Ionia: Lore, Champions & More | RiftFeed
The First Lands is such a poetic name.

Ionia: Lore, Champions & More

Champions 06-12-2023 18:50

The land of harmony and tranquility, Ionia, is the birthplace of quite a few LoL champions, including the newest LoL champion, Hwei!

Ionia splash
Where land breathes with mortals | © Riot Games

Ionia is one of the regions in League of Legends, situated on the west side of the Valoran continent, separated from the mainland by the ocean, and consisting of a massive archipelago.

Unlike the monoculturalism of the Kingdom of Demacia, Ionia is full of diverse people, each with their own way of living in harmony with nature. But there is more to Ionia than meets the eye, and the roots of history dig deep in this magic-abundant region.

Ionia - History

The history of Ionia stretches all the way to the first recorded history of everything. There is, after all, the reason Ionia is called the First Lands by the Vastaya. The Vastaya call Ionia the First Lands because that is where they were created!

Ionia History - Titan War

Only two events precede the Titan War that happened in Ionia. The first is the literal creation of the universe, while the other is the formation of Runeterra. So, as far as the history of sapient mortals is concerned, it's the first event ever, after which follows the first Founding of Freljord!

Ionia titan war
Where did the Titans come from? | © Riot Games

The First Lands were the first lands where mortals lived peacefully in harmony with nature and spirits, while primordials still roamed the oceans and mountain chains, with their incredible might as unfiltered forces of nature. That was when Titans, bipedal beings of incredible strength and size landed on Runeterra from outer space.

Ionia Battle of Bard Mountain
Could they have been some sort of Celestials, like Bard? | © Riot Games

To combat this threat, the most enlightened of the mortals took the power of the Spirit Lands and the various Spirits into themselves, becoming the Vastayashai'rei, an immortal fusion of man and spirit.

After winning the Titan War, their descendants would procreate with mortals, giving birth to the Vastaya and their various offshoots, like the simian or avian Vastaya.

Ionia History - The Darkin War

Interestingly, as Ionia never had a centralized government, and its people were focused on enlightenment and were never interested in conquest, there is no history comparable to that of Mount Targon or Ixtal, involving themselves with wars or succession crises.

The first event large enough to be noticeable in the history of Runeterra, which actually affected Ionia, was the Darkin War, which happened 7000 years after the Titan War. And it only involved the sealing of Varus by Mihira.

Spirit Blossom Lillia
The destruction of the willow did give birth to Lillia, indirectly | © Riot Games

Though one could argue that the Destruction of the God-Willow was a great blow to Ionian spirituality, whilst giving birth to Ivern in turn, it was a small fry in the grand scheme of things.

Ionia History - Noxian Invasion

Ionia is a land that is not even controlled or governed, but only loosely protected by the various factions, monasteries, and militias of the First Lands. And its inhabitants use weapons in traditional dances, more than for actual warfare.

Seeing it as an opportunity for a new conquest, the ever-expanding Noxian Empire launched their invasion of Ionia during the reign of their previous Emperor, who wanted to get his hands on magical artifacts to extend his life.

Irelia placidium
In honor of Irelia's bravery at the Placidium | © Riot Games

During this time, the attack on Navori, the central region of Ionia, and the massacres that followed, roused a sense of resistance in Ionia. It gave birth to great heroes, like Irelia, and various factions with their own vision of Ionia,  such as the Navori Brotherhood led by Shen's father Kusho, or the Order of Shadow led by Zed.

Unfortunately, as the resistance gained steam, so did the brutality of Noxus, using child soldiers and chemical bombardment to break Ionian morale. Only the change in the Noxian regime brought this war to its end, with Noxus still controlling some islands, and Ionia reeling in instability from the inflicted trauma and conflicting ideologies.

Ionia Master Yi Village
Noxian chem bombardment at work, courtesy of Singed | © Riot Games

In the end, the answer to the question of "who won, Noxus or Ionia", the answer is: "Everyone lost"! And now, Ionia is a turbulent land, where extremist factions are slowly growing in popularity, and in-fighting is a common occurrence.

Ionia - Culture and Religion

There has been many a discussion on whether Ionia is based on China, Japan, Korea, or other Asian countries. In truth, Ionia represents the Eastern cultures as a whole, with the region drawing inspiration from a combination of mythology, religion, architecture, and overall civilization of all Asian cultures.

Ionia The Great Monasteries
The great monasteries of Ionia are only available for those willing to reach them | © Riot Games

There are four major religions in Ionia, none of which have a structured method of worship:

  • Akana Spirits
  • Kanmei Spirits
  • The Wind and the Wave
  • Kindred

Even saying worship when speaking of the relation between the mortals and spirits, divinities, and others, is wrong. In Ionia, the very magic is suffused with the land and the people, and all look to live in harmony with each other, rather than anyone lording over anyone else.

Ionia Life As One
Life as one | © Riot Games

The cultures of Ionia are varied, and the history of the land is deep. Monasteries of various designs can be found in all regions of Ionia, and traces of past battles are honored, rather than fixed, to preserve what history teaches mortals.

Friction does exist, however. Whether it's historic, between the Vastaya and the humans, or in modern-day Ionia, between the factions that clash in ideologies. Especially with the rise of underground criminal cabals.

Ionian dragons
Not all Ionian Dragons are like the ones we're used to contesting on Summoner's Rift | © Riot Games

The festivals still keep the spirit of the land alive, such as the Spirit Blossom Festival, and beyond the walls of villages live extraordinary magical beings. According to Irelia, there are 200 species of Dragons living in Ionia alone.

Their history is retold through oral traditions, poetry, and teachings of wise magical beings, such as the Teaching of the Dragon.

Ionia Map - All Regions

Ionia is an archipelago, consisting of Ionia Island, split by a mountain range into the regions of Navori and Shon-Xan, and surrounded by smaller islands on all sides.

  • Ionia Island
  • Fae'Lor
  • Bahrl
  • Galrin
  • Sudaro
  • Oulin
  • Qaelin
  • Ralin
  • Zhyun
Ionia Islands
The Ionian archipelago is bigger than some think | © Riot Games

All of these are the islands where League of Legends champions originate from or have participated in battles. Some, hold more history than others, with Zhyun holding the most out of all secondary islands, as Jhin committed his massacres there, and the Kinkou order operated in it the most.

Ionia - All Champions

Ionia is the League of Legends region that has the most champions, as it has 22 champions in total, with the release of Hwei:

  • Ahri
  • Akali
  • Irelia
  • Jhin
  • Kennen
  • Ivern
  • Karma
  • Kayn
  • Lee Sin
  • Lillia
  • Mater Yi
  • Wukong
  • Rakan
  • Sett
  • Shen
  • Syndra
  • Varus
  • Xayah
  • Yasuo
  • Yone
  • Zed
  • Hwei

Hwei's release date is December 6, and since Riot hyped us up for his release, we consider him to be one of Ionia's champions already! All you need to know about Hwei, his abilities, release date, and lore are available!

Rijad Kamberovic

Graduating from Sarajevo university in 2020, with a Bachelor's Degree in Islamic Theology, I never believed that my fascination with comparative religions and their myths would mesh so well together with the fantasy genre of the video games I play....