Have you ever gotten chased by wild dogs before? It's growling, its teeth gnashing, eyes dilated with a snarly expression on its face.
Then at the corner, you spot its companions' eyes set on their prey: you.
If you’re like most people, panic would set in as soon as it leaps forward to chase you, along with the rest of the pack.
That’s what the newest League of Legends (LoL) champion, Naafiri, is like, except that she is a pack of 2m-tall hounds, set to hunt on the Summoner’s Rift.
There’s a lot of talk in the LoL community about how unique this canine champion is. Her story, abilities, and exclusive interaction in-game have all received positive feedback.
Quite specifically, this champion has an exclusive interaction with the player on the Rift. You can use your cursor to pat the dogs and even give them belly rubs.
Even though that might be adorable, don't be deceived — it doesn't change the frightening aspect of the newest champion or how dark her story is.
But you might be confused as to what Naafiri is. Is she just one champion? Why is she a pack of wolves, and why is she a singular entity? Here’s a deeper look into Naafiri’s lore.
Naafiri’s past: A Shuriman Ascended
In the arid deserts of the Southern Continent of Runeterra, the Shuriman Empire thrived.
They constructed a colossal sun disc that served as a conduit for celestial magic that channels its power to Shurima’s select champions, turning them into the Ascended God Warriors. Naafiri was one of the Ascended.
The Ascended possessed power beyond human strength.
Through them, Shurima sought to expand its territory and invade other regions until it came across Icathia, a region that opened up the Void to beat the Shurimans, unknowingly unleashing chaos and destruction along with it.
Some of the Ascended, including Naafiri, started to go mad after being touched by the Void — but their leader, Azir, kept them together.
When he was assassinated, the Glorious Ascended were thrown into chaos, and they fought each other for power.
Naafiri’s curse: A Darkin Dagger
One of the Ascended, Xolaani, enticed his fellow Ascended with blood magic and the promise of more power — but with the purpose of controlling them.
The strongest of the Ascended, like Aatrox, were able to break free from her control and unleashed a Darkin War that massively annihilated most of the world of Runeterra.
This forced the Aspect of Twilight Myisha (later on becoming Zoe) to create weapons that would seal the Darkin inside of them, and taught the humans to make these weapons as well.
The problem was that the human-made weapons were not as powerful, and corrupted anyone who touched them — with the Darkin Soul completely consuming their host.
Naafiri was trapped in one of these weapons. She spent centuries confined within a crypt, her spirit trapped within an ancient dagger.
For ages, she remained immobile and voiceless as she continued to ponder on her days of power and how she came close to leading the Darkin.
But instead, she was tricked into the lifeless steel blade. All she needed was a human host to break free.
Naafiri’s escape: The Dune Hounds
Finally, the tomb burst open, and Naafiri sensed a human presence whom she thought she could use as a host.
However, the human knew of her magic, and had prepared metal tongs, which he used to place her dagger on a thick, lead-lined cloth.
As despair overcame her, she heard the dune hounds howling through the desert. She called to the beasts silently, hoping for her captor to slip and accidentally touch the blade.
Instead, the man tried to defend himself against the hounds, but to no avail, and the hounds devoured them all — man, horse, blade and all.
In the process, Naafiri had become the dune hounds. The entire pack, in fact, as shards of her mangled dagger were embedded in each dog.
She hated it: how could the hounds help her become powerful again?
They were smelly, they had fleas, and they needed companionship.
However, as she started to understand her hosts better, the Darkin's bitterness faded.
Their wild thoughts formed a unique wisdom. Dogs starve alone. They hunted whatever they wanted as an apex predator. There was no alpha, only the pack.
They became a hive mind that would set out to destroy as she would please, united as one pack. They became Naafiri, and she could finally take revenge and rise to power once again.
Will she actually succeed? We have no idea at this time.
There are already too many powerful Ascended warriors and Darkin.
There’s Xolaani, who led the Darkin at first, then Aatrox, who broke free from her grasp — but it seems like Naafiri had never been mentioned in the past.
However, with the Ascended all being powerful warriors even before becoming Darkin, it may be that Naafiri was as powerful as all of them.
Only time will tell, and hopefully, Riot follows through and gives us more details about her story in the future, especially being the first Darkin champion released in six years.
Anna is a freelance writer and photographer. She is a gamer who loves RPGs and platformers, and is a League of Legends geek. She's also a food enthusiast who loves a good cup of black coffee.