This tl;dr will be discussing the various sapient peoples of Runeterra.There’s a fair few of them, so let’s get in to it!
Before we begin, I want to clarify what specifically I mean by “races”. The races I’ll be talking about are effectively different species of organisms, all sapient, with their own cultures and societies, sometimes intermingling with one another. For this reason the thread will be split in to 3 parts:
- Mortal Races (live and die a mortal lifespan)
- Not-so-mortal Races (live and maybe don’t die cuz magic)
- Racial Discussion Points (Where I wonder wtf some of these champions even are)
The Mortal Races
Champion and NPC Representation
Appearing on every continent and in every nation of the known world with the exception of Bandle City, humans comprise around 2/3rds of all champions and almost all of the important NPCs. Something to remember is that most of the Iceborn, Ascended, Darkin and undead characters we know of are/were humans. Here’s the champion rundown:
Aatrox, Akali, Annie, Aphelios, Ashe, Azir, Brand, Braum, Caitlyn, Camille, Cassiopia, Darius, Diana, Dr. Mundo, Draven, Ekko, Elise, Ezreal, Fiora, Gangplank, Garen, Gragas, Graves, Hecarim, Illaoi, Irelia, Ivern, Jarvan IV, Jayce, Jhin, Jinx, Kai’Sa, Kalista, Karma, Karthus, Kassadin, Katarina, Kayle, Kayn, LeBlanc, Lee Sin, Leona, Lissandra, Lucian, Lux, Malzahar, Master Yi, Miss Fortune, Mordekaiser, Morgana, Nasus, Nautilus, Nidalee, Nunu, Olaf, Orianna, Pantheon, Pyke, Qiyana, Quinn, Renekton, Riven, Ryze, Sejuani, Senna, Sett, Shen, Singed, Sivir, Sona, Swain, Sylas, Syndra, Taliyah, Talon, Taric, Thresh, Tryndamere, Twisted Fate, Udyr, Urgot, Varus, Vayne, Vi, Viktor, Vladimir, Warwick, Xerath, Xin Zhao, Yasuo, Yorick, Zed, Zilean, Zoe.
That’s your human roster.
History and Range
Humans have an extensive history on Runeterra, however there is very little human history to actually discuss, due to how prolific they are as a species. There is no set origin for humans, and no history that specifically affected only humans.
Almost all of the known world’s history involves humans in some regard, and all currently known nations on Runeterra include human populations, and in most cases seem to have been founded primarily by humans.
The only areas humans are not known to inhabit are some islands, such as the one the Oovi-kat tribe of vastaya lived on, and Bandle City, which is mostly inaccessible to humans cuz it’s in another dimension.
Humans vary in their magical proficiency. Some humans are totally magicless, but can learn it. The Axiomata of Ixtal is an example of a human-made system to explain, study and educate people in magic for practical use.
Some humans are born with magic, and though the exact logistics are unknown, in some cases this magic is shown to be biologically inherited, such as with Iceborn humans. Examples of humans born with magic include Lux, Taliyah and Jhin.
In some cases both inheritance and education come in to play, as seen with Qiyana who was both born with prodigious talent for elemental magic along with her nine sisters, and then learned the principles of the Axiomata through her life.
Champion and NPC Representation
Currently there is only one troll in the champion roster: Trundle, a Freljordian troll who is both an Iceborn and self-made king of the trolls. Trundle is noted as being particularly clever and cunning among trolls, as most are simple dullards. This by no means Trundle himself is exceptionally smart, but that he is smart enough to achieve his goals.
There have been a handful of named troll npcs in the lore. They are as follows:
*Grubgrack: An ancient troll king known for tricking Ornn in the days of the Vorrijaard. *Sligu: A troll who Trundle met in the story ‘A Feast Fit for a King’ who helped him out. *Sligu: A northern troll who Trundle met in the story ‘A Feast fit for a King’. Sligu is the brother of the above Sligu, is bigger, but dumber. *Yettu: A troll who proclaimed himself to be a king, who Trundle then tricked in to killing himself.
History and Range
Trollkind are noted as having a hardy constitution and incredible regenerative abilities, and as such have mostly come to inhabit incredibly hostile environments in Runeterra, ones that would likely be next to impossible for humans to live in. While the exact extent of this is unknown, we currently know that the largest troll tribes known to the world are found in the Freljord, which has a sizable population of them, and some trolls are also known to inhabit The Great Sai in Shurima.
