(via https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Za6SRsc-iIU)

Weapon Design and Function: Why Noxus is Scary as Hell

// Everybody knows that Noxus is “that place with all the people wearing black, with scary weapons.”  But today, for Theorycraft Thursday, I’m going to look at each major Noxian weapon, and tell you exactly why anyone, be they Demacian, Freljordian, Ionian, or even another Noxian, should crap their pants when they see a Noxian weapon.  While Demacian weapons are, by contrast, both functional and aesthetically pleasing, seemingly valuing symmetry in design, Noxian weapons are anything but.  They’re rough, they’re brutal, and they are perfectly designed to tear your ass apart in some truly horrifying ways.  Sound interesting?  Well, let’s get started…

Weapon Cross-Section and Design:

So, you’d thing the V-Shaped cross section would be more useful for cutting, and you’d be right.  However, it also means that the cutting edge is more likely to be ruined by extended use, and a little harder to maintain as well.  Considering the standard enemies of Noxus (DEMACIA!!) the cross-section on the right makes more sense for most Noxian weaponry.  But, why is that? 

Put simply, the one on the right is beefier, and supported by more material while it still maintains a cutting edge.  The end result is that Noxian bladed weapons would not cut quite as effectively, but they would SMASH opponents wearing ARMOR far more effectively.  You do not cut or carve through armor, and history has shown that blunt weapons typically do better against armored foes, usually by caving in joints or bashing in helmets.  While this approach may not pierce through armor simply by striking the target repeatedly, it would likely serve to keep them off-balance and open to more strikes.  Curved swords did not do as well in medieval Europe when compared to straight swords because they could not navigate through the vulnerabilities as easily as straight, flexible weapons like rapiers or the classic longsword.

Curved blades saw use in cavalry, however, where slashing motions made more sense, or piercing weapons were used to go through plate or mail’s vulnerabilities, like joints, but if you had to pick one, then smashing, chopping axes or heavy single-sided weapons would be your best bet to knock your opponent around, and prevent them from getting in close.  And this is what we see reflected in virtually every single Noxian blade design. 

So, let’s take a look at some of those weapons…

Invasion Swords and Axe:

These lovely weapons are primary types used during the Noxian Invasion of Ionia.  How do we know this?  I watched Bard Mountain and picked these bad boys out.  Then I sketched some variations that I saw.  What you are looking at are very, very brutal weapons, for both the swords and the axe.  First, the swords.

The swords have either a straight or concave blade depending on what you’re looking at.  This tells you that, depending on their swing, they can do some different things.  The other side of them is not sharpened, and so, can be used to deflect other blades without fear of ruining a cutting edge.  The curve of the cutting edge means that the blade does some of the slashing for you, even if you swing in a chopping motion, and if you hit an armored target head on, you’re likely to impart a good deal of impact force because of how heavy these weapons are in their construction.  They’re similar to falcatas or falchions, swords that behave a lot more like axes, made for chopping and impact. 

However, the curved front end of the sword also means that slashing is an option, but only when you’re hitting from the weapon’s maximum range, and the lower one still allows for stabbing, which can pierce mail easily as well.  So, against squishy targets with light armor or no armor, you can carve them up easily at a little range, but if they’re heavier, you get close and smash and chop them into oblivion.  But, the spiked tip on the upper blade?  Just imagine the backswing flying in at the right angle, and puncturing your plate-mail.  That’ll ruin your day…

The axe is straightforward also.  Scale it up about 5 times and it’s also almost identical to Sion’s axe in function, just hella bigger, and hella scarier.  Sion’s is just a more unfair version of this basic design.  It’s double-bladed, and can be used effectively on either side.  The larger flat-bladed section, as noted above, is perfect for bashing and breaking down armored opponent, while still being capable of chopping, while the curved smaller section is ideal for slashing attacks against lighter foes.  A skilled user might even be capable of looping the curve around an enemy’s limb before doing unspeakable things to them.  In the end, both of these types are weapons of brutality, and as you’ll soon see, this trend continues.

