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Video Game / Legends of Runeterra

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The world of Runeterra is about to get a whole lot bigger...

Legends of Runeterra is a Card Battle Game developed by Riot Games as part of their phenomenally successful universe League of Legends. Set in the world of Runeterra, the game expands the scope beyond the individual champions who battle on Summoner's Rift to explore all the regions of the game's in-depth lore and the people and creatures who live in them.

Superficially similar at a glance to other games like Hearthstone, the game uses a unique shared turn system. Every turn (or "round"), both players increase their maximum mana by 1 and draw a card, and then take it in turns to deploy new units or cast spells, with the player who has priority going first and being the only player allowed to attack their opponent (unless special effects allow their opponent to rally and gain an attack opportunity of their own). This allows players to directly respond to their opponent's moves, making it more of a battle of wits. Once both players pass on taking an action, the round ends and priority swaps to the other player. Up to 3 unused mana can also be stored as "Spell mana", which can only be used to cast spells, giving players a reason to not always expend all their mana every turn for fear of losing tempo. Player decks contain 40 cards from up to two of the game's factions (including Demacia, Noxus, Ionia, Piltover & Zaun, the Freljord and the Shadows Isles at launch, later joined by Bilgewater, Targon, Shurima and the Bandlewood), giving you a lot of possible combinations. A deck can include up to 6 Champion cards from the selected regions taken from the playable cast of League, with the rest of your forces being made up of Followers. Champions can be leveled up into a more powerful form if you're able to meet their conditions.


The game was announced during the 10th anniversary celebrations for League of Legends alongside a huge number of other new projects, and finally putting an end to the running joke about "Riot Game"note . After a limited closed beta period in late 2019, the release schedule was as follows:

  • Open Beta, January 24th 2020.
  • Full launch and release of the first major set, "Rising Tides" (introducing the first new region, Bilgewater), on April 30th 2020.
  • The second full set "Call of the Mountain", was released in three parts, refered to as expansions.
    • The first came out on August 26th 2020 and was primarily concerned with introducing Targon as the next new region.
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    • The second expansion "Monuments of Power" came out on October 14th 2020 and added the first new card type (Landmarks) to the game.
    • The third and final part, "Cosmic Creation" came out on December 17th 2020 and completed the "Call of the Mountain" set.
  • The Aphelios Champion Expansion was released on February 3rd 2021 and introduced a type of smaller mini-expansion focused on one champion and a dozen or so other cards.
  • The third set "Empires of the Ascended" was released on March 3rd 2021 and introduced the Shurima region.
    • The second expansion of "Empires of the Ascended" was "Guardians of the Ancient", released on May 5th 2021.
    • The third expansion, titled "Rise of the Underworlds", released on 30th of June 2021 and completed "Empires of the Ascended".
  • The "Sentinels of Light" Champion Expansion released on July 14th 2021, featuring a dueling event pass and adding Viego and Akshan to the game alongside several new cards and cosmetics, expanding on the mini-set expansion format they did previously with Aphelios.
  • The fourth set "Beyond the Bandlewood" was also released in three parts, but with a separate and unrelated Champion Expansion released in the middle of it:
    • The first part came out on August 25th 2021 and introduced the Bandle City region, as well as multi-region units and the Yordle and Fae groups. The game's existing Yordle champions were also retconned into dual region Champions for Bandle City and their original regions.
  • "The Path of Champions" Champion Expansion was released on November 10th 2021 to coincide with the RiotX Arcane event, featuring 10 new cards for Piltover & Zaun, including Jayce. The focus of the expansion was on the reworked Path of Champions game mode, which replaced the previous Lab of Legends.
    • The second expansion for "Beyond the Bandlewood", "Magic Misadventures" was released on December 8th 2021.
    • The third and final expansion "A Curious Journey" was released on February 16th 2022 and completed "Beyond the Bandlewood".
  • The "Worldwalker" Expansion is set for release on May 25th 2022, introducing Runeterran champions with special deck building rules and new keywords alongside the launch of the Path of Champions 2.0.

Now has a character index in the works.

Tropes appearing in Legends of Runeterra include:

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  • 11th-Hour Superpower: While Emperor's Deck granted by level 3 Azir is already very powerful and full of Purposely Overpowered cards, at the very bottom is hiding one card that stands even above the rest. Arranged to be the very last draw, coming out on the brink of losing to decking out, 10-mana Ascended's Call summons both Renekton and Nasus, immediately levels them to 3rd tier and Rallies (grants you an attack token), for one last swing with overpowered units in hopes of closing out the game.
  • Adaptation Expansion: In a massive way; a huge part of the appeal of the game to LoL players is how it goes into detail of all the people and places of Runeterra, which had previously been described in supplemental material in LoL but had never been seen in so much depth before. Plus Riot declared that every single thing in the game is 100% canon- even the flying Poro.
  • Adaptational Wimp:
    • Senna was initially unique as the only Champion from League to be a Follower card rather than a Champion. This is because her card is Senna, Sentinel of Light, representing her before she was killed by Thresh and trapped within his lantern for 6 years then released as the half-wraith cannon-toting champion she is on the Rift (Senna, the Redeemer).note  Her death is even a game mechanic for Lucian, enabling him to take up her gun as he levels up, gaining Double Attack. It's even possible for Lucian to be the one to die instead of her, causing her to take up his gun and gain Double Attack instead (although not being a Champion, she doesn't actually "level up"). She was later joined by Yone, who was initially released as a Follower from the base set of Runeterra (Yone, Windchaser), only to be revealed as another Back from the Dead Champion in League (Yone, the Unforgotten) over half a year later. Additionally, she has since gained a Champion card of her own.
    • While champions are on loosely equivalent levels of power in League, here they span all levels of individual power, from the mighty 10-mana Aurelion Sol to the 1-mana One-Hit-Point Wonder Teemo. That being said, some fit their lore power level better than others.
  • Adorable Abomination: Several of the Guardians which sit next to your deck are cutsey chibi versions of things that would normally be horrifying monsters on Runeterra, such as Gloomtooth the spectral shark or the tiny T-Hex. The prize has to go to Baley, a baby Bale Strider, described as "The most adorable omen of death you'll ever see."
  • All There in the Manual: Many cards come with descriptive Flavor Text explaining their place in Runeterra, but some additional info can only be found on infrequent tweets by the official Twitter. In just one example, this thread gives out backstories to many participants in the Noxian Reckoning (even the Arena Battlecaster) not found anywhere else.
  • Amazon Brigade: The crew of Miss Fortune's ship, The Syren, seems to be made up entirely of Pirate Girls. Canonically she does have male crew members (she even goes out of her way to rescue one in the "Double-Double Cross" cinematic) but none have been seen in the game so far.
  • Ambiguous Situation: Riot has gone on record stating that the entities depicted in all cards are in fact canon, but for very implication-heavy cards especially, they often leave the actual context behind them a complete mystery. For example, it's unclear how exactly Garen and Katarina finally started a secret relationship, and whether The Watcher is being depicted in its initial arrival to the Freljord millennia ago, or in the future during their escape from entombment.
  • Anti-Magic:
    • The Stony Suppressor is a 2-cost card that causes all spell card to cost 1 more mana than usual, giving trouble to control decks that rely on spells to maintain momentum. However, since it also affects your as well, it is imperative that you have low cost card so it doesn't affect you as much. In addition, despite its effect, it has little effect on cards that use up the entire mana like Thermogenic Beam.
    • The Towering Stonehorn is a 6-cost follower card that has an effect which makes them immune to damage from spells or skills. As a result, this card cannot be widdled out unless it is silenced. With that said, however, while it is immune to damage, it can still be destroyed from effects that kill or Obliterate a unit like Vengeance or Devourer of the Depth's Devour skill.
    • The SpellShield mechanic acts as a one-off protection from the effects of ANY spell an opponent would use on the target. It only works for that unit, though, and once popped it doesn't come back.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • You can only play one copy of any individual champion from your hand at a timenote , even though several champions are key to their deck, meaning you'll need to include the maximum 3 copies. However, rather than cluttering up your hand as unplayable dead cards until your current copy of a champion is removed, extra copies you draw instead transform into a champion-personalised version of an existing spell (usually, but not always, one of their abilities from League e.g Katarina becomes Katarina's Death Lotus while Garen becomes Garen's Judgment) as long as you have a copy in play, which not only functions exactly like the spell but additionally shuffles another copy of the champion back into your deck again to potentially be drawn again later. If your first champion dies before you cast the spell, the spell transforms back into the champion card again, ready to be redeployed.
    • One of the major criticisms leveled at the card-game genre is that in order to be extremely successful, one needs to spend a ton of money in order to open new card packs. This leads to accusations of Pay To Win gameplay design, where only the richest sellouts will be able to stay on top. While you still can spend real money to unlock cards in Legends of Runeterra, there are numerous blockades to mitigate these issues and still keep things fair for the free-to-play audience. For starters, there were limits on how many cards you can gain from the store, with only a certain allowance of types being able to be bought per week. This prevented players from buying hundreds of packs and having a metric truckload of cards to work with over the free-to-plays and keeps things much fairer. Players can earn a huge amount of essence and cards simply by logging in every week or so and working towards weekly chest drops, as well as completing each of the daily quests to earn you experience which goes towards unlocking rewards from each of the various factions. The result is that while a free-to-play player will still have to grind more than a person who spends money on the game, the difference is not enough to give a serious edge to the person who shells out for the game. Riot eventually removed the limitation on wildcard purchases, but increased free rewards to compensate, with the weekly vault giving a guaranteed champion or champion wildcard if you farmed it up to a fairly modest level.
    • Because combat can be a complicated affair with multiple moving parts interacting with each other at the same time (such as one unit dying causing a champion further down the combat order to level up), the board has a feature called the Oracle's Eye located between the two Nexus. Hovering over it will display a vision of the outcome of the battle if allowed to resolve in its current state. It has its limitations (it can't predict entirely random results e.g what card you'll have in your hand if the opponent doesn't stop your Chempunk Pickpocket from hitting their Nexus), but is very useful for helping you make quick calculations or pick up on details you might forget that would otherwise cause unexpected results.
    • When you open a reward chest, any common, rare, or epic cards you already have the full 3 copies of get automatically converted into an amount of shards relative to their rarity you can use to craft other cards. However, any Champion card (the equivalent to what would be called "Legendary" rarity in other games) you obtain is guaranteed to be a champion you don't have 3 copies of already (unless, of course, you already own 3 copies of every champion). Even the region-specific Champion Capsules you can get as rewards for the region reward tracks, which are normally restricted to cards only from that region, allow this- if you already own all champions from a region when you open one, you'll get an unowned champion from a different region instead.
    • No experience points are lost when you conclude a region road's rewards. As an example: if you needed 400 XP to reach the max level of Demacia and received 1000 XP from completing a quest, the remaining 600 XP will be automatically allocated to another region road you haven't completed yet.
    • The Lab of Legends normally gives you three opportunities per run to reroll the random cards, items, and powers you get per run. These rerolls will not be consumed when rerolling your starting power (previously this would consume rerolls, so players just resorted to Save Scumming instead since they're not actually losing anything).
  • Artificial Stupidity: The AI is not very good as a practice partner, because while it can handle basic mechanics competently enough, when it comes to making strategic judgements it's as thick as two short planks- it will always attack with any unit it has with more than 0 Power if this will allow it to inflict a single point of Nexus damage or kill a blocking unit and will similarly always block any attack it can even if it means taking very unfavourable trades (e.g giving up a valuable Champion like Teemo to prevent 1 point of damage from a puny Spiderling), although Riot are attempting to iron out the worst of this stupidity. Only the worst players would have judgement as bad as the AI, so playing against it doesn't provide a very good measuring stick for how effective your deck actually is.
