Legends of Runeterra is a card game set
within the League of Legends universe,
drawing on characters found throughout
that game’s expansive lore. Long-term
fans will already be familiar with the
setting; Runeterra is the continent on
which LoL and the political machinations
that underpin it take place.
While League of Legends’ 140-strong
roster of characters hail from every corner
of its world, Legends of Runeterra’s first
card set will feature only 24 of them—four
from each of six factions—whose
strengths and weaknesses are shaped by
the nations that they call home.
Noxus, a warmongering state that
values strength above all, is represented
by characters such as Darius and Draven,
whose brute force makes them terrifying
to face one-on-one, but which are often
unable to cope with a unified assault.
By contrast, peaceful Ionia opts for
harmony, drawing on the combined
strength of multiple units, while the
inhabitants of the Freljord’s icy wastes use
their own resilience—or strength-sapping
ice magic—to survive.
While the world and characters of
League of Legends underpin the game,
CCG veterans should recognize many of
the ideas which have helped shape it.
The influence of both Magic: The
Gathering and Hearthstone is immediately
apparent, but Riot’s not relying solely on
League of Legends’s personality to set
Legends of Runeterra apart.
THE BEST OFFENCE...
Players take turns to attack and defend
during Legends of Runeterra’s round-
based combat. At the start of a turn,
strategies are set out; offences
strengthened, defenses bolstered, or
mana conserved for later in the round.
Once both sides are ready, combat
begins, with the attacking player setting
out units, while the defender uses their
cards to block. If an attacking unit isn’t
stopped, it’ll deal damage directly to the
defender’s health pool, the Nexus, but if
it’s blocked, both units will be worn down
as they slam together.
During opening rounds, combat is
simple, with low-stakes skirmishes usually
spelling the end for both units involved.
With each subsequent round, however,
players unlock extra mana crystals,
allowing them to play more powerful units
and spells. At that point, combat becomes
a far more back-and-forth affair as you
attempt to counter your opponent’s
moves with spells—buffing and bluffing to
boost your own characters or encourage
your opponent to commit powerful units
to unwinnable matchups.
Those spells—divided into either Slow,
Fast, or Burst categories—are woven into
each round, often turning the tables on an
After combat is resolved, defeated
units are removed from play, and each
side is offered a moment of respite in
which to plan their next move. Remaining
mana can be spent on new units, helping
you prepare for the next round, but it can
also be partially conserved to cast spells
next turn. With ranks reinforced and
strategies drawn up, the board rotates,
swapping defense and attack.
Spending half of each game on the
back foot might sound like a recipe for
lengthy, drawn out battles, but each
player’s Nexus has only 20 health,
meaning an early assault from a
strength-in-numbers faction like Ionia can
see you staring down the barrel of defeat
within just a few turns. While it’s possible
he lack of a second title in Riot Games’
roster has been a community in-joke for
many years. The League of Legends
developer has dined out on the success
of its smash-hit MOBA for a decade, but for its
tenth anniversary, it’s finally adding a new card-
shaped arrow to its quiver.
LoL developer makes a play for
the crowded card game market
THE INFLUENCE OF BOTH MTG
AND HEARTHSTONE IS
NEED TO KNOW
Legends of Runeterra