Katarina’s Sinister Blades:

See what I did there?  Thing is, it’s the truth.  Katarina’s blades are dangerous, despite the awkward curve and bend they have (which they happen to share somewhat with a falcata).  Again, we see the concave edge, which functions exactly like it does in the above weapons.  And, we also have the curved edge in the front for slashing attacks, and the pointed tip for piercing.  AND, because Katarina’s handles are straight, it effectively means that she can spin them around, in reverse, and bring those curved tips through armor via a piercing stab and into the unfortunate body of the victim below it exactly like a god-damn raptor claw, or snake fang. 

Despite being designed to hack, carve, slash, and pierce, Katarina’s blades can also be used in reverse, or in any direction, depending on what she wants to do with them.  They’re multi-purpose weapons, and her fighting style is likely to change depending on whatever target she happens to be facing at any given moment.  More often than not, they’ll be most effective along the inner edge, near the pointed section, or at the slashing tip, but because they’re sharpened all the way around, she can change things up, and still manage to cut you down.

With her greater mobility, and these weapons, it’s no surprise that she can continuously clash with Garen on the field, and keep up with him.  These blades have a lot to do with that, because she can attack in ways Garen’s blade can’t.  Brutal doesn’t mean inefficient…

Riven’s Blackstone Runeblade:

I’ve already looked into Riven’s weapon fairly extensively, so this is familiar territory for me.  Like every other sword on our list, it’s a single-edged blade, and that cutting surface is enormous.  The tip of the blade allows for stabbing motions, and the long, curved front section means this huge weapon is going to hit like a damn truck, bust or bend your armor, and impart significant impact force into whatever it hits.  Hit for hit, if Riven can strike you with this thing, it’s going to hurt as badly as a solid stroke from Darius’ axe, if not possibly more, save for just one aspect I’ll explain later… 

Realistically, no ordinary weapon could parry something of this size without risking the intercepting weapon breaking.  Fiora who?  Yasuo what?  Master huh?  A sword like this is not going to just stop if Riven gets it going, much like Darius’ axe.  Things like Tryndamere’s sword, which shares similar design qualities for that matter, or Garen’s sword, or Aatrox’s weapon, or Pantheon, Leona, or Taric’s shields could probably take a strike without much damage.  But once you get into things of this size, weight, and power, regular weapons just don’t hold up.  That’s part of what’s so scary about Sion’s axe too.  Riven, Darius, Sion, all these Noxians could potentially mow down foes with their weapons once they got them going.  You can’t stop something that big, with that much force behind it, without magic.

Riven swings this thing with her whole body, and the position of the handle on the blade means the largest chunk of the sword’s weight is below the handle, making it perfect for chopping, like a butcher’s blade.  The outer curve lends itself well to that, while the large portion of blade material means that, if it doesn’t cut you, it still packs a wallop.  If you’re not steadfast, you’re on the ground, or knocked back and sideways, and Riven can pick you apart at her leisure.  Hell, canonically, she bisected an Ionian lengthwise in her judgment.  That’s head to toe, not across the waist.  To do that, you need a lot more force, and this blade provides that in spades on top of Riven’s strength. 

Keep that in mind the next time she punches you…

Not Draven, Draaaaaven:

As expected, Draven’s throwing axes are more detailed and showy than what I have here, and they’re also, arguably, the most ludicrous weapons on this list, simply because of how they’re designed.  But, that’s Draven for you.  Plausibility aside, because who cares about that, Draven’s axes should make you cry, and not with tears of joy because you caught a glimpse of him.  These things are the very definition of brutal.

