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Tear Jerker / League of Legends

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Runeterra, the world of League of Legends, teethers between being a Crapsaccharine World and a pure Crapsack World, with war, betrayals, and personal tragedies being very common among the League's champions.

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  • You can't help feeling sorry for Xerath. After years of being promised his Slave Liberation as a reward for saving Azir's life, but never actually having it granted, he starts scheming to claim the freedom he was promised himself. This leads him to sabotaging Azir's ascension ritual. The real tearjerker comes at the moment of Azir's Ascension — Azir's last act as a pre-Ascended being is to free all the slaves in Shurima, including Xerath. With guards saluting him, unknowing of what he has done to the ritual, Xerath can only stare up at the Sun Disk that's about to kill Azir, bury Shurima, and grant him his corrupt ascension — unable to do anything to stop it.
    Xerath: "Too late, friend. Too late, brother. Far too late for us all."
  • And then there's Azir. Originally killed during the corrupted Ascension ritual, he was revived via Sivir's blood only to find his empire in ruins, ancient history long lost to the desert sands. Even after Ascending and rebuilding his empire from the ruins it doesn't get much better; his lore details how thanks to his new sand powers Azir was able to see the final moments of his empire. He saw their expressions of cheer and celebration turn to shock and horror before they were wiped out. And then finally, he was essentially Forced to Watch as his ENTIRE FAMILY (i.e. his pregnant wife and children) were killed in the Ritual. The man couldn't even shed tears for their demise, due to his transformation as an Ascended!
  • Lulu's lore will make you shed some tears. She's a little girl who followed a magic fairy to their world to play, and when she returned, a hundred years had passed. Yes, she acts cheerful, but that makes it worse: she's a little girl who probably can't or doesn't want to understand that her family is dead. And her attempts to reconnect with the Yordle life instead backfires and makes other yordles (understandably) hate her and banish her.
  • Most of the champions who have gone insane are more Tragic Monster than Axe-Crazy. The aforementioned Xerath? Embittered former slave who destroyed his home empire in A Tragedy of Impulsiveness. Renekton? Attempted to deal with Xerath through Sealed Evil in a Duel, but centuries of this left him a twisted shadow of his former self. Malzahar? Originally a prophet who looked into the Void only after it had spent weeks/months/years(?) wearing him down. Jinx? We have no idea what happened to her, but that girl is broken. Lux? Cheerful, playful mage who might be nothing inside but an Stepford Smiling semi-suicidal Empty Shell, allowed to keep no identity other than that of a soldier of Demacia.
    • On a similar note, Gnar's lore can be quite saddening. Imagine being a cute, happy-go-lucky prehistoric little yordle that, after watching a fierce battle and fighting to protect his newfound friends, ends up encased in true ice. After sleeping for millenia he ended waking up in a world quite different to the one he used to live in. The kicker is that all of his friends and family have died eons ago.
  • The whole Targon dweller lores (with the exception of Pantheon, but one can expect that he gets updated later). Leona had to endure a life of ostracization just for keeping to her beliefs that strength is meant to protect, not to brutalize others like her fellow tribesmen. Said tribesmen then arranged her for execution and would also send in her childhood friend and possibly the only one who doesn't ostracize her, Pantheon, to be one of the executioners. Thankfully, it seemed like the Sun and Solari's intervention would save the day because after that Leona gets to mend the broken bridge between her, her tribe and Pantheon. But it doesn't end there. Leona befriended an acolyte named Diana who was ALSO ostracized because of finding comfort in the light of the Moon and keeps getting punished because of not being totally with the sun worship of the Solari and is treated like she didn't even belong in the society. When Diana found out about the Lunari, the Solari elders decided to declare her heretic and execute her on spot, and when the Moon actually answered her pleas to help, Diana has been consumed with betrayal and anger that she slaughtered the elders on the spot and decided to go on a crusade to ensure the Moon gets their fair share of attention and those who denies her will be killed. Leona, already being indoctrinated that the Solari elders were totally good people, stood in belief that Diana has to be stopped for heresy without knowing her side of story, and the two champions that formerly loved each other is locked in a tragic battle of beliefs. Whoever came out victorious will NOT be happy.
