The core gameplay of every card game is to build a deck, draw your cards randomly from your deck, and take turns playing them. Legends of Runeterra is no different, so here are the LoR Keywords, Mechanics, what makes the game different, and how to play LoR. You build a deck using up to 2 factions with up to 6 champions and any number of various spells and followers for a total of 40 cards. But why would you choose to play this game over any other card game?
How to Play LoR: How Turns Work
LoR has the most complex turns out of any other card game that I have played. Actually, the part that messed up my brain the most was the attacker vs defender mechanic while the turns come into play through actions. The phrase “take turns playing cards” is taken very literally in this game. Players take turns playing cards as actions, while a different round mechanic determines which player has priority (gets to take the first action) and can attack. Of course, both players can play cards or take an action no matter who is attacking. The blocking player can only take an action after the attacking player has taken an action or passed. However, if the attacking player chooses to attack, the blocking player can only block. Confused? Don’t worry Mobalytics made a flowchart on how to play an LoR round:
How to Play LoR Card Types
Just like any other card game, there are various card types in Legends of Runeterra. The first card type I’ll go over are units, which can be further divided into champions and followers. You play units by paying mana. You can only play these cards outside of combat as an action.
Champions are unique cards that can level up under certain conditions. A level up can increase the champion’s stats and grant them new abilities.
Followers are all the other units. They are like a creature or minion from any other card game.
All units have an attack stat and health stat. They can also have various effects, but we’ll get to that part in a bit.
Spells are divided into three types: slow, fast, and burst. They can be played using mana and spell mana. Spell mana is an extra pool of mana that is filled up to 3 with unused mana and spell mana from a previous round.
Slow spells can be played as an action outside of combat, so if you are blocking, you won’t get a chance to play them if your opponent attacks without playing a card first. If you are on the attack, your opponent will get an action if you play one.
Fast spells can be played during and outside of combat. They are an action that the opponent can respond to. If you play one during combat, the opponent can only respond with a fast spell or burst spell.
Burst Spells are instant and cannot be responded to. Furthermore, they do not give your opponent an action. They can be played during and outside of combat.
Here is a list of all the LoR keywords, effects, and some other important vocabulary as they are defined in-game:
Barrier: Negates the next damage the unit would take. Lasts one round.
Can’t Block: The unit cannot block.
Challenger: Can choose which enemy unit blocks.
Double Attack: While attacking, it strikes both before AND at the same time as its blocker.
Elusive: Can only be blocked by an Elusive unit.
Enlightened: You’re Enlightened when you have 10 max mana.
Ephemeral: This unit dies when it strikes or when the round ends.
Fearsome: Can only be blocked by enemies with 3 or more Attack.
Fleeting: Fleeting cards discard from hand when the round ends.
Frostbite: Set a unit’s power to 0 this round. It can be changed after.
Last Breath: These abilities take effect when the unit dies.
Lifesteal: Damage this unit deals heals its Nexus that amount.
Overwhelm: Excess damage I deal to my blocker is dealt to the enemy Nexus.
Play: Play the card from hand.
Quick Attack: While attacking, strike before its blocker.
Recall: Return a unit to hand and remove all effects applied to it.
Regeneration: Heals fully at the start of each round.
Strike: Deal damage to an enemy using the unit’s power. Units with 0 power can’t strike.
Stun: Remove a unit from combat. It can’t attack or block for the rest of the round.
Summon: Unit is put onto the field from anywhere.
Support: Attacking with a support unit will buff the attacking unit to its right.
Tough: Takes 1 less damage from all sources.
A New Take on an Old Format
I hope this helped you understand Legends of Runeterra. It can be a little complicated at times, but that is what makes it unique. There are turns based around priority instead of giving one person all the power, champions, and a variety of mechanics. If you are interested in how to get the game and when it will be available, check out my article on the release date and preview timeline.
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