The Shadow Isles is a mysterious island kingdom located southeast of Bilgewater. It is a haunted land populated by undead beings.
"The Shadow Isles. . . They say they don't exist. Mythical islands haunted by ghosts and spectres. Tales to frighten children. But I know better. I have been there. When I first set foot there I immediately knew something was wrong with that place. My skin crawled and in the pit of my stomach I felt a terrible revulsion. Life didn't belong there. But I also knew... somehow, deep inside I knew that the islands welcomed me. They wanted me.
As I wandered deeper I saw death all around me. Ghostly trees, grass and flowers engulfed me in their horrifying radiance. It was so quiet and so beautiful. I passed my hand through a spectral leaf fluttering in the wind; but there was no wind. That was when I understood that death was another world and I was at its door."Then I heard the song; the spider's song. My companion cried out in terror and fell to his knees. I embraced him. I told him he had nothing to fear. He was going to a better place. I will take them all to a better place."― Elise
Little is known about the mysterious Shadow Isles. An eternally thick, unnatural fog blankets the islands from the view of outsiders. It is thought that the islands are home to countless forms of undead, though no one seems eager to perform the exploration necessary to find out the truth.
Most of the Shadow Isles' history comes from the two mysterious altars of the Twisted Treeline, that says fragments of their history to its capturers and from the League records of the Shadow Isles' champions.
Denizens of The Shadow Isles
Mordekaiser, the Master of Metal seem to hold a high position on the island, but none is quite sure. The dreaded Hecarim marches through Valoran for the Shadow Isles. Thresh, the Chain Warden is yet another creature with ties to the Isles. Legends speak of a prison warden with a fondness for torture, whose preferred tools were chains. It's not surprising that such a monster's spirit would come back, armed with the chains. His sole purpose is finding worthy souls, breaking the minds and bodies of their hosts, and then carrying them back to the Shadow Isles, where an unknown (but most likely terrible) fate awaits them.
Evelynn, the Widowmaker, is also a creature believed to have originated from the Shadow Isles as well. It is clear upon first meeting her, and surviving, that she is not quite human. Some theorize that she was cursed with a mild form of fantastical vampirism as a child. Supporters of this theory contend that her ability to sap the very life essence of her opponents while still being able to tolerate direct sunlight, would account for this belief. Another popular theory is that she abused the use of magic as a child, morphing her into the hungering beast her opponents see on the battlefield.
Immigration to the Islands
Some deviant few willingly make the dreaded islands their home. His perverse obsession with death naturally led Karthus, the Deathsinger to willingly join the unliving. Others, naturally, move for work. There are many shades of death, and each is embrace. To rise from one state to another requires the magical aid of a skilled professional. Yorick, the Gravedigger washed ashore and now acts as a ferryman for the Isles' undead denizens, helping them climb death's many-tiered ladder. Elise, the Spider Queen, traveled there for religious reasons. She worships the Spider God, Vilemaw . Every year she returns to the Isles with a select few disciples. Then she feeds them to their god in exchange for a youth-prolonging gift of venom. She would again return to Valoran preaching her deity and leading a pilgrimage again by the end of the year.
From Grief to Ruin
"Once, he was a noble king, until grief overcame his reason. In the end, it was not his blade that stole our lives."― Kalista
"The powers that govern life and death are not to be trifled with. The Shattered Crown is a king’s reward for defying the shadows’ embrace. I believe we are meant to ponder mortality through poetry and verse, not enslave it to our will."― Ionian storyteller
Before the Shadow Isles became a land of death, the islands teemed with natural life and beauty. This was never truer than in the isles' sacred forest: a paradise of thriving trees and countless species, both animal and spirit alike. When the king of the Shadow Isles ordered his sorcerers to crack open the barrier separating life and death, the forest served as a well of power the magi drank deeply from.
The sorcerers' ritual succeeded in corrupting the cycle of life and unleashing forces they could not hope to contain. Vitality seeped from every living thing in the Shadow Isles: great trees withered into gnarled husks, people warped into twisted shades, and forest spirits became hollow wisps. Maokai, the Twisted Treant , the strongest spirit of the sacred forest, watched in horror as his world crumbled and died around him. He fought to mend the wound in the world, but could not halt the destruction wrought by the human folly. As the ghastly energies sought to overwhelm the great spirit, he made one last desperate attempt to preserve the life of the land. Maokai inhabited the ancient oak at the heart of the forest's spiritual power. There he gathered the essence of the isles into the tree as the corruption of undeath clawed hungrily at anything within reach. Fortified by boundless magic, Maokai could not be consumed entirely, though the spirit was not left unscathed.
