Game Mobalytics

The Key Differences Between Hearthstone and Legends of Runeterra

When Legends of Runeterra was announced at the League of Legends 10th anniversary stream, many wondered if it would be LoL’s response to Hearthstone. However, after playing both games, it becomes evident that while they are digital card games, they have distinct differences that set them apart. In this article, we will explore the five biggest disparities between Runeterra and Hearthstone.

Deck Building

Legends of Runeterra offers a diverse range of cards that cater to various playstyles. These cards are divided into six different regions based on League of Legends’ lore:

  • Demacia – Stand Together
  • Freljord – Frozen Fortitude
  • Ionia – Swift and Sure
  • Noxus – All Out Assault
  • Piltover & Zaun – Machinations and Mayhem
  • The Shadow Isles – Death and Sacrifice

By activating a specific region, players can progress using its assigned cards and champions to unlock greater rewards within that realm. Each region also features unique champions from League of Legends, allowing players to use their LoL mains in Runeterra. In contrast, Hearthstone’s hero-based deck building does not offer additional rewards besides golden cards for player progression. Additionally, players can focus their attention on multiple regions in Runeterra, and their progress will be saved accordingly.

Pace of the Game

In Hearthstone, players take turns attacking and playing cards within a set turn. However, in Runeterra, turns are divided into attacking and defensive roles for both players. During the turn’s “Action Phase,” defensive players have the opportunity to play cards first before the attackers lay down their cards for their phase. This dynamic requires players to be fully engaged throughout the game, unlike Hearthstone where players can play their cards and wait for their next turn.

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Mana and Spell Mana

Similar to Hearthstone, players in Runeterra start with one mana and gain an additional point each turn. However, Runeterra introduces a new element called spell mana. Spell mana is generated from leftover mana each turn. For instance, if a player has five mana and only utilizes four during a turn, one point will be added to their spell mana, which remains available until used later in the game.

How Cards Deal Damage

In Hearthstone, only specific cards can block damage to the player’s hero. In Runeterra, any unit card can block incoming damage during the defense phase. Players have the freedom to select which cards they want to place for defense, protecting their Nexus (equivalent to a hero’s health in Hearthstone). Certain cards possess defensive abilities, and there are spells that enhance cards while in defense, providing players with strategic choices for their deck.

How Spells Work

Spells in Runeterra function similarly to other card games, such as Hearthstone. However, Runeterra introduces a unique attribute: the speed attribute. The speed attribute determines when a spell can be played and whether opponents can respond before it takes effect. Runeterra categorizes spells into four types:

  • Burst: The fastest spells that take effect instantly, allowing opponents no time to react.
  • Fast: Spells that can be played at any time, but opponents have the opportunity to respond with their own Fast or Burst spells.
  • Slow: Spells that can only be played outside of combat, granting the enemy a chance to respond.
  • Fleeting: Temporary spells that disappear if unused at the end of the turn.
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These distinct spell attributes in Runeterra add a layer of strategy and decision-making to the game.

With these five major differences between Legends of Runeterra and Hearthstone, it’s clear that each game offers its own unique gameplay experience. Whether you prefer the diverse regions and champions of Runeterra or the hero-focused deck building of Hearthstone, both games provide engaging and entertaining card game experiences.

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