    • Whenever the AI plays Stalking Wolf (a 3/2 challenger follower from Freljord), it'll almost always attack the 1/1 Snow Hare it summons, even if there was a good chance to kill a higher value unit such as a champ like Lucian or Teemo. This is best demonstrated by the "Hunters" enemy encounter in the Lab of Legends. It gets more than a bit stupid when the player has the Yipp's Genius power (which gives the player's 1-cost units +2/+2), meaning that the AI will happily give the player a body bigger than the Stalking Wolf itself and then happily crash the wolf into it.
    • Unspeakable Horror also gives the AI fits for some inexplicable reason, as half the time it decides the best target to use the spell on is its own unit. Even if the player has a 1-health follower that's just begging to get pinged.
  • Armor-Piercing Attack: The Overwhelm keyword is an effect that allow the card to deal damage to the Nexus based on the excess amount of damage dealt to the opposing card. It also allows the card to attack the Nexus directly, even if the opponent was able to destroy their blocking card before combat initiates. This keyword is associated with Noxus, but it is also on several cards within Freljord and Targon and, less commonly, Shurima.
  • Ascended Meme: One of Tahm Kench's summoning lines is "I am unbenched!"
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: The level 3 versions of Nasus and Renekton reveal that, unlike in LoL, when they use their ultimates (Fury of the Sands and Dominus) they grow from merely being very large (3-4 metres tall) to the size of literal giants.
  • Badass Boast: A lot of the flavour texts contain these, with Garen's possibly the most notable.
  • Baleful Polymorph:
    • Like in LoL, Lulu's signature Whimsy! spell turns an enemy Follower into a harmless 1/1 Squirrel until the end of the round. Unfortunately it can't affect Champions in this game.
    • Minimorph, on the other hand, is both permanent and works on champions. (It's more expensive, though.)
  • Barrier Warrior: The Barrier keyword is strong in both offense and defense as it blocks one single damaging attack. This keyword is associated with Demacia and Ionia.
    • Shen, though he himself does not have the Barrier keyword, grants an ally Barrier when he attacks and support another ally. In addition, his level-up requirement is seeing 4 instances of Barrier granted to a friendly unit (including himself) and when he is leveled up, he provides 3 additional Power to any card with Barrier for that round. Several of his associated cards like Stand United, Spirit's Refuge, and Ki Guardian also provide Barriers to help him level.
    • Lux has Barrier when she is summoned and her signature card, Prismatic Barrier, grants Barrier to an ally.
    • The Greenglade Caretaker is a card that, though has weak Power on its own, gains a permanent +2 Power every time an ally receives a Barrier.
    • Brightsteel Formation grants Barrier to all of its allies when played and when attacking that round.
    • Jarvan IV both synergizes with Barrier thanks to his levelup condition and gains Barrier whenever he Challenges an enemy when leveled up.
  • Battle Couple:
  • Bedsheet Ghost: The Sinister Poro manages to fit in on the lifeless Shadow Isles by wearing a sheet over itself. Amusingly, this is still enough to give it the Fearsome keyword.
    Thresh: A for effort, little friend.
  • Blood Magic: Vladimir and his Crimson Circle, which composes of Clara (Crimson Disciple), Edvin (Crimson Curator), Kye (Crimson Awakener), and Ophelia (Crimson Aristocrat). They synergise well with each other as Vladimir's effect to take one Health from each of his disciples to deal damage to the nexus and Crimson Aristocrat's effect to empower one card at a cost of 1 Health works with their effects which depends on surviving the damage. Several of the spell cards based on Vladimir also synergise with them, including Transfusion and Blood for Blood, which damage your cards to generate a strong effect.
    • It's possible that Sion and his followers are a type of undead fueled by blood magic, given their wildly different color scheme from other undead characters.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • Most of the Champion cards are complex, situational cards designed to be the focal point of your deck. This results in many of them being sophisticated in use, like Yasuo striking any recalled or stunned enemy, Kalista's odd bond mechanic or Tahm Kench Capturing his allies/enemies. Garen and Darius, on the other hand, have dead simple level-up requirements (strike twice and get the enemy Nexus health below half respectively) and yet are much more reliable in practice than almost any other Champion card. Garen is a strong Stone Wall, dealing great damage and coming with the powerful Regeneration keyword to makes him repeatedly usable for defense, while Darius is a devastating Mighty Glacier that can use his Overwhelm keyword and immense offensive power to punch a hole through your enemy's defensive line.
    • In the Lab of Legends mode, there are a lot of interesting and amusing blessings you can pick to do things like raise the health of your units to match their power whenever they attack (or vice versa), let you start the game with units or landmarks already in play, or let you Nab cards from the opponent every time you attack, but the most consistently useful ones of all are almost universally the ones which enhance your mana to let you ramp up into your strategy faster, most notably Manaflow (start with a permanent extra mana gem), Spellslinger (all spells cost 1 mana less), and Sorcery (refill your spell mana at the start of each round). After those come the other ones that give simple, blanket effects like Domination (free Rally at the start of every round), Crush (all your units have Overwhelm) and Hold Them Off (Frostbite the strongest enemy unit at the start of each round).
  • Bowdlerise: Many cards have tweaked artwork for Chinese servers to remove or alter potentially questionable content, such as blood, skeletons, corpses, alcohol, and overly-revealing clothing. Among the most prominent targets are Vladimir and the Crimson Circle (changing the color of their blood magic from red to purple), as well as many Shadow Isles cards (many given light redesigns to reduce their skeletal features, usually replacing their skull faces with spooky iron masks).
  • Brainwashed and Crazy:
    • Possession allows the player to steal the enemy's follower for a turn. Since it belongs to Shadow Isles, there are ways to remove the possessed card to deny returning the card back to the enemy.
    • The Sentinels of Light event features many cards that are ruined by the Black Mist and became possessed monsters that serve Viego, such as Ruined Dragonguard and the Ruined Rex. Even some champions aren't safe, as Draven, Shyvana, and Karma were ruined by the Black Mist and brought destruction to Runeterra.
    • Upon leveling up, Viego can possess the enemy's strongest follower for a single turn. If the strongest card is a champion, he kills it instead.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Veigar and his followers form a faction of these, complete with Veigar getting in a giant Veigar-shaped mech when he levels up. Possibly downplayed: he seems quite willing to work with the far more heroic Senna and her Sentinels of Light, and in lore he does a mix of genuinely villainous things and "taking out more evil beings out of a desire to be the evilest villain of all."
  • Cast From Hitpoints:
    • Several Bilgewater cards in the Monument of Power expansion cost their own health to be played, like Boxtopus and Fortune Croaker. This gives Soraka some fodder to heal for the Star Spring's win condition.
    • Despair destroys any targeted card at the cost of the card striking your Nexus.
  • Chef of Iron:
    • War Chefs are food suppliers of the army that has basic combat training. Their support effect to improve another card's Health and Power makes them quite useful.
    • Kindly Tavenkeeper is the owner and cook of the Tipsy Owl, who can replenish health to either a card or the Nexus.
  • Combat Sadomasochist: Several groups of followers and some champions employ the strategy of purposefully taking damage to empower themselves.
    • The Reavers from Frejlord are obsessed with scarring themselves and typically receive permanent bonus +3 attack for every instance of damage they survive. While their proper leader Sejuani took a bit longer to show up in the game, they were played together with Braum who has a unique playstyle of having 0 attacking strength but being able to drag enemies to strike himself on attack - and then start summoning poros after enough damage was taken. His signature spell Take Heart also required its recipient to be damaged beforehand in order to receive a permanent +3/+3 boost.
    • The Crimson Circle from Noxus with their leader Vladimir. Half of the followers benefit from taking damage while the other half and Vladimir himself provide the damage. Needless to say, teamups with the Reavers ensued.
    • The Call of the Mountain expansion added the Scargrounds Landmark. While associated with the Reavers above, it actually turns everybody on your board into this, permanently granting them +1 attack and Tough keyword whenever they take damage. Although of course the primary usage is for Reavers and Crimson Circle, doubling down on their existing synergies.
    • The same expansion also added Tahm Kench to Bilgewater. His followers damage themselves when played or during play while Tahm takes hits while swallowing enemies. By themselves, they have no benefits nor ways to recover from the damage, but in the same set came Soraka who very much appreciates numerous targets to throw healing at in order to level herself up, to draw cards once she is and to activate the Instant-Win Condition of the Star Springs.
  • Competitive Balance: Each region can be played numerous different ways depending on who you promote as your champion. To break it down more generally:
    • Demacia are a group of nominally weak units that, if allowed to build up properly, become an almost unbreakable fighting line that can wipe the floor with whoever you're facing. They emphasize raw combat over all else, and are designed around breaking the ranks of the other factions using Challenger, Barrier, and their plethora of extremely strong point buffs. They tend to face trouble when it comes to the factions that rely around debuffing like the Freljord or the Shadow Isles, who can engage Demacia in combat without having to fight one on one. They can also spec into a powerful anti-magic role using the Mageseeker Cards and Purify, but that comes at a cost of making them far weaker in terms of offense. Besides Targon, they're the only other faction with Dragons bearing the Fury keyword, and Dragon-support cards.
    • Noxus are the resident Powerhouse faction that have a ton of extremely deadly units that thrive on overwhelming combat force. They usually have less health than other factions in exchange for dealing massive damage, and are able to fight dirty with their powerful Stun and Challenger mechanics. Their key mechanic is the powerful Overwhelm keyword, which allows them to do consistent damage even if the enemy line seems to be impenetrable- and their use of Stun makes it often very dangerous to let them build up. However, their overwhelming force means that factions like Ionia and the Freljord can poke holes in their offense to reduce them to nothing, which is often why Noxus is pared with more Specialist factions to support their power. Alternatively, one can spec into the Vladimir line for making strong wave-clearing decks at the cost of making your weak units even more vulnerable.
    • Piltover and Zaun is the premier spell slinging faction, having both the most variety of spells and the most ways to gain them. They're able to offset their relatively weaker units with tons of spells and Zerg Rush mechanics, allowing them to toss out cheap, ineffectual units to set up blocks and brush aside the enemy's cheap units with removal spells. Many of their cards allow for bonus draws, which means that Piltover and Zaun will often have tons of cards to spend and set up. Combine this with many cards that refill spell mana, cards that influence the draw, and cards that just plain emphasize Stuff Blowing Up, Piltover and Zaun are probably the most difficult faction to play and yet offer quite a number of complex rewards to make playing them worthwhile. At the same time, their overcomplicated mechanics and lack of answers to bigger threats means that the dead simple martial factions of Demacia, Noxus and the Freljord can quickly crush them, and their complete inability to protect their champions and units means that anyone who wants to take their stuff off the board will probably have no problem doing so. Since they tend to have good synergy with every faction, it's up to you to decide if you want to splash them with Ionia and the Shadow Isles to really up the ante on the Specialist factor, or to instead support them with Demacia or Noxus to prevent them from being run down.
    • Freljord is the most buff and debuff centered faction in the game, mostly revolving around the extremely strong (and faction unique) mechanic of Frostbite. Frostbite allows a unit's power to be reduced to zero, effectively turning it into a meatshield and nothing more. On the flipside, the Freljord has tons of really powerful buffs, like free mana regen and strong permanent stat increases. Thus, their matches then to flow like this: Freljord sets up a line, the enemy does too, the Freljord heavily debuffs the enemy's line, and they clash. The enemy strikes hard, and the Freljord strikes back harder. Freljord also boasts a plethora of mass damage spells that can sweep away swarms of weaker units and buy time for their heavy hitters to come into play However, this comes with the obvious drawback of being the most mana-reliant faction in the game even above Piltover and Zaun, resulting in them often deploying fewer units compared to other factions and falling back on their mechanics to make a difference, and they have very few answers to Elusive foes that they can't simply crush by blocking with a big unit. They also have access to the seemingly weak but very deadly Poro subfaction, allowing them to build up their line with weak Poro units that can combine into ridiculously strong Heart of the Fluft units that can end matches extremely quickly if you can't reliably thin their herds.
