Over the years Riot have released numerous animations to promote the game, and every single one of them has been lauded for their high creativity and quality.
At the start of Season 1, Riot released a complete CG animated trailer showing off the action of a full match. Kayle vs Morgana! A colossal Cho'Gath demolishing a tower then being bullrushed out of Ryze's way by Alistar! Master Yi dueling Katarina, then teaming up with Ryze and Ashe to take down Warwick! Ryze's Big Damn Heroes moment to save Kayle from Nasus! This is the video that undoubtedly persuaded many, many players to give this game a go.
Unknown to many, Riot actually made an even better CG cinematic for the release of Dominion, but ultimately decided not to release it for reasons unknown. Nevertheless, it has come to light! Jarvan, Irelia, Teemo, Lux and Ryze vs Swain, Mordekaiser, Miss Fortune, Cassiopeia and Malphite. Give thanks.
A more sedate, yet still awesome, example of LoL CG is the Mac version trailer. Packed with more fanservice than you can shake a stick at, it's guaranteed to make even fans who don't give a damn about the Mac version Squee with delight.
Riot raised the bar even further with "A Twist of Fate". The animation quality has improved to such incredible levels that the human champions are almost possible to mistake for real people and the action is indescribably awesome, especially the sudden and unexpected appearance at the end of Baron Nashor.
The Road to the Cup video, to promote the Season 3 Championship, is their first 2D-animated video, featuring animated renditions of the pro-gamer competitors performing moves from their favourite champions. While it's heavy on the Narm Charm, it's still undeniably awesome, especially when Dyrus smashes his way out from inside the cup tower with Jayce's Mercury Hammer. Even better when you learn the animation was done by none other than Studio Mir.
Jinx is the first champion to get her own fully animated music video, 'Get Jinxed' in the lead-up to her release. Featuring a beautiful mix of 2D and 3D animation, it is incredible.
Maokai made the first HEXAKILL in LoL history when he became sentient in the middle of a 3v3 and killed everyone.
Swain's successful ascent to the position of Grand General of Noxus.
On the other hand, simultaneously an Epic Fail when Riot revealed that, despite being a purely ornamental piece of bling with no gameplay effect whatsoever, this single skin will cost $25!
While certainly on a lesser scale, another high-value ultimate skin goes to Spirit Guard Udyr. Udyr is a significantly harder champion to make skins for because of his four different stances changing his model, so the fact that you have something like that for a character like Udyr is quite a step up.
The interactive motion comic that coincides with Spirit Guard Udyr's release definitely counts, as well.
Everyone who was in attendance or watching online knew that a musical performance would open up the Season 3 World Championship finals at LA's Staples Center. What no one knew was that said performance would include a surprise appearance by none other than The Crystal Method, who performed Lucian's theme, "The Purifier's Resolve," live for all of the summoners. Watch it, and the rest of the awesome performance, here.
Oh, and you know the guitarist in the suit of lights? Yeah, that's Wes Borland of Limp Bizkit. When Riot have a party they pull out ALL the stops!
Any time you escape from a gank. Bonus awesome if it was against a champion who could change your positioning, like Singed or Blitzcrank.
Every single summoner (yes, that includes you) will have a crowning moment in game. It could be your first Pentakill, it could be an amazing game-saving play you made up on the fly, it doesn't matter. Some had 5 of them last week, some will get theirs years after starting. But at some point or another, you WILL feel like a legend.
The newest graphical rework for Garen gives his ultimate attack an impressive effect on a successful execution. And by impressive, we mean a gigantic shockwave that ripples almost an entire screen's worth of area. As if using it the right way wasn't satisfactory enough.
North American League Championship series 2013 Spring split, week 5, day 1: compLexity vs Team Dignitas. Another David Versus Goliath matchup surprisingly similar to the Wolves vs Fnatic match listed above- coL were near the bottom of the ladder, Dignitas at the top and on an almost unstoppable winning streak. Another highly intense, well-played game sees ANOTHER incredible upset as compLexity deal Dignitas a defeat that NO-ONE expected!
EU LCS 2013 Spring split, week 6, day 2: Copenhagen Wolves vs Evil Geniuses. The Wolves seen to have a tendancy to create high-tension, explosive-action, edge-of-your-seat-close matches, especially when they're the underdogs. Over 45 minutes of high-intensity clashes which leave the commentators hoarse from yelling and in the end the underdog Wolves do it again!
