Legends of Runeterra is the newest trading card game to hit the market, developed by none other than Riot Games, of League of Legends fame. This awesome title does exactly what we expect it to do, while also adding several new mechanics to the mix. The result is a card game the likes of which we’ve never seen, which is quite refreshing and a nice departure from the gameplay that others like Hearthstone have to offer.
Don’t get us wrong; we’re definitely not saying that the others are bad by any means, but in a genre that’s been dominated by a certain style of game for many years, it’s awesome to see a contender that innovates upon the existing mechanics. In this sense, Legends of Runeterra offers its own variety of available cards, as well as features like champion upgrading and, most importantly, the spell mana system, which makes it feel like its own unique game.
However, it’s this very departure that makes Runeterra so different than the rest. In this sense, what works in other games might not be very effective here, which is why we wrote a guide with five basic tips and tricks to get you started in this awesome card game.
1. Complete Your Weekly Challenges and Participate in Expeditions
The only thing that Legends of Runeterra has in common with Hearthstone is that both games require quite a lot of grinding in order for you to remain competitive. Specifically, while you can definitely make do with the starter cards you receive, you’ll need to upgrade your deck with better cards if you want to make it into the meta. In other words, if you try to go up against a player that has a meta composition, using a starter deck, your odds of winning will be close to zero.
We already wrote an entire article about how to acquire new cards in this game. In a nutshell, you should always aim to complete your challenges for the Weekly Vault, which allows you to open up to three boxes per week, which contain, among other things, cards and shards. Moreover, if you have to shards to spare or an expedition token, and are feeling confident about your skills, you should definitely go on Expeditions as these give you a chance to score up to 4,000 shards per run.
You can then spend your shards on either new wildcards or for going on more expeditions to further increase your gains and purchase more cards once you’re done.
2. Aim to Upgrade Your Champions
While your general strategy will vary depending on your type of deck and playstyle, one constant in Legends of Runeterra is that you should always aim to upgrade your champion cards ASAP. Of course, the way you go about this depends on the champion itself since the conditions are different for each of them.
Regardless, an upgraded champion is not only stronger in stats but has access to different and unique effects. An upgraded Karma, for example, can replicate the spell card you’re using, allowing you to cast twice for the price of one. Meanwhile, an upgraded Elise can add the “fearsome” trait to all her spider minions, which allows her to overwhelm enemies with sheer numbers. And then there’s upgraded Fiora, who automatically wins the match when she manages to defeat four enemy units.
Your champions are powerful units that, in the right hands, can singlehandedly win matches. However, they frequently require upgrading before being able to do so.
3. Use Your Spell Mana Efficiently
This mechanic is exclusive to Legends of Runeterra and acts as a secondary mana pool used for powering spells. Any excess mana you keep by the end of your turn is converted into spell mana, and up to a maximum of three points can be held. This system adds an extra layer of strategy since you can use up all your mana on summoning units and still be able to cast spells using your reserves.
The spell mana system is quite straightforward and easy to use. However, the only reason why we’re mentioning it here is that, if you’re coming from games like Shadowverse or Hearthstone, you’ll probably forget about it a few times, since it doesn’t exist elsewhere.
4. Choose the Right Deck for Your Playstyle
One of the many awesome things about Legends of Runeterra is that, just like other card games, the wide variety of cards that you can unlock allows you to adopt many different playstyles. Do you like overwhelming your enemies with numbers and win matches quickly? There are many options for aggro decks at your disposal. Or maybe you like to set the field a bit before engaging the enemy? There are also many different midrange options.
Whether you like to win early, or you enjoy the slow burn that comes from summoning powerful units, there’s most definitely something for you in Legends of Runeterra. If you want to find a few good decks for the current meta, then feel free to read the article we wrote on the topic.
5. Consider Your Deck’s Speed in Relation to That of Your Enemy’s
While your type of deck will determine your general playstyle, it will also be a crucial factor for the speed of your deck, with “speed” here referring to the estimated turn in which you will want to win the match.
For example, the Elise Aggro deck composition relies heavily on the aforementioned hero and her spider minions since, once she’s upgraded, she can bestow the “fearsome” property to them. This is enough to keep your enemy pressured from very early and, unless he can counter your onslaught of fearsome spiderlings, you’ll win the match by around round 6 or 7, especially if you add Crowd Favorite to the mix, which will most definitely help to seal the deal if you have a full field.
Your deck speed, however, must be contrasted with that of your enemy’s as this will determine who will be the aggressor in the match. If your opponent has a faster deck, he’ll probably pressure you from much earlier, and you’ll have to adapt in order to overcome. In this case, you’ll be forced to play calmer and save up mana to draw the right card to stop his attack and turn the battle in your favor. If you try to play aggressively against a faster deck than yours, you’ll probably get overwhelmed far before you’re able to set the field.