The origin of trolls as a species is unknown, though in the Freljord ancient myths they were described as having kings, and as such potentially had nations of their own. The kings joined forces with Avarosa and Serylda during the end of the War of the Three Sisters, but the resulting clash and Lissandra’s actions led to the deaths of thousands, and likely the collapse of these theoretical ancient troll kingdoms.
In the modern era, trolls are organized in tribes, but Trundle is now going around rallying them under his banner as troll king, though they’re not totally unified at present.
Trollkind has shown very little in the way of magical abilities, however recently Trundle was revealed to be an Iceborn, meaning that he is innately magical, capable of wielding True Ice and having more resistance to the cold. Trolls themselves already have hardy constitutions, so how many trolls are actually Iceborn is currently unknown, but presumably more will come to light with time.
The above indicates strongly that trolls have the potential to learn or inherit other magical abilities, though we haven’t seen that happen yet.
Champion and NPC Representation
There is currently one minotaur among the champion roster: Alistar, a former Noxian slave who now spreads messages of hope and resistance against those within the Noxian Empire, who are disenfranchised in some regard by their current situation.
Only one minotaur NPC exists in canon lore: Zalt, who was a Noxian soldier before his untimely death during the story “The Winterspike Road”, where he served under Darius while fighting against the Winter’s Claw.
History and Range
Minotaurs are as you’d expect of a race named after the original creature of greek myth; a race of humanoid bovines. Beyond this there isn’t much to note about them specifically; what you see is what you get, though notably minotaurs seemingly have vast variation in body sizes; Alistar is huge but most minotaurs aren’t depicted that way.
The origins and history of the minotaurs are unknown, but we do know they live across Valoran, and have shown up mostly in relation to Noxus. Numerous minotaurs have thrown their lot in with Noxus for various reasons, in some cases to escape enslavement, in others because they simply wanted to join Noxus over remaining in the current lives. Other minotaurs, like Alistar, were enslaved by Noxus though, so it’s a bit iffy all things considered.
Minotaurs have also been shown in Demacia. They have notably been depicted as members of the Dauntless Vanguard; one of Demacia’s most elite military forces, indicating minotaurs have it good over there.
In Piltover, minotaurs have not been seen, but their imagery is still invoked. In one instance a mechanical minotaur was seen, as was a fellow named Bakkens who donned a helmet styled after a minotaur’s head that could shoot hot steam out of its horns. If I was a minotaur I dunno whether this’d be insulting or charming.
At present, minotaurs and magic have never been discussed in the same sentence. It’s not unreasonable to assume they could use magic, and we just haven’t seen it, but at the moment we just don’t know.
The Not-So-Mortal Races
Champion and NPC Representation
Vastaya are the second most represented non-human race in League with 7 champions, only trailing after yordles who have 13. Ahri, Xayah, Rakan, Wukong, Nami, Rengar and Neeko represent 6 tribes, 5 of them named between them.
There aren’t a great deal of named vastayan npcs, but we’ll go over a few notable ones:
- Akunir and Coll: Members of the Sodjoko vastaya tribe. Former partners, they were captured by the Order of Shadows, only to be freed by Xayah and Rakan’s efforts. They effectively divorced due to their conflicting opinions on humans after all was said and done.
- Bol’ii: A vastaya of an unknown tribe who is friends with Akali. Residing in the town of Weh’le, he had his tongue cut out by Noxians. He’s getting by though, and made Akali’s dragon tattoo.
- Kalan: A horned, feline vastaya of an unknown tribe who defected to Noxus and watch over Syndra during her imprisonment. For his efforts, Syndra threw him in the Dreaming Pool she was trapped in and then buried him with it, still alive.
- Kuulcan: A lizard-like vastaya of an unknown tribe. After being nearly killed by humans he was saved by Nidalee, and joined her in a human hunt later.
- Ymelo: A mysterious man with butterfly eyebrows. Ahri is seeking him out, in the hopes he knows of her origins. Ymelo isn’t actually described as a vastaya but I literally can’t explain his eyebrows otherwise. Wtf are “butterfly eyebrows” Riot.
