Getting Started with Legends of Runeterra



Fri 25th Oct 2019 - 9:52pm

Legends of Runeterra (LoR) is a free-to-play digital card game developed by Riot Games that exists within the League of Legends universe. Announced during the League of Legends 10-year anniversary celebration amidst a plethora of other exciting titles, LoR has generated a huge buzz online in a very short time; to add to the hype, a limited-time closed beta dropped on the day of its reveal to the public. I was lucky enough to experience the closed beta, so today I'm going to share exactly what you get to look forward to when the game officially drops in early 2020! 

Featuring all-new art, voicelines, characters, and stories, LoR looks to expand on the lore of Runeterra, the fictional world in which League of Legends finds its home. The game starts and you're thrust into a 4-part tutorial that will guide you through the fundamentals of LoR, featuring the basics of attacking, defending, mana, and more. This is an extremely simple introduction to the game. However, there are a greater range of tutorials for you to continue to play through once you progress past these initial stages. The board itself can be seen below: 

LoR's gameplay features a vaguely similar design to other digital card games with enough new and unique aspects to give it a fresh and intriguing feel. We will discuss gameplay in much greater detail in future articles, but for now let's break down what we can see in front of us.

1. The Deck: Each player's deck consists of 40 cards that can be made from 2 of the 6 factions in the game. 3 copies of each card can be used in each deck, which is important for understanding what you can play and what you have to worry about. 

2. The Nexus: Your Nexus starts at 20 health when the game begins. The main aim of the game is to attack your enemy's Nexus until it is destroyed using all the tools at your disposal. 

3. The Rounds: The Rounds in LoR put a new spin on the turn-based system that we know from other popular card games. One round, you'll be on the attack, using your units to deadly effect and engaging in combat with your enemy. The next, you'll be defending against the onslaught of your opponent. The current Round is identifiable by these icons on the board: the sword for attack, the shield for defence. 

4. Your Hand: Your hand consists of Spells, Champions, and Followers (units) that you can play using Mana. Starting with 4 cards, you have the option to "mulligan" your opening hand, replacing them with 4 new cards from your deck. 

5. Mana: LoR uses the progressive mana system that you know from Hearthstone. Cards have their own mana costs that you must pay to play the card, and each turn your maximum mana increases by 1. The difference in LoR is in the "Spell Mana" mechanic. Unspent mana carries over to your next turn, where it is saved as mana specifically for casting spells. 

6. Your Board: This is where you play your units. A maximum of 6 units can be in play under your control at any given time, and only these 6 cards can be used to attack with and block your enemies. 

7. Your Factions: Your factions and the factions used by the enemy can be seen here. This will give you a better idea about the kind of opposing force you can expect, which could change the way you play your cards. 

8. History of Play: This shows what has been played by both players and the moves they've made, which can help you keep track of the flow of play and number of cards that have been played. 

A simple, easy to understand menu will guide you through the game, so let's take a look at the Home screen. Here, you can see a few very straightforward menu prompts, with a few interesting new inclusions.

Down the bottom right of the screen you can see the Quests tab, showing you different in-game challenges that you can complete for additional experience reward. 

Alongside it is the Weekly Vault, a huge reward that you can unlock once per week after accumulating enough experience through your games. 

To the top left of the screen, you can see the Coins and Shards that you have collected in your time playing and are the currencies you can use to create cards. 
- Shards are collected just by playing the game and can be spent on cards or turned into Wildcards (shown in the graphic below) of differing rarities, similar to the Wildcards system in Magic the Gathering: Arena. A certain number of Wildcards will be available each week, limiting the speed of your progression in LoR. 
- Coins are purchasable with your hard-earned money to expedite the process of completing your collection. 

In the Play tab, you can access Player vs. Player, Player vs. AI, and Tutorial game modes, with more variations to come in the future (such as the "Expeditions" game mode that has been teased by the developers and will put a new spin on the Arena ). 

The Collection tab contains a library of cards that you have accumulated over time, as well as unowned cards you don't have that can be crafted and decks that you've made. 

The Store menu is where you will be able to purchase Coins and access other microtransactions that will become available in the future. 

Now, we've left the Rewards tab for last because it's going to be slightly more complicated to discuss. The LoR development team, during the 10th anniversary celebration stream, declared that they were going to change the way that card collection would work in their game and stray away from the traditional "pack-cracking" methods of other digital card games. 

"Region Rewards" are a new, convenient way to expand your collection simply by playing the game at no extra cost to you. Simply choose one of the 6 regions to track at a time and the experience you earn will also go towards progressing your level with each of these regions, giving you Wildcards, Champions and more as you play LoR. Combatting the "pay-to-win" feeling that has come from card games in the past, this is a refreshing progression system that will be exciting for everyone to work their way through. 

There will be more Closed Betas for Legends of Runeterra in the coming months, so you haven't completely missed your opportunity to get an early go with the game but hopefully this overview has given you some insight into Riot's ambitious new title. We're all excited about the future of Legends of Runeterra, so look forward to some future articles about gameplay tips & tricks to keep you ahead of the curve- GLHF! 

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