The Musical Notations Of League of Legends
The community hails Riot for its music and often memes that Riot is a music company that makes games occasionally
Musical scores and content are a big part of the package that Riot Games presents to its community. What makes League of Legends stand apart is the inclusion of music to promote its in-game content and its esports scene. Ever since 2014, fans have been surprised with a dedicated song for Worlds that features big-name artists and musicians. Music might have been introduced to add fervor to Worlds, but today, beyond League of Legends Esports and Worlds, the fans enjoy and celebrate the music and soundtracks of League of Legends through their favorite in-game bands. Be it a hard-hitting metal song, a soft orchestral piece, or a head-bopping pop song, Riot Games has always delivered. I have personally seen people vibe with League’s music even though they have never played a single game and that is how truly captivating the symphonies are.
Music and League of Legends Esports
The music produced by Riot Games has been diverse and offers iconic storylines. Each one has a specific intent and some of these songs were released to hype up the World Championships of League of Legends. Let us look at all the songs that were released in conjunction with the League of Legends World Championships.
Warriors - 2014
The one that started it all was the 2014 Worlds anthem featuring Imagine Dragons called “Warriors.” Imagine Dragons at that time was not exactly a big name in the music industry. Still, the band had its own following, and what made it a cooler collaboration was the fact that the band members themselves played League of Legends. The community resonated well with this particular song, thanks to its thunderous score that serves as a much-needed motivation.
Worlds Collide - 2015
In 2015, Riot Games collaborated with League of Legends streamer and singer Nicki Taylor to produce Worlds Collide as that year’s anthem for the World Championships. The powerful verses of the song narrates the story of an underdog who is trying to vanquish the giant. The song served as a great hype song but was definitely different in terms of style compared to Warriors. The lyrics go like:
“Can we bring to fall the giants
Can we make the final call
We are the ones
To ignite the darkened skies
Of a world that we defy”
Ignite - 2016
The 2016 Worlds song was an iconic collaboration between Riot Games and DJ Zedd. Zedd has become a household name in both League of Legends and Valorant. He even released his own skin line for the weaponry in Valorant last year.
In Ignite’s description, Riot wrote, “Since its inception, Worlds has grown and evolved. Each unbelievable play and phenomenal match created moments and memories that will never be forgotten. In these iconic moments, players and teams reached for something incredible within themselves and brought it to life on the Summoner’s Rift.”
This song’s animations brought to life some defining moments of past world championships like the famous Baron steal by TSM’s Brian “TheOddOne” Wyllie. Ignite is particularly memorable for its futuristic sound and powerful vocals.
Legends Never Die - 2017
Legends Never Die was a Riot collaboration with Against The Current band and features champions Ashe, Lee Sin, and Garen. The visuals of the song portray the trials and tribulations these heroes endure to emerge victorious. The theme of the song was pretty simple - The pursuit of mastery is an endless journey, but those who persevere etch their names in history. The song is known for its hard-hitting lyrics and a tune that lingers as an earworm.
Rise - 2018
Rise featuring The Glitch Mob, Mako, and the World Alive was the 2018 Worlds anthem. It beautifully portrays the journey of Kang “Ambition” Chan-yon, who won Worlds in 2017. The video features the champions and weapons that Ambition used to fight against great League of Legends players from other regions. It was yet another song that was esports-themed like Warriors and Ignite. This Alternative/Indie song has powerful vocals and the lyrics depict the story of someone who is climbing a mountain of hurdles and defeating enemies at each juncture.
Phoenix - 2019
The 2019 Worlds song was sung by Cailin Russo and Chrissy Constanza. The song is an introspective one that looks at what it takes to be a professional player in esports. Phoenix’s theme was “Destroy your doubt, face the future.” The distinct vocals of both the singers make it a unique, chilling song. The lyrics and the symphonies of the song symbolize the sacrifices one makes to overcome a tough phase. “Are you gonna die today or make it out alive?” is one of the iconic verses in the history of Worlds’ songs.
Take Over - 2020
“I got the heart of a lion I know the higher you climb, the harder you fall”Take Over lyrics
Take Over by Jeremy Mckinnon, Max and Henry was the official theme song of Worlds 2020. The visuals of this song are very memorable and the song has way too many references to League of Legends esports. It shows a player's path to going pro under the guidance of Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok. The song is, just like most other Worlds songs, a very powerful medium of motivation.
Burn It All Down - 2021
This song was released with just one week left for Worlds 2021. Burn it All Down was written and produced by Riot Games with vocals performed by PVRIS. It is similar to Take Over and features a huge line of League of Legends esports’ stars including Rekkles, ShowMaker, Chovy, Carzzy, TheShy, Viper, PowerOfEvil, among others. The lyrics, the score, and the vocals perfectly capture the spirit of the battle.