    • Building on that is the collateral damage to the Marai, Nami's people. They need a Moonstone to survive, but when Nami came to the surface as the Tidecaller, no Moonstone bearer was waiting for her. (We're never told that the Moonstone is a treasure of the Lunari, but it's not hard to guess.) If the Lunari and their knowledge are completely destroyed, an entire race of merfolk will pay the price — with the Solari completely unaware of what they've done.
  • Lucian's backstory. Originally a Nice Guy who also happened to be a badass who was very good at doing his job in purifying evil, along with his hardass wife Senna. Then they visited the Shadow Isles. As he watched, Senna was killed and her soul taken into Thresh's lantern, gone forever. This caused Lucian to destroy his Nice Guy image out of grief and become a bitter, humorless guy who's probably too dedicated to slaying all the Shadow Isles abominations. What makes this sad is that he knows that Senna is not coming back, but he keeps going in order to honor her memory.
    "She was everything to me... but they took her, and with her, they took my kindness, and my mercy. That was their mistake, because now, all I've got left is a cold heart."
    • There's a minor, yet depressing reminder of this in his otherwise light and goofy Heartseeker skin, where his recall animation has him spontaneously create a swanky dinner table, complete with candlelight and Sexophone, which starts out funny... then you look at the second seat and realize the whole setup is probably meant be for a date with Senna. Ouch.
  • Let's not get started on Amumu, heck, his name is "The Sad Mummy"!
  • Varus. He was chosen for the honor of guarding the Pit of Pallas because he had expert archery skills and a level head. When the Noxians attacked his village, he remained behind to guard his station. Then he saw that everyone had been murdered, including his wife and child. In a moment of overwhelming grief and anger he embraced Revenge Before Reason — and now he's slowly, painfully being eaten alive, undoubtedly very aware that he made a Senseless Sacrifice but unable to do anything about it now.
    • Varus' new lore is just as, if not more, tragic and painful than his previous lore: Instead of being a vengeful, broken man seeking revenge against the Noxians through said Senseless Sacrifice, the Arrow of Retribution is now a multi-faceted vessel that is host to three beings - Varus, who has been retconned into one of the five Darkin and imprisoned for centuries in a bow, forgotten by humanity, and a pair of lovers, Valmar and Kai. Valmar and Kai were regular hunters, sworn to uphold balance, and bonded and fell in love over the course of time. Things seem peaceful for a while, with Valmar being introduced to Kai's family, but eventually, Noxians begin to arrive at their village of Pallas, and they both take up arms to repel the invaders. Kai falls in battle, and Valmar, grief-striken, brings him towards the Pit of Pallas, now guarding the bow that keeps Varus contained. Unwilling to face a life without his lover by his side, Valmar jumps into the pit with the dying Kai in a last ditch effort to keep Kai alive, and in the process, the two men are consumed by Varus' power and used as hosts to fashion a new body for the vengeful Darkin. Even though they still remain together, they are now doomed to Walk the Earth, struggling against Varus for control of the new body.
  • The backstory revealed in Ekko's comic will make you shed a tear or two. Imagine having all the time in the world to save everyone you care about, but you're still not able to get there in time. This is Ekko's past life as a kid in Zaun.
    Ekko: Some things just can't be fixed.
    • A later short story, Lullaby reveals that his parents, despite what you might think, are still alive and well, and very loving. They both work nearly the whole day in Zaun's factories, they love their son and want him to go to a Piltover academy, and even celebrate his birthday with cake despite the fact they apparently can't afford it. What they don't know, however, is Ekko's vigilantism based on patriotism towards Zaun, and the fact he spent the day about to tell them his refusal to go to Piltover. He spends the end of the story rewinding to his parents coming home without changing a thing until he finally lulls off to sleep, refusing to crush their dreams. Damn.
