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LoL: The 5 most unfair skins that the community considers “pay to win”


When we play League of Legends using a skin, we’re not just changing our champion’s outfit. Most skins also modify skill particles. This way the visual modification is much more eye-catching and Riot Games is right to make these cosmetics a bit more expensive. However, this type of change is a bit more risky. Tiny mistakes can cause developer rules to be broken by causing cosmetics to provide benefits to players who use them.

The total absence of a system pay-to-win has been a goal of League of Legends since its launch. However, some cosmetics have such mechanisms. They may be able to hide an ability or camouflage their colors in Summoner’s Rift. Riot Games has fixed many of these issues in the past, but some are still present in the game and those are what we’ll be focusing on. More precisely, we have selected the 5 aspects that make the game a pay-to-win.

Lux Cosmique and its dark version

These two Lux skins can hide her abilities

If there’s one champion who relies on her abilities, it’s Lux. His spells are some of the most dangerous in the game, so it’s crucial that they’re easy for opponents to identify. This criterion is met by almost all skins, but some mark a notable exception. We are talking about the cosmic version of the champion and her dark edition — Cosmic Demiurge — because with these cosmetics it is very easy to perform a technique that allows you to hide your abilities.

The main problem with these skins is that the Q – Light Obstruction and W – Prismatic Barrier are too similar in the air. This way we can cast them at the same time so that Q’s prison is hidden by W’s shield. This same technique can also be applied to E – Radiant Anomaly. The truth is that the similarities in colors create a very dangerous and difficult to dodge combo, especially in teamfights where we have to be careful with a lot of skills.

A streamer analyzed these skills live

Vladimir of Dark Waters

This skin's ultimate is almost invisible - League of Legends
This skin’s ultimate is almost invisible

Vladimir shouldn’t be a champion worthy of being in a section of paid skins that make League of Legends worse. However, one of his skins has major clarity issues. We are talking about black water Vladimir, which does not have particularly clear visual or sound indicators. This can mean that during a fight we don’t even realize that we have been hit by some of the key spells that can finish us off.

The most disturbing thing about this skin is its ultimate. R – Blood Plague animation effect is too dark and barely audible. If you fight in the river, it’s easy for you not to see his ultimate. It lasts a very short time and we can’t stress enough how discreet the color is. In general, the whole skin amounts to activating a stealth mode which will help you immensely in fights that take place in areas near the Dragon or Baron.

Pay attention to the short duration of the effects and their color

As with Lux, it’s not the only Vladimir skin that is giving League of Legends players trouble. Its Cosmic Devourer and Soulstealer versions suffer from similar issues.

Thank you Operation Arctic

Blue or Gray skins are always problematic - League of Legends
Blue or gray skin is always problematic

The wrong choice of colors also affects Gragas with his Arctic skin. Barrels are usually easy to see in all champion cosmetics, but with this one, it’s easy to miss them when he uses his Q – Rolling Barrel and R – Explosive Barrel. The reason for this is that their tones are duller and go unnoticed in certain areas of the map or when too many abilities are cast in fights.

In general, the gray or blue-toned skins tend to be the most problematic for Riot Games. It is true that during most games League of Legends is very clear and almost everything is easy to understand. However, there are specific times when this skin (and the others on the list) can play tricks on us and be practically invisible.

Arctic Gragas can easily camouflage his barrels

infernal Shen

Due to its bright colors, Infernal Shen shouldn't be a problem - League of Legends
Due to its bright colors, Infernal Shen shouldn’t be a problem

We have already seen cases related to color, or sound. However, these two arguments are not the only reasons why a skin can break League of Legends. The hellish version of Shen has bright colors and a predominant reddish tone. However, it also has a design issue that many players have reported to Riot Games, which is related to the fact that its R – Unwavering support is much less visible than it should be.

Champion’s Ultimate is just not easy to distinguish from other shields . The particles are not very bright and, in the event that the opposing team has a Lulu or champions characterized by an ability to shield their allies, it will be very difficult to distinguish them. The problem is particularly relevant when breaking the shield of the enemy who is going to receive this ultimate, since the visual effects are even less noticeable and more distracting.

Although it doesn’t seem problematic, wait until you have it against you in a match

The ability is evident during the laning phase, but suffers from the same problem as most of the aspects we’ve mentioned. In combat, it is masked by other elements in such a way that it goes almost unnoticed. In addition, the sound effect is also not very noticeable, despite its importance.

Bard Sylvester

Luckily, Bard isn't very popular... - League of Legends
Luckily, Bard isn’t very popular…

Bard’s low popularity is what saves us from this skin pay-to-win. However, with his Sylvester skin, he has a significant improvement in his Q – Cosmic Link. The problem in this case is related to the ability’s projectile. It’s something that the character drags along in every aspect, but is most noticeable in this one. In other words, the size of the visual effect is smaller than its actual effect. This also comes with more subtle colors, especially when casting the skill.

With Bard being a champion meant to move around the map and perform ganks, upgrading this cosmetic would allow opponents to save themselves from time to time. Granted, it’s not the most eye-catching perk on the list, but it won’t eliminate the feeling of unfairness if we get hit by something we thought we’d dodged.

This skin's projectile is much smaller - League of Legends
The projectile of this skin is much smaller

Honorable Mention: Purebow Varus and Vigilante Syndra

Riot Games was able to solve the problems of Syndra and Varus - League of Legends
Riot Games was able to solve the problems of Syndra and Varus

Before we leave, we wanted to give our honorable mention to two skins with an infamous past. Pure Bow Varus and Vigilante Syndra skins paved the way for Riot Games as some of their abilities were very hard to see. However, the League of Legends devs have done a great job tweaking them to avoid issues.

In life, there are certain things where everything comes together so harmoniously that you can’t help but think that if these events were put in a movie, the public wouldn’t believe it. This is what happened to these players during an unusual game.





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