The unthinkable is happening: Riot lost lawsuits with several license-holders and will now have to cut 11 Champions from the League of Legends roster! Which Champions and what does this mean for competitive play and esports? We've got all the details.
If you had told me a year ago that Riot would have to cut 11 League of Legends Champions, I would've called you insane, yet here we are... Corona is still raging and our favorite pastime is losing 10% of its roster. Wow. What a time to be alive? Not sure what to say...
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Let's start with the most important question right off the bat:
Which League of Legends Champions Are Being Cut?
Ready? The list is quite long... let's do this:
- Lee Sin
Why Did Riot Have to Cut The Champions?
Ok... you ready for this? In what is called a Multi-district litigation (MDL), Riot Games was hit with 11 different lawsuits by various plaintiffs. In total, 11 Champions were subject to said lawsuits and Riot Games lost every single one of them.
Dr. Mundo was lost on the grounds of him being an obvious copy of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It turns out, Riot Games never checked with Robert Louis Stevenson, the mastermind behind Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. What they assumed was fair game, was actually copyrighted property. Thus, Dr. Mundo has to go.
The case of Jinx is similar: DC Comics sued Riot Games for "blatantly ripping off Harley Quinn", and the court agreed with them. According to Judge Watson, who oversaw the whole ordeal, the similarities between Jinx and Harley Quinn are "too obvious to ignore." No more Jinx in League of Legends folks... this is serious stuff...
Lee Sin's case is a bit of a tricky one: According to the plaintiffs, he is a rip-off of Zatoichi. Who is Zatoichi? Japan's longest-running series of films, starring a blind blade master. The character was originally created by Kan Shimozawa and his family sued for "unlawful use of Shimozawa's intellectual property."
Azir, Nasus, and Pantheon each have to be cut for very interesting reasons: The city of Rome and Kairo came together and filed for cultural misappropriation. "Gods may not be used for the entertainment of the masses." If you're unfamiliar, Pantheon is based on Roman Mythology, while Azir's and Nasus' designs are inspired by Egyptian Mythology. Who saw this coming? Not us... but here we are: No more Azir, no more Nasus, and no more Pantheon.
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Seraphine's copyright was claimed by none other than Ariana Grande. It might seem like a stretch, but the pop star was able to prove enough likeness between her and the Champion to successfully forbid "the use of her likeness" within League of Legends.
Another female Champion, Nami, lost out to manga creator Eiichiro Oda. Oda claims that the Champion bears an obvious resemblance to his One Piece character Nami. "[...] from the name to the fish-theme. We all know Nami was in with a fish gang for the larger portion of her life and this blatant rip-off is disrespectful." Sharp words from Oda and the court agreed with his sentiment.
Braum and Tryndamere are two beloved champions and their likeness was claimed by two beloved celebrities: The Rock and Jason Momoa claim that the Champions are based on them. I mean... we can see it, but to outright ban the Champions? It's taking things a little too far, if you ask us...
As for Garen, well he was sued against by little-known actor Bryan Greenberg. Greenberg has often been called Hollywood's 'most generic actor' and he claims that, "Garen is so generic that I cannot help but feel personally stepped on. Riot never contacted me or otherwise sought my approval to use my generic likeness."
When Will the Champions Be Cut?
The ban will take effect immediately, on April 1. What are the implications for Ranked mode and all of League of Legends Esports? Only time will tell. For now, all we know is that the Champions are being cut effective immediately.
If you want to read up on the full lawsuit, you can do so here.
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