Riot Games has unleashed a new experimental game mode for League of Legends. Showdown mode allows for short, focused battles between two or four players.
The mode is playable on the Howling Abyss map. Howling Abyss is the most straightforward of the League of Legends battlefield, with only one lane. It's hard to retreat, as Recall is disabled. Even if you do get back to your base, your fountain won't restore your health or mana.
Showdown makes the map even simpler. The game ends whenever one side gets a champion kill (or two, in the case of a 2v2 match). Teams can also win by racking up 100 creep kills or eliminating the enemy turret. Showdown is restricted to players of Summoner Level 10 or higher. Champions are chosen through a Blind Draft.
This is the second Featured Gameplay Mode released by Riot Games. The previous match type was One For All, in which five teammates all play the same champion. These short-term modes are intended to give players some variety and also help Riot collect feedback on possible new modes. Modes like One For All or Showdown could return if they're popular enough.
"Our team wants to make this a very open development process, and your feedback will be incredibly important in informing what modes we should pursue and what others should be shelved," designer Richard ‘Brackhar’ Hough said in October when One For All was first unveiled. "We're extremely excited to work with you guys over the coming months, and I can't wait to see what fun, unique experiences we'll be able to create together."
The new mode is just one aspect of League of Legends' winter-themed Snowdown event. Riot Games is also now selling special skins to mark the occasion, such as Snowstorm Sivir and Winter Wonder Lulu. They took this opportunity to re-release many skins from previous events as well. Players can buy Mystery Gifts for each other and earn special Summoner Icons during Snowdown.
The Showdown mode won't be available past January 2nd. It's not clear when the Snowdown event will end.