The most powerful factions in Runeterra are listed below, along with Champion lists, some quick background, notes on their gameplay style, and their history in Factions. If you’d like more geeky detail about military power, research aptitude, and other traits, visit the World Systems page.
The League and Its Member-States
The factions listed here are member-states of the League of Legends, a supranational entity created about 25 years ago to end the Rune Wars that threatened to destroy Runeterra through the unchecked use of world-rending magic. It resolves disputes through a complex combination of international law, parliamentary procedures, and trial-by-combat upon the Fields of Justice. Member-states and other interest groups are represented in this process by Champions (empowered individuals) and Summoners (mages entrusted with modified versions of Rune Wars magic).
The League’s authority derives from the support of its member-states, and although it does possess considerable arcane might, a loss of significant member-state support would cause its collapse. The League employs its power and institutions in four key ways:
- Imposing mandatory jurisdiction. The League has the authority to intervene when necessary to protect Runeterra from catastrophe. For example, if war breaks out between two member-states, the League will likely intervene, enforcing laws of war and placing boundaries on the conflict, while also urging the combatants to make resort to the League’s peaceful methods of resolution.
- Accepting voluntary jurisdiction. Member-states often voluntarily resolve their disputes in the League. If two factions disagree about the ownership of an artifact, or terms of trade, or transnational criminal matters, or some other such dispute, they often find it more efficient to fight it out on the Fields than to engage in protracted “traditional” diplomacy.
- Serving as an international forum. The League is neutral diplomatic territory, where the factions of Runeterra can meet and interact. It frequently sponsors events to build ties among nations. Without the League, many Champions would have never met one another—or would only have met in mortal combat.
- Overseeing the use and study of magic. Many of the most gifted mages in Valoran come to the Institute of War to study as Summoners. The League’s archives and libraries contain countless artifacts and texts, including some from the Rune Wars. The League also often investigates arcane phenomena, and may dispatch teams of Summoners and Champions to resolve crises.
In pursuing these objectives, the League must maintain a careful balance. If it is too aggressive, it may trigger its own collapse, as nearly happened in Kalamanda when it played “a game of chicken” with founding members Demacia and Noxus to avert a new Rune War. On the other hand, if it is too timid, it may fail to intervene in a developing crisis until it is too late. In order to maintain this delicate balance, the League must frequently issue distasteful decisions or bend the law in recognition of power politics.
For some, there is a fifth purpose: using the League to fleece the people of Valoran and aggrandize themselves. Given its placement at the center of Valoranian power politics, corruption is to some extent inevitable. Many unscrupulous individuals, tempted by gold or forbidden arcane power, have betrayed the League for their own gain.
The following section gives a general overview of Champion affiliations by faction.
Please Note: These Champion lists are tentative.
The actual Core, Secondary, and Tertiary lists for each faction are somewhat arc-specific, and up until the moment when an arc begins, it’s all in flux. These lists are mostly meant to give a rough idea of which Champions might be involved with which factions.
Each faction has four lists of Champions.
- Core Champions: Champions with ties so strong that their absence would be obviously strange. Factions generally begin an arc with all of their Core Champions. Core Champions are usually, but not always, Core because of very strong story connections.
- Example: Darius is the Hand of Noxus, and it would be bizarre for him not to be on their starting lineup.
- Example: Irelia is the Captain of the Ionian Guard, and absent very strange circumstances will be on their starting roster.
- Secondary Champions: Champions with substantial ties to a faction, such that their presence would be largely uncontroversial. Factions don’t usually start with their Secondaries, but they’re easy to recruit. Secondary Champions often have at least some slight story connection, in addition to being a strong thematic fit.
- Example: Lucian is mostly focused on his personal quest to purify Valoran of the undead, but he is Demacian, and is generally available to them as a recruitment option. In an arc against the Shadow Isles, he might even be on their starting lineup.
- Example: Ahri is not at all out-of-place on an Ionian team. However, her story connection is not compelling enough to warrant a Core placement: she is not necessarily committed to the cause of Ionia for its own sake.
- Tertiary Champions: Champions with a very tenuous connection to a faction, whose presence would be strange but justifiable. Tertiary Champions are difficult to recruit. Factions can usually add a Champion onto their Tertiary list for the course of an arc by completing a Quest or taking some similar action.
- Example: Ashe is not Demacian, but is committed to maintaining the Avarosan-Demacian alliance. As an archer, she also has a very mild thematic resonance with Demacia.
- Example: Taric’s ideology seems broadly consistent with Demacia’s values, and thematically this “paladin” Champion seems to fit in with the Demacian lineup, making him a possible Tertiary option.
- Hostile Champions: Hostile Champions are actively opposed to a faction, so much so that if the faction is involved in an arc these Champions are likely to be available to enemy factions as Tertiary pickups. Note that in some cases a Champion may be Hostile to a faction and yet also available to that faction as a Tertiary or even Secondary pickup, e.g. where the faction could assuage the Champion with concessions.
- Example: Veigar went insane locked away in a Noxian prison, and yearns to inflict vengeance on Noxus.
- Example: Janna certainly does not hate Zaun, but growing up in its polluted slums she has come to vehemently oppose the recklessness with which it pollutes and the callousness it shows toward the poor. This could lead her to sign up with Zaun, in exchange for some remedial steps on these issues, or it might lead her to join one of Zaun’s rivals, in order to impose reform from outside the system.
Where a Champion is on more than one faction’s list, the Champion is generally available on a “first-come” basis. In the event of simultaneous recruitment, the Champion goes to the faction with the higher-tier affiliation (e.g. Secondary versus Tertiary). If the Champion is Secondary to both, a bidding war will ensue, with each faction secretly deciding if it’s willing to take the Champion as a Tertiary (costing them their next pickup as usual). In-universe, this often reflects some policy concession, or simply a higher payment rate. If both sides bid the same, we will resolve the matter otherwise, e.g. through their next Featured Match. (These rules are subject to revision before the next arc begins.)
Principles of Champion Assignment
We look at three key factors when deciding how a Champion should be placed. There’s no strict formula, but generally speaking, they are presented in order of significance: a Champion justified by any particular factor should probably have at least a “passing grade” on the preceding factors.