    • Ionia revolves around outsmarting your enemies and manipulating the flow of the battle, as well as building up your strongest units into deadly powerhouses. Ionia tends to revolve around the Barrier and Recall mechanics, allowing them to be deceptively tanky and remove enemies from play. This is their modus operandi- control the battlefield through deception and tactics to achieve victory. Because of this emphasis on manipulation and stealth, many Ionia units capitalize on techniques over raw skill, and are the central faction revolving around the Elusive mechanic. Elusive units cannot be blocked except by other Elusive units, which are rare to the other factions. This means that if you're clever, you can run a deck of nearly impossible to hit foes. Lifesteal also plays a large part in the faction as does Barrier, which makes Ionia very versatile at whatever tactic you want to implement. The problem is that their individual units are often weak and fragile. While their assassination and misdirection mechanics are indeed strong, it's possible for them to be outdone by Piltover and Zaun, Demacia and the Shadow Isles forgoing subtlety and simply attacking them back with more force or outright ignoring their Elusive mechanic to target them directly.
    • Shadow Isles is probably the most complicated faction in the game, having numerous avenues of play. However, their core concept is the same regardless of how you build your deck- crush the enemy with your ever-growing horde of The Undead. One can run an Elise deck to overwhelm their enemy with spiders or a Hecarim deck to attack with powerful but fleeting Ephemeral units that die when their turn is over. This faction is also home to the Fearsome mechanic, where units of less than 3 power can't block Fearsome units. Some of their units even lack the ability to block, emphasizing an Attack! Attack! Attack! approach to solving problems. Because so many of their units are fleeting, they also have no problem sacrificing their own units to achieve even greater ends, and many of their units outright reward being killed. They also have the most drain mechanics amongst any of the factions, making them much tankier than they might seem. Their relentless focus on attacking makes them the absolute weakest defensive faction, however- only one of their Champions, Thresh, has anything remotely resembling a defensive kit, and a deck from Demacia, Piltover and Zaun or the Freljord will find themselves carving through the Shadow Isle ranks with little resistance, able to withstand the endless horde of monstrosities that pour forth with ease.
    • Bilgewater, the first region added to the game after its initial release, is a region that plays fast and loose with its resources, as well as its opponent's ones. A lot of cards are based around the Plunder mechanic it introduced, which generates effects after damaging the opponent's Nexus, and the region consequently features big emphasis on constant aggression with direct Nexus damage effects, further enhanced by their unique Powder Keg follower which can be generated by a number of their cards, stacked up, then blown up to increase the damage of any damaging spell or skill. These include a number of cards that let them "Nab" cards from the opponent, drawing from the bottom of their deck or even stealing from their hand (although they cannot steal Champions this way). They're also the second faction in the game to feature a significant number of Elusive units to help facilitate Plunder, with a number of stealthy pirates and slippery sea creatures. On the other side of the scale, they're also home to the terrifying Sea Monsters of the Deeps, who get a massive +3/+3 bonus once the controller's deck is reduced to 15 cards or less. This is facilitated by the Toss mechanic which discards cards from the bottom of the player's deck, a mechanic it also shares to a lesser degree with the Shadow Isles. However their direct combat units other than the sea monsters tend to individually be a bit on the weaker side and rely on synergies with each other for maximum effect, and while they're good at clearing away multiple weak enemies they're short on ways to effectively remove large single threats. They're also one of the more RNG-dependant regions in the game, as befits the "gambling" faction, with a lot of their card draw effects granting the cards Fleeting, forcing you to "use it or lose it".
    • Targon, the second region added to the the game after it's initial release, is a region that mainly focus on slow yet powerful spells and synergies. Targon is home to both Celestials, a unique set of cards created through the Invoke keyword and range from early game cards to late game huge monsters, and Dragons, who have the Fury keyword, allowing dragons to get stronger for each kill they make. Targon also boasts cards that supports others, as well as healing, allowing Targon to buff their allies to an absurd degree. Besides that, Targon is also home to Daybreak, which are cards that gain bonus effects when they are played first in each round, and Nightfall, cards which gain bonus effects if not played first, allowing for some wicked combos. However, Targon spells outside of buffs and heals are all Slow and most of their cards are very expensive, so they're vulnerable to factions that can kill their minions instantly, interrupt spells or use the Capture or Silence keywords, such as Shadow Isles, Ionia and Demacia. They also sorely lack removal and have few reactive spells that aren't buffs, making them vulnerable to being rushed down by large numbers of cheap, weak units.
    • Shurima, the third region added to the game after release, is a region that when played by itself has a focus on working towards restoring the Sun Disk to allow your Ascended champions (Azir, Nasus, and Renekton) to reach level 3, wherein each of them becomes a game-ending threat in their own right. A copy of Buried Sun Disk is drawn at the start of the game if the player's deck contains only Shuriman cards, which both helps set up the Ascended game plan, but also limits what kind of decks can be built around it, as it discourages dipping into another region. Shurima is also home to more landmarks than any other region, giving a distinct playstyle that involves setting up your board several turns in advance with the new Countdown keyword (Such as the Buried Sun Disk, Hibernating Rockbear, and Preservarium to name a few), or setting up traps that can't be removed as easily as units (using the unit Rock Hopper or spell Unraveled Earth to create Rolling Sands, a landmark that destroys itself to grant a newly summoned enemy vulnerable). Many cards in the expansion also involve summoning ephemeral Sand Soldiers, giving Shurima a strong offense but a weaker defence. Shurima is the first region that truly emphasises levelling up your champions, with several units that gain bonuses from having levelled a champion, and even a spell that outright levels up all Ascended allies to level 2. On the other hand, Shurima has virtually no removal aside from making enemies Vulnerable and forcing them to fight and are lacking in buffs to support their units, hindering their ability to respond to threats and retake the board after falling behind.
    • Bandle City, the fourth and final region added to the game after release, is quite the quirky one, with a focus on Yordles and their various tricks. They are uniquely the first region to include dual region followers and can draw on cards from regions outside your deck, making them highly unpredictable for being able to use things that their deck loadout wouldn't suggest, complete with a built-in win condition from The Bandle Tree for summoning units from every region. They're also great at generating other cards and messing with opponents, between Teemo's retcon to a dual-region Champion giving them access to Poison Puffcaps and Pranks weakening cards in the opponent's hand, and can efficiently fill up the board while chipping down the enemy Nexus with the Impact keyword. However, their units are inherently fragile and, like Targon, their spells tend to be Slow if they're not Burst spells targeting your own units, limiting their options for reactive play.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: On the opposite end of the Artificial Stupidity scale, there are times when the RNG is so sadistic that your opponent happens to have all the cards they need to destroy you in a few turns (often really cheap cards that can Zerg Rush you into oblivion or just plain prevent you from blocking in general) early in the match...while giving you cards you didn't need at the time.
  • The Computer Shall Taunt You: In the Path of Champions mode the AI is programmed to use certain emotes in response to specific events in the game. Whenever they kill one of your units with a spell they will invariably respond with Lux's "Nice!" emote (a massive smile and 2 enthusiastic thumbs up) which is always interpreted by the player base as a patronising insult when used.
  • Continuity Snarl: The Demacia cards added in the "Empires of the Ascended" expansion made a pretty big one of these- the new version of Cithria, Lady of the Clouds was dispatched by King Jarvan III as part of the force sent to rescue Jarvan IV when he was captured by Noxus. Unfortunately Garen: First Shield, explicitly set after Jarvan III's assassination, features Cithria as a mere Blade Squire in the Dauntless Vanguard.
  • Cool Boat: The Bilgewater expansion added several of these, some of which are personalised to champions and draws a copy of said champion when played:
    • The Dreadway, Gangplank's ship, doubles all damage dealt by allies while it is alive. It is a massive warship fitted with titanic, front-facing cannons, fitting with Gangplank's strategy of blasting the enemy to pieces with large quantities of gunpowder barrels.
    • The Leviathan, Swain's warship, is a massive steel warship the size of a city block, fitted with troops and artillery that deals 1 damage to the enemy nexus three times - which synergises amazingly with Swain's levelled up effectnote 
    • The Tuskraider, the longboat Sejuani rides on, doubles the power of allies in your deck if you trigger its Plunder effect - which Sejuani's faction is themed around, being savage northern raiders.
    • The Syren, Miss Fortune's ship, and a counterpart to The Dreadway, a sleek and swift cutter armed with only a single pair of long cannons on a swivel mount. When it attacks, all spells and skills deal 1 extra damage, reinforcing Miss Fortune's playstyle of hitting all enemies at the same time with a hail of bullets.
    • Terror of the Tides came in the same set, Maokai exclaims "Your ship has come in!" when you summon it, but it is not actually a ship. It's a giant undead sea monster masquerading as a ship and spreading an aura of terror that makes your other seamonsters much harder to block.
  • Counterspell: Deny can counter any Slow or Fast spell or any unit Skill. It can't negate Burst speed spells, which includes almost all unit buffs, but Purify and Hush can serve this function by negating any buffs on a unit (although Purify is restricted to only Followers). It really feels bad when you buff an unblocked attacker with Battle Fury, only for your opponent to smugly wipe it away for only 2 mana. Nopeify! is a cheaper, but more limited, version of Deny which can only negate cheap spells and cannot negate skills. And then there's Rite of Negation, which negates all enemy Slow or Fast spells or Skills played before it, at the cost of sacrificing either one unit or a mana gem.
  • Creepy Child: The "Phantom Prankster" is a spirit of the Shadow Isles resembling a little girl, and her anticipation of "playing" with the enemy is very creepy.
  • Critical Status Buff: There are several cards that grants bonuses if the card receives damage but survived like Legion Veteran, Crimson Curator, and Scarmother Vrynna.
  • Cryptic Conversation: A really layered one among the four Crimson Circle members (the "Crimson" Disciple, Curator, Awakener, and Aristocrat). Each of their Flavor Text descriptions show them all engaging in a shared conversation, but only their respective dialogue. Thanks to the context of each line, it's possible to string their phrases into a correct order. On the surface, the conversation is mundane pleasantries as they prepare for a fancy ball, but taking the first letter of each of their sentences in this order reveals a hidden message: "BEWARE THE ROSE".
  • Cuteness Proximity:
  • Dating Catwoman: It's happening between Garen and Katarina, with several interactions alluding to it.
  • A Day in the Limelight:
    • The Call of the Mountain launch trailer features Illi the Star Shepherd taking a fallen Stellacorn to the Mountains to bring it back to the herd.
    • The Empires of the Ascended launch trailer features a Shuriman thief, who is identified as the Dunekeeper, stealing a relic from Renekton's temple, incuring his wrath.
  • Deader Than Dead: The Obliterate keyword, first seen on She Who Wanders but later on Devourer of the Depths certain Celestial spells such as Falling Comet and Supernova, neatly removes any unit it affects from the game altogether. Last Words effects aren't triggered and the unit is not "destroyed", preventing it from being revived by effects such as Mist's Call or The Rekindler and bypassing effects that would allow it to survive normal destruction like Unyielding Spirit or Tryndamere's level-up condition. It's basically the ultimate sanction. Obliterate is also the mechanic used to remove cards from the game before they're played, such as cards milled from the deck by Toss or destroyed by Maokai's level-up effect, or cards that you attempt to draw when your hand is already full.
  • Death Activated Super Power: Units with the Last Breath keyword will activate a special effect upon death. For example, there's the "Legion Grenadier" who will damage the enemy Nexus upon death, the "Hapless Aristocra" who will summon an allied Spiderling, and the "Mageseeker Conservator" who leave behind a random 6+ cost spell.
