Since its 2009 launch, Riot Games’ League of Legends has grown into a global gaming juggernaut. The game turns an incredible profit, and skins, or digital cosmetics for playable characters, are the cornerstone of its monetization. These virtual costumes range in complexity from simple color changes to complete overhauls of the character’s model, animation, as well as unique visual and audio effects.
Over the years, certain skins have become incredibly rare. While it may seem strange that a digital, infinitely reproducible commodity could become hard to find, limited time events, discontinuation, and periodic content vaulting can restrict players’ access to certain cosmetics. In many cases, the only way to obtain a skin is to purchase an account that already has the skin unlocked.
It must be noted: trading accounts explicitly violates Riot Games’ Terms of Service, and as such, it is a forbidden practice. It is also extremely risky, as traded accounts are often permanently suspended. You probably shouldn’t go to those lengths to obtain that ultra-rare cosmetic you really want. With that disclaimer out of the way, these are the rarest League of Legends skins.
Digital Collector’s Edition skins (Silver Kayle, Young Ryze, and Black Alistar)
Over a decade after launching, League of Legends still commands an enormous player base, but there was no way of knowing how far the game would go at its inception. A rare trio of skins were only available to people who pre-purchased the League of Legends Digital Collector Pack prior to its October 2009 release. The retired skins from the digital collections bundle include Black Alistar, Young Ryze, and Silver Kayle. All of these skins are simple color palette swaps — a kind of visual upgrade that is now relegated to the game’s chroma packs.
Interestingly, Goth Annie was also originally part of the Digital Collector’s Edition, but proved popular enough that she was added to the shop later. A mix of low initial demand and subsequent unavailability are notable trends in many of League of Legends rarest skins, as Riot usually takes pain to monetize skins that are popular, or make them available in other ways.
In League of Legends‘ early days, codes containing exclusive skins and champions were used to promote the game at gaming-centric events. Now, PAX skins — which were distributed at Penny Arcade Expo events – are the reference standard for truly rare skins in League of Legends. Initially, cards containing unused PAX skin codes were a hot commodity for trading among skin collectors, fetching prices ranging from $220 to $1,000. But as of 2014, the codes that were given out have all expired.
Of the three PAX skins given out, PAX Twisted Fate is the oldest and rarest of the three, as the code was distributed at PAX Prime 2009. PAX Jax, which is modeled after Jonathan Gabriel’s Cardboard Samurai cartoon alter ego, features the champion wielding a cardboard tube as a weapon, which is a play on the character’s supposed ability to transform any object into a deadly weapon. PAX Sivir, the most recent of the three, has a TRON-like aesthetic.
These days, finding a player with the King Rammus skin on Summoner’s Rift is a notable experience. But even back in 2014, this skin was astonishingly rare. An exclusive reward for players who participated in League of Legends’ beta, this King Koopa-style recolor of Ramus is another simple skin that became extremely hard to see, let alone acquire. With a white-bordered, spiked green shell and yellow body, the colors of King Ramus clearly imitate the palate of Mario’s arch nemesis, Bowser. While the skin is a fun homage to Nintendo’s biggest bad guy, Riot was taking a big risk.
The reason the skin was pulled from the shop is likely due to a potential copyright infringement suit. As players have observed, Riot was running the risk of getting sued for spoofing another well-known company’s copyrighted character. Now that League of Legends is one of the most popular games in the world, continuing to feature the skin for purchase could lead to a lawsuit.
UFO Corki is yet another "you had to be there" skins, that is no longer obtainable through legitimate means. As a thank you to early adopters, the skin was awarded to players who created an account prior to Jan. 14, 2010. Though Riot never billed UFO Corki as a legendary skin, it meets many of Riot’s stated criteria for legendary skins. The skin has a completely new model, replacing Corki’s familiar plane/helicopter with an alien-looking spacecraft, and features unique particle effects.
This skin is a notable exception to the rule of popular skins finding their way to the market, as the skin was well-reviewed, and many other players have expressed interest in obtaining it for their collections. Despite the demand, Riot does not seem to have any plans to make the skin available to newer players. While likely frustrating for players who came to the game late and want to complete a full suite of skins for Corki, the nod to veteran players makes the skin all the more special.
Ironically, a skin that was removed for being unimpressive is now one of the rarest cosmetic commodities in League of Legends. This simple Blitz recolor was only available at the very beginning, for a very brief amount of time. Riot never gave a reason for the skin’s cancellation, but it is suspected that Riot felt the skin was a poor reflection on the effort put into the early skins being produced, as it is almost indistinguishable from normal Blitzcrank with no new particles or sound effects. Very few players had a chance to purchase Rusty Blitzcrank, as Riot pulled it from their in-game shop quickly.
For a brief period, Rusty Blitzcrank could be obtained randomly via the game’s mystery gifting system, though it was later removed from the pool of legacy skins available in mystery gifts, and cannot be created via hextech crafting. Now Rusty Blitzcrank is something of an odd badge of honor on the rift, demonstrating that the player who possesses it has an account that has been around since the very beginning of League of Legends.
