Hey everyone, this took longer than anticipated, but I also have a lot to say. The post where I "just" announce the winner escalated into a complete recap of the year, covering
* the tournament,
* new stories and the update progress of the champion roster,
* big revelations of the year,
* how the Universe expanded into different mediums,
* and what we potentially can look forward to in 2020 and beyond.
Let's start with the reason why you are here: my annual (?) tournament to determine and celebrate the best stories of the year just ended, and I am proud to announce that the winner is:
#_[The Echoes Left Behind](https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/story/the-echoes-left-behind/) by Anthony Reynolds Lenné_
It is everything you could ask of a league short story, it told us so much about the history of the Isles, Kalista, Ledros, Hecarim, Thresh. In the end, it broke my heart. I think it has rightfully earned the title "Best story of 2019", awarded by the Boards community.
[The Vote](https://boards.na.leagueoflegends.com/en/c/story-art/GZwPTeRs-2019-lore-tournament-final-the-echoes-left-behind-vs-silence-for-the-damned) went neck to neck for quite some time, but then Echoes pulled away. I declared it over when it was 59 to 49, at the time of writing it is currently sitting at 62 to 54 or close to that.
The tournament itself went surprisingly well. Last year I kinda stumbled into that with Bioluminescence declaring it as over on [day 12](https://boards.na.leagueoflegends.com/en/c/story-art/yHVyyrjz-2018-lore-party-thread-free-for-all-time). I just posted them and kept going.
This time, I had enough time to prepare a plan for myself. I arranged for similar stories to meet each other early, and a lot of them were really evenly matched. Also, some posts got hit by vote manipulation, but it only meant 60 downvotes. I can assure you that they did not vote in the contest, as I saw the same number of votes in these posts.
I see no reason why we shouldn't do these tournaments for many years to come, except maybe it could become too much to handle. It was already a lot of material this time, when I already excluded stuff that is not on Universe (like Realms of Runeterra) and the comics; it still _barely_ fit in the 31 days of December. I planned with two empty slots in mind, and Aphelios' color story "You are the Weapon" as well as the tale "Child of Zaun" filled them. A single release more and I wouldn't have been able to fit it in.
In terms of "new" lore this year, there were 14 new color stories. Ashe, Annie, Katarina, Master Yi, Kayle, Morgana, Darius, Zyra, LeBlanc, Mordekaiser, Malphite, Pantheon, Kha'Zix and Karma all received new ones, while there were 5 champion releases with Sylas, Yuumi, Qiyana, Senna and Aphelios.
Accordingly, that makes a total of 19 color stories in 2019 (+ a small edit to [Cassiopeia's](https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/story/cassiopeia-color-story/).). There are 33 champions without a color story.
Almost the same number of champions got a long biography: Kayle, Morgana, Xin Zhao, Lulu, Tristana, Cassiopeia, Mordekaiser, Sion, Malphite, Skarner, Zilean and Pantheon (14 full biographies total, not counting new champions). Furthermore, a ton of updates and edits: 27 existing biographies have been brought up to new standards or amended as it was the case with Sylas (who actually was a new champion - isn't it crazy to think that his biography from the start of the year changed in this year?). 27 champions still have a short biography.
12 other main universe short stories were published, and 3 AU stories.
To be honest, I expected we'd be better off this year. The current numbers don't seem to bad, but there are still some champions that do not exist in Runeterra. If they continue with the current pace, every champion would have a biography and a color story by the end of 2021 or the beginning of 2022.
Yup, two years.
To put things into perspective, **12.9%** of the current cast (147 champions, not including Sett) have NO COLOR STORY and NO BIOGRAPHY.
(**72%** have both, **10%** need just the story and **5%** have a color story while waiting for a biography.)
In other words, almost **30%** of the cast (42 Champions) need work. Probably more if small editorial stuff counts.
I hope I'm proven wrong, but with the current pace, as I said, it'd take two years for everyone to get their basic share of lore, and by that point some champions are bound to have progressed further than others (Compare Lux and Sylas to Mundo. He's technically up to date, but hasn't done anything noteworthy).
All of that is very nice and all, but I hear you asking "What _did_ actually happen?". So, let's look at the positive things and examine what happened in the lore we got:
* Ashe chased a dream of her mother, becoming a [Warmother](https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/comic/ashewarmother/issue-1) of the Avarosans.
* [Tales were told](https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/story/canticleofthewingedsisters/) of two sisters, one of [light](https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/story/kayle-color-story/) and one of [darkness](https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/story/morgana-color-story/).
* [Sylas broke out his prison](https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/comic/lux/issue-1), causing [trouble in Demacia](https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/story/turmoil/), before fleeing to [the Freljord](https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/story/shackles-of-belief/).
