Arcane was Riot’s first venture into online streaming, and boy, did they deliver! The show, which documents Jinx’s descent into madness and the harrowing conflict between Piltover and Zaun, was a total hit among LoL players and non-gamers alike. It drew viewership numbers in the millions and has since gone on to win several awards, including The Game Award for Best Adaptation.
It’s no surprise why the show was so successful: the gripping plot left viewers on the edge of their seats, the characters were beautifully brought to life, and the animation was a visual feast for the eyes.
While every Arcane character was unique and captivating in their own right, there was one character who made an impact more than any other: Silco, the ambitious Zaunite who served as a catalyst to the downfall of…well, virtually everything and everyone.
Below, we’ll take a close look at this villainous yet relatably tragic character, discussing who he is, his significance in Arcane, and why he stirred such conflicting reactions in viewers across the world.
WARNING: This article does contain some big spoilers about the show, venture further at your own peril!
Who is Silco in Arcane?
Silco (voiced by the incredible Jason Spisak) is a crime lord, or as he likes to call himself, “businessman,” from Zaun. In the first few episodes, we’re introduced to his callous, calculated side immediately.
It’s clear that Silco is an antagonist who will stop at nothing to attain his goal – in this case, to make the topside (aka. Piltover) fear and respect Zaun, no matter who or what is destroyed in the process.
“Power, real power, doesn’t come to those who were born strongest, or fastest, or smartest. No. It comes to those who will do anything to achieve it.”— Silco, Ep2: Some Mysteries Are Better Left Unsolved
But as the show progresses, it becomes evident that our first impression is… not quite right, and that Silco isn’t the stereotypical villain he’s initially made out to be (more on this shortly).
Throughout the show, we are given snippets of Silco’s backstory. We find out that he and Vander were once close enough to see each other as brothers, and used to protect one another from harm’s way on the streets of Zaun. We also find out that they shared a mission to change Zaun for the better and would fight together as a united, unbreakable front.
Well… that was until Vander attempted to kill Silco, quickly turning their relationship sour.
“What I did to you…I’ve never forgiven myself. You were my brother.”— Vander, Ep3: The Base Violence Necessary for Change
Why Did Vander Try to Kill Silco?
The exact reason why Vander tried to kill Silco hasn’t yet been confirmed, but based on the hints shown thus far, it’s pretty safe to assume that their shared mission to change Zaun was the catalyst behind Vander’s betrayal. Specifically, they had differing opinions on how to better the lives of people in Zaun.
It’s possible that Vander wanted to broker a peace deal between the two nations and bring an end to the violence, but Silco wanted to take more drastic, violent measures, holding the stance that the best way to free Zaun and gain respect was to make Piltover fear them.
It’s also possible that they initially held completely opposite views. From the flashbacks we have seen so far, it’s clear that Vander wasn’t the non-violent pacifist he became after taking in Vi and Powder. In fact, Vander’s betrayal may have actually caused Silco to become the ruthless, radical man seen in later episodes.
“I trusted you. And you betrayed me…Oh, I hated you for what you’d done. But as time passed, so did my hate. And I was left with an understanding. The only way to defeat a superior enemy is to stop at nothing. To become what they fear.”— Silco, Ep3: The Base Violence Necessary for Change
Of course, all of this is speculation until the next season hits. There are plenty more fan theories going around, but I’ll let you explore these in your own time (it’s a huge rabbit hole, trust me!).
Jinx’s Impact: Softening Silco’s Hardened Heart
As I touched on earlier, Silco was first introduced as an archetypical villain, equipped with callous looks (that three-piece suit is not the fashion statement you think it is, Silco!) and a personality to match.
However, after Silco adopts Jinx, he undergoes a transformation. While he still believes in his mission, he takes on a father role and begins to prioritize Jinx over anything else. He begins to see what Vander saw all those years ago: sometimes, protecting the ones you love means sacrificing your cause.
“A thousand times I’ve imagined this moment. All we’ve ever wanted. The boy didn’t even haggle. And what do I lose but problems. Oh, it all makes sense now brother. Is there anything so undoing as a daughter?”— Silco, Ep9: The Monster You Created
Why is Silco a Complicated Character
Silco is by far the most complicated character to ever grace our screens in Arcane. While he acts as the series’s antagonist—and his actions have devastating consequences—it’s hard to see him as an actual villain by the end of the show. Instead, he feels more like a tragic, misguided character who has been driven to such extremes because of the betrayal and suffering he has experienced throughout his time as a Zaunite.
His mellowing as he takes on the father role towards Jinx only serves to have us empathize with him even further. The fact that he went from a man who would exploit anyone for his own personal gain, to a man who would sacrifice his entire life goal to save his daughter, is just downright moving. Even when Jinx loses control and shoots him, his final words are still filled with nothing but love, respect, and appreciation for her.
“I never would have given you to them. Not for anything. Don’t cry. You’re perfect.”— Silco, Ep9: The Monster You Created
Put simply: there’s a lot to love about him and a lot to hate about him. While there are fans who absolutely despise him and others who flat-out admire him, there’s certainly one aspect that everyone can agree on: he’s a relatable, flawed character whose death is one of the saddest moments in the series.
What is Silco’s Role in Arcane?
Silco ultimately functions as the catalyst for the downfall of the main characters and both Piltover and Zaun.
While he tries to nurture Jinx and help her cope with the trauma she experienced as a child, his influence does not heal Jinx in any way and unfortunately leads her to become more chaotic and unstable. His eventual, climatic death also causes Jinx to destroy any remnants of Powder, her connection to Vi, and the chance of peace between Zaun and Piltover.
Will Silco be Added to League of Legends?
Unfortunately, Silco will not be added to League of Legends. Riot released a statement back in 2021 confirming that although he will be a playable champion in TFT, they currently don’t intend to bring Silco to the Rift.
To be fair on Riot, as much as I would love to play as Silco, it really wouldn’t make sense: he doesn’t have any unique abilities and is very much a remnant of the past.
However, it’s definitely possible that we will see a few other characters exclusive from the show on the Rift — I have my hopes on Sevika!
Join the High Ground!
Although we likely won’t see more of Silco in Arcane season 2 (short of flashbacks and maybe hallucinations), we do hope that Riot delves further into his backstory and gives us some answers about what exactly caused Vander to betray Silco.
What are your thoughts on Silco? Can you sympathize with his character or do you hate him with a burning passion? Let us know in the comments below and don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter.