Nobody could have predicted that an animated Netflix series based on League of Legends characters would have worked. But in 2021, Arcane, the nine-part action adventure series, defied expectations and became a runaway success. As of writing, the series holds a 9/10 rating on IMDB and a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes.
Season 2 is expected sometime this year, but while waiting, I’ve decided to compile a list of several Easter eggs and references to the popular MOBA video game that I’ve noticed upon several rewatches of Arcane Season 1. These references to League of Legends add an extra layer to the show for gamers and non-gamers alike.
Beware, spoilers from Arcane Season 1 ahead!
Why does Vi call Caitlyn “cupcake”?
My favourite Easter egg and League of Legends game reference throughout Arcane is Vi nicknaming Caitlyn “cupcake”.
Vi: You gonna help me out, cupcake?
Caitlyn: Stop calling me that. My name is Caitlyn.
Vi: But you’re so sweet, like a cupcake.
Caitlyn: Shut up.
This fun addition to Runeterra lore is a reference to one of Caitlyn’s in-game abilities, her “W” called “Yordle Snap Trap”. Caitlyn sets a trap on the ground which immobilises any champion that walks over it. The bait, of course, is a cupcake.
We also see a tray of cupcakes early on in Episode 1, displayed on a balcony as Vi and the gang parkour across the rooftops of Piltover.
A final, sinister nod to Caitlyn and the cupcakes motif is in the final episode, when Jinx brings out a cupcake on a platter to taunt Vi.
Voice lines from the game in Arcane
Arcane has voice lines stolen directly from League of Legends. Most noticeable for me was Heimerdinger’s. In Episode 2, he says:
Imprisonment. What a curious principle. We confine the physical body, yet the mind is still free. I do love a good conundrum.
That last sentence, “I do love a good conundrum”, is one of his voice lines while moving in the game.
Unnamed League of Legends champions in Arcane
Aside from the main named characters in Arcane, there are several sneaky appearances by champions you may not have noticed.
At the end of Episode 1, the chemist that becomes the champion Singed makes his first appearance in Arcane. He goes on to play a role in future episodes, surviving an explosion caused by Powder and later saving her with an extreme Shimmer treatment when Silco asks him.
In Episode 2, a freezing Jayce is rescued by a powerful mage, who is rumoured to be the champion Ryze due to the character’s interaction with runes.
Two characters wearing the Lamb and Wolf masks of the champion Kindred are in the brothel visited by Vi and Caitlyn in Episode 5.
Teemo appears in a storybook in Episode 6 and again as a doll in front of the mural of the dead in Zaun in Episode 7. Teemo’s poisonous mushrooms, from his ultimate “R” ability “Noxious Trap”, are also seen in a crate being sold in Zaun way back in Episode 1 (see below).
In a quick scene at the end of Episode 9, the wolf-like monster Warwick is shown hanging from the ceiling in Singed’s laboratory. This is rumoured to be Vi and Jinx’s father figure Vander’s fate.
League of Legends game items hidden in Arcane
In his shop, the item Benzo picks up and inspects is a Heart of Gold, a retired epic item from League of Legends that generated gold. Above the door is Tryndamere’s helmet.
There is also a Rabadon’s Deathcap for sale in Benzo’s shop. In the game, Rabadon’s Deathcap is a legendary item that grants 120+ ability power.
There are many masks throughout Arcane, but most recognisable as a League of Legends item is Liandry’s Torment, spotted in the brothel in Episode 5.
Poros and Krugs and Urf, Oh My!
Several Runterran creatures make an appearance in Arcane. Most notably, poros, the fluffy Freljordian creatures that you can feed on the ARAM Howling Abyss map, often follow Heimerdinger around.
A rock-like creature called a krug can be found in a cage in the first episode, recognisable by its glowing blue eyes. Krugs are neutral monsters found on the Summoner’s Rift map. As mentioned above, nearby are Teemo’s poisonous mushrooms, used in his ultimate “R” ability “Noxious Trap”.
Urf the manatee, an April Fools’ Day joke champion, is something of a mascot within League of Legends. In Arcane, Urf appears as a plushie in Marcus’ daughter’s bedroom.
Weapons and Gear from League of Legends in Arcane
The weapons and gear throughout the season are true to the champions’ in-game kits. For example, the Hextech technologies: transforming mercury hammer/cannon, atlas gauntlets and hex claw, belong to Jayce, Vi and Viktor in League of Legends.
The goggles worn by Claggor are part of Vi’s character design, and a fitting tribute to her fallen friend in the television show.
Jinx designs her weapons throughout the series, including her Fishbones rocket launcher, chomper grenades and cymbal monkeys.
Arcane features several League of Legends champion abilities
Jayce uses Lightning Field (“W”). He also transforms his hammer to its cannon form and uses Shock Blast (“Q”).
When Vi fights Sevika, she activates her passive ability, Blast Shield.
We only get a glimpse of what Ekko is able to do, with a quick look at the Z-Drive that he is likely still developing. The Z-Drive eventually allows Ekko to reverse short bursts of time.
At the very end of Season 1 of Arcane, Jinx uses her ultimate ability, Super Mega Death Rocket!, which fires a massive rocket towards the Council.