- Story. The Champion’s lore and backstory (in general LoL lore and in Factions lore) is often our starting point. For some Champions, this is itself dispositive: for example, even if Jarvan IV were a poke-oriented Champion who looked like a kitten riding a unicycle, he’d surely be on Demacia’s roster because he’s their Crown Prince.
- Theme (or Feel). We put a lot of importance on how the Champion comes across in-game. It’s important to Factions that teams have a distinctive, cohesive in-game feel. For example, Demacia is “heroic medieval” or “Arthurian”, with lots of plate armor and broadswords and so forth, while Piltover is “steampunk” or “Victorian”. Leona has only weak “story” ties to Demacia, e.g. her dedication to order and justice, but she definitely looks like she could be Demacian. Similarly, even before Olaf’s lore was changed to make him officially Freljordian, he was on the Freljord roster, because he was a freaking Viking.
- Gameplay. Factions is a game mode, and gameplay considerations are important. We’ll sometimes add a Champion with only “meh” story ties and passably similar in-game feel if they fulfill an important gameplay objective. Such objectives include synergizing with the faction’s distinctive playstyle, giving the faction enough Champions to be playable, or allowing Factions to be approachable for players without a ton of IP.
When an arc begins, the lists below are used as the outlines of arc-specific Champion lists. Factions generally begin with all of their Core Champions. They can readily recruit Secondary Champions, and may be able to swing a Tertiary Champion or two. Specifically:
- Every second week, a faction may recruit one Secondary Champion.
- Every fourth week, a faction may recruit one Secondary Champion or one Tertiary Champion. If the faction recruits a Tertiary Champion, it sacrifices its next (second-week) pickup.
If a faction runs out of Secondary Champions, it may continue to recruit one Tertiary Champion per month. We aim to give each faction enough options that this should never happen.
Bandle City is the center of yordle civilization on Runeterra, built around the glorious Mothership itself. (Which came first is a matter of some debate.) Yordles are adorable little creatures who thrive on community, friendship, and snuggles, and are known to be easily lured into traps by the cunning placement of delicious confections. When tempting cupcakes are not involved, they are quite clever, and have a relatively high level of technology, which they combine with magic to create hextech. (Piltover has poached many yordle scientists for its own hextech academies. Some, such as Rumble, resent Piltover for this appropriation, and desire to see Bandle City surpass the so-called “City of Tomorrow”.) While overwhelmingly sweet and kind by human standards under most circumstances—their first contact with humanity led to widespread panic as yordles realized they were on a planet full of “monsters” who ate other animals for food—they can turn on outsiders quite suddenly and viciously if they feel threatened. Their need for community and togetherness is quite intense, and a yordle deprived of companionship will inevitably go insane. They are insatiably curious by nature, and endlessly inventive. However, they also routinely underestimate the savagery of other species, as well as the dangers hidden away in the darkest corners of Valoran.
Bandle City’s merchants and explorers have spread across Valoran, peddling their wares and investigating the world’s many mysteries. Yordle communities can be found in almost every Valoranian nation, though nearly all of them consider Bandle City their true home, and hurry back as often as they can to bask in the Mothership’s glow. Similarly, although yordles are not well suited for warfare and prefer to hide until danger passes, they will defend the Mothership with religious fervor, and some of the weapons they have devised are quite terrifying, especially for a civilization whose harshest peacetime punishment is “time-out (with juicebox)”.
Yordle magic is distinctly unusual. Human societies created hextech when they discovered technological means of harnessing and amplifying traditional spellcraft; in contrast, yordles began with hextech, and have no native system of “pure” magic. Further, whereas Piltovian and Zaunite hextech is based around the discovery and exploitation of abstract, objective principles, yordle hextech often has more to do with the imagination and emotions of its inventors and users. Yordles certainly can learn more “formal” hextech, and many have, but the base of yordle magic involves, as one Summoner put it, “a bunch of fluffballs playing with trinkets until those trinkets start doing things on their own.” Arcane scholars dryly describe this phenomenon with such phrases as “intuitive enchantment” or “subjective techmaturgic alignment”, but no satisfactory accounting for the thaumadynamics of yordle enchantment has yet been produced, despite earnest efforts that have resulted in such texts as “It Needs A Ribbon To Go Woooosh”: An Examination of Yordlish Techmaturgy and Mysteries of the Mothership.
The recent discovery of a separate yordle civilization on Argyre, an island of Nyroth, has prompted renewed debate about yordles’ origins. Particularly intriguing is the Mothership-like artifact, called “Lanpoa”, which Argyrian yordles worship much as Bandle City yordles do the Mothership.
Core Champions for Bandle City
Bandle City will typically begin arcs with Heimerdinger, Kennen, and Ziggs, unless Piltover or Ionia are involved.
Secondary Champions for Bandle City
- Amumu is a lonely undead Shuriman maybe-yordle who just wants some friends. :(
- Braum has a history of working with the yordles to develop poro farms and the cooling collars that allow for pet poros, bringing much-needed income to the poorer parts of the Freljord. He also admires their courage. “Such big hearts these little yordles have!”
- Fizz is from a civilization (the Atlanteans) believed to be distant kin of the yordlefolk. Bandle City was the first to begin the search for the Atlanteans in earnest.
- Kennen is loyal to Ionia and the Kinkou first, but still feels a bond with his homeland.
- Heimerdinger and Ziggs are generally more interested in Piltover’s technology than in eating cupcakes around the Mothership, but they are yordles.
Tertiary Champions for Bandle City
- Nami feels a certain solidarity with Bandle City, a non-human civilization long relegated to the periphery of international affairs, and appreciates their assistance in the early phases of the search for a new moonstone.
- Nunu is not a yordle, but is a little fellow riding a big yeti, and has an AoE magic damage ult. That has to count for something.
- Veigar has a very complicated relationship with Bandle City.
Hostile Champions for Bandle City
- Veigar will destroy you all! oh h-hi lulu … i-i mean GO AWAY.
Bandle City excels at midgame AoE-stacking teamfights.
Factions History for Bandle City
- Part III: Discord. Bandle City came in second place out of four. It was the first major civilization attacked by the Void swarm.
