League of Legends spin-off CCG Legends of Runeterra is just about ready to play its hand. After kicking off its open beta in January and testing its deck for the last three months, Riot are ready to play for keeps - bringing crate of new cards, a new region and a new competitive season to Runeterra when the MOBA-inspired card game launches proper on April 30th.
Riot flaunted Runterra's release with (what else) an intensely dramatic, stylish little animated short. Calm down lads, it's only cards.
On release, Runeterra's collective deck will be buffed out with a new set of over 120 cards, bringing the total collection up to 400. This includes a new, seventh region - one that Riot are remaining frustratingly tight-lipped on until release. That silence doesn't apply to all new additions, mind, and deets on some of these new cards will begin drip-feeding out of Riot's feeds over the coming weeks.
All cards and cosmetics earned or purchased during the beta period will remain on your account. Additionally, as a kind of launch gift, everyone who logs into Runeterra ahead of Midnight (Pacific Time) on May 7th will also get a Moonstruck Poro skin for their Guardian. Ranked play will roll over, mind, with a new season beginning on release day.
Resident esports expert Jay Castello explained Runeterra best during her early playtests with Riot. A card game interpretation of MOBA giant League of Legends, Runeterra attempts to carry that flow into a deck-shuffler with Champion characters, and a more dynamic "active round system" that allows more immediate back-and-forth than the likes of Hearthstone. It's a markedly different take on card-gaming a MOBA to Artifact's' tactical three-board play. Perhaps more agreeable one, given that game is currently struggling to reinvent itself after a catastrophic flop.
Since entering Open Beta, Runeterra has continued to grow - opening up a ranked ladder, and found even more ways to distribute free cards. For better or worse (read: worse), it also let Matt become a fungus-rich mushroom fiend.
It's worth minding that Riot have a ton of new games on the go right now, including a fighting game and some sort of top-down action-RPG. Contributor Cian Maher has been playing their new first-person-shooter, Valorant - but his impressions tell of a strong game that nevertheless struggles to find an identity between Counter-Strike and Overwatch.
The card game, though? It seems alright.