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League of Legends

Nilah is League of Legends’ Newest Champion

Izabela Tomakic

Over the years, the developers at Riot Games mastered the craft of designing League of Legends champions to a degree of such refinement that creating a perfect traditional marksman or an outstandingly-balanced mid-lane mage doesn’t even begin to comply with their ever-changing standards. As a result, Riot developers have been deconstructing their own previously established principles, and designing unconventional champions that refuse to conform to the formula.


Image Credit: Riot Games

Nilah, The Joy Unbound, definitely belongs to this category, since she’s a bot lane melee hypercarry marksman. Nilah’s concept was first revealed to the community during the first Season 2022 Opening Day Stream on January 7th. Since the previous champion, Bel’Veth, hit the live servers on June 9th in patch 12.11, nobody expected to see the next one any time soon. However, Riot Games revealed Nilah in a champion trailer on June 17th. Nilah will hit the live servers on July 13th with patch 12.13.

Refusing the limits of human ability, Nilah is a confident and joyful woman who the essence of water as she seeks to protect those who can’t defend themselves. Fearless, well-educated on Runeterra’s history and legends, and feverish with the need to protect, Nilah enters Summoners Rift with her water-imbued whip.

Nilah’s Background

Remarkably intelligent and talented, Nilah was a child from a large Kathkani family. Although she grew into a valiant hero, she spent her childhood as an incorrigible bookworm studying Runeterran myths and legends. Overly nostalgic for the era she was never a part of, Nilah obsessed over tales of the Ruined King, the genesis of the first dragons, and the foundation of the universe according to the Kathkan tradition. However, Nilah’s favorite story was the Cycle of Ashlesh, a story of the most powerful demon of the Ten who has been terrorizing the universe.

Ashlesh, who attempted to devour the realm of gods, was cast away and trapped in a lake within the seventh layer of the underworld, where a mythical order of servants guarded it. Yearning for hidden knowledge, Nilah learned Ashlesh and the order lay right beneath. She embarked on her quest to discover the order’s secrets and become a hero herself. However, becoming a hero doesn’t come without a price, as every memory of Nilah vanished without a trace as soon as she began her descent.

After spending ten long years in the depths of the underworld, Nilah returned to the surface with a quest to eradicate the greatest ancient threats: Grandmother Viper, Imago, and demigod Nabavelicus. Today, Nilah’s restless and heroic spirit doesn’t allow her a moment of rest as she continues to pursue these ancient monsters with the help of Ashlesh.

Nilah’s Role

Inspired by South Asian heritage, Nilah’s kit revolves around the water-imbued whip and her melee hypercarry playstyle, paired with innate sustainability and durability. Although Nilah is a highly unconventional marksman, she, in many regards, follows the traditional hypercarry formula. Naturally, Nilah excels in teamfights as soon as she has a few items in her pocket.

Nilah is an exceptional hypercarry when paired with an enchanter due to her passive ability, which amplifies healing and shielding. Even though Nilah seems like a well-rounded champion with little to no counterplay, she can be easily countered and bullied in early- to mid-game by long-range team comps with a lot of CC. This can leave her little breathing room to reach that three-item power spike.

Nilah’s Abilities

Passive – Joy Unending

Nilah amplifies the healing and shielding abilities of nearby allies. If allies heal or shield Nilah, they gain a bonus heal or shield; if they heal or shield themselves, she gets a bonus heal or shield.

When Nilah last hits an enemy minion, she and her nearest allied champion gain the normal amount of shared experience and half of the experience that would have been lost because of sharing.

Q – Formless Blade

Active: Nilah strikes in a line, damaging all enemies hit. Nilah’s attack range and speed increase if she hits an enemy. This also empowers her basic attacks, which now splash in a cone and deal additional damage.

Passive: Attacks and ability damage against champions ignore some of their armor and heal Nilah for part of the damage dealt. This effect scales with crit chance and converts any excess healing into a shield.

W – Jubilant Veil

Nilah shrouds herself, gaining bonus move speed, taking reduced magic damage, and dodging basic attacks.

If Nilah touches an ally with her shroud, they receive the same bonuses, but it lasts a shorter period.

E – Slipstream

Nilah dashes through a target unit, traveling a fixed distance and damaging all enemies she passes through. She can store up to 2 charges at once.

If Nilah casts Formless Blade during Slipstream, she creates a wave in her path, dealing damage after a brief delay, and gets Formless Blade’s enhanced basic attack effect.

R – Apotheosis

Nilah unleashes a surge of power, lashes her whip in an area around her, and pulls enemies in toward the center with a final burst. This also heals Nilah for part of the damage dealt, converting any excess healing into a shield. This effect scales with crit chance and is granted to nearby allies.