* Xin Zhao [reflected on how he came into the service](https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/story/whatoncesailedfree/) of the late King Jarvan III and [if he could have done anything to save him](https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/story/xinzhao-aftermath-story/).
* Udyr traveled back to the Freljord and witnessed the arrival of [the thousand-pierced bear](https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/story/silence-for-the-damned/).
* The restless Ledros [fights for the attention](https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/story/the-echoes-left-behind/) of Kalista, the Spear of Vengeance. He is denied again and again, until he finally manages to break through to her.
* Two Yordles [took the long route back](https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/story/the-whispering-doodad/) to Bandle.
* There's a [cat with a book](https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/champion/yuumi/). [They teleport](https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/story/yuumi-color-story/).
* LeBlanc [turns around General Granth](https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/story/leblanc-color-story/), who later [dies a tragic death](https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/story/swain-color-story/). She also shows the armor of an ancient warlord, [who might be closer than she thinks](https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/story/mordekaiser-color-story/).
* Speaking Rock [told miners of a cave network used by the voidborn](https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/story/malphite-color-story/).
* By accident or [on purpose](https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/story/qiyana-color-story/), a new [civilisation](https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/region/ixtal/) was discovered.
* Aatrox killed the [Aspect of War](https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/champion/pantheon/), but the fire is reignited in Atreus, who is now [fighting some ascended mage](https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/story/pantheon-color-story/) in Nerimazeth.
* Lucian [set out](https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/story/homebound/) on a [journey](https://youtu.be/BWjbBlvf9cw) to [free](https://youtu.be/ZjvDFvzfxsQ) the [soul of his wife](https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/champion/senna/).
* [Zed](https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/comic/zed/issue-1/0/) begins to hunt down Jhin in Ionia.
* Solari found out [Lunari are alive](https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/champion/senna/) and the [cosmic cycle is shifting](https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/story/aphelios-color-story/).
* Vi goes back to Zaun to investigate rumors. In the depths, she finds Urgot and [manages to imprison him](https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/story/child-of-zaun/) with Caitlyn.
_(Disclaimer: This is by no means supposed to be a complete list, just a few notable things that happened in stories released in this year. The actual timeline may be different.)_
#####**_~~ New Stuff~~_**
As it was promised, we saw the universe expand into many different directions. Physical books, cinematics, stories, new games, more comics.
The first betas for Legends of Runeterra introduced us to many different literal Legends of Runeterra, be it champions or known NPCs such as Tianna, Ledros, Cithria, the T-Hex or others. Then they showed an untitled ~~goose~~ fighting game and an Iso-RPG, but they're in the far future.
Just recently [Riot Forge](https://riotforgegames.com/en_US/) was established to publish single-player games in Runeterra - something Riot has been hesitant to do. (They are multiplayer-focused, and it's hard to put lore into competitive multiplayer games unless it's a MMO). There are two games currently in development (that we know of), a [turn-based RPG](https://ruinedking.com/en_US/) in Bilgewater and it's surroundings and a [platformer](https://convrgencegame.com/en_US/) in Zaun.
With Realms of Runeterra, Riot also published their first book (no, I'm not counting the art collection). As introduction for players who want to learn more about the lore or as collectible for the absolute nerds like us, I think they managed to strike a good balance between new, never-before-seen stuff and the basics from universe. Favourite story is **The Weight of Expectations**, followed by **A Good Day** and **Water & Shade to you**. Let's hope it doesn't remain the only book.
#####**_~~ Looking forward~~_**
What are _you_ looking forward to in 2020? My personal favourites are the other games from Riot Games & Riot Forge. League has gotten stale for me (for various reasons), but I don't want to abandon the community or the universe. With Legends of Runterra in the (hopefully near) future and the single-player games on the horizon, I can still enjoy Runeterra in different games even if I stop playing League of Legends altogether.
Then, of course, there is a novella coming out - if that wasn't canceled. I can't even tell, there was no news regarding it in the last year. I'm disappointed in the lack of communication regarding that, but maybe they'll tell us more in the future; there should be an official narrative recap coming out similar to the [last one](https://nexus.leagueoflegends.com/en-us/2018/12/narrative-recap-2018-and-beyond/), I _really_ hope there is more information on the novella.
More comics - always a good thing. As far as I know, there is nothing announced regarding the Marvel deal after Zed, but I assume they're going to continue. Maybe we get to see the Shuriman continent soon?
And, most importantly, I assume there will be a season start cinematic in this month. Let's hope it's even more hype than Awaken!
And that's it. Thanks for sticking around to the end. Hope you have a better 2020 than 2019. Yes, even better!