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|“||A mechanized heart never misses a beat, and never falters with emotion. So why would anyone trust their life to a fragile muscle of flesh and blood?||„|
|“||Ah, Piltover. As a boy, I looked up to you, the shining 'City of Progress'. But as a man, I see its corrupt foundations, built atop the suffering of our home, Zaun. Today, we herald a new era of Zaunite innovation--and you will be the first to witness our rise!||„|
|~ Viktor in Legends of Runeterra.|
|“||We lost ourselves. In the pursuit of great, we failed to do good.||„|
|~ Viktor to Jayce before his transformation|
Viktor, also known as The Machine Herald, is a villainous playable character in the multiplayer online battle arena game League of Legends, and a major character in its 2021 Netflix animated spin-off prequel series Arcane. He is the best friend turned archenemy of Jayce and the creator of Blitzcrank.
An eccentric inventor in the fringes of Zaun, Viktor is an idealist who has dedicated his life to understanding new and exciting technology. Believing that cybernetics are the key to unlocking humanity's potential, Viktor has become a fanatic for his cause and will stop at nothing to create a bright, mechanical future.
The ninetieth champion added to the game, Viktor was released on December 29, 2011, and is most commonly played in the mid-lane.
He is voiced by Owen Thomas in the mainstream series. In Arcane, he is voiced by Harry Lloyd, best known for the role of Viserys Targaryen from Game of Thrones.
Viktor was born in the Entresol level of Zaun, the polluted undercities of Piltover. An inventive child, Viktor was incredibly dedicated to building things and studying for days on end. Viktor's artisan parents were supportive of his work, however because of the pollution and chemtech accidents near their home, the family had to move around frequently, annoying Viktor, who was already vexed whenever his work had to be interrupted by eat and sleep. As a result, Viktor began to study the local accidents and came to realize that they were not because of faulty equipment or mechanical failures but instead because of one thing: human error.
Upon visiting the local businesses, Viktor presented his collected data and offered inventions that could create safer working environments. Most establishments turned the young inventor down, but after the Fredersen Chem-forge accepted his work with highly successful results, Viktor's inventions became some of the most sought after in all of Zaun. By the time he was nineteen, Viktor's genius had become so renowned that he was offered not only a scholarship at Zaun's College of Techmaturgy, but also a place at the Piltover's academy. At the request of Professor Stanwick, Viktor chose to leave Zaun to attend Piltover's academy, where he could refine his inventions with the wealthier city's resources and spread them to help more people.
Student in Piltover
At the City of Progress, Viktor was often ostracized by his colleagues, as his methods were wildly methodical and unconventional, too much so for the other students to understand. The closest person Viktor ever had to a friend was Jayce, who he met at the mandatory Progress Day party. Jayce was a particularly rude Piltovan whom many at the academy avoided for his insufferable attitude, but Viktor knew genius when he saw it, and Jayce's genius was unmistakable. While their methods were vastly different, Viktor knew that Jayce was the only one of his colleagues who could rival his intellect, but the two butted heads frequently during the many projects they worked on together due to their differing viewpoints.
One day, back in his home of Zaun, a massive chem-spill devastated the undercity, forcing an immediate rescue effort. Hoping to use his skills to aid the effort, Viktor returned home, constructing a massive hextech golem named Blitzcrank to help save the lives of Zaunites trapped by the the toxic disaster. To ensure that as many lives were saved as possible, Viktor stayed behind in Zaun even after his golem had disappeared, hoping to aid the victims by use of cybernetics. However, when Viktor returned home, he was shocked to see that Professor Stanwick had stolen his designs for Blitzcrank in his absence. When Viktor filed a formal complaint on the matter, the academy ignored his pleas, and even Jayce refused to speak up on his behalf, widening the rift between the two of them.
Defeated, but still determined, Viktor returned to his studies, believing there to be more important matters than obsessing over one stolen design. At the center of his research, Viktor sought to eliminate all sources of human error, which he believed to be the root cause of failure in society. Many of Viktor's colleagues disagreed with him vehemently, stating that humanity was an important source of creativity. But Viktor, in his logical approach, held fast in his beliefs despite his colleagues' protests.
One day, Viktor and Jayce were once again tasked to work together on a project, where they would enhance diving suits to help clear the docks of pollution. During many dives, wearers often complained about hallucinations in the depths, which often led to the deaths of themselves or their fellow divers. As a solution, Viktor invented a helmet that could bypass the wearer's fear response in such an event, essentially controlling the diver's actions remotely. Jayce was horrified by Viktor's disregard for free will, which not only culminated in a falling-out between the two inventors, but also Viktor's expulsion of Piltover's academy and the scientific community as whole.
The Machine Herald
Disgusted by the elite, narrow-minded ideals of his Piltovan colleagues, Viktor once again took up residence in his old laboratory in Zaun. Normally, Viktor wouldn't be bothered by such a setback, but the reaction to his life's work had left Viktor feeling so defeated that he sank into a deep depression. Viktor was left conflicted; on one hand, his new inventions could be considered unethical, but from a purely logical standpoint, the enhancement of human anatomy could save many lives.
