I’m not a card games player, they just don’t appeal to me, and having played a lot of them none got me enough entertained as to keep me playing, except one: Legends of Runeterra.
What is legends of Runeterra?
Legends of Runeterra is a Collectible Card Game (CCG) based off the League of Legends universe.
The gameplay is really simple, following an attack/defend system the goal is to deplete the enemy health (referred to as nexus health) to 0, starting at 20.
Decks consist of 40 cards, each card belongs to one of the regions, you can only have 3 copies of one card and a deck can only have cards from 2 different regions.
There are 4 type of cards:
- Champions: Designed after League of Legends champions, you can put a maximum of 6 champion cards in a deck. These cards level up after meeting certain conditions, each one gaining +1/+1, new text and all copies of that card will be leveled up as well. While a champion is on board, every copy in the hand of that champion will be transformed instead to the champion spell unique to that champion.
2. Followers: These are normal units.
3. Spells: There are 4 types. Burst spells can be cast at any time and can’t be negated. Focus spells are the same, except that they cannot be cast in response to other spells or in combat. Fast spells can be cast at any time, but can be responded. Slow spells can only be cast if there are no other spells being cast at the time or in combat.
4. Landmarks: These cards use one space on board, can’t block, attack or receive damage. Some of them have countdown effects that resolve once the counter reaches 0. Every round the countdown timer advances 1.
When this game got announced I was pretty addicted to League, naturally, I was excited but at the same time I thought I’d drop it just as fast as the others. Now I have almost 100% of the cards, and I’m waiting excited about the expansions that are yet to come.
But what does this game offer that I liked so much? Several things actually.
Free to Play
The most important element about these games is cards, they are the core of the game, the more cards you have, the more decks to build. So if a game has a good system for unlocking cards then it’s on the right track, and LoR certainly has it, maybe even the best one currently.
There are 3 ways the game gives you cards.
First one is the weekly vault, as its name implies it’s a weekly reward that contains 3 chests that vary in quality depending on how much experience you accumulate over the week.
Surprisingly, the game doesn’t require that you play a lot to get good chests, the better way to farm experience other than spamming games is doing daily quests.
If you do all seven it’s really easy to get (at least) 1 diamond chest. But even if you don’t play, the game will still give you 3 bronze chests.
The second method is through the region reward system, especially useful when trying to farm a specific region. Choose a region, and with the same experience that you gain from matches and quests, the game rewards you with more and more cards from that region.
Finally, we have wildcards and shards. Sometimes the chests give you wildcards that you can use to craft one copy of any card you want for free, there are 4 rarities: Common, Rare, Epic and Champion being Common the most probable to find and Champion the rarest.
As for the shards, every time they give an extra copy of a card then it transforms into shards, shards are a type of currency which you can craft cards, the cost depending on their rarity.
Of course if you are lazy or just want every card from the beginning you can use real money to buy the bundles or individual cards, but it’s far from necessary.
And if that wasn’t enough, some events and special game modes give you free emotes as well as prismatic covers for the cards. By the way, prismatics also have their own currency of shards.
The only thing they don’t give you free are boards and skins for champion cards, but those are purely cosmetic (they look really cool though).
Cards on LoR help to expand the universe that League of Legends started, each card has its own identity along with interactions, attack and death voice lines that can get from a pair of friends meeting at the battlefield to mortal enemies having to work together.
It also helps the mini-stories that are with them when you see the full art.
This last thing is especially true for champions, their mini-story usually complements with their level up animation and level up condition, giving them a more special feeling. Speaking of which, champion level up animations are amazing.
LoR offers more than just PvP matches, it has 4 different game modes:
- Ultra Rapid Draw
If you ever played League, then you certainly know about Ultra Rapid Fire (URF), the game mode where all cooldowns are reduced by 80%. This mode is the version of that, each round both players draw 5 random fleeting cards (Cards get obliterated when round ends) with reduced cost, every few rounds you get a non-ephemeral card that lets you keep one card.
2. Duo Queue
2v2 mode, players have 1v1 duels with a random upgrade at the start of the match for each player. Game ends if both teammates win, if not then a tie-breaker is made.
3. Lab of Legends
A 1 player mode with 4 difficulty levels, where you chose a champion initial premade deck to start, and keep advancing through 9 matches against different enemies, each one with their own unique abilities, every three matches is a boss fight.
After every match the player selects one of three upgrades for the deck, if it was a boss fight then additionally chooses one power that affects the entire match, one power is also gained at the start of the run.
For this one the player has to have an expedition token (they come guaranteed in weekly vaults) or 2000 shards, players construct a deck choosing between a random set of cards, then PvP, the expedition ends after 7 wins or 2 consecutive looses, after every expedition the player wins rewards depending on their performance.
A thing that struck me hard when I learned it was how the competitive scene of Runeterra worked is that anyone can participate.
There are 2 ways to compete: Be at top 700 in ranked for the end of season or be one of the first 324 to finish Last Chance Gauntlet, this is a tournament where players choose 3 decks, before a match starts each player bans one of the other player deck (the same way the real tournament does).
Next, they choose one of the remaining decks, to finish Gauntlet the player has to win 5 matches without losing 2 consecutive times. Another great addition is the capacity to see the current Leaderboard along with their most played deck.
Now, there is only one last thing I want to say, this is probably the perfect moment to start playing, when the game released.
A lot of the stuff I mentioned was not there, like labs and there was a lack of cards and deck variety, but a year and a half after that we have all of this and can expect more, like a 2v2 ranked mode they said are working on, there are still league champions to look forward to and who knows how much more they have planned.
Follow Legends of Runeterra official media.
- Free to play
- Easy to get started
- High level competition
- Hope for the best with packs
- Player base is not fully grown yet