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League of Legends champions hit the red carpet in the second Rift Gala

A fan made event of fashion and glamor

League of Legends - splash art for Prestige Empyrean K’Sante. K’Sante is a muscular Black man in a stylish crop top and an elaborate jacket. His twin weapons glow with ethereal fire and butterflies surround him. Image: Riot Games
Cass Marshall is a news writer focusing on gaming and culture coverage, taking a particular interest in the human stories of the wild world of online games.

It’s the end of the year for League of Legends, and a few exciting events just wrapped up. There was a nail-biting finale at this year’s Worlds tournament, the new champion K’Sante joined the roster, and the game’s premier fan art fashion event went off without a hitch. The Rift Gala is the League fan community’s version of the Met Gala, where fan artists imagine their favorite champions in gala attire, and this year’s was even bigger than the last.

Much like the Met Gala, each year has a theme. This year, artists were invited to reimagine champions dressed as dreams and nightmares.

Along with the red carpet looks, fans shared “behind the scenes” photos, fan fiction, and even custom League of Legends skins based off Rift Gala glamor. What if Jinx and Vi from Arcane found themselves making awkward small talk at a table? Are the K/DA girls friends off stage? League champions usually find themselves dealing with death and danger, and so it’s fun for fans to imagine a much more peaceful — although hardly mundane — setting for their favorite characters.

With such an enormous roster of champions, League of Legends fans can sometimes feel like their main is left out of the spotlight. There are 160 other champions for Riot to manage, after all, and marketable heroes like Jinx see a lot more attention than characters like Zilean or Amumu. But the Rift Gala celebrates all of these characters, even bringing along sidekicks like Malphite’s little buddy Chip.

Riot Games has expanded on League through multiverse skins like Star Guardian, a loving tribute to magical girl anime. As the League IP expands, it feels appropriate to have a deeply indulgent gala. But the Rift Gala is also organized, run, and executed by fans. It’s a reminder that the fandom is the beating heart of the game, and while some players prefer to focus on getting sweet pentakills or practicing their lane matchups, others prefer to explore unexpected facets like seeing their main don haute couture.

It’s no surprise that the Rift Gala had a much larger and more successful second year, and I can’t wait to see the event continue to evolve.

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