Riot Games just unveiled their 163rd champion’s story, role, and abilities, scheduling his release on the live servers for patch 13.6, on March 22. Meet Milio, the Gentle Flame! Let’s see where his lore puts him in the grand scheme of the League of Legends universe.
A new child in the playground
Milio, who already hit the Rift on the Public Beta Environment on March 7, is the first champion coming from the region of Ixtal since Qiyana’s release in June 2019; echoing the League of Legends dev team’s will to give new champions to regions, designs and playstyles that have not received much attention in the latest releases.
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Speaking of design, Riot definitely succeeded in innovating and creating an unusual character, especially in his role and lane. Like Malphite, Nidalee and Neeko, Milio is a citizen of Ixtal. But like no other enchanter support in the game, he’s actually a 12-year-old little boy. Age put aside, he also comes as the first male enchanter since Taric made it to the game in 2009!
Our young Ixtali boy thus storms into the botlane with tremendous energy and an angelic face hoping to soften his opponents. As his dancing gait and playful emotes convey, Milio is endowed with a cheerful aesthetic that contrasts with the serious archers, imperial enchantresses or threatening wardens he may encounter. This ease is well illustrated in the names of his abilities; with spells like “Ultra Mega Fire Kicks”, “Cozy Campfire” or “Warm Hugs”, as well as in his pick-up lines, which will irritate his opponents as much as they’ll make his allies love and trust him.
Milio also comes into the Rift looking to bring more representation to South Americans – Ixtal is indeed inspired by Latin American cultures, but it was not particularly obvious in the designs of its other champions. While still making Milio representative of Runeterra, the design team tried to convey this Latin American identity through the new champion's face, hair and musical theme (percussionist Alex Acuña and flutist Pedro Eustache joined the music team led by J.D. “Riot Zibarr0” Spears.) As well as his dances, voiceover, and… love of football.
Riot, which just held the first and record-breaking Valorant Champions Tour event of the year in São Paulo, thus seems eager to capitalize on the growth of esports in the LLA and CBLOL regions. Milio’s QA engineer Riot Pehrek, who himself comes from Brazil, sums it up well: “I really hope that there’s a good balance between players that enjoy playing a support character and players who enjoy playing a character for their representation.”
Milio’s main distinctive trait remains the way he uses fire. A science nerd, he learned by himself – his grandmother, Lupé, who at first took his education in hand, had then given up on him in the face of Milio’s difficulties to do science the right (traditional, rigid) way – how to master the fire axiom. And more precisely, in the course of a life-saving operation on an injured hunter he came upon in the woods, a healing fire: the axiom he called “soothing fire”. This newly mastered element allows Milio to manifest little healing flames at will – his “fuemigos”.
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This represented a challenge for the design team, finding ways to differentiate Milio’s use of fire from, let’s say, Brand’s. Milio is warm, not burning. As a result, his teammates must feel that these flames running at them are not destructive but healing (otherwise they might just flash out!). This is why his fuemigos are anthropomorphised, featuring kind little faces a bit like emojis. Their shape – rounded rather than spiky – and their animations – kindly bouncing on Milio’s bare hands or feet as he juggles with them – complete the feeling of a glowing, warming and soft fire.
Family and ambition
That being said, don’t mistake Milio’s coziness and excitement for complacency. The Ixtali actually is a very competitive little guy. And unlike his everlasting smile and brilliant mind would suggest, Milio’s journey has not been an entirely smooth one. Although he lived a quiet childhood, lacking nothing, in a small village by the woods, Milio is in fact the last child of an exiled family Living on the outskirts of Ixtal. His grandmother, Lupé, was punished for having been caught plotting against the Yun Tal, the ruling noble caste of the capital city Lupé herself was a part of.
This leaves Milio on a mission – his ultimate goal is the only reason that could drive him out of his village. Restoring the family’s honor by defeating the Vidalion, the most powerful ancient magical artifact that hangs above a grand chamber positioned at the exact center of Ixtal. Should he successfully meet the challenge, Milio would become a Yun Tal. By doing so, he would beat Qiyana at being the youngest ever person to join this caste.
For now, the question is left open to the lore readers as to whether or not Milio will succeed in his quest for the Vidalion and the Yun Tal status. We have, however, reasons to be optimistic upon our hero’s arrival in Ixaocan, the Ixtali capital city. Milio is notably praised for his innate scientific skills, enabling him to intuitively figure his magic out, as opposed to mathematically and rigorously deciphering the formula – an approach that would revolutionize elemental magic in Ixtal.
It is to this extent particularly significant that, at only 12 years of age, he fully masters a great deal of the axiomata, including two axioms related to fire that he taught himself, while most citizens need a lifetime to get to this point, and while the rest of his family has constantly failed in this regard. Let’s wish him the best of luck on and off the Rift!