lunges towards his target, making it a more reliable stun.

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As an added bonus, Udyr’s Awakened E grants him the Unstoppable effect for a few seconds. This is the most welcome change to Udyr’s kit, and allows him to compete with the new CC-heavy champions much better.

At first glance, Udyr’s R, Wingborne Storm seems like it’s completely different from his old Phoenix Stance. At it’s core, though, it’s still the same wave-clear Udyr needs to be a good jungler, just slightly modernized to fit today’s game. Upon activation, Udyr gains a massive slow field around him that deals damage to enemies.

Once it’s Awakened, the field deals significantly more damage. Additionally, the ability will seek out the nearest enemy and deal extra damage to it’s target.

Final Thoughts

The Udyr rework, in a lot of ways, is the perfect way to rework old champions with outdated kits. Unlike most of their new releases, Riot decided to keep the overall playstyle of Udyr similar. He’s still an aggressive melee duelist who needs to stick to his opponents to deal maximum damage. However, unlike his old form, The Spirit Walker will now have more tools to survive the overloaded kits of his oppoents.

With a major Aurelion Sol rework on the horizon, League of Legends fans are hoping they can also fix the lovable space dragon the same way they fixed the furry daddy of League.

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