With the introduction of new champions to Legends of Runeterra also comes a great well of new lore to the game. The first new champion card revealed was Quinn, the ranger-knight from Demacia, closely followed by Sejuani a few days later. As with many of the champions, the developers elegantly managed to give us cards whose flavorful abilities have deep roots in its lore.
Quinn is a renowned ranger-knight, an arm of the demacian military which excels in scouting and wilderness survival. She and her loyal Azurite Eagle, a majestic animal who inspired the symbol for Demacia, prowl the untamed outskirts of the kingdom and slay any threats before they can reach the heartland of Demacia.
The Origins of Quinn, Demacia’s Wings
Quinn and her twin brother Caleb were born in a hamlet called Uwendale. As you would expect of the origins of someone who is a master of tracking and wilderness survival, Uwendale is a very remote mountain community in the far north-eastern fringes of the demacian realm, very close to the Freljord region. It’s protected from monsters and freljordian raiders by a troop of local rangers, of which Quinn’s mother is one.
One day the humble hamlet was visited by non other than the ruler of Demacia, King Jarvan III. Quinn and Caleb were children back then and the sight of the King and his retinue of knights convinced them that they too would become protectors of the realm. Quinn and her twin brother started training with their mother. She taught them how to survive in the wilderness, track animals, use weapons and soon Quinn and Caleb became formidable rangers. They were inseparable, always doing their mission together, covering each other’s weaknesses and combining their strengths.
This team wasn’t meant to last however. One day Quinn and Caleb protected a hunting party of demacian nobles from a tuskvore they wounded but failed to kill. They managed to drive of the beast after they unleashed a hail of arrows on it but the battle didn’t end without bloodshed. Many of the young nobles were killed and among the dead was also Caleb, who died while protecting the noble families matriarch.
A very important part of Quinn’s life was ripped from her and the resulting wound gnawed at her, making her fail at her duties and leaving her in a bitter mood. To her, what was even the point at pursuing the path of a knight of Demacia without her brother at her side. Caleb was buried at the sight where they battled the tuskvore. Quinn often visited her brothers grave and at one of these days, she didn’t notice the approach of a dangerous monster.
A tuskvore ambushed her and Quinn was in danger of losing her life in the same place and to the same monster as Caleb. The tuskvore gained the upper hand over Quinn and badly wounded her. Quinn fell to the ground and was about to be gored by the tuskvore, when suddenly an eagle with blue feathers charged at it and clawed at its eyes. This gave Quinn the time to let loose one final arrow, which hit its mark and killed the tuskvore for good.
She then nursed the badly wounded Azurite Eagle that saved her life back to health and named him Valor. Quinn regained her confidence after this event and decided to enlist as a ranger-knight. Since then she and Valor are a tight-knit ranger team, spending most of their lives in untamed forests and tracking down threats before they can hurt Demacia.
Quinn and Valor: the Lore inside the Cards
When you know the backstory of Quinn it’s easy to understand why her card version works the way it does. Quinn never goes into battle without her loyal companion, so whenever Quinn is summoned to the board she will immediately be joined by Valor, a 2/1 follower with challenger and scout. These stats don’t make Valor much of a fighter but he fulfills a important support role like in Quinn’s lore. Similar to when he helped Quinn kill the tuskvore by distracting it, Valor will swoop in and challenge a unit to protect Quinn and allow a clear path to the opponents Nexus for the scout units. Quinn only has 4 health, so she depends on Valor in order to survive the 4 attacks she needs to do in order to level up.
In Quinn’s leveled up form Valor will even be summoned as a attacker to the board whenever Quinn attacks and automatically challenge the strongest enemy. Together with other scout units they will engage the enemy first before you attack a second time with your other cards, like a true ranger-knight who scouts the area and engages the enemy ahead of the main force.
Another implication from the lore is the possibility that Quinn’s twin brother Caleb might join the Demacia region as a follower. In Quinn’s backstory he is described as a very capable ranger who formed a team with her before he died. Riot only showed us 4 new followers for Demacia, so there are still some more, waiting to be revealed. Yone and Senna are also technically dead in League of Legends lore too but were still made into cards for LoR, so it’s possible dead characters like Caleb might still appear as cards in the game.
One of the threats that Quinn has to protect the outskirts of Demacia from are raiders from Freljord. Especially those lead by a notorious warmother, who will also be introduced to Legends of Runeterra as a new champion for Freljord. Her name is Sejuani, the fury of the north.
