Seeing new League of Legends champion Naafiri in action gives me chills. LoL’s latest newcomer just got a full gameplay reveal, and the Darkin assassin promises to be a simple but superbly satisfying addition to the League of Legends roster. Fighting alongside her pack, Naafiri is an expert at chasing down fleeing foes and diving to secure kills, and it’s got me very excited to test her out in Riot’s MOBA.
We got a tease of Naafiri’s origin story in one of Riot’s best champion reveals just recently, but now we know how she’ll play, with a gameplay trailer showing off the Darkin doggos in action. That’s right, while you’ll control the pack leader herself, Naafiri doesn’t hunt alone, and you’ll bring her packmates to bear to tear apart your foes with vicious ease.
At the core of Naafiri’s skillset is her passive, We Are More. She’ll periodically spawn packmates – smaller, crimson-skinned hounds that follow her and will attack enemies that she targets for physical damage. Their damage is increased after Naafiri uses an ability, and hitting enemy champs with her abilities or scoring kills will reduce the cooldown on We Are More.
Naafiri’s Q is Darkin Dagger, which throws a Darkin-tainted blade, dealing physical damage and causing a bleed to any enemy it hits. You can recast Darkin Dagger, and hitting an already-bleeding target amplifies the effect, dealing the remaining bleed along with bonus physical damage based on missing health. If your target is a champion, Naafiri will also restore some of her own health. Your packmates will leap to the first target hit.
Hounds’ Pursuit is Naafiri’s W – she’ll dash at an enemy after a brief delay, dealing physical damage and briefly slowing her target or the first champion she hits. Her packmates become untargetable and chase alongside her, dealing additional damage per active packmate. Hounds’ Pursuit also increases in range based on the rank of Naafiri’s ultimate.
Naafiri’s E is Eviscerate. Surging forward, Naafiri deals physical damage to any enemies she passes through, before exploding at the end of the dash to deal bonus physical damage. Her packmates are recalled to her position at her target location, and will be restored to full health.
Her ultimate, Call of the Pack, spawns bonus packmates and temporarily empowers them all. Naafiri herself gains a burst of out of combat move speed and vision, and gains a shield the first time she hits an enemy champion. When she scores her first champion takedown, all Naafiri’s ultimate effects are refreshed.
She looks absolutely awesome – as a sucker for assassin-style champs, and a big fan of characters that appear in a group, I’m really eager to see her in action. Over in the land of rival Dota 2, I’ve always been an enjoyer of Phantom Lancer, or heroes that use the Manta Style item that allows you to create clones of yourself such as Medusa and Anti-Mage.
There’s of course one big question that we’ve all been waiting for the answer on, however – can you pet the dog? Thankfully, we now have confirmation that, yes, you can pet Naafiri, as seen towards the end of the video above (starting at the 3:35 mark). There’s headpats, chin scritches, and belly rubs – her packmates even come over to join in on the fun. Perfect.
With the inclusion of all LoL champs as part of your Game Pass subscription, you’ll be able to play Naafiri from day one if you are a current subscriber to Microsoft’s service.
With her relatively straightforward toolkit, Naafiri promises to be one of the best LoL champions for beginners. We’re sure she’ll have some absolutely spectacular skins, too – just make sure you confirm how much you’ve spent on League of Legends so far before you go splashing out on the adorable demon pup.