Legacy Championship Riven
The original or "legacy" Championship Riven has become an extremely controversial rare skin. Initially, the skin was the first of the annual "Championship" skins created in celebration of the League of Legends World Championships, or "Worlds." Originally released in 2012, Championship Riven codes were given out at Worlds, and then made available to all players from Oct.14 to Oct. 22, 2012 in the in-game shop for 975 Riot Points, the game’s premium currency.
As indicated by the skin’s sale listing, It is estimated that 8,000 attendees received the skin for attending Worlds in person, though many gamers sold their code online for prices reaching $300 USD. The striking blue look of Championship Riven’s armor was inspired by the vibrant blue lava of the Kawah Ijen Volcano in Indonesia.
The skin became a source of controversy in 2016, when a visual update for Championship Riven was released as part of a championship bundle. However, to honor players who attained the original Championship Riven, the Legacy skin was left untouched, and features a few visual distinctions from the other version, including a crown and different textures.
Season 1 & 2 Victorious Skins (Jarvan IV and Janna)
Victorious skins are uncommon in general, as they are only awarded to players who reach Gold rank at the end of a competitive season. But back in season 1 and 2, when the game’s player base was several magnitudes smaller than it is today, only a handful of players reached Gold rank, making Victorious Jarvan IV from season 1 and Victorious Janna from season 2 extremely hard to come by. The skins themselves are cool-looking, featuring silver armor with golden trim, but ultimately they are simple recolors with no new visual or audio effects, and no substantial model changes.
Like most "achievement" skins, which are awarded to players for completing certain in-game milestones, the Victorious line of skins are excluded from mystery gift drops. That means that Jarvan IV and Janna’s Victorious outfits, like most of the other rare skins on this list, are not available through any legal means, including Hextech crafting.
Riot Squad Singed
From 2010 to 2011, summoners could obtain rare Riot-themed champion skins at Riot Games events or by meeting Rioters — Riot employees — who possessed the codes. These skins include Riot Graves, Riot Squad Blitzcrank, Riot Girl Tristana, and, rarest of all, Riot Squad Singed. Like the PAX skins, Riot Squad codes all expired in 2014. While several of these popular skins have been re-released as part of certain bundles, like 2014’s cops and robbers bundle, Riot Squad Singed was only available from download codes, and currently cannot be obtained by any legitimate means, including mystery gifting.
In terms of visual complexity, Riot Squad Singed is on the more impressive end of rare skins. His poison vial has been tweaked to look like a tear gas canister and he carries a modified shield emblazoned with Riot’s original logo. His poison trail also features a unique particle effect. No reason has been provided for the skin’s absence from the shop, but only time will tell if it’ll ever return.
Winter Games skins
Riot released a slew of sport and nationally-themed skins in celebration of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. These skins were only available in the Riot shop for 520 Riot Points from February to March 2010. Of these skins, Vancouver Amumu appears to be the rarest because relatively few gamers purchased it while it was available. This again added credence to the trend that limited availability and initial unpopularity are the greatest factors in skin rarity. The skin features the weeping mummy champion wrapped in the colors of the Olympic flag, varying from limb to limb.
While all of these "legacy" or content-vaulted skins are rarer than the average skin, players can still claim them from Hextech crafting and loot drops. The odds against this are long however, as both those methods are subject to tremendous randomization, drawing rewards from the game’s enormous pool of available content. Mystery gifts can also yield the skins, and grant slightly better odds, as mystery gifts are only pulled from the recipient’s pool of available champions.
Neo PAX Sivir and other mythic skins
Unlike many of the other rare skins that are visually simplistic or even underwhelming, mythic skins are some of the coolest in the game. They are at least equivalent to epic skins in quality, but they can only be created via Hextech crafting, loot drops, and loot re-rolls. The drop rate for receiving a mythic skin is estimated to be 1 in 2,500, and there is no known "pity" mechanic that guarantees a drop after a certain amount of drops have been opened.
The most reliable method, Hextech crafting, requires 10 Gemstones, or a Mythic Skin token. Certain Mythic skins have Prestige variants that feature a special portrait border, splash art, and VFX which can only be obtained during limited time events for prestige tokens. The rarest Mythic skin is currently Neo PAX Sivir, a modern update of the rare PAX Sivir skin. This particular skin’s rarity is due to the fact that it is no longer available from crafting or loot drops, as it was retired in 2018. It may make a return at some point in the future, however.
Refer-A-Friend skins (Grey Warwick and Medieval Twitch)
An honorable mention should be made for the skins that were initially only available through Riot’s long-discontinued Refer-A-Friend program. Grey Warwick and Medieval Twitch were once exceedingly rare due to their limited window of availability and the sheer amount of effort required to acquire them.
To claim Grey Warwick, players needed to refer at least fifty friends. But getting friends to sign up for an account alone was not sufficient for obtaining the skins. Each friend who registered needed to reach summoner level 5 (which required a few hours of gameplay) in order for the referral to be considered valid. Medieval Twitch was even rarer, requiring players to refer 350 friends to the game.
Now, however, players can easily obtain the once-rare skin by attaining honor rank 5. This change led to heated discussions on Reddit between collectors who earned the skins the hard way, but it is another demonstration of how most popular skins eventually find a path to broader availability.