- Part V: Hextech Revolution. Bandle City came in third place out of four. It forged an alliance with Piltover and refueled the Mothership for a flight to the moon.
Bilgewater is a maritime city-state and plays a major role in global trade. It sponsored Nami’s entrance into the League and gave a voice to the previously marginalized Marai. During the Nyroth dispute, Bilgewater expanded from a mere port town to the hub of a maritime alliance including both the Marai and the Atlanteans, whom it saved from certain doom by restoring the Lunari Order and forging new moonstones to ward off the monsters of the abyss. It has strong military and commercial ties to both Noxus and Zaun. It lies directly in the path of the Black Mist, and faces an annual onslaught of undead horrors.
Though Bilgewater entered the League some time ago, it has only just begun to define itself as something more than a den of pirates and other seafarers.
Core Champions for Bilgewater
Secondary Champions for Bilgewater
- Diana was able to restore the Lunari with the assistance of Bilgewater and the Marai, in return for the creation of new moonstones for the Marai and the Atlanteans. Also, something about the ocean and the moon.
- Katarina operates the Noxian privateer fleet through Bilgewater.
- Twisted Fate used to be partners-in-crime with Graves. He presumably spent a fair bit of time in Bilgewater.
Tertiary Champions for Bilgewater
- Gragas relies on Bilgewater’s fleet to distribute his potable wares throughout Valoran. Being drunk is fairly pirate-y.
- Jax is a mercenary who has been hired by Bilgewater before. He likes Nami. She’s a “good kid.”
- Sivir is another mercenary with a history of working with Bilgewater.
- Talon is a Noxian assassin pledged to House DuCouteau, meaning that Katarina gets to send him out for coffee whenever she wants.
- Tristana spent some time sailing with a Bilgewater crew, hunting pirates that had been raiding Bandle City merchant vessels for their artisanal cupcakes. She perfected her rocket jump leaping from ship to ship.
- Twitch was once rescued from a sinking League vessel by merchants flying the flag of Bilgewater.
Bilgewater has a fairly balanced roster. It has few Core or Secondary Champions, but has a wide range of Tertiary options.
Factions History for Bilgewater
- Part IV: Shon-Xan. Bilgewater mercenaries were briefly involved in the Shon-Xan dispute, when the League adjudicated ownership of Shon-Xan’s port. In that tournament, each side was allowed to bring in up to one Bilgewater Champion per match.
- Part VI: Nyroth. Bilgewater made its debut in the battle for Nyroth, and took second out of four places. (It held the top position for most of the arc, but lost in the last few days as Ionia surged up past it.) It governs several Nyrothian islands, and the League has granted it authority over Nyroth’s trade relations. While it distinguished itself for its charitable actions on behalf of the Nyrothians, it also burned some bridges when it backed Noxus in a dispute over Demacian prisoners from the Battle of Shurima, and when the Shadow Isles rampaged through Krocylea it prudently chose to “sit this one out” other than offering Ionia and the Freljord some token artillery support.
One of the two superpowers remaining after the Rune Wars, Demacia has pledged the full measure of its strength to defend the innocent and destroy the cruel, whatever the cost. Even in the world-rending chaos that preceded the founding of the League of Legends, Demacia was greatly admired for its willingness to intervene on behalf of the weak, protecting those who had no means of repaying them. The League itself could never have arisen without Demacia’s support, and it now seeks to use the Fields of Justice (you just know that a Demacian was involved in that naming process) to right wrongs across Valoran. In times of catastrophe, the sight of the Demacian flag is a cause for rejoicing. Children from many nations tell excited stories about brave Demacian knights vanquishing demons and capturing villains—though their elders often find themselves frowning at their children’s simplistic image of a kingdom driven by fanaticism untempered by basic humanity. Scholars of the arcane trace Demacia’s veneration of the element of light to ancient Shuriman solar magic, but note the drastic simplification those teachings underwent in Demacia: stripping away the sun’s warmth, leaving only its blinding light.
Though a great force for good, Demacia has also wrought much destruction in its uncompromising pursuit of its ideals. While it selflessly intervened to protect weaker nations in the Rune Wars, its obsession with the eradication of its hated enemy Noxus also drove the Rune Wars to new heights of catastrophe. Where more moderate minds might have found room for compromise, Demacia would accept only complete submission to its demands. Often, those it protected would swiftly find themselves scoured by the relentless investigations of Demacian inquisitors. These inquisitors were free of any trace of corruption, wholeheartedly devoted to the purest conception of justice, and unimpeachably impartial—but also merciless in their judgments. Experiments determined too dangerous to continue were terminated. Books of forbidden lore were burned. Corrupted individuals determined too far gone to be redeemed were imprisoned or put to death. Its own citizens live under such harsh scrutiny. It is unquestionably a totalitarian state: its citizens are indoctrinated from birth, lives directed according to the dictates of Demacian law rather than individual desire. (There is only one significant exception: any Demacian who proves himself or herself worthy can become a knight of Demacia.) It must be emphasized that it is not a corrupt regime, nor are Demacian virtues a ruse to cover up the selfishness of the nobility: the high-born are scrutinized even more closely than the common folk, and short of charging at the king with a drawn dagger there is no surer way to invoke the terrifying force of Demacian justice than to abuse one’s position for personal gain. But while there is justice, there is no freedom.
The League era poses new challenges and dilemmas for Demacia. When Noxus invaded Ionia, then a non-League state, Demacia’s dedication to the rule of law prevented it from taking up arms against Noxus, its “fellow” League state. While Demacian advocates argued before the Council about the interpretations of treaties and urged the formation of adjudicatory committees to hear reports of war crimes, the legions of Noxus slaughtered Ionian civilians and razed great cities which had stood for thousands of years. It ended in diplomatic compromise, and Ionia endured nearly a full decade of Noxian occupation. Shortly thereafter, Demacia, not a nation familiar with careful brinksmanship, failed to control the Kalamanda situation, which erupted into a disaster that almost destroyed the League. Its poor performance on the Fields in the dispute over the Mirrorwater painfully underscored the fact that a nation almost unmatched on the battlefield might quite laughably fail in the League. Its subsequent victory in the Ceruleana dispute gave it an opportunity to bring order to Valoran, and it took it—only to discover that the cosmic balance would not abide such treatment when the sands of Icathia split open and the sinister forces of Discord nearly destroyed the League and its member-states. When Noxus invaded Ionia once more, it seized upon a right of naval intervention—and in destroying a Noxian invasion fleet also slaughtered thousands of Noxian refugees left homeless by the war against Discord.
