First Impressions: Legends of Runeterra

Written by Louis

May 2, 2020

The game is fun.

May is here and as promised one of Riot Games’ newest titles based on their League of Legends IP has dropped as Legends of Runeterra enters its global launch for mobile devices. Now readily available on Android and iOS, the game easily surpassed the 1 million mark in terms of downloads and is the current talk of the town particularly among League of Legends fans. But how does the game really work or does it really work?

Base Mechanics

Having given the privilege of trying out Legends of Runeterra, despite not being a huge fan of Card Games (I did try Hearthstone and Shadowevers, and play some casual MTG), LoR is a game that’s easy to understand, and pretty hard to master, much like its counterparts. The game’s mechanics are built loosely similar to Magic the Gathering with each player turn divided into phases, setup, attack or block and spell casting phases, allowing each turn to go as fast or as tedious as it can be.  The number of cards that you can summon or play is limited by a Mana mechanic, although in contrast to the aforementioned card games, some of your extra mana can carry over to your next turn allowing you to play more cards, albeit there is a limit as to how much Mana can carry over of course. If there is one thing to note though is that Legends of Runeterra as a 1:1 mechanic in terms of blocking attacks meaning that your blocker or blocking card can only block 1 attacker or attacking card no matter how big his defense counter is, also even if the attacking unit’s damage is greater than the blocking unit’s defense points, the extra damage will not go directly towards the player Nexus (which serves as the player HP counter). This would allow a tactical approach to even blocking attacks as you have to make sure that you don’t accidentally sacrifice good cards as blockers, or it could also get frustrating especially if the board is just teeming with enemy attacking cards.

Champion Cards and Spells

Of course, being a card game, your deck will not only be compromised of unit, creature, or minion cards, as Spell cards are obviously thrown into the mix each with their various effects that could help turn the game into your favor (duh much?).  On top of that, however, you do get Champion cards which are based on select League of Legends champions, each with their own synergy with the rest of the cards on your deck and also includes a level up mechanic which allows them to gain power and other abilities when certain conditions are met.


Rewards and Monetization

One thing that can throw people off a card game is monetization and some pre-existing card games are already threading the line of being as balanced as possible and being pay to win with previous cards and deck setups easily becoming obsolete as long as a new card pack comes out. Given that Legends of Runeterra is still in its infancy, this premise is still far off and looking at how monetization is being handled, it seems that Riot Games’ is implementing what they’ve been doing with League of Legends and focus on cosmetics in order to earn money from their title. Card packs are still available for purchase although nothing has been declared obnoxiously OP just yet (it’s worth noting that despite just launched, LoR has been in Open Beta for select regions since January of this year). In terms of cards and card packs, Legends of Runeterra does have a rather generous reward system that will hopefully balance out the non-purchasing users with the potential whales. Still, it’s more dress-up than pay up and win so far so it’s all nice and tame.

Come get your fancy cosmetics and make your board as pretty as you like over here.

Legends of Runeterra is now available globally for Android via Google Play and on the iOS via the Apple App Store.

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