History and Range (And Magic)
I’m condensing this section because, incase you all weren’t aware, I actually already covered this topic in much greater detail in my TL;DR vastaya post, so I’ll link that here.
I’m not gonna leave too much in the dark though, so here’s a quick run down of vastayan history, range and magic:
The vastaya are the only Runeterran race with a clear cut origin. They are descendents of the legendary Vastayashai’rei; a group of formerly mortal heroes who, using the knowledge of their ancestors, learned to draw forth power from the Spirit Realm, becoming deathless shape-changers able to draw magic from both realms in equal measure. This was 10,000 years ago, and they did so to defeat a race of titans that came from beyond the sky.
The Vastayashai’rei won, and then went to live among their mortal kin. Their magic was inherited by their progeny, who went by the name vastaya. Over time the Vastayashai’rei’s power waned and the vastaya went their own way, forming tribes named after individual Vastayashai’rei and finding passage across the world. While most vastaya live in Ionia, tribes have been shown in Ixtal, the Freljord, in the oceans and on various islands.
In more recent history, something has changed in the magic of the world, making it impossible for vastaya to procreate. The exact reason why is unknown, and it’s also unknown how far reaching this is, but it also means that, given there haven’t been any new vastaya born in several mortal generations, that all our vastayan champions are at least a century or two old. This is also part of the reason why I didn’t include them in the “mortal races” section; vastaya live far longer, age slower, and it’s unclear if they can even die of old age as mortals do. They aren’t true immortals of course, but they definitely aren’t mortal.
In Ionia, various groups have shown hostility to the vastaya in recent times; an eventual inevitability given the growing tensions between the two races over the centuries. In some cases, like Zed and the Order of Shadow, this is not just hostility but full on discrimination, hate crimes, and effectively genocide on their part. Many vastaya aren’t taking this lying down, in some cases they actually defected to Noxus, while others like Xayah and Rakan have taken the fight to their oppressors directly.
Vastaya have access to various forms of spirit magic, including charms, camouflage, and also shapeshifting. This shapeshifting is possible for all vastaya in varying degrees, and allows them to look more human or more animalistic, but it’s capabilities are limited compared to their ancient ancestors. The diluted vastayan bloodline is to blame here, and so in cases where the vastaya are very close to their ancestry, like the Oovi-kat, this magic is much stronger. This might also extend to all forms of magic the vastaya can wield, but this isn’t 100% clear at present.
Champion and NPC Representation
The yeti are represented in League of Legends by only one champion: Willump, who is the more handsome half of Nunu & Willump. Willump is the last magical yeti known to exist in the world, and is currently helping Nunu find his missing mother. We’ll talk more about Willump below.
Currently there are no named yeti NPCs, even among the Legends of Runeterra cards. There’s a reason for this that we’ll get in to shortly.
History and Range
The yeti originate from the Freljord, and had a vast civilization in the days when it was known as the Vorrijaard. They were ancient even back then with their own culture and beliefs, having a language of their own that Willump still speaks, and at one point they were sought out by the Three Sisters. Willump specifically met them, though what they discussed is unknown.
The yeti civilization met its end during the War of the Three Sisters. Lissandra had called on the yeti’s aid for the final battle, and when the Watchers revealed themselves, Lissandra made a tremendous sacrifice; the lives of the many thousands present, to seal them inside. Part of that sacrifice was the yeti themselves, but she didn’t take their lives, she took their magic. Since the yeti were beings of magic this stripped them of their former nobility, reducing them to savage monsters.
Only one yeti survived with his magic; Willump, and he quickly left the area, settling at a place that would become known as the Yeti’s Vigil. There he stayed with the last remnants of the yeti civilization’s magic. When folks came to take it, Willump met them with tooth and claw, becoming monstrous in the process.
In the modern era, yeti are considered myths by the wider culture of the Freljord, but do still exist as beasts in the wilderness. Very recently, Willump was found by Nunu, who managed to reach him and become his friend, and now the two are out trying to find Nunu’s missing mother Layka (God I hope she’s still alive plz Riot don’t kill off the mums).
