What is Shimmer in Riot Games’ Arcane?

Get the rundown on the deadly serum spreading through the streets of Zaun.

Screengrab via Riot Games/Netflix

We’re only one act away from the exciting conclusion to Riot Games’ hit animated series, Arcane, and yet people are still reeling after how the second act ended.

In the last two acts, both Piltover and Zaun’s main characters have existed separately from each other. In episode six, however, some main characters from both sides have finally overlapped. It makes sense that things are coming together, though, since we’re approaching the last part of the series.

Throughout the show, one major plot point that has been the driving force for most of the main antagonists and protagonists has been the eerie, glowing purple liquid known as Shimmer. But what is this dangerous liquid, and why is it so important to the overall story of Arcane?

Screengrab via Riot Games/Netflix

In the show, Shimmer is a serum-like substance that can be taken by either rubbing it onto one’s skin or drinking the liquid from a vial or container. After ingestion, the subject will get a temporary boost of superhuman strength and speed, while also gaining a temporary boost in body size. It also affects the user immediately, making it a perfect tool for battle.

Unfortunately, the side effects are equally striking. After exhausting the effects of Shimmer, the user will eventually grow a crippling addiction to the substance if used improperly. They can also get permanent scarring and growths on their body after transforming, and others can also grow weaker in certain circumstances after not taking the serum for a long while.

In the show, Shimmer is made by Silco’s personal scientist and League of Legends champion, Singed. The concoction is seen in the first episode, where it is fed to a test rat through its water supply. A poor cat is put into a tank with the newly-transformed rodent, where it is brutally killed.

Screengrab via Riot Games/Netflix

There is proof, however, that you can take Shimmer in limited amounts without many negative side-effects. For example, Silco’s right-hand woman and muscle Sevika uses the serum to power her mechanical arm. It injects her with enough liquid to give her a quick boost of strength, but not too much where it would overwhelm her emotions or ability to make intelligent decisions.

Shimmer will probably have a greater role in the last act of Arcane, since Silco will be using it to power his growing gang of disgruntled Zaunites. With the power of the serum, he and his group will try to break the delicate balance between the bright world of Piltover and the dark, seedy underbelly of Zaun.


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