Riot Games’ newest League of Legends champion, Senna, is fairly unique. She does not fall into the traditional support role, despite her abilities to heal and give shields to allies. She also is not a marksman, even though she has a skill shot, and her ultimate spans the length of the map. Instead, Senna is a combination of both. By taking elements from both roles, Senna puts a twist on a traditional support champion.
This element of duality helped the creative teams at Riot focus her design. As someone who is cursed by dark magic, called the Mist, and saved by light magic, Senna is a character that walks two worlds.
Who is Senna and where has she been?
In a Champion Insight post, the creative teams at Riot described how they designed Senna from the ground up based on this concept of duality. Because of Lucian’s lore, it was common knowledge that she used a gun before she was killed by Thresh. But senior designer August Browning also knew that they wanted to design Senna to be a support character to lane with her husband. Since there were no support marksmen at the time, this gave Browning and their team room to design a new role.
Once the team settled on a weapon for Senna, a massive railgun, it was up to senior narrative writer David “Interlocutioner” Slagle to discover who Senna is. “Everyone thinks they know Lucian and Senna’s story,” said Slagle, “But all we know is Thresh killed Senna. Going into it, she was a woman defined by her relationship to her husband and her torturer. So we had to figure out what makes her her outside of these relationships.”
To do this, Slagle identified the key component of Senna’s backstory. She is cursed, but from that curse she finds her strength. “From a thematic angle, I felt duality was really important,” Browning explained. “This was someone who was put into an awful, hellish place, and going through something like that changes you.”
But how does she play in League of Legends?
Keeping Senna cursed made for more interesting gameplay. Her passive, Absolution, causes enemies to become cursed by the Mist. As she collects lost souls from the Mist, Senna’s attack range and damage increase. Senna’s Q ability, Piercing Darkness, is extremely similar to Lucian’s Piercing Light. The targeted skill shot is a not-so-subtle reminder that the two characters are linked.
Senna’s W, Last Embrace, is another skill shot that heals herself and allies in a line. Any enemies caught by the skill will also take damage. Her E ability, Curse of the Black Mist, causes Senna to create an area of effect of Mist. Allies in the Mist gain a speed buff, as well as making them untargetable until they attack or move too close to an enemy.
Senna’s ultimate ability, Dawning Shadow, is a powerful blast of Mist that spans the entire map. Allies hit by the blast gain a shield, while enemies take a chunk of damage. Though the ability is similar to her Piercing Darkness, being able to hit anyone anywhere on the map can change the outcome of a fight two lanes over.