Riot Games’ original Netflix animated series “Arcane” gives viewers a peek into the world of Runeterra, the universe that League of Legends is set in.
As the MOBA game’s champion roster expanded over the years, new races were introduced alongside new regions. As it stands, there are currently 13 regions in total, some of which do not even exist on the same plane.
While not all of these Runeterra regions were mentioned in the series, many key League of Legends factions were, and are starting to play significant roles in developing the story as we learn in Season 1 Act 3.
Here are all the Runeterra regions that were referenced in the anime so far.
Warning: Major spoilers if you haven’t watched Arcane Act 1, 2, and 3.
List of League of Legends Runeterra regions referenced in Arcane Season 1
- Piltover and Zaun
- The Freljord
Piltover and Zaun
This two-in-one region needs no introduction, for they form the backdrop of Arcane.
Even though Piltover and Zaun are physically part of the same city, we witness in Season 1 Act 3 that Silco already had plans to establish an independent nation for his people.
Despite their shared interest in science and progress, visually and ideologically, these two cities could not be more different.
Piltover was built on a cliff and is literally and symbolically of a higher statue than the undercity of Zaun. This globally respected city on the topside is where wealth accumulates, craftsmanship and architecture thrive, trade and innovation flourish, and civilization is at its best. Sharply dressed main characters Mel, Jayce, Heimerdinger, and Caitlyn represent this Runeterra region immaculately.
In contrast, the undercity is located in the valleys below Piltover, where the air is heavily polluted, where sunlight barely reaches.
Described by Riot Games as a “dark mirror of the city above”, Zaun is home to a large black market where inventors know no bounds. Ekko, Singed, Jinx, Vi, Silco, and Viktor call the undercity their home.
Heimerdinger’s pet Poro surprised viewers when he appeared in Act 2 Episode 4: “Happy Progress Day”. He (or she?) is a direct reference to The Freljord region where this species originates.
Another wintery reference was made in the same act in Episode 5: “Everybody Wants to Be My Enemy” when Mel spoke to Jayce about his new position as councilman in the opera house.
The solo violinist on stage played a melancholic tune against a frosty blue backdrop that depicted warships and houses covered in snow. Only one League of Legends region in Runeterra sits that far north — The Freljord.
Official concept art for The Freljord region by Riot Games reflect these pointed roof wooden houses, which are constructed this way so that the snow doesn’t accumulate and break them.
Additionally, since Runeterra’s The Freljord is completely ice-locked, its citizens are known to get around over snow-capped land as much as they do on ships that sail from its harbors.
The first time we explore The Last Drop in Act 1 Episode 1: “Welcome to the Playground” is from Vander’s point of view. After he noticed that an Undercity patron was getting shortchanged by foreign traders, he sticks his nose out to help him.
Of course, this did not come without retaliation from the two traders. The intimidating female with glowing eyes threatened by pulling out her weapon, which lo and behold, is a cutlass.
A cutlass is a short blade for slashing used by pirates and is usually straight or slightly curved. As seen in Riot Games’ official concept art of Bilgewater, the cutlass is a typical weapon wielded by its inhabitants too. Even though the traders never reveal where they’re from, this is a neat clue.
The second major reference to the port city of Bilgewater is found in Act 2 Episode 5: “Everybody Wants to Be My Enemy”. After Caitlyn breaks Vi out of jail, one of the first things Vi does now that she’s back in Zaun is dine at Jericho’s (dis)tasteful food stall.
As the camera cuts scenes, viewers get glimpses into the type of dishes served here. One frame displayed a thick-headed carnivorous fish that looked awfully similar to League of Legends Bilgewater champion, Tahm Kench.
The shape of the head and its teeth are so similar! What’s the river king doing on a chopping board though?
Maybe Jericho can explain, but he barely speaks any language. With pointed ears, fins at the top of his head, a pirate eye patch, fish-like eyes, pointed teeth, and blue skin, the amphibious stall owner himself looks like he walked right out of Bilgewater into Zaun.
According to League of Legends lore, the origin of Yordles is unclear, but their most likely origin is Bandlecity, “a place of unfettered magic”, Riot Games describes.
Our first encounter with a Yordle in Arcane Act 1 Episode 1 occurs when the camera passes over Babette, whom we later learn runs one of the top brothels in the undercity. Much like Poros, these tiny, pointed-ear humanoids have long since migrated out of Bandlecity and settled across Runeterra.
Fellow Yordles and prominent League of Legends champions Heimerdinger and Teemo, are later introduced.
Even though Heimerdinger, the father of Piltover, is no longer affiliated with his race’s original Runeterra region, the presence of Yordles adds weight to the existence of Bandlecity, which isn’t even located on the map.
“Am I to tell the Noxians their next shipment of wine will be vinegar?” councilman Hoskel cried out.
The very first Noxus reference came up in Arcane Act 2 Episode 4: “Happy Progress Day” when the council was discussing closing the Hexgates for the safety of Piltover. Hoskel was against the notion, for he definitely did not want his shipping trades with Noxus to be affected.
Later in Act 3, Mel’s mother from Noxus, Ambessa Medarda, arrives with her battalion to visit her daughter, among other things.
The distinct blood red colors of Noxus is a reflection of what this Runeterran region stands for: war, violence, and bloodshed.
In Act 3 Episode 8: “Oil and Water”, the title not only refers to the dichotomy of Caitlyn and Vi, but also between Mel and her mother. Ambessa wants to send Piltover and Zaun into war as a testbed for Hextech technology, while Mel strives for peace.
Much like Piltover and Zaun, you can’t have Noxus without Demacia, the empire’s biggest rival in Runeterra that shares the same continent.
How did Mel’s brother die? Who is the “wrong man” that he crossed? Could it be a Demacian?
Only League of Legends Arcane Season 2 will tell.