  • The Death of Death: Heavily implied to be the purpose of The Etherfiend. The Fading Icon is currently in his crosshairs, and he's eyeing Lamb and Wolf for the future.
  • Denser and Wackier: By exploring every corner of Runeterra, some of the content in LoR is a bit... sillier than what you normally hear about in LoL. Of particular note is the underground fight club in Bilgewater apparently occupied entirely by Funny Animal characters, with the main event being a fight between a scorpion in a flat cap and waistcoat with boxing gloves on his pincers and his stinger and a Scottish octopus called Pablo with a glove on each tentacle, which has been compared to something straight out of Spongebob Squarepants.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: Champions are designed to be this way- hard to set up, harder to use, but absolutely devastating if built around.
    • Yasuo in particular is built around this. While he's a strong unit on his own, if he's allowed to level up he becomes exceptionally dangerous, as his "annoying-but-manageable" effect of dealing two damage to any recalled or stunned enemy evolves into a "potentially-match-ending" effect of getting a free attack on every stunned or recalled enemy. The problem is that a solid Yasuo deck is a very draw reliant setup that requires careful management of your stuns and recalls, and while you can have a ton of really scary units (including Legion Rearguard and Fae Bladetwirler) it's possible for you to get blown over before Yasuo can get strong enough to consistently clean house.
    • Twisted Fate, moreso than any other champion, requires careful precision to use while being able to single-handedly win games. He has a difficult level-up requirement (seeing you draw 9 cards) while being the third-weakest champion in the game after Teemo and Zoe at only 2/2, despite his costly 4-mana price tag. But once you have him leveled up, you've pretty much won unless your opponent can remove him immediately (and you don't have another copy) because the amount of value he generates is simply insane. The most popular deck built around him (the "Casino deck") is generally considered the single hardest deck to play properly in the entire game, but is also one of the most powerful when it works.
    • Zoe herself is, if anything, even harder to use than TF, with her requirement of having to see her controller play 10 different cards, while only being a puny 1/1, unable even to survive a simple Blade's Edge, or to level up before coming into play like Teemo can. But if you do manage to level her up, her effect is game-winning, especially since it persists for the entire rest of the game even if the opponent removes her afterwards: she causes any unit you play to grant its keywords to all other units you control- so if you play a Barrier unit, all your other units gain Barrier, but more importantly, if you play an Elusive unit, your entire board becomes Elusive. Victory usually follows immediately after this happens.
    • Not a specific card, but an advanced strategy that only the best players can master: doing nothing. Strategically choosing to pass your action instead of playing a card can have a variety of uses, from baiting your opponent into playing another unit before you drop a board wipe like The Ruination, to bluffing them into believing you have a counter to their attack. If done wrong, your opponent can seize the initiative from you by attacking or playing something you're not ready for, or even choosing to pass as well, ending the round and wasting your unspent mana, gaining considerable tempo over you or setting you up for an open attack at the start of the next round. It's a highly-psychological technique based in your and your opponent's ability to read each other and predict what you might play, and is what sets the good players apart from the great ones at high levels.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: One of the most brilliant inventors from Piltover & Zaun, Professor von Yipp... is not the guy in the chair. He's just the translator for the cat (that's also him as the pilot of his masterpiece, Catastrophe, as well as in the Subpurrsible). The Cosmic Creation expansion continued his tale by having him team up with fellow Mad Scientist Viktor and become a cybernetic Nyandroid.
  • Draw Aggro: Cards with the Challenger keyword allows them to choose who they want to attack, instead of letting the opponent choosing the blocker. This can work many ways, whether you are dragging an opponent's card to either destroy them or draw away strong cards so your weak cards can damage the Nexus.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: A number of named Followers in the game were referenced in the lore before the game came out:
    • Cithria was established as a lore character in two seperate short stories, 'The Weight of Expectations' from the 'Realms of Runeterra' companion book and 'Turmoil'.
    • Commander Ledros debuted in the short story 'The Echoes Left Behind'.
    • It's very, very hard to notice and may not even have been intentional at the time, but one of Shiraza's bladed gauntlets could be seen hanging on the wall behind Draven next to Riven's runeblade near the start of the scene at the Reckoners' arena in the 'Awaken' cinematic. The clawed gauntlet hanging between them also seems to be the weapon of choice of the Savage Reckoner (aka. "Claws"), as later seen on the card Wild Claws.
    • The Veteran Investigator, one J.S. Harknor, was first mentioned in Vi's colour story 'Interrogation 101'. Notably, it didn't mention at the time that he was a yordle.
    • The Tales of Runeterra shorts released to promote the card game showed some characters that would be added into the game later. For example, the dragon that appeared in "Before Glory" resembled the Screeching Dragon that was added in the Call of the Mountain expansion.
    • Zoe appears in the expanded artwork of the Porofly before she became a champion card in the game.note 
    • Similarly, Soraka appears in the card Hush before she became a champion card in the second part of the Call of the Mountain expansion. Somewhat telling, there are several cards within Targon that involves healing, which synergize with Soraka's playstyle in League of Legendsnote 
    • Zilean is referenced in several Shuriman cards like Khahiri the Student and Clocklings before he is included in the card game.note 
    • In Jarvan III's artwork, you can see Xin Zhao on the right side of the composition.
    • Bone Skewer, a Bilgewater spell based on Pyke's Q ability, was released several months before the champion was announced for the Rise of the Underworlds expansion. When he was revealed, Bone Skewer turned out to be his signature spell.
    • Ornn can be seen in the background of the Fabled Poro.
    • Ahri made her first appearance in the game in the art of Tail-Cloak Matriarch, released in the first part of "Beyond the Bandlewood".
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: The Skies Descend portrays a hypothetical situation of what would happen if Aurelion Sol gained complete freedom from the Aspects of Targon- he'd take his revenge on all of Runeterra by splitting it open like an egg. It's not even a fraction that powerful in-game, though, only doing 15 damage to all enemy units (not even touching the Nexus) and is capable of being blocked by a simple Spell Shield or Barrier.
    "When the time comes, I think I'll make an example of Runeterra. Perhaps I'll drag its smoldering husk around with me for all eternity. Like a toy. A dead, worthless toy. I don't know. I've not really thought about it much." - Aurelion Sol
  • Elite Army:
    • Demacia's Dauntless Vanguard are decorated as Demacia's finest soldiers, even having the Elite type. Many of the cards associated with the Dauntless Vanguard are known for their staying power, whether it is their high Health or the Tough keyword.
    • Noxus's Trifarian Legion is the sizable yet ruthless army of Noxus. The Legionaries have immense Power that can destroy many lesser cards.
  • Elmer Fudd Syndrome:
    • Shellshocker speaks like this. It even extends to her handwriting.
      Shellshocker: That's Admiwal Shelly to you, private.
    • Chip also has a case of this, both in speech and description.
      "Okay so hello I'm Chip an' I'm here to show you Targon! It's wowow big an' tall so I hope you got good shoes for da walkin'! Let's GO!"
      — Adventures with Chip, part 1
  • Enemy Mine: Due to relying on two regions for card composition, there comes a time where mutual hatred between two regions are pushed aside.
    • Lucian decks often have Shadow Isles as their secondary region, despite the animosity between Lucian and Shadow Isles (especially Thresh, since he murdered his wife and stole her soul), since Shadow Isles cards have effects that sacrifice your own units to meet Lucian's level up requirement. Thresh finds the alliance downright hilarious because of how ironic the composition is. Downplayed more recently: for thematic and gameplay reasons, both Senna's champion card and her Sentinel followers are Shadow Isles.
    • In the lore, Noxus' invasion of Ionia changed those nations forever. Yasuo decks often rely on cards from Noxus due to it containing the majority of the game's Stun effects, which are central to Yasuo's strategy.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: The crew of Gangplank's ship, the fearsome Dreadway, is surprisingly diverse for a salty dog like GP. With men, women and even a Yordle serving onboard.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Several follower cards in Legend of Runeterra are titles indicative of their role. Several of these cards have actual names, of which we will list down:
    • Foundation: Vanguard Squire (Cithria, who has other cards representing her life), Arena Bookie (Karl), Greenglade Duo (Kay for the human, and Zern for the yordle), Sumpsnipe Scavenger (Ajuna Lemnote ), Crimson Disciple (Clara), Crimson Curator (Edvin), Crimson Crimson Awakener (Kye), Crimson Aristocrat (Ophelia), Crowd Favorite (Vessid)
    • Rising Tide: Grizzled Ranger (Bertrand), Ruthless Raider (Era), Patrol Wardens (Mir and Kepple), Veteran Investigator (J.S. Harknor, who is a character in Vi's color story, "Interrogation 101")
    • Call of the Mountain: Star Shepherd (Illi), Blade Squire, Wraithful Rider, Brutal Hunter, and Runeweaver (Erath, Marit, Teneff, and Tifalenji, respectively, who are all characters from the story "Sisterhood of War," with Arrel named in the card game)
    • Empires of the Ascended: Honored Lord (Barrett Buvelle, who is Sona's adopted father)
  • Excited Show Title!: Excited Card Title, actually- it's not "Pix", it's "Pix!"
  • Exploding Barrels: Powder Keg is a special card that can only be summoned through certain cards (most obviously is Gangplank but also cards like the Dreadway Deckhand and More Powder!). While Powder Keg cannot do anything on its own (in fact, it has Vulnerable that allows your opponent's units to pull it onto the battlefield), its effect is to sacrifice itself to empower your spell cards and skills. And it is capable of stacking so the empowered card can do even more damage.
  • Expy: While it doesn't extend beyond her character design, a lot of players immediately noticed that the Crimson Aristocrat seems to have been based off Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen (it's more apparent in her appearance in the art for Crimson Awakener).

  • Face Palm: One of the six default emotes (which take the form of animated stickers) that are the only means of communication between players is Darius doing one of these while shaking his head, usually used by a player in response to a silly blunder or heinous bit of bad luck.
    • Although only visible in the full art, Fiora is doing one out of sheer embarrassment-by-association at the arrival of the Laurent Chevalier.
      "...Good grief." - Fiora
  • Field Promotion: A 2-mana burst spell from Demacia grants the next unit you play the Scout keyword and is now considered an Elite.
  • Final Boss: Viktor serves as the third and final boss of the Lab of Legends and Path of Champions. Gangplank serves as the final boss of the Saltwater Scourge spinoff of Lab of Legends.
  • Finger Wag: An emote has Yasuo wagging his finger. It is used by players as a response to an action that can easily be countered by them.
  • Fixed Forward-Facing Weapon: Gangplank's ship, The Dreadway, has a huge pair of twinned cannons set into a "mouth" on its prow, each with a barrel large enough for a man to stand in.
  • Forest Ranger: The Rising Tide expansion focuses on Demacia's ranger-knights, border watchman who protect its wilderness. Many of these ranger-knights, including Quinn, have the Scout keyword, an effect that allow any cards with the Scout keyword to attack without expending an attack token once per round.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: The Laurent Chevalier is an embarrassment to the rest of the Laurent clan. Not only is Fiora FacePalming to his flamboyant entrance, but also the rest of the Laurent duelists are rather disappointed in him.
  • Frying Pan of Doom: The War Chefs brandish these as their weapon of choice, as expected from a Chef of Iron. One of their attack quotes is "Pan to the face!"