Now that we have had a look at the Worlds song, let us get into discussing League of Legends’ musical bands.
Bands of League of Legends
Riot uses its original music to market cosmetics and in-game skins to its community. The first band created for this purpose was PentaKill, a virtual heavy metal band that debuted in 2014. The other two iconic music bands in the game are K/DA and True Damage.
Pentakill is a virtual heavy metal band in the League of Legends universe. The original Pentakill members are Mordekaiser, Sona, Olaf, Karthus, and Yorick. Currently, Pentakill has released three albums and has featured other champions like Kayle and Viego in the band. According to League of Legends’ lore, the original band of five members is canon and Pentakill has toured across Runeterra.
Following are the albums:
Smite and Ignite - 2014
II: Grasp of the Undying: 2017
III: Lost Chapter: 2021
Interestingly, the Pentakill band members took over an blog and answered the questions of the fans five years ago.
Pentakill’s second album, Grasp of the Undying, reached Number 1 on the iTunes metal charts in 2017, and its third album III: Lost Chapter was premiered using an interactive "live" concert by Riot Games.
K/DA is also a virtual band brought to life by League of Legends champions. The band released its first single POP/STARS in 2018 and a full-fledged album ALL OUT in 2020. The original band members are Evelyn, Kai’Sa, Akali, and Ahri. The latest member to join K/DA was Seraphine, a champion that is synonymous with music and concerts in League of Legends. Seraphine’s entire ability kit revolves around her music star persona. Riot went one step further and created social media pages to debut Seraphine.
K/DA’s newest collaborator is Seraphine, a vibrant young producer and songwriter. Music is a way for her to connect with others and herself—and alongside K/DA, she’s determined to reach new heights. Earnest and open-hearted, Seraphine’s dream is to unite the world through her art."Riot Games
This virtual hip-hop group True Damage was born when K/DA's lead rapper Akali sought to bring together the distinct talents of Ekko, Senna, Qiyana, and Yasuo in an ambitious, collaboration - Fandom
True Damage is the third virtual band made of League of Legends champions, making music in the genre of hip-hop. The band has one song as of now called “Giants” which was also performed live during the 2019 Worlds Opening ceremony.
The passion, time, energy, and effort that went into bringing these bands to life through the world of League of Legends is highly commendable. Even though they are just a huge advertisement for the skin lines available in the game, fans truly enjoy the music put out by Riot Games through these bands.
League of Legends - Sessions
“Sessions is a collection of music developed in partnership with a number of talented musicians that anyone can use in their content without concern of copyright strikes. Riot Games Music is committed to continuing to explore the possibilities of Sessions for the long-term, so stay tuned for what future releases have in store,” wrote Riot Games about this initiative.
Sessions is Riot’s streaming-safe instrumental album and currently, fans and players can listen to Sessions: Vi and Sessions: Diana.
Other musical content in League of Legends
In 2015, Riot released an album with 15 songs titled Music of League of Legends Volume 1. “Experience moments woven within the League of Legends universe through soaring scores and victorious anthems. Listen as 15 new and classic League tracks come together for the first time beyond the game. This is the Music of League,” said Riot.
Riot Games in 2016 dropped another album called Warsongs featuring 11 League of Legends-themed tracks remixed by some of the world's famous DJs and producers. On Warsongs, head of Riot Music Toa Dunn said, “If you go to a basketball game, you hear jock jams, right? Those songs say, 'It's game time.' Hopefully, Warsongs can be that for League—fuel for the fire.”
Apart from these albums, each champion in League of Legends has their own musical score. Some of them even have official music videos about them like in the case of Varus, Jinx, and Amumu. The community has also been treated to songs at the start of new seasons of League of Legends. Songs like Awaken and The Call really do hype up players at the start of the season.
Additionally, with Riot Games releasing Arcane, the fans can be treated to even more new musical numbers and A-list collaborations. Without a doubt, the background score and the songs featured in the show were all unique and sent shivers down the spines of the audience, and evoked the right emotions. Be it new champion cinematics, a hype video about a tournament, or new albums from League’s very own bands, Riot tops it up every time.
All in all, music and League of Legends are interwoven and cannot be separated. The music breathes life and soul into the game. The Worlds songs are hyped up for a reason and that is so because it lives up to the expectations of the fans. Personally, I make sure to shuffle these songs when I am climbing the dreadful ranked ladder in League of Legends.