The yeti were one of the only beings known to be able to create True Ice, a power that now, only Willump, Nunu (thanks to the magic Willump gave him), and Anivia are known to possess. True Ice is an incredibly potent magical substance that will brutally wound or straight up kill anyone who isn’t Iceborn, but given the yeti could make it, the assumption is True Ice had no or little affect on them.
The yeti, as beings of magic, were also shaped by perception, as spirit magic is the magic of souls, sensations and emotions. Because of this, Willump looks as adorable as he does because he’s being shaped by Nunu’s perceptions of him: being his best friend. Before this, it’s likely Willump looked more like the yeti we see in Legends of Runeterra. Those yeti are magicless, so it’s unclear if their forms are still shaped by perception, or whether their current forms are the result of being without magic.
The reason I wasn’t including the yeti in the “mortal races” is because there’s currently no information on the yeti’s mortality. Willump is over 9,000 years old, but looks to be as active and spry as he likely was in his youth, and it’s unclear if yeti can even die of old age.
Champion and NPC Representation
Currently the brackern are represented in game by a single champion: Skarner. There are currently no NPC brackern detailed in the lore as characters, however we have seen multiple brackern crystals in the lore, and within them are the souls of brackern. Several champions utilize brackern crystals in some manner:
- Blitzcrank – The origin of his sapience, probably the most important champion with a brackern crystal in relation to them
- Orianna and Camille – Had their hearts replaced with brackern crystals
- Jayce and Ekko – Shards of brackern crystals used in their hextech devices
History and Range
The brackern are native to a hidden valley in north western Shurima. Living for incredibly long periods of time, the cornerstone of the brackern’s civilization were their “Namestones”, sometimes referred to as “Lifestones” or to ignorant, bastard pitlovans: hex-crystals.This is also the whole deal as to why they aren’t in the “mortal races” section.
By fusing the crystals with their bodies, they would effectively merge with the brackern’s souls. This created a union between their minds in the form of a song, allowing them all to communicate with each other via thought. When a brackern died their crystal would be taken and buried, later calling to a new brackern to inherit it, and with it, the legacy and power of all who had came before, effectively making the brackern immortal from some perspectives.
When the mortal races began building their civilizations in Shurima, they offered the brackern respect, but they also feared them. The mortals called their home “The Crystal Scar”, and the brackern, not wanting to be threatened by mortal wars, opted to hibernate for millennia, with the hope that they would sleep through the mortal’s eventual extinction.
This didn’t last though as Piltovans discovered the brackern, and bombed them in their sleep. Their intent was clear; to steal the crystals within them to use for their own ends. This act traumatized their collective psyche and resulted in several brackern’s deaths, with only Skarner being able to rouse himself and repel the invaders. Since then, Skarner has set out to reclaim the stolen crystals and save his race.
Those crystals that made their way back to Piltover then became the foundation of hextech. True “hexcrystals” as they’re known are few and far between, and as such highly coveted.
The brackern’s magic is tied to the Material Realm, and as such is mostly elemental in nature. They can draw power from the earth and of course their own crystals, with the power depending on the strength of their own crystal. Skarner in some iterations of the lore was described as being among the most powerful brackern, in no small part due to his crystal.
As detailed above, the crystals allowed the brackern to communicate with each other by what is effectively telepathy. It took the form of a song, and extended to all who also bore crystals. Notably, this form of communication was incompatible with humans, as in the story “Dreamsong”, Skarner tries to sing to the humans through his crystal, but they are completely unresponsive.
The elemental magic inherent to the crystals, and by extension the brackern, is also showcased in hextech. Blitzcrank has magical lightning, Orianna’s ball is full of magic, Camille and Jayce both have electrical powers, while Ekko figured out how to use time magic through the shard he has.
Champion and NPC Representation
In League of Legends there are thirteen yordles, three of which are also in Legends of Runeterra. They are of course Corki, Fizz, Gnar, Heimerdinger, Kennen, Kled, Lulu, Poppy, Rumble, Teemo, Tristana, Veigar and Ziggs.
There are very few canon and named yordle NPCs. Infact, I think you can count them on one hand.
- Norra: Former keeper of the Book of Thresholds and owner of Yuumi. She went missing, along with one of the book’s pages, under mysterious circumstances seemingly related to the Void. Now Yuumi and the Book (which is sapient), are out to find her.
