Riot Games spent last year producing some of the best cosmetics the community has seen to date, with options ranging from eldritch horrors to magical anime girls. With so many great options, it’s worth taking a look back and ranking the best League of Legends skin lines of 2019.
There are a few guidelines to go over first.
First, a skin line is defined as three or more skins that can be categorized under a name or theme. Next, they are ranked based on their creativity and popularity within the LoL community. Bonus points will be awarded for including a legendary cosmetic, having an expanded narrative, or having some other unique quality attached to it.
Shen, Galio, and Varus were fortunate enough to receive new cosmetics this year, but they weren’t the most interesting on this list. This trio is an addition to the established Infernal-themed skin line, which transforms champions into cataclysmic fiery warriors. Sadly, the description is cooler than the actual skins which are typically just the normal champion designs with some embers sprinkled on them.
The final skin line of the year won’t take last place, but it certainly won’t take first either. Braum, Zilean, Ziggs, and Evelynn rang in the holiday season with these candy-themed costumes. These skins are cute, but many were left disappointed by the abandonment of the Winter theme for this sugary replacement.
That said, it’s nice to see that Riot remembers Zilean exists.
Riot released a fresh batch of Arcade skins this year, but they’re a little disappointing when compared to those that came before. The series that pays tribute to classic games of the past has featured wild redesigns of champions to fit them into the role of a video game protagonist or villain. Yasuo, Kai’sa, and Caitlyn’s skins come off more like a neon cosplay that pays homage to geek culture rather than arcade games.
Qiyana’s skin is the glorious exception to this forgettable skin line. Her costume’s design works well with her personality and fits the retro video game villainess theme. Frankly, it’s the only reason this category isn’t ranked lower.
Elderwood has always been one of the most underappreciated skin lines, but the dangerous creatures from the dark forest stepped up their game this year. Nocturne’s new appearance is haunting, Ahri’s is seductive, and Veigar’s looks suspiciously similar to the villainous Skull Kid from the Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask.
The primary reason this skin line doesn’t have a higher ranking is because these cosmetics weren’t as popular among the community as they could have been. Unfortunately, they wound up largely overlooked by players.
Blood Moon 2019 is the latest entry into the annual Oni-themed skin line. These cosmetics never fail to impress, both with their splash artwork as well as their in-game appearance. However, this year’s Blood Moon skins felt a little distant from their theme. Sivir, Aatrox, and Pyke feel less like Japanese demons, and more like just some ordinary dark warriors.
These skins still look badass, but a little less inspired from previous years’ entries.
Darius, and Hecarim’s new cosmetics aren’t particularly memorable, but High Noon Ashe makes up for their lack of pizazz. In Ashe’s second, unexpected legendary skin, the northern queen has transformed into a demonic huntress who enjoys hunting down the devils out in the old west.
Plus if you dance next to High Noon Lucian, the pair will begin a hoedown. Need we say more?
2019 saw another entry into the extremely popular PROJECT line of skins. Although there were some complaints about the champions who received them, its difficult to deny how badass these cyberpunk skins actually look. There was even a cool, albeit short, animated trailer released to market the new legendary Pyke skin.
There’s not much else to say about this year’s PROJECT skins. They’re awesome and we love them.
Battle Academia was the only original line of skins to be introduced in 2019.
What’s really great about this series of skins is the effort put into its narrative. Ezreal is the underdog student in a school based around combat. Graves is his professor, Lux is his crush, Jayce is class president, Katarina is one of the top students, and Yuumi presides as the principle of the academy.
With no shortage of skins to choose from, including the sweet new legendary skin for Ezreal, this was an unexpected, but great new addition to the growing number of themed skin lines in League.
The Dark Star skin line is one where Riot allows their artists to use their imagination, and really create something unique. This year’s additions are continuing this tradition with three spectacular cosmetics for Jhin, Karma, and Shaco. Dark Star 2019 may be the skin line where it’s hardest to pick a favorite
The skin line’s legendary cometic Dark Star Jhin is a major treat to LoL fans with a fascination with Lovecraftian aesthetics. With an unsettling design and a disturbing, yet oddly soothing voice Jhin is a nominee for the best legendary skin to be released in 2019.
The Lightbringer/Nightbringer skin line was the largest series of cosmetics to be released this year with seven skins, including two legendaries. Although the sheer number of skins is impressive, the dual Soraka legendary skins are sadly just palette swaps with a couple of minor tweaks.
However, what makes this skin line truly special is the wonderful addition of the Dawnbringer Karma cosmetic which saw all proceeds donated directly to the Riot Games Social Impact Fund charity service.
The Star Guardian skin line is possibly the most popular recurring skin line in League, and 2019’s additions continue that tradition. This year’s anime-themed cosmetics saw the inclusion of not just one, but two completely unique legendary skins for Xayah and Rakan which have unique dialogue that varies based on whether they are paired with one another.
Similar to Battle Academia, one of the best parts of the Star Guardian skin line is the storyline attached to it. Each year’s new series of cosmetics has brought along a cinematic animation to provide backstory to these new skins. The animation created for the 2019 skin line was breathtaking with a mixture of both traditional and 3D animation as well as talented vocalist Hiroyuki Sawano providing the music to the video.
Following up on League-themed virtual band K/DA seemed nearly impossible, but Riot managed to blow the community away once again with their latest musical group True Damage.
This line of skins was introduced through a killer animated music video that combined various genres of music into a melodic treat for the ears. Ekko, Senna, Akali, Yasuo, and Qiyana voiced by Thutmose and DUCKWRTH, Keke Palmer, Jeon Soyean, and Becky G respectively joined forces to bring their unique sound to LoL fans during the 2019 World Championship.
Each True Damage skin is awesome in its own right, but the legendary skin for Ekko is the real stand out. This cosmetic has the champion voiced by rapper Thutmose who spits bars as Ekko himself dishes out sick dance moves while moving around Runeterra. Also, Qiyana’s prestige version is designed by luxury fashion label Louis Vuitton. How awesome is that?
The work bringing each of these artists together, the animated music video, and the insane quality of the skins themselves makes True Damage the best skin line in 2019.