How Long Can a Champion Go Without a Skin?

Unpopular or nerfed to oblivion, some champions haven’t had a skin for ages. But just how much is that? Even three years is not the limit—see for yourself.

Before we move on to celebrate the record holders, remember that some champions are neglected for longer than it may seem. Some recent characters that haven’t had anything but a release and/or esports skins. Release skins are just that and esports skins are chosen by Worlds winners so there’s no initiative on Riot’s art department.

Honourable mentions:

  • Ornn was released on 22/08/2017 and haven’t received anything but a Day 1 Thunder Lord skin
  • Taliyah (18/05/2016) has seen only a release Freljord option, and Lee “Crown” Min-ho was kind enough to request a Samsung Galaxy Taliyah skin
  • Illaoi (24/11/2015) is among 2-skin champions that have been waiting years for their third skin. Riot released Resistance Illaoi on 15/03/2018, and it may very well be another 2.5 years before she gets a third skin.

These were bad enough, but let’s move on to the actual list of most neglected champions in terms of skins.

#9: Taric (1 212 days)

Skin Splash Art for Taric Pool Party League of Legends Skin
Taric Pool Party – Skin Splash Art | Source: Riot Games

Taric was released in 2009, and his bland gameplay made the pick unpopular among pros and regular folks alike. He got a skin in both 2010 and 2011—and that was it for a while. April 2016 saw a moderately successful rework but only Pool Party Taric of July 2016 came out of it. Even the meme fame and the rise of a cheesy Sona/Taric bot duo in early 2019 haven’t net Taric a new skin. Well, at least I like the Armor of the Fifth Age one?

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#8: Volibear (1254 days)

Skin Splash Art for El Rayo skins in League of Legends.
El Rayo – Skin Splash Art | Source: Riot Games

Volibear has been in League since November 2011, and he started to struggle pretty fast. Most champions (especially new ADC) can kite him to oblivion, Singed has a cooler fling animation. El Rayo Volibear from June 2016 was the champions’ swan song, as he is well at the bottom if we look at play rate and the average number of games. Luckily, Riot Games do intend to rework Volibear in 2020. Perhaps his skin luck turns out to be better than Taric’s?

#7: Shyvana, Kindred (1 261 days)

Super Galaxy Kindred skin Splash Art in League of Legends.
Super Galaxy Kindred – Splash Art | Source: Riot Games

Both champions clearly suffer from how poor their in-game kit reflected or still reflects their identity. Shyvana was supposed to be an unavoidable half-dragon, but it took Riot five years to make her ultimate jump unstoppable. Shyvana had a Super Galaxy skin shortly before the rework (in May 2016) and is yet to receive one after the changes.

Kindred is actually a name for Lamb and Wolf that make up the champion. The problem is that the player controls only Lamb while Wolf doesn’t have anything to do with half of Kindred’s kit. There’s a reason why esports casters keep slipping up and referring to Kindred as “her” (Lamb) instead of “them”. Kindred’ second and latest skill was a Super Galaxy one from May 2016.

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#6: Sion (1 303 days)

Mecha Zero Sion skin Splash Art in League of Legends.
Mecha Zero Sion – Splash Art | Source: Riot Games

Sion was one of the originally closed beta champions added in February 2009, and he wasn’t ageing with grace. Riot Games recognized that and gave the champion a great rework in October 2014. He became a solid choice in Season 5 and was granted a Mecha Zero skin in April 2016. Updated Sion peaked in 2018 as an elite Top/Mid pick but hasn’t received any love from the skins department. Let’s see if Bruisers get more attention now that the Preseason favours them heavily?

#5: Vel’Koz (1 316 days)

Definitely Not Skins Splash Art in League of Legends.
Definitely Not – Skin Splash Art | Source: Riot Games

Apart from having a middle-of-the-pack play rate, Vel’Koz seems to be too hard to design a skin for. Much like Io from Dota 2, he has very little in terms of what can be changed on the in-game model. As a result, the latest skin (March 2016) is Definitely Not Vel’Koz which turns the champion into a futuristic tripod. No more gadgets or regular skins since then.

#4: Rek’Sai (1 596 days)

Pool Party Skins Splash Art in League of Legends.
Pool Party – Skin Splash Art | Source: Riot Games

A consistent pro favourite, Rek’Sai has been waiting for 4.5 years to get a third skin over her lifespan. Unfortunately, being an esports meta pick doesn’t always convert into being popular among regular players. Rek’Sai is well at the bottom in terms of play rate and win rate as SoloQ hardly suits her team-oriented nature. It makes sense that a Pool Party skin from June 2015 remains Rek’Sai’s latest skin.

#3: Mordekaiser (1 632 days)

King of Clubs Skins Splash Art in League of Legends.
King of Clubs – Splash Art | Source: Riot Games

Mordekaiser is not number 1 in terms of wait time, but he’s certainly the saddest case here. He was extremely outdated before a rework in August 2015 and returned OP enough to be picked or banned every Worlds game. Naturally, he was nerfed to oblivion, and ~300 bugs didn’t make Mordekaiser a popular SoloQ pick. Interestingly, Riot bothered enough to give Mordekaiser another rework in June 2019 but no release a new skin since May 2015’s King of Clubs. Well, at least he has another five skins, unlike Rek’Sai?

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#2: Zilean (1 642 days)

Blood Moon Zilean Skin Splash Art in League of Legends.
Blood Moon Zilean – Skin Splash Art | Source: Riot Games

Zilean is old and lonely. He is on a rather shrinking of champions from 2009 that haven’t seen a full rework. Zilean’s fan base is dedicated (8.4 games on average is pretty high!) but small (a play rate of 0.4%). Pro play presence is sporadic, as Zilean struggles to go beyond 100 games across a dozen leagues. It’s easy to see why Riot would prioritize other champions that are newer and/or more popular. On the bright side, Zilean mains were promised a skin 2019. Nunu, Shaco, and Ivern players received theirs, so there’s still hope!

#1: Skarner, Xerath (1 656 days)

Guardian of the Sand Skarner Skin Splash Art in League of Legends.
Guardian of the Sand Skarner – Skin Splash Art | Source: Riot Games

Skarner and Xerath are unpopular, plain and simple. Xerath feels like a poor man’s Lux, and there are plenty of more engaging Junglers than Skarner is. The play rates are low, there are merely 4,200 people between the two dedicated subreddits, and the pros seldom touch the champions. Skarner and Xerath also share a Shurima background which hasn’t seen much lore progression. My best bet is a Void Skarner, and I hope to live long enough to see it happen.

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by Denis Matusovskiy
January 13, 2020

3 comments

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NEMO
February 17, 2020 at 10:17 am
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February 18, 2020 at 6:08 pm
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June 26, 2020 at 7:27 am
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