- Carl: The Yordle Bookie card from Legends of Runeterra, Carl partnered with Draven to revitalize the Noxian Reckoner scene as more of a WWE deal than a true execution-based gladiatorial affair.
- Officer J. Harknor: The Senior Investigator in Legends of Runeterra, in lore he’s one of the Piltovan Wardens. Personally knows both Vi and Caitlyn, though given current knowledge of Harknor, it’s unclear as to whether or not they know he’s a yordle or not. More on this later.
…Ok bear with me on this.
Now, as some of you may have guessed from the above, there’s an unfortunate truth about yordles, and that’s that they’re probably the least explored and least understood part of the entire League of Legends universe at present.
We know nothing of the yordle’s origins, what their true deal is, what their home of Bandle City actually is, and five of the thirteen yordles in game don’t even have biographies. It’s a rather sad state of affairs.
What do we know? Let’s do a quick run down:
- Yordles are a species of spirit.
- Yordles are a timeless people that don’t age.
- The primary home of most yordles is Bandle City, which is located in the Spirit Realm.
- Yordles are highly respected in Ionia, and as such a decent amount of them live there.
- The form of a yordle changes to suit their needs and perceptions. This is most evident with Gnar and Fizz, who’re both radically different from other yordles because they lived among non-human societies.
- Yordles also have a magic called glamour that makes them look different to anyone viewing them. It mostly makes them just slip out of people’s perceptions, but is ineffective on magical folks, those that sort of just get the yordle on a personal level, or those who the yordle reveals their true nature to.
If you’re wondering about why yordle glamour hasn’t really shown up in a bunch of places, it’s basically because it’s really awkward to explain in stories where it’s not relevant. As an example, in the Piltovan Tales of Runeterra, we see Heimerdinger in his full yordle glory. In cases like this, actively explaining glamour would take longer than the short itself, so it’s not detailed. In cases like this, the assumption should generally be that, unless otherwise stated, a yordle has their glamour on, and no one sees anything differently.
The above though will vary from case to case, mostly Kennen, who is well known as a yordle among the Kinkou. This, plus yordles being respected in Ionia, means it’s likely no one in Ionia sees him in glamour.
…I know it’s kinda weird and awkward, but sadly, that’s just about all of yordle lore at present. I wish I could explain yordles and Bandle City better, but alas, there’s just very little to go on at present. Hopefully, when I get around to making a Bandle City tl;dr, we’ll have a lot more to discuss.
Other Racial Discussion Points
Now that we’ve discussed the main seven races that we see in League of Legends, it’s time to discuss some other points of discussion in regards to the races, since those seven aren’t the end all be all. This section isn’t specifically about talking about races though, but also what isn’t a race, because, while this might not be surprising, some of the groups of beings we know of don’t really constitute a “race”.
Ascended, Darkin, Ursine and Iceborn
So this is where I basically put on my “These aren’t races” cap to tell ya’ll that these things don’t really constitute “races”, for varying reasons.
The Ascended and Darkin
These guys were mortals elevated by the Sun Disc to become gods among mortals. At present, there’s no indication as to whether all of the Ascended and Darkin were all humans, if anything that’s unlikely, but we currently in the dark as to most of their racial origins; we know Azir was human and that’s kinda it. Following the empire’s fall they warred amongst each other for 1,500 years until the intervention of the Aspects. Not all of the Ascended became Darkin, but it was enough that they’re basically near extinct nowadays.
There was also a group called the Baccai. These were folks who survived a failed ritual, coming out deformed. The Shurimans considered it a mercy to kill the Baccai off, and to our knowledge there are no known Baccai champions or NPCs in the lore, though some Rioters have described Xerath as potentially fitting the bill.
These guys don’t constitute a race because they themselves weren’t really their own a sapient species; they were effectively Shuriman super heroes. Also given the fact that an “Ascended Bloodline” exists, it’s likely that if the Ascended and Darkin could reproduce, they wouldn’t produce more of their kind, but instead mortal children with some magic inherited from their godly forebears.
The Ursine are a Freljordian tribe of Spirit Walkers; mortals (thus far only shown to be humans) with magic through which they channel the spirits of nature and animals through them, allowing them to shapeshift. This tribe specifically worships Volibear, and are more or less broken down in to three groups: those with their faculties, those who have gone bear full time, and those who’ve become monsters.
The thing to note here is that the Ursine are still humans when you get down to it, and not all Spirit Walkers are Ursine. As such they’re not a distinct race.
While for a long time Iceborn was a thing we thought was exclusive to humans, recently revelations have revealed that trolls can be Iceborn. This is kinda huge because originally it was implied that an Iceborn was like a sort of magical ethnicity among humans, but this clearly isn’t the case anymore. There is also the factor that in some myths, the Iceborn were actually created by the Watchers, which further complicates the matter.
The variance in information we have about the Iceborn, as well as them now being expanded such that non-humans can also be Iceborn, leaves a lot of questions, and as such I don’t feel we can comfortably say the Iceborn are a “race” currently.
Jax is the sole representative of a non-human race we know precious little about, not even a name. Because of this we have to extrapolate from Jax, so let’s cover some bases.
Given what we know of Jax from his bio and stories, we can say comfortably that if his people are like him, they have similar physiology and lifespans, being noted as a long-lived race, and they lived in Shurima. Beyond this? We don’t know a lot.
Some people extrapolate that Jax is a troll. I don’t agree at present, mostly because the trolls from the Freljord are WAY bigger than humans, while Jax is depicted as being at most, tall by human standards, and his identity as a non-human was more fully discussed after we learned that trolls exist in Shurima, which feels like a weird thing not to commit to if it’s true.
While many people (myself included), have believed that Sion is human, that’s potentially not the case. In some discussions with Rioters heavily involved in the narrative process, they discussed how Sion is likely not human, and instead part of a race of large humanoids.
Take a look in here for more info
To provide some context on what was happening in that discussion, it was about some of the Legends of Runeterra cards for Noxus released at the time, namely Kato the Arm and Captain Farron. Both are showcased to be far larger than other humans in the LoR material, but in the context of this discussion, both cards would fall in to whatever race Sion represents.
Now this isn’t concrete. As with most things, information sourced from the writers on twitter is not 100% canon, and is instead more of the thoughts of the writers on the subject. Until such information finds it way to canon sources, it’s not truly canon, as is the case with many things in Legends of Runeterra. This was an interesting discussion though, and since it has at the very least the potential to be canon, I decided to add it here.
The details about what we know from Sion and the above LoR cards is that this race, providing they are a canon race, are far larger than humans, more comparable in size to trolls. Their history is unknown, though Sion is described as being part of a “Warrior culture that was part of Noxus since its founding”. If this describes his race then that would mean that this race was part of Noxus since the end of the Rune Wars, and as such can be showcased as being native to Valoran, though this might also simply describe the culture of wherever Sion came from, which could just as easily be its own nation and as such not be specifically tied to this mystery race.
For those wondering, if Sion is indeed part of a non-human race, Urgot and Mordekaiser would not also be. Both are humans, who are big because of chemtech augments and death magic respectively.
Fizz’s Dead Friends
As discussed above, Fizz is a yordle, but he has ties to an underwater civilization we haven’t seen anywhere outside of his bio. This is because this civilization was wiped out by the gigalodons; huge dragon-sharks brought to the city by warming seas. The gigalodons descended on the city, killing everyone there and reducing the city to rubble. Fizz couldn’t save a single soul.
This civilization was said to have members of some “noble race”, however this race hasn’t ever been named. The only underwater civilization we know of currently beyond this is the Marai vastaya tribe, which is still as active as ever, so the identity of this race is a total mystery to us. The best we can extrapolate is that they were likely adapted for life underwater permanently, as Fizz living among them made him change to suit an underwater lifestyle, but this isn’t saying much.
There were several new kinds of creatures unveiled among the denizens of the deep with the Bilgewater expansion for Legends of Runeterra, but none of these have been confirmed to be this noble race Fizz lived among. We’ll talk about those cards a little later though.
For those who don’t know, these are the fish who have Pyke as their undead puppet.
Connected to the Swimming City are the Jaull-Fish; enormous sea monsters reputed for having sacks in its mouth full of a blue, oily substance called sapphilite, which can be used in various “sorcerous distillations”. Because of this sapphilite is highly coveted and fetches a high price. The Jaull-Fish have been described as similar to whales, and the way they behave as detailed in Pyke’s lore implies they’re potentially sapient, and as such making the call on whether they’re a race or not is hard.