      One future Ekko briefly considered was the Factorywood life and barely living wages for some other city’s benefit, for someone else’s glory. He couldn’t stomach the thought. He remembered fragments of conversations, snippets heard through the filter of infant ears, of his parents’ whispered dreams of inventions, and entrance to the clans. Ideas they hoped would change the world and contribute to a future unwritten by the birth of their son. Ekko knew they saw him as their only hope. But he loved life in Zaun. If he did as they wished, who would take care of them or his friends?

      He couldn’t dash their dreams. Not tonight, on his name day. Maybe tomorrow.
  • Tahm Kench is next in line for most taunts in the game, and the first champion to be able to taunt his own allies! While most taunts are intimidating, boastful, and sometimes even funny, several of Tahm's allied taunts are simply mean-spirited with the purpose of rubbing salt in the wounds of those who've suffered in their backstories by tempting them.
  • It may seem hard to believe, but even Jhin falls under this. Surprisingly, it's not because of the pain he inflicts on others - rather, in a fair share of his lines, Jhin reflects on how he seems literally unable to stop killing and at times even seems genuinely (albeit briefly) conflicted. In the end, it comes off to the player as if Jhin is almost compelled to do the things he does.
  • Twisted Fate can probably lay claim to the title of Sad Clown after his home and family cast him out for (mis)use of magic, then he lost his former partner and best friend in a job that went wrong, then he lost the rest of his gang attempting to get Graves out of prison, and then he was nearly killed when Miss Fortune exploited Graves' misdirected hatred at him for her own purposes. He was finally able to reconcile with Graves, but he'll never get his home or his friends back, and the life of a roaming con-man is not an easy one.
  • Aurelion Sol's lore shows what happens when he goes against Targon's will, one of his stars being destroyed, and he describes it all with sorrow, knowing that it's all his fault a star he created is gone.
    Aurelion Sol: My head snaps up, and my eyes drink the bitter sight of a dying star. My hearts clasp shut. My minds reel. An overwhelming sense of despair ricochets through my very soul, emanating from a deep and immediate sorrow, like the pulsing realization you’ve lost something precious and know it’s all your fault.
  • When Atreus' parents saw their long-missing son had returned as the glorious warrior Pantheon and an Aspect of Targon, they didn't rejoice — they held a funeral.
    Now his demise was confirmed. The Pantheon Aspect had obliterated his personality, memories and emotions. Atreus’s flesh was nothing but a shell inhabited by the supernatural Aspect of War; his mortal soul had joined those of the ancestors in the celestial afterlife.
  • After they get their lores updated, Nasus and Renekton's relationship just plain enters a new soul-crushing level. Back when they were alive, they were really close as brothers, when Nasus fell deathly ill, Renekton was just ready to get himself obliterated by the Ascension ritual light by carrying Nasus' body to it, but to his surprise, the Ascension accepted both, and the two ascended. In Nasus' version, there was an incident in Neshramah where Renekton got a little too bloodthirsty, but a glare from Nasus shamed him... enough that sealing Xerath alone looks like his way to atone for that incident. And you know how it goes, it just makes the two's rivalry extremely tragic.
  • Skarner's lore does remarkably well at making you feel sympathy for a giant crystal scorpion. The Brackern were an ancient species that fused with powerful "life stones" that granted them great power and longevity, as well as retaining their memories when they passed. There were only ever a limited number of these stones, however, so newer Brackern had to take up a stone of an older one, each one containing all the power and knowledge of all that had possessed it before it, giving the species a great kinship as every Brackern was really several. Skarner found his life stone after painstakingly scouring the land, and it being such an ancient one meant he was one of the greater Brackern specimens, so when they went into hibernation to hide away during the Rune Wars, he was one of the few chosen to be closer to the surface should something disturb them. When he's finally awoken by raiders taking away the life stones of many of his brethren, Skarner learns several of their stones were broken into uselessness, and feels many of them were taken away to far-off lands pulling at him and begging to be reunited with the Brackern they were attached to. Skarner, faced with the dilemma of seeking out his kind's stones in the world or guarding the still-sleeping ones, chooses the former and sets out to find every last one.
