Legends of Runeterra is Riot’s newest game that was recently announced during their 10 Year Anniversary event this past Tuesday. This is will be one of a few games Riot is creating in attempts to break into several new, non-MOBA markets. Based in the same universe as League of Legends, Legends of Runeterra is a strategic card game similar to Magic: The Gathering and Hearthstone. Players create decks with their available cards, and compete against opponents in normal matches or competitive, ranked matches.
Luckily The Game Haus has gotten the opportunity to play Legends of Runeterra during the Play-Preview period. After taking the day to explore everything Legends of Runeterra has to offer, TGH is here to break down the complex game into smaller, bite-sized bits.
The Regions of Legends of Runeterra
To start you’ll be taking a look at one of the core building blocks of the game: Regions.
In terms of gameplay, players draft their decks based on characters from different regions. Players can select up to two different regions to build their deck around, allowing players to have large amounts of flexibility in deck design. For example, if a player were to select champions like Garen and Braum, their deck would be considered a Demacia/Freljord deck.
Each region has several champions to choose from, along with different keywords and strategies to utilize.
Champions: Garen, Fiora, Lux, Lucian, Senna
Playstyle: Barriers and buff strategies.
Demacian champions are ones of honor and glory. Most notably, Garen and Fiora aim to win one-on-one duels and stick around after thanks to healing cards and barrier cards. With the “Tough” keyword, Demacian units become, well, tougher to kill. Between barriers and damage reduction, Demacian brawlers force opponents to find extra ways to deal damage. If a unit does die, Lucian will be there to avenge the fallen.
On the other hand, Lux is more focused towards playing large, impactful spells. Once “Leveled Up”, Lux becomes a tough champion to handle the moment she makes her first “Final Spark”. Demacian spells typically bolster one, dueling unit. But when you truly need to land the final blow, “For Demacia!” is there to pump all of your attackers.
Champions: Darius, Draven, Katarina, Vladimir
Playstyle: Ruthless aggression and self-damaging advantages.
For those familiar with Magic: the Gathering, you will see plenty of similarities between the Noxus champions and red creatures. Many of the Noxus followers have extremely offensively minded stats, but lack the ability to provide defense. Noxus cards want beat down your opponent as soon as possible, and not think too much about turns down the road.
When you do find yourself stuck in the mid-game stalled out by larger blockers, Vladimir is there to help break the stalemate. Noxus has plenty of self-damaging cards that allow for weaker cards to still provide value.
If early game aggression isn’t for you, Katarina and Draven look to finish opponents in one turn. Once “Leveled Up” Katarina can deal devastating damage in a single round by striking, then recalling, and coming back into play to prepare a new attack. Meanwhile Draven stockpiles his “Spinning Axes”, making one big swing enough to close out the game.
Champions: Ashe, Anivia, Braum, Tryndamere
Playstyle: Defensive early and gigantic late game threats.
Living in the harsh winters of the Freljord, its inhabitants need to be tough and durable to survive. Cards from the Freljord region typically have higher toughness and lower power. Early game cards focus around strengthening units in your deck and protecting yourself until you find your larger cards. With Braum’s large health and Ashe’s ability to subdue the largest enemy unit, the pair do quite an amazing job stalling out any opponents’ attack.
If you are able withstand early aggression from other decks, the Freljord rewards you with large units that take over the game. Tryndamere is a threat that alone can dominate the opponent with high stats; but at 8 mana, he can be a little tricky to cast. Other cards like “Warmother’s Call” and “She Who Wanders” are gigantic, game-ending cards that are only available to the Freljord.
Champions: Karma, Shen, Yasuo, Zed
Playstyle: Controlling the board with stuns, recalls, and removal.
Ionian champions are all about moving gracefully in and out of combat. Cards from Ionia focus on controlling your opponents units by stunning or recalling them. When things get too dangerous for your own units, bounce them back to your own hand to keep the card advantage in your favor.
When it’s time to start dealing damage to the enemy Nexus, elusive Ionian units will get the job done. If you need a few more attackers, look no further than ephemeral units. These units appear for just a turn to attack or block, then disappear back to the shadows.
For support, Shen and Karma generate incredible value with potions and barriers. Shen himself can change the shape of battle with his “Stand United” card. As the game gets late, Karma will surely put the game away with her ability to duplicate spells.
Champions: Elise, Hecarim, Kalista, Thresh
Playstyle: Benefiting from dead units.
In the Shadow Isles, nothing is ever truly dead. Cards from the Shadow Isles region revolve around other units dying, or dying themselves. If you enjoyed the “Deathrattle” decks in Hearthstone, then this should be right up your alley.
Elise generates plenty of small “Spiderlings” to use as fodder for stronger cards that require a sacrifice. As units die, the souls of the departed empower Kalista and Thresh to “Level Up”. Then there are cards like “The Undying” who die to only come back again, but much stronger.
Hecarim leads the charge of ephemeral ghosts and ghouls to trample your opponent. His “Spectral Riders” may be fleeting, but they pack a punch once Hecarim has “Leveled Up”.
Champions: Ezreal, Heimerdinger, Jinx, Teemo
Playstyle: Inventions and fleeting cards
Any inventor or mad-genius would have a blast playing with Piltover-Zaun cards.
Piltover-Zaun cards focus on card-draw and creating cards. Heimerdinger and Ezreal create cards themselves, generating value from attacking and casting spells. But those cards are only “Fleeting”, so you better be ready to cast them that turn or they are gone forever.
As is her nature, Jinx is the opposite of more mild mannered P-Z champions. Her strength comes when you are out of cards in hand, and continue to end your turn empty handed. Cast spells that force you to discard cards to help you reach that goal. Although that seems counter-intuitive, there are plenty of supporting cards that have effects when discarded.
Then there’s Teemo.
Keeping tradition, Teemo looks to be as obnoxious as possible with his poisonous mushrooms. By shuffling them in your opponents deck, the “Poison Puffcaps” slowly deal damage to the enemy Nexus, with very little way of getting rid of them.
Which Will You Choose?
With over 20+ champions to choose and plenty more region combinations, there are plenty of new and creative decks to build. The game looks to be in a great position going forward, and certainly has plenty of characters left to bring to Runeterra.
There is still time to receive your early-access for Legends of Runeterra. Make sure to tune into Twitch to any streamer with drops enabled to get a chance to get in the game.
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