Core Champions for Demacia
Secondary Champions for Demacia
- Fiora is a duelist from House Laurent, a noble family disgraced by her father’s crimes.
- Kayle admires Demacian’s commitment to order and justice. She’s also an angel in golden plate armor wielding a fiery broadsword, which is pretty Demacia.
- Leona certainly doesn’t look out of place on a Demacian lineup, and she admires both their idealism and their dedication to martial valor. Demacia’s primary arcane focus, light magic, is closely related with solar magic. Finally, she meshes with Demacia’s aggressive all-in playstyle.
- Lucian left Demacia long ago to smite evil, but it remains his homeland.
- Poppy, the “Iron Ambassador”, is Bandle City’s ambassador to Demacia.
- Sona is an Ionian adopted by House Buvelle.
Tertiary Champions for Demacia
- Alistar is friends with Xin Zhao, and bitterly opposes Noxus. The Minotaur Tribes are from the Great Barrier, bordering Demacia.
- Malphite, Nasus, and Taric are Orderly Champions who could potentially be brought into a dispute on Demacia’s behalf. (If Demacia acquires Nasus, then Noxus gains access to Renekton as a Tertiary/Hostile Champion.)
- The Avarosan are Demacia’s allies, after the completion of the Freljordian Pact research project. Certain Avarosan Champions are available to Demacia as Tertiary selections.
Demacia excels at early-to-midgame all-in teamfights.
Factions History for Demacia
- Part I: Mirrorwater. Demacia came in fifth place out of five factions in the Mirrorwater dispute.
- Part II: Ceruleana. Demacia won the Ceruleana storyline, gaining both the mystical island and the favor of its eponymous supernatural guardian.
- Part III: Discord. Demacia came in fourth place out of four factions in Discord.
- Part IV: Shon-Xan. Demacia did not directly participate in the Shon-Xan dispute between Noxus and Ionia, but it was granted permission to deploy its navy to defend Ionia’s shores.
- Part V: Hextech Revolution. Demacia took second place out of four factions in the Shuriman Dispute. It was heavily sanctioned after deploying its army to seize Zaun’s pyrikhos mines by force.
The Freljord is an inhospitable northern realm, mostly frozen tundra. It is home to four major sub-factions: the Avarosan, a kingdom precariously allied with Demacia; the Winter’s Claw, a belligerent nomadic tribe; the troll tribes, led by Trundle; and the Frostguard, a secretive order of monster-hunters and the keeper of much of the Freljord’s oldest magic. The Avarosan, Winter’s Claw, and Troll Tribes had long been at war, but Queen Ashe of the Avarosan has (quite tenuously) united them enough to win recognition in the League of Legends. The united tribes of the Freljord joined the League in 23 CLE, during the Mirrorwater dispute, and astonished Valoran by securing victory in that clash of five factions, including Demacia and Noxus.
Queen Ashe rules over the Avarosan together with her king, Tryndamere. Her throne rests within an enormous ice-hall. The walls are hewn from True Ice, and laced with mirrorwater; at night, the sentries can hear strange whispers speaking secrets from beyond the stars, just beyond the edge of comprehension. Her glacial castle had no sooner been constructed than it came under attack by the Ice Witch and her frost-fiends. The blood of many valiant Avarosan warriors was spilled on those walls before the Frostguard arrived and banished the Ice Witch with an ancient incantation. With the assistance of the venerable sage known as Lissandra, Ashe’s warriors and mages have learned the spells necessary to protect their cities from the monsters and demons that haunt the Freljord, and for the first time in recent memory an organized urban civilization is emerging. Demacia is quite characteristically eager to support Ashe’s “civilizing” endeavors.
Sejuani, the Freljord’s most brilliant tactician, commands the Winter’s Claw, a nomadic tribe which eschews the “civilization” so prized by Ashe. While the Avarosan used their share of the mirrorwater to construct a fortress “to hide behind”, the warriors of the Winter’s Claw used it to enchant their weapons and armor. Long distrustful of the Frostguard’s mystics, the Winter’s Claw have demonstrated a simpler means of dealing with the monsters that now roam the Freljord: slashing them to pieces. Although Sejuani refrains from further open warfare against the Avarosan, she makes no effort to rein in those of her kinfolk who raid Avarosan (or even Demacian) lands. When confronted by Ashe on the floor of the League’s assembly chambers, and asked what she had to say to the Avarosan villagers whose crops had been taken by Winter’s Claw raiders, Sejuani famously (or infamously) responded: “Learn to put up more of a fight than the next village over.”
Trolls are much fewer in number than humans in the Freljord, but the Troll Tribes are members of the loose alliance Ashe has constructed, and Trundle did win a share of the mirrorwater for his people. He distributed it as a potion, enchanted by troll shamans to strengthen their people, or so the story goes. In reality, he gave most of it to Lissandra, in exchange for her continued patronage.
Lissandra is the leader of the Frostguard, an order dedicated to protecting the Freljord from the monsters that inhabit the tundra, as well as preserving its ancient arcane secrets. Most of the Summoners that have entered the League have been trained by Lissandra or her disciples, and many are native Frostguard. They share only a small portion of their knowledge with outsiders, and are geas-bound to secrecy concerning many of their most sacred rituals. Lissandra has been shaping the dogma of the Frostguard for centuries, sequentially feigning her death and then replacing her successor.
Core Champions for the Freljord
Note: We may do a “tribes” thing with the Freljord, having Summoners select a tribe/sister to lead them and modifying the rosters accordingly.
Secondary Champions for the Freljord
- It’s not clear whether Udyr’s true allegiance lies with the Freljord or with Ionia. His stance changes frequently.
Tertiary Champions for the Freljord
- Gnar is originally from the Freljord, and was discovered there.
- Quinn has her reservations about the Frostguard, and might use the Freljord’s alliance with Demacia to get in on a dispute and gain some inside access.