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: Noxian Battle Couple Kato the Arm and Shiraza the Blade are specifically designed to work best when they're used exactly as shown in Shiraza's full artwork, where Kato is hurling Shiraza, blades at the ready, directly at an enemy. Shiraza does double damage when she strikes the Nexus, but she only has 3 base power for a total of 6 damage when unblocked, decent but not devastating, while she's also far too easy to simply chump block to keep away from the Nexus altogether, usually making her nothing more than a badly-understatted 4-drop. Kato's Support ability grants his supporting unit Overwhelm and +3/+0, doubling Shiraza's power and forcing the opponent to block her with a much bigger unit that will probably die (while also having to deal with the attack of the 5/4 Kato himself)- if they try and chump block with a puny 1/1 Spiderling, their Nexus will take 10 damage from the Overwhelm.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: A complicated example, but one that's mostly to be expected as a game with no continuous plot of its own (and one not too dissimilar to League of Legends itself). Riot has officially stated that everything in the game is canon, but in the sense that the individual elements it represents in visuals and Flavor Text merely exist(ed) at some point in the universe of League of Legends, while interactions might not necessarily be the case. This explains away oddities like Yone and Senna's first appearance being represented with their appearances from before their initial deaths, or cards like Cithria's that depict her in multiple states over several years (including one that may or may not be an alternate timeline version of her).
  • Gathering Steam: Several archetypes focus on stalling out (or even just taking hits to the face) through the early game until their key pieces come online.
    • Freljord with Warmother's Call (old school) and Feel The Rush (new hotness). Most of their early game is focused on ramping mana and enduring the aggression with healing and boardwipes, until they can play their giant 12-mana spell. Call provided a never-ending source of free units on all upcoming turns, hopefully fishing out their big finisher champions, while Rush provides instant board presence from two champions buffed to 10/10 - and if your Trundle is already levelled up before you cast it, it can spell an immediate death to opponent's nexus from Overwhelm Damage.
    • Enlightenment is a mechanic that kicks in when the player has a full 10 mana gems, not including spell mana. This can entail something like a stat buff, or in some cases, reducing the mana cost of a card to zero.
      • Karma, whenever she surges in popularity. Her ability to double up every spellcast allows incredible feats of power, but it also means needing to save some resource to use with her. By default, she doesn't even work until you reach 10 mana and become Enlightened, which is her level-up requirement.
      • Same applies to Anivia, who specifically requires the player to be Enlightened in order for her self-resurrection mechanic to kick in.
    • The Legion Marauder is a Noxian card that grants +1/+1 to every copy of him you play (including ones that don't exist yet) every time he attacks. Having multiple copy at once will multiply the effect and, with the inclusion of Strength in Numbers (which summons 2 more Legion Marauders), allow them to maintain an aggressive stance with increasingly-highly buffed Marauders.
    • Deep archetype. For half the game they just throw small units on the field and toss their own cards. Even the Sea Monsters are easy enough to handle at their default size. But then they go Deep, get a free monster or even two on board from the Slaughter Docks, all monsters become much bigger and just start eating your board whole, while Nautilus makes them all cost peanuts and restocks their depleted deck with any monsters they might have thrown away.
    • A deck built around Aurelion Sol (often a Dragon-heavy deck) will usually be this; this deck will have a lot of cards that can either draw out Dragons quickly, or can reduce the cost of Dragons. For this reason, Dragon support cards like Herald of Dragons and Inviolus Vox (the latter of which is a Dragon-type Follower itself) are a must to help expedite and stall until you find Aurelion Sol, while building up for the eventual counterattack. After that, it's only a matter of buffing your Dragons through the Fury mechanic, and then Aurelion Sol will level up; when that happens, all Celestial cards in your hand will be free of charge, and your monsters will be all set for a counterattack in the endgame.
      • Alternatively, this kind of deck can also revolve heavily on the Invoke mechanic, summoning high-powered Celestial followers and using Celestial spells to search out and stall for eventually drawing Aurelion Sol.
    • The decks revolving around Buried Sun Disc, a 1-mana landmark that automatically jumps into your hand on turn one if you play pure Shurima. It needs 25 turns to be restored (which is sped up by 10 turns if your Ascended Champion levels up while it is on the field.) Once you restore it, your Level 2 Ascended Champion will become a Level 3 Ascended champion, each with monstrously high stats and different effects:
      • Along with upgrading his summon from 1/1 or 2/1 sand soldiers to a 5/2 Sandstone Charger, a Level 3 Azir will replace your deck with a special deck aptly called the Emperor's Deck, and allows you to draw one card. While the deck may lack in combat tricks, it is stuffed full of overpowered and cheap units.
      • Level 3 Renekton has a giant 10/10 statline and when either blocking or attacking, he'll deal 2 damage to enemies and the enemy Nexus.
      • Nasus also gains 10/10 base stats in addition to his ability giving +1/+1 for every unit slain per game, and debuffs all enemies by -3/0, meaning he is likely to become an unblockable One-Hit Kill unit.
      • Xerath deals 5 damage to the Nexus and your opponent's weakest unit every round, putting them on a direct countdown to death.
    • Veigar and Senna's Darkness mechanic can do this. Darkness is a spell that some units in Bandle City and the Shadow Isles can generate or improve, including Veigar and Senna. It starts out overcosted and dealing a paltry two damage to units only, but you can increase its damage and reduce its cost, and if you control a leveled up Veigar you can direct all those juicy bonuses to hit the enemy Nexus.
  • Get It Over With: In a quirk of programming, the game's AI essentially goes this way if you gain massive board advantage. Lacking the ability to actually surrender the game, it will sit still, passing turn after turn, burning mana and cards while doing absolutely nothing, merely waiting for you to finish it.
  • Giant Enemy Crab: The Scuttlegeist is a truly massive one of these, with the added problem of being an undead abomination that's a conglomeration of scavenged souls.
  • Giant Spiders:
    • Elise and her spider pets is a common archetype because of their ability to flood the board and rush the enemy. Though each are individually weak, they have debilitating effects like Arachnoid Sentry's stun effect and Frenzied Skitterer's Power debuff and the Fearsome keyword that prevent weak cards from blocking them (of which Elise can provide to all spider cards upon leveling up). Each of the spider cards are spread out between Noxus and Shadow Isles, due to Elise's background.
    • And then there's the big spider itself, Vilemaw, which can only be summoned through Fresh Offerings after 3 cards are destroyed (which is easy for Shadow Isles with their own card removals and fragile cards) or through The Twisted Treeline after 3 Fearsome allies attack (again, not too hard given Shadow Isles' access to plenty of Fearsome units).
  • Gladiator Games:
    • The Reckoners of Noxus get a lot of extra focus in this game, not only the actual named fighters like Draven, Kato and Shiraza, but the behind-the-scenes figures like the Arena Bookie (a yordle, of all things, named Karl), the Arena Battlecaster, and even members of the audience like Draven's Biggest Fan.
    • With the Monuments of Power expansion, the arena itself makes an appearance. At the end of each round it makes your strongest combatant fight the enemy's weakest. Devastating if the enemy relies on some support-based units with low attack, but also dangerous as even the weakest target can whittle down your own key unit.
  • Glass Cannon: Several cards can deal a lot of damage but they can't take it, usually having only one or two for base health. The most notable followers of this kind are The Charger and Trifarian Gloryseeker.
  • The Great Serpent: The Celestial aptly titled "the Serpent" is a massive cobra made of stardust. Ironically it's actually one of the weakest celestial units stat-wise, but costs 0-mana and has the Challenger keyword which lets it handpick an early-game enemy to deal damage to in combat.
  • HA HA HA—No: The "Not Amused" emote ("Are you done yet?") has Lunar Beast Fiora doing this.
  • Harder Than Hard: If the roguelike Lab of Legends wasn't challenging enough, there are three more difficulty options: Hard, Heroic, and Legendary.
  • Harmless Freezing: The Frostbite keyword is a common keyword associated with the Freljord, which lowers a card's Power down to 0. While it neuters the card's offensive capabilities, it can still defend by blocking an attack with its defensive capabilities unaffected (unless your opponent has a leveled-up Ashe with her effect of preventing enemies with 0 power from blocking). Also, though Frostbite will lower Power to 0, it only sets it to 0 upon affliction so you could still buff their Power afterwards and still attack.
  • Healing Factor: Cards with the Regeneration keyword will completely restore all of their Health at the end of a round. It is most commonly seen in Frejlord with Trundle and his troll tribe having several units with it or even being able to grant it to other units. Aside from them, it is utilized by Braum's self-damaging strategy, Garen for his consistent beatdown, Vladimir to stay alive while draining the board and enemy nexus of life and leveled up Maokai so he can stall while the enemy's deck is emptied.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • Miss Fortune's skill lets her deal damage to both the battlefield and the opponent's Nexus whenever the player attacks, which gives her incredible presence as she peppers the field. Except for when the opponent has cards with a Critical Status Buff effect, especially the Crimson Disciple which let her return the damage back to you. And since it will always do one damage (unless powered up by Powder Keg), the damage is just enough for any of those cards to get their effect activated and gain value from it.
    • Drawing cards when you have little cards in your deck left will cause you to lose because you have no cards in your deck to draw. This is more realistically possible in Toss decks as they have to throw away cards to get its effect. However a successful level-up of Maokai can turn it on the enemy as well - after Maokai has done away with most of their deck, any lingering draw (or Toss) effects such as on-board Avarosan Sentry or Twisted Fate become very dangerous liabilities.
    • Solitary Monk is a card that recalls all other allies when it's played. This can result in an accidental self board clear when paired with cards that summon a random follower, such as the below example.
    • Tri-Beam Improbulator is a 4-cost slow spell the deals 1 to a unit and summons a random 1 cost follower. In addition, when the card is in hand, playing a 3 mana card causes the damage and mana of the summoned card to go up by one, to a max of 10. However, a fair amount of the units it can summon are either underpowered or come with debilitating effects (as with the above example). As a matter of fact, most 10 mana followers are extremely underpowered cards for their initial cost.
  • Horse of a Different Color:
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: While he's enormous, Kato the Arm is apparently just a normal human rather than some kind of giant, but regardless his girlfriend and partner Shiraza must be particularly tiny because not only can she easily sit on his shoulder like it's a wide bench, his hand is big enough to wrap around both of her legs at once.
  • I Can See My House from Here: While it's not his house, the Avarosan Sentry is up high enough to see the Demacian border from his post.
  • Immigrant Patriotism: Captain Farron is Zaunite by birth. But these days he is completely loyal to Noxus, and one of their fiercest warriors.
  • I'm Your Biggest Fan: Draven's Biggest Fan, a fanboy dressed up in a cheap facsimile of Draven's outfit (complete with a homemade sling in place of his spinning axes) who often tries to imitate his dialogue. His effect moves Draven to the top of your deck so you'll always draw him and watch when he enters the game.
    Draven's Biggest Fan: (sobbing) Draveeen I love you!
    Draven: Me too, kiddo. Meee too.
  • Injured Vulnerability:
    • The moment a card is injured, it is vulnerable to Noxian Guillotine, which will kill the card if they are damaged. It can also create a fleeting version of the card if it succeeds in killing a card, which can set up a chain reaction where it can kill a load of other injured cards, unless the card is either healed or removed from the field, otherwise the Noxian Guillotine's effect is negated. Scorched Earth does the same thing, although rather than creating additional copies it can be used to destroy a Landmark instead of a damaged unit.
    • Ravenous Flock is a fast-speed spell card which can deal 4 damage to either an injured card or a stunned card. With its small cost, it is very strong at finishing off cards, especially if they have Tough.
  • In Love with Your Carnage: Vladimir expresses excitement when Scarmother Vrynna is summoned into the board. It does help that Vladimir and his Crimson Circle has good synergy with Freljord as they share several cards with Critical Status Buff effects or support their playstyle.
    Scarmother Vrynna: "We'll take what we want. The rest, we'll burn."
    Vladimir: "Oh the butchery we'd commit together."
  • Instant-Win Condition:
    • Like most card games, having no cards to draw in your deck will decide the winner. In practical terms it only happens through Maokai decks, as his level up effect causes the opponent to lose most of their deck, with only 4 non-champion cards left in their deck. However the process of getting there leaves his player very low on cards as well, leading to potentially tricky situations. Lissandra also can end the game this way by generating and summoning the Watcher, which will obliterate most of the opponent's deck when it attacks, leaving them on an extremely short timer to try and come back before their cards run out.
    • Fiora levels up once you get her to kill 2 enemies. Have her kill 4 enemies without dying and you instantly win the game. The trick, of course, is that she's not actually a very powerful unit in her own right, although she does benefit from Challenger (a trademark skill of the Laurent duelist units) to let her pick her targets.
    • Star Spring is unique among the Landmark cards for being the first to have this as one of its effects. At the end of a round, if you have healed your units by 22+ while it's on the board, you win the game on the spot. It helps that the Spring heals all of your allies on the board by 1 health as well. The trick is to juggle keeping your followers alive and having them take damage so they can be healed, as well as keeping the Landmark on the board (though it can't be targeted by units and most spells and skills, it can be Recalled and there are spells to destroy Landmarks).
    • The Bandle Tree, introduced in Beyond the Bandlewood, adds another to the game, allowing you to win the game at the start of the round if you've summoned units from all 10 regions. The landmark also helps the condition by giving you a follower from a new region at Round Start, and its region, Bandle City, also has access to dual region followers and Champions, each of which basically adds an extra region to your count when played.
    • Once either Nexus reaches 0 health, the winner is decided in that instant. If there are still spells or attacks remaining in the stack, they will continue to play out for no effect. A true Mutual Kill must be exactly simultaneous, such as from Caustic Cask or drawing cards at the round start. This also means that you can't be brought to 0 life or below and then recover with life gain to survive, making the order of actions in a stack of pivotal importance.
  • Kaiju: The game shows us several more of the colossal creatures that roam Runeterra, from the titanic beasts known as Bale Striders (including They Who Endure and She Who Wanders) that lurk in the heart of the Freljord, to the Giant Flyer known as The Empyrean that flies the skies above Ionia. And then there's immense sea monsters that dwell within the deeps off Bilgewater, which are big enough to eat entire ships whole. Finally, Nautilus is much, MUCH bigger than he is on Summoner's Rift or even than he appeared in the A New Dawn cinematic — he stands on the ocean floor and pulls ships down!
  • Large Ham Announcer: The Arena Battlecaster who is a wrestling style announcer for the Noxus arena.
  • Lethal Joke Character:
    • On paper, Teemo seems to be pretty low-tier just like his League of Legends counterpart. He's a 1 mana 1/1 Elusive card revolving around his puffcaps, which hide themselves in the enemy deck and attach themselves to cards. If an enemy pulls a card with puffcaps on it, they instantly take damage depending on how many puffcaps are attached to the card. While his base level skill of depositing 5 puffcaps per Nexus strike is annoying, he becomes a real force to be reckoned with if allowed to level up. Teemo can now double the puffcaps in an enemy deck every time he strikes the Nexus, which can be a game ending condition if the opponent draws poorly. Even better, the enemy has to use Challenger, a fellow Elusive card or Spells to get rid of him, since his Elusive status means that it's impossible to block him normally. And to top it all off, since he's a 1 mana card, Teemo can be played turn one and can easily survive long enough to level up, especially if the opponent draws poorly. The result is that the opponent has two options- try to take out Teemo ASAP and waste valuable resources killing such a weak card, or let him run wild and play Russian Roulette with all the chambers loaded. His mere presence forces this tactic onto the opponent, which elevates him to a much more valuable card than he initially seems. Even scarier are the tactics used to play multiple copies of him thanks to The Rekindler, in which the enemy can find their decks loaded with several thousand puffcaps from all the consecutive Nexus strikes of Teemo.
    • Poro decks. You might think they're just a silly meme deck and you have nothing to fear from a horde of Ridiculously Cute Critters. But when they chow down on multiple copies of Poro Snax (which, with the use of Aurora Porealis, they can have up to nine copies of), those adorable little balls of fluff can turn into a ravenous horde of enormous threats with powerful abilities that mostly still only cost 1 mana each. Throw in some tricks like the Fabled Poro to buff them all up even more and they can crush you under their stubby little feet.
  • Life Drain: The Lifesteal and Drain keyword causes damage inflicted from cards with this keyword to heal your Nexus. This keyword is associated with Ionian and Shadow Isles cards like Grasp of the Undying, Spirit's Refuge, and Neverglade Collector.
  • Little "No": The flavour text of Deny is exactly this, no more no less, short and to the point.
  • Magikarp Power:
    • Most Poros cost 1 Mana, have 1 Power and 1 Health, and a single Keyword or special effect. The strongest Poro is a Mighty Poro, with a more respectable 3/3/3 and Overwhelm stat line. The Poro archetype then comes with the support card Poro Snax, which grants Poro cards everywhere +1/+1, including ones that are generated by other cards, while still retaining their low Mana cost. Additionally, a Leveled-up Braum can generate a free Mighty Poro every time he survives damage. With a little work, Poros can quickly overwhelm your opponent.
    • Star Shepherd, a little 1 mana 0/3 who is initially only good for blocking similar 1-costed minions. But she gains 2 attack every time you heal a unit, and with Star Springs and Soraka you will be doing that a lot. Even reaching over 20 attack power is not too hard - making that connect with the enemy Nexus is the real challenge preventing the One-Hit Kill potential.
    • Augment keyword. Every time you play a card that was created during the match rather than starting in your deck, your units with it get +1 attack. And of course, several units with it are generating their own cards to do the boosting with. Viktor in particular amasses keywords with his upgrade cards, and levels up after you play enough of them.
    • Legion Marauder starts out as a below-curve 3-mana 3/2, but when it attacks, every allied Legion Marauder - including ones in your hand and deck and ones that get generated later, such as by Strength in Numbers - gets a permanent +1/+1. Attacking once with a single Marauder turns him into a more respectable 4/3, and if you get multiple Marauders in play, their stats can quickly snowball out of control.
    • The Fated keyword grants its unit +1/+1 whenever they're targeted by any friendly effect. In decks built around it, this can rapidly snowball out of control to make absolutely massive units.
  • Maniac Monkeys: The Boom Baboon is the supplier of Flame Chompers to Jinx. She used to have a more conventional supplier, but they had a falling out, during which Jinx blew them out of a window.
  • Manipulating the Opponent's Deck:
    • When Maokai levels up, he obliterates the opponent's entire deck save for four non-champion cards. The Watcher created by Lissandra works similarly, destroying all but three non-champion cards in your opponent's deck if you manage to summon and attack with it (previously, it removed the opponent's entire deck, making them lose immediately upon their next draw if they couldn't put more cards back in).
    • The Nab mechanic lets you steal cards right from the bottom of your opponent's deck. Unlike Maokai and Lissandra, Nab effects ignore champions entirely.
  • The Marvelous Deer: The Demacia has several deer cards, which includes the Greathorn Companion, Geneviere Elmheart's mount, and the Towering Stonehorn, a stag that appears to have antlers made of petricite, as it is attuned to the forests before Demacian came to them.
  • Monster in the Ice: Several follower cards play into this trope.
    • The Ancient Yeti is partially trapped in a glacier with only its head able to move around. Every round, the cost of the card decreases by one, showing that the ice is slowly losing hold of the massive creature.
    • Frostguard Thralls are trolls transformed by Lissandra the Ice Witch into mind-controlled soldiers, which she then reserves inside blocks of ice for when they're needed. Instead of being summoned like regular units, Thralls are played as landmarks (Frozen Thralls), and every round a timer depletes to signal that the ice around them is thawing, allowing them to finally enter battle after eight rounds. Several cards can speed up this timer, including Countdown skills and the Draklorn Inquisitor who lets the thralls be summoned after only four rounds instead.
  • Mook Maker:
    • Maokai physically is a very weak 1/4 Champion, but he summons a Sapling first time per round that you play another unit on the board. They don't last beyond the turn, but are a really good expendable blocker on defense and a distracting Challenger on attack. After level up, he summons one for free at the round's start.
    • The Monkey Idol is an Immobile (cannot attack or block) unit that generates a Powder Monkey at the start of every round, in exchange for taking 2 damage (meaning that when left alone, it will generate 3 monkeys then be destroyed). If you can heal or continually buff it, it can keep generating them indefinitely.
    • Sand Soldiers are followers that can only be summoned through several cards, especially Azir who can summon Sand Soldiers for every attack. Upon Level 3, he summons a Sandstone Charge, instead.
  • Morton's Fork: Facing Lucian and Senna on board simultaneously. Whichever one you try to kill off with your spells or powerful blockers, the other will take up their gun and become a much more powerful threat. Only rare Obliterate and Silence effects can allow you to dodge the trigger, while taking both out simultaneously is an even harder task.
  • Ms. Fanservice: The Prowling Cutthroat is a sexy blonde woman dressed in a pair of tight cutoff booty shorts and a thin, soaked white blouse that graphically reveals her lack of a bra. Her flavour text lampshades and, if anything, subverts this.
    "...and the idiot said I had hips that 'rolled like the waves'. I told him to cut the flattery, or I'd cut out his tongue."
  • Mythology Gag:
    • A lot of the way champions function in this game are directly inspired by their movesets from League proper, be it one-to-one comparisons (i.e. Heimerdinger's turrets, Udyr's stance shifting, Azir's Sand Soldiers) or retaining the playstyle in spirit (i.e. Yasuo striking knocked up foes, Vi charging up her power for a devastating attack, Thresh bringing allies into battle like he does with his lantern).
      • Stand United, Shen's signature spell, swaps the places of two friendly units and gives them both Barrier. When Shen was first released in League, his ultimate Stand United summoned him to the location of an ally anywhere on the map while giving both himself and the ally a shield, but this proved to be far too powerful and was swiftly nerfed so that only the ally received the shield instead.
    • The flavour text for the landmark The Twisted Treeline hangs a lampshade on the fact that the LoL version, the game's 3v3 map, was retired in 2019 due to lack of player interest, including references to some of its mechanics.
      It's altars may lie dormant, it's paths may seem untrod,
      But in the dark still skitters, the beast that fools forgot.
  • Never Smile at a Crocodile: Renekton will rip an enemy a new one when he has its eye on that card through attack buffs and Overwhelm. In addition, the Renekton-worshipping Sandthrashers like Bloodthirsty Marauder and Raz Bloodmane appears to ride crocodile steeds.
  • Non-Damaging Status Infliction Attack: Several cards in the game are used just for various status effects on allies and enemies alike. For example:
    • Frostbite saps away all of a unit's attack power.
    • Vulnerable allows allies to select an enemy unit to target during the attack phase.
    • Stun completely puts an opponent out of commission for the round while doing no damage.
  • No-Sell:
    • Champion units are immune to a lot of effects that can cripple lesser followers, such as Purify, Possession or the Balesight of She Who Wanders. They also cannot be stolen by Bilgewater's Nab mechanic, or milled out of your own deck by the Toss mechanic. Inverted by Maokai's and the Watcher's obliteration of the enemy's deck which targets champions before anything else, and averted by Minimorph.
    • The Demacia spell Unyielding Spirit makes its target completely immune to damage and any effect that would destroy it. Originally it was even a Burst speed spell so your opponent couldn't get ahead of it, although this was too overpowered so it was nerfed to Fast. However, it's not complete immunity, as the unit is still susceptible to any effect that wouldn't damage it or destroy it, such as Stun, Transform, Frostbite, Capture, Obliterate, Silence or Recall. However, on the right unit (particularly an engine like Heimerdinger) and against an opponent who can't negate it, it's a borderline Game-Breaker.
    • A levelled-up Taric grants himself and his supported ally a temporary version of the above. However, combine it with the Epic spell Out Of The Way and the buff, plus any others, become permanent.
  • Noblewoman's Laugh: An emote which shows Elise haughtily laughing.
