Legends of Runeterra is a free-to-play digital collectible card game developed and published by Riot Games. It released on April 29, 2020 for Microsoft Windows, Android, and iOS.3 The game was released in open beta for Microsoft Windows on January 24, 2020. It uses a setting and characters which originated with League of Legends, a multiplayer online battle arena game by Riot Games.
Legends of Runeterra is played 1v1. Each player begins the match with a hand of four playing cards randomly selected from their card deck, a 20-health-point nexus, and zero mana. Before the match begins, each player also has the option to trade out any of the first four cards they drew for random different ones from their deck.
After this pre-game phase concludes, both players receive a mana gem, one player receives the attack token, and the other receives the defense token. Only the player with the attack token may attack during this round.5 With some cards the second player can get an attack token as well.6 After each round, the tokens switch between players, and each player draws a random card from their deck.
As the number of rounds increases, so too does the number of mana gems each player receives, up to a maximum of 10. At the end of each round, any unused mana becomes spell mana, up to a maximum of three. This mana can only be used to cast spell cards.
To play cards, players must spend mana gems. Once played, priority passes to the opposite player, who may take an action. If the player has the attack token, they may place their unit cards (Champions and Followers) forward to attack. Once an attack is declared, priority is returned to the defender, who must designate blockers. When attacking, if no opposing card blocks, the card will hit the enemy player’s nexus, dealing damage equal to its power stat.
If the attacking card is defended against a blocking card, the two cards will clash, dealing their respective damage amounts to one another.10 When a unit’s Health reaches zero, it is destroyed, and no longer exists on the board unless revived or recovered via another effect. Each card also has a health stat. If the damage received is greater than or equal to the health stat of the card, it is destroyed. The objective of the game is to bring the opponent’s Nexus to zero health points.
Different cards have unique Keywords to facilitate this. For example, a unit with the Elusive keyword can only be blocked by other Elusive units, and an Overwhelm unit deals any excess damage to its blocker to the enemy Nexus.