Hostile Champions for the Freljord
- Brand :3
This is what a teamfight against the Freljord feels like.
Factions History for the Freljord
- Part I: Mirrorwater. A united Freljord was victorious in the Mirrorwater dispute.
- Part II: Ceruleana. The Freljord came in fourth place out of six factions in Ceruleana.
- Part VI: Nyroth. The Freljord took third place out of four factions in the Nyroth dispute, though it hovered around second place until the latter phases of the arc. The Frostguard learned much from studying Nyroth’s arcane geography, and successfully restored Nyroth’s mainland to its pre-cataclysm state.
Ionia is an insular realm with several sub-factions somewhat loosely allied under Karma’s leadership. Culturally and politically, it seeks balance and harmony, and Karma has secured her position of prominence through her proven ability to manipulate the League’s sometimes labyrinthine politics and leverage its bureaucratic machinery to Ionia’s advantage. Compared to other factions, its view of world affairs is exceptionally broad: it recognizes that Runeterra is an interconnected system, and considers threats to Runeterra’s balance as threats to Ionia itself.
Ionia entered the League after nearly being destroyed by the Noxian invasion. Since then, it has fought its way back from the brink of annihilation. While it remains a deeply divided place, with various clans ruling various regions and sometimes showing considerable animosity for one another, it is broadly united when it comes to international affairs, and (with a few exceptions) each individual clan recognizes that its own interests lie in supporting Karma when it comes to the League.
Ionia is also known as a land of mysteries and magic. For thousands of years, Ionians have studied astral magic, and have developed arguably the most refined and elegant spellcraft of any nation in Valoran. Ionia is also the origin of much of ki-channeling technique.
Core Champions for Ionia
Secondary Champions for Ionia
- Ahri and Wukong are from Ionia, but generally aloof from its politics.
- Jax is a mercenary who, when not at the Institute, can often be found in his Ionian dojo.
- Sona is now a member of the Demacian House Buvelle, but is Ionian by birth.
- Udyr honed his channeling abilities through study in Ionia.
Tertiary Champions for Ionia
- Ezreal wants to explore Ionia. He’s also basically an anime character. That counts, right?
- Syndra is a mean teen who refuses to submit to Ionia’s leadership or go to bed when Karma tells her to.
- Yasuo remains a wanted man, but was allowed to fight for Ionia under the special circumstances of the new war with Noxus.
- Zed’s Order of the Shadow killed several Ionian officials during the Shon-Xan dispute. This shock to the system created an opening which Noxus and Zaun exploited to launch a devastating full-scale assault.
Hostile Champions for Ionia
- These two are trouble. They might end up fighting for Ionia, true, but they might just as easily end up on an opposing faction’s lineup.
Ionia has very high mobility. Depending on the particular teamcomp it fields, it can also bring significant poke or teamfight potential.
Factions History for Ionia
- Part I: Mirrorwater. Ionia came in fourth place out of five factions in the Mirrorwater dispute.
- Part II: Ceruleana. Ionia came in fourth place out of six factions in the dispute over Ceruleana.
- Part IV: Shon-Xan. Ionia was ultimately victorious, repelling the Noxian invasion of Shon-Xan. (Really, Noxus, just stop trying.)
- Part VI: Nyroth. Ionia took first place out of four factions in the Nyroth dispute, and largely succeeded in its mission to protect Nyroth from Valoran’s greed. The League has appointed it as the governor of Nyroth, empowered to direct its affairs as it sees fit, with the exception of trade relations, which are Bilgewater’s domain. Ionia provided important assistance to the Freljord, making the restoration of Nyroth’s mainland possible.
Noxian society values strength above all. It is a fiercely (often bloodily) meritocratic civilization that embraces conflict and competition. While it is similar to its rival Demacia in that it is ruled by a military dictatorship, the Noxian High Command holds its power not through ideology or the loyalty of its subjects but through a network of power relationships: generally speaking, each person in the Noxian hierarchy holds their position because those below them believe their own interests lie in supporting them, or are simply terrified of them. Noxians are among the most fearsome warriors in Valoran. The League was formed because Noxus assented to its formation, perhaps believing that it could outmaneuver Demacia in the Institute, or perhaps that Noxian warriors would prove superior to Demacians on the Fields, where they could not hide behind legions of indoctrinated peasants.
Jericho Swain took command of Noxus and became its Grand General after unseating (and then beheading) Boram Darkwill. Swain is an outsider who has embraced the “New Noxus” movement, pursuing victory at any cost and making extensive use of Zaunite biochemical weaponry and military industrialization. He is opposed by the Reformists, who believe that this New Noxus too readily sacrifices honor and true individual strength in its all-consuming drive to destroy its enemies.
The Noxian military was all but destroyed in the Void War and the subsequent battle for Shon-Xan. Many Reformists saw this as their chance, and rose up in an insurrection—only to discover that Swain had secretly been gathering his forces, which he deployed (together with Zaunite reinforcements) to massacre the Reformist rebels. Swain’s powerbase now appears to be quite secure.
Noxian magic is quite varied. Most of it would be considered “dark” under conventional arcane taxonomies, and scholars have even identified a rudimentary aspect of necromancy in the oldest Noxian arcane lineages. While Demacian magic is fairly homogeneous, fueled by cosmic power that overwhelms the individual and transforms them into a mere conduit for celestial energy, Noxian magic is tightly linked to the individual wielder, and thus expresses itself in a variety of forms. Shadow magic that allows the caster to conceal their presence, or move seamlessly from point to point via teleportation, is something of a specialty, as is the enchanting of blacksteel weaponry with bloodrunes to create fearsome blades capable of cleaving through Demacian plate. Recently, Noxus has also begun to adopt Zaunite techmaturgic “strategic” munitions, infamously deployed during both invasions of Ionia.
Core Champions for Noxus
Secondary Champions for Noxus
- Annie, Morgana, and Vladimir are dark sorcerers with ties to Noxus. They’re usually available for hire.
- Singed represents the mechanical ruthlessness of the Noxian-Zaunite war machine.
- Riven is still pledged to Noxus. She did not take part (on either side) in the Reformist rebellion during the Hextech Revolution. Picking Singed might take her off the list, however.