  • Not the Intended Use:
    • Braum was originally intended to be a defensive/distraction unit, as despite having Challenger (allows you to choose which enemy blocks him when he attacks) his 0/5 statline and Regeneration (fully heal at the end of each round) meant that he wouldn't be killing anything, but he was unlikely to be dying either. Even when he leveled up, he still only had 0 Power (although now he summoned a Mighty Poro every time he survived damage). However there was nothing stopping you from buffing his attack yourself, particularly as buffing up allies (sometimes even while they're still in your deck or hand) is one of the Freljord faction's major themes, making him a very cost-effective assassin who's also immune to attrition. (Although admittedly this is such an obvious combo that it's highly unlikely that it wasn't intended by the design team.) Eventually Riot just cut out the middle man and reworked Braum to be a 1/5 (2/6 when he levels up) instead (although this proved to be so problematic that they were eventually forced to revert the change and make him 0/5 again only one patch later, however his leveled up form is now 1/6).
    • A nasty combo available to Demacia uses Detain to have one of your followers capture an enemy unit (removing it cleanly from play until your Detaining unit is removed), and then follows up with Purify on your Detaining follower.note  While it doesn't state as such on Detain, it adds an effect to your unit that returns the enemy to play when it leaves play- so Purify will wipe this effect away along with all other text on the follower, meaning the Detained unit is lost forever. This is more cost-effective than Vengeancenote , doesn't trigger Last Breath effects or make the unit count as "dead" for the purpose of revival effects, and can even trick the enemy into using removal on the Detainer to try and get their unit back, only for you to make them waste it as you Purify the Detainer. The main drawbacks compared to Vengeance are that it requires you to have both cards in hand to pull off and an ally in play to cast it on, and the entire combo will fizzle if the opponent counters by killing your unit before Detain can resolve.
    • Anivia's ability to rise from the dead as an egg makes her particularly sticky. This is compounded in a Shadow Isles/Freljord deck which focuses around using both the Ephemeral mechanic, where units die at the end of their turn — including Anivia, who just returns to her Eggnivia form — and The Rekindler, The Harrowing, and Chronicler of Ruin to purposefully kill and re-raise multiple copies of Anivia. A late-game board has as many as five or six copies of Anivia, each of whom must be killed twice and deal two damage to all enemies before damage calculation.

  • Oh, Crap!:
  • Odd Friendship: The game uses voice interactions to highlight connections between characters, and it takes advantage of this to develop previously-unrecognized rapports between champions with tenuous, if not nonexistent contact in present canon. Examples include Katarina and Fiora (who both share a similar "waltz of swords and daggers" approach) and Ezreal and Jinx (both reckless free spirits with nary a plan between them).
  • Ominous Owl: The Stygian Onlooker is a shadow creature that strongly resembles a stygian owl with a spider-like visage.
  • One-Hit Kill:
    • The combination of The Dreadway (which doubles all damage done by your units) and Commander Ledros (which does damage to the enemy Nexus equal to half of its remaining health, rounded up) is an almost-guaranteed instant kill unless the opponent can either counter the Blade of Ledros skill with Deny, or respond to it by either removing The Dreadway or killing the other opponent first. The good news is that the combo is very, VERY expensive by itself. For a short while the combo was available to be easily cheated into via Concurrent Timelines, which allowed you to play Ledros and transform him into Dreadway while keeping the skill on the stack. Quick patch reduced Dreadway to 8 mana (and a bit lower health), disabling the cheaty combo while making the natural way of the combo a bit easier to pull off.
    • Dreadway also has another option for OTK - by creating several copies of it with Dawn and Dusk, all damage dealt is multiplied by 8, leaving death only a question of having a couple Warning Shots in hand. The overall cost is only marginally cheaper than Ledros in terms of mana, but requires more cards.
    • The Rimefang Wolf's effect kills any unit it strikes that has 0 Power. Since it's a Freljord card, it combines with all the cards that can inflict Frostbite, which lowers Power down to 0. Unless the opponent has a card to buff the afflicted card's Power back up before battle commences, the Rimefang Wolf will kill any such unit regardless of its Health. Not even Barrier will save it (since the Wolf still strikes the target and triggers its effect, even if it does no damage).
    • Decks utilizing Lee Sin with Overwhelm try to pull this off, although it is technically two simultaneous hits. When his leveled up form attacks, he casts Dragon's Rage on the blocker, striking both it and the enemy Nexus, and returning the unit to hand if it lives. If he has Overwhelm (granted previously through Noxus cards and synergies, but recently appearing in Targon as well), he immediately strikes again to the Nexus, and with enough attack buffs, it is enough to destroy it.
  • Our Dragons Are Different:
    • Introduced in the Call of the Mountain expansion, Dragon is a new tribal keyword. Some are otherworldly creatures of power and magic, some (such as The Infinite Mindsplitter) bordering on Eldritch Abomination status while others are more mundane-appearing giant monsters. They tend to have the Fury keyword, powering up whenever they kill something. Due to Early Installment Weirdness, The Empyrean and Dragonlings did not have this type until a few patches later.
    • Alongside the followers there are a couple of Dragon champions. Aurelion Sol mostly interacts with the Celestial type followers and spells, but his signature spell The Skies Descend does count dragons for a discount alongside the Celestials. Shyvana on the other hand specifically relies on dragon allies to boost her level up condition, and her associated spell Strafing Strike synergises with the tribe as well.
  • Our Minotaurs Are Different:
  • Pacifist Run: It's possible, although difficult, to win a match without killing enemy units or even damaging the enemy Nexus using a defensive Soraka / Braum deck with Star Springs. The Regeneration keyword is considered healing by the landmarks and Soraka's level up requirement, and if a Star Spring on the field sees 22 points of healing the player will achieve the Instant-Win Condition.
  • Panthera Awesome:
    • Alpha Wildclaw from Freljord is a six legged felid.
      The power of a warhorse, the thoughtless savagery of a cat.
    • The Eternal Gladiator from Shurimanote  is riding a reined lion.
  • Piranha Problem: The Snapjaw Swarm strongly resembles piranhas, as its flavor text is a nursery rhyme of how they are so voracious and terrifying that drowning is a better way to die. In the artwork, the swarm chews through the Yordle Grifter's boat and circles around the sinking ship as their meal slowly dips into the water.
  • Pirate Girl: Bilgewater is full of them- not only on Miss Fortune's mostly-female crew, but even on Gangplank's (such as the Dreadway Deckhand).
  • Play Every Day: In the form of experience point bonuses for your first three wins daily, quests, and a weekly vault given out each Thursdaynote  based on your total experience earned the previous week. Excessive farming in a single day will first reduce, then remove the experience payout. Also, you get given a random quest which gives a bonus 1000-1500 exp every day.
  • Plunder: An actual keyword introduced in the Rising Tides expansion that introduced Bilgewater, but which also showed up in Freljord in Sejuani's raider forces. Plunder effects will only trigger if the card is played after their controller has managed to damage the enemy Nexus that turn.
  • Power Equals Rarity: Cards generally get more complex and powerful the rarer they are, going in the order of "Common", "Rare", then "Epic", with "Champions" being their own classification. Compare say the common Chip with the Champion Malphite. Chip costs 1-mana and with simple 1/1 power and health stats. He can become stronger under the condition that a player plays a "Landmark" card, gaining a useful stat boost. Malphite on the other hand costs 7 mana, is 6 power and 10 health, and has the "Tough" keyword which lets him take 1 less damage from every attack. And when played, he can stun an enemy unit, a very useful tool to have to mount an attack.
  • Power-Up Letdown: Yasuo turned out to have an unforseen but crippling Weaksauce Weakness in his level 2 form which his level 1 form doesn't share- Frostbite. Level 1 Yasuo does 2 damage to any stunned or recalled enemy, while level 2 has him strike them instead (doing 5 damage by default). While this is normally a straight upgrade, if Yasuo is affected by Frostbite, his power is reduced to 0 for a turn, completely negating his level 2 effect. And since 2 of the most popular Frostbite cards that can affect Yasuo (Flash Freeze and Harsh Winds) are Burst speed spells, Yasuo players can find themselves in a position where they play what should be a board-clearing Intimidating Roar, only to find it doing no damage and their Yasuo still on 0 power, unable to capitalise (although the Frostbite in turn can be negated with a timely Elixir of Wrath or other Burst-speed buff spell).
  • Purposefully Overpowered: The developers admitted that Merciless Hunter added in the "Guardians of the Ancient" set, a 4/3 Follower that granted Vulnerable to an enemy unit for an absurdly-cheap 3 mana, was deliberately designed to be overpowered because they wanted to give the Shurima region a boost. It has since received a nerf.
  • Quizzical Tilt: The "Huh?" emote featuring Festival Kitt from the Spirit Blossom event and the "Wait, what?" ("Seriously... what?") emote, featuring Lunar Beast Fiora.
  • Random Number God: Downplayed compared to some other CCGs like Hearthstone. There's a considerably-reduced emphasis on random effects in the game, but they are still present, with multiple cards capable of generating a wide range of effects. However Riot try to keep this within reason- for example, Karma and other random card generation effects can only generate cards from within the factions you're currently using in your deck, while Flash of Brilliance was changed to only generate 6+ cost spells to drastically reduce its range of variance.
    • The new 'Invoke' keyword added with the Targon expansion adds a considerable deal of RNG, by having the player choose 1 card from a selection of 3, and the selection itself is taken from 22 Celestial cards, which otherwise cannot be added to a deck. Almost all of the celestial cards will have some use, even in a sub-optimal situation. However, the most popular Invoke cards filter the list of Celestial cards to a range of 3 mana (such as Solari Priestess who invokes a Celestial card that costs 4-6 mana), considerably reducing the level of randomness involved- in fact, unrestricted Invoke cards like Moondreamer are almost never used because of the RNG.
    • 'Manifest', a mechanic introduced in Bandle City, acts like Discover from Hearthstone (choose 1 of 3 randomly generated cards with a condition attached.)
  • Reading the Stage Directions Out Loud: The Bandle City Mayor arrives on the battlefield ready to read a speech he's prepared. Apparently what was written down, however, was simply for him to "say some encouraging words", because one of his attack quotes is "Some encouraging words!"
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: The Poros are still here, and they're getting more exposure than ever. Every faction gets at least one with their own unique keywords (such as Demacia's Plucky Poro, a Poro wearing a Demacian soldier's helmet as armour on its rotund body and wielding a dagger like a sword), while Freljord has a bit of a theme built around them with cards like Mighty Poro, Poro Herder and Heart of the Fluft.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge:
    • Lucian's level-up requirement is watching four of his allies being destroyed or if Senna is destroyed. This makes Lucian much more dangerous as not only does he receives the rare "Double Attack" keywordnote  but also, the first time one of your cards get gets killed each round, you get "Rally"note . Similarly, Senna receives a buff to her stats and the "Double Attack" keyword if Lucian is destroyed. Because of it, it might be a strategy to intentionally destroy one of them so that they can receive the boon.
    • Kalista's level-up requirement is watching three of her allies being destroyed. Upon leveling up, any time she attacks, she will create an Ethereal copy of your strongest Follower that was destroyed and if an opponent blocks Kalista or tries to remove her with a damage spell, the ghost will receive the damage instead.
  • Rock Monster: The Guardians of the Ancient expansion features Targon's terrestrial creatures, like Earth Elemental and Blue Sentinel. While Malphite is the added champion representing Targon, he is actually an Ixtali earth construct created outside of Targon.
  • Roguelike: The single-player Lab of Legends, where you start out with one of ten Champions and draft more cards and items to enhance those cards along the way. Unlike most roguelike modes, the enemies you face are fixed.
  • Savage Wolves:
  • Saying Sound Effects Out Loud: One of the Yordle Smith's death quotes is "Gargle!" No, he doesn't give a death gurgle, he actually audibly says "Gargle!"
  • Sea Monster: The Bilgewater region has an entire mechanic (Deep) based around the Sea Monster unit class, with a wide variety of titanic and horrifying abominations ready to devour the opponent when its effect is triggered, focused around its signature champion Nautilus.
