League of Legends Patch 13.18 will be released on September 13, 2023 and alongside it will bring the game’s 165th Champion with Briar the Restrained Hunger. We got to attend a media roundtable session where key developers from Riot Games talked about Briar’s story and its gameplay implications. Here’s what you need to know about the latest vampire jungler in the Rift.
Who is Briar?
Briar comes with a story as captivating as it is dark. A product of the ill-fated experiments conducted by the enigmatic Black Rose, Briar’s insatiable bloodlust proved to be a force beyond control, demanding a specialized pillory to contain her frenzied thoughts.
Years of captivity made her crave freedom like no other. Breaking the shackles that held her, Briar embarked on a path unbound by any master’s will. Guided solely by her primal desires for both knowledge and blood, she becomes a force of raw power and unpredictability, embracing the chances to unleash her inner frenzy upon the world. Yet, curbing the tempest within remains a formidable challenge, even as she revels in the exhilarating liberation it brings.
While her backstory may seem a bit too intense, Lead Champion Designer August Browning was keen on making sure that Briar was a more lighthearted character. “Since we already have a lot of edgy and dark junglers in the game, the team focused on striking a balance between scary but quirky in her personality.”
Browning stated that he has always wanted to make another vampiric character for LoL but in a way that’s a little more different than what is usually portrayed. “If Vladimir is more aristocratic, Briar is more in-your-face and tearing you apart. A lot of vampires used to be human so now they’re coming into terms of being a monster. Briar was never human so now she’s coming to terms with humanity or wanting to be human despite being a monster all her life.”
Briar is unapologetically herself. She’s a monster that doesn’t dislike being a monster. She embraces her chaotic side. She embraces who she is but wants to be better and figure out where she fits in the world. Right from the get-go, she’s already an interesting Champion to look forward to. Luckily, her eccentric and colorful personality bleeds into her gameplay as well.
How does Briar work?
Briar is a dive jungler whose entire kit revolves around the idea of what happens when someone loses control and can fight. This was an interesting puzzle to solve for the team according to Lead Concept Artist Sunny “Kindlejack” Pandita.
“Briar is very playful. She’s still trying to learn the human world so the team had a lot of fun trying to mess around with that idea. What does it mean when a monstrous vampiric creature is out and about in Runeterra?” says Kindlejack.
Briar’s abilities include:
- Passive – Crimson Curse
- Briar’s attacks and abilities apply a stacking bleed that heals her for a portion of the damage dealt. Perpetually hungry, she gains increased healing based on her missing health but lacks innate health regeneration. Yes, you read that right. Briar will have no base health regeneration. If you want to heal, you have to find something to eat: her enemies.
- She will also heal for any remaining bleed damage when a bleeding enemy dies.
- Q – Head Rush
- Briar leaps to a unit dealing damage as well as stunning them and breaking their armor. Briar will stop prioritizing enemy Champions if she casts this ability on a minion or monster during the effects of Blood Frenzy.
- Riot Games hasn’t done a targetted stun like this in a while so it’ll be interesting to see how it plays out in the wild.
- W – Blood Frenzy/Snack Attack
- Briar leaps forward and shatters her pillory, entering a Blood Frenzy that causes her to relentlessly pursue the nearest enemy (prioritizing champions). While frenzied she gains increased Attack Speed and Move Speed and her attacks deal damage in an area around her target.
- Briar can reactivate this ability while frenzied to take a CHOMP out of her target on the next attack, dealing additional damage based on their missing health and healing her based on the damage dealt.
- A great strategy is to start with a Q to jump stun and then unleash Blood Frenzy to be extra annoying to the enemy Champion. The only thing that will remove Frenzy is death or Briar’s E.
- E – Chilling Scream
- Briar refocuses her mind, removing Blood Frenzy and channeling energy into a powerful scream that damages and slows enemies. While charging she takes reduced damage and heals for a portion of her max health. A fully charged scream knocks back, dealing additional damage and stunning enemies that hit a wall.
- Other than being a multipurpose skill, Briar’s E can also act as a good defensive ability to get out of a sticky situation that she’ll inevitably find herself in when rushing into enemies.
- R – Certain Death
- Briar kicks a hemolith, marking the first champion hit as her prey. She then belines straight to them, fearing other surrounding enemies on arrival, and enters a state of complete hematomania.
- She will pursue her prey until one of them dies, gaining the effects of Blood Frenzy as well as additional Armor, Magic Resist, Lifesteal, and Move Speed.
“Briar’s great if a team needs someone to frontline a little bit. She’s pretty good if you have other people to follow up on her dive. She creates opportunities for her teammates to follow up,” Browning says.