After many weeks of thinking, Viktor finally realized that his own human weaknesses and emotions were holding him back from his research, and after a quick and painful self-surgery, Viktor had these parts of his brain removed and replaced with mechanical circuitry. When the procedure was finished, Viktor was a changed man, with no pain or petty emotions to hold him back.
After his surgery, Viktor became obsessed with the "glorious evolution" of humanity, replacing the majority of his body with mechanical augmentations. Viktor saw hextech cybernetics as the key to unlocking humanity's potential, and hoped that by pioneering this cause, more would soon join him in the renouncement of flesh for a new, upgraded future. And to an extent, Viktor's plans worked. Whenever someone was injured, or mutilated, or mortally wounded, the most desperate of Zaunites could visit Viktor to have themselves repaired, or better, upgraded.
Some even came to worship Viktor as a messianic figure, though Viktor was not a fan of religious cults and simply dismissed them. But while Viktor's enhancements came to save hundreds of lives, seeking his help was not without consequences, as unexpected results were common when employing the dangerous creativity of the Machine Herald.
Disaster in the Sump
Following a chemtech disaster in the Sump, Viktor was forced to bring unconscious victims into his lab, as a poison in their brains left them in critical condition. Viktor operated on their brains to slow the process, but upon examination, Viktor realized that the equipment in his laboratory was simply not strong enough to reverse the damage. With no other option, Viktor turned to his former colleague Jayce, who had come into possession of a powerful hextech crystal. Viktor requested to borrow the crystal, but when Jayce refused, Viktor stole it instead, unwilling to let his former friend's stubbornness get in the way of his work.
Viktor brought the crystal back to his lab, and its power was enough to begin to reverse the toxins' effect. But before the process could complete, Jayce returned, and, horrified by the gruesome sight of the toxins, victims, and mechanical equipment, began to smash everything in sight. Viktor sent his automatons to kill the intruder, but it was too late, as Jayce shattered the crystal, destroying the laboratory, and victims, and Viktor's automatons.
Jayce was hailed as a hero by the citizens of Piltover, but Viktor knew the truth: Jayce's arrogance had cost these people their lives, and served as only further proof that the weaknesses of humanity must be cured once and for all. After Viktor left the rubble of his old laboratory, he sent chem-augmented thugs to raid Jayce's lab for more shards of the hextech crystal. When they failed, Viktor decided it would be best to forget about Jayce, and instead moved on to other projects that could help bring about his glorious evolution.
Viktor doesn't know when his evolution will unfold, but in the fringes of Zaun, the mechanical inventor is still out there. Somewhere in a small laboratory, Viktor believes the age of flesh is coming to an end, and he is always ready to put in action the necessary steps to making his future a reality.
Role in "Arcane"
In Arcane, Viktor's backstory is somewhat different, and more is revealed about his past.
Years ago, Viktor was born in Zaun, growing up in a poor family and the polluted Undercity. Viktor was born with a limp in his right leg and was forced to walk around with a cane. This made it difficult for him to play with the other children, but despite his solitude and physical weakness, the young boy was brilliant and inventive, with a knack for constructing machines on the days he spent alone.
One day, when playing with a model boat in the river, Viktor stumbled upon an underground cave with a hidden lab. There, he met Singed, a Zaunite alchemist, who took an interest in the young boy's craftsmanship. While initially afraid of the old man, Viktor's curiosity got the better of him when he noticed a strange creature named Rio, which Singed described as a "rare mutation" that he was trying to save from death. Viktor, who quickly befriended the creature, offered to help Singed in his experiments, and the alchemist sent Viktor to collect materials for him. This partnership would not last long, however, as Viktor soon realized that Singed's method of keeping Rio alive had left her in a constant state of agony, torturing her with implants and potions to preserve the mutation's genetic material. The boy was horrified by this revelation and ran out of Singed's lab crying.
Years later, Viktor's studies caught the attention of Professor Heimerdinger, the Dean of the Academy of Piltover. While Viktor had no money or status, Heimerdinger recognized potential in the young scholar and offered him a place in the Academy, where he would be provided many resources and research opportunities. Viktor, hoping his inventions could reach people across the world and save lives, accepted Heimerdinger's offer and left the Undercity for Piltover's Academy.
While Viktor's status as a poor Zaunite made him an outsider among the Piltover elite, Viktor remained ambitious in his goals, and after excelling in his studies he quickly worked his way up to being Heimerdinger's assistant. Despite this, Viktor was unsatisfied by simple accolades, and hoped to discover something truly groundbreaking that would change the world for the better.
One day, Viktor met Jayce Talis, a brilliant, if slightly egotistical student who was experimenting with magic technology, an act forbidden by the Council of Piltover. While this research got Jayce expelled from the Academy, Viktor was inspired by Jayce's conviction in his work, and recovered the notebook containing Jayce's "Hextech" theory, promising that he would help Jayce complete his research in secret. With a united vision of progress, the two became fast friends, and when they finally proved to the Council that Jayce's theory was correct, Hextech research was approved, making Jayce a celebrity across all of Piltover.
