League of Legends will soon be adding a Black Market Brawlers mode. This limited-time game type makes some huge changes to the usual 5v5 matches on Summoner's Rift.
In Black Market Brawlers, players can hire special minions using a new currency called Golden Krakens. All players earn a Kraken every 60 seconds. They can also get more by getting champion kills or assists, slaying large monsters in the enemy team's jungle, or defeating dragons and Baron.
There are four different brawler minions to buy with Krakens. Ironbacks are durable siege units that excel in taking down enemy buildings. Razorfins and Plundercrabs will pursue and harass enemy champions, respectively. Ocklepods provide vision and will shield fellow minions. Once purchased, the brawler will replace one regular minion in each wave for all three lanes. You can then spend additional Krakens to upgrade their abilities, attack, or defense.
These minions alone would make the mode very different from normal Summoner's Rift matches. However, Riot went one further by introducing new items for champions to equip. There are 15 new items available in Black Market Brawlers and one new boot enchantment. Here are a couple examples:
Adding such a huge amount of items to the game with unusual effects should be chaotic. We could see champions taking on different roles than usual or becoming downright unstoppable with certain gear. On top of that, players can toy with various strategies for buying minions. It probably won't be balanced but Featured Game Modes rarely are. They're intended as a fun diversion rather than a new eSport.
I'm really surprised by the level of detail for this mode. Other Featured Modes in the past made simple tweaks, like upping the player count, allowing mirror matches or reducing cooldowns. Riot had to make a bunch of brand-new art for these minions and items. It makes me wonder whether we can expect this mode to be permanent someday, or at least an annual event.
Black Market Brawlers mode will presumably launch during the special "Bilgewater: Burning Tides" event coming this summer. This event will also bring a new Butcher's Bridge map for ARAM mode and official updates for characters Miss Fortune and Gangplank. Miss Fortune and five other characters will also be receiving new skins. Maybe we'll see the release of new champion Tahm Kench during the event as well.