Skins are a form of cosmetics, and for many they make League of Legends a fun game. Players like to see their heroes customized and looking pretty, which is why skins and other cosmetics brings back enough revenue to keep the free-to-play game alive. Whether you’re a casual or competitive player, there are skins that will likely catch your eye enough to spend a little bit of real money.
In the realm of competition, things are made to be fair on both sides of the Rift. Having an unfair advantage roam free in the scene can cause a stir in the community.
While skins are integral to the League of Legends experience, unfortunately there are some skins that create an unintentional edge for the player using them. This brings up the question: what are the skins that are considered “banned” in competitive play?
Brazilian League of Legends content creator Djoko posted a YouTube video on the skins that are restricted in the competitive server. Out of over a thousand skins that are in the game, he found out that about 10% of the present skins are disabled and cannot be picked at all in those servers.
Riot has not explicitly announced that these skins are disabled, and for good reason. In a similar respect where they disable champions with game-breaking bugs without showing any reason until later, they are not announced to avoid potential abuse by players from the solo queue ladder.
For starters, novelty and limited-edition skins are found to be disabled on the competitive ladder. Skins like Black Alistar, Silver Kayle, Human Ryze, PAX Twisted Fate, PAX Sivir, and the 2012 Championship Riven were among the ones Djoko found to be disabled. All Victorious skins are also disabled.
The likely reason for this is that these skins are absolutely limited-edition, meaning that only a few out of the hundred million player accounts in the world would likely have these skins and use them in the actual game. Due to their rarity, the visuals and sound effects would be unfamiliar to the newer pro players, and will not be able to properly discern certain skills during teamfights.
Skins with Visual Differences
These non-novelty skins are what make up the majority of the disabled skins in the competitive servers. Some skins are even new releases from within a year or two.
First in the list would be some of the Ultimate skin tiers—skins that cost about 2775 and 3250 RP that are complete reimaginations of a few champions. These include Pulsefire Ezreal, DJ Sona, and Elementalist Lux. Their common ground is their visuals in key skills are difficult to see, especially with Elementalist Lux’s myriad of element combinations.
Following the trend of hard-to-see visuals, many champion skins actually encompass the same reason for meriting a disable. There’s so much to list down, so here are some of the more recent skins from the last two years that are disabled in competitive servers: Nightbringer Vladimir, Dragon Trainer Heimerdinger, Dark Star Karma, and Fuzz Fizz (including Prestige Edition).
Other skins that have been around for more than two years are skins like Boneclaw/Darkflame Shyvana, Arclight Varus, Death Sworn and Creator Viktor, Vandal Gragas, Lion Dance/Hextech/Battlecast Kog’Maw, Forsaken Jayce, all Super Galaxy skins, Blackfrost Anivia, Mecha Aurelion Sol, Goth Annie, Astronautilus, Headhunter/Challenger Nidalee, and Zombie Nunu & Willup.
Syndra has the greatest number of disabled skins among the ones listed by Djoko. Her Justicar, Atlantean, Queen of Diamonds, Star Guardian, and Snow Day Syndra skins are all disabled for the reason of her skill’s visuals being hard to discern. Dark Sphere is a core part of Syndra’s skills, and not being able to see even just that is a huge problem.
In addition, her most recently released Pool Party Syndra skin is also disabled for it drops the game’s frames per second. In the competitive server, this means Syndra only has two useable skins: Classic Syndra and SKT T1 Syndra.
Lastly, some skins are disabled but possibly for different reasons. Draven Draven may be a disabled skin for the reason that his head is a visual hurdle for both players, being an April Fools’ skin release. Grey Warwick and Medieval Twitch, skins that are only obtainable through the former Refer-a-Friend program, may have been disabled due to the same reason with the novelty skins.
What about Solo Queue?
Solo queue is home to the competitive folk that are not particularly into the pro scene. However, they are similar to the pro scene where players are trying to win games and play against the best. So why are these skins not disabled in the ranked queue?
The ranked ladder is not just composed of the best players. It includes the majority of the playerbase —even those at the Bronze and Iron ranks. In the lower ranks, these subtle advantages don’t actually matter much when there are much more mechanics and skills that the players of these brackets need to master, before making great use of these visual tricks.
What other skins do you think should get banned and what skins should get unbanned from competitive play?