Tertiary Champions for Noxus
- Zed declared for Noxus in the Shon-Xan dispute after assassinating several key Ionian leaders to pave the way for a Noxian surprise attack.
- Twitch and Viktor are two Zaunites who could be brought onto the Noxian roster.
- Mordekaiser and Hecarim are two spooky undead Champions who likewise might end up fighting for Noxus under the right circumstances.
- Thresh is another Shadow Isles Champion who seems like a good fit. His sadism and predatory nature mesh well with Noxus. Somehow, the chains work well, too. He’s kind of metal.
- Elise has connections to the Black Rose.
- Sivir is a mercenary who fought for Noxus in several campaigns. She refused to take part in the first Ionian invasion, and severed all ties with the High Command. Years later, however, she participated in one of Cassiopeia’s expeditions to Shurima, and eventually agreed to help defend the Shon-Xan refugees.
Hostile Champions for Noxus
- Alistar was imprisoned by Noxus and forced to fight in the arena. He never even got that bastard with the red cape.
- Riven returned from exile to fight for Noxus once more, in exchange for keeping Singed out of the dispute and ensuring he would not get his hands on the Mirrorwater. She believed she saw hope for a Reformist revolution, a departure from the “victory at any price” ruthlessness symbolized by Zaunite biochemical weapons. That hope was lost in the final days of the war in Shon-Xan.
- Varus hates Noxus. He got turned into a freaky demonic archer guy when they invaded and massacred his village.
- Veigar was a cute little fuzzball until Noxus locked him away in a cell and he went insane. If the tables were to turn, rest assured that he would show them no mercy.
If Noxus is in play, then it’s also reasonably likely that some Demacian Champions will be made available.
Noxus excels at early game aggression and assassination. It has several Champions with hard CC and burst damage who specialize in eliminating lone targets or winning smaller engagements. It tends to perform less well in teamfights and the lategame.
Factions History for Noxus
- Part I: Mirrorwater. Noxus came in second place out of five factions in the Mirrorwater dispute.
- Part II: Ceruleana. Noxus was eliminated from the Ceruleana dispute.
- Part III: Discord. Noxus was not a regular participant in Discord, but it did beat back the Void and the Shadow Isles when they attacked it at the end of the arc. Noxus nonetheless suffered greatly.
- Part IV: Shon-Xan. Noxus was defeated by Ionia in the war for Shon-Xan.
Piltover is a mercantile state dedicated to the pursuit of technological progress. Its shining alabaster walls rose up during the Rune Wars as bulwarks against the rampant destruction of those dark times. While many civilizations perished, Piltover endured, its hextech fortifications mighty enough to repel armies and runemages alike—and its genius for the production of reliable mechanical goods leaving more warlike factions leery of “killing the golden goose”, as the only attack that would break Piltover’s defenses would likely have incinerated the city within as well. While the raw energy necessary to fully charge Piltover’s defenses is no longer available in the post-Rune Wars world, its ingenuity has endured.
A comparison to Zaun is perhaps inevitable, as both Piltover and Zaun are renowned for their hextech expertise. Broadly speaking, Piltover places greater emphasis on the gradual refinement of proven technologies, whereas Zaun is more focused on “pure” research, flitting from one breakthrough to the next. Piltover is also more restrained and cautious, both in hextech matters and in a societal sense.
Piltover’s relations with Zaun had long been tense, but there had been little direct conflict until both factions entered the Shuriman dispute in 24 CLE. Zaunite sabotage triggered a massive explosion in the heart of Piltover, killing thousands and throwing the city into chaos. Piltover joined Demacia in an assault on Zaun’s pyrikhos mines, in which Piltover’s riflemen acquitted themselves well in the first major military conflict Piltover has experienced in many years.
Piltover has long maintained a (mostly) friendly rivalry with Bandle City. Many yordles come to Piltover to study hextech science. Piltover is also friendly with Demacia, and has built a high-speed railway to connect the two factions and facilitate both trade and (in times of crisis) troop movements.
Core Champions for Piltover
- Janna is a big fan of wind power. Seriously, I’m pretty sure her Piltover ties are based entirely in a Riot author’s desire to make a pun about fans. But her more substantive lore background as a Zaunite reformer gives her another potential reason to work with Piltover, the “good” science-based faction. She’s also really crucial to Piltover’s poke comp.
- Ziggs has joined Heimerdinger in Piltover’s hextech academies. He prefers bombs to cupcakes.
Secondary Champions for Piltover
- Corki is a technologically minded yordle.
- Zac fights for Zaun in exchange for their sponsorship of his Mutant Academy, but he also wants to collaborate with Piltover as it explores mutagenics and bioaugmenting research.
- Zilean has a tangential affiliation to Piltover through the Chrono-propeller engine project, whatever that is.
Tertiary Champions for Piltover
- Piltover has an alliance with Bandle City, which makes some of its Champions potentially available.
- Nautilus is willing to help Piltover in exchange for their help in solving the mystery of his origins.
- Riven is a potential ally of Piltover, after Piltover took in her “lost legion” of Noxian refugees and used its hextech science to treat their Void sickness.
- Blitzcrank is a steam golem, beep boop.
Hostile Champions for Piltover
- Rumble hates Piltover, and wants to see Bandle City surpass it.
- Jinx set off a bunch of bombs and then ran off. Piltover kept trying to boss her around.
- Viktor is Jayce’s archnemesis, even if they do have a show together.
Piltover has excellent poke — it is sometimes known as “Poketover” by Factions players. It also often runs double-ADC comps, giving it immense lategame potential. Though specializing in poke, Piltover can bring Orianna and Vi to add some hard engage capability.
Factions History for Piltover
- Part I: Mirrorwater. Piltover placed third out of five factions.
- Part II: Ceruleana. Piltover placed second out of six factions.
- Part III: Discord. Piltover placed third out of four factions.
- Part V: Hextech Revolution. Piltover placed fourth out of four factions.
The Shadow Isles
“The Shadow Isles — they say they don’t exist.” Well, no, Elise, nobody says that, at least not anymore. In fact, several Shadow Isles Champions fight in the League of Legends. There’s a Field of Justice in the Shadow Isles. And beginning with the Ceruleana dispute, the Shadow Isles have secured official status as a League nation. Summoners who are willing to bargain with the likes of Karthus and Elise can offer their services in exchange for access to powerful necromantic magic, enough to offer a chance at a kind of immortality, or perhaps to be reunited with a dear one lost to death.