Maokai, now saturated with the essences of life and death, became fused with the ancient oak and contorted into an abomination. For ages, pain and grief were the only companions the spirit had. His boughs grew heavy as he wept at the desolation of everything he had known and loved, and his roots tore from the earth as he raged at the reckless sorcerers that had ruined his home. But all was not lost. Maokai had preserved the last vital spark remaining in the Shadow Isles, and with it, the hope of returning life to the land.
Like moths to a flame, the tormented shades of the Shadow Isles were drawn to the living essence within Maokai. The spirit guarded the seed of life from the relentless undead, but Maokai knew he could not fend them off forever. He needed to escape the land of death his home had become, so he cast himself into the sea and trusted in nature to guide him towards a living land. There he hoped to find the means to cast out the forces of undeath and restore life to the Shadow Isles.
Tales of the Black Mist: The Harrowing
The Black Mist rolls over land and sea, seeking the living—leaving them helpless to the half-glimpsed horrors it carries. The poor souls return with the mist to the Shadow Isles. In time, they’ll forget friends and lovers, even themselves, becoming part of the terrible force that grows stronger as time goes on.
A ghastly puppet show recounts a familiar tale in Bilgewater, but tonight the fog’s come down especially thick...― Pass along the warning of the Black Mist
Many are the grim tales told of the Shadow Isles, and the Black Mist that shrouds them... And while all good folk shun this cursed land, sometimes its darkness comes... FOR YOU. The Black Mist ebbs and flows like the tide, yet now and then, on a night much like tonight, it reaches far across the sea... Searching... Seeking... Killing... This time is known as... THE HARROWING. During the Harrowing, the spirits of the Shadow Isles go forth within the Black Mist. Preying on the living, feeding the darkness. There's no coming back once you're claimed by the Harrowing. You're cursed, condemned to haunt the Black Mist forevermore... Well, what were you expecting?! There ain't no happy endings when the Harrowing comes for you. Right on cue... Prepare yourselves, friends. The Harrowing is here.―
First Light after the Harrowing
"Though the Black Mist fades and the souls it claimed will soon forget their past, the threat of the fell tide will not be forgotten. Worse than all previous years, those who lived are left to wonder where it will return, and whether anyone will survive when it does.
I - 1 Year. The Battle of Knife Straits. An armada from Bilgewater, led by Miss Fortune and Captain Gangplank – sailing together under an uneasy truce – meets the Black Mist head on. Heavy casualties sustained. Fleet scattered.
II - 1 Year. The Drowned Anchor. One element of the Harrowing stalled. Reports of a large figure encased in a rusted diving suit seen in the heart of the fighting.
III - 1 Year. The Reaping of Smuggler’s Cove. No survivors.
IV - 3 Years. The Battle of the Serpent. A Blue Flame leviathan is goaded to the surface by a serpent caller to face the Harrowing. The Black Mist is dispersed before it reaches Bilgewater, but the giant from the depths is slain in the process.
V - 9 Years. The Shadow Falls. The Black Mist overcomes the defenses of the Southern Beacon, and it sinks beneath the sea. Its guiding light is now lost to Bilgewater.
VI - 4 Years. The Wild Hunt. Hecarim marshals a spectral host and lays waste to the port of Grey Harbor. Despite valiant resistance from the fishing fleet anchored there, all souls are lost. Grey Harbor remains uninhabited to this day.
VII - 21 Years. The Death of the Conqueror. The mighty galleon Conqueror is lost to the depths, along with 30 battleships. Some have claimed to have seen the Conqueror riding the Black Mist in subsequent Harrowings.
VIII - 32 years. The Battle of Port Mourn. The revenant Mordekaiser leads the Harrowing on a night of slaughter, and Port Mourn falls to darkness. It is said that specters now haunt its empty streets.
IX - 17 years. The Crimson Armada. A Noxian war fleet is caught in the Black Mist. Over 30 vessels lost. No survivors.
X - 37 years. The Maelstrom. The frigate Light-Bringer’s Bane is swallowed by the sea while sailing to outrun the Black Mist.
XI - 49 years. The Shroud. Up until half a century ago, this was the furthest extent of any known Harrowing.
XII - 33 years. The Flower of Ionia. An Ionian fleet of unknown size lost to the Harrowing.