A recent addition to the lore, Balestriders are tall, icy ungulates of unknown origin and power. Dating back to the days of the Vorrijaard, a march of them was frozen by Anivia, while others were twisted and turned by the Three Sisters to use for their own purposes. Beyond this we know little though, and as such we can’t make a call on whether they’re a race or not.
Beyond the Material Realm, various other kinds of entities come to be, and can be hard to classify. As the League universe is composed of 4 different realms, we’ll batch all those other realms together for a bit to discuss their residents equally.
These are entities from the Celestial Realm. Due to a lack of information about the Celestial Realm, we don’t know if any “races” truly exist out there, or if the beings from the Celestial Realm are all unique entities. We do however have some clues.
Currently there are three champions from the Celestial Realm, along with the Aspects, but among them, Aurelion Sol is the only one we know of to be part of a larger group of entities that might constitute a species, and we know too little of them to make a call on whether they’re a race or not.
While yordles showcase that races of spirits can exist, we currently don’t know of any other spirit races beyond them. We do have classifications for spiritual beings though, so let’s get in to them:
These are spirits born of mortal cultures in to the role of deities the culture worships. These guys definitely don’t constitute a race, as each one is born as their own unique entity.
The four champion Spirit Gods are Anivia, Janna, Ornn and Volibear. Other named Spirit Gods include the Clever Lynx, Iron Boar and Seal Sister.
In some interpretations of the lore, Kindred might be seen as a Spirit God, especially given the way they’re revered in the Freljord in the same capacity as their ancient demi-gods, but this isn’t 100% confirmed.
These are spirits that occur naturally, and given current information are more likely to be classified in to species, though we know of no true “races” of nature spirits at present.
There are two nature spirits represented in the champion roster, however only one of them: Maokai, is a champion. Maokai is described as a treant, though his lore identifies that he was born in to the world by himself, when the Blessed Isles first arose from the sea. Little information exists about what “treant” means in the context of the lore, so it’s hard to identify Maokai as being part of a species, let alone a race.
The other nature spirit is Skaarl, Kled’s mount, who is a Drakalops; a Noxian wind spirit, and way more of an animal than any kind of race.
These are spiritual beings born of excessive emotions and sensations, not just negative ones. At present, we know of no classification among demons, no demons that could constitute any kind of race, and all of the demon champions have disparate origins.
Evelynn was made by war, Tahm Kench by culture, Nocturne was manufactured and Fiddlesticks predates civilization itself. There is also Raum, the demon of secrets that Swain conquered to gain his magical powers. Little is known of Raum in any regard.
Fiddlesticks is perhaps the most interesting of the current demons logistically, but even considering the hypothetical, it’s difficult to ascribe Fiddlesticks as being part of a race.
Voidborn are easy to classify as not being a race as each is born entirely unique from the others, and they have no known form of society or civilization, likely because they’re here to destroy it not compete with it. Voidborn also aren’t actually of the Void, as it’s a realm of nothing. They’re made by the Void’s power for sure, but it’s likely none have ever been to the Void itself.
Humans in Disguise
Some of Runeterra’s menagerie of champions are actually humans despite appearances. The Darkin and Ascended are the most well known examples, but here’s a quick rundown of Runeterra’s “Humans in disguise”:
- Hecarim: A human who got a horse stuck up his arse during the Ruination.
- Thresh: A human with an attitude problem.
- Kalista: A human with a bunch of other humans stuck in her back.
- Karthus: A human who won’t stop singing.
- Warwick: A human. More of an actual furry than most vastayan champions.
- Nautilus: A human that Pyke stole his lore from. Also a loving uncle.
- Cassiopeia: A human with a snake butt.
- Elise: A human with a spider fetish.
- Ivern: A human and a very good human at that.
- Mordekaiser: A human making his own afterlife with hookers and blackjack.
- Kayle and Morgana: Humans who got radiated by celestial magic while they were still in their mum’s womb.
- Sett: A human who really should be considered a vastaya but Riot is stubborn.
