Introducing Milio, the friendly and fiery enchanter that will be League of Legends' next addition to the Champion roster.
Milio is a glass cannon support that empowers his allies and works well in lane-bullying duos. He is best utilised tucked away in his team's back line, pumping them with movement speed, attack range, healing and cleansing in skirmishes.
As a character, Milio is a 12 year old mage from Ixtal, with his talent only outmatched by his boundless positivity. Milio keeps an eternal, anthropomorphic flame, which he calls 'Fuemigo' in his backpack, a 'furnasita' of his own design.
Unlike the rigid and methodical Qiyana, Milio showcases Ixtal's elemental axioms in a fun and vibrant way, not bound to sharp scientific principles. Milio is travelling to Ixacoan, Ixtal's capital city, in order to be tested by the Vidalion and become a Yun Tal (an elemental master and Ixtal's ruling class) to reclaim his family's honour.
Narrative writer Elyse Lemoine said: "He's very playful, very fun, and very intuitive, which is the opposite of the way Ixtal does magic. To them, elemental magic is science and it's approached in a very rigid and formulaic way.
"Milio has a little bit more flexibility because he tends to just figure things out on his own rather than sticking to a rigid formula. He just has no patience for learning."
Lemoine continued: "Having Milio be this optimistic, fun-loving 12-year-old who sees the good in everything really positions him as someone who can break that cycle of generational trauma and help heal his family."
Let's take a look at Milio's gameplay.
Milio's passive ability is 'Fired Up', and means that allies affected by any of Milio's other abilities receive a buff, which grants them additional damage on their next attack or damaging ability, and applies a burn to the target.
Milio's Q ability is 'Ultra Mega Fire Kick'. Milio kicks a fuemigo ball, which knocks back and stuns the first enemy hit. Additionally, it bounces upwards on a hit before falling down and providing AOE damage and a slow.
Milio's W ability, 'Cozy Campfire' creates an AOE zone that follows the ally closest to it upon cast. Allies inside the zone are healed over time, as well as being granted additional attack range. It also continually applies Milio's passive.
Milio's E ability is 'Warm Hugs', a shielding ability for allies, which additionally provides a temporary movement speed buff. Milio can self-apply this ability.
Milio's R ability is 'Breath of Life', an ultimate cast that cleanses crowd control effects from allies in a large area. It also provides healing for allies. Milio cannot self-cleanse with this ability if he is crowd controlled.
Despite being a fire-based enchanter, Milio stands out from current Champions such as Brand or Annie by showcasing a warmer and friendlier version of the element. This sense of warmth and friendliness was something Riot's game design team wanted to capitalise on.
Myles Sandholm, the Champion designer for Milio, said: "One: he's high energy. I wanted to try and make it feel like there's a lot of excitement in his actions.
"But two is making him feel kind of annoying like a bratty younger brother to some degree.
"The way that he ends up interacting with you in lane is that he's not going to outright kill you, but he'll keep annoying you until you get so fed up that you try and kill him."
Milio's art team worked hard to ensure that his abilities felt cosy and welcoming instead of harsh. Concept artist Nancy Kim stated: "We said 'How do we convey a character that's not aggressive and has this kind of healing, soft flame?'
"We decided to use a lot of round shapes and made sure that there weren't any spikes or things like that coming out of him."
Riot also found it important that Milio provides accurate Latino representation, and so worked with Riot Unidos (its resource group for Latin-American employees) to ensure the Champion feels authentic as well as fitting the fantastical aesthetics of Ixtal, which are inspired by some Latin American cultures.
Riot Unidos became integral to the conception process for Milio, with Kim getting feedback on everything from dances, nose shape, and hair texture.
Similarly, it was important to composer J.D. Spears that Milio's Champion theme represented these cultures as well as being recognisably and uniquely Runeterran.
He said: "I knew I wanted to bring in some really unique and less common instruments from those regions.
"Anytime I'm doing something like that, I feel like I need to lean on people who are experts in those areas."
This led to collaborations with percussionist Alex Acuña and flautist Pedro Eustache to provide their own flair on the piece.
Spears said: "The musicians brought so much of their own performance... they brought so much character to the piece that did not exist before.
"These are world-class musicians, and they became a part of Milio's theme in a way that I could not have planned for."
Milio's release is set to coincide with the upcoming Faerie Court event, which has already had skins for Kalista and Karma revealed. Milio will be joining them, with his debut skin Faerie Court Milio (1350RP).