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Udyr Rework Abilities and Release Date

Udyr Rework, Udyr VGU, Udyr Update

Udyr is one of League’s oldest champions, released more than a decade ago in 2009 with patch 1.0.0.61. Our favorite animal shaman is long overdue for an update, and Riot is aware.

Udyr’s Visual and Gameplay Update, or VGU, was teased way back. Riot finally got into the nitty-gritty of their progress on the update. In this /dev blog, they revealed that the Udyr VGU team is in full production of the rework. With the goal of modernizing the abilities of the champion while retaining his unique stance-based playstyle, the team got to work. Of course, this was not the only focus, as they also had to update his design to match current standards.

August 10, 2022 edit: The Udyr VGU is finally here! Check out his new abilities, skins, lore, and more here.

Udyr Rework Release Date

The VGU Team shared that the nature of Udyr’s stance-swapping abilities makes updating skins take longer. Spirit Guard Udyr, his Ultimate skin, is going to warrant even more hours. This being the case, the team said “we still have a ways to go before we can finally get the new Udyr into your hands” and promised to “keep you updated in future champion roadmaps once we have a clearer picture.”

Udyr Rework loses his unique antlers

As with all of the League of Legends champions, Udyr had to have a unique silhouette. Udyr almost had antlers, as shown in this progression of his model in development.

Udyr Rework Models

Character artist Jason “OOYOO” Namgung decided to rid Udyr of his antlers. According to him, “In one attempt they looked like wings, and in another they looked like propellers. No matter how hard we tried to get them to work, they just always looked off.” The antlers also did not contribute to Udyr’s fantasy. OOYOO shared his thoughts again, saying “Although the idea was cool, Udyr’s the animal spirit guy, not the antler guy. So ultimately we decided to table the antlers and refocus on his animal spirit fantasy.”

Udyr Rework Stances

Udyr is retaining his animal stances, meaning more work for the VGU team. Each of his stances were going to require different animations and textures. A thing to note is that Udyr’s Phoenix stance now revolves around ice, compared to his current fire one. After many iterations (including a wind one), animator Koingyeal “Koing” Jang ended up with this:

Up next is his Visual Effects. The Udyr rework will have a mechanic that allows him to “awaken” a stance. Entering an Awakened stance gives Udyr access to more powerful effects compared to his regular stances. Visual effects artist Luis “Riot Bloois” Aguas wanted to emphasize this by giving Udyr an exaggerated aura when awakening.

Riot Bloois nailed the “powerful” feeling, perfectly shown in this comparison between the Bear Stance and its Awakened version:

Some effects of his Bear Stance were also leaked. Activating the Bear Stance gives Udyr bonus attack speed, and when Awakened, his basic attacks will arc chain lightning across multiple enemies. If there’s nothing to bounce to, it deals increased damage to one target.

Udyr Rework Skins

With Udyr’s long tenure comes a number of skins. In a VGU as big as this one, it meant new splash arts for each of these skins. The Udyr VGU team decided to work on his most recent skin, Dragon Oracle, first. Concept Artist Justin “RiotEarp” Albers shared his thoughts. “We decided early on that he should remain on the mystical dragon side of things, and not among the draconic division of dragonslayers—he still channels the dragon spirits for just a hint of their power.” While it sounds done and dusted, the team still encountered hurdles. According to RiotEarp, “that left us asking, how dragon-y should he look? How physically affected is he by the animal spirits he channels?”

At the end, they decided to keep Udyr more human than dragon. This leaves space for in-game clarity of his stances. RiotEarp shared some turnarounds for Dragon Oracle Udyr:

Gameplay

It seems that Udyr players will not miss their champion too much once the update rolls around. The Udyr VGU team retained most of Udyr’s kit, while granting him more complexity with an “Awaken” mechanic. This raises the skill ceiling for this champion whose current playstyle revolves around pressing a button every 2 seconds and right-clicking. Udyr players will also be happy to see that they will no longer be looking at an outdated in-game character model, and the Udyr rework will make him look like he belongs in Runeterra now.

While all of these changes were nice to see, the VGU team said that none of these reveals are set in stone. In the meantime, here are the new champions teased for this year.