Over the next few years, Viktor and Jayce worked to create new Hextech inventions to improve the lives of people across the city. Hexgates were built to improve trade, making many of the Piltovan upper classes rich. However, Viktor believed that Hextech could be used to improve not just the lives of the nobility but the lower classes and the Undercity of Zaun as well. Jayce also shared this view, and the two developed the Hextech gemstone as a safe way to make Hextech inventions available to all people. However, following advice from Heimerdinger, Jayce chose to keep these projects a secret to the public, which led to an argument between him and Viktor. The rift between the two friends widened when Jayce was granted a seat on the Council, and Jayce left Viktor alone with their research as he became more invested in politics.
Things worsened for Viktor when his health began to fail him. His body became frail and haggard as he spent many nights of research without eating or sleeping. After collapsing in his lab, the doctors informed Viktor that he was terminally ill, which was likely a result of the Undercity pollution where he grew up. While Viktor was unsurprised by his prognosis, he regretted that there was so much more he could've done to help humanity if he had more time.
Desperate, Viktor began to look for a cure to his disease, and discovered the Hexcore, an adapting Hextech matrix that reacted to organic matter. Viktor believed his discovery could be the key to some kind of "evolution" that could extend his life, but Heimerdinger, fearful of the Hexcore's power, declared that Viktor's experiments were dangerous and had to be destroyed. Jayce vowed to protect Viktor's experiment, but with his body rapidly failing him, Viktor realized he was running out of time and might have to turn to more drastic measures.
Seeing no other option, Viktor returned to Singed's lab in the underground cave, declaring that now, decades later, he finally understood what the alchemist was trying to tell him. Following Singed's advice, he used a combination of Shimmer, the Hexcore, and Rune magic to fuse his leg to his metal brace, making it stronger and mechanical. However, these experiments came at a cost when Viktor accidently vaporized his assistant, and Viktor blamed himself for ignoring Heimerdinger's warnings. Out of guilt, Viktor attempted to end his own life before being stopped by Jayce, and Viktor made him promise to destroy the Hexcore at any cost.
The season ends with Viktor and Jayce with the Council to propose a peace treaty between Piltover and Zaun. However, Jinx fires a rocket to blow up the entire building, leaving the fates of Viktor, Jayce, and the Councilors unclear.
In game, Viktor is a battlemage-type character, an offensive caster that burns down enemies from within the fray with his spellcasting abilities. Viktor's passive, Glorious Evolution, allows Viktor to augment his abilities as the game progresses and he upgrades himself with the Hexcore. With Siphon Power, Viktor can blast his foes with energy, giving him a shield (plus a speed boost when upgraded). With Gravity Field, Viktor places a device that can slow and stun enemies, and with Death Ray, Viktor's cybernetic arm blasts a laser beam that damages enemies on the ground. Viktor's ultimate, Chaos Storm, creates a mobile device that blasts enemies with lightning in a radius over time.
|“||Do you know what humanity's greatest weakness is? Humans consistently ignore the endless infinity of possibilities in favor of maintaining the status quo. People fear change. They settle with fine when they could have exceptional.||„|
|~ Viktor in "The House on Emberflit Alley".|
Viktor is a staunch perfectionist, valuing efficiency and progress above all else. Thus, while he is an idealist at heart, Viktor does not tolerate failure, and anything he sees as an imperfection in himself or in others is a weakness that must be removed. When Viktor believed that his emotions were holding back his research, he simply removed them by operating on himself, leaving him more robotic. Additionally, when his human form was weak and dying, Viktor replaced his organic parts with augments and never regretted it, believing it only made him stronger.
A transhumanist, Viktor doesn't believe in the weaknesses of flesh and thinks that humanity must evolve through cybernetics to survive. As a result, the majority of people across Piltover and Zaun find Viktor's work to be reprehensible at worst and fringe at best. However, Viktor doesn't care what anyone thinks, remaining too determined and single-minded in his goals to ever seek vengeance or petty personal agendas. Always ambitious, Viktor lives only for progress, knowing that one day his experiments will change the world.
While many are shown to hate Viktor for his villainous appearance, Viktor doesn't hate others and is even shown to sometimes be very helpful, granting enhancements to people who request them and even helping a young boy confront bullies. As a result, while Viktor may be fanatical in his research, his actions are born from the best intentions, and Viktor may not be as bad as he initially seems. Another sign of his actual good-hearted nature is that he never forces modifications on people, and only ever augments those who want it. Thus, while the machine evolution is his end goal for all humanity, this is only the future he hopes for, and it is not one he will force on people.
- Viktor is the archenemy of Jayce, who is regarded as Piltover's Defender of Tomorrow.
- In Arcane, they are revealed to be former friends and the inventors of Hextech.
- Additionally, Viktor is also the creator of Blitzcrank.
- Viktor's abilities are based on designs from the famous inventor Nikola Tesla.
- While Viktor may be based on Tesla, Professor Stanwick (who took credit for some of Viktor's designs) may be based on Thomas Edison.
- Viktor's quote about upgrading is a reference to the Cybermen from Doctor Who.
- Additionally, his quote about the "glorious evolution" is a reference to the Glorious Revolution in England in the late 17th century.
- According to Viktor's short story, his favorite drink is sweetmilk.