While each League of Legends champion has a fitting name for their personality and gameplay style, there are plenty of names that were scrapped due to questionable translations, poor fits, or plenty of other reasons.
In a recent narrative post, Riot Games’ BananaBand1t explained how the champion teams go about choosing appropriate names for each new champion. The writers that build the champions’ stories have several interesting techniques for coming up with a new name for a champ whether it involves giving them a name that simply doesn’t fit at all or one that simply refers to their gameplay.
“I try to create a working name that’s so ridiculous that nobody will want to pick it,” Dunn said about his naming process.
When narrowing down their name choices, the writers and designers look to attach names to champions by establishing certain goals for each new champ. By sticking to those goals, avoiding certain letters that become problematic in different regions, and bouncing lists of up to 100 favorite names per champ between writers and designers, the names are crossed out and revised until a final few remain.
During this process, tons of names are scratched off the list due to inappropriate translations and other reasons. From Camille to Zoe, BananaBand1t also listed several potential champion names that were scrapped as well as why Riot took a pass on them.
- Ariadne – shortened to “Ari,” which is basically Ahri
- Evangeline or Emmaline – too similar to Evelynn
- Beatrice or Beatrix – too similar to Swain’s raven
- Miah – sounds exactly like MIA, and “Miah is MIA” would sound weird
- Tahra – sounds like the word for “fetish” in Brazilian Portuguese
Taalea– spelling changed to “Taliyah” because “ Taalea” is a brand of bottled water in Russia
- Olalla – pronunciation will sound like “Oh là là” in French, which is used in several European countries to say you are surprised or disappointed, with a hint of being silly.
- Zaia – sounds very close to “Zyra” in some regions
Elascu– lastsyllable means “ass ”inBrazilian Portuguese
- Kwo – sound a chicken makes in Czech; slang insult in Thai; means “asshole” in Brazilian Portuguese
- Ukura – also sounds like “ass” in Brazilian
- Mofa – sounds close to mofo, which could get a little meme-y
- Xamyul – hard to pronounce
- Xamhule – can relate to vulgar words in French and is also hard to pronounce
Drayx– similar to Darius in Chinese
- Pana Pumm – doesn’t sound gruff or manly in many regions; Pum means “fart” in Brazilian Portuguese
- Hrumm – pig sound in Polish; start of an engine in Russian; sounds like clearing throat in Greek and French; also hard to pronounce
- Hukk – onomatopoeia for surprise in Korea
- Kaag – means trash/newb in Thai, sounds like “to shit” in Brazilian Portuguese
- Gorn – sounds like “horn” or “furnace” in Russian (but mostly just wasn’t the chosen one)
- Deke – sounds like “dick” in multiple regions
- Deek – …same problem as “Deke”
- Jaga – means “to care for or protect” in Malay
- Glorft – hard to pronounce in some regions, also sounds kind of gross (like the sound of throwing up)
- Niko – common boy’s name in many regions
- Sofi – sounds like cow in Bahasa; is a sanitary napkin brand in Thailand
- Safi – sounds like the Turkish word for “naive,” which doesn’t fit her character
Check out the full post for a complete breakdown of Riot’s champion-naming process as well as goals established for each of the champions above.