EU LCS 2013 Spring split, week 9, day 1: aAa vs Gambit. Nearly a full hour of battle from what most people would have expected to be a Curb-Stomp Battle by Gambit. Incredibly close all the way through with amazing plays by all parties. The underdogs don't win this one, but they sure give Gambit a run for their money.
EU LCS 2013 Spring split, week 10, day 1: aAa vs Evil Geniuses. Another lengthy, tense, exciting clash, although by now aAa have proven they're not so much the underdogs and Evil Geniuses have been shown to be mortal. A masterful performance by aAa carry Nono with a bizarrely unconventional Ezreal build is the highlight, leading to a thrilling victory by aAa when they pull a Kansas City Shuffle by rushing past EG to storm their undefended inhibitor, forcing EG to launch an uncoordinated assault on their own base, leading to their defeat, Nono ending the game on a score of 14/1/13.
Again on EU LCS 2013 Spring split, week 10, day 1: Fnatic vs SK. A grudge match between the two arch-enemies turns into another bruising, drawn-out 51-minute slugfest. Fnatic's unconventional composition, including an Urgot/Blitzcrank bot lane and an AD Ezreal mid goes head-to-head with SK's Irelia who is "channeling his inner Chuck Norris" to quote the commentators. Another close match ends in "one of the longest teamfights in competative League of Legends history", with Fnatic finally defeating SK again to go 4-0 against them in the LCS season.
NA LCS 2013 Spring split, week 10, day 3: MRN vs CLG. You have not seen a miraculous comeback until you've seen this game. CLG steamroll MRN mercilessly for the first 20 minutes before slowing down and eventually stalling, while MRN slowly turn the pressure back on them off the back of Nientonso's unbelievably powerful Tristana and ClakeyD's fearless Heroic Sacrifice initiations on Jarvan IV. However, with only a single turret left in MRN's base after a near-disaster mid-game it remains INCREDIBLY close right up to the end when MRN wipe CLG out in a furious fight and blitz up through the middle to take the CLG nexus with literal seconds to spare until CLG can respawn and crush them on the counterattack!
On the flip side of the coin from all these tense, close, underdog upset games, SK vs Gambit match 2 in the EU 2013 Spring semifinals. Gambit annihilate SK without mercy, crushing them so decisively that SK actually surrender the match less than half an hour in, even though this will see them knocked out of the tournament (or at least reduced to the 3rd place playoff). As a fine example of the sheer power of a truly skilled and coordinated team in high level play (Gambit play like a well-oiled machine and despite their loss here SK are no pushovers) the match deserves its place on this list.
NA LCS 2013 Summer split, week 1, day 2: CLG vs Dignitas. The very definition of the word "epic". 71 minutes. Over 70 kills. Over 200,000 gold across both teams. A nail-biter right up to the finish. The longest match in LCS history and one of the longest games in recorded pro LoL history as well. The advantage swings back and forth until it reaches the endgame where both teams are both winning and losing at the same time. In the end, who won? Why not watch and find out?* Oh all right, it was CLG.
NA LCS 2013 Summer split, week 3, day 1: Velocity eSports vs Curse. Another epic, close game where the lead swings back and forth. Velocity takes an early lead by sabotaging Curse's jungle, Curse responds with first blood, Velocity grabs early turrets, Curse score more kills and take dragon control, Velocity steal Baron from Curse, Curse split push down Velocity's bottom inhibitor, it just goes on and on. At the end of the day only one team can win and Velocity finally man up and force their way through Curse, using their superior carry strength to let them smash down the Curse nexus while simply IGNORING Voyboy's Shen who is trying to race them for their own.
NA LCS 2013 Summer split, week 3, day 3: CLG vs TSM. The penultimate match of one of the most thrilling weeks in LCS history sees these two veterans slugging it out for a full hour. CLG's early domination begins to spin its wheels in the face of TSM's stoic base defence, as Doublelift's pick of Urgot lacks the siege potential to directly crack TSM's base towers, TSM's item choices largely negate Link's Zed and Reginald's Karthus is monstrously powerful. In the last minutes, CLG abandon their usual strategies, throwing caution to the wind and sacrificing their players to backdoor enemy inhibitors, while TSM leverage their raw power to bull straight through CLG's defences that they'd been kept away from all game. At the very final moment, Nientonsoh on Elise becomes the hero of CLG as TSM's all-or-nothing bullrush slams into him like a water balloon into a brick wall, Nien picking up a triple kill while CLG's super minions smash down TSM's last turret and nexus, Dyrus on Kennen helpless to stop the endless wave of minions from winning the game for CLG.
