Legends of Runeterra takes a lot of inspiration from other collectable card games, putting a League of Legends spin on the game’s theme. But the biggest departure for many will be how turns are structured. We will teach you how to play Legends of Runeterra, as well as explain the keywords and terminology that the game throws at you.
How to play Legends of Runeterra guide
Our How to play Legends of Runeterra guide will walk you through how turns work, the different types of cards that you can play, and what each of the keywords mean.
How to play Legends of Runeterra guide contents
- Legends of Runeterra rounds
- Champions and followers
- Level up
- Legends of Runeterra keywords
- Legends of Runeterra spells
Legends of Runeterra rounds
The aim of every game of Legends of Runeterra is to destroy the opponent’s Nexus. This is represented by a life total starting at 20, shown on the left side of the screen. You begin with four cards and can mulligan any or all of them to replace them with other cards. If you act first in the game, the enemy will get to attack that round.
The Legends of Runeterra round turn order goes like this:
- Each player draws a card, the attacking/defending players switch, so if you attacked last round, you’ll be defending this round. Defenders get the first action in any round. Unspent mana from the previous round is converted into spell mana.
- Players play cards, passing priority between the two players after each non-Burst card played.
- The attacking player has the additional option to drag units onto the battlefield. The defending player then assigns blockers. Both players have an opportunity to cast Fast or Burst spells. Once both players pass priority here, the damage is dealt.
- Once both players have passed priority one after the other, no matter if combat has been initiated or not, then the round ends.
Legends of Runeterra mana
You begin each game with 1 mana, the costs of followers and spells use this resource. The amount of mana that you have each turn is shown on the dial to the right of the screen. After each round, you gain 1 mana to use for your spells, while the priority of who gets to attack will swap. If you attacked this round, you’ll be defending the next round. If you had mana spare at the end of the previous round, you can reserve up to three of it as spell mana to use in subsequent turns.
After you attack in a round, you’ll have a chance to play more spells. When both players pass, a new round will begin.
Legends of Runeterra champions and followers
There are two different types of units that you can summon: Champions and followers. They are summoned onto the bench, which each have an individual attack and defence statistic. These units can be sent to attack the enemy Nexus or to defend your own against enemy attacks. The difference between the two is that champions have a level up condition, while followers can’t level up.
Some champions and followers have creature types, located at the top of their card. This can be anything from “Elite” to “Poro” and so on. These are usually there to indicate that there may be some cards that affect that type. In the image above, we’ve circled a “Yeti” and there are cards that affect Yetis in the game.
Champions in Legends of Runeterra level up
Champions tend to have an ability unique to them. They usually have a condition to level up, which is determined by the condition as explained on the card. This can even happen before you play them from your hand. For Elise, this happens at the start of the round if there are three or more spiders on your side. For Garen, it’s simply done by attacking the enemy a number of times. They can also have unique abilities, such as Elise being able to summon an attacking Spiderling when she attacks.
Legends of Runeterra Keywords
Units can have multiple keywords on them. Right click the card to maximise the size, then click on the keyword to see what it does. Below is a summary of all the known Legends of Runeterra keywords:
- Regeneration: Heals fully at the start of a round.
- Quick Attack: Strikes before the enemy can block when attacking. Does nothing for blocking.
- Double Attack: Strikes twice when attacking. Does nothing for blocking.
- Last Breath: When this unit dies, an effect happens.
- Challenger: Choose which unit will block this unit.
- Strike: Gain an effect upon hitting an enemy.
- Nexus Strike: Gain an effect upon hitting the enemy Nexus.
- Ephemeral: This unit dies when it strikes or when the round ends.
- Elusive: Can only be blocked by an elusive unit.
- Tough: Take 1 less damage from all sources.
- Fearsome: Can only be blocked by enemies with 3 or more attack.
- Frostbite: Set a unit’s power to zero this round. It can be changed after.
- Overwhelm: Excess damage dealt to blockers is dealt to the enemy Nexus.
- Support: Gives an effect to the unit on the right during combat.
- Lifesteal: Damage this unit deals heals its Nexus by that amount. (Can’t go above 20)
- Barrier: Protects a unit from the next damage it would take this round.
- Enlightened: You get a bonus when you reach 10 mana.
- Can’t Block: Can’t block enemy attacks.
Legends of Runeterra Effects
There are some other Legends of Runeterra effects that you should be aware of, particularly when playing cards. There are some that happen as a card is played and others are effects that are applied to cards.
- Stun: Stunned units can’t block.
- Recall: Send champions back to their owners hand.
- Play: This effect happens when it comes into play.
- Drain: Heal the Nexus for the amount stated.
- Stop: Cancels a spell.
Legends of Runeterra spells
There are also some terms that specifically relate to any of the Legend of Runeterra spells. Remember that these spells can be cast with both standard mana and spell mana reserved from previous turns. With the
- Fast: Cast at any time, even in combat. These are spells that can be reacted to with other Fast Spells or Burst Spells.
- Slow: Can only be cast outside of combat. The enemy can respond.
- Burst: Cast at any time, even in combat. They can’t be responded to and they don’t take an action as they happen instantly.
- Fleeting: This spell is only in hand until the end of the round.
Legends of Runeterra guides links
- Legends of Runeterra guide – Find out how to get into the beta and learn some tips for expert play.
- Legends of Runeterra champions – Find out what each champion does and how to level up.
- Legends of Runeterra regions – Explore the different regions and the tactics they use.
- Legends of Runeterra best decks – The best decklists currently available for Legends of Runeterra.