Riot Games has been producing and releasing League of Legends music videos and animations a few times a year for the past seven years. Each one has a specific intent, often to hype up the world tournament for that season, and Riot is even moving on to develop a TV show.
Following the recent release of Take Over, the latest music video, we’re taking a look back at 17 music videos Riot has released over the years and ranking them from worst to best.
17. Worlds Collide: The Final (2015)
Perhaps this one suffers a bit from age, as it is one of the earliest League of Legends music videos to date. The music is on par with everything else Riot has produced, but the video itself lacks the animated content that many of their later ones use. Instead, it relies on actual footage of events, the only video to date to do that.
The moments the video highlights are historic moments that will always be remembered by the community, but they both get in the way of the music and create a weird conflict within the video between the images of the lights representing the current year, and the memories of past losers and winners. This would not be as big of an issue had Riot not gone on to create some incredible pieces of work.
16. The Curse of the Sad Mummy (2015)
This is by far the most depressing song I have ever seen attached to a video game. The story of a child never being able to make a single friend is haunting to most. The music and animation are by no means bad, they’re just not quite up to where the modern standards have come to be for Riot.
As with Worlds Collide, this song also lacks substance and context in the world that League of Legends has built. As it is a fairy tale within the world, it is still quite interesting. The biggest flaw this song has is that it lacks purpose, which isn’t somewhere most of the others fall short. Had it been released at the same time as Amumu was put in the game, it might have more impact.
15. Get Jinxed (2013)
We’re only at number 15 and this list as already getting hard to narrow down. Technically speaking, the animation and music are well crafted –there are no issues major issues with any aspect of its composition.
In context, it was released alongside the champion, Jinx, that stars in the video, which was an absolute blast back in 2013. But seven years later, it really lacks that same punch that made it relevant back then.
14. Burning Bright (2016)
This song’s placement on the list shows some of the inherit bias that is in any piece of writing, as music preference will always matter when it comes to a ranked list. If you love anime openings, then this song is most likely better, in your opinion, than some of the songs later down the list.
Although it may not be my style, the video still absolutely nails the Sailor Moon Aesthetic that the Star Guardian skins aim for, and the music matches as well.
The fact that the final boss is Baron Nashor, one of the in-game enemies of League of Legends, is a fun nod to the game as well. It fits right into the canon of the Star Guardian Universe that Riot has slowly expanded on, and it is a visually appealing piece.
13. Light and Shadow (2019)
It is a lucky happenstance that Burning Bright is next to this one on the list, as the sequence at 1:56 takes on another anime aesthetic, sounding eerily like Attack on Titan. Another trailer for a skin release, the animation is undoubtedly higher quality in terms of production and visuals.
Seeing some of the fan-favorite characters and abilities animated this well, like Neeko’s Pop Blossom at 1:46, is absolutely stunning. Although the music may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it is undeniably well-produced to match the intended anime-style, and the story the video tells is clear without any game knowledge. The fact that this song ends up 13th should say something about the quality of content that Riot’s music team produces.
12. As We Fall (2017)
This video is a trip on its own. The context is a little unclear, so please allow a short explanation. The two men, Kai and Val, are partners who were caught in a battle. One of them is injured, so the other takes him to a temple. They fall into a well, and a Darkin, an evil creature in League of Legends, Varus is trapped at the bottom.
Varus attempts to take them over and use their bodies to escape, but the their bond is strong enough to resist his power, instead creating a vessel for him to control, and the champion Varus from the game is created. In lore, they split control of the body and such, and the relationship between the two men has been explored a small amount.
Contextually, this takes the video to another level, and helps the animation and lyrics to provoke the intended feelings of sadness, regret, and hope.
11. Phoenix (2019)
Animated in a very different style than most of Riots League music videos, Phoenix was an odd choice for the yearly Worlds song that Riot produces. Instead of generating hype surrounding the upcoming tournament, it instead took an introspective look at what it takes to be a professional.
In the video we see, Caps, Faker, and Rookie. These are three of the greatest players in the world, and each has dealt with losing on some of the biggest stages possible. The champions reference a moment in their careers where they lost, and it is supposed to show them coming to terms with that.
It is an interesting direction to take for sure, though looking at the year that followed, perhaps it was some good foresight on the side of Riot.
10. Take Over (2020)
As this is being written, the number of references in the video still being discovered is staggering. The story it tells is clear cut and entertaining, even without any context.
Each of the players shown wields the weapons of their iconic picks. In order as they appear, Faker, Xpeke, Mata, Jackeylove, Crown, BeBe, Ambition, and Tian are all seen in the video.
The story, resembling that of RE: Zero, is generally seen as a self-insert for the viewer of becoming the best at the game. However, at this year’s tournament, there are 3 players on Rainbow7 from Argentina, the country whose flag is shown on the main characters’ shirt.
Although the musical style may be more niche, the visuals can carry Take Over above many of the other videos.
