Hundreds upon hundreds of cards are currently available for unlocking in Legends of Runeterra, Riot Games’ newest card game, which has just gone global on the Play Store. This title is aiming to reinvent the wheel by offering the standard TCG gameplay we’ve grown to know and love with heavy-hitters in the industry like Hearthstone and Shadowverse, while also adding its unique touch. The spell mana system, for example, is one of the new mechanics that Runeterra offers, and which adds another new layer of strategy to the game. You can read all about the basic premise and mechanics in this game in our introduction article.
All of the cards in this game are divided into several distinct categories, called Regions. Each Region has its own strengths and weaknesses. For example, Demacia excels at summoning many weaker units and buffing them with support cards, while Noxus thrives on overwhelming enemies with their might from early on. Moreover, every Region has its own set of heroes to offer.
Champions in Legends of Runeterra are units that can level up on the field and usually have a higher attack and defense values than other characters. Not only that, but they also have special skills that, in the right hands, can turn the tide of any match. Luckily, the roster of heroes isn’t nearly as varied as with other regular cards, which makes choosing the best ones easier.
Nevertheless, in this guide, we’re going to list some of the best champions in Legends of Runeterra, as well as our personal impressions of each, divided by region.
As we mentioned above, Demacia is all about military might, deploying many weaker soldiers and buffing them with support cards. This concept is represented in all its glory in Garen, Demacia’s flagship champion, and one of the strongest heroes in the game. Sporting a balanced stats of 5/5, he’s a unit that brings solid offense and defense, especially considering that his conditions for leveling up are easily achievable. This unit is upgraded simply by attacking the enemy twice, which is something you’ll do, anyway. And his “regeneration” trait heals this unit to full health at the beginning of every turn, making him a reliable champion at all times.
And we can’t leave Fiora out when speaking about Demacia champions. While not particularly strong, she only costs 3 mana to summon and can evolve after she defeats 2 enemies. Once she defeats 4 opponents, however, you will automatically win the match. Through the smart use of attacks, blocks, and barriers, you can achieve many interesting victories with this type of deck.
Noxus is a Region that thrives on fast wins via powerful units with low mana costs, which is best represented by Draven and Katarina, two champions that are easy to summon and even easier to upgrade. These two cards will be your go-to option for ending matches early as few opponents will be prepared to deal with the damage that they can put out.
When talking about sheer damage, however, we can’t forget Darius who, at a very reasonable 6 mana cost, offers lots of destructive potential. Plus, his upgrade condition is when the enemy nexus has 10 or less HP, which makes him great for sealing the deal, so to speak.
This region thrives on elusive units that are tough to defend against. While they’re not particularly strong in their offense, they have many skills for disabling their enemies or otherwise avoiding damage. Karma is a strong champion in this Region, though she relies on having your mana maxed in order to get the most out of her. She pairs well with decks that rely on powerful spell cards as her passive can duplicate their effects, allowing you to cast them twice in a single turn, at no extra cost.
This is an interesting Region as they favor strong units with moderate to high mana cost, but that offer tons of utility once summoned into the field. Their heroes are no exception as, with the exception of Braum, they cost a minimum of 4 mana to summon and are quite varied in their functions. The most expensive champion, however, is Tryndamere which, at a whopping 8 mana cost, is quite difficult to summon, and with good reason.
In the right hands, Tryndamere can singlehandedly destroy the entire enemy team thanks to his massive damage output and “overwhelm” trait, which allows any excess damage dealt to the enemy to directly affect their Nexus. This champion is notorious for ending matches shortly after summoned.
5. Piltover & Zaun
This Region is great for cycling through the cards in your deck as they have many spells and units that allow you to draw many cards, either random or specific. They are well-rounded and can easily mesh with any other Region. One of P&Z’s strongest champions, Ezreal, doesn’t really subscribe to this playstyle, instead favoring directly attacking the enemy’s Nexus and supplementing his meager damage with his Mystic Shot cards.
As an elusive card, blocking Ezreal is somewhat difficult to go up against. Furthermore, every time he deals direct damage to the Nexus, he summons a Mystic Shot card, which costs 2 mana to use, and deals 2 points of damage to anything. Ezreal can easily snowball out of control if not handled promptly, which makes him one of the meta champions in Legends of Runeterra.
6. Shadow Isles
This is a difficult Region to use since it relies on sacrificing and letting your units die in order to fortify other cards. Their champions are also difficult to play against due to their special traits, most of which revolving around the “fearsome” status, which allows only enemies with 3 or more damage to block against them. The exception to this is Hecarim, who has the “overwhelm” modifier, similar to Freljord’s Tryndamere.
Both Hecarim and Elise are great for rushing the enemy since they can summon hordes of allies when certain conditions are met. In the case of the former, however, his minions are Ephemeral, which means that they’re removed from the field at the end of the turn or after they attack. Once upgraded, Hecarim increases the stats of all allied Ephemeral units by +3/+0, which allows him to essentially trample any but the strongest opponents with their sheer numbers.
The most recent Region added to Legends of Runeterra, with mechanics that rely heavily on the Vulnerability debuff and from being able to predict your enemy’s movements and set traps. Their champions are excellent alternatives to pressure the enemy, with effects that allow them to deal unavoidable damage to the enemy’s Nexus directly in each turn. Gangplank and Miss Fortune are champions that excel in this regard. The others, however, are quite varied and are useful for creating decks with interesting play styles using this Region alone.
Every Region in Legends of Runeterra has its own strengths and weaknesses, which are represented to some extent in their champion cards. Through effective use of what each of these units can do, you’ll be one step closer to winning every match.