With the recent conclusion of the League of Legends World Championship (Worlds 2023), SEA Wave looks back at some of the best-produced music videos accompanying the epic tournament.
League of Legends (or simply League or LoL) is a popular multiplayer online battle arena video game by Riot Games. Known for its fun strategic gameplay, League has also expanded its franchise outside of online games. In 2021, a canonical series Arcane was released on Netflix based on the story of two popular champions, Vi and Jinx, exciting the fans even more to dive into League lore.
Aside from this, Riot Games also organizes Worlds – an annual e-sports championship tournament between high-ranking players fighting for the Summoner’s Cup Title. Some players even consider this event as the main highlight of their year, waiting months for in-game content like new champion skins and other add-ons to adorn their champions for the tournament.
One of the most awaited attractions during Worlds is the release of a new music video featuring tournament competitors set to the music of popular artists. It is an unmatched achievement for those competing in the games to be featured.
With almost a decade of history, SEA Wave shares its pick of High Five iconic music videos from the League of Legends World Championships.
“Warriors” by Imagine Dragons (Worlds 2014)
The first one on our list is “Warriors,” the debut song of Worlds in 2014. “Warriors” is an alternative rock song by Imagine Dragons that steadily and surely ramps up to an anthem-like chorus. The tune is continuously lifted by intertwining classical string instruments and drumlines, giving listeners the feeling of marching towards victory. Accompanied by empowering lyrics, the song is inspirational and written from the point of view of someone who forges a path for himself to become a warrior.
The music video follows a gamer’s journey – at first playing alone in his room, and eventually gaining teammates in-game and in real life. Through their common struggles, losses, and burnouts, the team makes it to the championship together. The video closes with two final teams standing on stage and looking up at a trophy with determined eyes. This music video set the bar for every succeeding entry on this list, as Imagine Dragons was a breakout act at the time, which helped bridge the gap between gaming culture and general pop culture with this song.
“Legends Never Die” by Against the Current (Worlds 2017)
Next up, we have “Legends Never Die” by Against the Current. The song is a dark electropop piece with sparse verses that gradually build up to a resounding and impactful beat drop in the chorus. The main parts of the song are delivered powerfully through a high and raspy vocal delivery, with lyrics depicting the story of someone called to make their mark in history.
The music video starts with a player waiting to enter an arena, which shifts to feature in-game characters Ashe, Lee-Sin, and Garen. The music video takes place in different locations, with Lee-Sin training in the forest, Ashe hunting on a snowy mountain, and Garen in a war field. This highlighted each champion’s hardships and their methods of training, eventually leading them all to a final fight. In the end, as the champion Garen walks towards another battlefield, the actual player is shown walking confidently into the arena.
This is the most well-known Worlds song, with more than 200 million views on YouTube. Against The Current’s vocalist, Crissy Constanza also performed the song live during the Worlds 2017 opening ceremony, which featured a VR dragon emerging from the arena. Talk about epic!
“Rise” by The Glitch Mob, Mako, and The Word Alive (Worlds 2018)
“Rise” is an electropop/glitch pop song with metalcore influences. Performed by The Glitch Mob, Mako, and The Word Alive, the song has a unique mix of sounds owing to the different musicians who participated in the recording. The verse is a typical electropop, broken by deep background vocals and glitch effects, while the chorus is punctuated by the battle cry to “rise.” The song asks listeners to strengthen their ambition, rise above the rest, and earn their title.
“Rise” is one of the more iconic music videos in the lineup, as it showcases the journey of professional player “Ambition” (Kang Chan-yong) as he makes his way to the championships. This was an emotional music video for League players as it presents the long and arduous journey Ambition went through to make it. At the end of the video, it shows a sunrise as well as his team’s logo among other World Champions.
“Phoenix” by Cailin Russo and Chrissy Costanza (Worlds 2019)
“Phoenix” by Cailin Russo and Chrissy Costanza is a downbeat electronic song with orchestral arrangements. While the song is unique in its delivery with a more solemn style, it also lends itself to a more emotionally-charged atmosphere ripe for introspection. The sound fits the lyrics well, encouraging listeners to conquer their internal battles so they can open their wings and fly like a phoenix.
The music video uses a mix of animation and real footage, interspersed with sketch elements that seamlessly combine the two worlds. The music video shows real-life League players and transforms them into champions from the game in a symbolic gesture – showing that anyone can be champion if they conquer their demons. The video also makes great use of colors and contrasts for an engaging experience.
“Gods” by NewJeans (Worlds 2023)
Last on the list is the latest track for Worlds 2023 featuring K-pop girl group NewJeans – “Gods”. This song makes use of religious imagery and lyricism to evoke something larger than life. The hymn-like harmonies hit epic high and low melodies that will give you the chills. The lyrics of the song are unique from other entries in the list; instead of encouraging and uplifting listeners, this song focuses on the pride and strength of those at the top.
The music video is also unique in using cartoonish 3D models, which is effective in integrating realistic design with fantastical sci-fi elements. The video follows players so immersed in the game that they themselves are transported into the game world, where they possess the abilities of champions that they use to fight their enemies. The video also shows the emotional connection between teammates as they band together to fight seemingly unbeatable foes, showing how at the end of the day, teamwork will help players achieve the glory that they desire.
Is your favorite League of Legends World Championship song on the list? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below!
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