Hwei Abilities Rundown

For those of you looking for a high skill ceiling champion, boy do we have a treat for you. I’m Myles “Riot Emizery” Salholm, lead designer on Hwei, and I wanted to share some thoughts on Hwei’s abilities, some insights into how we designed them, and when to think about using them in game. We also drafted up a quick cheat sheet to keep handy as you’re learning the ins and outs of his kit. The whole team put a lot of work into Hwei and we’re excited for all of you to see him and his artwork when he releases in patch 13.24!


WHEW! That was a lot of abilities. But our hope is that once you all get your hands on Hwei each ability will feel meaningful in its own ways and that you’ll all have fun learning the ins and outs of this kit and how to get the most out of it. But I won’t leave you there. In order to help you aspiring Hwei mains a bit I’ll give you all some tips on how to get started with Hwei.

Laning Phase

It takes a lot of mental focus to create paint magic, and Hwei is definitely in need of mana to sustain his spell casting. Make sure you pick up mana sustain through items like Doran’s Ring and Tear of the Goddess for the laning phase. Stretching your mana pool for a Lost Chapter on your first back is a great sign that you’re succeeding on Hwei’s early game.

In order to get the most out of your mana pool, use Stirring Lights (WE) often and early when you don’t need to worry about being ganked or tanking damage. The bonus damage applies on AoE spells, so a QE + WE can help clear the wave and keep you from getting shoved under turret. Alternatively, you can use this combo to shove the wave in order to recall or roam. If you find yourself with an unattended turret and spot the enemy jungler you can even use WE while sieging the turret for some juicy plate gold.

Molten Fissure (QE) is Hwei’s best wave clear spell but has room to miss minion last hits so be careful on timing with it. WE can be a great way to auto attack low health minions with bonus damage to secure last hits, or use Devastating Fire (QQ) for enough burst damage to secure a cannon or grouped up set of minions. When clearing extra fast, use WE > QE >EE to deal tons of AoE damage and smoosh the wave together. Careful though because mispositioning on the side of the wave for a good EE could give the enemy an opening for a kill.

When the enemy is trying to back, throw out a Severing Bolt (QW) to harass them and slow down their recall. QW can also be used to secure a cannon minion when you’re low on health or returning to lane. Or, with a bit of vision, you can steal an enemy jungler’s camp unexpectedly. On your way back to lane, use Fleeting Current (WQ) to speed yourself up. You can also use WQ to roam to another lane with your ultimate or even just an artillery QW to snipe an enemy under pressure. If you are feeling especially confident, WQ aggressively into the enemy and drop a Gaze of the Abyss (EW) on them as you gap close and follow up with a QQ or QW combo.

Once you hit level 6, start looking for opportunities to grab your opponent with a Torment spell and follow up with Spiraling Despair (R) to secure a kill for yourself and start your mid game off with a bang.

General Weaknesses

With all of Hwei’s myriad solutions, he is still limited by having to make a choice between spells. Whenever Hwei uses a Torment spell his control spells are down for a while, especially in the early game, making it a prime opportunity to jump on him. If he uses Stirring Lights (WE) for mana sustain and damage he doesn’t have any shields or movement speed to survive being jumped on. If you see those circling lights and a control spell come out at the same time, he’s very vulnerable.

Hwei is also incredibly fragile. While he can certainly stave off enemies with good positioning and clever paint slinging, his low survivability won’t keep him alive for long once jumped on. Catching him off guard with ganks or wrap-arounds is incredibly effective, and he usually isn’t able to survive burst damage output from assassins singling him out in team fights.

Lastly, Hwei also has a very limited mana pool that demands he back often or trade off AP for more mana in his items. Painting often without using Stirring Lights (WE) is sure to leave him out of mana in no time and unable to respond to enemy threats or able to back up his allies. For those facing Hwei if he is low mana it is time to turn on him and take advantage of poor mana management.

Team Fighting

One of Hwei’s greatest strengths is his ability to contribute in team fights. Hwei’s Passive, Signature of the Visionary, is most powerful when multiple champions are grouped up allowing him to stack up overlapping explosions with Crushing Maw (EE). Finding an opportunity to throw his ultimate, Spiraling Despair, onto a pile of enemies is a dream come true for Hwei that forces the enemy team apart (at a minimum) or face a death sentence.

That said, getting kills isn’t as easy as looking for a couple champions standing next to each other. Hwei needs to maintain his distance and control the battlefield with his team utilities and zoning area effects. A well placed Molten Fissure (QE) can cut off or devastate an enemy frontline. Positioning a Gaze of the Abyss (EW) into a choke point can guarantee a root for a collapse or disengage as well. If an enemy in the backline is low, try sniping them with Severing Bolt (QW) to change the fight into a 5v4; or if they’re playing it safe and the frontline is being bullish, throw out Devastating Fire (QQ) to whittle down their large health pools until they need to back off.

Just as important as zoning and damaging your enemies is supporting your allies. During a chase or escape situation use Fleeting Current (WQ) to outposition your opponent and reform your team’s positioning. If your team is being jumped on or brawling it out in the melee pit, use Pool of Reflection (WW) to mitigate damage and survive the fight. And if you’re free to dish out the damage or need a bit of mana, Stirring Lights (WE) can give you the extra oomph to turn a near kill into a pick.

Late Game

While Hwei doesn’t have infinite scaling like Veigar or Aurelion Sol, he appreciates gaining experience and gold to scale himself into a devastating team fighter. Be careful not to split off from your team and get picked off by a gank or rogue assassin though as they’re likely to be a potent threat to you. Ultimately, prioritizing grouping and moving with your team for strategic objective taking is one of Hwei’s strong points.

During extended fights and objective contests, Hwei’s ability to cover the field in zones is incredible at gaining priority and closing out the game. However, he’s always vulnerable to backline aggression or getting too aggressive himself and being caught by frontline crowd control for a quick death. Maintaining distance will keep you alive, but too much distance in the backline will lead to an unsupported team that leaves you stranded and alone.

Match ups

Although Hwei has many tools at his disposal, he has low base stats like movement speed and armor, making him vulnerable to getting killed early game by an aggressive jungler or mid-laner. Assassin or physical champions with some mobility and engage range can be very challenging for him, so a good Yasuo, Fizz, or even Tristana can keep Hwei down before he can pick up steam in mid game.

Hwei is also unusually susceptible to powerful poke champions with his low health and risky, less reliable poke options. Rival artillery mages like Vel’Koz or Xerath won’t give him much of a break and will likely force him to back early after losing most (or all) of his health. He can also struggle into other control mages with more reliable poke, like Viktor or Orianna.

However, Hwei’s powerful team fight abilities and control spells make him great at handling scaling champions by decimating the enemy team and taking objectives during mid game when he’s gained some gold and experience. Mid lane champions that need to telegraph a direct engage can also struggle fighting into Hwei, making champions like Lissandra or Naafiri struggle to find an early advantage to snowball the game with.

Wait, you made it all the way here? Through all the ins and outs of Hwei’s abilities? In that case, you’re probably exactly the type of player that’ll love Hwei!

Hwei’s versatility might not let him be dominant in every scenario, but it lets him find footing in most situations through creative problem solving no matter the matchup. Hwei’s definitely not the easiest champion to pick up, but should you put in the time to master his craft, he’ll reward your dedication with exciting ways for you to showcase your creativity and skill. Stay persistent and keep mixing those spells, painters. See you on the Rift!