    Though his search is lonely, he occasionally hears a lost crystal calling to him, a feeling that brings joy and anguish in equal measure. He focuses his sorrow into unshakable determination, and refuses to rest until he has recovered every last life stone.
  • Yorick in his new rework is a monk who watched his home turn into a hell on earth and used dark powers, hoping to bring back his home and later, put an end to the island's curse. You can hear the regret and anguish in his voice as he searches for an end.
    Yorick: "I do not know what lies beyond, but it is better than this."
  • The Star Guardian skin line seemed like to be one of the sweet deals for the fans, and heck, even a destructive terrorist like Jinx can join in the fun. However, there is a storyline going and... it seemed like going to be a tragic one. One of the splash arts promoting the skin involve Star Guardian Jinx having a falling out with Star Guardian Lux, saddening the latter and in the same time... gave vibes of Star Guardian Jinx going down the path of the likes of Kyoko Sakura...
  • Every single one of the new Piltover bios shows the lives of their heroes touched with tragedy, from Orianna gradually discarding her humanity piece by piece, to Caitlyn returning home to find her parents kidnapped, to Jayce having to turn against his only friend Viktor, to a younger Ezreal trying to stall dinner because his Disappeared Dad joked that when he found his teleportation artifact, he'd zap himself home for supper...
  • Updated Warwick when you think about it, is just as sad; he used to be a gangster but truly wanted to put down his blade to live a normal life. His sins however, kept catching up to him to the where he eventually got experimented on by Singed when he was still a human, being forced to turn into a cyborg-wolf-chimera. To this day, he's letting his bestial instincts take over so he can task himself into slaying the very same criminals he used to be part of while having little hope of returning to normal and/or getting rid of his cyborg implants (as well as having memories of a familiar girl he tries to remember but are drowned out by his lust for blood out of hate and rage).
  • Lux's new side story, Last Light, is a tearjerker and a half. An earthquake hits a Demacian town at the crack of dawn, and Lux rides out to see what she can do to aid in the relief effort. She is brought to a dying soldier who dug a family out from beneath the rubble before a building collapsed on him, and stays by his side for his final moments. Having been blinded from shards of glass embedding themselves in his eyes, the soldier laments that he won't be able to see the light of Demacia one last time. After making sure no one is looking, Lux brings her fingertips to the bloodied bandage covering his eyes and focuses her light magic down to the undamaged optic nerves.
    "I can’t heal you," she said, "but I can at least give you that."
    He squeezed her hand, his mouth falling open in wonder as Demacia’s light shone within him.
    "It’s so beautiful..." he whispered.
  • Mixed with a touch of heartwarming, the story of Doran, creator of Doran's Ring, Shield, and Blade. He was born with a passion for crafting, and at the age of 15, he became an Ultimate Blacksmith who got invited to the Institute to be their blacksmith. However, on route, he suffered an accident that robbed him of his genius, but not his passion, and where once he produced single, masterpiece items, he now produces simpler items in large quantities. The fact that his items are daily used in matches, and he has a permanent home at the Institute, shows that, even if bittersweet, he still got a happy ending.
  • Annie's new backstory in ANNIE: Origins... well, it just couldn't be sadder. After her beloved mother (who gave her Tibbers as a present) died, her father remarried, bringing a new sister called Daisy to the family. Although Daisy could be a bit mean, causing Annie to inadvertently hurt her with her uncontrollable fire once when she tried to take Tibbers away, Annie didn't hate her. Then Daisy died when she fell into a river and Annie couldn't save her, causing her stepmother to blame Annie for Daisy's death, calling her a monster. In her despair, Annie's powers went out of control again, setting their cottage on fire and, although her father saved her, he died in the blaze, leaving Annie alone among the cinders with her weeping stepmother. Her stepmother furiously snatched Tibbers from Annie and tried to tear him apart, but Annie snapped and Tibbers unraveled, growing into an enormous fiery bear that crushed her stepmother into a charred corpse, leaving Annie all alone in the ashes of her ruined life.
