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Riot Games, the publisher behind League of Legends (LoL), has revealed Legends of Runeterra (LoR) as part of the 10-year anniversary. This free-to-play strategy card game is set in the world of League of Legends. Your favorite champions and lore comes to life in this beautiful game. We were lucky enough to get a behind the scenes look at LoR at PAX Aus. Here’s all the juicy goss you want to know.

League of Legends champions return for Legends of Runeterra

Legends of Runeterra is based on the champions of LoL. Each champion has their own style and advantages characteristic of their League history. New characters and allies have been added to Runeterra to further build out the world of LoL. Legends of Runeterra is built around players using their champion of choice to build combos and decks to battle others. To begin with, there will be 24 main champions to choose from.

Legends of Runeterra card game League of Legends 10-year anniversary

The game is dynamic and creative. Jeff Jew, the Executive Producer for Legends of Runeterra, commented on the type of gameplay this new title is built upon:

We’re all huge card game fans on the LoR team, so we know the issues with the genre: things like excessive cost, over-the-top randomness, and seeing the same decks over and over. We’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what we’d do differently, and now we have a chance to shake up the genre by keeping what’s great, improving what’s not, and adding some new twists of our own. We’ve been hard at work making the best card game we can imagine—one that we hope players everywhere will love. We’re pretty excited to show players what we’ve got so far, and we can’t wait to hear what they think!

Rethinking free-to-play card games: Get the cards and champions you want faster

Yes, most card games currently on the market are free to play. But as Jew points out, many of them still cost far too much, and the same decks are seen over and over again. Runeterra is changing all that. There are heaps of ways to earn and obtain cards in LoR. Players can directly purchase cards, either with paid currency or through earnings. There’s also a way to get the cards and champions you want right away by choosing story options and playing through your favorite lores.

Through these stories, players will obtain the core cards for that class. The aforementioned 24 champions hail from six major regions of Runeterra: Demacia, Noxus, Ionia, Piltover & Zaun, Freljord, and the Shadow Isles. This will be expanded over time to include more champions.

Legends of Runeterra champions card rules all details
Choose which region to play through and obtain cards specific to that region.

Legends of Runeterra goes beyond turn-by-turn play, and champions level up

Legends of Runeterra isn’t just another card game. Most strategy card games are based on turn-by-turn play. Runeterra changes that. Instead of playing each turn systematically, players will have the chance to respond to their opponents’ cards and moves. There’s a fine balance between setting up a play and combating your opponent. This gameplay could change the outcome of games, and there should be more deck styles in the meta. The team behind LoR is committed to creating this diverse meta and allowing players to experiment with different card types, backed up by lots of updates and card releases.

Unlocking cards through gameplay is something much more fun than simply purchasing cards. You can easily decide where cards come from, i.e., which region you want, and you can swap out cards you don’t want. This makes building your dream deck much easier and far less costly. Included in the game are also wildcards, which can be transformed into any card you like. Top that off with the Vault, which unlocks cards once a week just for you.

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See above how various cards are available in the game including champions, spells, and allies.

Finally, unlike other card games, your cards — namely your champions — become stronger as you play. Your champions level up, just like in LoL. There’s still a lot to be released on this, so keep an eye out!

Esports and gameplay

Legends of Runeterra will feature both ranked and unranked gameplay. Players can challenge their friends. Friend lists and challenge features are still being finalized, but they should be ready for the closed beta.

Esports is something Riot Games works towards, especially with League of Legends. The team at Legends of Runeterra, however, isn’t aggressively pushing to make this happen. Whilst there are competitive aspects of the game, there will no doubt be LoR esports in future.

Graphics, animation, and beauty

Let’s face it — this game is pretty! I mean, just check out these screenshots. It’s characteristic of LoL, but this has its own personality. The addition of poros on either side of the field makes this game really cute. The deck area looks like a zoomed in version of the LoL map area. This graphics style will speak directly to fans.

The animation on cards gives this game something a little extra. It isn’t plain and boring. When effects are activated, fun times happen. Check out this short video on gameplay to see what we’re talking about.

And if that isn’t enough, there’s even special animations for when the champions are played.

Legends of Runeterra release beta

The closed beta for Legends of Runeterra will be available in early 2020. The Announce Preview Patch will be open from Oct. 16 (10 p.m. EST) to Oct. 21 (10 p.m. EST) and will be followed by another preview patch in November. If you link your Twitch or YouTube account to your existing LoL account, you’ll get a chance at access. If you pre-register, you’ll also receive an exclusive Moonstruck Poro Guardian once Legends of Runeterra fully launches in 2020.

You also don’t need a LoL account to play LoRLegends of Runeterra is a standalone game. If you have an existing account, you can pre-register for access and the exclusive poro, but it isn’t required for the game.

Legends of Runeterra will be available on Windows, Mac, and on Apple and Android phones too. If you’re excited about this game, let us know! We’re pumped to play, and we can’t wait to share our experiences with you too.