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The Evolution of League of Legends Worlds Orchestral Themes

Phyre Kimble

The Birth of Worlds Orchestral Themes

League of Legends has produced some incredible music over the years, but it’s the orchestral versions of the Mid-Season Invitational and Worlds themes that truly captivate me. The first orchestral theme was created for the Mid-Season Invitational in 2016, followed by the debut of the Worlds orchestral theme later that year. As a fan of SK Telecom T1, the team that dominated Worlds that year, this music holds a special place in my heart.

The original Worlds orchestral theme introduced key motifs that have become synonymous with the tournament. The rising line led by strings and drums creates a sense of anticipation before resolving. The melody builds up with layered vocals, creating a powerful surge. The main melody, led by brass and woodwind instruments, is accompanied by falling strings, adding depth to the composition. The climax is marked by soaring violins, leaving a lasting impression.

The Evolution of Worlds Orchestral Themes

Each year, Riot Games Music Team evolves the Worlds orchestral theme, incorporating new elements and adapting it to the tournament’s location and atmosphere. In 2017, the theme embraced Chinese culture, featuring bowed Chinese strings and a slight change in rhythm. The composition maintained the familiar brass and woodwind instruments but added more variance with strings.

In 2018, Riot Games collaborated with the American rock band HEALTH to create a futuristic-themed Worlds orchestral theme. This version incorporated electronic music and synth elements, deviating from the traditional orchestral resonance. While it was not my personal favorite, it added a unique touch to the tournament.

Worlds 2019 returned to the orchestral roots, capturing the grandeur of Europe where the tournament was held. The composition featured a rich blend of strings, vocals, synths, and drums. The music built up with bursting sounds in each bar, creating a truly epic experience. The theme concluded with an unforgettable ending reminiscent of legendary composer John Williams.

The Surprising 2020 Worlds Orchestral Theme

The 2020 Worlds orchestral theme took a surprising turn, eliciting pure joy upon its release. The composition started innocently but quickly picked up pace with drums and electronic synth beats. The choir introduced a dramatic sub harmony, adding depth to the “verse.” Electronic sounds seamlessly intertwined with the traditional orchestra, creating an edgy and modern yet elegant composition. The sharp drum strikes and punctuating electronic dance beats made this theme truly unique.

Riot Games’ Mastery of Worlds Orchestral Themes

Riot Games’ Music Team continues to push boundaries with their orchestral themes, showcasing their mastery year after year. These compositions prove that Riot is more than just a game developer and Worlds is more than just an esports tournament. Worlds is about creating unforgettable experiences for League of Legends fans worldwide, through the game, merchandise, augmented reality, and of course, the music.

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