  • The tale of the actress Magga. One fateful night, she wanders from her camp and meets Lamb and Wolf, who ask her how she would prefer to die: accept her fate and Lamb's arrows, or run and feel Wolf's teeth. Magga chooses the arrows, asking Lamb if it would be like climbing eternally to the highest boughs of a tree. Her response? "No, though it is a nice thought." The duo then reveal that they were testing Magga, who flees back to her camp. When she returns, the camp is in ruins and her compatriots dead, leaving Magga alone in the world. She flees the woods and becomes an independent actor, famed for her portrayal of Kindred, but her heart is joyless. And then there's the matter of her final performance...
    But Magga heard no applause and saw no ovations. She didn't feel the stage beneath her feet, nor the hands of her fellow mummers in hers as they bowed low. All she felt was a sharp pain in her chest.
    When Magga looked out over the audience, every single face was either a lamb or a wolf.
  • "Confessions of a Broken Blade" ends happily for Riven, giving her a home and a purpose after years of exile, but it's desperately sad for Yasuo, who tracked down his master's killer only to find no absolution because there was no murderer. It was an accident; Souma was essentially slain by his own wind magic in an attempt to destroy Riven's sword at her request. Now he believes that he truly is responsible because he left his elder alone, and he can't find peace because he can't forgive himself.
  • Akali's rework had her finally leave the Kinkou Order. After years of her, Shen and Kennen sticking together like True Companions, The Fellowship Has Ended in a sour note...
  • As revealed in Odyssey Kayn's color story, despite being the head of the Demaxian Empire, Odyssey Jarvan isn't a sinister Greater-Scope Villain. He's a close friend of Kayn's and a legitimately good man who'd hoped to rule as a progressive leader upon becoming emperor, but was forced to implement stricter policies. As a result, the empire began to be perceived by many as oppressive and authoritarian, much to Jarvan's dismay.
    • From the same story, Kayn's descent from an Anti-Villain who was best friends with Emperor Jarvan, cared for an outdated training robot, shared a close bond with his troops, and wasn't pointlessly cruel to the megalomaniac we see in the game, courtesy of Rhaast. It's best summed up here.
  • Kayle and Morgana have their new lore, and it's not a happy story. Their parents were a devoted couple named Mihira and Kilam, who ascended Mt. Targon during the Rune Wars to try and save the world. While still with child, Mihira became the Aspect of Justice, and they returned with twin daughters. Kilam began to fear her power and finally moved with his daughters to what would become Demacia; years later, her sword came back to them. The daughters each took half of the sword and ascended as well, but their personality differences only got stronger with time and power. Eventually they had a fight and parted ways... after Kilam had been caught in the crossfire and killed. Morgana seethes with bitterness over this; Kayle is doing her best to harden her heart and remain an impartial engine of Justice.
    Kayle: Sister!
    Morgana: Kayle!?

     In Game 
  • Some death animations can get surprisingly brutal if you're paying attention to them:
    • For Dragon Trainer Tristana, she and Riggle are blasted apart, and Tristana dies. Riggle then gets up, goes over to her body and nudges it before quietly laying down beside her.
    • For Star Guardian Ahri's death animation, Kiko is knocked out of Ahri's arms as she falls to her knees. As her body fades away, Ahri tries to reach for him just as he tries to jump back to her, but her body vanishes before he can reach her. Poor Kiko's left alone to stare up in sadness as Ahri's star light flies away, leaving him behind to sit sorrowfully on the ground.
    • Penguin Skier wards of all things have surprisingly painful and heartbreaking animations for not just taking them down, but simply hitting them! It's almost as if Riot's trying to punish you for fighting back.
    • It's no surprise that Nunu and Willump's death animation tugs the heartstrings. Willump falls to the ground, dead, while Nunu desperately tugs at his arm, begging his best friend not to leave him, before eventually laying by Willump's side.