Core Champions for the Shadow Isles
Secondary Champions for the Shadow Isles
- Amumu wants some friends. T_T
- Shaco is a demon clown.
- Urgot is kinda sorta an ADC, and he’s definitely undead.
Tertiary Champions for the Shadow Isles
- The Void allied with the Shadow Isles during the Void War. Together, the forces of Discord nearly overwhelmed Valoran.
Hostile Champions for the Shadow Isles
- Lucian lives to destroy the undead monstrosities of the Shadow Isles.
- Maokai seeks to restore the Shadow Isles to its former glory, and drive out the vile necromantic magic that has poisoned it.
- Vayne … what Lucian said.
The Shadow Isles is an unusual faction in that it lacks a traditional ranged ADC. It sometimes instead runs heavy-CC kill lanes bot and pushes for midgame mage-based dominance. It does also have some “melee ADCs” who, with enough lockdown, can provide even more raw DPS than could a ranged ADC.
Factions History for the Shadow Isles
- Part II: Ceruleana. The Shadow Isles were eliminated from the Ceruleana dispute.
- Part III: Discord. The Shadow Isles combined with the Void to form Discord, a dark alliance which together took first place in that dispute.
The Shuriman Empire stood for thousands of years, and it is said that Valoran has never known a more tragic loss than the day it fell. Shurima withstood the carnage of the Rune Wars, though the reckless spellcraft of the Magelords and Protectorate scorched its lands into barren desert. (It was primitive magic, by Shuriman standards, but undeniably powerful; the most strenuous efforts of the Empire’s greatest sages could not prevent the crude contamination of the runespells from poisoning the cosmic energy flow that permeated Shurima, and the lush greenery of Shurima was consumed by an excess of the solar energy that had sustained it.) Shurima towered above all other nations, and its Ascended heroes overshadowed even their mightiest Champions and Summoners. Though the available records are considered somewhat unreliable, it appears that while Shurima largely avoided participation in the Rune Wars, it was nearly destroyed in a catastrophic war with Icathia, a neighboring state founded by rogue Shuriman mages who had been seduced by the demons of the Void. It is speculated that even the Rune Wars themselves paled in comparison to this clash of cosmic magic. In the end, Icathia burned, and Shurima emerged triumphant.
After surviving so much, Shurima was destroyed from within, when Emperor Azir ambitiously sought to combine the power of his imperial bloodline with the cosmic energies of Ascension. An ambitious magus known as Xerath interrupted the ritual, seeking this power for himself. Shurima itself perished in the catastrophe, save for the Floating Pyramids, which withstood the blast by virtue of their alignment with the cosmic forces that underlay the ritual.
When the League was founded, the nations of Valoran agreed to establish a League protectorate over Shurima, to oversee the Floating Pyramids and ruins, and to administer some form of governance among the various small cities that had risen up from the rubble over the centuries. A number of Champions came forth from Shurima, such as the Ascended brothers Nasus and Renekton, and the sad mummy Amumu. About a decade ago, a being claiming to be Azir himself appeared, allegedly brought back to life after a strange and sordid affair involving a Noxian expedition led by Cassiopeia DuCouteau, who had employed a talented young woman (and later Champion) named Sivir. The Institute’s records had little to say about this “Azir”, who spurned the League of Legends in order to pursue his own mysterious endeavors. A handful of Summoners were able to meet with him and report back, and based on their accounts, it was generally agreed that he was in fact the Azir told of in the old legend of Shurima’s fall. Like Shurima itself, Azir was regarded as little more than a sad curiosity, a tortured echo of ancient grandeur.
That began to change in 23 CLE, when the Icathian rift burst open and Discord waged war against Valoran. The Void’s contamination spread into Shurima, corrupting the lingering enchantments of the Shuriman empire to create the “pyrikhos”, or “dark sand”, which the modern nations of Valoran discovered in 24 CLE to be an abundant and versatile hextech energy source. (It was during this dispute that Nasus famously remarked, “The secrets of Shurima were not destined to lay buried forever—though perhaps they should.”) An attempt by Malzahar, the Prophet of the Void, to open a Void rift within a pyrikhos mine built atop a ruined Shuriman temple, was thwarted when Xerath appeared, briefly freed from his shackles, and closed the rift. The tremendous energies involved not only sealed the rift but also lifted the temple up from the sands, restoring it to its former splendor and resurrecting the shades of hundreds of ancient Shurimans who had belonged to a Xerath cult that had arisen in the aftermath of Shurima’s destruction.
On 16 September, 24 CLE, Azir himself entered the League of Legends as a Champion, and began forging ties with powerful individuals within the League and its member-states. In March of 25 CLE, he astonished onlookers by challenging and defeating Noxus in a League dispute. Although Shurima remained a mere protectorate of the League, many took this to be a sign that Azir intended to push for member-state recognition.
Core Champions for Shurima
Secondary Champions for Shurima
- Cassiopeia likes the sun. It gives her eyes a healthy blue glow.
- Zilean is from near Shurima, and is one of the few with any understanding of such ancient magic.
- Leona: “PRAISE THE SUN!”
Tertiary Champions for Shurima
- When Ezreal isn’t being Mega Man, he’s being Indiana Jones. Something about artifacts.
- Nidalee wants to protect her nearby territory from the sort of exploitation that Shurima has endured.
- Rek’sai RAWWWWWARARARAARARAHAHHHRHHHHH THE SPICE MUST FLOW
- Malzahar is a desert prophet from Shurima. He’s, uh, found some new friends lately, though.
- Pantheon: Somethingsomething Targon, somethingsomething Greek, somethingsomething ancient world.
Shurima has not yet been in a Factions arc, and so it remains to be seen what kind of gameplay characteristics it might have.
Factions History for Shurima
Shurima has not yet been in a Factions arc as a playable faction, though it was the setting for Part V: Hextech Revolution.
