After weeks of daily reveals, Riot Games officially unveiled the next expansion set for Legends of Runeterra, “Empires of the Ascended.” The set, which is scheduled for release on Wednesday, has over 100 new cards, nine new champions and new strategies to be unveiled with the evergrowing card game. Let’s take a look at what’s new in Legends of Runeterra.
New Region – Shurima
As announced in January, the newest set takes place in the world of Shurima, a world of vast history, power and sand. With this region come four new Champions, each of which we will go over in this article, and dozens of new cards to bolster up a variety of strategies and ideas.
Rise of the Ascended – Azir, Renekton and Nasus
First, let’s take a look at three of the champions under the Shurima strategy. Each of the Ascended champions have the ability to level up twice. Each revolve around a singular card – the Buried Sun Disc.
The Buried Sun Disc introduces a new mechanic to the game known as Countdown. At the start of each round, the countdown goes down by one until it’s inevitable destruction. When the countdown hits zero, destroy the card and activate its ability. The Sun Disc creates a Restored Sun Disc card which ascends certain champions to Level 3 instead of the usual second level.
First of the three champions unveiled is Azir. Azir’s playstyle revolves around summoning Sand Soldiers to the field (similar to his ability in League of Legends.) When allied units attack, he summons a Sand Soldier which deals an extra point of damage if it strikes the enemy’s nexus. Once he summons ten units (any unit), he levels up granting summoned allies and himself +1 | +0 to his stats. And once the Sun Disc is restored, he ascends to Level 3, replacing your entire deck with the Emperor’s Deck – an entire deck with powerful cards centered around complete domination of the board. It is yet to be revealed the entire components of the deck, but expect the emperor to be fierce and powerful.
Next up is Renekton. Renekton, similar to his in-game persona, focuses on dealing damage and showing brute force. His abilities give him +2 | +1 whenever he challenges an enemy. When he deals twelve damage, he levels up, giving him +3 | +3 each time he attacks. And once the Sun Disc is restored, he becomes an unstoppable titan of power, dealing two damage to all enemies and the enemy Nexus whenever he attacks or blocks an attack.
Finally, the last of the ascended trio is Nasus. Nasus introduces the Slay mechanic, which gives credit to a unit whenever a card is destroyed. This includes by battle, card effect or other means. Each time a unit is slayed, Nasus gains +1 | +1. When Nasus strikes for ten damage, he levels up, granting him Spellshield as well giving all enemies -1 | -0, a perfect ability in tandem with his fearsome mechanic. And this ability only gets stronger when he ascends and levels up once the Sun Disc is restored.
The Power of Rocks – Taliyah
The ancient warriors of Shurima are not the only added Shuriman champions to the game. Taliyah, the Stoneweaver, is also being added to the game. Taliyah focuses on the Landscape mechanic – using a wide variety of landscapes which can transform into a wide variety of creatures. When you play 5 or more landmarks, Taliyah levels up and uses the landmarks to deal extra damage to blockers.
Never One Without the Other – Kindred, Lamb and Wolf
There are five other champions introduced in the set with the four Shuriman champions. First is Kindred – the spirits of Life and Death themselves. Kindred focuses on using their mark system similar to the mechanic in League of Legends. Whenever you slay an enemy, Kindred will brand an enemy with their mark. When the round ends, whoever is marked will be killed. Upon leveling up, Kindred will gain +2 | +2 permanently and continue to mark their prey.
For the King – Jarvan IV
Get ready for more Demacia screams as the prince of Demacia, Jarvan IV, comes to Legends of Runeterra. When you declare an attack with your units, Jarvan will drag himself into battle challenging the strongest enemy (making use of his Barrier trait). When you survive four attempted blocks with an allied unit, J4 levels up creating a Cataclysm in hand at each round start. In addition, whenever J4 challenges an enemy unit, whether through Cataclysm or through his ability to drag himself to the field, he will gain another Barrier.
Seeing Double? Leblanc
Leblanc, like her counterpart in League of Legends, is all about striking quick, duplicating herself and evading all challenges. She is a strong low-cost champion with Quick Attack that requires her to be on the field after dealing over 15 points of damage. What makes Leblanc unique is that when she levels up, she garners skills which allow you to create mirror copies of herself or other high power images to create quick work of the enemy.
For a Price – Sivir and Reputation
Before we talk about the boomerang-bladed Sivir, it’s important to talk about another new term – reputation. Reputation is an extremely powerful tool which changes card text if you have struck at the opponent more than 15 damage (including nexus and champion damage.) Combined with Sivir, who takes 35+ total damage to level up (both nexus damage and follower damage can count towards this additional damage), the more damage you deal, the stronger you become. In addition, when Sivir is leveled up, when she attacks, allies are granted the same keywords she has.
Witness the Power of True Ice – Lissandra
Finally, to round out the champions we have Lissandra. Lissandra is the queen of ice who synergizes best with high-cost cards. If you summon two or more 8+ cost units, then she levels up, creating a Watcher in hand. Upon leveling up, your Nexus gains Tough – a new mechanic to the game never seen until the queen. In addition, at the start of the round, an Ice Shard is also created in your hand, dealing one damage to everything on the field. Thankfully, both Lissandra and your nexus are tough, so no damage is taken. And when you summon at least 4 or more 8+ champions, the Watcher in your hand becomes a zero-cost card rather than its original cost. And what does it do? Well, you are going to want to try Lissandra out – she is worth the investment.
We can’t cover all 110 new cards introduced today, but if you want to learn more about what else is being added to the game, click here to read the patch notes for patch 2.2.0 and here to see Mobalytic’s extensive guide on the new cards added.
Empires of the Ascended heads to live realm Wednesday, March 3rd. We cannot wait to test out these new cards.