Last year's event was all about showcasing the Ruination, an event that started off years into the past, and changed the face of Runterra forever. And especially one region of it, called the Shadow Isles.
Now, Riot Games are giving the region even more attention, with the book Ruination coming out in a few days, so it's prudent to read up on the context the book takes place in. After all, the League of Legends lore is rich and full of information.
What is the Shadow Isles in League of Legends?
The world of League of Legends, known as Runeterra, is divided into regions and continents. And on the western coast of Valoran, the continent where Freljord, Noxus, and Demacia make their home, exist the Shadow Isles.
Shadow Isles is an archipelago of interconnected islands mired in mystery. The only interaction these cursed islands had with the rest of the world is to release hordes of undead beings every year, during the Harrowing, to rampage across Runterra.
Until now, they have always been rebuffed at Bilgewater, the region bordering the Shadow Isles. But with the civil war raging between pirate lords, the question is whether Bilgewater can keep holding on.
At least that was the case until the reawakening of Viego when we learned what caused the dead to rise again, and plague the living every year during the Harrowing, which may not keep happening anymore, now that Viego is sealed.
The stories of the Shadow Isles are mired in mystery, and due to the circumstances the archipelago finds itself in, the stories are rarely connected, nor do they follow some chronological order, and every champion has their own purpose.
Who Lives in the Shadow Isles?
The Shadow Isles, as they are known today, are home to hordes of undead beings, and some named ones. Most of which are champions we know and love, while others are the masters they serve.
Shadow Isles Inhabitants - Champion Villains
Shadow Isles champions can be divided to two basic categories. The ones that have fallen under the influence of the corrupted Waters of Life, and have become wraiths and specters only drawn by bloodshed, and those whose will still defies the odds. The former are the villains of the Shadow Isles:
Hecarim and Viego are the ones that are at the heart of the destruction of the Blessed Isles, and of the two, Hecarim still roams the Shadow Isles, and with every death only returns stronger and more monstrous.
Vex, on the other hand, is a yordle who just likes the doom and gloom of the Shadow Isles, and is a bit in love with the Ruined King, while Elise is the servant of one of the mysterious entities of the Shadow Isles, the Spider God Vilemaw. The origin of this creature is yet still unknown, similar to Nagakabourous.
Karthus is a deviant, who traveled to the Shadow Isles of his own volition, due to his obsession with death. Now he sings for the dead there, and they congregate around him. He is what Viego couldn't be, a Harbinger of Death, who leads the crusade upon the living out of a misguided sense of freeing the mortals from the burden that is life.
And finally, we have Thresh, the only champion of the former Blessed Isles who revels at what the Blessed Isles have become. He was once a warden of the Blessed Isles, whose heart was inclined towards greed and dominion over others.
Once the Ruination happened, his ambitions allowed him to keep his sanity and even grow in power, using the energies of the Shadow Isles.
Shadow Isles Inhabitants - Champion Heroes
While heroes may be a word with a few inherent connotations around it, there is no other way to describe what these champions are doing on the Shadow Isles. though some may be anti-heroes, if we look at the details:
Yorick is a former citizen of the Blessed Isles and a gifted seer who could commune with the dead. As such he joined an order of monks, who died during the Ruination, as the Mist compelled the to remove the flasks with Waters of Life from around their necks.
Only Yorick, with his strong will and abilities, could keep his around his neck which protects him from the influence of the mist to this day. Now, the Shadow Isles allow him to do more than commune with the dead and command them instead. He uses those powers to try and bring an end to this calamity.
Maokai is the first nature spirit of the Blessed Isles, who was born at the same time the isles rose from the sea. He is the one who planted all the plant life on the archipelago, and now fights to preserve it with the supply of uncorrupted Waters of Life he has managed to save from ruination. His trust in humans is forever tainted, though.
Kalista and Gwen are the two champions tied to Viego. Kalista is his niece, who was betrayed by Viego and especially Hecarim, and now roams the land as a revenant, a spirit of vengeance, searching for Hecarim to give him her payback.
Gwen is the purest champion of them all, with no dark side to her. She fights against everything that stems from Viego's Ruination, to undo what he did in the name of healing her owner and creator, Isolde.
Shadow Isles Inhabitants - Other Entities
As we've said previously, there are more Shadow Isles inhabitants than the current champions and the hordes of undead that they command, or enslave. Some of which we would even like to see in League of Legends in the future as champions, or perhaps even neutral monsters:
- Vilemaw - As we've stated previously, Vilemaw is the deity that Elise serves. Its origins are unknown, as are its motives, but the leading theory is that the creature is not native to Runeterra.
- Widow of Forgotten Songs - The Widow of Forgotten Songs was a collector of birds who tried to free them when disaster struck. She now wanders aimlessly, listening for the songs she can no longer recall.
- Soul Shepherd - The Soul Shepherd seeks to keep weaker spirits safe from predatory specters.
- Commander Ledros - The former Champion of King Viego, he was in love with Kalista when he was a man once, and now tries his best to end the curse, to free her from her torment, disregarding his own. Should Shadow Isles get a new champion, Ledros is our number one pick. It would also bring some new light to Kalista, and perhaps a powerful bot lane duo.