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Runeterra's new Gauntlets might, just might, get me playing again

Go-go gadget Gauntlet

Runeterra's a weird one. The card game itself is solid yet unexciting (at least once you've played it for a dozen hours), but for me (and unusually for me) that's made up for by charming presentation. More thoughts like that can be found in my Legends Of Runeterra review, but my less outdated thoughts are: yeah, I got bored. I just had a quick go with the new Gauntlet mode, though, and I can see how it might bring me back. Every week, you get to enter a special competition where you try to win seven games without losing two in a row, in which case you get knocked out. The twist is that the rules dramatically change every week. Right now it's just a straight up 'see how well you can do with your favourite constructed deck', but future plans sound more interesting.

This is part of Patch 1.4, which also brings big changes to a whole bunch of cards and introduces the new ranked season. But I'm still thinking 'bout Gauntlets.

Gauntlets are only open from Friday through to Monday, "with each weekend featuring a single format from the Gauntlet rotation". The first one kicked off today, and developers Riot Games say they're treating the current, very simple one as a way to "test-drive the underlying tech". They also say we'll get another variant called "Singleton" on July 3rd, where you "build a deck using no more than one copy of each card".

There is potential here. I really like how the format lends stakes to games I wouldn't otherwise be invested in - I used to spend nearly all my time playing Expedition mode, which has the same '2 losses and you're out' deal, but where you always draft from a series of picks. Gauntlet mode seems like a good way of capturing some of the best aspects from that, then heading off to a playground where there's plenty of room to experiment. If I don't play every weekend, I'll probably still check to see if the latest Gauntlet sounds interesting.

Riot also talk about special cosmetic rewards for Gauntlet mode, but w/e. Unless there are fancy emotes. Oh, there might be fancy emotes.

They've also tweaked Ranked mode so it's easier for high-level players to see the impact of their multiplayer matchmaking rating, and made significant changes to many, many cards. They explain that they've specifically gone after cards of Epic rarity, which "are generally intended to be exciting cards with compelling, unique, and powerful effects", but they felt "some of them [were left] feeling overly expensive or unwieldy to use". The Freljord faction in particular have seen buffs.

Videogames seem to keep putting me in this position this week, but there are too many changes for me to talk about. I do notice they've made Anivia even stronger, the monsters.

I'll leave you to pore over the patch notes for yourself.

You can nab Runeterra for free here.

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