Props to the crowd at MLG Anaheim, as well, who were so hot during this match, which at its peak drew chants for both TSM and CLG.
EU LCS 2013 Summer split, week 3, day 2: SK vs Fnatic. 19-0. That was the result of the last 19 matches between Fnatic and SK at the start of this match. SK hadn't beaten Fnatic in a professional match in 2 years and were understandably eager to change this, especially after beating League leaders Alternate the previous day. An epic slugfest erupted- for most of the game SK held an advantage over Fnatic, but a blundered engagement in midgame cost them dearly, losing almost their entire team, allowing Fnatic to snatch Baron buff and several turrets. Despite SK's superb play allowing them to reclaim the advantage, the game remained balanced on a knife edge as SK could never reach the stage where Fnatic were no longer a threat to them and one misstep could cost them even worse than the last one. After more than an hour of play, did SK finally break their 2-year drought, or did Fnatic rally to make it a round 20 wins in a row? SK did it!
OGN Champions League, which is the Korean equivalent of the LCS, had CJ Entus Frost's Madlife, known for being one of the best support players in the entire world and is a Season 3 All-Star to boot, pull out an absolutely mind-blowing Thresh hook. Against an Ezreal, he read that he would Arcane Shift seconds in advance, threw the hook out to where he thought Ez would go, and caught him, securing the kill in what would end up being a total Curb-Stomp Battle in favor of CJ Frost.
EU LCS 2013 Summer Playoffs match 1: Alternate vs Evil Geniuses. This best-of-three playoff between the new blood of Alternate and the old guard of Evil Geniuses is one of the bets you're going to see. The first game is fairly close, with both teams looking good at different points, until Alt take control and secure the hard-earned win. After some serious discussion, EG come back with a new plan in game 2 and curb stomp Alternate in return, winning the game in less than 30 minutes. The decider, with a guaranteed position in Season 4 and potentially their Esports careers on the line, is the closest of all. The advantage swings back and forth as the teams clash head-on again and again. The close match is finally decided when EG take an amazingly quick Baron behind Alternate's back and use the surge of power to become unstoppable, dismantling Alt's defence, smashing their base apart and securing themselves a safe place in Season 4.
Intel Extreme Masters season VIII - Cologne 2013. The tournament in general is one big crowning moment for Gambit Gaming, their first major event since reuniting with their former support EDward (who had left for America for the Summer Split of the LCS). Gambit, once one of the most feared European teams, had been on somewhat of a slide, but IEM Cologne showed that, with EDward back on the team, They're Back! No enemies at the tournament could really even slow them down, culminating in the final match against Fnatic where Gambit went Up to Eleven on poor Fnatic, completely annihilating them in a Curb-Stomp Battle so brutal that the commentators couldn't believe it. After an unfortunate first blood when Diamond got caught scouting out the enemy jungle before the minions spawned, Diamond responded by going on an absolute rampage with his Evelynn, ending the game 11/1/10 and leading Gambit to a crushing 30-5 victory in barely 22 minutes.
OGN's HO T6i X Champions Summer 2013 had an amazing finish where in the grand final between SKT Telecom T1 and KT Bullets when it came down to a 5th game tiebreaker, unlike other leagues, OGN stipulates that that the 5th game in a final is a blind pick instead of the normal tournament draft. This resulted in a mirror match of Zed vs Zed for the midlaners, SKT Telecom T1's Faker playing Zed against KT Rolster Bullet's Ryu playing Zed. Despite not doing too much else where in the game but providing gank assistance, FAKER demonstrated that he could outplay anyone else in the world in a Zed vs Zed duel by killing a 100% HP Ryu, from only 25% HP. This is the duel here, broken down with a slow motion replay just to underline how incredible FAKER's reflexes and mechanics are. To further emphasize how big a deal this is: that Shadow Slash he uses to finish the duel is activated within 1/8th of a second of it being available after he uses Living Shadow to switch places.
