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Legends of Runeterra















Legends of Runeterra is a collectible digital card game developed and published by Riot Games. Players build decks out of cards representing characters and abilities from the League of Legends world and play head to head matches to see which player can build, and run, the best deck.

I’ve had my fair share of experience with collectible card games (CCGs). Beyond repeated forays into Hearthstone, I spent years playing the tabletop granddaddy of them all, Magic the Gathering. And that got serious enough that I spent a year and a half as a level one judge. I mention these things just so you can know where I’m coming from when talking about CCGs. Even with all this being said, my opinions are still simply my own and in this case, my opinion is fairly straight forward: I love Legends of Runeterra.

For those folks who have played other digital card games the basic setup looks familiar at first glance. Players have their hand of cards and an energy reserve that increases by one at the start of each round. This energy is spent playing cards and spells. Players get to attack their opponent on alternating rounds and finally, before the next round, players draw a card and their energy reserve is refilled. It’s all familiar to those who have been playing in the genre. But Legends of Runeterra puts some interesting twists on this standard framework.

Perhaps the biggest of these is the fact that players don’t get their own dedicated rounds. Instead of the standard form of I take my whole round and then you take your whole round, players alternate taking actions. The only thing that is exclusive to one player each round is initiating an attack and even that is handled differently than most games.

Most CCGs divide a round into separate phases. You will generally have a build phase where creatures are played and then an attack phase where combat happens. Legends of Runeterra opts instead to treat attacking like any other action. So if you start your round to attack with a character in play and your opponent doesn’t, you can opt to attack first thing. Of course, this means any characters you play later in the round will not have an opportunity to attack themselves. This amount of fluidity in the timing of combat makes players think ahead when dealing with their own attacks. After all, if you attack heavy on your turn, and all your characters die, your opponent might sneak one in on you before you can play a blocker next turn.

This clear goal to give players more things to think about also comes through in the way spells are played as well as paid for. Legends of Runeterra spell casting system lends heavily from Magic the Gathering’s, with the fact that spells that can be cast at different “speeds” can be interacted with differently.

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