As evinced here, the Harrowing has grown bolder and stronger over the last half century. I fear for the future should this trend continue."
- Although they are not Shadow Isles champions, Wukong, Twisted Fate and Vladimir have a Shadow Isles-themed skin.
- On the Shadow Isles, there is a saying, "Death is but a new beginning."
"As the fog parted and I first beheld the Shadow Isles, I sensed immediately that something was amiss. From the mysteriously placid waters of the bay to the dead calm of the night air, an eerie stillness gripped the place – even the sea and sky. Even as I made ready to go ashore, the crew begged me to return at once to the mainland."
"Despite its size, the immense forest loomed like a sepulcher around us, and the dank air and unnatural stillness bred increasing feelings of paranoia and dread. My companion begged me to turn back, but some primal yearning spurred me onward, deeper into the gloom."
- The quote of the western altar; "For the King!", suggests that there is a leader of the isles. This was also confirmed in Maokai's lore and stated that his desire to break the boundaries between life and death was responsible for the Shadow Isles' current state.
- Altars on Twisted Treeline as the ruler of the Shadow Isles. is named after the mysterious "King" mentioned by the
- The quote of the western altar, "This place was once... so beautiful.", suggests that the Shadow Isles, and all its inhabitants, were transformed by the Rune Wars or by some other catastrophic event. The latter is confirmed by Maokai's lore.
- The altars on the Twisted Treeline suggest :
- The quote of the western altar; "I serve you, because I must, Mordekaiser."; and the eastern altar "I serve you gladly, Mordekaiser.", Mordekaiser holds some rank in the Shadow Isles, further evidenced by his old lore which stated that he was an undead general.
- The quote of the Western altar; "Mordekaiser is not to be trusted Hecarim!", taking in count that Hecarim fights for the Shadow Isles, Mordekaiser actual goals aren't linked to the Isles, but to his personal benefits.
- The quote of the Western altar; "Are you also a prisoner Mordekaiser", likely means that Mordekaiser's affiliation to the Shadow Isles is forced, and he fights this by following his personal objectives, not of the Isles.
- Apart from the altars, the quote (from his old lore) "The common perception is that the encompassing armor protects him, I fear that – for the fragile time being – it actually protects us.", somewhat confirms the Western Altar quote, as his armor might be his prison.
- The quote of the western altar; "Remember who you once were, Hecarim.", suggests that Hecarim was once human, and lived on the pre-cataclysmic Shadow Isles.
- Hecarim marches across Valoran in the name of the Shadow Isles.
- The Twisted Treeline was initially described as the last living forest of Zaun but was retconned to be a location in the Shadows Isles.
- As Indicated by the Black Mist map, the next target of the Mist after Bilgewater is Piltover and Ionia.
- Certain kinds of Poros reside in the Shadow Isles, they were most likely betrayed or dead Poros.
- * The , , , , and are Shadow Isles artifacts.
- Headless Hecarim, Haunted Maokai, and Underworld Twisted Fate champion skins were released to celebrate the remake of the Twisted Treeline map. A poll  was conducted to allow the community to decide if these skins would be limited edition, permanent additions to the store, or legacy skins. At the end of the poll, it was decided that the skins were to be available for a short time as Legacy Skins  .
|Elise, the Spider Queen||Origin of power; priestess to the Spider God, Vilemaw|
|Evelynn, the Widowmaker||Probable place of origin ; deadly assassin|
|Hecarim, the Shadow of War||Probable place of origin; herald for the Shadow Isles|
|Kalista, the Spear of Vengeance||Origin of power; punishes betrayers|
|Karthus, the Deathsinger||Origin of power; willingly gave his life over to undeath|
|Maokai, the Twisted Treant||Place of origin; Seeks out to punish those who destroyed the Shadow Isles and to restore life to the Isles|
|Mordekaiser, the Master of Metal||Place of origin; possibly the first undead|
|Thresh, the Chain Warden||Origin of power; drags back captured souls to the Shadow Isles|
|Yorick, the Gravedigger||Point of reawakening; ferryman for the undead denizens|
Other Related Champions
|Lucian, The Purifier||Seeks to purify the Shadow Isles and its denizens.|
|Nocturne, the Eternal Nightmare||Physically manifested in the Twisted Treeline|
|Warwick, the Blood Hunter||Obtained silver from the Shadow Isles|
|Geography of Runeterra|
|Valoran||Factions & Nations|
|Other Planes of Existance|