  • When Swain collects Soul Fragments from his enemies, he'll occasionally comment on some hidden revelations about them through them. Some of them are quite chilling, but others are a lot more tragic if you know the context:
    (to Darius) "No daughters. Only soldiers."note 
    (to Kayn) "A child who had only known hate, confuses it for love."note 
    (to Lux) "Which is the greater tragedy, that she fell in battle, or that she fell in line?"note 
    (to Riven) "She held their hands as they died, hoping they would drag her with them."note 
  • While Nunu's still a genuinely Cheerful Child, he has several moments in-game where he it's clear he deeply misses his Missing Mom.
    (first encountering Anivia) "My mom said as long as I remember her, she'll always come back, like Anivia!"
    (slaying the Blue Sentinel/blue buff) "Sometimes blue is the only color in the Freljord. I remember my mom had blue eyes..."

    Nunu Bot: (first move) Do you think my mom's in the crowd tonight, Willump?
    W.I.L.L.U.M.P.: Error. No result found. Try putting your search in quotations.
  • All of Eclipse Leona's interactions with Diana. She outright pleads with the renegade Lunari to stand down when first encountering and attacking her, then mourns for her death after striking her down.
    Eclipse Leona: In another life, I... I'm so sorry, Diana.

  • During the 2015 NA LCS World Chmapionship Qualifier Finals, Team Liquid's FeniX and Piglet cry after losing their chance to go to the World Championship.
  • When Dyrus, the last member of the original TSM and a truly legendary LoL-Veteran retired after TSM got knocked out of the 2015 World Championship group stage as dead last. The usually so stoic Marcus "Dyrus" Hill cried all the time and was torn between happiness for the continuing support of his fans and the feeling of letting them down, despite his fans (and the casters!) reassurance that he never let them down.
  • A fanmade video which also has elements of Crosses the Line Twice. Lil' Nasus tells a story of a Nasus that's extremely outplayed, specifically bullied with harsh words just to hammer the point home that he will be stuck in the useless phase forever and no one in his team helped him. That's just mean.
  • Ao Shin, the champion who's stuck in Development Hell and unable to escape unlike Lee Sin. And then early 2016, in spite of many clamoring "Ao Shin where", Riot announced that Ao Shin will be reworked into a new identity that is Aurelion Sol. One can only imagine this happening to Riot/Morello as he attempts to bury his creation.
  • League of Legends YouTuber MagikarpUsedFly (best known for the "ACTUAL Champion Spotlight" series) lost his dad Ignacio "Frank" Castro to organ failure on May 30, 2016. On May 31st he posted a video explaining what had happened. Sad in itself, but even worse when he revealed that he has a bunch of voicemails from his dad because he didn't always pick up the phone. Devastating when Matt just sits there on camera listening to one of them on repeat, crying.
    Hey! Anybody home?! It's your dad — hello! Can you hear me? Call us up. Okay. Bye, son. Love you.
  • SKT's reign as the world champions came to a shocking end at the hands of SSG in the finals of Worlds 2017, being completely crushed 3-0 in a devastating clean sweep. The match wasn't just SKT's chance for a three-peat, it also meant so much for the team's players - it was Huni's first time playing in the finals at Worlds, it was Peanut's second chance to win a championship after failing once while with ROX, Wolf and Bang would have gotten another championship under their belts, and Faker would have kept his record of winning every Worlds he had played in alive. Even more heartbreaking is Faker slumping over in his chair and beginning to cry when it was all over, as his team sits around him desolately. SSG, when coming to shake hands with SKT after winning, seemed genuinely stunned upon seeing Faker weeping. Bang quietly helped Faker onto his feet before he shook SSG's hands, and crumpled then in his chair and began crying again when they had left. Watching the person universally considered to be the world's greatest player so utterly crushed and defeated is nothing short of heartbreaking.
    • Worse, as someone pointed out, before shaking SSG's hands, actually changed the screen as to not see the defeat screen.
  • Legends Never Die. It's epic and encouraging, but it has an undertone of sadness, like a dying hero's final Last Stand.

Example of: