Runeterra Is Criminally Underrated in 2023

Gnar in Legends Of Runeterra.

In 2023, the most popular TCGs like Magic: The Gathering and Pokémon get most of the buzz, but there are many lesser-known contenders that fans of the genre should consider. One such game is Legends of Runeterra, a digital collectible card game set in the popular League of Legends universe. Legends of Runeterra is easy to learn with lots to master, and it offers a surprisingly generous new player experience that makes it an excellent choice for any TCG player in 2023.


Legends of Runeterra launched in 2020 but still remains relatively unknown to most gamers. It brings a lot to the table with unique features that set it apart from other TCGs, and has distinct gameplay mechanics that emphasize strategy and skill over luck. The game’s innovative mana system allows players to carry over up to 3 leftover mana from one turn to the next, adding a layer of depth unlike any other TCG and enabling creative, powerful turns in the early game. All this together makes for an experience like no other, so here’s why Legends of Runeterra is criminally underrated in 2023.

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Legends of Runeterra Offers Unique Mechanics and Creative Gameplay

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The core design of Legends of Runeterra facilitates a diverse range of playstyles and allows players to anticipate opponents’ plays ahead of time. Legends of Runeterra essentially allows both players to play the game at the same time; when one player plays a card, the other gets to play something in response. Long gone are the days of sitting back while Magic: The Gathering‘s blue decks play their combos for five minutes — Legends of Runeterra is far more interactive with constant back-and-forth plays.

Legends of Runeterra also offers a creative twist on deckbuilding that fans of the genre are sure to love. Players build their decks around a Champion or multiple Champions, which are similar to colors in Magic the Gathering. They each represent specific gameplay styles and facilitate different deck archetypes, and they’re mostly based on the playable Champions from League of Legends. In Legends of Runeterra, Champions are powerful staple cards that can make or break a deck, and these added layers of depth make Legends of Runeterra an engaging and rewarding experience for players of all skill levels.

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In addition to its engaging gameplay, Legends of Runeterra boasts stunning visuals and immersive world-building from the League of Legends universe. The card art is particularly impressive, featuring beautifully rendered illustrations that bring each card to life. Even for those unfamiliar with League of Legends, Legends of Runeterra is a feast for the eyes and a joy to explore.

Some of the best-looking cards in Legends of Runeterra are from the Freljord region. This snowy region is inhabited mostly by warriors with heavy coats, but it’s also home to the Poros. The artists did an amazing job portraying these adorable fuzzy creatures, which have a surprising amount of utility in-game. Plucky Poro is a great example; he dons a helmet and sword, and his card has the Tough keyword, which gives him an extra +1 to defense.

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Unlike Other TCGs, Legends of Runeterra Is Free-to-play Friendly

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What sets Legends of Runeterra apart from other games most is its player-friendly practices. In an industry where set rotations are the norm, Legends of Runeterra takes a refreshing approach; the developer team adds new cards with the intention that they will always be viable. Legends of Runeterra just had its first Standard rotation in March 2023, so the game in its current state is more accessible than ever. For players who prefer a larger card pool, Legends of Runeterra‘s Eternal format is a great choice, and will feel familiar to those who play MTG and Hearthstone.

On top of this, Legends of Runeterra is entirely free-to-play, with players able to earn cards through gameplay rather than having to spend real money. Legends of Runeterra features systems similar to a battle pass that allows players to unlock cards for free from one specific region. For instance, selecting the Bilgewater path only unlocks Bilgewater cards of increasing rarity as the region’s battle pass increases in level. Once players complete a region, there’s nothing stopping them moving to a different region and unlocking cards from there. This system is perfect for players to target specific cards to unlock, rather than relying on RNG.

Additionally, Legends of Runeterra offers generous login rewards and has a fair and transparent crafting system. To craft new cards, players use Wild Cards and Shards obtained daily and weekly from playing the game. Players also get a weekly battle chest that offers rewards based on the number of wins over the week. Battle chests have multiple tiers, like bronze and diamond, and as the quality increases so do the rewards.

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Legends of Runeterra Isn’t Widely Known, But It’s Absolutely Worth Playing

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Despite all these strengths, Legends of Runeterra is still relatively unknown to many TCG players. It’s possible the game’s association with League of Legends is a barrier to entry, but it’s important to note that Legends of Runeterra is a standalone game with its own unique mechanics and lore, accessible to players regardless of their familiarity with League of Legends. Additionally, developer Riot Games perhaps isn’t doing enough to put Legends of Runeterra in the public spotlight. The developers should do more to market Legends of Runeterra so that more gamers can enjoy this unique and innovative TCG — and likewise, every fan of the TCG genre should give it a try.

Legends of Runeterra is an excellent collectible card game that deserves far more attention than it currently gets. With fun and engaging moment-to-moment gameplay, stunning visuals and player-friendly features, it’s well worth the time. For seasoned TCG players or anyone looking for a new card game, Legends of Runeterra won’t disappoint.


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