  • Second Place Is for Losers: As seen in the full image for Fiora's level 2 card, the Laurent Chevalier is not jazzed about his second place performance.
  • Sexy Dimorphism: Thorn of the Rose, the first female minotaur character Riot has ever shown from Runeterra, has a slender and more human-like body compared to the other bulkier minotaur characters. However Riot defied this trope (as well as Only One Female Mold) with the release of the Ruined Reckoner, a female minotaur who looks much more like her male counterparts.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: Kato the Arm isn't very good at concealing his secret relationship with fellow Reckoner Shiraza the Blade despite his best efforts. Shiraza isn't impressed.
    "He said what?! That man has bricks for brains. Can't fault those shoulders, though..."
  • Ship Tease: Garen and Katarina are barely even bothering to keep up appearances any more.
    Katarina: I will slay you where you stand! Dinner? Tonight?
    Garen: You shall fall on your folly! Meet me at the south docks after dark.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Siege Engines: Noxus is the master of conquest and deploy powerful machines for the purpose of sieging, translating to their cards having the Overwhelm keyword or having effects that allow them to easily breach the opponent's Nexus. Siege warfare is the main focus of Noxus in the Rising Tide expansion, with the Iron Ballista and The Leviathan added to easily damage the Nexus and assist in activating Swain's effect.
  • Solar and Lunar: Two of the keywords introduced in the Call of the Mountain expansion are Daybreak and Nightfall. Daybreak triggers special effects if a card with the keyword is the first played in a turn, while Nightfall gives special effects if a card with the keyword is not the first card played. Unsurprisingly, Daybreak and Nightfall are associated with the Solari and Lunari respectively (although a number of Shadow Isles monsters, including Nocturne, have Nightfall), with their champions, Leona and Diana, each having the appropriate keywords and triggering them enough times being their level-up requirements.
  • Something Something Leonard Bernstein: Pix!'s flavour text is Lulu singing a song about him, but either she forgot the last line, or she was making it up as she went along and ran out of rhymes for "awesome".
    "Pix is AWESOME, he's small and cool and wholesome, His favorite things are possums, and he likes to... hrmhmhmhrmthrossom!" - Lulu
  • Spin Attack: Garen's iconic Judgment ability appears as a devastatingly powerful (and correspondingly expensive) spell which causes one of your battling units to immediately strike all other battling enemies. With a powerful enough unit behind it, this can essentially wipe the entire enemy army off the board before they can even raise their weapons. If the unit you're using it with has the Fury mechanic (most often a Dragon), it can also get powered up for every kill leading to a devastating counterattack next turn, or if you're doing it with a buffed-up Fiora, she can instantly outright win you the game.
  • Stone Wall: There are few cards that have 0 power but compensate with high health. Of course, there are several cards that can boost their power so they can attack like other cards.
    • Braum is a perfect example, as his lack of power is compensated with 5 Health, which is quite high for the early game, and has the "Regenerate" and "Challenger" keywords. This allows Braum to force one opposing unit to block him while your other units can attack uncontensted and later heal him up after the round is over.
    • Nautilus is a complete wall. He has no Power but has a ridiculous 12 Health and the Tough keyword (-1 damage from all sources), so he can block until you reach the 15 or less card requirement to activate "Deep." Then he gains Power...
    • The Bubble Bear has 6 Health and is a strong blocker. Of course, its Elusive keyword can allow it to harass with certain cards.
  • Story Breadcrumbs: There may not be a continuous story within the game, but the cards and their Flavor Text get across a lot of previously-unseen information on canonical events. Some have a more obvious progression to them like the Cithrianote  cards, while others are more subtle, like with Bjergnote , or the flavor text and full images of Shadow Isles cards depicting Demacia's attempts at exploring the lands.
  • Street Urchin: Orphans and children from the city of Zaun uses whatever possible to survive their dangerous home. These orphans include the Zaunite Urchin (who can discard one card from your hand to draw a card), Boomcrew Rookie (who can deal 2 damage to the Nexus when he attacks), Chempunk Pickpocket (who can create a spell card from your opponent's deck if he successfully strikes the Nexus), and the Sumpsnipe Scavenger (who can create a Sumpworks Map, a card that grant Elusive, at 0 cost for the round if the Allegiance requirement succeeds).
  • Tempting Fate: As seen on the Arachnoid Sentry, the Hapless Aristocrat doesn't seem to understand what he's getting into when invited to dine with Elise.
  • Time-Limit Boss: The Guard Bots encounter in Lab of Legends has a power that summons a Turret (the same ones spawned by Heimerdinger) every turn, starting with the 0-cost Windup Shredder and increasing by 1 power every round up until round 9 and onward, at which point it summons 8/8 T-Hexes every single turn. This is all but guaranteed to overwhelm any player who hasn't won or gotten close to winning by that point unless you have a supremely overpowered build.
  • Time Master: One of the focuses of the Guardian of the Ancients expansion is Zilean and his chronomantic disciples, who wield their powers to ward away the Void that consumed their homeland, Icathia. The Rise of the Underworld expansion added Ekko, who can also turn back time and use parallel selves to his advantage thanks to his Z-drive.
  • Time-Travel Tense Trouble: Mostly involving Zilean.
    "The future isn't what it used to be."
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • Cithria of Cloudfield starts her career as a measly 2/2 Elite ally in Demacia's army, but over time she becomes first a Vanguard Squire, before eventually becoming a full blown hero of Demacia as Cithria the Bold.
    • All Champion cards have the ability to level up into a more powerful form if you can fulfill their conditions. The conditions can be as simple as Garen needing to hit anything twice, to as difficult as having 4 allies gain Barrier while Shen is on the board to see it, and the level up bonuses can range from as simple as Darius gaining +4/+1, to as powerful as Fiora being able to instantly win you the game if you can kill 4 enemies with her.
    • Shurima's three Ascended champions (Azir, Nasus and Renekton) have the unique distinction of being able to level-up twice, the first time like any other champion, the second time by having the Buried Sun Disc finish its countdown (which is sped up immensely by leveling Ascended champions the first time). When this happens, all three become insanely powerful game-ender cards, Nasus and Renekton by becoming massively huge damage threats, Azir by giving you an entire new deck of Purposefully Overpowered cards.
  • Totem Pole Trench: The Shady Character is two yordles in a trenchcoat, with the addition of some crude mechanical limbs to complete the Paper-Thin Disguise.
  • Our Trolls Are Different: Tarkaz the Tribeless was the only troll in the original release of Runeterra before the Call of the Mountain expansion added Trundle and his troll warriors. In addition, the Frostguard Thralls are stated to be frozen trolls that disobeyed Trundle that are corrupted by Lissandra to be more "obedient."
  • The Turret Master: Like League of Legends, Heimerdinger's main effect is creating turret-based cards which depends on how much mana is spent on a spell card. These cards are fleeting (so they must be summon on the turn they are created or else they are lost) but has 0 mana cost. Statwise, they have only 1 Health (unless Heimerdinger is leveled up, in which, they get 2) and a number of Power depending on what card they are (the number on the Mk plus 1 if Heimerdinger is leveled up) with a keyword as a bonus. These cards include Mk0: Windup Shredder (which has Challenger), Mk1: Wrenchbot (which has no keyword), Mk2: Evolution Turret (which has Tough), Mk3: Apex Turret (which has Fearsome), Mk4: Stormlobber (which has Overwhelm), Mk5: Rocket Blaster (which has Quick Attack), Mk6: Floor-b-Gone (which has Elusive), Mk7: Armored Stomper (which has Barrier), and T-Hex (which is a powerful follower with 8 to Health and Power but no keyword).
  • Victory Quote: At the end of the match, a champion that is currently in play will have a Bond One-Liner when victorious, unless it's an inversion when defeated. Interestingly, a handful of followers (initially just Tianna Crownguard, later joined by Cithria, Lady of Clouds) also have voice lines associated with the end of the match.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential:
    • Since Lucian's level up requirement involves either losing four cards or just Senna, he's synergizes ironically well with Shadow Isles due to its abundant of effects that sacrifices cards. You are going to see his alternate level up animations which shows him and Senna splits up like the guns they wield.
    • An addition from the Empire of the Ascended expansion is Dragon Chow, a cute baby elephant-like animal that is blissfully ignorant of a swooping Screeching Dragon from behind. Since it is a must-include for Dragon-themed decks due to its effect giving the deck an early-game fodder for dragon's Fury (and giving you free damage for Shyvana's level up condition) and a card draw, expect it to be eaten a lot, you beast!
  • Visible Odor: Stinky Whump probably doesn't have a pleasant scent, considering the reactions of his fellow whumps.
  • We Have Reserves:
    • A core strategy of Shadow Isles decks, who have a lot of cards that generate spiders and ghosts, a lot of Ephemeral units that vanish after a single use, and a lot of cards that either actively sacrifice your units for benefits (like Ravenous Butcher) or benefit from the deaths of your units (like Phantom Prankster or Scuttlegeist).
    • Demacia has eventually pitched a small tent in that strategy with For the Fallen card. It supplements their usual gameplan of playing a lot of Elites by becoming cheaper while it awaits in hand, and eventually if the enemy manages to wipe out your board, it can immediately refill with new 3/3 units. And if you happened to draw another one in the meantime, it will get cheaper in turn.
  • What Does He See in Her?: Jarvan IV wonders this about Garen and Katarina.
    Katarina: Let the bloodshed begin!
    Jarvan IV: What does he see in you?!
  • When Trees Attack: The Rising Tide expansion focused more on the arboreal creatures of the Shadow Isles, including the new Champion Maokai and Followers such as the Overgrown Snapvine.
  • Why Won't You Die?:
    • Like on Summoner's Rift, Anivia transforms into a helpless egg form (Eggnivia) on death. If you're Enlightened (have your mana maxed out to 10) then she transforms back into her true form at the start of every round, which also doubles as her level-up requirement. The only way to get rid of her permanently is to kill her once, reverting her to Eggnivia, then kill her again as Eggnivia. She used to be even stronger before nerfs, transforming back every turn even if you weren't enlightened, although Eggnivia was weaker as a 0/1 rather than an 0/2 (she eventually became too overwhelming and Eggnivia was nerfed back to 0/1 again). She can, however, be removed directly using the Detain/Purify combo listed under Not the Intended Use, Silenced and Destroyed by cards like Sunburst or Obliterated by the likes of Devourer of the Depths.
    • The Undying revives from the dead at the start of every round, +1/+1 stronger than he died. Opponents will generally not want to kill him if possible, leaving him as a comfortably puny 2/2, but Shadow Isles decks have a number of ways of offing their own units anyway to get other benefits. He can be reduced to a hapless 2/2 by Silence effects note  or wiped out of existence altogether by Obliterate effects note  which don't trigger his Last Breath effect. He can also be reset back to 2/2 again by being sent back to its owner's hand with Will of Ionia or Minah Swiftfoot, which doesn't deal with him permanently, but can minimise the threat he poses.
    • Whenever Commander Ledros is destroyed, he's immediately returned to his controller's hand. While on the surface this looks a lot less efficient than The Undying (especially as Ledros is a 9-cost unit and costs you almost your entire turn's allotment of mana to cast in the late game), this lets you repeatedly take advantage of his powerful effect that halves the enemy Nexus HP every time you play him. Like The Undying, he can only be permanently negated by Silence or Obliterate effects.
  • You Are Already Dead:
    • Kindred's effect upon slaying an unit will mark the weakest enemy. After the round ends, they will instantly kill them.
    • Spirit Fire places an effect that damage the cards by 2 after reducing their Power by 2. This card completely counters aggressive decks that rely on high attack but low Health. A similar card is Blighted Ravine, which acts similar to Avalanche, but happens at the end of the round as well as healing you for 4.