Just look at that tip.  That’s shaped like a scythe, or more correctly, a pickaxe.  Because of how the blade and weapon is designed, it’s perfectly along the intended arc that the weapon should follow when it’s spinning.  That means it will have maximum penetration force.  Armor isn’t going to do crap against something that big flying into you, and if it hits you at the right point, it’s going to hurt.  A lot.  Of course, if it doesn’t hit just right, well, it’ll still hurt, but not as much.  That also goes to show you how skilled Draven actually has to be to use these things, as if the spikes everywhere didn’t already tell you that (there are even more spikes on them that I couldn’t show on this too).  So, despite him being full of himself, Draven isn’t actually a joke.  He’s dangerous, and honestly really terrifying when it comes to fighting.

The thing is, even if Draven decides NOT to throw these at you, they’re still going to work perfectly to beat the every-loving crap out of you by puncturing armor or carving flesh and bone into little chunks.  He can pull an Olaf and double-axe you to death.  Oh, and a fun tidbit?  THOSE GOD DAMN TIPS ARE SHAPED EXACTLY LIKE OLD SCHOOL CAN OPENERS.  FUCKING CAN OPENERS.  What do Demacians wear into battle?  Shiny, glorious tin cans called armor.  That’s frightening to consider, and very deadly if you happen to really like your plate.

But the most brutal weapon of them all I saved for last.

Darius the Skull-Miner:

My shitty drawing of Darius’ axe does not do the real thing justice.  So, let’s go over basic design functionality.  Darius can wield this monster of an axe in either one or two hands due to the length of the handle, and the curved, larger side means it can slash, as well as carve, depending on how he decides to use it.  This is why Darius is so easily capable of doing spinning and chopping actions.  His weapon is literally perfect for it.

The enormous weight of the weapon coming down onto solid plate armor will cause it to buckle and deform, and you’re not going to be able to block or parry something of this size, unless you happen to be Garen, or Riven, or Tryndamere, or Aatrox, or Kayle etc, and even Kayle is iffy.going by blade alone.  You have to dodge it, or get out of the way.  We also know shields don’t do all that much to stop it if he really goes for it, if cinematics count for anything.  Sorry Leona.

The edge is huge, and the swinging force is tremendous.  Compared to Sion’s axe, which is flat in the front and designed primarily for chopping and smashing, Darius can effectively do both depending on where and how he decides to hit an enemy, or a friend that gets to close…  It’s a surprisingly multi-purpose weapon for something so huge and brutal.

But the thing that’s most terrifying is the small end, which so much artwork actually gets wrong.  Look at that.  Tell me what that is.  No, I’ll just tell you.  That’s a fucking spiked, bladed pickaxe, and similar to some medieval battlaxes.  That pointed tip is the single most horrifying thing on any Noxian weapon I’ve seen yet.

Armor is useless against the huge impact force concentrated into that single point.  Skulls are toast, even through helmets.  You will be IMPALED and then MANHANDLED around before he either tears the hook out of you in the most brutal, gory display you can imagine, or he will simply carve through you to get to the other three guys next to you.  And you wondered why he has BONUS ARMOR PENETRATION.  That spike is why, and it’s absolutely deadly.

In Conclusion:

Every single major Noxian melee weapon follows the same basic design principles.  They are all designed primarily for crushing, chopping, piercing, and occasionally slicing.  More often than not, they all rely on impact force and armor penetration to deal with their biggest rivals, Demacia, known for fielding armored soldiers.  From range, or up close, these weapons will find several different ways to ruin your day, simply from design.  This is a culture that is perfectly suited to killing their enemies on the field in as many different ways as possible, all through their chosen weapons.

From standard-issue weapons in the Ionian Invasion, to the biggest, baddest weapons in Noxus, to the swiss-army-blades of its top blademasters, or even Talon’s big poking blade designed for one strike, one kill (which is all his weapon is primed for via design) Noxus, as an empire, is build upon strength, force, and dominating their enemies with extreme prejudice.  Katarina says “Blood for Noxus” as one of her iconic quotes, and after looking at all of these weapons, it’s no small leap to see why.