There is a space between dimensions, between worlds …
The Void is a terrifying alien realm brimming with wild magic and ravenous supernatural beasts. The reckless use of battle magic in the Rune Wars that preceded the formation of the League of Legends has torn into the fabric of reality around Runeterra, allowing some of these horrors to slip through from the Void.
When Demacia tipped the scales in favor of Order, the cosmic balance violently asserted itself: a great portal split the sands of Icathia and out poured an army of Void monsters with Malzahar at their fore. Icathia is now a nightmare realm crawling with Void demons and insane prophets.
Core Champions for the Void
Secondary Champions for the Void
- 4Shaco is a demon clown. (See: Shadow Isles.) He joined Discord during the Void War, maybe because he’s just the sort of Champion who wants to watch the world burn.
Tertiary Champions for the Void
- Some Shadow Isles Champions are potentially available as Void pick-ups.
Hostile Champions for the Void
- Kassadin struggles to resist the Void’s contamination and defend Runeterra against the otherworldly onslaught.
- Rengar is hunting down Kha’zix.
The Void is a very unusual faction in that its core roster spans only five Champions, just barely enough to form a team. Despite this, it has shown tremendous split push power.
Factions History for the Void
- Part III: Discord. The Void won the Discord arc, with some assistance from the Shadow Isles. The Void monsters once imprisoned by the League are now free, and roam Icathia. The League has been forced to recognize the Void itself as a faction.
The gleeful reign of mad science has turned Zaun into an exciting but terrifying place. It rivals Piltover in technological prowess, and is far less inhibited when it comes to pushing the boundaries of ethical or sane experimentation. These experiments, and the contamination they have spread, have led to the emergence of many strange creatures, from mutants to techmaturgic automatons.
Core Champions for Zaun
Secondary Champions for Zaun
- Janna grew up as a street orphan in Zaun’s slums. She hopes to one day cleanse the city of its corruption.
- Jinx loves gadgets and lawless mayhem; some think she’s from Zaun. Zaun offered her asylum from Piltover’s nosy cops.
- Renekton’s new lore has him as a Shuriman from birth, whereas originally he appeared in Zaun’s sewers. That’s no longer the case, but he still fits thematically, as a giant “mutant” reptile. He also fought for them in the Hextech Revolution, even if only to mess with Nasus.
- Urgot is an undead Noxian soldier reanimated using Zaunite techmaturgy.
Tertiary Champions for Zaun
- Orianna might be willing to help Zaun if they can help her become a real girl, or something. Maybe give her Blitzcrank’s number.
- Malzahar is intrigued by the progess Zaun has made in Void technology, and would like to push that forward. (BUWAHAHAHAHA.) Also, one of their Summoners busted him out of League captivity following the Battle of Shurima.
- Xerath is cooperating with Zaun’s efforts to rediscover the secrets of Shuriman magic.
Hostile Champions for Zaun
- Janna grew up as a street orphan in Zaun’s polluted slums. She’s potentially willing to fight for anyone inside or outside of Zaun who might be able to clean it up. (She’s an unusual example of a secondary Champion who’s also hostile.)
- Riven despises Zaun and everything it stands for.
Zaun has a very tanky lineup, which gives it significant early-game teamfight power.
Factions History for Zaun
- Part V: Hextech Revolution. Zaun came in first place among four factions in the battle for control of the dark sand.
Artwork from the League of Legends wiki; I believe it belongs to Riot, and Factions asserts no ownership over it through what we believe is fair use here.
[…] Factions of Runeterra […]
So when are you gonna update to include such things as the Bildgewater event and the release of such champs as Tahm Kench, Ekko, and Kindered?
This is really great, although I do question putting Annie in the Noxus category. While she is originally from Noxus, the Noxians tried to kill her and her parents because they are part of the Grey Order, it’s in her lore dammit.
On Annie: her background mentions a general “crack down on any form of dissent”, but nothing to indicate a mass killing. Perhaps her parents had slightly more attempts on their lives than the average Noxian aristocrat, but maybe not by much. They left before it really became an issue. The High Command definitely never attempted to kill Annie herself in her background.
Her parents might not like the High Command much, but I don’t see why Annie would care what they think. More importantly, perhaps, I do see why they’d care what she thinks, because she’s the Grey Order’s only Champion, and only source of international leverage. And I imagine Annie’s pyromaniac sadism meshes pretty well with the average axe-wielding Noxian, whom she likely sees as fun people who give her all the ice cream she wants and let her play all day burning people alive on the Fields.
But you’re right—one definitely could take that same background and interpret it (and extend it) differently, so as to make Annie a more thoughtful, loyal, politically minded child. That’s not a wrong interpretation. But often in Factions, we’re given Riot lore that ends pretty soon after the character’s introduction, leaving us to decide “what happens next”, and to connect some of the dots.
Was that map made using Inkarnate?
[…] Factions of Runeterra […]
[…] Factions of Runeterra […]
Hey so about Brand. He could potentially be a tertiary champ for the freljord because he is from Lokfar, the same as Olaf. Maybe some kind of project to help him regain his humanity or something?
[…] Factions of Runeterra […]
I understand they are supposed to be lighthearted and silly, but the Garen/Kat secrets for Demacia and Noxus don’t make much sense in the context. For what possible reason would the League object to them? Those particular secrets would make more sense if they caused an internal conflict rather than the standard political sanction roll.
Well, they’re already capped, as Secrets <= 5. It couldn't result in more than teensy sanctions. I might even make it so that Severity 5 Secrets are special in that they don't trigger Sanctions rolls. That would allow me to more liberally assign cutesy Secrets to each faction. ("Binged on cupcakes and juice boxes to the point of massive sugar high, started singing the Bandle City anthem from the rooftops.")
I thought about whether they should really count, since the League arguably wouldn't care. However, I think it works as a low-value Secret, in that presumably some other embarrassing stuff would be discovered, e.g. Garen and Kat sneaking off with each other when they were assigned to be on call for the next match.
A bigger issue, IMO: as written there'd be no point in trying to expose such a stupid Secret, even if you really hated the faction, because you'd be taking a bigger risk on failure.
I've modified the Expose Secret rules: now, you get to roll for each Secret the target faction has. (Still only one "evade detection" check.)
[…] Factions of Runeterra […]