NA LCS 2014 Spring split week 1, day 1: Cloud 9 vs Team Solo Mid. Cloud. 9. Pick.Teemo! Like Nick Fury showing up at the end of Iron Man, like DerpyHoovesgetting a plot-relevant, name-checked, voiced appearance in 'The Last Roundup', Hai locking in Teemo completelyovershadowed every other detail of this game. As stated on the memes page, highlighting Butt MonkeyJoke Character Teemo on champion select before switching to the champ you're really going to play is a popular form of audience trolling by the LCS players, but in the first game of the new LCS year Cloud 9 do it seriously and make it work! Despite C9 being unstoppable champions in the 2013 Summer split and defeating Fnatic to clinch the Battle of the Atlantic for NA, the majority of the crowd were betting on old favourites TSM to take the win, largely due to their acquisition of EU star mid laner Bjergsen. While Cloud 9 got off to a slow start, as the game wore on it became increasingly apparent that TSM simply did not know how to deal with an AP Teemo mid, the champion's unpopularity meaning that they had simply NO experience playing against something that quirky and irritating. Cloud 9 smothered TSM, grinding them down and barring them from their own jungle with the threat of Teemo's invisible mushroom bombs keeping them to the lanes. Eventually, Cloud 9 finished dissecting TSM and winning the first game of the new year... with a TEEMO!
This is likely a Call Back to TSM's own epic moment, with team owner Reginald picking Teemo at the World Championship in 2013 against Gaming Gear and getting a partial standing ovation for it. This pick caused what may have been the loudest, most enthusiastic cheer during the entire World Championship and totally overshadowed the game. Making it better, Teemo wasn't even useful then due to Oracles (removed in Preseason 4) and pink-ward spam (nerfed hard in preseason 4) negating his stealth and his mushrooms entirely. TSM lost this one, but it seems Cloud 9 didn't forget it.
NA LCS 2014 Spring split week 1, day 3, Dignitas vs Cloud 9. A tall order for Dignitas, facing off against the most powerful team in NA. Cloud 9 had only lost 3 games in the entire 2013 Summer split and were already off to a flying 3-0 start to the 2014 Spring split going into their last match of the Super Week. Almost no-one gave Dignitas a prayer against such powerful opponents, with the online poll showing 90% of viewers expected a Cloud 9 victory and a straight 4-0 sweep. The reality was startlingly different as Dignitas crushed Cloud 9, starting by focus-banning mid-laner Hai in champ select to force him onto Riven, then counter-picking him with Scarra's Gragas and bullying him mercilessly in lane. Scarra and ADC player Imaqtipie played a blinder of a game, Dignitas wiping the floor with Cloud 9 19-3 and exploding with excitement as soon as the Nexus fell.
EU LCS 2014 Spring split week 2, day 1, Team Roccat vs Supa Hot Crew. In week 1 of the NA competition, Cloud 9 made history by playing and winning with Teemo. In week 2 of the EU split, Team Roccat matched them for audacity by picking Mordekaiser. Another Tier-Induced Scrappy, Morde had never been picked in the LCS and was broadly considered competatively inviable thanks to his obsolete kit- while Teemo at least received a strong stealth buff with the vision changes in Season 4 that made his shrooms much harder to detect, Morde had just been forgotten. But like Teemo, Morde was something that the pro players simply weren't used to seeing and they paid for it. An immovable brick wall in mid lane, Overpow's Morde farmed and pushed and farmed and pushed, while Moopz on Morgana (itself an unconventional mid pick) struggled to find any relevance. Late game, Morde's Children of the Grave ultimate was stealing -as the commentator's pointed out- up to 56% of the maximum HP of whoever it was cast on and turning the victim into an enslaved ghost when they died. It didn't all go Roccat's way as jungler Jankos struggled early game with his Pantheon, but by the late game the pressure was just too much and Roccat bulled their way through Supa Hot Crew to victory, proving once again the effectiveness of an unexpected champion selection.
NA LCS 2014 Spring split, week 2 day 2, XDG Gaming vs Evil Geniuses. EG, former contenders from EU who had jumped the Pacific to play in America, had not had the greatest season up to this point and were starting to get desperate. So in a season that had so far largely been characterised by the same team compositions over and over again they did something radical- they went back to one of their classic compositions from season 2 and ran an Urgot/Soraka bottom lane (additionally, while they picked the omnipresent Mundo, they dared to run him in the jungle rather than the top lane). After a shaky start where Urgot uncharacteristically failed to dominate the bot lane, EG eventually managed to claw a respectable lead, until an absolute disaster of a teamfight at dragon saw them lose 4 members for no return kills, giving XDGG an uncontested Baron. But EG stood their ground with their fearsome siege/poke team and turned the pressure back on, mid-laner Pobelter in particular playing out of his mind on Gragas. Eventually EG's pressure was too much for XDGG to withstand and they were split wide open, EG closing out a comfortable, very impressive and well-deserved win with their unconventional composition- especially gratifying for the fans who were tired of the same Lucian/Thresh vs Jinx/Annie vs Leona/Caitlyn matchups in every single game.