9. GIANTS (2019)
Arguable one of the top two most professionally produced pieces on this list, the song by True Damage absolutely nails the hip-hop style it was aiming for. The song was of course released alongside all 5 skins that it shows off and was sung live at the Worlds 2019 event.
The video is produced in a similar way to live-action videos of the same style but utilizes the animation to create interesting and pleasing visual elements, such as quick changes in location, and movement on ceilings, which was also recreated live at the tournament.
The lyrics are also a breath of fresh air, not only sounding pleasing to the ear, but maintaining a semblance of the introspective song Phoenix, with lines such as “I got a giant team, big as my self-esteem.”
8. POP/STARS (2018)
Garnering by far the most views of any of the other League of Legends music videos, it is undeniable that Riot struck gold with this one. The crossover between K-pop fans and League of Legends players was bigger than anyone could have predicted.
The animation for the video is actually a little rough looking back, with polygons that are clearly visible on the characters faces. The faces are also far less realistic than later visuals Riot produced. Despite that, the music is an earworm that can easily stay with you all day.
On top of that, the sequence at 1:20 is just as intricate and visually pleasing as any of the better animated content, despite the rest of the song looking less impressive. This moment also contains the most cosplayed character in the history of the game. K/DA Akali cosplays can be found everywhere on the internet now, and with good reason given the cinematic debut of the character.
7. Mortal Reminder (2017)
This is a guilty pleasure pick, and there is no way around that. The guitar, the drums, and the style are all perfect. For people who prefer rock and metal, this is most likely the top song on the list.
Along with the music, comes a video not only highlighting the PentaKill skins, but also the yordle race as a whole. Watching some of the characters from the game emulate some of the classics of the Rock n Roll world, such as Slash, is a special and unique moment for Riot. Not to mention seeing the most hated character in the game get punted to the moon in slow motion will always be a treat to fans.
6. Ignite (2016)
Following the opinons of many comments on the internet, Ignite is generally considered the weakest Worlds song. The history the song shows will always keep it relevant however, and seeing some of the biggest moments to ever happen at Worlds animated and set to a song like Ignite is a special thing to witness.
Seeing The General, whose in-game name was TheOddOne, salute at 1:08 before making one of the few cool plays North America has done in a Worlds tournament can bring a chill with the proper context. The animation style can seem a little inconsistent across the different moments in the video. It seems to shift with every scene. Despite this, the music maintains a beat, and the lyrics give a through line for the piece as a whole.
5. RISE (2018)
The video that seemingly inspired this year’s song, RISE tells the story of Ambition, the jungler for the 2017 world champion squad, Samsung Galaxy. It shows him fighting the major players they defeated on their way to the championship. The song itself is still referenced often by the community as being the number one Worlds song since 2014.
The animation of the video is great, though not on the level of 3D animation that Riot has reached this year, the faces of the players are clear, and there is no question who they are referencing for each fight. Nearly every team that was in Worlds can be seen represented in the video in some way, with the smaller logos seen as flags at the beginning.
4. Legends Never Die (2017)
One of only two songs on the list that highlight champions from the game instead of skins or players, Legends Never Die also sends a message that transcends the game. The idea that once greatness is achieved it will go down in history can be applied to any field in any context.
Not only that, but the lyrics talk about the difficulty of reaching such goals. The video is pure and emphasizes the message with visuals, showing the hardships these characters went through to become the legends they are in the world of the game. The swells and lulls match the video perfectly, and the animation is unique and impressive.
3. Warriors (2020)
An animation that came out earlier this year, it uses a slowed down version of the 2014 League music video of the same title but is instead set to events from the lore of League of Legends. Most of the stories shown are given context from the comics and lore write-ups that Riot releases regularly. The beat of the music lining up with Vi’s punches early on is one of the coolest moments on this list.
The video not only gives context to moments, but also to the size of champions, as Galio is seen in his canonical size and form. Even without context from the game, the stories are still clear, and the impact is felt. If you want to read more about it, you can check out this article here!
2. Warriors (2014)
Widely regarded as the strongest Worlds song, and with good reason, Warriors transcended the game instantly, given the nature of the creators of the music. Many people who have never even heard of the game have still heard the song in other media, as the Imagine Dragons’ track has been used for many other pieces of media, including this trailer for Wonder Woman (2017).
The video is good, and though it may lack the context and impact of some of the other League of Legends music videos, the music carries it through entirely. This set the standard for Worlds songs that many will argue have never been reached again by Riot.
1. Awaken (2020)
Coming in at first, and with good reason, Awaken is arguably the cleanest and most impressive looking animation Riot has ever produced.
Awaken does everything the other songs on the list have done and more. It tells stories from the world of League of Legends, shows off the abilities of champions in a more realistic setting, keeps pace with the music, and it is visually stunning.
The sequences between Jhin and Camille are absolutely breathtaking and still lore-friendly thanks to the choice of using Jhin, a serial killer obsessed with beauty in death.
Although Awaken is at the top of the list, I highly recommend going back and watching all the League of Legends music videos if you have not already. The people who work on these, spend countless hours to make them, and even number 17 is worth every second of your time.
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