Riot announced a new support champion yesterday. He’s a “large guy with a shield” named Braum, with an E that allows him to “intercept projectiles”, absorbing their effects and destroying them.
Sounds simple enough - but it hasn’t been. Though you’ll never see more than 10 of them in the lanes at once, League of Legends features scores of champions, each with five abilities. Between them, there are a lot of ways to lob ranged attacks at enemies.
So: what exactly is a projectile, when it comes down to it?
This isn’t the first time Riot have tackled the question. Yasuo’s projectile-blocking wind wall prompted plenty of internal debate about “what feels like a projectile vs what isn’t”.
“Our general distinction was if it is a thing that is launched by a character and travels with a physical manifestation in the game world it is a projectile,” explained Riot champion designer Wrekz. “Projectiles have core characteristics, they have start and end points, directionality between those, and consequences either when they hit something or reach their destination.”
By those standards, Nami’s ultimate is classed as a projectile and is blocked by Braum’s Unbreakable - just as it is by Yasuo’s wind wall.
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However: there are conditions. Braum’s E doesn’t block any ability that’s unable to interact with his allies - like Lux’s shield, for instance. And if a projectile hits him from behind, it won’t be destroyed.
“It is reasonable to think about the shield as an extension of his hitbox that only applies to projectiles entering from the correct angle,” said Wrekz.
And there are a few special cases. Lasers go straight through Braum’s shield - though vector-targeted and ground-targeted attacks will be intercepted mid-flight.
“If Braum eats basic attacks from Twitch headed for someone else, he will get poisoned as well, and if a hook touches the shield it will still pull him,” elaborated Wrekz. “This does create situations where a Braum with his shield up is easier to hit than a normal champion, but he is also a much less attractive target than his allies.”
“If all else fails the mustache should keep him safe,” finished the designer.
Timing, then, is the key: knowing when to activate Unbreakable and the “limits of your durability”. Do you think your knowledge of LoL’s champion roster is detailed enough for the task?
Thanks, Reign of Gaming.