Some champions actually don’t belong to any known race, instead being entirely unique entities. This varies from champion to champion, and some champions are simply not detailed enough in their origins to make a call, but here’s a quick rundown either way:
An automaton who developed sapiance thanks to the brackern crystal inside them. As a manufactured entity who wasn’t built with their own free will, Blitzcrank is a champion who doesn’t qualify as being of a race.
Not part of a race because he’s a statue that came to life after eating too much magic. His origin’s actually pretty straight forward all things considered.
Zyra is effectively the result of magical nuke radiation in a garden of carnivorous plants. She’s probably got one of the more unique origins in League, and doesn’t belong to any race.
A creature of unknown origins. Some hypothesize he is a member of a near-extinct species, others say he’s a spirit, a demi-god, or one of the Ascended. Lack of information here puts Rammus in the raceless category, but future revelations might change this. My money’s on him being an Ascended.
Zac originates from the giant dumping ground of chemical runoff in Zaun known as the Sump. His origins make him a totally unique being, devoid of species or race.
She’s just a cat. A magic cat sure, but just a cat nonetheless.
Fuck cats. Dogs are superior.
Amumu has been depicted as both a yordle and a human, but the actual truth is unknown, and he may not even be one of those options. As such, I count him as raceless.
Malphite has a very specific origin, but the short form is that he’s the shard of a giant magical weaponized city that got destroyed while trying to fight the Void during Shurima’s war vs Icathia. Malphite’s shard grew with time to grant him sapience and agency, and he’s endured for centuries. His origin makes him a wholly unique entity, and not part of any race.
One of the last champions needing an update to bring him in to the rebooted canon. His current short biography states he’s an enchanted marionette corrupted by dark magic, but who knows if that’ll stick.
Sadly he’s got the same deal going on as Shaco. Presumably a sump-mutant, but who knows at this point. Get the rat boy some lore love Riot, please, thanks, please.
Legends of Runeterra makes my head hurt
Legends of Runeterra is both a huge boon and a huge nightmare lore wise.
For one, it’s all “potentially” canon, meaning that it’s hard to know how much Riot actually intends to make canon or not. Stuff has been steadily making its way over, but it’s still a pain.
Secondly, and more importantly, there’s a lot of new stuff that makes figuring out what’s a race and what’s not difficult. Some things are easy to extrapolate, such as Yuzari, Greenglade Defender and Citrus Courier being likely vastayans, while some are clear as day, such as Tarkaz being a troll, Ariok Glinthorn being a minotaur, and all the yordle cards. Others though are total pains my my arse.
- Dreg Dredgers
- Bubble Bear
- Zap Sprayfin
- Jeweled Protector
- Black Market Merchant
- Coral Creatures
- Shell Shocker
- Whump Chump
- Ancient Crocolith
- Jeweled Protector
- Razorscale Hunter
- Horns of the Dragon
- Blighted Caretaker
- Zephyr Sage
- The Empyrean
The above are the ones I can remember, and basically all of these cards might represent new races, or they might not. There’s little to go on right now.
This isn’t super important for you all, but just know, it makes me suffer.
I have nightmares about the Dreg Dredgers, not knowing what they are.
What are the Dreg Dredgers Riot?
WHAT ARE THEY
And that should be everything! Running out of characters now so gotta wrap this up quick:
- There are 7 “races” we know of by name in the currently known lore.
- There are numerous beings that don’t count as being part of a race, and others that do, but we don’t know enough details about to make the call
- Given we only know of 1/6th of Runeterra’s surface, chances are there’s a ton more races to discover
- Someone needs to fucking explain Dreg Dredgers to me cuz I dunno wtf they are
Thank you for reading and I hope you have a great day!
- My thoughts on possible playable races in a Runeterra-based MMO
- What do you expect of Riot Games Runeterra MMO?
- Visual rework for Skarner (satirical fan concept)
More about League of LegendsPost: "Lore: The Races of Runeterra" specifically for the game League of Legends. Other useful information about this game:
- Here’s some stuff that was shown in the Mundo Rework QnA that happened today.
- 64 League of Legends Tools + Sites You Should Know About [Season 11 Update]
- My archives of League of Legends game data spanning 10 years are now on Internet Archive
- My Ryze Rework
- Anathema’s Chains is a poor implementation of a good idea.
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