SK Telecom T1 K winning OGN Winter 2013/2014, becoming the first team to win an OGN tournament twice and ending the season with a perfect 15-0, not having dropped a single game. Faker also got the MVP award, thus being the only player to win the award twice.
EU LCS 2014 Spring split, week 3 day 1, Team Roccat vs Fnatic. Arguably the biggest and closest slugfest of the season to this point. Fnatic are an undefeated 5-0, while Roccat are showing themselves to be highly favoured underdogs. Despite a shaky start, Roccat push Fnatic to the limit, turning teamfights around on them, dropping Pantheon on them, managing to evaporate a tank-built Mundo and playing the map superbly to counter every advantage Fnatic try to take with one of their own. An incredibly close match more than 50 minutes as the advantage see-saws back and forth, but in the end Fnatic get another sneaky Baron and crucially catch out and assassinate Roccat's ADC, allowing them to power through Roccat's base and end it.
EU LCS 2014 Spring split, week 3 day 2, Gambit Gaming vs Fnatic. With Fnatic still undefeated after their narrow brush with Roccat above, the League leaders are still looking strong, but if anyone can beat them, Gambit can. With Diamond on his fearsome Evelynn and Alex Ich playing Zed (on his own birthday no less), Gambit looks set to take it to Fnatic, but Fnatic put the mighty Xpeke on Fizz to meet Zed head-on in the mid lane while Soaz picks a highly unconventional Gragas top. A horrible start for Gambit as EDward facechecks the Fnatic blue buff results in both himself and Genja going down before they even reach lane, but Gambit rally as Alex repeatedly dominates Xpeke and Diamond catches a 1v2ing Soaz out to let the bot lane get a bit of revenge. An intense slugfest erupts as Gambit surge ahead before starting to slow as Fnatic adopt counters to Alex's Zed and Darien's Mundo is repeatedly overwhelmed by sheer force. The game sees many brilliant plays, especially one legendary Super Mega Death Rocket from Genja that picks up Xpeke -blind- from clear across the map. After a long and closely-fought match, Gambit finally grind Fnatic down to nothing and topple the League leaders, ending their 7-game win streak. Happy birthday, Alex!
EU LCS 2014 Spring split, week 4 day 1, Fnatic vs Alliance. This smelled of a mismatch. It'd been a rough start to the season for Team Alliance- an all-star team masterminded by Froggen made up of the best players he could find with huge expectations behind them coming into the season, they'd so far turned out to be a massive disappointment. The only team not to pick up a win in the first week and, despite winning both games in their second week (albeit against other comparatively low-ranked teams) they'd slipped to 2-6 by the end of the 3rd and were now faced with the daunting propect of the 7-1 League leaders Fnatic. The audience vote saw 90% of fans predicting a Fnatic victory and even the commentators lampshaded what a David Versus Goliath matchup this was. As it turned out, Alliance seemed to have finally found their form- where their first week's losses stemmed from poor team coordination and their 3rd week's from poor individual performances, here they did everything perfectly. The laners won matchups they really should have lost (Wickd on Trundle in particular doing INCREDIBLE work to stay even with Soaz playing, of all things, a top lane LeBlanc!), the team coordinated spectacularly and they simply outplayed Fnatic again and again, leading to a hard-fought but decisive victory that stunned everyone. The all-stars looked for the first time like they finally might be living up to their potential.
NA LCS 2014 Spring split, week 4 day 2, XDG vs Dignitas. XDG (the former Vulcan) had not had the greatest of seasons and were on a bit of a losing streak when they came up against Dignitas (at the time the 3rd place team). Fan support was behind Dignitas as well, with 88% of fans predicting their victory. Despite XDG getting the highly-prized Olaf pick for jungler Zuna they found themselves up against it very early in the game as Dignitas effectively won all 3 lanes and rapidly took control of almost the entire map. Dignitas got a little overconfident and XDG started to claw back some space in the mid-game with a number of well-placed pickoffs, but were still playing from behind... until Dignitas took the classic Schmuck Bait and made a badly-timed attempt at Baron. Benny applied pressure and was even on the verge of driving Imaqtpie's Lucian off altogether and then the rest of the team arrived. A perfect Leona ultimate from Bloodwater later and Xmithie had himself a triple kill on his Sivir, XDG had themselves a Baron buff and control of the game and from there they never put another foot wrong. Dignitas, demoralised from their blunder, folded like damp cardboard and XDG executed the greatest comeback so far in the season, a pointed reminder NEVER to underestimate the underdog in the LCS.