Runeterra's universe is full of magical portals wherever you go: this is one of Bandle City's main identity traits in the game's mythology. But, have you noticed there are other portals that not necessarily bring characters to Bandle City?
Legends of Runeterra is full of characters that can access portal magic. In this article, we'll delve a little bit into this fascinating theme which is so incredibly abundant in this universe.
To this day, we aren't completely certain how Bandle City portals work. Incredibly, this mechanic hasn't been explored a lot in Runeterra's universe. All we know about portals is that they are "mysterious" and seem to take you to anywhere in the world in a second.
One of the speculations I, myself, made about Bandle City portals in my article about the region identities is that Bandle City is a parallel version of Runeterra. This means, if you're in Freljord and you enter a portal, you'll come out in Freljord, but a Bandle City version of Freljord.
This is clear in the artworks depicting Gnar followers and other multiregional characters.(We can see, in the background of this image, Bandle City mountains with spiral motifs full of snow, which indicates we're in Freljord - but also in Bandle City at the same time.)
Another example is Ziggs followers, which are in Shurima, but the Bandle City version of Shurima is thoroughly different from the original one. It has a "nuclear testing grounds" theme, but also the chaotic, fun theme of the Yordles.(In this artwork, we can also see spiral formations in the landscape, indicating we're in Bandle City.)
Another thing we know about portals is that Yordles probably don't entirely understand how they work either. We can see this because of Norra, whose entire theme is that she's looking for her cat, Yuumi, after both of them fell through a portal and lost each other for a while. In the middle of all this mess, both of them keep missing each other all the time in a quite funny way.
We'll certainly have more explanations about Bandle City portals in the Bandle Tales game, which will be released in February this year. In the game's trailers, we can see this theme will be very present.
Bard is the great precursor of portals in League's universe: it is his main theme ever since he was released, in 2015. In Runeterra, it is clear that this champion's portals are thoroughly interconnected to Bandle City portals, and can even be the same.
Unlike Yordles, Bard seems to have complete control over portals, and can easily manipulate the place where he wants to go.
Bard is a benevolent cosmic being that wanders through Runeterra protecting people from calamities. He might be one of the strongest beings in the entire universe, and can defeat any kind of threat.
In this champion's level 1 artwork, we can see him watching Xolaani through a portal while she plots something evil, as if Bard was ready to act at any moment if things got too ugly and impacted Runeterra's fate a bit too much.
For this reason, we can deduce portals aren't only useful to transport a person through different realities and the universe, but also to watch everything that happens everywhere.
This only shows Bard's omnipotence in the entirety of the game's universe, considering he controls Bandle City portals completely.
A being as powerful as Bard is certainly Zoe, and, guess what, she also controls portal magic. Zoe is the Aspect of Twilight, an entity responsible for warning mortals when a global scale event is about to happen. She is like a messenger of the apocalypse.
Considering this champion is also the personification of imagination and has her cosmic Aspect powers, it is safe to say she has almost unlimited power. Her own wiki even says:
“...Her mere presence warps the arcane mathematics governing realities...”
- Zoe's description by Riot Games.
This becomes obvious in this champion's description in Runeterra as well: in her level 1 artwork, she breaks the 4th wall and realizes she is part of a game. This means the face she is making is meant for us, the players:
“Hey hiiiiiii! Whatcha doin'? Is that a CARD GAME? Can I play too? What?! I'M in YOUR game? Ha! What a silly dimension...”
- Level 1 Zoe Flavor Text - Legends of Runeterra.
Zoe's portals are a little bit different from Bard's portals and Yordle portals. They have a slightly golden corner, and they're decorated with Targon symbols. They also have a purple and pink background.
In any case, it is noticeable that this champion uses portals practically in the same way as Bard does, and can access any place or reality in the universe in a matter of seconds.
Unlike Bard, who uses his portal magic responsibly, Zoe uses her portal magic irresponsibly. Instead of warning Runeterra beings whenever a great cosmic event is about to happen, due to her restless personality, she ends up using her powers to play tricks on mortals, or to play with them, such as in Porofly's artwork.
The Aspect of Twilight has a very dark past in Runeterra's history. The old Aspect before Zoe was the one responsible for Darkins existing in Runeterra's universe, as told in the short story, "Twilight of the Gods".
This champion also appears to be able to use portals as a way to travel through time, and can access any point she wants in time-space. This is something Yordles can't access on their own with their portals.
Let's see another champion that also uses portals.
Zilean uses portals differently than other characters in this list. It seems this champion can only access portal magic for time travel. This means, he travels through time, but stays in the same spot. We can see this in his level 2 artwork, in which this champion is surrounded by portals that show Icathia in its past, present and future.
Khahiri travels through time to try and end the Void war and save Icathia, but he returns, seconds later, decades older, and carrying Icathian weapons. We don't know if he solved Icathia's problems, but it appears he didn't.
Icathian mages apparently were proficient in portal magic as well; even the magical cataclysm that happened involving the Void is nothing more than a portal to the Void reality, as we can see in the Void Gate card.
We can then say that, just like Bandle City mirrors Runeterra, the Void also mirrors Runeterra. The difference is, Yordles don't try to dominate and consume everything they see on their path. Icathians had some terrible luck in this sense.
Let's see another Runeterra mage that can cast portals.
Ryze bears the impossible burden that is not letting the World Runes fall on the wrong hands. He is also the most knowledgeable human being when it comes to magic in the entire Runeterra universe, and can achieve great deeds, such as:
- Create magic constructs;
- Cast magic blasts;
- Manipulate the World Runes and use their power;
- Cast portals.
In League, Ryze's ultimate is a big portal on the ground that teleports this champion and any ally that stands over it to a spot of your choosing in the map.
This power was introduced in Legends of Runeterra in the spell Ryze's Realm Warp.
Ryze acquired this teleport skill through the magical power of the World Runes. However, he has his own interpretation of the magical portals in this universe, considering he needed to study them and create this type of magic for himself. Therefore, his portals are nothing like the ones we've seen so far.
The most significant difference is that Ryze creates these portals horizontally, respecting the limits of the ground he stands on. He also doesn't go through the portal as if it is a door, but rather, it appears he is dematerialized and rematerialized somewhere else, as if it was indeed a teleport
The mystery of the World Runes is yet to be explored thoroughly in League's media and Runeterra's universe. This is the main theme of the "Arcane" TV show, which also lightly touches on the portals of the game's universe.
At the end of this scene, this mage hands Jayce something that appears to be a World Rune shard.
Throughout the series, we see Jayce and Viktor mixing magic with technology and creating Hextech - basically revolutionizing Piltover and creating a new tech age in which people travel to places instantly because of the Hextech gates.
In Legends of Runeterra, we are shown a Hextech gate on the Arcane celebration board: "Piltovan Rooftops", which shows Ferros Skycruiser going through a Hextech gate.
This can be the greatest reason why, in Runeterra, Piltovans are always shown exploring all regions, many allied to the Explorer's Guild. For them, it is extremely easy to wander through Runeterra because of the gates - we just don't know how they return to their homes (yet!).
Finally, we can conclude, portals are a great theme that dominates a great part of the narratives of the characters in Runeterra's universe. The wars, the Arcane series, the entire Bandle City, and more, are all deeply interconnected through magical portals.
If you read this far, thank you! Recently, we had sad news for LoR and its community, and we're all going through a tough time. It has been difficult to write about the game itself as a result. But it is my duty as one of the game's content creators to keep giving you my best every day, and always try to be hopeful and create a pleasant environment.
So, I thank everyone who is still interested in Runeterra. These hard times will pass.
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