If you were expecting to just dive into Legends of Runeterra, load up your Riot account with a few hundred bucks, and start cracking packs open you're out of luck.
Getting new cards in Riot’s second-ever full-scale game doesn’t work like that. They are, in fact, so ardently anti-play-to-win that there’s no such thing as a booster pack in Legends of Runeterra at all!
That’s not to say you don’t have purchasing options. You can buy a set amount of wild cards of varying rarities per week, and there’s a Starter Kit with a pre-determined set of cards in the store too.
But since Riot wants to monetize purchasable cosmetics instead, the best way to actually get new cards is through straight-up play – grinding your way to a complete collection.
Here’s how you actually get new cards in Legends of Runeterra.
The most straight forward way to build your collection is by playing a lot of games.
The Prologue Road gives you a bunch of good cards for just playing through the tutorial and the Region Reward Road that follows it does the same – with a wrinkle.
Unlike the Prologue Road, the Region Reward Road (which functions similarly to other games’ battle passes) will only give you cards from that Runeterran region:
While this might seem unnecessarily restrictive, it actually helps work towards building the sort of deck that’s the most fun for you to play in the first place.
Since each region has its own unique playstyle, the Region Reward Road lets you unlock your preferred deck faster than you’d otherwise get from randomized booster packs.
You can also switch regions at any time if you decide you’d rather play a different style of deck.
Region Rewards will give you the following, based on what you’ve managed to unlock:
- Specific region cards
- Wild cards
- Crafting Shards
- Random Epics – this is the only way to get cards out of faction while grinding a region.
Once a week, on Tuesday, you’ll also be able to unlock three treasure chests full of cards, shards, etc.
This system specifically rewards you for the frequency of play and wins: chests will upgrade over time based on the number of experience points you gain by engaging with any game mode in Legends of Runeterra, doubling for every time you win.
The system rewards PVP most of all, giving up to 200 experience points for queued games against fellow human players.
You can track your weekly progression through a button on the lower-right in the main menu.
While you can’t keep the draft deck you made for Expeditions mode, your performance in it will reward you with both cards and crafting shards.
You can even earn enough crafting shards to play another round of Expeditions for free, with a weekly limit on the rewards you get.
Skill at Expeditions is one of the fastest ways to round out your collection, period.
Wild Cards and Crafting
How do you use all these Wild Cards and Shards you’ve been accumulating through the above? Simple: go to Collections, then Cards, then click the Show Unowned button on the upper-left.
You can then right-click on any card to produce up to three copies of each, using either Wild Cards or Shards.
If using Wild Cards, note that they have to correspond with the card’s rarity; Shards can be used for any card, but rare cards will cost more, and Champion cards will cost up to 3000 shards.
Note once you’ve crafted or earned three copies of any card, it CANNOT be earned through regional rewards, Expeditions, or any other system above anymore.
You also cannot disenchant cards – once you’ve made them, they’re kept forever.
Buying Wild Cards
While you can’t purchase boosters – or shards or specific cards – the Legends of Runeterra store does have a limited number of Wild Cards you can purchase, refreshing weekly.
These cost real money to buy, and you cannot buy enough at once to totally complete the collection.
The same page will also show how many Wild Cards you currently possess, letting you know how many more you need to round out the ranked deck of your dreams.
The entirety of Legends of Runeterra’s gameplay is meant to be free-to-play friendly. Sufficient dedication to the game should mean that you unlock everything just by going through each region’s rewards.
Of course, by putting the Wild Cards tracker in the store page, it does silently tempt players – you’re just a few cards away… what're a few bucks for that final copy of Teemo’s smug face?
Written ByJames Chen@Obscurica