The Origins of Sejuani, The Winter’s Wrath
Sejuani is the warmother of the Winter’s Claw tribe, which under her leadership has conquered its surrounding tribes and lands in a bloody campaign to unite all of Freljord. The Winter’s Claw has grown large and powerful thanks to Sejuani and even threatens the northern border of Demacia now. Her leadership has also attracted droves of shamans, ursines and other occult groups who pray to the ancient gods of Freljord. Sejuani’s greatest rival in her ambition to unite the tribes of Freljord under her banner is the warmother Ashe and the coalition of Avarosan tribes she leads. However, they haven’t always been bitter enemies.
Sejuani was the fruit of a political marriage between her mother Kalkia, the former warmother of the Winter’s Claw, and the leader of another tribe. At this point in time the Winter’s Claw was weak and poor, becoming easy prey for their neighboring tribes. This union wouldn’t last long however and Sejuani’s mother abandoned her family to find her true love. From then on Sejuani was raised by her grandmother but she spend the summers with the Winter’s Claw sister tribe, the Avarosans. There Ashe’s mother Grena became her caretaker, the strongest warrior in the region and Sejuani’s role model. Ashe and Sejuani quickly became best friends, even becoming battlesisters, but the peace between the tribes wouldn’t last long.
Grena insulted Sejuani’s grandmother by denouncing her abusive methods of raising Sejuani. The two tribes cut ties and the Winter’s Claw attempted to consolidate their power by trying to claiming the land they had lost to other tribes, without success however. Kalkia heard of the plight of her tribe and decided to finally return to reclaim her title as warmother. Even under her leadership the tribe still was declining and Sejuani decided that she needed to do something about that.
Sejuani made an oath to raid a Noxian warship in order to rally the tribe to her. The raid was a success and she also found a young Bristle on the ship, a drüvask that would eventually become her mighty stead. She then challenged her mother to a duel, so she could usurp the title of warmother from her. Yet Kalkia wouldn’t die by her daughter’s hands, nonetheless Sejuani became the new warmother. Her battlesister Ashe turned her back on her, appalled by Sejuani’s brutal methods. In Sejuani’s eyes, this made her a traitor of Grena’s legacy and a oathbreaker, starting the conflict between Sejuani and Ashe.
Sejuani and The Winter’s Claw: the Lore inside the Cards
If you look at Sejuani’s card version you will quickly notice that just like Ashe, she loves to freeze enemy units. When Sejuani is played she freezes a unit and makes it vulnerable, a new keyword which allows any attacking unit to force a enemy with vulnerable to block it. If you manage to level her up she gains on of the most powerful freeze abilities in the game. Leveled up Sejuani will freeze every enemy the moment the enemy Nexus is damaged for the first time in a round.
Considering the new units that were revealed alongside her, who are all about indiscriminate bloody carnage, you might think that a ability that benefits from damaging your own units would fit better. However, a focus on freezing enemies not only mirrors her playstyle in League of Legends, it also reflects the close ties with her former friend Ashe.
Both are Iceborn, humans who have the magical ability to manipulate True Ice and Dark Ice. Because of this they utilize the frostbite keyword but Sejuani does so in a much more aggressive manor, requiring you to damage the Nexus and making frostbitten enemies also vulnerable, for easy kills. Meanwhile Ashe instead prevents frozen enemies from being able to block your units, forcing a bloodless victory in a manner. It’s also probably no coincidence that that the leveled up versions of Sejuani and Ashe work so well together. In their lore, even so they parted ways on bitter terms, Ashe still considers Sejuani her battlesister and wants to fight alongside her for the greater good of Freljord.
The new Freljord followers we got a glimpse at are vicious warriors and worshippers of ancient gods, members of Sejuani’s army and the Winter’s Claw tribe. They are ruthless raiders who will cut down anyone in their path and burn down the homes of their enemies, all living under the simple principle that only the strong will survive. So it’s no wonder that the two raider follower shown in the reveal belong to the self hurt-archetype.
Another aspect of Freljord, that will apparently be expanded upon in the upcoming set, are the spirit walkers. These are warrior-shamans, who are from birth gifted with the ability to sense the spirits of nature and call upon their power in battle. Most of them are part of a tribe called the Ursine, who pray to the gods who manifest as physical spirit beasts. In the card art of Stormclaw Ursine we see a shaman releasing a explosive burst of spirit energy and transforming into a beast. This unit is likely a token card and presents the second form of a collectible spirit walker-follower.
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